37 year old Gary was leaving the British Army and he decided to do a ski instructor course as part of his Resettlement package. He had already been on a few in-service skiing courses and was keen to get a professional snow sports qualification.
Gary describes his time in Canada: Tthe variety of skiing in Whistler was awesome and the people were great - both the staff and fellow course mates.
The instructors are fantastic, PJ and Heidi run a tight ship and have things set up just right to enable you to pass the exams.
I managed to break a few ribs just before my Level 1 exams but my worst memory was actually having to leave when the course finished!
The most valuable thing that I learnt from the course was being able to look at my own skiing, see where I was going wrong and then be able to fix it.
Gary continued his time out with a road trip around Europe from July until November. He managed to visit 21 countries and clocked up over 15,000 miles. At the end of the year he headed back to Whistler where he took up mountain biking, both cross country and downhill.
We asked Gary what he'd like to say to future students. His advice: Make sure you have enough money for the course as Whistler can be quite expensive. Make sure you have full travel/medical insurance. If you're planning on working after the course make sure you get a Working Holiday Visa before the course starts, so you'll be able to start work straight away.
Re-learn what you thought you knew
Be ready to re-learn everything you thought you knew about skiing! You have to be able to ski the CSIA way to pass the exams but as long as you listen to what the instructors are telling you, then it should all go well.
And Gary's adventures aren't over yet. After Whistler, he's heading off across Russia, Mongolia and China on the trans Siberian railway before going down to Oz to hook up with some friends. And after that .....?