If you're approaching graduation, you're likely agonising over what to do afterwards. Picking the right next step can be tricky. If you made it to this blog though, then you must be considering an adventure after you graduate high school. Don't worry, you've come to the right place.
We know how difficult it is to find the right gap year that speaks to your preferences and personality. But if you get it right, you're in for an experience that will leave you in love with travel, enriched with experiences and even more prepared for college.
Together, let's explore the benefits of a gap year, why Niseko is a great gap year destination and in our completely biased opinion, why a ski instructor course may tick all your boxes 😜
Benefits of a Gap Year
There are many reasons people opt for a gap year after college. A couple of common reasons are:
- To take a break - During graduation, students feel more pressure and peer competition than ever. By the time college acceptances come around, burnout is the norm. Some people recognise that taking a break from this pressure will help them clear their heads and give them time to gain maturity, independence, sense of purpose and dedication before going back head first into academia
- Master a language or sharpen a new skill - Students can spend hours in classes learning a language or skill that they have never used in their everyday life. Taking the language out of the classroom can be the perfect motivation to travel.
- Help others - Some may want to serve a community in need and help others.
- See the world - Some are curious to travel and explore the world, meeting interesting people from different cultures.
Most students want a variation of or all of the above because the benefits of a gap year aren’t just intangible. So many travellers like you embark on a gap year and return to college with clarity, maturity and a renewed sense of motivation for what career path they choose.
Travel to Niseko for your Gap Year
With so many options in Europe or Latin America, sometimes Asia can often be overlooked. This is a shame because at the heart of Japan, lies a special place called Niseko. In Niseko, also known as the Aspen of Asia, the powder is plentiful, it has untouched beauty, vivid culture, and nightlife.
In winter, in Japan (“Japow”), there’s an average of 600 inches of snow that comes from Siberia and puts Niseko on the map for skiers and snowboarders. Located on the island of Hokkaido, Niseko comprises four separate but linked resorts named Niseko United.
Niseko isn’t just known for its slopes, though. The ski resort comes equipped with world-class seafood, produce, and beef, as well as beer, whiskey, and sake. Expect delicious restaurants touting simple noodle bars and casual Japanese pubs (izakayas) to ultra-formal dining at the Michelin-starred Kamimura. Niseko is becoming increasingly popular as one of the hottest skiing spots in the world. The scene is vibrant, beautiful, and delicious.
After visiting Niseko you’ll understand why it’s such a great gap year location. If you’re looking for somewhere safe, cultural, unique and literally covered in snow, then there’s no better place.
"If you’re not already a skier or snowboarder I wouldn’t be throwing Niseko off your list too quickly. Whether you’ve never been on the slopes or can ski in your sleep, a ski instructor training course is a great gap year activity that can connect you to your love of adventure, learning, and new places."
Why learn skiing and snowboarding?
Skiing and snowboarding are proven to boost your happiness–Studies show that even 15 minutes in nature can boost your endorphins and reduce cortisol, the stress hormone. Even 45 minutes of fresh air can boost cognitive performance. Imagine the benefits of being outside all day on Japan’s beautiful slopes.
Challenges change you. Skiing and snowboarding do just that. Even if it’s out of your comfort zone, you’ll get some benefits from it. The mountain changes every day and the snow sports activities help you to try new tricks and runs. One of the greatest rewards is the confidence you’ll gain from learning new skills.
Snow sports are some of those activities you can keep with you your whole life. People well into old age still ski and snowboard. It’s a fun activity that can be enjoyed with a whole family or on your own, at any age.
The friends you make will stay with you forever. Conversations turn into friendships on ski lifts. Skiing and snowboarding are social sports, so you can feel great knowing you’re expanding your social circle and meeting new and interesting people.
It’s an incredible workout. Skiing and snowboarding really tap into muscle toning and cardio, and your brain will get sharper from learning the new skills. One day on the mountain is superior to a day at the gym–you’re outside, enjoying nature and friends–you won’t even realize you’re burning calories or gaining muscle.
The après is worthy enough. Your handsome reward for a day on the slopes: hot cocoa, nachos, a refreshing beverage or two–your day is sealed with deliciousness and comfort foods.
The Niseko Japan skiing experience
The skiing experience in Niseko is unbeatable. Hashtags like #japow, #japanuary, #powmageddon live up to their legend status each winter. Niseko expects an average of 50 feet of snow between January and March. That’s double the amount of snow that North American ski resorts get!
The history of Niseko is humble with its roots in potato farming. A 1.5-hour flight from Tokyo, every year, tourists and eager skiers flock here to experience the incredible conditions, onsen hot springs, and noodle masters.
How does Niseko get so much snow? The west-to-east flow of wind carries freezing air from the Siberian tundra to the warm sea of Japan, zapping all moisture from the air and forming dense clouds along the journey. Niseko is in direct correlation to this wind path, and the mix of moisture, cold air, and upward lift creates Niseko’s famous dry powder snow.
Ski instructor training
If you made it this far, then it’s high time we chat about what a ski or snowboard instructor course actually is. Project Snow is a training provider that caters for all levels; from those who’ve never skied before, all the way to expert skiers looking to take their skills to the next level and learn how to teach others. We don’t believe in learning behind a computer so, during the course, you’ll head out on the slopes with an expert instructor who’ll refine your skills, break your bad habits and refine your skiing or snowboarding into world-class technique.
There are three courses you can choose from; The Gateway, The Epic and if you’re a newbie, no worries! You can start with The Primer, which gets you on the slopes in little time.
With each option, you’ll be able to increase your skills, gain certification, and achieve peak activity. If you’re looking to be a part of the industry, Project Snow will set you up with everything you need to jump in.
Accommodation is included as well as training, exams, meals, transportation, social events, and a season pass. Just bring your own gear, insurance, flights, and a willing attitude. If you’d like to chat with one of our team to learn more about your gap year and course options, enquire about our programs below.