WINTER SPORTSOur Story
QUITTING THE DAY JOB FOR GOOD
Founders of Winter Sports, Karen and Steve La Borde, tell their story: how they came into the industry, how The Winter Sports Company began – and why they know you can find a dream career on the slopes too.
In 2006, our three children had fledged the nest. The youngest had just started university, so we sold our house and business to move to Cornwall. We wanted to spend more time on snow in the winter, and thought a seasonal business in Cornwall would give us the opportunity to do so.
It did not turn out quite as planned, for in October at the ski and snowboard show where we had gone to look for work, we met a company which specialised in school holidays, and who wanted to start a ski instructor training course in Jasper, Canada. On our return home to Cornwall, the company called us offering us places on their ski instructor course to start in January – if we would manage the course for them. We agreed.
In January 2007, we travelled to Jasper. We spent an amazing season training to become instructors. It was a true adventure. We never thought we would hike up a mountain and then ski down it – but there we did just that. And, after three months intensive training, we both passed our CSIA level 2 ski instructor certification.
We’d had a great time, made loads of new friends, were better skiers than we ever believed we would be, and we had a job – for we were invited to return the following year to manage the course again.
After two years managing ski and snowboard instructor courses in Jasper we fancied a change, and Jasper, though a beautiful and remote Canadian town, is a long way from the actual ski slopes, and we had to travel at least 45 minutes each way every day to get up to the snow.
Having spent years skiing traditional Alpine resorts in France and Austria, we wanted to find something similar in Canada, so we started looking for the almost-impossible a cosy-alpine-feeling Canadian resort with ski-in ski-out facilities, a larger ski area with more terrain, and a larger snow school with more higher level instructors. Then we found Sun Peaks Resort, it was perfect.
The rest as, they say, is history. We’ve never returned to the day jobs and Winter Sports is a full time focus – no need for a seasonal business in Cornwall during the summer months.
Ten years on and Winter Sports Company is our fourth child. Since the first season in Sun Peaks we have expanded to offer a range of courses across 3 continents. We still seek out the best ski-in ski-out resorts as a priority and are proud to offer courses and qualifications including instructor training, powder heli-ski training, ski patrol courses and internships in Sun Peaks, Panorama, Tignes and Queenstown. We have spent over a decade helping others of all ages to achieve their dreams as we did, and hope Winter Sports Company can continue this work for many years to come.