From Piste to Profession with Powder Byrne

From Piste to Profession with Powder Byrne

The winter season is just around the corner and this year sees a record number of students taking part in Powder Byrne’s Piste to Profession Gap Year Programme.

Piste to Profession (or P2P as it’s fondly known) is a programme designed to give gap year students a full winter season, learning to become a proficient ski instructor for all ages whilst obtaining the internationally recognized British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI) qualification.

Based in Flims, Switzerland, the students will live and work in one of Powder Byrne’s full season resorts and the aim of the course is to give students the transferable skills employers look for in potential applicants, along with the opportunity to experience numerous once in a lifetime snow sports activities. Our P2P students will get the full experience of a Powder Byrne winter season, living and working alongside our five-star resort team and gaining valuable experience working within the ski tourism industry.

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The course is jam-packed from start to finish and it will all kick off in December. Our students will fly out with the rest of the full season team where they will settle into their accommodation in the heart of Flims before a week of Ski School and Powder Byrne training. The students will be kitted out with both Ski School and Powder Byrne uniform and skis and boots, and will then hit the slopes during training to get their ski legs back before the real work starts!

After training, the students are straight into their basic ski instructor’s course, which allows them to teach in the Graubunden region. This will be taken by one of Flims’ most experienced ski instructors and it gives the students a good idea of what is expected of them when learning to become a BASI-qualified instructor. Once this two-week course is complete, the students then shadow some of the best instructors in the area so that they can learn some useful hints and tips for when they take their very first lesson.

Not only will the students get to shadow other instructors, but they will also work alongside and shadow our full season team. Our exclusive children’s programmes are the reason that many of our guests travel with us and our gap year students will learn exactly how to deliver the best child care in the Alps! They will spend some of their days in the famous red Powder Byrne jacket assisting our Yeti and SnoZone clubs and skiing with children of all abilities and talking to their parents at the end of their ski day.

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Before the P2P students start working towards their BASI 1 qualification, we treat them to a trip to Grindelwald for three nights so that they can watch the World famous Lauberhorn downhill race. This is a great opportunity to see the pros ski and soak up the atmosphere in the town where Powder Byrne first started. As if watching the pro downhill skiers isn’t exciting enough, we will then take the gang back to Flims where they will then get involved in setting up and watching another huge local event: the Laax open. This event sees some of the World’s most impressive freestyle skiers perform some incredible tricks and our P2P students will get front row seats!

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After the events are over, the BASI 1 & 2 qualifications are the main focus for the P2P students. The BASI 1 qualification will take place just before February half term and this qualification will allow students to work for Flims Ski School with novice and intermediate skiers. Once they successfully complete the level 1 and have clocked their 35 hours experience, the students can then move on to their BASI 2 qualification. This will be a lot more technical and it will allow them to teach alpine skiing up to and including a parallel standard on marked pistes. These are pretty challenging and tiring courses, but once the students successfully complete both, the world is their oyster!

In between the courses, we also arrange for the students to have a go at some other snow sports and disciplines. They will get to experience sports such as ski touring, freestyle, race coaching, telemarking, snowboarding and ice climbing. And of course, outside of their course hours, the students will have some free time to ski and socialize with their course mates and the Powder Byrne team. The Flims and Laax ski area has some superb on and off-piste and park skiing, which our students can take advantage of, as well as some pretty good après!

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After the course is completed in April, the students will fly back to the UK where we hold our famous Powder Byrne end of season party with everyone who has worked for PB over the season. This isn’t the end of the gap year experience though as Powder Byrne offer future work opportunities. This could be in one of our summer resorts of Portugal, Crete or Elba or it could be going back to work for Flims Ski School either for the whole season or at peak weeks. The course really does bring out the best in our students. It is probably the first time they would’ve been away from home, so it teaches them valuable life skills, they will gain lifelong friends and most importantly, have an instructor’s qualification that they can use in years to come.

If you would like any further information on the course, please contact enquiries@powderbyrne.com or call 0208 246 5300.