You know you’re a Ski Instructor when…

  • Your 1TB hardrive is full with box sets like Homeland, Dexter, Breaking Bad, etc.
  • You have bunions and spurs at 22 yrs old.
  • Xmas and Easter are the opposite of holidays.
  • The number of clients you teach in a day, is the same as the number of times you answer questions about ‘what you do in the Summer’.
  • Questions like “How many skis is too many?”, lose all meaning.
  • You haven’t eaten a ‘super-food’ for over 4 months.
  • You wonder if it’s possible to overdose or die of cheese.
  • You can’t feel your fingers or toes for at least 2 months of the year.
  • You’ve lost all faith in meteorological weather forecasting accuracy.
  • Genepi actually tastes ok.
  • Your Planks beanies, are as much of an everyday item as your pants.
  • 10pm is a late night.
  • All hip flexibility is long, long gone.
  • Your thumb is deeply scarred from slipping off your file guide whilst sharpening edges.SkiPrepHand
  • Your edges are blunt because you serviced your skis too much whilst training for Eurotest and lost the love.
  • When someone mentions ‘tip’ you don’t initially think of the end of your ski, or the bottom of your pole.
  • A multi socket extender plug with adapter is the most useful thing in your life.
  • A person pulling down the chairlift bar too fast, trapping your 6 yr olds leg, makes your consider waterboarding then murder.
  • You feel no humiliation in shaving your legs/shins.
    Shaved Shins Skiing
  • You don’t want a goggle-tan like other seasonaires do.
  • The living space of an organic free range chicken is greater than your 20sq/m flat, which you share with three people.
  • You spent more time and money on your badge than your university degree.
  • You would trade 15 slimline dishwashers for 1 washing machine.
  • You realise ‘No friends on a powder day’ is not actually true.  Who would dig you out, or help you search for a lost ski for an hour, or take epic photos?
Terry Powder Skiing TDC
Out with friends on a Powder day

Would you… risk learning?

What level of risk are you prepared to take when you’re skiing?  Are you a risk averse, fair weather slider or driven by the adrenaline of skiing fast and steep?  It takes all sorts and at TDC we ski with a huge range of performers and that is part of the attraction of this wonderful job. One of the great fascinations is observing, and sometimes influencing, how people approach learning and seeing how learning and risk interact.  In order to learn one has to risk attempting something new.  It may be a small step and a small risk but it needs to be there nevertheless.  Without it the dreaded plateau beckons, and at worst – decline.

Terry James Walker TDCski
Skiing hard with rocks hiding under the surface

For some the very mention of risk is enough to set knees trembling yet most people want to get better at skiing.  Fortunately it is not the level of actual risk but the level of perceived risk that is central to learning.  For a nervous intermediate who feels frightened of pointing the ski downhill on a blue run, the perceived risk of doing so is potentially greater than that experienced by an expert skier who descends a steep, rock-filled couloir.  The actual risk of failure is indeed greater in the couloir but because the performer is within their comfort zone and perceives minimal risk there is likely to be minimal learning.  By overcoming a greater likelihood of failure we access a more significant learning episode.  So who is in fact the risk taker in this example; the extreme skier or the nervous intermediate?

At TDC we frequently reflect as a group on the way we coach and upon how we build relationships with our clients.  A common point of discussion is how to manage the expert skier who books lessons with the intention of improving.  It is difficult for adult learners to relinquish old habits and accept the risk of failing at something new.  More often than not a change in performance necessitates unfamiliar sensations, and a certain vulnerability as motor programmes adjust, proprioception recalibrates and expectations are reframed. Here progress depends on two factors;

  • A willingness to embrace perceptions of risk
  • The relationship forged between coach and learner.
TDcski Coaching
TDCski Coaching Sharing their Knowledge

Most people when asked “what do you wish to achieve during this lesson” will focus on success, however, it is openness to failure that sets the really successful learners apart.

This memoir has been forged by Coach Paul, from a reflective foundation of many years teaching people ‘how to learn’.  He is a director of TDC, an inspirational ski teacher and lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire in Sports Coaching.

Professional Ski Instructors: 5 Pet (Mega) Hates!

TDC ski coaches are on the hill practically every day of the season; it’s fair to say that we see our fair share of nonsense, please enjoy these 5 of Kieran’s pet hates!

