Tom remembers meeting someone from SnowSkool at a Ski Show “a long time ago”, aged just 13. He turned to his Dad and told him that he would be doing the instructor course in France when he was 18…
Fast-forward a few years and we caught up with Tom to find out if following-through with that decision really was the best idea he’s ever had (spoiler: it absolutely was!).
An amazing way to make the most of a gap year
“I’ve always done a lot of sport and have helped coach football and tennis at summer camps. I also always knew I wanted to do a gap year before heading to Manchester Uni. I thought the SnowSkool course was the perfect fit for me because I didn't want to just go travelling as a tourist on my gap year – I wanted to be doing an activity.”
Tom stayed in a 12-person chalet in Méribel, France, where the SnowSkool guests enjoyed having breakfast and dinner laid out for them, weekly linen changes and little luxuries like a cosy fireplace, sun terrace and heated boot racks. “The chalet situation is spot on. At first you think everyone’s quite different because people are from all over the world and everyone has different reasons for doing the course; but then you realise it's actually very simple: you’re all here to have a great time, ski every day and get qualified. This massively bonded us. I wasn’t sure if I would actually pursue a job teaching skiing but definitely wanted to improve. I got pretty fit as well, but I think it was slightly offset by beers!”
“Some of the best moments for me were probably in the final week, after our Level 2 exam. Everyone was on a high because it was an intense few days, but over 90% of us passed. Because it was late March, it was super sunny and we enjoyed bluebirds every day for a week and didn’t have to worry about lessons. My family actually came out and stayed in a chalet quite nearby that week, so it was great to celebrate with them too. Some of the après sessions at Ronnie’s, with the sun going down, I’ll never forget.”
Tom told us he spent the summer after his course enjoying festivals in the UK and Croatia, then got stuck into Uni at Manchester. When the winter season began to approach, he considered applying for instructor roles in Switzerland (helped out by his handy Irish passport) but eventually decided it was a ski holiday with mates that tempted him the most.
“Going back to the Three Valleys as a punter was quite weird, but I loved the feeling of knowing the resort really well and all the best places to go. I hadn’t noticed quite how much my skiing had improved until my mates started asking me for tips! That's as close as they come to a compliment ... !”
Living the chalet dream
Any more ‘best bits’ to add, about the SnowSkool course in The Three Valleys?
“There were a couple of other things that stood out for me. I’ve heard the BASI course is one of the toughest of the instructor qualifications, so passing the Level 2 was definitely a highlight. Living in the chalets was also up there – we had such a good group and it was wicked to have your dinners sorted for you. And finally, just Méribel as a place! Being able to ski the whole Three Valleys is sick, as is the town’s nightlife and après.”
Find out more about our ski instructor course in the Three Valleys, France here.
Find out more about our snowboard instructor course in the Three Valleys, France here.