Are You Fit & Ready For The Slopes To Open?

Whether you’re lucky enough to be touring in the mountains or making the most of daily outdoor exercise in the UK with some running, we’re making the most of the lockdown so we’re fit and ready for the slopes to open!

We’ve teamed up with the wonderful Jo Pollard, a Physiotherapist based in Val d’Isere and Tignes who specialises in ski and snowboard injuries and injury prevention.  Jo is currently busy working with the New Zealand women’s World Cup racing team, so we’re thrilled that she’s put together some top tips for activation before you head out running or touring.
If you’d like any more info or some personalised advise, get in touch with Jo at https://jopollardphysio.com/

With the lockdown continuing in many places, a lot more people have taken to running recently.  And those of us who are lucky to live in the mountains are hitting the touring hard.

After hearing some grumbles from clients/friends, I have put together a few pre mountain or pre-running activation tips. 
There are of course many exercises and things you could/should/would do, but here are 5 exercises that should take no longer than 5 minutes (unless you’re enjoying them and want to do more 🙂 )

They are a quick combo of release work and activation to try and encourage the often lazy muscle groups to get going and try to dampen down/switch off some of the overactive ones.

This is, of course, different in people, but the trends are often overactive, tight hip flexors and tensor fascia latae (TFL) (especially when touring long periods with extra weight on your feet).  And sometimes lazy/under-active gluteal muscles.
Try spending 30sec-60secs with foam rolling/trigger point ball releasing the tighter muscle groups, then about the same amount of time ‘waking up’ or ‘activating’ the glut and stability muscles (i.e core and feet muscles).

Here are 5 exercises that should take no longer than 5 minutes…

Jo Pollard

1) TFL or Hip Flexor Release 

Here a small massage trigger ball is ideal, but a tennis or golf ball etc will do.  Depending on where you find the ‘spot’ place the ball against the wall and lean your weight into it.  If trying to target the TFL (the small triangular shape ‘meaty’ bit muscle just over/infront of the hip joint) place the ball here.  To target more the hip flexor at the front, you can lie stomach down and place the ball just below the pelvis (ASIS) and hip.
At first it may feel quite uncomfortable, but try to breathe slow and deep, and the discomfort should ease and release.

TFL or Hip Flexor Release

2) Foam Roller Release

So not the most comfortable thing to try and release, but try and ‘roll’ up and down the whole length of the outer leg (top of hip all the way to the knee). 
Try and keep your core engaged and reap the extra benefit of getting your core going too!
If you really struggle with upper body strength, you can place the roller against the wall (at different heights along your outer leg) – then lean all your body weight into it. 

Move the roller along the leg.

Foam Roller Release

3) Glute Activation 1

If you have some theraband that is ideal, but if not you can still connect and focus on activating your gluts without. 
Start either stood up or as I am here with a slight forward lean (but keeping spine neutral and core engaged). 
Keep the static leg soft and aligned over your second and third toes.
Take the moving leg out sideways, and slightly behind. 
Try to not let the toes turn out and open up – this gives your hip flexors more chance of firing when the aim is to get the gluteus medius working (i.e your pelvic stabiliser).

Glute Activation 1

4) Glute Activation 2

Here we are trying to get the glut max firing, one of the main hip extensors which will help you propel forwards with power and efficiency in both touring and running. 
Start again lined up, with a slight forward lean, but core engaged and spine neutral.  Try not to let the pelvis twist, or allow the lower spine to give into extension, allowing the lower back muscles to over dominante the movement.
It also helps to keep the moving leg relatively straight, to not allow the hamstrings to kick in too much. 
If you’re familiar with pilates this movement is a little bit like single leg kick. 
To really make sure the gluts are the prime mover, think to do a mini ‘butt’ squeeze first before moving into extension.

Glute Activation 2

5a) Runners Reach

a): Try reaching forwards and down, keeping your static leg soft, but relatively straight.  Watch the pelvis doesn’t open up and you keep your core switched on.

Runner Reach a)

5b) Runners reach

b): from the position above, using your core bring your back leg up in front to a balanced single leg position.  Try to use opposite arm to leg, to mimic a running type action that your brain is familiar with.  If you really want to challenge yourself and get your balance system going, try with your eyes closed!!

