Having decided I wanted a gap year before university I decided I wanted to become a ski instructor and the best company to choose was SnoworksGAP. In October I began the season of my life by going on the 8 weeks Instructors course. I travelled to Tignes a little nervous, as it was the first time I have been away from home for such a long time. Lee our trainer quickly got us working together and we established a fantastic team spirit that lasted until our last day in December. Once we got started I never looked back.
The training took place in Tignes in France. Tignes is a great place to train; its glacier the Grande Motte was a fantastic place to train offering skiing all year around. It felt really weird skiing in October and looking across the valley and seeing green grass and brown rocks! Although last season the snow wasn't the best, we were still able to practise our piste performance, central theme and teaching. People complain that if you don't have the facilities you can't perform to your best but Tignes certainly was not that. It was also a bonus watching professionals such as Alex Pinturault training there; it was amazing watching how quickly they skied.
Away from the mountain Tignes offered loads of bars and restaurants as well as a state of the art sports centre which we used for fitness and playing basketball.
The staff were brilliant and the main man Lee trained us. He was extremely driven guy as well as a great laugh. Lee really brought the best out of us and it was fantastic to be trained by him. The only criticism I can have of him is that he supports the worst football team, Man United! As well as Lee I would like to mention Phil, Nick, Euan, Mike, JT, the Dave’s they really helped us with our skiing and they were great fun to be with. I really enjoyed training and doing the BASI 1 exam with Emma Carrick Anderson. It's not every day you can say you have skied with a four time Olympian. All those guys helped us to be ready for the exams
Having spent some time skiing with instructors who qualified under the Canadian (CSIA) and American (PSIA) systems, I have to say that BASI was the superior qualification. This is because it prepares the candidates both mentally and physically; it is a more rigorous exam and is highly respected worldwide. After a few weeks I passed my BASI level 1 but unfortunately failed part of my BASI level 2 in December. However, I straight away rebooked for the level 2 resist in Hintertux (Austria) in April 2015. Lee was a fantastic helper throughout offering me advice and training. I also trained really hard with the other instructors that I worked with and this meant I was able to pass my Level 2 resist. I was honestly so happy and relieved! Job done.
So after the instructor course I managed to get a job working at the Hermitage Club, Vermont in the USA with the help of Lee. This was no ordinary resort it was a private mountain, which was a really cool thing. The biggest benefit about the private mountain was the fact that your tracks could be the only ones down the slope all day and there were no lift queues!! The snow was great, it was the best they had in over 10 years, and so we enjoyed a lot of awesome powder skiing. If anyone is interested about working In the USA you should definitely go with SnoworksGAP and get your visa before you go out to Tignes.
I highly recommend Snoworks Gap and I'm sure I will be returning sometime in the future!
I joined the Snoworks Gap course for the first two weeks in order to complete my BASI level 1 exam. I chose Snoworks over the many other companies offering ski instructor courses after a lot of research due to its pre season timing and because of the flexible nature of the course. Lee was more than accommodating and was able to create a package that suited my availability and budget.
I have trained with other companies that run instructor courses and one of the many things that has stood out to me and sets Snoworks apart from other instructors courses is that the company is run by the same people that are training you. This is reflected in the noticeable difference in how invested Lee and the Snoworks team are in your development as a skier and an instructor.
The first week where we worked on our own personal performance and technique was taken by Lee Townend who could not be more involved and dedicated to your success. His support and advice continues even after the course is over and he has helped me massively on my path to continuing through the BASI system. Emma Carrick Anderson took our second week for our BASI level 1 exam. Not only was it an amazing opportunity to be trained by a four time Olympian but she is one of the most encouraging and passionate people you will ever meet!
The location of the course was perfect. Tignes is an amazing resort and we made the most of how much there was to do with our fitness sessions, use of the sports centre and, of course, socialising in the evenings. The Aguille Percee hotel was beyond my expectations and the great food and service was a real treat to come back to after a days training. I was apprehensive of the snow conditions as it was so early in the season and I had never done glacier skiing before. However I was very pleasantly surprised, the sun shone almost every day and the snow was great - I couldn't believe I could ski fresh powder in October!
