My friends think I am crazy, you may too but I am so happy that summer is over. I enjoy the summer I really do but I love the winter. Any one who has regularly jumped on a plane and jetted of to the mountains for 6 months at a time probably knows exactly how I feel.
I have so many highlights from my last 5 seasons and can not wait to make some more. If you are heading out to the mountains for your first season whether it is for a ski instructor course or to work in a chalet here is a glimpse at what you have to look forward too.
When I did my first season I was 18 and wide eyed I had no idea what to expect and arrived in the resort with all the gear and no idea.
I had decided to pack virtually everything I owned from really practical to Timberland boots all the way through to the not so practical loafer. A quick word of advice don’t take loafers to a ski resort, not only will you never wear them but if you do you are more likely to injure yourself slipping over than you ever are skiing. Not only was packing everything I owned a pain on the plane but when I came to unpacking I quickly realised that I had no where near enough room in my shared studio apartment.
Other than quickly noticing some major packing flaws the first thing I realised is how friendly everyone in ski resorts are. In your first day you will make more friends than the rest of the year combined. Everyone is there for the same reason because they love skiing. Age, boarder or skier, background and ability do not matter in the slightest. I quickly settled in and embraced the goggle marks.
For me being able to ski everyday was a dream come true. Even if the light was flat and it was chucking down with snow I would try and get out at this point I decided I wanted to work here all the time and started my ski instructor courses.
Starting my instructor courses led to me my one true love in skiing which is being off piste and after 5 years of doing seasons I now rarely find myself on the groomed runs. The 2012/2013 ski season led to some amazing adventures for me.
One of the most memorable was a 1700m climb to the top of the Tsanteleina. We started at 3 am and the climb to the summit took nearly 6 hours but it was worth every second. Not all off piste skiing involves ridiculously long walks though. Some of my most memorable days have been spent skiing terrain that is largely lift accessible.
The beauty of spending a whole season in a resort is you quickly get to learn all the secret powder stashes, gullies and entrances to some of the best off piste runs in the resort. You need to ensure that you have all the correct safety gear as well as a good knowledge of avalanche safety, risk assessment and rescue but as long as you do the fun you can have with walking very far at all is almost endless.
Of course none of this would be at all possible if it was not for the friends that I have had around me through out my time in the Alps. Every one there wants to see you improve, really strong skiers will take time out of their days to ski with you and help you get better. For me that is and always will be the best part about any ski season from ski instructor gap course to chalet work everyone just wants to have fun and help you get as good as you possibly can.