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  • by Charlotte Dawson

    How to apply for a Canadian Working Holiday Visa: IEC 2018 Guide

    Fancy working as a ski or snowboard instructor in Canada? 

    After gaining your ski or snowboard instructor qualifications, to go on and work as a pro in Canada you will need a work visa. Please read this thoroughly to get prepared for the competitive visa process opening soon for the 2018 season.

    You don’t need a visa to do any of our courses but if you would like to go on and work as a ski or snowboard instructor in Canada you will need a work visa – the International Experience Canada (IEC) Working Holiday Visa.

    The Canadian Working Holiday Visa can be notoriously difficult to get hold of as they are so popular. But, don’t worry, we can help guide and support you through the application process to help you get accepted. This guide is predominately for UK citizens. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any stage, with any questions!

    When to apply

    The final round of invitations for the 2017 IEC season will be from September 25th – 29th. The pools will then close for the 2017 season. We can’t say exactly when the 2018 season will open but based on the year just gone, we suspect they will open the 2018 IEC visa pool and start releasing visas from October 2017. Please get prepared for the imminent visa release date.

    How to apply

    The application process isn’t too complicated but does require some planning and preparation, often a year in advance, in order to maximise your chance of getting one. So even if you are in your final year of school or university and thinking of becoming a ski or snowboard instructor next winter, please apply for a work visa from the 2018 quota, opening soon. The more on the ball you are, the more likely you are to get a visa!

    For all the latest updates on visa allocations and availability, please check the official IEC website here.

    The IEC Working Holiday Visa Application Process

    1. Find out if you’re eligible

    The IEC working holiday programme allows young citizens of participating countries to travel and work anywhere in Canada without a job lined up in advance. Eligibility varies slightly depending on the participating country, but for most, you must be 18-30 years old and the work permit is valid for two years.

    2. Submit your profile to the IEC Working Holiday visa pool

    In order to submit your profile, you first need to become a candidate. To become a candidate, you need to complete the ‘Come to Canada’ questionnaire to get a personal reference code. Use this code to create your account and submit your profile to enter the IEC Working Holiday Visa pools. Make sure you choose to enter this category.

    3. Wait for an invitation to apply

    Once you are in the pools, you are waiting to be invited to apply. The Canadian Government will regularly invite eligible candidates from the IEC pools to apply for a work permit. These are called rounds of invitations. Rounds will take place until there are no more spots available or the IEC season closes.

    If/when you receive an invitation to apply, you will have 10 days to start your work permit application process.

    If you do not respond by the deadline shown in your invitation, the invitation will expire and you will have to start the process again which will reduce your chance of getting one.

    4. Start your application

    From the day you accept your invitation, you’ll have 20 days to apply for a work permit online.

    This is the stage where you are actually applying for a work permit, which you cannot do unless you have been through all the above and been sent your Invitation to Apply.

    Please follow the steps outlined on the official website which involves completing an online form, uploading all the required documents and paying the fees (approx. 200 $CAN).

    Your fees will be refunded if your work permit application is refused.

    Before you submit, please double check that all the information you provided is correct. If everything is filled out correctly you are more likely to be accepted first time – if in doubt, please contact us.

    5. Fingers crossed your work permit is approved!

    Your application will be reviewed. This can take up to eight weeks but please keep an eye on your account in case they ask for any further information or documents.

    If your application is approved, you’ll receive a port of entry (POE) letter of introduction. You’ll need this letter to receive a work permit when you enter Canada – so keep hold of it and prepare for your arrival!

    If at any stage you would like some further help, please do not hesitate to contact us. Hopefully we can help you be in the best position possible to get your hands on a visa so you can work as a ski or snowboard instructor in Canada.

    You can also get help from recognised organisations listed on the Canadian Government website here.

    We'd be happy to chat, call us direct on

    0207 731 5432

  • by Charlotte Dawson

    A Level results: more to life!

    Done better than expected? Grades fell short? Considering deferring your offer until next year?

