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Off to France for all expenses paid skiing experience

French Alps
BY harry Walsh

TWO Donegal Outdoor Activity Instructors fly to France next week for in an all, expense paid, two-month working holiday.

Michael Maguire from Ardara and Donal Martin (Laghy) have been chosen to fly the flag in the French Alps as part of an EU based movement that gives Irish-based Instructors the opportunity to work and live in a foreign winter industry.

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Michael and Donal were nominated by Gartan Outdoor Education and Training Centre where they have both achieved their instructorships in rock-climbing, kayaking and mountaineering. The successful applicants competed in a competitive selection process that began in July and they were chosen for their delivery of education through the activity.

They specialised in developing life skills through adventure activities, and worked not just with outdoor activity enthusiasts but with youth-at-risk groups, groups with disabilities or addiction, and in some cases elite athletes.

In addition to observing French work practices, they will also spend some of their time improving their existing ski skills. As well as increasing levels of spoken French and their technical skills, it is hoped they will return with systems and techniques to improve their work in Ireland, and that the work placement will help develop relationships between the Irish and French Outdoor Activity centres.

Both men will be based in the French Alp Ski resort of Chamonix, on a Course by Adventure Related Vocational Educators (CARVE), working and living alongside their French counterparts and gaining a valuable insight into the way adventure centres are run in France.

They fly out to the resort, which is located at the base of Mont Blanc, on Tuesday next and they return home on March 21.

“We’re really looking forward to the trip and, who knows, we might even try and plant the Donegal Flag at the summit of Europe’s tallest peak,” Michael Maguire said.

“We’ll be living and working with ski instructors for the coming winter season and those skills might come in handy closer to home next year. Getting trained in a new industry will not only be of benefit to us but also benefit the Industry in Ireland upon our return ,” he added.

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