Although I only joined the course for two short weeks I couldn’t have been happier with my choice to train with Snoworks Gap and would highly recommend it to anyone! Anna. x
So my journey with SnoworksGAP started on a Snoworks “All Terrain” course with 4-times Olympian Emma Carrick-Anderson, I was having a chat on a chairlift about how my job sucked. She said I should do the SnoworksGAP course and head out to Japan "to teach and ski pow".
12 months later here I am, coming to the end of nearly 6 months of a mega first season.
It started with sending Lee an email saying I was keen to join him in the autumn, and I wanted to go to Japan. He replied very promptly giving me an outline of the course and the best way to get a visa (I would highly recommend getting a working holiday visa to Japan sorted before heading to Tignes).
After getting this sorted I arrived in Tignes and started training, the days where long and tiring but very very rewarding! After a week we all took our BASI level 1 assessment, and all passed! Happy days! After a bit of a party, the real work started!
Short turns, long turns, moguls, variables, racing, rotary separation, lateral separation. After a couple of weeks we all knew what these meant, and what we needed to do.
After what seemed like no time at all we where on the way to Courchevel for the two weeks of BASI level 2 assessment.
I personally felt like we where incredibly well prepared for the exam compared to some of the others there. The training from Lee and all the other Snoworks instructors Nick, Mikey B, Emma, Phil, Euan, J.T, & Rupert put us in the best possible place to succeed.
After that we all made our separate ways, 3 to Japan, 3 to the U.S.A and various others elsewhere.
Speaking on behalf of the Japan crew, we have had the best time!
Skiing pow until 9pm, working full time for an awesome new ski school, having great parties and General living the life!!!!
Essentially if you want to work as a ski instructor, train with Snoworks then work in Japan!!!
Having decided I wanted to do a ski instructor course, next questions became which course, where and when. The internet is littered with instructor courses, all which seemed to be in the same ballpark price-wise. As someone unfamiliar with the Snowsports industry, deciding which course to go on, seemed tantamount to throwing a dart at a board blindfolded! I spoke to three different people all of whom are involved in Snowsports and their recommendations were unanimous – go with Snoworks. Why? Their BASI 1 & 2 GAP course is based in Tignes & Courchevel allowing you to ski a huge variety of terrain, in two of the major resorts in the French Alps (Espace Killy & Les 3 Valleys). Secondly, its one of the only courses which enables you to qualify pre-Christmas and thus teach the remainder of the winter. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly the quality of the Snoworks instructors is second to none with all their staff being BASI level 4 Trainers.
The course is spearheaded by Lee Townend who delivers the lion’s share of the teaching. Lee is not only a great laugh, but he is also quite possibly one of the most professional, driven and focused people you will ever come across in your life. Whether he was acting as our coach, mentor or instructor he always gave 110%. Like all great instructors he seamlessly tailored his teaching style and delivery to suit the needs of the individual. And one could not help but be inspired by his passion and enthusiasm for the sport. The same can be said of the rest of the Snoworks team (Phil, Emma, Mike, Nick & Rupert) all of whom are immensely experienced and have different approaches and strategies for improving your skiing.
The course itself is incredibly well structured and enjoyable at the same time. On the
snow the focus is on personal performance, acquiring teaching skills and teaching experience. Off the snow there are 2 fitness sessions a week, video analysis, lectures centered around sports psychology and ski technique, all with the aim of helping us reach our peak performance. Evenings were spent meeting guests on other Snoworks courses and exploring Tignes’ plethora of bars & nightclubs. Whilst weekends were free to freeski!
The course was both mentally & physically challenging and with hindsight, I can honestly say it was probably two of the best months of my life. I would strongly recommend it to anyone wishing to improve their skiing or become a ski instructor. Those who fall into the later camp will find Snoworks provides the perfect platform for obtaining an instructor job for the rest of the winter. I was unable to pass the technical element of the BASI 2 exam. However, I was fortunate enough to find a job instructing at a private mountain in Vermont in the US, and this was largely due to Lee’s continued advice, guidance and support post course. Thereby further demonstrating his relentless commitment to his trainees.
