We share this great mystery with you, several instructors accepted to meet us in July to let us in on their schedule.
The majority told us that they live in rhythm with the seasons and with their passions. Staying as close as possible to nature was essential for most of them. You may be surprised to learn that they were not all born in the mountains…
FRED MELLET (La Clusaz)
Ski instructor in winter and paragliding instructor in summer!
He was born in Paris and would live there for almost 20 years, knowing all along that he was destined to be close to nature. He was introduced to life on the mountain from a very early age: his uncle owned a ski shop in Tignes and he grew up with his father who was a mountain guide, spending every summer in Chamonix. While waiting to able to leave Paris, he would go rocking climbing on the weekends in the Yonne region.
He was not born in the mountains but went as often as possible until finally moving there.
And what about skiing? Since he was a boy he would go skiing regularly during the holidays. He took a one-year course at the UCPA and then completed a course at the CRET in Briançon. Skiing is a passion for him, he even speaks of it as a necessity. You can find him on his skis from November to the end of April. He climbs to altitude with the help of climbing skins when the ski stations have not yet opened.
Where does paragliding fit in all this? One day a friend introduced him to paragliding, making him want to sign up to a school next to Mieussy. On a side note, the first paragliding flights took place at Mieussy. After two internships, he went on to complete his national certification. This occupation keeps him busy from April up until the beginning of winter. While it is possible to do paragliding in winter, he opts for his skis instead and lets others take his place.
These two pursuits require intense physical training of themselves, but also in order to be able to maintain credibility with his customers and demonstrate accurate and precise movements. In both sports, he teaches from beginners to more advanced levels which means he needs to stay the best!
OPHELIE CANDAU (Saint Foy)
Ski instructor in winter and cosmetics maker in summer!
Ophélie grew up on the slopes of the Deux Alpes. With a mountain guide as a father and a ski instructor as a mother, the mountains were a natural choice for Ophélie Candau as a career path.
She was introduced to the joys of life at the ski station from an early age, naturally taking up alpine and cross-country skiing in winter, but also hiking and rock climbing over summer.
In winter she works as a ski instructor, always returning to the joys of skiing, the snow-covered landscapes as well as a certain freedom. This profession has enabled her to discover a number of ski stations in Haute-Savoie, Savoie, Isère and the Tarentaise Valley. Her base will be the French ski school in Saint Foy.
And as a cosmetics maker?
For a while she was a windsurf instructor and then owned a beach café for 18 years, deciding to move on in favour of a job closer to nature and to what she wanted.
She has known plants and their benefits from a young age, knowledge which has been passed down through the generations. She confessed that she doesn’t use any medications. “I would make herbal remedies for myself and then little by little for others, they ended up calling me the local witch”. In the end, it was the shopkeepers that pushed her to start making local products and it has now been two years since she started.
She harvests plants from spring to mid-July in the Alps, the Eastern Pyrenees and Corsica before returning to Saint Foy for winter.
When asked what her favourite job was, she replied that it was making the most of the magical moments in the snow-covered mountain landscapes, something she hopes to keep enjoying as long as possible. Making cosmetics is her way to create and be inventive.
Laurent (La Clusaz)
Ski instructor in winter and diving instructor in summer!
Laurent was not a child of the mountains either, he was born in Brive-la-Gaillarde. He was originally set on becoming an accountant, a course which he promptly gave up in order to live his passion: skiing. A few years later he completed a STAPS (Science and Technique of Physical and Sports Activities) undergraduate degree.
His winters have followed a rhythm of travelling and exploring new ski stations such as Val d’Isère, Chamonix, Serre-Chevalier and Tignes.
His spent his first winter as a ski instructor with Club Med, a job he was chosen for following a three-week trial by the centre. He then spent nine years at the UCPA, where he obtained his national certification. Since then, he enjoys the snow-covered winter landscapes from November to April at La Clusaz, spending one week in July at Amnéville (the only indoor ski run in France) and then another week on the magnificent slopes of the Stubaï ski station. He teaches traditional skiing as well as telemark skiing and snowboarding.
As for scuba diving, he discovered the sport in Corsica and passed his certification test there.
He puts on his diving gear from August to September to share the depths of Lake Annecy with others. So, after spending winter at sometimes over 4000m (the highest summit he reached was Mount Rose at an altitude of 4634m), he dives to depths of more than 80 metres!
Between these two professions, he spends time travelling with his family, that’s what it is to be independent and to live in tempo with the seasons and with his passions!