Runner Reach b)

As mentioned above, these exercises are in no way prescriptive and ‘one size fits all’. But they are a good starting point. The release work is also very good post run or tour – try working a little longer and combining with some stretches. Have an experiment with the massage ball.

For me personally I get pretty tight in my upper back and shoulders from where I previously broke my back, and where carrying a heavy ABS bag leaves me quite sore.
So I try and get the massage ball into those spots.

Have fun, stay fit and healthy 🙂
And of course get in touch if you are looking for more specific advice.

Jo at https://jopollardphysio.com/

Ski Touring Now in Val d’Isère & Tignes

The lifts may not be open and running but the mountains still exist and Ski touring is allowed whilst still adhering to the local, governmental and international restrictions.

Ski Touring

Have you toured before??? Well, you are probably aware of it and that some of our instructors are highly passionate about the pursuit. Often ski touring after work for fitness, or on days off to more extreme locations, or running expeditions to Kyrgyzstan and Norway like Terry and Rich, where no ski lifts exist!

It’s pretty straight forward… We put some sticky skins on the base of our skis which allow us to walk easily uphill and the bindings are slightly different and pivot forward in a walking motion. It pays to have extremely lightweight skis and boots to fully love the days out. The rental shops are currently open in Val d’Isere and Tignes to hire the kit.

Ski Touring Lessons and Guiding: 

Our team of instructors includes some of the resorts most keen ski tourers. We know the location, the snow, the kit and how to get the best out of a 3 hour lesson or guided session. 

The reality of ski touring cannot avoid walking uphill, but at a pace where one’s heart and lungs are happy, it is like a summer hike but 1000% more beautiful. If you can walk up a hill for a few hours, and ski red/black runs, then the current conditions are perfect for you to enjoy the resort at it’s most tranquil. The pistes and off piste areas are currently being skied by about 100 people a day, which considering the capacity in February of tens of thousands means we are socially distancing at the extreme end of the spectrum.

Getting Skins On
photo credit @terryjameswalker

Travel 

The key point to consider in the current climate, is the travel restrictions in your home and France. Val d’Isere and Tignes are currently in a ‘Lock-down’ with a curfew after 9PM. Yet many of the shops are open and many of the restaurants for take-aways. If you are a home-owner in Val d’Isere or Tignes, and you can deal with the isolation and other logistical points, then you can come skiing with one of our knowledgable and entertaining instructors in a majestic landscape. 

It is worth reading any paperwork you have from your insurance providers. At present the local rescue services (pisteurs) are not really working in the same way. This puts us into the same position as if we were skiing Kyrgyzstan or Georgia or Iran, but actually a bit safer.

Conditions

Currently we are skiing the fresh powder that has landed on top of manufactured snow-cannon snow, however, we are due a massive amount of snow in the coming 7 days. Stay tuned. 

Please Bear with Us…!

The situation is changing weekly, there are huge protests going on in France, and nobody knows what’s going on with respect to travel and opening. The the snow conditions could throw some curve-balls too. So please be aware of the current situations and restrictions in place rather than the day this was written. 

We would love to ski with you, our instructors are very very eager to get out and work and spend time with everyone that we’ve skied with in the last 18 years! 

Love the TDC team x

Taking Skins Off - Ski Touring
photo credit @terryjameswalker

First ski trip from USA to the French Alps

In Dec ’19 we were contacted by Juliana Gansl from ultimate-ski.com. She was coming to Europe to ski Val d’Isere, Val Thorens and Chamonix.

TDCski was delighted to have her sign up for a few off-piste backcountry guiding sessions so that we could get the chance to show her around what we already know to be the brilliant skiing on offer in Val d’Isere and Tignes.

Here is Juliana’s thoughts on Val d’Isere –
You can read the full article here.

Val d’Isere

Val D'Isere village night
Val d’Isere

©Juliana Gansl

After landing in Lyon, I got my rental car and started the 2.5-hour drive to Val d’Isere at the eastern end of the Vanoise National Park. Several Brits I met described Val d’Isere as a “chocolate box town,” meaning it’s wonderfully picturesque. They were right.

