James Allen, EA Ski Graduate
I grew up in Gilford just outside of London, aside from a couple (2) winter holidays with my family, my ski experience really didn’t match up to my perception of where a ski instructor should be. When my girlfriend suggested we applied for a winter internship in Canada I thought she was dreaming, but I couldn’t help but get excited about the dream myself. We researched a bit online before visiting gapwork.com and stumbling across EA Ski and Snowboard Training which claimed to provide a guaranteed job offer and only require minimal experience on skis.
Sceptical to say the least, I still filled in an application form and was pleasantly surprised when I found out my minimal time on skis was enough to at least get me into the training stage. I was also told if I was committed to my training, there is every likelihood I would pass my level one instructor exam. We decided Big White Resort was the best spot for us, so after waiting another agonising 3 months for winter to ‘arrive’, we packed up our gear and headed to Canada.
Arrival in Vancouver was nothing like I expected, for one thing there was no bloody snow! Alarmed, confused and anxious, were the thoughts that entered my head in the first few moments after touch down, however this all disappeared once we met Rich our program rep. We met with the rest of the interns and all headed downtown for a drink and to run through the plan for the coming days, I was reassured the snow would arrive and we would be into training next week as planned.
We had the opportunity to get to know everyone and moved into our accommodation at Big White, sure enough after about 4 days of luscious green mountain views the snow arrived and transformed the area, it snowed 54cm in 2 days and didn’t stop there!
Training was intense and it was clear I was below the standard of the rest of the skiers in my group so I was partnered up with Chris one of the trainers and given some special attention, which was invaluable! We learnt everything from how to take a first timer lesson, to how to effectively communicate in a lesson environment and how to work as part of the wider resort team. We were all exhausted every night but still managed to drum up the energy to explore our new local pubs and visit a few restaurants around town.
After each day of training I could really see the improvement in my own skiing ability I was passing the daily assessments, even though I was extremely nervous as my final exam loomed closer, I was also quietly confident I could pull it off. Sure enough we all passed, all the skiers in my training group successfully achieved level one and we are now qualified ski instructors.
My girlfriend and I are both working for Big White now and saving our money for stage #2 of our gap year adventure, we plan to stay here until May then head to New Zealand or Australia to work as instructors at a resort there. We are having the ultimate gap year and despite all my initial reservations I am so pleased we made the move. Uni will start next year and I know this year of travel, new mates and being out in the mountains will always be a stage of my life I will never forget.
Thanks EA for the chance to get qualified and start working in the mountains.