Do you love living life on the edge? Is your idea of a perfect day one where you have a rendezvous with nature? Do you consider your life one big adventure and are eager to make it even more so? Then look no further, for a career in adventure sports might be just what you are looking for! While the perk of this kind of careers is the obvious fact that you get to spend most of your time outdoors, it also provides you with a unique opportunity to transform your hobby into a rewarding profession.
Adventure tourism is a booming sector. The involvement of the media (television channels such as National Geographic, Discovery, AXN, Animal Planet etc.) has given additional incentives to people to plan an adventure holiday rather than a routine vacation. The increasing influx of tourists also means that the availability of jobs and the demand for trained professionals far exceeds their availability, a trend likely to increase in the future, resulting in huge prospects for trained professionals.
Eligibility: Basic education is sufficient to initiate a career in adventure sports, with no subject restrictions as of class XII. Nevertheless, candidates having a bachelor’s degree in any discipline are given a preference. The candidate must belong to the age group of 16-40 years. The most important criterion, however, is the physical fitness of the applicant. For water-based activities it is mandatory to be proficient in swimming. In addition, proficiency in at least one foreign language is necessary as the candidate might have to deal with tourists from across the world and is a definite help in bagging jobs in travel and tourism agencies.
Personality traits: Equally important is for the candidate to have the right attitude for these kinds of careers, in addition to interest and aptitude. Since adventure sports include unusual, risky and exciting activities, the candidate must possess a high degree of risk taking ability, ability to work in different terrains, team spirit and leadership qualities, high levels of commitment and responsibility, environmental awareness and a love for conservation, awareness of first aid, camp management, map, compass reading and survival training and a hospitable and sociable nature in order to deal with the multiplicity of cultures and traditions he/she will inevitably encounter.
The candidate must also be well informed and aware and must possess a genuine love for the job, with a willingness to spend any amount of time outdoors and an indomitable spirit of adventure. Sporting talent is essential and immense mental toughness is a must.
Prospects: Opportunities for adventure sports professionals exist in excursion agencies, holiday resorts, leisure camps, commercial recreation centres, sports centres and athletic clubs. Those with enough experience in this field can also set up their own adventure sports centre where they can offer services and impart training in their area of specialization. Trained professionals can also work as liaison officers in various travel and tourism agencies or they can work in training organizations specializing in outdoor training. Related jobs are those of an instructor of the discipline and of an adventure sports photographer.
Places to study: Several institutes offer courses in adventure sports, both for beginners as well as experienced sports people. Most Adventure Sports institutes include technical skills modules in a large variety of sports. These include rock climbing, rappelling, river crossing, trekking, mountaineering, caving, camping, map reading, skiing, swimming, water safety and rescue, canoeing, kayaking, rowing, sailing, water surfing, skiing and white-water rafting.
Most of the popular sports are water based and tend to take place in coastal areas, or in some cases, in large lakes. Ocean sports often take place in tropical climates. And Skiing and snowboarding, needless to say, take place in cold areas with lots of mountains and during the winter. Another related course is that of an instructor, which results in an internationally recognized instructor certificate, which enables the person to get paid work as a sports instructor in any place around the world.
The course duration varies from a few days to a few months. Some notable institutes are Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling, Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi, Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering, Batote, J&K, Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali, Regional Mountaineering Centre, McLeodganj, Winter Sports Skiing Centre, Kulu, High Altitude Trekking & Skiing Centre, Narkanda, Mountaineering Sub-Centres, Bharmour and Jispa, Water Sports Centre, Bilaspur, Regional Water Sports Centre, Pong Dam, Adventure Sports Centre, Hatkoti, Balloon Club of India, Bahadurshah Zafar Marg, New Delhi, Tenzing Norgay Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Jawahar Parbat, Darjeeling and The National Institute of Water Sports in Panjim, Goa.
So what are you waiting for? If you are now convinced that adventure sports are your calling then pack your backpack, put on your sneakers and with your vision fixed on that bright, distant horizon take a stride towards a new future and make the world your own.