Verbier gap students with Gordon

Who Takes Ski Instructor Courses?

One of the most common questions we are asked before people book is “who else is on the course already?” or “what age/gender/nationality are they?”. 

For many people, fitting in or having peers of a similar background and age is really important when choosing a path in life. And for good reason – many psychological studies have shown that academic performance and engagement correlate with the perception of “fitting in”. In other words, if you feel like you belong within a group, you tend to do much better in the task at hand.

So it’s no wonder we’re often asked about who’s on our courses. And we’re more than happy to share that information with students – just ask!

The common perception of “gap” courses is that the students are all 18 years old, have affluent parents and making the most of an academic break before uni. But this is changing rapidly – these days, courses are much more diverse. Many students pay the entire fee themselves, or are changing career, or simply after some intense ski training. There’s no “standard” instructor course student anymore!

If we had to generalise however, we’d split them into roughly three categories. Take this with a massive pinch of salt – every course is different.

Villars gap students 2017/18 course

School Leavers

As mentioned above, in the past courses were often made up entirely of 18 and 19 year old school leavers, making the most of a gap year before heading to Uni or work. We’d estimate this is now down to about 50-60%. Taking a ski instructor course is a fantastic way to take a break mentally from the academics and enhance your CV before entering the workplace.

University Leavers

Similar to the above, many people leave University unsure of their next steps or needing a breather from having their heads in books. About 30% of our students have just left University and are looking for a new challenge! These students are usually around 21/22 years old.

Career Changers

In recent years we’ve seen a rise in career changers – people who are fed up of the rat race, or simply taking a sabbatical from their jobs for the year. They are usually in their late 20s, but we have 30+, 40+ and 50+ year olds joining us on occasion too. Life can be pretty intense sometimes, so it’s great they can come to the mountains and enjoy a few months away.

Verbier gap students hugging on the piste

Do They Get On?

Yes! We actually think having a spread of ages makes for a more balanced course. Everyone has different life experiences and backgrounds, but they all have the same passion for skiing. It’s amazing spending time with like-minded people who share your interests.

To make things even easier, we have a “Hobbies and Interests” form that all students fill out before they join us. We ask how often they’re planning to go out, how tidy they are and their hobbies. We use this to pair people up. Usually it works!


Gender Ratio

In the last few years we’ve seen a rise in female students (#girlswhoshred) which we’re so pleased about! They often tend to book early on in the year, funnily enough. On many of our courses half of the students are female, which we’re really proud of. As a female skier myself I know it can seem like a “man’s world” but there’s only one way to change that! We’re glad we provide the environment for ladies to show what they’re made of.

We always match people up in twin rooms within the same gender too.


So there you have it, a rough overview of who joins us on our ski instructor courses. Like we said though, every course is different. So if you’d like to know who’s already booked on a course, give us a buzz or drop us a line and we’ll chat you through it. Always happy to help!