Except for the hard-core ski tourers, most skiers spend a lot of the time on the pistes. To make the most of your time on the pistes you need equipment in first rate order. Then allow the skis to do what they are designed to do. With rockered skis, fat waists and twin tips, it is easy to forget that carving skis revolutionized skiing and piste skiing is where that happens best.
Can your tools handle the power?
Some of the best feelings in skiing are found on the pistes. The power of a carve turn can be incredible, and generates up to 4G in force. Any ski can carve a turn, but to maximise the experience you need a ski which can handle the power. Dynastar’s WC Master series have serious pedigree, coming from their race factory and the Speedzone series make the carve turn easier to achieve.
Are your skis sharp?
The key to carving is tilting the skis over and balancing against the forces generated by the turn. The more you can tilt (and stay in balance) the greater the forces will be. In order for the skis to grip when tilted over on firm pistes the skis need to be in good condition. Sharp edges and a smooth base is essential to build confidence in your ability to tilt over. Get your skis serviced before heading to the alps and at the minimum take a diamond edge tool to keep the skis in great condition whilst you are out there.
If you want to turn tighter in a carve, tilt over more and allow the skis to move further away from the body. Balance through the outside ski and tilt both skis the same amount. High speeds are the result of carve turns so only practice when and where it is safe to do so. You’ll definitely need goggles (not glasses) to stop your eyes from watering and a helmet completes the racer ready look.
As with everything in skiing, deliberate practice in a suitable environment will see you improve your performance, and carving is still one of the great unused techniques in skiing. For more help book yourself some lessons on your next trip.
Giles Lewis is an ambassador for Dynastar skis and Lange boots. He is a ski Instructor with the development centre, who operate in val d’isère Tignes and the Three Valleys, France. He is a trainer and examiner of Instructors for BASI and a member of the British Demo team.
You want to go skiing, but your partner is not so keen – “what else is there to do on a ski holiday apart from ski?” they keep saying.
Well once you are out there on the slopes, ripping it up here are a few ideas from our friends at Ski Bonjour.
Not a Keen Skier? Here’s What Else You Can Do on a Skiing Holiday…
So you’ve somehow found yourself being roped into a skiing holiday with family or friends, despite the fact that your idea of an active holiday is one that involves more than a minute’s walk to the bar. First things first, don’t panic! Whether you’re a ski connoisseur or ‘can’t-oisseur’, we’ve got your back.
If you’re about to jet off very soon, we’ve put together a few things you can add to your to-do list to ensure you don’t find yourself feeling too bored when everyone else is hitting the piste.
Of course, you could join them; there’s nothing wrong with starting out on a small slope after all. But if you can’t think of anything worse than the prospect of a tumble in the snow, go for one of the following options instead…
Check Out Your Resort’s Spa
Love to kick back and relax? You might just be in luck if you go skiing then, with many of the resorts having a spa on site. In the chalets themselves, you might find everything from hydro-massage baths fed with thermal water, or even a Jacuzzi or hot tub outside.
The resort spas will no doubt offer everything from facials to mud wraps, and even Turkish baths. And what could be better than the chance to enjoy a soothing massage when your skin’s feeling cold and tingly following a day facing the elements?
Make the Most of a Quiet Chalet – If you’re someone who’s constantly dashing around, you’ll probably appreciate the chance to kick off your shoes and relax. And if you’re joining family or friends on a skiing holiday, the good news is there will most likely be out on the slopes for the majority of the day. With that in mind, treat the break like you would a relaxing beach holiday; start the day with a lie in and grab a good book or two to get stuck into. Later, take a hot bath while watching a film via your in-bathroom TV – many ski resorts have them, so make sure you check the brochure or website to check before you go!
Try a Husky Ride – You might not like the sound of hitting the ski slopes but that doesn’t always mean that, as a non-skier, you won’t enjoy other snow-based activities. So why not let man’s best friend show you around in the snow and experience dog sledding? Husky rides are one of the most traditional ski break pastimes and nothing beats the chance to enjoy the scenery without having to hobble around in the ice and snow.
