Kyrgyzstan Ski Touring 2020

Terry, Rich and a team of 6 clients recently returned from ski touring in Kyrgyzstan, this is part of their TDC Expeditions endeavours. Check it out for next January/February 2021!

The trip starts with the team meeting in Istanbul airport ready to fly together to Bishkek, the beautiful capital of Kyrgyzstan. A short (6 hours) transfer past the drainless lake Ysyk-kol leads to the sleepy ‘village’ at the upslopes of the Tesky-Ala mountains of the Northern Tien-Shan Range. Here are the base Yurts for the first 2 days of ski touring.

The kitchen and Dining yurt with warm stove burning away

The terrain around the camp is gentle and sparsely forested. Perfect for an introduction to ski touring skills, familiarisation with the equipment, and acclimatisation. The snow is guaranteed to be cold and dry, a mixture of powder and old faceted crystals that ski beautifully.

Posing for the photo, surrounded by the majestic views

Temperatures overnight of -15/-30 soon warm to -5 which is perfect for the daily ascension of about 350m, or 1.5 hours in the morning to a perfect spot to cruise the powder back to the yurts in time for lunch.

Ripping some powder turns back towards camp

The afternoon holds a similar pattern, with usually an hour of peaceful uphill followed by a mind-blowing descent back to camp. It’s rare to see other tracks, and even more so to ski near them!

Ready for the trip to the advanced camp

The advanced yurt camp is truly isolated and requires a 45-minute ski-doo commute to arrive. Passing incredible scenery along the way… but concentrate as ski-doo drag skiing is not for the faint-hearted!

The team about to embark on another ski tour, yurts in the background

With 3 days out of signal/reception/wifi under the stars at the advanced camp, everyone becomes truly relaxed and collectively didn’t want to leave. The sauna provides the end of each day before dinner is served. 2 courses, including a soup/broth to start and then a mixture of different fusion cultured meals each night. The food is outstanding.

Lunch and Dinners in the yurt are an integral part of the trip

The evening’s entertainments involved Terry playing the guitar, Rich falling asleep playing cards, and the team drinking a tad too much fine whisky, rum or vodka… every night!

The trip finishes with a trip to the hot springs located near the central lake of Kyrgyzstan, an eye-opening stop to get superb lunch at a ‘motorway’ services, and then a night in the best hotel in Bishkek. The restaurant for the final meal has incredible feasts to share, this year involved 4 courses, and almost ordering the correct amount of food. Half the team could deal with the soured milk, half couldn’t bear it!

Final night in Bishkek

Thanks to everybody that came and made it such a special trip. We’re seriously looking forward to next year… and if you’re interested, check out the website for this trip or more.

Ski Touring Is The New Cool!

In recent seasons ski touring has become more and more popular.

What exactly is this ‘ski touring’ thing I keep hearing about? Is it for me? Well, you certainly don’t need to be an amazing expert skier, and you don’t even need to be that fit…

Let’s go back – a long way – to the origins of what we now call skiing. From relics and cave paintings we are fairly sure that skiing started as a way of transporting people around snowy mountains, going from village to village, or for hunting etc.
Walking in deep snow is tricky, walking on skis keeps you up on the snow and allowed people to transport themselves more easily.

Fast forward to modern skiing, we have chairlifts to get us up the hill, and modern skis with waxed bases that allow us to slide down the hill with grace and ease.

But what if you want to get access places where the chairlifts don’t go? You can walk!. There is an issue; if a ski slides down the hill, then when you try to walk up the hill the skis will keep sliding down the hill (backwards).

Ski Touring Equipment
Ski Touring Equipment

In modern skiing there has been a system to get around this issue for many years, it is called Ski Touring, or Ski Randonee, or Skin-ing.
Skin-ing was a name that came from when seal skins (modern-day “skins” are not made from seals!) were cut into the shape of the skis and tethered to the bottom of the skis. The knapp of the skin was put so that the hair ends were pointing backwards. So with skins on their skis, the skier can slide the ski forward, but it won’t slide backwards, this allows them to walk up gentle hills without sliding backwards while still being supported on top of the snow. Then when the skier gets to the top of where they wanted to go, the skins can be removed and the skier is able to ski down with their regular skis.

To make the action of walking easier, bindings were designed that would keep your heel locked down when you were skiing downhill but were able to be released at the heal for when you were walking uphill – the touring binding was born.

So to go ski touring all you needed was skis with touring bindings and skins. But as you can imagine walking uphill with your normal heavy ski boots on could be quite a drag. So ski touring boots have been developed, designed to be lightweight and suitable for walking.

All these things have been around in a recognisable modern format since the 1960’s and 70’s.
So why has it become the new cool?

Technology!!!
Fat skis – powder skis have opened up brave new worlds for all skiers to access off piste skiing.
New Pin and Frame touring bindings systems that are strong and very light.
Touring boots that allow freedom to walk up, and performance when skiing down.

