THIS COULD BE THE PERFECT YEAR FOR A GAP COURSE
IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD,
COULD NOW REALLY BE THE RIGHT TIME TO GO SKIING?
It seems strange but it could be true.
Despite the alarming and unprecedented impact of Covid-19, we think this winter could be an amazing season if you want to get away from everything and take a Gap course.
If that seems a little unexpected, here’s why we think that doing your BASI exams could be a great choice this season…
FIRSTLY, WHAT MAKES A GREAT COURSE?
Just for a moment let’s look at things slightly differently – let’s just look at this like it was a normal season: what makes a course great?
Well, we think there are massive a number of factors – the coaches, accommodation, food and support have to be amazing for a start.
But we’ve already got that covered. So let’s look at four external factors:
1 A brilliant and diverse team of people to train alongside is definitely a big part of it
2 We also know that great snow makes any course better
3 And to get your technique perfected you need nice quiet slopes to train on
4 Finally a great atmosphere in resort is really important
The list above seems simple enough, but before we look at these points, there are some other factors we should think about.
WHAT HAVE WE SEEN BEFORE…
We’ve never seen anything like Covid-19 before. Nobody has.
But Peak Leaders has been running courses since 2000, so we’ve seen a lot of sudden changes and we’ve watched a lot of patterns emerge.
We’ve seen financial crises, travel disruption, snow closing resorts and even volcanoes.
Big events that sometimes had big impacts on skiing – but sometimes didn’t.
For example, after the 2008 financial crisis hit, everyone expected ski instructor training to be hit hard, but we saw more enquiries than ever.
Well, tough times make a lot of people revaluate their plans. Many will even completely revaluate their lives.
We saw a lot of people simply ask “what would I rather be doing?”
And a lot of them decided the answer was “skiing”…
In fact, in a very similar way, we’ve already seen a rise in bookings for 2020 / 2021 courses during lockdown.
THERE’S A LOT OF UNCERTAINTY
We know that going to university probably won’t be quite the same as usual, and you might be looking for alternatives while things get back to normal.
So a Gap year seems a pretty good choice while you decide what to do next.
Graduates are also looking at an uncertain landscape for employment – so you might be be thinking about delaying that next step for six months or a year.
Then there are people in work who have had time to think during lockdown. Maybe, like them, you’ve realised that you could do something completely different and quit the nine to five routine.
We’re certainly talking to loads of people who share these thoughts and are taking a year to consolidate.
In an uncertain world, one thing you can be sure of is that we all still love skiing…
HOW DOES ALL THAT EFFECT OUR COURSES?
1 So what about the team of Trainees?
Well, as we mentioned enquiries are increasing. Which means people are determined to move on with life, and we are seeing bookings increasing every week – we think that’s partly due to the things we talked about earlier.
So if you train as a ski instructor now you’d be meeting a load of new people who love skiing as much as you do, on a course that’s all about having fun.
2 What about snow?
Whilst we can never guarantee 10 weeks of powder, we run our courses in resorts where we know the snow is good.
So we get cracking piste conditions that are perfect for training as well as some great powder days…
3 What about those empty slopes?
We already plan training to dodge the crowds, because you can’t nail your long turns if you’re having to slalom around holiday-makers.
But with a lot of people cautious about booking holidays, we’re expecting resorts to be quieter than usual – and that means more space on the slopes for us…
4 Finally, what about the atmosphere in resort?
Of course a great atmosphere in resort is vital.
It’s not just about the atmosphere in the training team, but the resort as a whole needs to have loads of like-minded people determined to have an amazing season in the snow.
And seasonaires already seem determined to get next season planned.
In fact staff accommodation seems to be selling out much faster and earlier than ever – so we are expecting the resort to still be busy with locals enjoying the snow and enjoying their winters.
Plus the bars in town have been great at adapting to the new Swiss rules, so that if you pop into the Pub Mont Fort tonight you might not even notice things are that different…
BUT SAFETY IS ALWAYS THE BIGGEST FACTOR
Everyone wants to stay safe – and safety is certainly our top priority.
But we have good news, because not only do the Swiss appear to have the spread of the virus under control, but Switzerland has been rated the best prepared country in the world for it’s Covid response.
The rates here significantly lower than many other European nations and lockdown started easing on May 11th, with very little change in spread of the virus afterwards.
Also, measures are actually already in place to keep resorts open and safe whatever happens.
So in Saas Fee we have summer skiing under way and the race teams are training.
Meanwhile in Verbier has lifts open for biking and hiking with simple but effective measures on social distancing and hygiene.
You can read more about this here.
But we think that skiing itself should be able to carry on almost normally for a few simple reasons:
- The measures are already in place and being tested and improved
- The fact people are generally complying properly
- There are clearly communicated rules from the authorities
- A Swiss track and trace app that’s already up and running
- The fact that skiing is fundamentally a socially distanced sport
- Plus it’s normal to wear face coverings, gloves and goggles almost all the time when you’re skiing
SO, IS THIS THE BEST SEASON TO DO A GAP COURSE?
The signs are very good – and we firmly believe that a Gap course in Switzerland could be the perfect place to enjoy yourself and plan for the future while the world tackles Covid-19.
So if you’d like to find out more about our courses then just get in touch – we’d love to chat.