Start Your Journey: Ben Sanders (St Anton 4-week ski instructor course)
Ben was on the 2014 Peak Leaders St Anton 4-week ski instructor course and went on to work the season for the Ski Schule Arlberg. We asked him for a few words on how it all went in one of the world’s best known resorts.
Here’s what he had to say about why he started his journey with Peak Leaders …
Peak Leaders: What made you decide on a gap/career break?
Ben: Having just finished studying at university, I didn’t want to get a career job immediately as it does not give much chance once you have begun.
Sunny ski lift selfie in St Anton
PK: How did you hear about Peak Leaders?
Ben: I found out about Peak Leaders while researching on the internet.
PK: Why Peak Leaders over other gap/career break companies?
Ben: It looked like a good company. It is small, and I have the impression they take good care of the people who choose to work with them.
PK: How much preparation had you done before the course – did you feel it was enough?
Ben: I already spoke German and could ski well, but a three week language course was a lot of help, especially with German grammar.
PK: What was the mix of people on the course (eg ages, backgrounds)?
Ben: The mix of people was good. A range of people of all ages and backgrounds, giving someone that everyone could get along with.
PK: Who trained you and what was the best thing about the training?
Ben: I had an instructor called Wolfgang, known as Fossi, who also works for the ski school. He was also my Ausbilder for the Anwärter, which was very helpful. The training was what I was expecting, and it was great. It stripped skiing down to its basics and taught everything from the beginning. This was probably the best part of the training.
Watch the video of our St Anton 4-week ski instructor course
PK: Where did you stay and what did you think of the accommodation?
Ben: The accommodation was very nice. A modern yet idyllic hotel in the heart of St Anton. Very close to the bars, the supermarket and the fitness centre. The breakfast was provided daily and was always plentiful and good to start the day. As no one else was staying in the hotel, it gave us a little bit of freedom, which was certainly welcomed. The couple who owned and ran the place, Birgit and Richard were also very welcoming and friendly, something not expected too much when a lot of British people gathered in one place.
PK: Describe a typical day – if there was one?
Ben: A typical day. Ok, so on days other than when we went skiing, we would awaken and have breakfast. We then would be split into two groups and the first would complete a four hour German session, which was fun while we learnt. The other group partook in a two hour fitness session, which while helping improve fitness, was also rather funny.
German course passed!
PK: Describe a typical evening – get much time to party in St.Anton?
Ben: After the two sessions were over we’d relax for a bit before going to eat. The restaurant, just across the road from where we stayed, had very tasty food and was not very often the same. After we’d go for a couple of drinks in the bar next door, go for a swim at the pool or do a bit of studying. Later on in the course a couple more places opened, which were good for staying out a little bit later.
PK: How difficult did you/the group find the exams?
Ben: As I previously said, I could ski well and spoke German, so all of the exams were not too much of an issue for me. Others who were less able in one of the two parts found them a little trickier but still coped due to the Peak Leaders training.
PK: How much help were Peak Leaders with finding work following the course?
Peak Leaders guaranteed a job in the SkiSchule Arlberg when we passed, and everyone who wanted one was given one.
Another day in the office
PK: Best thing about the course?
Ben: The best thing about the course was that the people there, mostly Mhairi, were very nice and very friendly. I’ve heard of a course in Kaprun where the people taking the course are not as friendly or helpful as you’d expect on a course of this magnitude.
PK: Something you’d wished you known before but didn’t?
Ben: I wish I’d known a bit more about the job after we passed. Training was all well and good, but teaching itself was very different, even from one day to the next.
PK: Top tip for anyone considering a gap/career break?
Ben: If you feel like wanting a take a gap year or even a break from what you are doing now, and have given a ski season a thought or two, then instructing is definitely the job I’d recommend. It was far better than other jobs in the resort. Peak Leaders helped me get there, so it’s 100% worth a go.
PK: Sum up your Peak Leaders experience in three words?
Really good fun.
Read our earlier blog on St Anton 4-week vs Saas Fee 10-week pre-season instructor courses … the best way to set yourself up for a teaching job next winter.
Get in touch with us here for a chat about booking.