“Some people return from their gap year with hazy memories, a dodgy tattoo and a maxed out credit card, but I came back as a qualified ski instructor with awesome experiences, a better CV and no debt!!”
Jez left behind the wind and rain of the UK in November 2016 to start a ski instructor internship. Internships are a popular year-out option for school and university leavers and Jez explains why he wanted to take a gap year and how he ended up becoming a ski instructor.
“I was getting fed up with the humdrum of day-to-day life, and wanted to do something completely different. I’d always wanted to take some time out travelling, but I didn’t want it to cost the earth and I knew I needed to earn money whilst travelling. I love the snow, and I’d been on a few ski holidays so I was keen to work in a ski resort, but as I was quitting my job to chase my dreams, I didn’t want future employers to be concerned about the gap on my CV. After a lot of research, an internship looked perfect – I’d quench my thirst for travel and do something worthwhile which would look great to employers back home.
It was a bit daunting touching down in Canada, not knowing anyone and with just a few ski holidays of experience, I was unsure if I had the skills to become a ski instructor. There were loads of people in the same boat as me and Winter Sports Company we so supportive. The next 3 weeks were the most fun I’ve ever had in ski lessons! Every day we worked hard, training with the most awesome level 4 instructors at Sun Peaks Resort. All the instructors really knew how to have fun, and they were so friendly, within minutes they put the entire group at ease and it felt like we were skiing with good friends – good friends who are the best skiers I’ve ever had the pleasure of following down a mountain.
At the end of the 3 weeks, every single intern was successful in passing the level 1 ski instructor course, and we celebrated hard, despite most of us starting work the very next day!
As part of the internship my job was guaranteed, and before Christmas I was officially a ski instructor, working full time for the Sun Peaks Sports School. I was grinning from ear to ear when I picked up my instructor jacket! From December to April I worked for the sports school, teaching tots, kids and adults – I was out on the mountain every day of the week.
The best part of being a ski instructor is defintely the early morning skiing, every day we got the chance to warm up and train with top-level instructors before the mountain opened to the public. That meant I got the best training in resort and fresh tracks every single day!
I’ve made some lifelong friends and have the greatest memories of waist-deep powder, epic crashes, laughing until my sides hurt and partying like I was on holiday every week. The most stand out part of my season was taking part in the New Year’s Eve torchlight parade, skiing down a mountain in pitch black with only a fire-lit torch to guide you is definitely something every snow addict should experience.
My skiing has improved beyond what I thought possible, and I can now teach all over the world. The fact I was earning money for the entire season means I’ve come away with more than I had at the beginning of the season, and unlike other jobs in resort, I got to spend every single day on my skis! Some people return from their gap year with hazy memories, a dodgy tattoo and maxed out credit card, but I came back as a qualified ski instructor with awesome experiences, a better CV and no debt! I’d recommend taking some time out and doing an internship to everyone.”
Jez joined an Winter Sports on an internship in Sun Peaks. Internships are the perfect option for gap years, career breaks or starting out in the industry. Interns receive full training, food & accommodation during training, staff accommodation once qualified and a guaranteed job offer with the snow school.
Internships are available to skiers and snowboarders alike. To be eligible you must be able to obtain the right to work in Canada, most interns apply for a working holiday visa. UK applicants aged 18 – 30 can apply for a working holiday visa, Winter Sports guide all interns through the visa process (which can take up to a year). What are you waiting for, applications are already open for 2018/19.