I will be returning as a Snoworks customer next winter to train prior to re-sitting my level 2. Thanks again Lee for everything, you’re a legend!
Lee and Ru
I wanted to thank you for the excellent pre-season ISIA training in Tignes. The training standard was exceptionally high, which I guess is why you are all current BASI trainers! The groups were small enough that plenty of feedback was given and the off snow activities we great too. Having not done circuit training for a number of decades my body won’t quickly forget Emma’s circuit session!
Having been on the Level 2 plateau for a number of years this training was exactly what I needed to move my skiing forward. Thanks again and no doubt I’ll see you soon!
Snoworks is the real deal when it comes to gap year ski courses. Exceptional training with the one and only Lee Townend before being fully supported and aided in finding a job instructing. The opportunities to instruct are far and wide, with 11 'gappies' from the year of '13 course going on to teach in Japan!
The 8-weeks in Tignes and Courchevel with Snoworks saw friends being made, skiing improve, and Lee getting up close and personal with my feet! Gates are set, races are had, training is complete and fulfilling.
On a serious note, the Snoworks instructors are all fantastic. Whether it's Lee, Rupert, Dave or Mike, they all give everything to help you improve while still making it fun. I did some of the best skiing of my life in the 8 weeks and that's down to the coaches and their enthusiasm for the sport. Through drills, fitness and video feedback, everyone's skiing drastically improved.
Long story short it was a fantastic 8 weeks and I've got some great stories to go with my BASI Level 2. Just make sure you're not too loud when you come back to the hotel after a night out: the instructors need their beauty sleep!
I just wanted to write and thank you for an outstanding week in Tignes. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and learned so much from your enthusiastic and exuberant instruction â€“ you helped me break through a plateau that I have been stuck at for a while, for which I am truly grateful!
I just wanted to email to say thanks everything. I loved doing the GAP course and have had a great season in Japan with Maya, the Toms and Jonny. Tom H and I, and hopefully Jonny and Tom A too, are going to work in Australia for their winter season with a load of people we met in Myoko. Really looking forward to it! And I'm hoping to make my way through the BASI system, I think I've caught the bug!
In October 2011, I left my country bumpkin self behind in Devon for 8 weeks, to wonder off to Tignes to play on some snow. Now I can say that it was one of the best things I have ever done. Maybe even the best thing.
Because the course was designed for a small group of people, we had much more focus on our individual skiing, than we would have had with one of the larger companies. So this was perfect for me with my track record in homesickness!
Within the first week, we all felt like we were just skiing around getting better as a bunch of friends, rather than a random group of people on a course, and because of this, we became each otherâ€™s best critics.
Lee, Mike, Emma, Phil and Nick, were all really good at getting us to work out what was wrong/what we needed to improve on in our skiing on our own, which in turn would help us understand how to improve someone elseâ€™s skiing when we were teaching ourselves. The evening video sessions really helped, and created a lot of laughs too.
I can't believe we were only there for 8 weeks, we did so much skiing, hiking (in freezing rain, but it was fun!), basketball, running, circuits, more skiing, bumps, race training, sleeping, traveling, BASI-ing, and of course that odd bit of teaching.
I can't thank the whole Snoworks team, the other gappies, and everyone else involved in our course enough for making the time I had so amazing and so much fun! I wouldn't change it for anything!
I haven't taught much since passing BASI 2 in December, but hope to do a full season this coming winter.
Thank you so much everyone! (And mummy and daddy Hugo)! I'll be back. :)
Moving from Tignes (Snowork's base) to Mayrhofen (where I'd been offered a job), was almost comparable to that daunting feeling at the top of a chairlift, the moment you realise the only run down is an icy black - which would be fine had you not bought a group of beginners with you... (Yes, I've made that mistake a few times). Leaving what had become such a fun and close knit group in France, to start instructing in Austria, where I neither spoke the language nor knew anyone else there, was quite a challenge. Were you to ask whether I'd do it again tomorrow, I'd easily say Yes. I have no regrets.
