How do you become a ski instructor from a scorching-hot country in the Middle East, like Israel?
Gilad Angel, 24, is one of an increasing number of our trainees from international regions. He's just finished the 13-week ski instructor course in Banff and is now working as a ski instructor in Lake Louise. He explains how he got there...
- Name - Gilad Angel
- Age - 24
- Nationality - I was born in Israel
- Course Completed - I completed the 13 week ski instructor course in Banff
- Previous occupation - My previous profession was an officer in the military.
Where did you ski growing up?
Growing up I learned to ski in Maine and Vermont at the age of 7, while my family was living in the U.S.
Is there much skiing in Israel? If so, how does it compare to the Alps!?
Nope. There is not very much skiing in Israel at all, just 1 small resort (Mt Hermon) that is open between 2-4 weeks a year. You really can't compare the skiing in Israel to skiing in the Alps. Not in terms of snow condition nor the variety of terrain available.
What made you decide to do a ski instructor course?
In complete honesty, my initial reason for booking the instructor course was simply to spend a season in the snow. It was an option that made skiing every single day possible - and I could even get a qualification out of it. How could I go wrong?
What made you pick SnowSkool?
I knew almost nothing about the industry before coming out to train. SnowSkool was one of the gap programs that caught my eye for having a slightly longer course period for about the same price. That and the great reviews I'd read.
Which course did you pick and why?
I picked the 13 week ski instructor course in Banff, after changing from my initial choice in Big White. This was largely influenced by Chris, a SnowSkool manager I talked to while deliberating. Chris was hugely helpful and gave me his honest opinion based on my age and the experience I was looking for. And boy am I happy I chose Banff!
What qualifications did you gain during your course?
I completed my CSIA Level 1 & 2 certification.
Favourite part of your season with SnowSkool?
I don't know if there is a single favourite memory, there are too many to choose from. Probably the connections I made within the industry - and the feeling of elation when i passed my level 2 and realized how far my skiing had progressed during a single season. The friendships and people I met too.
What have you been up to since you finished your instructor course?
Since my course I first took an break from skiing - and saved up working abroad in Australia. I managed to fit in a month of travelling through New Zealand before returning to Canada the following winter, this time with a working visa to work at Lake Louise as a ski instructor.
How did you find getting your first job as an instructor?
Getting my first job as an instructor wasn't easy. The hardest part was getting initial experience in order to get into the industry. And while there were lots of small hills hiring, I wanted to kick my career out at a big resort. Luckily I had good references from the previous season with SnowSkool and got offered a few jobs, so I could take my pick.
There's a huge answer to that short question. I plan on taking my CSIA Level 3 exam next year, once I have some more experience under my belt. After that there are endless options, one of the most intriguing to me is a job as a ski guide in the back-country. It's a long road and there is much to achieve before I get there but that's the current goal.
Advice to those contemplating an instructor course in the future?
If you have the passion for snow, and the money to back it, you can't go wrong. I don't think i have a single regret from my season with SnowSkool, it honestly was an unforgettable experience I will probably look back on for the rest of my life. There is absolutely no future commitment, this course really is what you make of it while you're there. Some of my friends had an amazing time, but for them it was only a gap year - the opportunity to have an amazing season and improve their skiing before burrowing into their studies. For others like me, it took my love and passion for snow sports and turned it into the reality I am living today.
Life has a funny way of working out. I never dreamed I'd be a ski instructor... but believe me, I'm not complaining!
If you fancy doing the same as Gilad then you can take a look at our 13-week ski instructor course in Banff, for 2018/19. Or, if you're a snowboarder - then here's our snowboard instructor course in Banff.