Ski Touring was always about getting away from the crowded pistes and adventuring into new terrain. But there was always a play-off between light and practical equipment to walk up the hill, and having good strong performance equipment to enjoy the run back down again.

In recent years technology has improved in such a way that now skiers have skis, bindings and boots that allow the walk up to be efficient and the ski back down to be performance.

If you are a skier that wants to ski off piste then you will know the enjoyable feelings of skiing untouched powder. But as we know it all gets “skied out” after a snowfall.

Every bit of powder that can be accessed from the chair lift will get skied! But you know there is more, you can see it, but it is always in those harder to get to places.

This is when ski touring can be the solution, you can go on an adventure, get away from the madding crowds and enjoy those fresh lines.

A little bit of walking and new powder fields can be yours.

If you are keen to try out Ski Touring then TDCski run Introduction To Touring clinics – find out more…

TDCski Ski School’s Highly Featured in List Of Best Ski Schools In France

Ridestore Magazine Press Release, 29th November 2019

TDCski Ski Schools have been featured as some of the best ski schools in Val d’Isere, Tignes and Meribel by Ridestore Magazine. Ridestore compiled a mega ultimate list of best ski schools in France for the 2019/2020 season, after all, the countdown is on to many of us ski and
snowboard lovers, hitting the slope! The team at Ridestore thought it was about time someone put together a list of all the ski schools in the best and busiest resorts in France to make life a little easier for those frantically googling.

This list was created to try and take a little of the stress out of selecting the right ski school for you.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a first-time skier, an intermediate looking to rid yourself of bad habits or a seasoned rider who loved to learn the latest tricks and tips, it’s vital you find the right fit for you. Brits have been supporting French ski schools for decades and without any signs of stopping, they love backing ski schools both big and small, always looking for the right tuition that offers value for money and quality and experienced instructors.

This ultimate list of the best ski schools rewards the schools who put their best foot (or ski boot) forward at all times and ensure first-time and novice skiers and snowboarders, well riders of all levels have a fantastic experience on and off the slopes! The right instructor and ski school experience can make or break a trip after all and our annual (or if you are lucky, bi-annual) ski trip is sacred and maximising your time is essential.

“Searching for a ski school, particularly in France where there are so many in each resort, can be a little stressful, only adding to the to-do list further when booking a mountain adventure. Then if you want to advance your skills, in off-piste, touring or more specific niches, finding the right fit ski school wise, can be a challenge.”

stated Angelica Sykes from Ridestore Magazine.


“There are lots of things to consider when booking a ski holiday, and choosing the right ski school is one that always proves challenging. Therefore with this list, we wanted to make the booking process that bit easier, so you can get on with planning the rest of your trip”

continued Angelica Sykes.


To read the full entry about TDCski Ski School, please visit Ridestore Magazine.

Coach’s Corner Nov 2019

Looking At Dealing With Poor Visibility

Head for the trees

In poor visibility, the shadows and definition from tree-lined pistes break up the whiteness and enhance visibility. Armed with this knowledge, you need not miss a day’s skiing. In fact, bad weather days can be some of the best, as you’ll often have the slopes to yourself.

Keep it real

Have realistic expectations about skiing in these conditions. Much can be gained from working on specific skills that are ordinarily neglected. You will reap the rewards on the next sunny day. Slow down and go for quality. Focus on rhythm, feeling your feet, and planting your poles. In very poor visibility, it is vital to look ahead and not down.  

Take control

Nobody enjoys poor visibility, but you cannot control the weather. Focus on the controllables. Your route is up to you and even in a total whiteout there are ways to navigate. Listen for the lifts to help orientate yourself, head to the side of the piste and follow the numbered piste markers, counting down to number 1. Making these types of choices and decisions will help remind you that you are in control of the situation.

Action

Head for the trees
Realistic expectations
Controllables

Coach’s Corner Sept 2019

Throughout the season we will be sharing top tips in Coach’s Corner that will help with some of the common issues skiers face on the mountains. Here is a taste of the topics still to come:

  • Skiing in poor visibility
  • Negotiating narrow paths
  • Coping on crowded runs

This article will look at dealing with the dreaded ice.

Who needs grip?

The belief that you should try to grip on ice is a widely held misconception. Trying to grip will usually result in you skidding, whether you mean to or not. Deliberately skidding is what you must do. Learn to love the ice, by choosing to skid, this way you can control your speed and direction. Remember, skidding is the correct technique for skiing on ice, so take control and choose to skid.

Loosen up

Tensing the upper body often causes you to lean back up the hill unbalancing you in the process. To stay loose and balanced, consciously relax how tightly you grip your poles. It is likely that you grip them very tightly when you encounter ice. Consciously loosen your grip and you will feel your entire upper body relax; maintain this as you tackle the icy sections. 

Search and conquer

To improve, you need to seek out the ice and practice (where you are comfortable to do so).  Although reading the terrain is something that comes with experience, everyone can stop and assess what lies ahead. Focus on what you can control. The route you take is your choice, so look for the ice and enjoy.

