Course Diaries – Charlie in Meribel

Charlie in Meribel gives us the low-down on why she chose to give up the rat-race for the snowy Alps.

Only last year I was commuting almost every day into London, spending hours on packed trains, hot and stuffy tubes and pushing through crowds of the masses to get to and from a job sat at a desk, with little excitement and daily stress. I think the incident that broke the camel’s back and one that seems quite funny now, was that my access pass at work stopped working one day and ended up trapping me in a corridor. I was so annoyed that while I waited to be rescued (for over an hour) I started googling my escape from my job on my phone and I came across the New Generation website.

It was a really easy decision for me to choose to do the 10 week course with New Generation. Everyone was really friendly and helpful with me from the moment I sent the first enquiry email (“help I want to give up my job to do a ski instructor course, am I crazy?”) to when I arrived in the airport ready to get picked up and get started on the snow!

Meribel Instructor Training 2016

As a 27 year old I did worry that I might be a bit of an outsider on the course, after all the name “gap course” implies a gap year, however I couldn’t have been more wrong. There were people of all different ages and backgrounds and everyone had a different story for why they had signed up for the course. We all got along really well and when we were training together on the snow, it didn’t matter where you came from or how old you were, we all had the same goal – to pass our BASI Level 1 and 2!

The training on the course is really intense but the trainers really work hard to make it fun and enjoyable for all and everyday we were picking up the skills we needed for the assessment. It’s natural to be worried that you won’t be at the right skiing level to do a ski instructor course but everyone has to start somewhere and on average most of us only had 8-10 weeks skiing experience, some even less. Once someone takes the first tumble, you realise that falling over is just part of the training and you learn to laugh at it. It wouldn’t be a normal training session if someone wasn’t upside down in powder at some point during the day. Even during the assessment weeks you learn and improve so much but you do have to get used to pushing yourself and to have the mindset that you can always improve on something!

Meribel students First Aid course

Whilst the formal training is full on and you have to be able to work hard, there is also plenty of time to play hard too. There is time to do your own skiing practice and also time to go out and socialise with the rest of the group. Most people had friends and family come and visit during the 10 weeks and there’s definitely time to catch up and get some well earned skiing time with them too. When we aren’t training or socialising, there’s plenty of other things involved in the course as well. We were able to do a 2 day formal First Aid qualification and also take French lessons so you come back with plenty of other skills as well as skiing!

If what you really love is skiing though, there really isn’t anything better you could do than to sign up for the 10 week course with New Generation. Who wouldn’t want to spend 10 weeks skiing, making new friends and gaining some really valuable qualifications at the same time? I definitely have no regrets about swapping my daily commute on the London tube to a Alpine chairlift. #alifelessordinary

– Charlie Cook, Meribel BASI Level 1 & 2 course 2016