I spend every autumn looking forward to the Ski Club week, it’s a bit like an official start to the season for me, I get to spend six days with some old friends and get royally spoilt by the Mark Warner staff in the ‘Perce Neige’ in Tignes le Lac. Full English breakfast, tea and cake, evening dinner, jacuzzi and the opportunity to ski with two groups of Ski Club members 6 hours a day for 3 days each.
The lesson format is great from a coaching point of view because we have plenty of time to make changes to people’s performance, so I took my time today warming the guys up. I could tell they were all itching to get going as they all beat me on the walk from the hotel to the lifts, but after a warmer to make sure we all knew each others names and a quick physical warm up we headed towards the Gratalu Chair into the sun to sample some of the awesome piste skiing on offer in Tignes. The snow was cold and grippy and perfectly groomed and the team soon found their ski legs.
We started with some balance drills to get everyone over their outside ski and then I filmed the team to use as a benchmark to compare their progress over the three days. We quickly outlined some common threads to iron out, starting with the vertical ‘pop’ to reduce the amount of wasted muscular effort while at the same time improve the skis’ grip at the start of the turn. The session progressed by focussing on active leg stretching and rotating with some free practice before finishing off with another filmed run to assess the changes the guys had made over the course of the day.
I’ve decided to follow the advice of Louise Alison of Bonne Sante Physio and start incorporating a warm down when time permits – after the warm down we returned to the hotel for some video feedback where a few technical hitches caused me a touch of stress as I couldn’t get the t.v. to work. Fortunately for me the Perce Neige bar manager- ‘lovely Lily’ saved my bacon by dropping everything to fix the problem, and we spent probably too long analysing the days skiing, without a doubt this improved everyone’s understanding of the movements we’re making and the changes we need to make.
Tommorrow’s another day and I can’t wait to show off the awesome skiing in Val d’Isere, in the mean time, I must dash, the Jacuzzi is calling before a three course dinner with wine – I feel like I’m on holiday!
The second day of the VIP ski host training saw the groups run by tdc‘s Phil, Paul and Josh ripping up the powder all over the Espace Killy. a special mention goes to 63 year old Roger who was on fire in the off piste over in Tignes and has a few tricks to show the youngsters. For some these were their first turns in the deep stuff, so there were plenty of face plants…not a bad way to clear the head after a few beers the night before! The sky was a perfect blue and everyone made great progress. For the 3 tdc coaches it has been a pleasure to ski with such a personable group of people, we look forward to seeing some of you back again next year. Have a great season, cheers Paul, Phil and Josh.
tdc coaches were out on the hill in force today. With 4 Early Season Clinics running and 3 groups of VIP/Snowline ski hosts on a tdc training course, there are plenty of black jackets on show this week. The VIP ski hosts will be working in resorts across the Alps this season and are honing their technique and their leadership skills under the guidance of tdc coaches. Conditions were tricky today and there were a few sets of tired legs when we finally made it to the aprÃ¨s-ski! More of the same tomorrow, hopefully with some fresh snow during the night.
The whole tdc team was on the mountain today to launch our ski school’s season. We are really pleased to have Josh back with us for the winter and we are over the moon to have Lena joining our team. We are as strong as ever and hope to ski with you this winter in Val or Tignes. Here are a few photos of some of the tam on the hill today, the whole lot can be seen at http://picasaweb.google.com/tdcski
It has been a bit of a road trip around Europe for Gi recently. Firstly ten days in Hintertux attending and delivering to the BASI conference, followed by a few days running a selection of new trainers for BASI.
Coming back to the Tarentaise and both Tignes and Val d’isere make Zermatt look pretty bare for snow cover. We have had some warm weather here but we had 25cm of snow last night and Val d’Isere will be opening this weekend as planned. Tignes is already open and there is good skiing to be had on the pistes.
The picture is my group on the L1 in Zermatt. The mountain in the background interests me because it reminds me of the Belvarde a bit, or at least a pale imitation.
Things are looking great for the start of the season.
Thanks to YSE for this great photo looking at the Solaise 11th Nov 2009.
And thanks to John for the text as well – “This is extraordinary! It snowed again yesterday, hit -10? overnight, and the snow cannons were running this morning. Apart from the fact that there are still orange needles on the larches, it could be January.Â This is how winters used to be before global warming, Gordon Brown and the decline of religion”
I’m whiling away the rest of the autumn with a bit of coaching at the local dry ski slope.
I haven’t skied on the ‘mat’ for probably 5 years now – and I’d honestly forgotten how much fun it is.
I even managed to squeeze out 2 sets of 50 old school short swings in 100 meters!
Don’t ask me to carve though – I left all my kit in Val – so I’m donning some old rear entry hire boots and some health and safety conscious – you won’t cut your fingers on these edges – hire skis.
I’ve been asked to coach some slalom racing which is always a pleasure, starting with Portsmouth Uni who are training for the British Universities Champs – I took some photos of them through the gates which are now posted on the tdc photo gallery http://picasaweb.google.com/tdcski/
Unfortunately since we were skiing under the floodlights and the guys were so fast – I struggled to get really clear shots but some of them are ok, even when blurred however – you can still pick out good and bad technique, hopefully the team will find them useful.
I also set a slalom course for a Southern Region race – which had to start on a big 35 degree ramp. I was worried the kids would pick up too much speed so I set 4 big ‘Tomba turns’ at the top, unfortunately it was a touch too tight so I had to whittle it down to make it more manageable.
It was interesting for me to see that the kids were super comfortable and fast edge to edge – when the gates were more or less straight! But only a few could handle the bigger turns at the top which showed they didn’t have enough leg rotation. Often when ‘mat skiers’ get onto the snow they find it hard to maintain a constant speed because they’re not used to finishing their turns, the dry slopes being so much slower means that leg rotation is less important.
Anyway I hope I get the chance to work with these kids again, I’ve been scheming some drills and exercises just in case. In the meantime I’m getting ready for the winter – although I’m not looking forward to having to force on a pair of front entry boots – I can’t wait to get back on the snow, gonna try to beat 100 old school short swings on the ‘Village’! Enough rambling – I’m heading into Christchurch for a coffeeâ€¦ my round today then boys!
Well, global warming is certainly having an effect on the glacier in Tignes, it looks very different to when I first trained up there 10 years ago. However, it is still there and people are still skiing on it and using it for their training. Last week I skied every day with Fraser who is training for his BASI Level 3 exam and despite limited access to the lower runs we enjoyed some great skiing.
The sun shone for most of the week and we rounded things off by skiing in fresh snow on Friday, only a dusting but enough to soften everything up, very nice. What better way to spend a week in October than sliding around in the sunshine. See you on the slopes soon.
The BASI course finished on Friday, so that makes 10 new race coaches ready to get out there and change the world for the better. Really nice group actually, well done to them.
Saturday saw the first ever indoor session run under the banner of the development centre, or tdc. The participants were the Ski club of Manchester, a keen and talented bunch. Most of the slope was being used by kids club or had enormous kickers built on it, but the bit we still had left was good firm snow and i managed to catch up with them enough times to try a few drills and make a few changes. Until Rushup Edge has a decent base of snow again we will be back in the Chillfactore for some more on snow soon.
The winter starts for me tomorrow. I am running a course that trains race coaches at the Chillfactore in Manchester,Â indoors at the snowdome. I will be running a course that qualifies successful candidates to coach children ski racing.
On Saturday I am running a series private group sessions with the Ski Club of Manchester, so that they can have their ski legs ready for the first snowfalls in Europe, www.scom.org.uk. This is just the beginning. How exciting.