My Career Choice: Gundula Brattke – SKI SOULS

Gundula Brattke is a Berliner turned Brooklynite. She’s also the proud co-owner of SKI SOULS, a travel company that hosts week-long alpine adventures geared towards solo travelers. The trips include luxury hotel accommodations, ski passes, mountain tours, après ski fun and of course, the most beautiful skiing and snowboarding for all abilities.  Gundula formerly worked in marketing, film and fashion and she’s the mother of three boys. She’s a city lover, theatre goer, skier, runner, and life-long learner.

Can you point to one event that triggered your interest in your career?
Having had a few careers in my life it all came down to do something I love, skiing, and doing something I do best, organizing trips, meeting, connecting, and providing a good time for people from different paths of life.

SKI SOULS, a company I co-own with my partner was born.

What about this career choice did you find most appealing?
It came to me organically. I went through a tough divorce and was stuck professionally. I met my new partner on bumble who was in a similar situation. We started talking about how we both love skiing but it’s not much fun to do it alone. Research showed there were barely any options for group travel for single travelers when it comes to winter sport. We figured we could fill that void and have fun ourselves by doing it. 

What steps did you take to begin your education or training?
I had gone on a few different adventure group trips. That was pretty much my starting point. I took online courses, checked out many travel sites, and learned a lot by trial and error. I’m still learning every day.

Along the way, were people encouraging or discouraging?
I don’t recall a single person who didn’t like the idea. 

Did you ever doubt your decision and attempt a career change?
I doubt it every day and it drives me forward. It’s a huge challenge to start a company from scratch and without any investors but yourself.

When did your career reach a tipping point?
It hasn’t yet. SKI SOULS was founded in 2017 and is in its second season. We just added our first “Women only” trip to Telluride in January which is slightly different from our trips for single and solo men and women. It’s focused equally on wellness and skiing or snowboarding. Our times just called for a women’s retreat!

Can you describe a challenge you had to overcome?
Every day is challenging.

Our business is very weather dependent. Arriving at our first trip to Colorado last January with only 10% of runs open was mortifying. The fact that our guests had a blast anyway speaks for the amazing people of Telluride and our skills to come up with many alternatives to skiing. 

What single skill has proven to be most useful?
It’s maybe more of a personality trait, I’m an optimist. Raising three boys also taught me patience, tolerance, and perseverance.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Businesswise? To start a new company and fill three trips during our first season. 

Otherwise? Raising three decent human beings.

Any advice for others entering your profession?
Start slowly. Keep going. Don’t take things personal. Be confident and creative. Don’t be afraid to cry your eyes out sometimes. Love people. Love them more.

For more information, go to SKI SOULS.