Saas Fee Ski Instructor Course Week 1

Just one week ago we were all strangers meeting for the first time. Anxious and excited in equal parts for the beginning of this new journey, we were about to spend the next 10 weeks training to become ski instructors in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.

Will the others be nice? What should I expect on a ski instructor course? Am I ready to become a ski instructor?

Now we look back just seven days later on a week packed with new experiences and learning. We have a brilliant group of trainee instructors, all showing great enthusiasm for the training and making the most of their time here in Switzerland. It feels like we’ve known each other for months already!

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Glacier fun 👍#peakleaders @elementconcept

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As this is a pre-season course you’d be forgiven for thinking that the snow conditions will be poor and you’d spend most of your time trying to ski on ice or slush. However, as everyone arrived over the weekend, so did the first of the Autumn storms! In the beautiful village of Saas Fee the weather was looking ominous but at 3500m above sea level up on the glacier over 60cm of fresh snow was falling in preparation for the first day of training on Monday. Yes, this is mid-September we’re talking about! Perfect training conditions for a ski instructor course.

Full of excitement, training got off to a great start with our regular coaches from Element Ski School, Emma, and Jake. The group is having a blast and seeing real improvements in their skiing from the first few days.

The first week has been full of new challenges which can take some getting used to but the guys have really done a great job so far and have approached the training with a good attitude. Throughout the week we have been training on the mountain in the mornings, either completing the First Aid course with Emma in the afternoons or beginning the fitness sessions run by Jake.

The first of the fitness sessions was approached in a very nonchalant manner with most people considering themselves fit and capable of a little jog around the village. 5km of running at altitude later and there were definitely some (yours truly included!) that were feeling the strain! The next session saw great improvements in the groups’ stamina so we’re already smashing targets left, right and centre.

It isn’t all training and learning, however. There has been plenty of time each day to discover the nightlife around Saas Fee and get competitive at the likes of pool and table football. Popcorn is an ever popular bar/club which is dangerously close to the hotel as it’s only a 30-second walk.
Timothy has spent plenty of time ‘sampling their local beverages’ (surprise, surprise) and helping to fund the owner’s next holiday!

The weekend was a welcomed break from the training, a chance to allow the body to recover from all of the new skills and techniques learnt on the mountain. Most people made the most of having a chance to relax on balconies, go for hikes in the surrounding mountains or simply enjoy a well-earned nap! We did all head out for a surprisingly competitive game of football at the end of the week which I feel is going to be a regular occurrence for most. Sunday was Jon’s birthday – a good excuse to head out for a few drinks.

What we learnt this week: Louisa cheats in most games, Tom and Will collectively laugh louder than Brian Blessed (google him…), Mikey now knows his limits, Josh is pretty handy on the trampoline and Michael likes a lie in.

All in all, the first week has been full of new experiences and the group have taken to it well. If they can maintain this level of stamina for the next 9 weeks we’ll have an amazing time here in Switzerland and will have some very good skiers at the end of this course!