Julie’s ski adventure in Whistler: Embracing the unknown and travelling alone
“It required a certain amount of courage and an open-minded approach to the unknown, once I decided to go on my ski season.”
As I faced my second gap year, I felt the urge to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. But I wanted to go all-in and choose nothing less than Whistler in Canada as my destination—something I’ve always dreamed about. However, there was a small problem; I would have to do it alone. It was a decision that required a certain amount of courage and an open-minded approach to the unknown. Could I endure being away from home for so long? How would it go being with people I didn’t know? Would I be good enough to become a ski instructor? What would it be like to speak English every day, as a non-native speaker? After much contemplation, I decided to take the plunge and apply to become a ski instructor through Snowminds. This decision turned out to be crucial for my experience. Snowminds took care of all the practicalities, from job and accommodation to plane tickets, freeing me from worries and allowing me to fully focus on my upcoming adventure.
Julie (first row, third from the left) and the Whistler group 2023/24
Meeting My New Travel Companions
One of the most reassuring factors was the opportunity to participate in Snowminds’ Kick-off event. This event gave me the chance to meet the people I would be traveling with before we found ourselves at the airport ready to depart. The event also helped me get my gear in order and set my expectations for the season. It allowed me to communicate with my new acquaintances and reach out to some of them before our departure to ask for advice. I even booked plane seats with one of the people I would be traveling with, making the start of the journey much more comfortable and easing the fear of loneliness that often accompanies solo adventures.
One of the first things that calmed my worries was the incredible friendliness of everyone around me. Everyone I would be traveling with, regardless of their background or experience, was in the same boat. It was a comforting reminder that we were all equally excited and nervous. You might initially feel like you’re alone in the wild feeling of traveling alone, but that feeling quickly changed when we realized that we all felt the same way. The shared experience quickly created a bond between us, and we began building relationships even at the airport.
The New Everyday Life
Living with 14 other adventurous skiers in a cozy lodge has only made my journey even better. The social bond that has already been created through shared experiences means that I never feel lonely. We cook together, ski together, watch movies together, and spend a lot of time getting to know each other. Sharing moments, challenges, and joys with my new friends has become an essential part of my ski season. I could never have done it without the other Snowminders by my side.
One of the most rewarding aspects is also that you join training groups with people from different backgrounds. This provides an opportunity to broaden your horizons and learn from different cultures and experiences. We have a really good training group and the sweetest coach – with a very high level in the skiing world. I was nervous about starting a daily routine where English would be my primary language. But living with people from Australia, Ireland, England, and other parts of the world has created an international community that is truly exciting. It makes speaking English much easier, as you learn a lot from them.
Team leaders from Snowminds, experienced instructors, also play a crucial role in creating the best experience for all of us. Their knowledge and dedication made us all feel safe and well-informed throughout the journey. Having someone with experience by your side is invaluable, especially when facing new challenges. This includes help with the visa process, advice on ski training and your own improvements in skiing, how exams work, budgeting for the season, and their role in bringing us all together and creating shared experiences during the season. Among other things, quiz nights, ice hockey games, bungee jumping, and many other cool things.
All these things I can say after only being in Canada for 1.5 weeks out of 5 months. So if you’re considering going on a ski season but hesitate to do it alone, my advice is clear: go with a company that creates a safe environment for you and just do it!! I embraced the unknown, and it has already proven to be a huge adventure. Traveling alone doesn’t have to be lonely – it can be the most enriching adventure you’ve ever embarked on.
Wanna experience the season of a lifetime, like Julie? Check out our ski and snowboard instructor programmes in Canada, and get inspired like Julie!