Monday, 5 July 2010

Gap course summer camp

I’m in Saas-Fee, Switzerland on the Warren Smith Ski Academy’s summer 9-week GAP ski instructor course.

Saas Fee in Summer

I’m here because I realised that I don’t really like what I do for a living very much and at 33-years old, there is a chance to change it so I can be on snow for a living.

The GAP course coaches you to the British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI) levels 1 and 2. Level 2 is more or less the base level that you need to have in order to instruct in various countries in Europe and it’s this qualification that I’m here to get.

So I’ve left everything on hold at home and believe me, it was a real wrench leaving behind the missus and the dog. They will both be out to visit at various points but the ‘am I doing the right thing?’ questions soon faded while lounging on the train watching the Swiss lakes and countryside roll by, with the prospect of weeks of intensive skiing to come.

The course itself is based on the Feegletscher glacier that you can ski on all summer and towers above Saas-Fee village. There are around 20kms of pistes to at a height of 3500m with a small network of 3 lifts, an extensive snowpark and a lot of international race teams also do their summer training on the glacier.

I chose the Warren Smith Course because I was impressed by the technical focus of the program and also on the basis of a phone conversation with Warren Smith himself. He seemed pleased that I was going for a full-on career change rather than just gapping. By all accounts he interviews personally everyone that is attending the course, I guess to ensure that the students are serious about it and not just there to party for 9-weeks (!).

I’m the first person from the course here in the resort as I thought I would be clever and get two-days worth of practice in before the course started on Sunday but the glacier doesn’t open until Saturday so I’ve been poking about Saas for a day or two, dodging the electric cars that are the only transport allowed in the village.

The course starts on Saturday and I’ll be updated this blog regularly. New life starts here...

published here

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