With the Christmas and New Year holidays now over we are back to introducing our team members in the run up to the Interski Congress in March and the first of 2019 is none other than Pete Gillespie. Pete has been very much involved with IASI for many years and attended both Interski 2011 St. Anton and Interski 2015 Ushuaia as part of the Irish delegation. As Chairman of IASI he oversaw a phenomenal period of growth handing over the reigns in 2017 to Derek Tate. He continues to be heavily involved with IASI as a board member and educator & examiner. He also recently contributed a very valuable chapter to the new IASI manual on "The Guest Experience" which is available to all as a PDF download.
Learn it - tell us about when you learnt to ski?
Although growing up in the UK my Grandmother was Austrian and inspired me with stories of her childhood in the mountains. My first sight of “real” skiers was age 13 whilst on a family summer holiday to Austria. During a day excursion to Hintertux glacier I was mesmerised by the sight of people skiing down the glacier……in mid-July! I grew up a very short distance away from an outdoor dry ski slope so on my return from holiday enrolled on a course of lessons at my local slope. I remember my first lesson like it was yesterday and this began a lifelong passion with skiing and mountains. My first winter skiing trip was with my family to Soll in the Austrian Tirol and from here on I was hooked.
Love it - what is it you love about skiing/teaching?
My interest in skiing became an obsession and eventually my school would just send me down to the local ski slope during PE sessions rather than force me to play football. It was not long before I was offered a role handing out boots and skis in return for free slope access : ). I would spend almost every hour outside of school at the ski slope practising and joined the ski club. Whether it is spending the first hours with a beginner on the training hill or an off piste run with guests the passion for sharing snowsports is infectious. I have never got tired on spending time with people on skis at all levels.
Live it - where are you based and what has skiing given to you?
Despite the school careers officer telling me I was wasting my life on “dreams” I quickly dismissed that and took my first instructors qualification age 16. This began the pathway to teaching and making snowsports my life. After a few years teaching on my local slope I ventured out to Austria after a chance meeting with an instructor Toby Fishel who lived in Seefeld, Tirol. I spent some great seasons in Seefeld teaching whilst developing my qualifications. In 2001 I passed my full qualification and since then have worked and skied in many locations around the world as a professional Snowsport instructor. Currently I am part of the management team running a real indoor snow facility in the UK The Snow Centre, and run specialist coaching tours out to the mountains.
Share an Interski moment - past/build up/expectation
I am proud to have been involved with the Irish Interski Team since the 2011 Interski congress in St Anton, Austria. As a defining career moment I was the first skier from Irish Interski Team to take a solo run down the demo hill at the closing ceremony. Since then I have been a member and presenter at Interski 2015 Argentina and now looking forwards to my third Interski congress in Pamporovo, Bulgaria 2019.
What's your craziest moment on skis?
Well this moment was actually without skis! First day of a new job teaching in Villaroger, France. Turn up early, well-groomed and ready to impress. Introduce myself, the plan for the day and invite my group to ride the ski lift….only to realise I had forgotten my own skis!
Please note that all our team members are paying their own way so if you would like to support the team visit our support the team page. Any donations received will go directly to help with travel and accommodation costs.