    For those of you collecting A Level results today, I wish you the best of luck.

    It is a stressful day. It is probably the most nerve wracking day of one’s academic career thus far; the culmination of 14 years of study and seemingly endless exams. Not to mention the feeling that one’s success in life depends entirely on getting top grades. I was certainly made to feel this way.

    If you missed out on the results you wanted, it is not the end of the world. I know you’ll probably hear that a thousand times today but honestly, you might no longer be on the path you planned, but you could be on a better one.

    I was unexpectedly forced to take a gap year before university and in hindsight it changed my life, and the lives of many others I know.

    There are many different routes to a fruitful future. A gap year to digest your results and re-evaluate what you want to do with your future could be the answer.

    Don’t just take my word for it, there is an impressive list of successful people who got rubbish A Levels or worse still, got kicked out before their exams!

    Sir Richard Branson, one of Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs and whose daughter did a course with Ski le Gap (I couldn’t resist mentioning that!), is a massive advocate of the fact that grades are not the be all and end all.

    He encourages students to ‘get out in the world, travel, meet new people, enjoy experiences and try new things’ to find out what it is you want to do in life. A gap year is the perfect opportunity to do this.

    As long as you make the most of your time, “recruiters look favourably upon graduates who have taken gap years”, explains Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters.

    If you are thinking of taking some time out, we are the original provider of ski and snowboard courses specifically designed with gap years in mind. Established in 1994, our aim is to provide young people with the ultimate gap year experience, who are well prepared and ready to take on the world of work or further education.

    Now to quote Steve Jobs: ‘your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do’. So, if you love skiing or snowboarding, you really should consider one of our constructive gap year courses that have been designed with stand out features to help enhance future career prospects in the snow sports industry or any field for that matter. As well as being great fun!

    Perhaps you did better than expected, maybe you fell short – either way I encourage you to consider taking a gap year. Listen to Sir Richard Branson and Steve Jobs and do things you enjoy – explore the world, visit new places, experience new cultures, gain life experiences and above all have fun!

    A well-planned, productive year out encompassing things you enjoy can help launch your career in the right direction. My suggestion: become a ski or snowboard pro!

    We'd be happy to chat, call us direct on

    0207 731 5432

  • by Charlotte Dawson

    Meet course advisor Charlotte

    Put a face to a name and meet me: Charlotte!

    I started skiing when I was 3 years old as we were living in Canada and lucky enough to have the mountains on our doorstep. When we moved back to the UK, I found every excuse to get back on the slopes – school ski trips initially and then working a winter season as a ski rep and chalet host before heading off to university.

    To anyone thinking of becoming a chalet host – don’t be fooled, it is extremely hard work! I blame the film Chalet Girl for making it seem like the most glamorous way to spend a winter season – it’s not (tried and tested)! Think about becoming a ski instructor instead. Gaining an internationally recognised teaching qualification is CV enhancing – it gives you communication and leadership skills and boosts your self-confidence. And let’s face it, when you can say you’re a ski or snowboard pro, it sounds impressive!

    After completing my degree followed by a couple of years in London, the lure of mountain life was too much to resist and I am now working full time with Ski le Gap.

    As a course advisor, I am here to help! Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you would like to know more about any of our ski and snowboard instructor and improvement courses. Or about life in the mountains generally – which you can’t beat.

    If you’re dreaming about spending time in the mountains – don’t hesitate, get in touch now and make it a reality! You will have an epic winter with Ski le Gap.

    We'd be happy to chat, call us direct on

    0207 731 5432

  • by Charlotte Dawson

    10 Reasons Why You’ll Love Mont Tremblant


    Introducing a truly charming, winter wonderland resort in Canada where gappers are treated like VIPs!

    1. It’s Canada!

    If you have been to Canada before, you will agree with me! If not, you must come and explore this beautiful and hugely welcoming country. Most gappers, once they’ve been with us for a season, never want to leave! I’m sure you will have as much fun and love it here too!

