Why do a GAP course now?

Written by Peak Leaders Instructors courses 

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THE EXAMS ARE FINISHING – SO WHAT NEXT?

With the end of A-Level exams a lot of people have started thinking about gap courses – and we think that now, perhaps more than ever, it’s a great time to do a gap course in the mountains.

OK, at Peak Leaders, we always think it’ a good time to be in the mountains, but we’ve decided to write down a few reasons here…

After all, Peak Leaders has been running courses for nearly 20 years so we’ve seen a lot of changes, that’s why we’ve continued to develop, improve and adapt our courses to make sure they always deliver what trainees really want – whether it’s in Bariloche in Argentina, Saas Fee or Verbier in Switzerland, or in the Canadian Rockies on our Banff course.

That’s why we thought that with the Northern Hemisphere ski season closing and summer on its way, we’d turn our thoughts to next winter – which is now if you’re thinking about a trip to Argentina…

So if you have the urge to travel the world and embark on new and exciting adventures, then this point could be the perfect post for you

IS IT JUST A GAP COURSE?

Well not any more.

Of course, a lot of people use our Ski Instructor Training Courses as a gap year, but not everyone is looking for a break either before or after university.

Over the years more and more people have chosen Peak Leaders courses to start a new career, take a break from an old career, and simply spend a winter in the mountains having an amazing time. Some people want to improve their technical skiing, some people want the qualification to be able to work, and many simply love the challenge of skiing and being coached in a fun, focussed environment.

So the diversity of the groups means that you always get an amazing cross section of people, and we’ve certainly heard some fascinating stories song the way.

After her course in Saas Fee in 2015 we asked former trainee Abi O’Donnell from South Africa what the best part of being an instructor is. Here’s what she had to say:

abi-quote-peak-leaders-gap-courses“One of the best parts about being an instructor is definitely the people you meet along the way, and the friends and cultures you become familiar with. The ability to share my passion with others and pass that gift onto them is an incredible feeling. It’s so rewarding to watch people achieve their goals and progress, all because you taught them how to.”

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QUALIFICATIONS THAT GET YOU NOTICED

On our courses you will walk away with a lot more than just the amazing memories.

Becoming a ski or snowboard instructor will develop your leadership qualities, which will require you to be innovative and original, while smashing your problem solving skills and perfecting your people skills.

As part of your training you also shadow real-life ski lessons and learn to teach your own sessions too, developing the communication skills and group management skills that ski teaching requires – and are transferable into all sorts of different industries.

So, for example, when you’re handing your CV to a potential new boss or filling out your UCAS form, they should be impressed that you’ve spent a few months taking a professional qualification in a foreign country like Argentina.

And when they compare your application with other people going for the same place, your experience and life skills will stand out – and applications are all about standing our from the crowd by proving you have that something extra.

A BASI or CASI course does precisely that.

And your application will seem even more impressive when your new boss reads that BASI have now partnered with the University of Edinburgh, so your BASI Instructor Qualifications gives you SCQF credits towards University and further studies.

(The season that you spent working at a ski school in Hokkaido, Japan will get their attention too. Plus all the life experience you gained when you travelled New Zealand on your earnings from your awesome job!)

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WHAT ABOUT THE SNOW?

Good question. It’s no secret there have been a few poor winters for snow in Europe, but before them we had several amazing winters skiing powder before the lifts were even due to open. When you spend as much time watching the skies as we’ve done in the last 20 years, you learn that you can’t predict the weather, but snow always comes if you wait long enough, and when you’ve got all winter that’s not a problem…

Meanwhile the locals and gauchos in Bariloche have been telling us it’s going to be a great season for snow this year down in Argentina, we don’t know how they know but we like the sound of it – especially if it moves across to us in the Nothern Hemisphere for our winter.

But despite a late start, we still saw some of the best powder days in Verbier we can remember last season. Jake Gough is a BASI Level 4 instructor and Peak Leaders coach, and he said he and fellow coach Will skied the best powder he’s seen outside of Alaska last winter. When it was good it was amazing

So fingers crossed for an epic seasons of snow and keep dreaming of those awesome powder days like this day from 2017 in Verbier:

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MORE COMPETITION MEANS EVEN BETTER OPTIONS:

Today there’s a lot of competition in the Gap market, which is no bad thing – especially for you guys taking a course.

Whatever industry you are in, competition fundamentally drives up the quality of products. In ski instructor training it’s true to say we’ve never known so many courses and so many choices out there. It’s a tough decision.

But here at Peak Leaders we are all about innovation and making changes, because we know that a competitive market place simply means we need to get even better.

In fact we’ve made some big improvements at Peak Leaders this year.

SO WHAT’S NEW AT PEAK LEADERS?

Firstly we’ve developed our courses by increasing our training hours on the mountain, so you get more hours skiing and training to give you the best possible chance in your exams.

We’re also increasing our commitment to the quality of your training, and we now use some of the very best coaches available, including using examiners in every resort – so that means the you’ll get coaching from the guys who actually pass people in the exams that you’re training for.

Who better to show you what to expect in the exam and how to pass it?

We’ve always had a great track record of getting results in the exams, so we’re getting the best trainers out there to help that reputation to get even better.

We’ve also got a reputation for making sure everyone has the best possible experience on every course we run. And that is something we are committed to make certain of in every single Peak Leaders resort.

It’s also an exciting time at Peak Leaders HQ – we’ve got a new management team this year. After years of training instructors and running courses all over the world, Guy and Emma are now leading the team.

They’re both ski instructors based in Verbier where Emma has been the lead trainer for Peak Leaders for ten years. They also run Element Ski School, and that means Peak Leaders is now run as part of a working ski school that’s an official BASI Partner. In fact Emma is an examiner for BASI too.

The new team is already making a difference to our courses, and we’ve been reviewing every aspect of every course to see how we can make it better.

GETTING A JOB JUST GOT A BIT EASIER…

The new team also means Peak Leaders has even more expertise and knowledge of the industry giving. So you get the best possible help and support when you training and also when you’re applying for instructor positions, as well as if you’re planning on training up through the BASI system.

We’ve been strengthening our relationships with ski schools all over the world, and created some official partnerships with companies such as Les Elfes in Switzerland. That means taking a Peak Leaders course outs you in a great position to start working (and earning) as soon as possible.

In recent years we’ve used our knowledge and industry contacts to make sure that everyone who wanted to work has gone on to do a season teaching in Europe, Japan or Canada. For trainees planning on building a new career and a new life in the mountains, Peak Leaders courses have also provided the foundation for that next step.

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#startyourjourney

So if you’re pondering about doing a GAP year, then hopefully this will be food for thought and perhaps help make up your mind. Naturally if you have any questions we’re always on hand to answer them – so just get in touch at any time.

But if you’re finishing A Levels (or any other exams) you’ll have been working really hard for quite a while, so maybe now it’s time to take a break – after all you’ve got the opportunity to travel, explore the world and prepare for a productive and exciting future.

The only question is “Where next?”…

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