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Meet the 2016/17 Gap Coaching Team

Get to know our 2017 Verbier Gap Coaching Team

This winter the Altitude Futures Gap course in Verbier is proud to announce the following coaching team. To help you get to know them we asked each of them to describe their fellow colleagues. Well this is what they had to say…

BASI 4 + Swiss Brevet Federal

altitude futures BASI Level 3 training team


Sandy says….
Ross came to Verbier many years ago as a student on the ISIA course having decided not to use the incredible education that his parents had provided him with. Since then many things have changed, including his level of qualification, his skiing and teaching ability and the amount of wrinkles that he has, though he is still refusing to change his almost Donald Trumpesque hairstyle.

In all seriousness Ross is a very experienced instructor who through commitment and hard work has achieved the highest level of qualification possible. He has now been working on the GAP course for a number of years, and he brings that same commitment and level of hard work that got him through his qualifications to every season’s GAP course.

Ross says…
I enjoy the longer term aspect of coaching, especially in comparison to teaching clients for one week. Getting to spend a season building up a trainee, getting to learn how they tick and hopefully seeing them succeed.

The highlight of the course so far has been seeing students who come through, sometimes as the weaker skiers in the group, who work really hard and end up becoming great skiers and teachers. Meeting up years later with students and seeing how far they have gone in their ski career is my highlight.

Best pre-course advice: get the right equipment. Well fitted boots and the right sort of piste skis will make the difference to how quickly you learn and change.

Swiss Patente



Sandy says…
I enjoy working with the GAP students as it is one of the few times as an instructor that you get the chance to work with students over a long enough period of time to see some really dramatic improvements. It is also fantastic to be working towards the exams as it does give people a genuine reward for all their hard work if they can pass.

Ross says…
Sandy started out life in Grimsby, England. So it is only natural he should want to leave and end up teaching skiing in Verbier. He is one of the most quietly dedicated coaches and works tirelessly to make his students the best they can be. However, Sandy likes to mask his soft and caring side behind dry sense of humor. He does this so well that it is often missed entirely by the less aware students. Sandy is the consummate mountain man; a skier, climber, mountain leader, high mountain runner and generally lover of the outdoors. Usually he has a big bushy beard to complete the mountain look, but this year he has yet to grow one. Hopefully this won’t diminish his strength.


BApaul-keppel-photography-26SI 4






Harry Says…

When it comes to skiing and ski teaching I have never met a Coach who has more passion for the sport than Sam. His motivation to learn and improve is infectious and translates into some of the most stimulating and effective on snow sessions I have seen. This energy is reflected in Sam’s skiing which is quite simply an inspiration to the next generation of ski instructors. Furthermore his open and friendly personality make him one of the most approachable blokes on and off the hill and great mentor for anyone wanting to enter the ski industry.

Sam says…
Anyone who wants to become a ski intructor is my kind of person. I get to work around my kind of people, watching my kind of people progress.
Skiing is an ongoing lesson, the gap team have put themselves in an amazing opportunity to learn, i love that it’s down to us, as the coaching staff to aid their development!

Seeing the way that teams have previously come together and helped each other out.
Often you see on the first few days the guys look like a bunch of individuals. Each day you greet them from then on the bond looks stronger, until eventually it is a family going into an exam situation together, each of them supporting one another.

What is the most important pre course advice you could give to students joining the course?
1) Be ready for crazy amounts of fun, however also be ready to learn, absorb new information and to work hard!
2) Equipment, if you are unsure about any of your gear, from boots and skis down to thermal layers ASK!
We will be doing a full assessment, making sure you guys are wearing the correct equipment however it’s essential to your development!

Harry (Steely)
BASI 4 + Brevet Federal


Sam says…
Possibly one of the most recognisable characters in Resort, whether you are watching the tall frame of Steelo work his way down the bumps, as fluid as water running out of a tap, or sharing a pint with him in Pub mont fort, the warmth, confidence and knowledge oozes out of him. The man management and organisation of this person will never leave you feeling alone. Harry is possibly the easiest person to listen to when talking about skiing, and one of the easiest on the eyes to watch.

Harry says…
Skiing is my Life and my passion. One of the reasons I love teaching skiing so much is the chance to share this passion with new people every year. To then get the chance to work with gap students who share this passion with me is truly one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had.

Having worked on the Gap course for 7 years it is hard to pick out one specific highlight. Perhaps the biggest highlight for me is to see how peoples skills both on and off the snow change so much over such a short space of time. I had one student who had only skiied for 3 weeks before the course (not recommended!) and was one of the quietest people I have met, and I honestly thought it was almost impossible for her to pass. By the end of the 10 weeks she was one of the best teachers and skiiers in the group and to see such incredible determination and willingness to learn is something I will never forget!

What is the most important pre course advice you could give to students joining the course?
Be prepared – Fitness! get to a gym and get training so when you hit the slopes you hit the ground running. Ski whenever you can beforehand, at a dry slope/indoor slope – join a local ski club in the UK

Be open minded and motivated to learn! You will be learning so much in such a short space of time and at times it will feel hard to get better but as long as you stay motivated improvement will come!

Make the most of the whole experience and enjoy yourself! The time will fly when you arrive in resort so make sure you take full advantage of all the training and everything else an amazing resort like Verbier has to offer!

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