Childrens Ski Lessons
“I know you don’t want to go down in the bubble Daddy, but I think La Face is a bad idea”
      1. Parents of small children, taking them down a steep red/black run when they are clearly too small and inexperienced to cope!  Small children have big heads, add a big helmet to that, and I think that’s why most little ones ski in the ‘back seat’.  There is no rush to get a 4 or 5 year old to ski steep slopes, let alone when they still have a big pizza!  Keep them safe, make it fun, and they will learn, trust us, we know!

      2. If I have just spent the morning with a nervous skier, I will have been working hard to build confidence; confidence in themselves, and confidence in their ability to control their speed and direction.  Skiing therefore becomes enjoyable, rather than a stressful experience where they fear they will hurt themselves.  It’s a Holiday!  Having just had a hugely successful breakthrough in a morning session.  What happens after lunch?  The other half (usually the boyfriend/husband!) says “come ski with me, you will be fine!”  By 4pm the same person is now in bits, confidence ruined, and has un-learned the whole morning.  Very frustrating when you have to start again the next morning.  (Not to mention the arguments it can cause!)

      3. Skiers who ski at a speed way beyond there capability – this is probably my biggest pet hate of them all!  It never ceases to amaze me how many skiers hurtle down the hill, with no awareness, consideration for others, or just general safety common sense.  You can probably picture the type – usually male, 15-40 years old, off balance, jacket undone, goggles all squinty, in a racing snow plough with no turns, doing about 50 mph!! When these people get close to us ski instructors and our lessons (especially little ones) we get infuriated!  And boy, if we catch them on the lift, we sure let them know, politely and professionally of course, which is rather difficult!  FIS ski code/rules

        Off Piste Ski Lessons
        Off Piste with all the Gear….
      4. Skiers or snowboarders off piste with no safety equipment – Transceiver, shovel, probe is the minimum.  When I am coaching my groups in off piste private lessons or off piste clinics, I often see others near us with absolutely no safety equipment.  They are usually thrashing around all over the place, all on the same slope at the same time, charging over convexities and showing absolutely zero off piste safety knowledge or etiquette.  It infuriates instructors and mountain guides when we see these people!  The main reason for this is that they may start something (ie an avalanche) above you, and put your group in danger.  As coaches we are very aware of this, we always try to ensure we are never placed in this position.

      5. Massive ski school groups snaking across the piste!!  We have all seen it, an instructor, with about 10-15 people snaking down behind them (sometimes even more!) taking up the entire piste. There is nothing wrong with skiers following an instructor down a run, as they may be working on line, or turn shape, or speed control, but 15 people!  How can anyone in a group this size receive any individual attention or feedback, it is practically impossible for the instructor to develop peoples performance in groups this big.  At TDC, we never take more than 6 people in a group, maximum feedback, development, safety and enjoyment per person!

Kieran is normally an entirely positive guy and absolutely loves: Really big dogs, Savoyade Food, Good Whisky, Powder Snow and Working lots of hours. [ed]

Become a Better Skier…. without even skiing!

We all strive for awesomeness on the slopes, however not all success can be attributed to these on snow endeavours.  Here are 5 simple and effective ways to improve your skiing…. without even skiing!

  1. Get your skis serviced.  This means taking them to a shop where the staff will sharpen the metal edges, grind down the bases slightly to flatten them; getting rid of unwanted rock gauges, and then add some wax to keep the base healthy.  It was a pretty tough December here in Val d’Isere, and some of the TDC coaches’ skis took a hammering on rocks.  I took my skis into SnowBerry here in town and got them back good as new! Now going into mid-January, we have some icy piste conditions, and my edges are gripping and working well for me.  Making me better at skiing!

Ski Service Work Shop

  1. Get your boots fitted properly with a good footbed.  We at TDC all feel that the support of your boots is paramount to your ability to ski well.  A moulded footbed will ensure that when your brain wants to influence the skis, there is no slack between your foots command and the skis reaction.  Whatever movement your foot makes is transferred directly to the ski.  Many of the TDC team have their feet computer analysed and custom soles made by SureFoot in Val d’Isere.

