Ski industry targets disappointed A level students

Many thousands of students are disappointed as they fail to get the grades they need to get to Uni. Twitter, Facebook and the internet have been alive with companies offering alternative courses in the mountains, however there are drawbacks.


For some it has been a disappopinting time as ‘A’ level results are out and they haven’t quite obtained the grades they wanted.

On Thursday at The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead, where one of our reporters was, two trainee instructors failed to get the grades they wanted.

“I needed to get a B, B and C but I got a B, B and D so I will try clearing but maybe I will just go and try to get a job in The Alps next winter,” said one of them to PlanetSKI.

Others are being tempted by the huge number of courses on offer; from cookery courses to ski instructors courses. All with the alluring prospect of a dream job in the mountains at the end.

Places at Uni are hard to come by as many students shun a Gap Year to beat the introduction of increased tuition fees next year.

It is one of the most competitive years in recent times as ‘A’ level results come out.

Indications are that a high number of people will be left without a place once the clearing system has allocated places.

It could be as many as 220,000 according to some predictions.

Last Thursday as results came out, many Gap Year companies were tweeting about taking a course in the mountains instead;

@MintSnowboard  – #ALevel results in? Book a #skiseason and train with us to become a snowboard instructor over an action packed winter season in #Morzine!

@YearOutGroupOrg – @lauren_Cameron Skiing is certainly an acceptable gap year plan especially if you train as an instructor bit.ly/p0Ebhm

@NONSTOPsnow – Does today marks the start of your Gap Year? A-Level results day deal on ski/snowboard instructor courses. Call 02077206500 (quote N114)

@alpinemojo – #A-Level result alternatives = Train to be a ski instructor with the #Alpinemojo team in Verbier bit.ly/dnIszP

@skinewgen – Not Going to Uni? – Join the Official BASI Ski Instructor Course in Courchevel skinewgen.com/instructor-cou… #notgoingtouni
13 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

@onlinedisclub  – A Few Notable Advantages Of Taking Ski Instructor Courses bit.ly/oEg6rD

And so on……..

One British company though is also urging students not to worry and perhaps take a ski or snowboard instructor’s course instead of going to University.

International Academy, IA, that is part of the TUI group is offering courses in the Canadian resorts of Lake Louise, Banff and Whistler where people can gain the Canadian Level 1 qualification.

It also offers a course that could lead to a qualification from the British Association of Snowsports Instructors (BASI) in Verbier, Val d’Isere, Tignes and Chatel in Europe.

For further details and prices see here.

The experience does not come cheap but it does provide both university and future employers with an extra qualification and a useful experience,

“We have seen an increase across the Gap market sector of students now looking for snappier Gap stints where they opt to gain relevant work experience whilst away from home,” says the Managing Director of International academy, Alan Bates.

However here at PlanetSKI we urge everyone who undertakes a snowsports instructor course to do so with their eyes wide open and with knowledge of the full facts.

Full-time employment for a snowsports instructor is very hard to come by and there is only guaranteed work during parts of the high season.

Some courses say they gaurantee employment but it is often only for one week; usually half-term when qualified instructors can not be found by ski school directors for neither love nor money.

An instructor is therefore perhaps doing them a favour, not the other way round.

Many basic instructor qualifications only allow teaching on artificial slopes or on the nursery slopes and if you want to live in a ski resort it does not come cheap.

Many instructors supplement their earnings with bar work, baby sitting, driving jobs or even knitting hats.

And, as we mentioned above, it is expensive. A 10-week Gap Course can cost over £8,000 if you want to get the BASI Level 2 qualification that allows you to teach on snow in parts of The Alps.

That said the 10-week instructor training course could be the experience of a lifetime. And being a ski or snowboard instructor is just as good as you may think.

In fact it is probably better.

Let's go!

Let’s go!












For some though the whole experience of a Gap Year, or Gap Yah, is well worth a little mickey taking – see this article in The Daily Telegraph.

And check out the video below. Cool

For the spirit of the mountains