Mayrhofen not only gave me the chance to put my instructing skills to the test, it also played host to some unforgettable nights out. Teaching children as young as 4 to adults as old as 69, it meant every lesson had some degree of variability and amusement. You quickly realise people learn in very different ways and it's your job and responsibility to adapt to that.
The Snoworks course and team couldn't have given me a better foundation of instructing skills. More importantly, they showed me a love and appreciation of skiing I'd never had before; the ability to ski the same slope 100 times and remain keen to take the button up again.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone and everyone, especially if you're serious about working through the season.
If you're looking for the best, most qualified and personal instructor course, you're looking for SNOWORKS. FACT.
You won't find teaching better than Snoworks. Snoworks are committed to teaching you to become a better all-round skier, not just teaching you the skills to pass the test. Lee (the course director) manages that delicate balance of pushing you out of your comfort zone whilst at the same time acknowledging your limits, and he's always on hand for one-on-one advice if the need ever arises. He's quite simply the best instructor I've ever had. The rest of the Snoworks staff are all fantastic too.
Firstly a big thank you to all the Snoworks trainers and coaches, they are all fantastic and provide the highest level of training. As well as being awesome at teaching they are really friendly and easy to get along with and happy to sort out any problems you may have.
For me the flexibility of the course was a big plus as I had to miss the first 2 weeks due to work commitments, however this didnâ€™t stop me from getting my BASI 2, or from getting along with the rest of the group. The other members were easy to get along with and everyone supported each other as we all had strong and weak points.
After the BASI 1 we had 2 weeks to prepare for the BASI 2, and we had a fair amount of choice in what we could do. Our time was split between shadowing the Snoworks instructors and improving our own skiing. For me I spent those 2 weeks training slalom for the Test Technique which defiantly helped when I went on to take the test.
Finally Iâ€™d like to say that although the conditions were far from ideal (massive lack of snow) the Snoworks guys did a fantastic job in delivering a top class course and making sure that we had the knowledge and skills to pass the BASI 2 exam.
DJ (me) 35 years young and 6 years skiing experience and sitting in front of a computer in Amsterdam were I was living at the time October 2010,slowly creeping up was the winter season and I had to make a decision, whether to stay here in wet Holland or head for the white snow filled Alps. I had worked on seasons before looking after Chalets and collecting people from the Airport etc, but the pay wasn't great and you work odd hours, this time I really wanted to get a highly respectable job that was from 9am - 3pm and paid well, it had to be a Ski Instructor.
So I rang round a few friends I had met along the way from Ski Seasons and they told about Gap courses most of them being instructors themselves, they told the three important things to a Gap course were, cost, area and most importantly the people training to become an instructor. So I started tapping away and found Snoworks, so I rang my friends back and and very quickly gave the thumbs up.
1. The cost was cheaper than any others 2. Skiing in October on the Tinges Glacier as well as Zermatt and Courchevel for training, and thirdly the trainers (teachers) Phil Smith a legend in the industry, Emma Carrick Anderson (Olympic skier) Lee Technical Townsend (Highest level of instructors) Mike Barker (National GB ski coach) and Annabel Steel who started off on the same GAP course and now run her own ski school!
So that was it, rang up the Snoworks office they gave Lee's number whom I had a great chat with and within a week I had booked the courses which was about a month away, I started getting fit to be ready.
The month passed and I was greeted at the Geneva airport buy a beaming smile of Phil (co owner) with a Snoworks billboard, I when met all my other Gap students of all ages and jumped in a mini bus the journey started, the wind up through the beautiful mountains to Tinges were we where meet by the Mark Warner trainees who were going to be looking after us for 5 weeks. After saying hi I was shown my room which had the most amazing view of the Alps, now the thing is that we were staying in a 4* hotel out of season which meant we had the 4* treatment, rooms made up each day, full breakfast and a three courses meal with wine in the evening. After a great meal and long day I went to bed.
