Alannah on deferring Biomedicine and spending a year at the snow

Lake Boga
Skiing, travelling, art, medicine
Studied biomedicine at Latrobe university, ski instructor for 2 years

From studying medicine to taking a gap year at the snow

How did you go from deciding to study to taking time off to work at the snow?

I grew up in Swan Hill, a regional town located North of Melbourne. Throughout school, I was passionate about studying medicine at university. I worked hard during my senior years and was fortunate to get an offer at Latrobe University. I moved to Melbourne to study Biomedicine. I lived on a residential college for two years, then in a share house with friends in my final year of university. I completed my undergraduate degree in 2020, but I didn’t want to continue studying just yet. I wanted to do something different – all I had really done before was study. I began to look for job opportunities at the snow.

What drew you to the snow?

I am not sure why I chose to go to the snow; it was a random thought. I had only skied a few times with my family before, so I didn’t have a lot of experience. I always had loved going to the snow and appreciated the sport.

What work did you apply for at the snow?

I was interested in becoming a Ski instructor. I applied to Mt. Buller and I was successful. To officially become an instructor, you must do a week of intense training to ensure you are a capable skier. I improved a tremendous amount in that week and passed the training course.

I was a level one instructor, so I mainly taught children in ski school. I work from 9 to 3, I have the kids the entire day, I even eat lunch with them as well. It is exhausting but very rewarding. Each day differs because our job is reliant on demand – the weekends are usually the busiest for work.

Life outside of work

After work, I love going home at the end of the day to the dorms. Most of the snow workers live in the dorms that are provided on the mountain. I share a room with three other girls. It feels like you are at college again; you live with people of all different ages and from all different walks of life. The culture is great at the snow, everyone feels like family.

How did COVID effect your time at the snow?

Unfortunately, COVID lockdowns meant that people couldn’t travel to the mountain so we didn’t have any work. While this was disappointing, it led to a lot of free time with friends. I learnt how to snowboard, we went on a lot of hikes, and I solidified a lot of my friendships.

Plans for the future

The snow industry has opened a whole range of opportunities that I had never considered before. As a result of this, I am now heading to Japan for their ski season this December.

This is not to say that I won’t use my degree in Biomedicine. I am still very passionate about medicine, and I think that it’s something I could continue in the future. For now, I want to keep doing what I love which is travelling and skiing.

My advice to young people

For anyone thinking about working a snow season in the future, I would strongly recommend it. It will change your life.

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