Thrill Seeker? Give Paragliding a Go – If snow’s a no-no for you, try soaring above the mountains – tandem or solo – with a spot of paragliding. It’s fast becoming a must-try non-ski activity in a host of skiing resorts and it’s one of the best ways to make the most of the gorgeously wintry surroundings
Join the Others for Après-Ski Socialising – Have you spent the day on your own, mug of coffee in hand and roaring fire lit? By the time the others make their way back to the chalet you’ll be crying out for some company, we bet, so think about taking advantage of the party atmosphere many ski resorts offer. There are plenty of things to do and places to go after a day’s spent on the slopes, so feast on some of the area’s delicious foods and order a local beer to wash it down with. It’s right about now that you’ll realise exactly why your friends and family were right to persuade you to join them for the break!
Ski Bonjour www.skibonjour.com
OUTSTANDING AFFORDABLE CATERED CHALETS
VAL D’ISÈRE • TIGNES LES BRÉVIÈRES • TIGNES LE LAC
Come Ski on the Ski Club of Manchester Dec 2013 Trip
The Development Centre (www.tdcski.com) are pleased to announce that the Ski Club of Manchester are planning to return to the Espace Killy this December.
Last year was the first time that the Ski Club of Manchester had come to the alps for their “Early season Trip”. The club came to see TDC for a brush up on technique and performance.
The 2012 trip was a great success (see the rave reviews below) and the club are coming back again in December 2013.
The club has put together a fantastic package including accommodation, flights, transfers and the best bit… 5 half days of coaching with the development centre. The trip is unbeatable value with like minded, keen and friendly skiers.
There are spaces available for the 2013 trip.
The Ski Club of Manchester welcomes new members and you needn’t come from Manchester!
To enquire about the 2013 trip or to book, simply contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Read below for the Ski Club of Manchester’s own review of their 2012 trip:
December 2012 saw the Ski Club of Manchester take their early season training with the development centre (TDC) in Val d’Isere, France. Giles Lewis, who heads up TDC, and his team provided excellent coaching to the ski club members over five days. Lessons were in the mornings between 9am and 12 noon, giving everyone the opportunity to either free ski in the afternoon or rest aching muscles.
The instruction delivered by TDC was second to none. Group sizes were small (TDC have 6 maximum in group clinics). TDC coach you on your style as an individual allowing you to really make a breakthrough in confidence and performance. They certainly achieved this goal with ski club members receiving focused, personal feedback. Whilst at times the conditions were challenging the style of coaching we received allowed us to improve our skills in an enjoyable and relaxed environment. Each group took an approach suitable for the members needs within it and most groups spent some time enjoying the conditions off the piste (with all the safety equipment provided by the development centre for those who don’t have their own.
The adventure started in Manchester airport with Flybe seeming a little confused over which plane our skis would be on. However all skiers and skis arrived intact at Geneva airport and the three hour bus trip to Val D’Isere was comfortable and complimented by fantastic alpine views.
The Hotel Champs Avalin, situated in La Daille, offered comfortable accommodation in a typically French Hotel with a rustic alpine feel. The rooms were clean, warm and best of all had a bath, something not always available in the Alps. The food served in the pleasant hotel restaurant was excellent with a choice of three options for dinner, including vegetarian, and as much wine as you could drink. A hot option was offered with breakfast or alternatively continental style with plenty of choice.
The service offered by the staff in the Ski Total Hotel Champs Avalin was second to none. Great company, excellent food and free wine with dinner led to a joyous culinary week for all.
A fine evening out was enjoyed by all on the Wednesday at the excellent Le Barillon restaurant in La Daile with fine food, plenty full wine and vibrant conversation with many of the world’s problems being solved in a matter of hours as is usual.
Val d’Isere town is very picturesque especially at night with the trees lit up and the lights glittering in the snow. A relaxed and friendly resort with prices to match most pockets, including the fury collar addicts, but not so exclusive as to put off the more financially conside te of us.