Actions

  1. Choose to skid
  2. Loosen your grip
  3. Go ice hunting!

Special VIP SKI Package Weeks

Off Piste, Performance Clinics and Intro to Ski Touring.

24th March and 21st April

We have teamed up with top chalet operator VIP SKI again to offer TDC clients a fantastic deal.

Included in the package is unbeatable luxury accommodation in a fully catered VIP SKI chalet, flights, transfers and a place on a TDC Clinic.

Click here VIP SKI to book your place and see full package details.

Dates and prices

TDCski and VIP SKI are offering this fabulous package in March and April 2019.

24 March 2019

  • 7 night holiday & 3-day ski clinic – package price £1199 pp
    – saving £455
  • 7 night holiday & 5-day ski clinic – package price £1249 pp 
    – saving £516

21 April 2019

  • 7 night holiday & 3-day ski clinic – package price £929 pp
    – saving £296
  • 7 night holiday & 5 day ski clinic – package price £949 pp
    – saving £276

Clinic Levels

We are passionate about helping people really improve their skiing in an enjoyable and relaxed environment.
Our Clinics are adapted to fit the goals of the group and the conditions on the day.

CONFIDENCE CLINIC (on request) – for strong green run skiers…improve and consolidate on the basics of ski technique, learn to make easy flowing turns in control

DISCOVERY CLINIC (on request) – for strong blue run skiers…discover more of the mountain, make skiing easy, learn how to ski more challenging terrain, increase your speed whilst maintaining control, learn to carve

DEVELOPMENT CLINIC – for strong red run skiers…improve your technique, take on steeper slopes, ski more runs with greater confidence, take on different snow types to develop your performance

DEVELOPMENT PLUS CLINIC – for strong red run /ok black run skiers…use the skills you already have to take on more varied slopes, start to learn the basics of skiing bumps and skiing off the piste

CHALLENGES CLINIC – for strong black run skiers…take on new goals in the bumps, on the steeps, in difficult snow, on the piste; challenge yourself – there are always ways to get better…

INTRO TO SKI TOURING – for skiers with some off piste experience, no touring experience required.
Ski Touring is called “Ski Randonnée” in French, and it requires some specialist equipment. The first essential is ski touring bindings that lift at the heel when walking uphill but lockdown when you are ready to descend. You will also need skins that are fitted to the base of your skis when climbing. Skins prevent the skis from sliding backwards but allow the skis to slide forwards.

To Book a VIP SKI package week please contact VIP SKI – website.

Some of the above courses are available without the package deal, if you are looking to take part on these dates, then please email us
[email protected] or call +33615553156

Sweet Value Highs

“Shall We Go Skiing In December?”

Call in Early SeasocnSki Clinics or Start of Season Ski Clinics.

Have a read of this great article in the Independent Travel section about what it is like on a tdc – the development centre early season clinic in Val d’Isère staying with VIP SKI.

Get value, great accommodation, get coaching!

TDCski Early Season Clinics

Shall we go skiing in December?
Even at the start of the ski season, France’s Espace Killy is an enticing prospect, offering high-altitude snow and accessible luxury.

Find out more – https://www.vip-chalets.com/ski-courses

Making the Most of the Pistes

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.

Just tilt
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.

www.tdcski.com #tdcski #basi #valdisere #dynastar #lange

Jan 27th 2017 Snow Conditions Val d’Isere Tignes

This week Clare is telling us all about the current snow conditions in Val d’Isere and Tignes…

Conditions On Piste Are Fantastic…Again

TDCski Coach Clare
Clare’s Report

Dustings of snow, Off Piste is good, can be wind effected, some good snow in the gullys.

Things are looking good for February.

Watch a honest and open summary of the current snow conditions.

If you are keen to see this seasons reports then be sure to watch out for them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo.

Keep Watching!!!

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Want To Know What The Snow Conditions Are Like?

In recent weeks there seems to have been quite a lot of internet discussion about what the snow conditions in Europe and the Alps have been like.

Snow Conditions Val d’Isere and Tignes

Snow Report
Video Snow Report Gi Tells It How It Is

The Alps cover a big area and there are lots of different weather patterns that will bring different amounts of snow to different regions.

At TDCski The Development Centre – we have been making weekly videos that will give you an honest opinion about what the snow is like in Val d’Isere and Tignes.

So if you are coming to Val d’Isere or Tignes, or maybe you are just thinking about which ski resort you should go to, then have a look at our weekly snow reports.

Last Seasons Wrap Up

We are honest and try to maybe bring a smile to everyone’s faces; just a little!

Here is an end of season wrap up (out-takes) of all of the snow reports from last season (2015/2016)

If you are keen to see this seasons reports then be sure to watch out for them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo.

Watch this space!!!

TDCski The Development CentreSki Lessons Val d’IsereSki Lessons Tignes