“Every day on the mountains is just a pleasant day, it’s more like skiing with friends than working.” – Alan H.
One of the things we love most about working with independent instructors is getting to know them and their stories, so we’ve started a new series of in-depth profiles of the independent instructors on the Maison Sport platform. Many independent instructors have had incredible experiences in their pasts, which have led them to where they are today - teaching independently rather than through a ski school. Hopefully, this new series will really help you get to know our instructors - by booking the perfect instructor we can assure you that you’ll never have a bad experience or a boring chairlift ride again!
This is Alan Hole’s Story
If you’re looking for an instructor with plenty of years of experience, look no further. Alan’s ski career started by going up instead of down, as his initial job was teaching climbing and mountaineering in Wales - teaching has always been part of his life, as he started out as a school teacher even earlier on. From Wales, Alan made his way to the Alps where he realised that along with climbing, he had to learn how to ski and this is when his career in skiing started. As Alan said, “back then there weren’t a lot of people who knew much about the sport, so when it came to learning how to ski I bought books about skiing and pretty much taught myself”. Once he was back in the UK, he became one of the first instructors to work with the newly formed English Ski Council at the time when it was founded in the 1970s.
From that point on Alan’s passion for the sport simply started growing and hasn’t stopped yet. Nowadays it is quite common to find British instructors working in ski resorts around Europe but it hasn’t always been this way. In fact, when Alan decided to move to Courchevel, France, it was quite a bold move, given there was just a handful of British instructors working there at that time. His move to Courchevel wasn’t the only bold move Alan made at that time, along with his good friends Sue and Kenny Dickson, they opened the first-ever British Ski School in “Les Trois Vallèes” in 1991.
After 8 years of successfully running his ski school in Courchevel, Alan once again changed his path and decided to move to Tignes, another popular ski resort in France. His motivation behind the move was the desire for the off-piste instead of the usual two-hour lessons, Alan says he wanted to take his clients on off-piste excursions and day tours which is not surprising given he had spent his earlier days mountaineering. In Tignes, he was welcomed by the small town’s charm and its people, he even says “I met more people in Tignes in one winter than in Courchevel in 8 years”, something for you to also consider when choosing where you want to spend your winter vacations, big resorts with lots of people, or smaller ones where everyone knows each other. Today Tignes has grown into one of the big resorts and an incredibly popular holiday destination, but there are plenty of smaller less crowded ski resorts if that’s what you’re looking for.
After 21 years, Alan is still heading to Tignes every winter to meet old clients and friends, teach, and enjoy the town which is now his second home. It’s also a great advantage that the season is longer in Tignes, Alan says their teaching season usually starts around October, compared to most resorts which tend to open early December, giving him more time and opportunities to teach.
From school teacher, to ski instructor for the past 30 years, Alan’s passion for teaching is reflected in his clients’ reviews and their loyalty, in fact, when he moved from Courchevel to Tignes, some of his customers at the time changed resorts along with him. This really resonates with us at Maison Sport, we always say the right instructor can ‘make’ a holiday, so it doesn’t come as a surprise to hear of customers following their favourite instructor to a new resort.
So how does Alan stay motivated after so many years of teaching, and how does he keep his clients motivated year after year? Other than the fact that both teaching and skiing are passions for him, not jobs, he says that moving from the traditional pistes to the off-piste is always fun and keeps things interesting and different on a daily basis.
Alan’s style of teaching favours adults of all ages and what he likes to do with beginners is show them how the skills that they are learning with him on the piste will give them the ability to also explore the off-piste and go on exciting adventures out on the mountains. An extra motivation in our opinion for anyone planning to take lessons with Alan, is simply him, seeing how far he has come in the ski industry and how much he still does after 30 years should motivate anyone looking to start their skiing journey, we promise you, it won’t get boring.
Even during summer, you won’t find Alan having a lazy day at the beach, instead if he is not climbing or walking on the Welsh mountains you will find him in the skies! That’s right, on clear sunny days Alan is in the sky flying a micro-light over the mountains…what a view that must be. Here’s a picture of Alan and his friend flying from Caernarfon to Welshpool this summer on a modern micro-light that has a range of over 250 miles!
When you book a lesson with Alan, he will go above and beyond, taking you on adventures, teaching you everything you need to know about skiing and Tignes, as well as building a long-lasting friendship with you. His story is inspiring for all the ski community and his previous customers really appreciate all he has done for them.
Check out his profile here, and if you’re heading to Tignes this winter make sure you book your lesson with Alan in advance, as he tends to get pretty busy!
If you’d like to book a lesson with Alan in Tignes click here.
If you’d like to book one of our other brilliant independent instructors in a different resort, click here.
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