The town is made up of three main areas being La Daille, Val d’Isere and Le Fornet all located along the same straight road. A free shuttle bus service is provided every 5 minutes through most of the day taking you the length of the town.
The food and drink is perhaps a little more expensive in Val d’Isere than some other resorts with a beer at around seven euros and a basic meal sixteen. There are several very friendly bars and restaurants with good food and live music.
We were fortunate in having the women’s World Cup downhill coinciding with our stay and some of our hotel rooms had amongst the best views of finish line. During the week we could see the amount of work that went into setting the course up. The media camp had located it’s self outside of our hotel together with the team accommodation. The race favourite, Lindsey Vonn, had a rare crash and instead the race was won by Swiss skier Lara Gut. Unfortunately the Super G, due to be held on the Saturday, was cancelled due to a white out, but this did not stop many of the club members who reported the best days skiing of the week no doubt fuelled by the skilful coaching received that week at the hands of the TDC team.
Although it hasn’t been a bumper snow season this year, we have still had some great conditions. The alarm bells were ringing loudly last week as temperatures soared and the most sun affected slopes began to get greener and greener but we have just enjoyed a relatively cold few days with good night time freezes which will see us nicely to the end of the season. If you stay high there is some great touring to be done, with spring snow on smooth open slopes. These shots were taken today on the Genepy ridges between Tignes and Val.
A big thank you to so many of TDC’s clients for having sponsored Paul, Giles or Ben for their forthcoming mammoth ski on the Bellevarde mountain. The event starts at midday on Wednesday 20th April and finishes at midday on 21st and will see a team of 6 spend 24hrs skiing the mountain. When the lifts close for the day, the guys will don their skins and will spend a good 16hrs walking up and down. Original plans were to be based on the Face but with the conditions as they are the pisteurs have stepped in and for safety reasons we will now be lapping up and down from La Daille.
If you haven’t already done so and would like to support our efforts have a look at the website that explains the event and the charities involved. Along with off-line donations we have raised almost £15000 so far.
The staff training program continues to run through the whole fo the season with the development centre. This week we were looking for off piste routes accessible with clients. The snow is good on most aspects. We had a great time…
Just a few words to contradict completely some of the rubish that is being circulated in the UK about the lack of snow in the Alps.
I can only speak for the resorts of Val d’isere and Tignes, but there is good coverage on the pistes, the entire area is open and we have been enjoying some brilliant skiing the past few weeks in bright sunshine.
It is true that we have not had a lot of natural snow this season and a great deal of thanks must go to the STVI and their team responsible for making snow and preparing the pistes.
That said, the off piste is still there and it is skiable. Check out the link to bumps skiing in val d’isere only last week. There has not been a lot of fresh powder to be skied this season, but this is not a reason for lazy journalists to write off our resorts as being low on snow. Just not true.
Whilst the final touches are being made to the renovated chalets and Hotels in Val d’Isere and Tignes, the glacier is being put to good use. Not only are TDC coaches running pre-season BASI prep courses and slalom training, but national teams have been up on the hill making their final preparations for the World and Europa cups.
See how the slalom training is getting on at: http://www.youtube.com/thedevelopmentcentre
All our coaches regularly use video analysis as a tool for teaching and all you need to do is ask you coach. You may even feature on this site!
Thank you very much to the members of the Ski Club of Manchester and the Ski Club of Great Britain for their enthusiasm and good humour at the Chillfactor in Manchester over the past week.
We have run nine sessions together and they have been really well attended. Over the nine sessions there must have been a few thousand runs completed. We have covered topics like balance (a lot), rotation, edging, pole plants, relaxing, flowing, skidding, gripping, jumping, arcing, carve turns, short swings, short turns, punchy turns and more. Thank you for listening, talking and asking questions, the sessions have passed really quickly.
We all need to extend warm thanks to John Weatherell for organising everything, a great effort.
We are back next year so if you are around next September then put the dates in the diary. Unless i see you in the Alps, until next year.
See the videos on our youtube site http://www.youtube.com/thedevelopmentcentre