SKI ace Oli Corkhill was just 16 when he became an instructor at one of Europe’s most exclusive resorts.
A decade later, he has turned his passion for snow into a thriving business.
With fellow director Ant Cullen, he launched Alpine Guru in 2011 and has seen turnover rocket from less than £100,000 to £1m.
The firm, based in Cornbury Park, offers luxury holiday accommodation in 300 chalets, apartments and hotels across 35 ski resorts such as Verbier, Courchevel, Aspen and St Anton.
Glitzy venues on offer are Richard Branson’s The Lodge in Verbier and the Grand Hotel Park in Gstaad, with typical rates ranging from £1,000 to more than £10,000 per person per week.
Clients come from more than 14 countries and include a number of royals and celebrities.
Earlier this year, the company expanded its offer by launching sister brand Villa Guru which offers holiday homes on private islands for up to £0.5m a week.
As well as expert advice, guests can take advantage of a concierge service to arrange skiing lessons, domestic staff, meals and access tickets for exclusive events.
Mr Corkhill, who lives in Buckland, took up skiing after going on a school trip when he was eight. He said: “Every client deals with either me or Ant when it comes to their holiday.
“Some people know what they want and book it within 10 minutes, while others take three months to decide. Our clients include high-profile Russian businessmen, two billionaires, a British TV personality and one spent £0.25m with us last year.
“We know the resorts so well, if someone wants us to arrange skiing lessons, we choose an instructor we know personally.
“Our biggest problem is snow, if it’s bad snow there is not a lot we can do. People don’t realise but there are quite a few resorts where you can go skiing in summer.
“Clients phone me in the middle of the night to sort a problem out and once someone asked me to source a karaoke machine at 2am.
“Other times you get people who want a specific wine, to get into an exclusive event that’s sold out or a ski instructor who speaks Chinese. And as long as it’s legal, they can have it.”
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
- Send your Letter to the Editor: What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter for publication here
- Latest Business news:
- Summertown firm's Brainy idea will help stroke victims across Europe
- Pixies creating tech magic make a wish for a new office and some cash
- Biotech firm's virus work spreading rapidly
- New wave of tech heroes choosing to put people before profits, says Oxford funding charity
- Business book club tackles Artificial Intelligence
- Take two, as second phase of industrial and warehouse launched