Our 18 week gap year ski season programme combines a multitude of ski industry disciplines, created to challenge you both on and off the slopes, resulting in a lifetime experience you will never forget!
All of our courses are delivered by highly trained professionals, and follow a rewarding programme that raises the industry bar. Like our holidays we believe that if you are going to do something then do it to the best of your abilities, gaining a qualification with Powder Byrne will give you the confidence required to achieve high standards in your chosen field.
Tom tells us why he chose P2P and what his favourite parts of the season were.
Those doing P2P spend a lot of their free time in the world class Indoor FreeStyle Academy in Laax. From kickers to rails, trampolines to foam pits, this is the perfect place to practise your technique and have a lot of fun.
Alex explains what he got up to on his season and tells us what he took away from the experience.
Laax's four snow parks and huge half pipe mean this resort is absolutely perfect for young people looking to have the ski season of their lives.
The P2P participants from 2014 show us what they got up to...
Combine professional ski instructor qualifications with work for the UK’s leading luxury tour operator with the Powder Byrne Piste to Profession (P2P) programme. Our aim is to give you the transferable skills employers look for in potential employees in any industry, along with the opportunity to experience numerous once in a lifetime snow sport activities.
According to Gabriella le Breton in the Telegraph, "Taking part in a vocational gap year course between school and university is a popular option both for ambitious youngsters and their concerned parents – participants travel abroad and gain invaluable life experience, yet do so in a controlled environment. In the case of P2P, the course lasts a full winter season from early December to April (18 weeks) rather than the more typical eight or 10 weeks." Click here to read the article.
17/18 Week Course
This is a complete ski season, although there will be free ski opportunities and some down time as we believe that it is important to provide a full programme of activities throughout the season. The course will start in early December for professional Ski School and Powder Byrne training, returning home with the Powder Byrne full season team for the End of Season Party in April!
Return Flights and Transfers
Included in the cost are flights to and from London at the start and end of your season as well as airport transfers into the resort.
Self-catering, spacious hotel style accommodation, close to ski lifts and supermarket, bus stop, restaurants and bars and other amenities.
Personal Discounts on and off the Mountain
In addition to the discounts available on skis and boots and other ski equipment, you will also receive a ‘personnel card’ which gives you special ski instructor prices on food, coffees, etc... in certain restaurants on and off the mountain.
Powder Byrne will arrange local work permits for you for the season.
Included in the package price is the application fee for a DBS check (Disclosure Barring Service) to enable you to work with children and gain your BASI licence.
Specialist Winter Medical Insurance Policy
A comprehensive medical insurance policy will be provided as part of the course with the specialist company ‘Mind the gap year.com’. Mind The Gap Year is part of MPI Brokers who have over 32 years experience in providing quality and bespoke insurance schemes.
Ski Instructors Insurance
You will be provided with ski instructor insurance to cover you for the periods when you will be gaining work experience for the ski school.
Specialist 24/7 Support
Overseen by the head of the local ski school, highly qualified snow sports professionals and the Powder Byrne resort team, you will have support on hand throughout the season. In addition you will be given direct access to the Powder Byrne Head Office emergency number, that provides 24/7 support and advice.
When: Early December through to April
Cost: £10,850 per person
Powder Byrne is dedicated to providing outstanding levels of customer service and we know that 'to be the best, we have to recruit the best’. We are therefore looking for high calibre, highly motivated individuals to join our team. As the P2P course involves invaluable work experience opportunities we interview all potential candidates before offering them a place on the course.
You should be able to ski any piste in control and with good technique, as a benchmark you will have had 10-15 weeks ski experience (No previous instructing experience is necessary).
You will be given bespoke training with the full season Powder Byrne professionals, where the standard of customer service is second to none. The course will cover subjects that will enable you to deliver a premium level of service to any age of guest. You will be given a Health & Safety Exec approved course covering all the requirements to gain your BASI qualification.
BASI Level 1 Qualification
Through intensive training you will successfully complete the 5 day Alpine Level 1 Instructor course + safeguarding children module. All registration fees and assessment fees are included in the cost of the programme.