    2. #1 Resort

    As the original training company, we got the first pick of resorts and chose this one! Voted the number 1 resort in Eastern North America for the past 19 years, Mont Tremblant is world class. It has excellent terrain and the village is a bustling resort – packed with boutique shops, bars, cafes and clubs. Come and experience the ‘joie de vivre’ of this exciting French-Canadian mountain village.

    3. Great snow

    Canada is famous for frequent dumps of snow, quiet pistes and great grooming. Tremblant is no exception! Renowned for its excellent snowmaking abilities – so even if (dare I say) it’s a bad year, there is still plenty of snow for you to enjoy the slopes.

    4. It’s a Winter Wonderland

    Tremblant is the most picturesque resort; often referred to as a Winter Wonderland thanks to the huge amount of winter activities it has on offer. Join us and enjoy an experience like no other! Learn to build an igloo, try snowshoeing before warming up by a roaring fire, stargazing the night away!

    5. Treated like VIPs

    We are the only people allowed to operate on the mountain with our own instructors, aside from the Tremblant snow school (for obvious reasons!). Therefore, if you are participating on one of our courses, you are treated like VIPs. You’ll know everyone from the lift attendants to the bar staff. This is just another charm of being in a smaller resort!

    6. Laid back, super friendly locals

    Canadians are friendly, fun loving people. In Tremblant, the locals will make you feel at home and are more than willing to offer a helping hand or enjoy a well deserved après ski beer with you! The laid back Canadian vibe makes for an amazing atmosphere in resort.

    7. Top nightlife and après-ski

    The resort has a vibrant nightlife and après ski scene. This is especially true during the weekends when young crowds travel to the resort to party (and trust me it gets busy)! Fear not, gappers are given VIP passes – no matter how busy the bars get, you’ll get special privileges with queue jump, free entry and loads of discounts. Le P’tit Caribou (a favourite) has been voted the best après-ski bar in North America!

    8. Host to unforgettable events and festivals

    Tremblant hosts many exciting events and festivals throughout the winter. One of the most unique is the Snow Polo, when international teams compete on horseback on the frozen lake. Dubbed the glamour event of the winter, it’s one not to miss! The National Alpine Championship and the coveted Caribou Cup where brazen skiers and snowboarders dress up in fancy dress before trying to cross a 75-foot pond, is another one for some crazy entertainment!

    9. Tasty local dishes

    You can’t come to Tremblant without trying Poutine – a Canadian dish made of french fries and cheese curd topped with gravy – aka ‘posh chips’. Other local specialities you must try are Maple Taffies (maple syrup cooled on snow) and Beaver Tails (fried dough pastries).

    10. Home away from home

    I can understand why so many gappers make Tremblant their home away from home – I did too! Top resort, great snow, a myriad of unique activities, unbeatable nightlife, extremely friendly Canadians that make you feel part of the woodwork (especially in the bars!) all make for an unbeatable winter adventure that you’ll never forget!

    We'd be happy to chat, call us direct on

    0207 731 5432

  • by Charlotte Dawson

    Teaching Experience


    On our Ultimate Experience ski and snowboard courses Gappers get to become real instructors and teach at Tremblant’s Snow School. It is a very challenging experience (being responsible for 5 six year olds on a mountain!), and gives students the opportunity to try out their newly acquired skills and get a taste of what it’s really like to be an instructor.

    Once the gappers have qualified as CSIA and CASI Level 1 instructors, this work experience week is a great chance to put their internationally recognised teaching qualifications into practice. Having the opportunity to give real lessons immediately improves communication and leadership skills, as well as being a huge confidence boost. This definitely makes their first job as a ski or snowboard instructor much less daunting!

    Not only is it an invaluable experience and hugely rewarding, it will help their CV stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs in any field.

    Past gapper Liz said, “Despite the tears and cries for Mummy (and that was just from us!) it really was a week I couldn’t have gone without”.

    Teaching at the Snow School enables the Gappers to gain valuable experience as well as realising they are now fully fledged instructors!

    We'd be happy to chat, call us direct on

    0207 731 5432