English Ski School: Meet the British couple who swapped the London rat race for high life on the slopes of Spain’s Sierra Nevada

Georgina Simon and Nathan Merchant English Ski School

THEY could have become a successful London power couple when they met in 2008, but both preferred to swap the rat race for the outdoor life in Spain.

Georgina Simon and Nathan Merchant were both looking for a total career change when they met on a 12-week ski/snowboard instructors course in New Zealand… and within a year were teaching skiing and snowboard classes in Spain’s sensational Sierra Nevada.

“We both loved the mountains and to ski and snowboard so when the opportunity came up to both come and teach here in Spain, we jumped at it,” explains Georgina, 40, from Herne Hill, in London.

“We were both bored in our jobs and wanted a complete career change. This ticked so many boxes,” she told the Olive Press.

“We both loved Spain and, in particular, the Sierra Nevada as Nathan learnt to snowboard here and I came a few times as a child to ski.”

Now 13 years on the pair are running their own successful ski and snowboard school on the slopes, with three fellow instructors, catering to anybody who wants to learn in English.

English Ski School 1
Georgina Simon and Nathan Merchant now run the English Ski School. Photo: Jon Clarke

Called the English Ski School, they juggle teaching and admin of the company with bringing up a family of two children, four cats and a dog in nearby Guejar Sierra.

“We have a multinational team who aside from teaching in English can offer lessons in Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and French,” explains Nathan, 44.

While some would see this as the perfect life, they have had to deal with many challenges, not least the complications created post-Brexit and the ongoing uncertainty in the winter sports industry due to the pandemic.

But aside from these challenges they have built up a loyal client base in just four years since forming their company, which runs out of the well-established rental shop Skisol.

As well as offering skiing classes to all levels, they concentrate on a tailor-made bespoke personal service from the minute a client contacts them to when they fly away at the end of their holiday. They are able to help organise lessons, equipment hire, lift passes, accommodation and transfers.

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But that’s not all. Over the last decade they have become highly specialised in working with both children and adults with additional needs and work with the UK charity Snowbility, to offer a real mountain experience to people who have only ever skied on indoor slopes. They have also helped to organise and run skiing adventures for local councils in the UK.

“Working with additional needs students can be some of the hardest and also most rewarding experiences we have ever had. We have worked with children and adults who can be non-verbal and in some cases have had to overcome great fears and challenges to even get on the plane to come to Spain,” says Nathan.

“It is a massive achievement just to get their skis on and they always end up loving it,” continues Georgina, who worked with children with additional needs, after leaving school in London.

“But we pride ourselves in teaching any level and any person,” she adds. “Even those who are terrified of giving it a go, offering them the best service possible and making their ski/snowboard experience one to remember for the rest of their lives“

Get in contact at www.englishskischool.com or on 603562889 

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Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

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