Boot Fitting Service

  1. Watch a Ski Movie and be inspired. There are many incredible ski films available, and we can all argue about the best. A great one to cut your teeth on is “Claim”. With big mountain powder scenes, acrobatic freestyle segments and a huge dosage of charisma, this film is a great way to spark inspiration and motivation to get better.  Sometimes this bit of motivation is all it takes to become a better skier.  (To take on the bigger cliff drops maybe think about getting one of us to teach you…! Off Piste Adventure Courses )

Ski Instructor

  1. Drink some water, and eat more bananas.  Altitude naturally dehydrates you, and I’ve heard Bananas are good for you.  This will prevent cramp, and assist recovery.  A great short term preparation before hitting the slopes.  Simples

Water and Banana

  1. Off-Piste prep: Do some transceiver searching and watch this video.  Many of our courses and lessons at TDC revolve around the amazing off-piste in the area.  To personally improve your ability to ski with others in that terrain, you must work hard and practice.  Having confidence in your avalanche knowledge and transceiver craft will allow you to concentrate more on the tactical aspects of your skiing and be mindful of any technical improvements you could make.  You can search for transceivers around the house, in the garden, or out in bracken and bilberry fields.  All good fun learning.

TDC Ski InstructorTerry prides himself on being able to improve peoples skiing, without skiing.  With on snow coaching too – a definite recipe for success!

Snow Conditions in Val d’Isere

Snow Conditions Val d'Isere
Snow Conditions Val d'Isere 6th Dec 2012

After a slow start that had many of us very nervous about the up and coming European ski season. The snow dances and prayers have been answered and the snow is falling in abundance.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

Keep in touch with us and we will keep you updated in the latest conditions, in Val d’Isere, Tignes and Meribel.

Join us –

www.facebook.com/tdcski
www.twitter.com/tdcski

Snow in June!

Yesterday saw a freak snow storm hit the Tarentaise valley, almost half a metre fell in Val, whilst even down in the valley there was widespread chaos as trees laden with fresh wet snow came down onto power cables. It was pretty strange going sledging with my son on 1st June when the last time we’d had enough to sledge was Christmas! It hasn’t snowed properly in the valley for about 4 months and now it decides to come down thick and fast and ruin our tomatoes and geraniums!

Here today gone tomorrow. The summer snow was short lived. The sun was back out today, the sledge got put back in the shed and it was time to get back on the bike…what a strange old world!

Staff training 18 March 2011

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…

YSE and TDC Special Offer – March 27th 2011

YSE Val d'Isere

TDC special offers in conjunction with YSE

Sun 27th March – Sun 3rd April 2011

YSE is delighted to be teaming up with TDC for a second year running, offering a YSE holiday in Chalet Chez Savoy, a six day ski pass and five half-days of TDC clinics at a very special price of £995.

This represents a huge saving of £300 on the public prices of all three elements.

(YSE Holiday, TDC Ski Lessons, Vald’Isere 6 day lift pass)


YSE Chalet Savoy
£995 for the week this includes
– flights
– transfers
– 6 nights accommodation with YSE, in a catered chalet
– 6 day Val d’Isere lift pass
– Five half days ski lessons with a TDC coach.
TDC will operate a choice of four clinics from
Monday 28 March – Friday 1 April – choose your level below

discovery – discover your talent, ski with confidence …for strong blue run skiers…
development
– develop your performance, feel your skiing flow …for strong red run skiers…
development Plus – take on steeper and varied slopes …for strong red run /ok black run skiers
challenges – take on new goals, challenge yourself …for strong black run skiers…

TDC & YSE Special OfferInorder to take advantage of this great offer then here is how to book –

Book the whole package through YSE, then choose a suitable clinic by contacting
TDC direct. If you aren’t sure which clinic will suit you best, please discuss the levels with Sara in the TDC office +33 6 15 55 31 56.

We hope that, having looked at this fantastic offer, you will decide to book with YSE and TDC. Please telephone YSE on 0845 122 1414 (local rate – max 3.36p per minute), or if you are ringing from overseas, please dial +44 (0)1935 816550, or email YSE on sales@yseski.co.uk for any further information.

YSE are open from Monday to Friday, 9am until 6pm and on some Saturday mornings from October to April. At all other times, please leave a message on the answer phone or send an
e-mail, and we will reply as soon as we re-open.

Tignes Glacier skiing

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!

Ski Clubs Unite

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

Giles x