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Spend Your Gap Year Hitting the Slopes

by Brian Klais

The “Gap Year” has been popular throughout the UK for several years now, and students from around the globe are now starting to consider taking his or her own “Gap Year.” The idea of taking time off from school can be intimidating to some, particularly as many worry that they may forget what they have learned or that taking that year off will have a negative impact on their studies. However, research continually suggests that taking a Gap Year has immediate as well as long-term benefits for students and their performance both personally and professionally.

What Is a Gap Year?


A Gap Year is typically a 12 month period of time in which a student will take a break from his or her studies. The Gap Year is typically taken before a student begins working towards their degree, though one may also take a Gap Year prior to beginning a postgraduate course or before they enter the workforce.

A Gap Year rarely involves sitting around on the couch watching television. Those who chose to take a Gap Year typically make the most out of their time and spend these precious months:

  • Volunteering
  • Learning new skills
  • Travelling
  • Earning money to pay for their education

How a Gap Year Can Help You

There are three key areas where having a Gap Year can significantly help you: educationally, personally, and socially.

The Educational Benefits of a Gap Year

Contrary to the common fear that if a student takes a year off from school then he or she will never return, studies have found that students who do take a Gap Year are 90% more likely to return to university within 12 months. In fact, students who take a Gap year are actually more likely to attend university than those who do not.

Taking a Gap Year helps prevent academic burnout. Universities have found that students who take a Gap Year have a higher GPA, are more engaged in campus life, are more likely to graduate according to their planned time schedule, and have greater clarity in their career goals and ambitions.

Enjoying a Gap Year can even help students get into better schools. Research has shown that students who take those 12 months to themselves are able to get into better universities than those who do not.

The Personal Benefits of a Gap Year


An increase in self-awareness is the primary personal benefit which comes with taking a Gap Year. Students who take a Gap Year:

  • Have reported being as much as 75% more likely to be extremely satisfied or happy with the careers they have selected post university
  • 60% of graduates who took a Gap Year stated that the experience either confirmed their choice of career or academic major, or that it set them on their current career path or academic major
  • 88% stated that the 12 months away from school increased their employability

The Social Benefits of a Gap Year

The life experiences which a student enjoys during his or her Gap Year are often so significant that they enjoy a better and more fulfilling social life. Those who take a Gap Year are forced to step outside of their comfort zones and gain a new perspective on and appreciation for life. Not only does taking that time to one’s self increase an individual’s wealth of things to share and speak about, but it also places individuals into new and interesting situations where they will meet and interact with a variety of different people.

Why Spend Your Gap Year in the Mountains

The benefits of taking a Gap Year are vast, and those who spend it skiing and traversing the mountains are able to make the most out of this time.

In the UK, there are a few companies or schools which will actually train Gap Year students and provide them with the skills necessary to become a qualified ski or snowboard instructor. Through these courses, individuals are able to pick up invaluable ski and snowboarding skills which they can use when they hit the slopes. Other benefits include:

  • Students who become ski and snowboarding instructors are able to work at world-class ski resorts and are able to enjoy the hills and slopes themselves.
  • Students are able to experience a different culture by immersing themselves in a new part of the world, such as France or Canada.
  • Accredited ski instructors will regularly meet and interact with individuals from all over the globe.
  • Ski instructors will learn invaluable leadership skills by taking control of and directing a group of skiers or snowboarders through the mountains.
  • Instructors gain important presentation skills by learning how to conduct lessons and develop lesson plans based on the skill level of the skiers in his or her group.
  • Individuals who successfully complete a ski or snowboard instructor course display commitment by completing the course.

Making the Most Out Of Your Gap Year on the Slopes

The advantages of taking a Gap Year are clear, but they can only be fully enjoyed by students who properly plan and do their research.

Plan Well Ahead

Students who are considering taking a Gap Year in the mountains should start researching and planning for it as soon as possible. The accredited schools which offer ski and snowboard instructor courses are in high demand, which often results in lengthy waiting lists.

Choose a School Serving a Location of Interest

Those who want to spend their gap year skiing will need to choose a school which offers courses in a location they wish to travel to. Some may offer local courses within the UK, while others may offer courses in France, Sweden, or Whistler, Canada.

Choose a School with a Good Reputation

Finally, to make the most of your year, choose a school which is known for providing high-quality instruction and superior experiences to their students. Look at how long they have been in business, talk with those who will be providing instruction, and ask alumni from the training course how they feel about the training program.

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