BASI Level 2 (extra cost)
Completing the BASI Level 2 qualification is an additional cost to the course and is dependent on you reaching a proficient level of skiing. We are proud to say that all students who have opted to do their 2 week BASI level 2 qualification have passed to date.
Local Ski Instructors Course
All instructors who want to work for any Swiss ski school must pass a week of intensive training. As part of the P2P programme you will benefit from this bespoke training course that will enable you to apply for work with the ski school in the future.
Child-specific Ski Instructors Course
This course is a dedicated course run by specialist childcare ski instructors that develops your skills in working with children on the slopes. Successful completion will result in you being awarded a childcare instructor specific certification.
Powder skiing and avalanche awareness course
Our local mountain guide runs a practical course on avalanche awareness that will give you valuable skills in dealing with situations on the mountain when conditions take a turn for the worse.
We believe the best way to learn is through experience, which is why all participants will have the opportunity to join the Powder Byrne professionals at selected weeks in the season. You will become a full member of the team, expected to deliver the premium service that we offer our clients.
Ski School Shadowing and Work Experience
Throughout the season you will gain relevant snow experience that will allow you to complete the number of hours required by BASI to become a fully qualified instructor (35hours for BASI Level 1 and 35hours for BASI Level 2).
Tour Operator Work Experience
We believe the best way to learn is through experience, which is why all participants will have the opportunity to join the Powder Byrne professionals at selected weeks in the season. You will become a full member of the team and it is expected that you'll deliver the premium service that we offer our clients.
Ski Rental and Ski Technician Work Experience
The programme gives you the opportunity to join the team in the largest ski rental shop in the resort to gain an understanding of the operations involved a ski technician's work.
Ski Patrol Shadowing
You will be given the opportunity to join the professionals as they prepare the mountain for safe day-to-day skiing.
Ski Event Experience – The Burton Open and The BRITS
There are a number of international snow events each season across our Swiss resorts and two of the highlights of the calendar are the Burton Open and The BRITS in LAAX. You will be given the opportunity to become part of the operational team delivering the events, and you'll get to experience a ski resort when the professionals are in town!
Future Employment Opportunities
For those who successfully complete the P2P course there are various work opportunities available within Powder Byrne as well as opportunities to return to Switzerland to work as a fully qualified ski instructor.
It's not all work and no play when you take on the ultimate ski season! Find out about the other snow sports you can try and the fun you can get up to during your season in the Swiss Alps.
LAAX is home to the world famous indoor FreeStyle Academy, a purpose build indoor centre with kickers / trampolines / foam pits / quarter pipes etc. You will learn to perfect your technique in Europe’s only indoor centre before taking your skills on to the snow park where they boast the largest half pipes in Europe.
Race Coaching: Downhill and GS
You will be given tuition by one of our top instructors in race techniques to take your skiing to the next level, just in time to compete in the Weisse Arena Ski Champs at the end of the season!
Our local mountain guides will provide you with the necessary equipment and techniques to join him in exploring some of the regions hidden treasures.
Although the P2P programme is geared toward skiing you will have the opportunity to try snowboarding, snow-shoeing and any other snow sport pursuits that take your fancy.
As part of the P2P experience you will join a local ice-climbing professional, who will teach you the art of scaling frozen walls.
With high ropes courses, indoor climbing and après ski activities like snow BBQs, ice hockey games, ski school parties, poker nights and the Powder Byrne End of Season Party in London, you surely won't be short of things to do!
Lauberhorn World Cup
January sees Switzerland host one of the more infamous races in the World Cup calendar – the Lauberhorn. We take a weekend road trip to Grindelwald to watch the race close up and join the after race party!
Weisse Arena Ski Champs
& Other Events
Being part of the P2P programme you will become part of the local ski school for many of its events, this includes the opportunity to enter the Weisse Arena Ski Champs held towards the end of the season.
You will be kitted out with Powder Byrne top quality mountain gear including Ski jacket, salopetts and soft shell. The P2P course gives you ski instructor work experience as well as shadowing experience, which means that you will be provided with your own ski instructor's uniform for the season. Ski and Boot rental for the full season is included in the package. Alternatively you may choose to bring your own equipment.
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