Ski Career? Career Change? Career Break Skiing!
Some of us have entered the ski career young and staying in the job from the beginning of our career. Others have had successful careers else where and then decided to make a career shift. Teachers and coaches from other fields find this shift probably easier than others, since the teaching/coaching part of their previous job is very present in the new role.
Our Caroline actually did this jump a few years ago and is now one of our trainers. As well, she has also a senior instructor position at Matterhorn Diamonds Ski School, our partner company for lessons to the general public.
Cazz, why a ski career?
– Have you seen the view from my office?
My name is Caroline, and I am a 26yr old from Plymouth. I studied BSc(Hons) Sports Coaching and Sports Education at the University of Gloucestershire, with the intention of studying a PCGE in Secondary PE after a couple of years of working within sport and education.
Give us a background on your life before your career change.
After graduating I took a year out, and in that time worked for a luxury family travel company called Powder Byrne managing their kids ski clubs in the winter and watersports clubs in the summer. My job was fab; I got to spend all day with kids teaching them new skills and got to live in some amazing places all around Europe. I went back to the UK after 18 months and got a job working in sports development for a school sports partnership, the old SSCo scheme which supported sport between schools and gave more opportunities outside of physical education. I believe sport has a place in schools just as much as PE and worked closely with 80 schools in my local area, running leagues, competitions up to regional level.
During my time at home I found the people around me always seemed to be just a little bit unhappy. Everyone complains now and again, but for a year I heard the same complaints and moans from my colleagues and from schools without ever seeing anyone actually do something to change their fortunes. A number of friends who I had been at university with were already considering leaving the profession for something else. Perhaps stagnant is a rude way to describe it but that’s how I felt and I didn’t want to join them. Not yet. Not to be bored of teaching in my twenties. What use would my education and training be of then – to go and retrain for another career?
A ski career maybe?
With an adventurous side egging me on coupled with my experiences working abroad doing something I truly loved I decided to take the plunge and train as a ski instructor. Now I learnt to ski at 18. Most instructors have skied since they could walk so I had to compete with a lifetime of experience with my fellow candidates at BASI’s ski exams. You can imagine everyone’s reactions when I said I had only been skiing 6 years at the time. A little bit of self belief and a willingness to work harder and practice more than others meant I passed my first two levels (all instructors must hold a Level 2 or above in Europe to teach on snow) and was lucky enough to land a teaching/training job with what I now consider to be one of the best ski schools anywhere. I have support for my technical skiing, my teaching abilities, learning another language (I’m actually attempting three!). I teach all levels and ages of clients in the beautiful resort of Zermatt in Switzerland. It was an enormous risk to take, leaving behind a career that was already mapped out with jobs already offered but I wanted to be happy. I wanted to wake up keen to go to work.
How is your ski career now?
That is exactly what I have now. I love my job, and I enjoy sharing it with other people. Opportunities to progress are available like any other job; I’m completing my Level 3 instructor this year and will be starting on my Level 4 immediately after. I write for a magazine and go on a weeks’ ski test every year. I’m the course co-ordinator and assistant coach for our new gap courses training other people to become instructors, with my background and theoretical knowledge helping everything I do be that much better than simply ‘surface level’ understanding. My brain is challenged and my mind is free. Yes I complain every now and then, but it’s different to what I remember from unhappy, unfulfilled teachers who have lost their way.
Now, I have the privilege of having a career in what other people do for a holiday once a year. Have you seen the view from my office?!
How to start a ski career?
After a number of years in the ski industry and after training a number of people like Caroline, we decided to organize our own ski instructor courses, for people interested in a career shift. This way we can provide a serious education pathway, with a starting point that makes life easier for the trainees (everything is included in the package) and at the same time provides an ideal start in the new ski career.
Ski Career – Our offer.
Our Autumn Course runs from October until the middle of November. 7 weeks of training, full days, 5 days a week. It included accommodation, breakfast and dinner 5 days a week, lift pass for the Matterhorn Glacier area, first aid course and the ski instructor exams: IASI L1 + L2.
The great advantage of this course is that it finished before the winter season starts! During your course we organize meetings and interviews with ski schools around Switzerland. If you are a VISA holder we can also organize interviews with ski schools in Canada!
Find out more about this course on the dedicated page.
The Winter Course runs from the very end of November until the start of February. 9 weeks of training, with 2 weeks break during Christmas and New Year. To enjoy the holidays with the family or shadow instructors during their work, gathering more knowledge before the end of the course. Again, everything is included! The course ends right before February Half Term, when many schools around Zermatt and other resorts are looking for new instructors.
Find out more here.