Living The Life – My Snoworks Gap Ski Experience
By Dearden Jameson, Snoworks Gap student and now ski instructor in the world famous Austrian ski resort of Lech.
My name is DJ, Im 35 years old and have 6 years ski experience. Whilst sitting in front of a computer in Amsterdam where I was living in September 2010, the winter was creeping up and I had to make a decision whether to stay in wet Holland or head to the snow capped Alps. I had previously worked seasons in Chalets and doing transfers to and from Airports but the pay wasn’t great and the work was odd hours. This time I wanted a highly respectable job which paid well and was decent hours. It had to be ski instructing. I rang a few friends I had met over the seasons and they suggested doing a GAP course. It seemed the 3 most important things were cost of the course, area but more importantly the staff offering the training. I tapped away on my computer and came across Snoworks which very quickly got the thumbs up! The cost was decent, the course was on the Tignes Glacier from October and the Basi assessments in Zermatt and Courchevel. The Trainers were Phil Smith, a Legend in the industry, Emma Carrick-Anderson, an ex-Olympic Skier, Lee Townend, who holds the International Ski Teaching Diplome, Mike Barker, ex-National team coach and Annabel Seel who started her career on the Snoworks Gap course and now runs her own ski school! I called the office, was given Lee’s number, had a great chat with him and with just a month to go was booked onto the course. Time to get fit!
The month passed and I was greeted at Geneva airport by Phil Smiths beaming smile! Myself and the other Gap students of varying ages all jumped in the Minibus and started the drive up through the beautiful mountains to TIgnes where we were met by the Mark Warner staff who would be looking after us for the 5 weeks. My room had the most amazing view over the Lake and the Grand Motte Glacier. The Hotel was excellent, the rooms were made everyday, we had afternoon tea and cakes, dinner was a 3 course with wine-luxury!
I wont go into how amazing the training was as you can read Jo Jo Harpers great blog. I thought Id mention what sets this GAP course aside from the others-it’s the small things! Every morning the 12 of us would be split into 2 groups depending on what we needed to work on and we get real personal training each and every day. Being Dyslexic I thought the study would be very difficult but Lee was open to help me and found ways to make it easier. Having a sports Centre next door allowed us to train off the slopes too and we had a day off each week so we could go for walks, chill out and I found a little time to do some climbing.
Another massive plus for Snoworks is the range of other courses they run alongside the GAP course so there are loads of other people training for various things or just out to improve their skiing-always loads of people to chat to.
The most exciting time on the course for me were then after 3 weeks of training on the Tignes glacier we took the most stunning drive to Zermatt for our first exam and a feeling of being somewhere different really excited the whole team. The exam was a week of assessments where the BASI trainer examens you but also helps you to continue your development. In the evenings we could chat to others on various Basi assessments and discuss life as a ski instructor with those further along in the system.
Onto my last and best subject, after successfully passing my exams in December 2010 I was able to email loads of different ski schools. I ended up landing a fabulous job in a little resort called Lech in St Anton where I spent the rest of the season teaching all ages. I found teaching beginners the most rewarding. I also managed to save some good money.
I really couldn’t recommend Snoworks highly enough! It’s a fabulous course, with fabulous people and will open up some great opportunities for you.
Snoworks Gap Courses run every autumn from October to December in Tignes. Students have the opportunity to qualify with BASI Ski Instructor Level 1 & 2 before the start of the winter season then source work as a ski instructor for the winter.
BASI: British Association Of Snowsport Instructors