Now this might seem a bit of a jump but there no point mentioning about the training in detail because you can read JoJo Harpers great blog. So I thought I would mention what I think makes this Gap course so different from rest and that's the small things, we had 12 people on the course and each morning we got spilt into 2 groups which meant I could get some real personal training from all day. Being Dyslexic I thought i would find the evening studying difficult but Lee was open for helping and finding other ways to study. Having a sports centre next door meant I could find time for myself to relax with exercise, we also had a day off each week I so went for walks, chilled out and I little rock climbing.........................
Another great plus is that Snoworks supply a range of other courses during the Gap course so there are different people around to chat to and get to know, because it is run like a family business you treated as a passion.
The most exciting time on the course for me were then after 3 weeks of training on the Tinges glacier we took the most stunning drive to Zermatt for our first exam and feeling of being somewhere different really excited the whole team. Now the exam was a weeklong in which the examiners (BASI) help train you to be at the right standard to hopefully pass at the end of the week, easy! In the evenings you are free to do as you wish which is a good time to talk to all different levels of people taking the BASI exams about life as a Ski instructor!
Which gets me on to my last and best subject, after successfully passing my exams in 2010 mid December I was able to E-mail loads of different ski schools around the world for work, I ended up landing a great job in Austria in a little resort called Lech were I spent the rest of the season up until end of April teaching all ages the beginner levels of skiing which is the most rewarding area to teach. I also managed to save some good money from working hard on everyone enjoying the mountains on skis. I highly recommend this course for any age and any background.
The Snoworks Gap course is an awesome learning experience. And they are 100 percent true to their name. The 14 of us that showed up on a warm October afternoon in France were greeted with heaps of snow - powder no less. And we immediately got down to business. Lee is a first rate manager, creative thinker, and overall compassionate dude. He made us work, sometimes up to 10-12 hour days filled with on-slope and dry-land training and study. But - and here is the true and cheesy part - even though Snoworks was a heck of a lot of work, in the end...it worked! We all improved significantly. It was almost magical to see it in your peers and feel it in your own skiing.)
In the meanwhile wanted to ask if you were teaching this summer in New Zealand. You had mentioned that you were looking at that. My nephew is finishing his first year at university and thought it would be a good thing to set him up on a few months of Lee time.
On another note I left my BASI handbook in NYC when I went home and was wondering if you had a pdf format of either that or another teaching manual to give me some inspirational reading in prep for the week.
Hope all is well and thanks again,
In October 2010 I commenced on what was to be the best 8 weeks of my life so far. Having skied 2 times a year since the age of three, my love and passion of the sport developed rapidly, and my dream one day become a fully qualified BASI instructor had started. To achieve this would require a lot of hard work and dedication but I am willing to go to any lengths. The Snoworks Gap course was for me the perfect way to start my journey. 8 weeks of all different aspects of training, from racing to off piste to bumps to basketball, was ideal. It meant that my skiing developed in all areas.
The day would start with a hearty breakfast at the L'aiguille percee Mark Warner hotel. We were very spoilt staying here, we shared rooms with one other person also on the course, we had an en suite bathroom and our rooms cleaned every day by the amazing staff, who by the end we became very close to. Our stay also included a full buffet breakfast, tea and lots of home made cake after a long days skiing and a 3 course evening meal. There was also a room with a pool table and a bar and big TV with English channels, perfect for watching the x factor or something equally as exciting, and if you aren't one for a bit of TV then there is always the internet that the hotel could also provide. After breakfast we all headed up the hill. There was a group of about ten of us, lead by our trainer Lee Townend, who Is a BASI examiner and obviously fully BASI qualified as well. For the first few weeks we were preparing for our level one exam to be held in Zermatt. We were incredibly fortunate to have Lee, as he is a BASI examiner and clearly one of the best trainers in the country. He prepared us very well for the exam as he knew what we would be examined on. We would train in the morning, usually a different subject each morning we would then all lunch together and head back out afterwards for more fun and learning! Emma Carrick Anderson (ex Olympian) and Mike Barker (ex head GB coach) were around as well race training more clients for their euro test. All of us had the opportunity to get into the gates, some people had never raced before and others had the chance to improve thanks to Emma and mikes enthusiastic and committed approach to making us better skiers. After a full days skiing the day isn't over. Back to the hotel for a short lecture from Lee and maybe some group work and 3 days a week we would do fitness, whether it's a run or basket ball there will always be something fun to do. Lee's role doesn't just involve teaching us how to ski, he is also our mentor. This means he will help with any personal issues or problems you may have. He went out of his way to help me and I am so grateful for that.
