What career did you choose this winter?
SnoworksGAP student Maya Gordon did the BASI Level one and two GAP course and worked a winter season as a paid ski instructor in Japan! Read her career choice and views on training and becoming a ski instrucutor before Christmas.
Hi Maya, why did you choose a Ski instructor course as your GAP year as opposed to one of the many other opportunities on offer?
I always knew that I wanted to do a ski season, and ski instructing seemed like the best option; I would be able to earn money and improve my technique at the same time. Plus I always used to think my ski instructors were the coolest people when I was little and learning to ski.
Why did you choose to do a Ski instructor GAP course that was before Christmas, as opposed to during the winter season?
It meant that by Christmas, when the season really gets going, I had already passed my BASI 2 and so was able to get a job straight away. Doing a later course means you have less chance of getting a job that late into the season, and you would have to wait until the year after to do a full season of instructing.
How did you find Tignes, France as a resort for ski training that early in the season?
It was amazing! At first we could only ski on the glacier, but it was good to get to know a small part of the resort first since Tignes is so large. Each week saw us discovering a new part of Tignes as the snow came and more of the resort opened up. The last week was incredible because we could ski throughout Tignes and Val d'isere. I remember someone took a photo from outside their room each morning and you could see the area transform from a summer mountain to a huge ski resort.
How was Tignes for the nightlife?
You could get to about 5 different bars within a 5 minute walk from the hotel we were living in – you only had to cross a road to get to TC’s bar, and go through a door in our hotel to get to another. More and more places opened up as the weeks went on, and we all had a great time going out together as a group. We always had lots of stories to share on the chairlifts the next morning to keep us entertained.
How was the skiing and nightlife in Courchevel, France during your BASI level 2?
We were all really anxious to pass our level 2 since we had been working towards it for so long, so the skiing turned out to be pretty draining as we were all concentrating so hard! Most evenings we all relaxed in the chalet together because we were so tired, but both Friday evenings we went out – once in, Courchevel 1300, Le Praz and once in, Courchevel 1650, Moriond.
What did you do following your success at BASI Alpine level 1 & 2 instructor qualifications?
I was lucky enough to get a job instructing in Myoko Kogen, Japan at Myoko Snowsports International ski school for 3 months. A group of four of us applied during the Snoworks course, and after a phone interview we were all offered the job! I taught children's lessons the majority of the time which was perfect for me – I loved whizzing down red runs with the kids at the end of a week, and thinking that one week earlier they didn’t know how to put on a pair of skis.
What did you do after your winter season, and what are you up to now?
Bryony, Tom, Tom, Jonny and I (who were all on Snoworks) travelled around Japan together straight after the season ended, which was a great way to end our almost 6 months together. I stayed in Asia afterwards and went to join friends from school travelling in South East Asia. Now I’m working at a summer camp in America as a bunk and athletics counsellor for a group of crazy 14 year old girls. Thinking about it, the fitness training at Snoworks and my experience instructing children has helped me so much with leading activities at camp.
Will you use your BASI ski instructor qualifications again now that the course and your GAP year is over?
I hope so! It'll be hard to do a full season for a while because I'm going to university, but I'd like to try and get some part time instructing work in Europe during my university holidays. Tom and Bryony spent this summer working at a resort In Australia with instructors we met in Japan, and that's something I'd definitely be interested in.
Do you think you will go further into the ski instructor system, BASI level 3 and 4?
I haven't really thought that far ahead yet since training for level 3 is such a long process. For now my level 2 enables me to do all the instructing that I currently want to do. I would maybe consider training for level 3 in the future after university if I decide to pursue skiing as my full time job. Seeing the Snoworks level 3’s train made me realise that it is something I could do, when it had never even crossed my mind beforehand.
Can you list the 3 things that where the highlight of a GAP year training to become a ski instructor ?
1) Being able to ski for 2 months straight
2) Trying out all different types of skiing - bumps, shorts, longs, racing, powder
3) Meeting and living with a great group of people who all loved skiing as much as me
Do you think this type of courses are just for GAP year students, or would they be appealing to others?
I think the courses would definitely appeal to others – they are great for anyone wanting to get into the ski industry, or to take their skiing to a new level. The fact that the majority of people who do courses like this are mostly GAP year students means it is a lot of fun for people my age, but the guys in our course who weren't on gap years loved it just as much as we did.
What would you say to anyone considering a SnoworkGAP ski instructor training course?
Just go for it! I couldn't have asked for anything more from the course – Lee and the coaches made each day different and exciting, and we were all amazed at how much our skiing transformed each week. I worried before the course that I might get bored of skiing after 2 months, but couldn’t have been more wrong; I’d jump at the chance to be back on the glacier again.