This course is very different from others as it enables us to teach for the season after successfully completing BASI 1 and 2. I did a lot of research before booking this course and I think I only found one other course that would allow me to qualify pre season. It was more expensive and I would have got a lot less for my money. Snoworks helped me get my job as an instructor, they have many contacts in the ski world, which proves very useful
To conclude I had an amazing time with Snoworks and I would and do recommend it to anyone who wants to pursue a career as a ski instructor or who wants to just improve their skiing. I am definitely going to continue my training with them and am eternally grateful for the opportunities that Snoworks have give me.
A massive thank you to Lee and all the team I had such a good time on the Snoworks Gap Course. The training was amazing and I was so surprised at how much everyoneâ€™s skiing improved in such a short period of time. I was really pleased to have completed the course before Christmas as along with the help from Snoworks staff it gives you a huge advantage in getting jobs.
It was a great experience and I wish I could do it again!
When starting the course I knew no one but because of the friendly atmosphere that the Snoworks course creates it soon changed and six months on I am still in good contact with many of them. For me what made the course were not only my own group of peers but also the instructors who were so motivated to get you to a far better standard from when you started. From all the different experiences I was able to get on and off the slope it was definitely a high light of my gap year.
I had the time of my life with Snoworks and would recommend it to everyone. The team who work there are so enthusiastic and always there to help. I met such amazing people who I stay in touch with and will never forget!
The Skiing itself is fantastic despite being so early in the season. We would have instruction all day, which was amazing and get all sorts of feedback on the slope and off. You even get to do race training with the legendary Emma Carrick Anderson. We also had fitness sessions, which were hugely beneficial in helping us reach our potential in Skiing.
The Accommodation we stayed in was fantastic. 3 course meals every night and spacious rooms with amazing views to wake up to every morning!
The best thing about doing the Snoworks course is that you get the opportunity to qualify before the season starts, which is amazing because you can then work the rest of the season with contacts Snoworks have.
Thanks again Snoworks and Iâ€™ll be back to do more training with you!
Everything about the Snoworks gap course was outstanding in quality. We benefited from a fantastic range of coaches; all encouraged us all to push ourselves to be constantly improving to a higher standard. Lee was totally dedicated to making the best skiers of us and more importantly encouraging a passion and enjoyment in the sport. Emma, Phil, Nick inspired us with very different teaching styles and techniques allowing us to learn from experience from the best examples. Fitness after skiing was tough but really added to giving the fullest experience and was great for team building. Our group was amazing, we had such good fun and it was very sad to break up the team at the end. I truly believe that Snoworks set us up with the best advantage we could have for sitting our BASI assessments and starting down the path of ski instructing. Having met lots of people who have gone through many other gap programmes, I do not think there is another option out there that matches the full rounded experience and quality of Snoworks.
Having decided I wanted a gap year before university I decided I wanted to become a ski instructor and the best company to choose was SnoworksGAP. In October I began the season of my life by going on the 8 weeks Instructors course. I travelled to Tignes a little nervous, as it was the first time ... George Smith BASI 1 & 2 course (Read More...)
I joined the Snoworks Gap course for the first two weeks in order to complete my BASI level 1 exam. I chose Snoworks over the many other companies offering ski instructor courses after a lot of research due to its pre season timing and because of the flexible nat... Anna Cooke 2014 BASI 1 & 2 course (Read More...)
So my journey with SnoworksGAP started on a Snoworks “All Terrain” course with 4-times Olympian Emma Carrick-Anderson, I was having a chat on a chairlift about how my job sucked. She said I should do the SnoworksGAP course and head out to Japan "to teach and ski pow".... JOE CUTLER 2014 BASI 1 & 2 COURSE (Read More...)