The main street is lined with ski stores, bakeries, restaurants and bars. Some of the side streets are located next to the base area, making everything centrally located and easily accessible. Val d’Isere, combined with its neighbouring resort, Tignes, make up one of the largest ski regions in France – the Espace Killy I purchased a 6-day pass with access to both resorts for USD $290 (including insurance for $2 per day, which would come in handy in case of an emergency). I also pre-booked two off-piste group guided days with The Development Centre (TDC), so that I could explore more challenging terrain and get the most out of the Espace Killy.

Pro-Tip: for skiers used to North American resorts – where mostly all trails, trees and bowls are considered in-bounds and therefore avalanche controlled, patrolled and marked – in Europe, plenty of lift-accessible terrain isn’t avalanche controlled, patrolled or marked. Make sure to familiarize yourself with Europe’s piste and off-piste definitions to avoid ending up in potentially life-threatening situations. Local piste maps are clear, but if in any doubt check your understanding on arrival.

My guides, Steve Angus and Rich Jones, were both professional, easy to communicate with, and extremely knowledgeable about the area. I happened to ski with them on two of the cloudier days, and they did an excellent job of finding untouched powder runs unaffected by the wind. Most importantly, I felt incredibly safe in their care, and would highly recommend them both.

Pro Tip: ensure you have a good low-light lens when skiing in Europe as most resorts are above the tree line, which means that visibility will always be poor when it’s cloudy.

As a solo traveler, I made a sincere effort to talk to strangers and say yes to as much as possible. My first afternoon after skiing I stopped into Chez Jules and the owner and I ended up taking shots of Génépy – an aperitif native to the region – in honor of sharing the same first name. On my second day, I started chatting with a group of young French skiers on the gondola and ended up skiing the entire day with them – including stopping for a delicious lunch at La Fruitiere and then for champagne and dessert at the infamous La Folie Douce next door. While walking around town another night, I befriended a group of lads from Manchester, UK, and met them the next several afternoons at CocoRico to dance on tables and drink caramel flavored Polish vodka.

In Val d’Isere my AirBnB apartment was in a small building located on Rue du Cachay in Rond Point des Pistes, next to the central bus round-about. It was a one-minute walk to the Solaise and Olympique lifts, 30 seconds to the CocoRico, and 5 minutes to the main street (just walk across the ski trail). The apartment luckily included a free, covered parking spot. I highly recommend staying in this area if options are available.

When my seventh day came, I was truly sad to have to leave Val d’Isere – I would have been perfectly happy spending my entire trip in The Espace Killy – but the Three Valleys was up next.

Ultimate-Ski guide to Val d’Isere >

Read Juliana’s full article here.

Reduce Falling Over & Risk Of Knee Injuries While Skiing & Snowboarding

by Jo Pollard – jopollardphysio.com

Take a look at these 5 exercises and reasons why to add hamstring strengthening to your fitness programme

#ski fit #injury prevention #biomechanics #stronger #train smart

REASON 1: INJURY PREVENTION #ACL

Many of us (and rightly so) focus on exercises to our quads, as this is where we feel the burn when riding, especially in the pow right?  While this is correct and it is important to train these muscles, it’s also important to exercise the counteracting muscles; the hamstrings.  If our quads are too strong, or our hamstrings too weak, there is an imbalance.  This combined with the fact that the hamy’s act like a brake system which means that if we fall, twist or land awkwardly, we are more likely to cause injury to our knee if the hamstrings can’t counteract this quad contraction or adequately play its stability role.  This is of huge importance in avoiding an ACL injury and important to include in any programme post *ACL surgery/injury (*always seek physio advice for a specific plan)

REASON 2: BE MORE DYNAMIC AND EFFICIENT.

Our hamstrings contribute to stability, shock absorption and better movement patterns. Connecting our hips and knee joints, they provide efficient load absorption and power to be transmitted in our sports. Our hamstrings and gluts work together to provide strength and explosive movements, but also support what is known as our posterior chain.  In skiing and snowboarding, this would relate to us being able to maintain good posture, resist falling over and keeping upright in bumpy or unpredictable terrain.

REASON 3: WANT TO AVOID FALLING OVER AS MUCH?

Our hamstrings often work eccentrically, meaning they are lengthening whilst also contracting. 
This is especially important whilst running or kicking, or in the skiing
environment to help control our movements, especially if we feel we are going over the ‘handlebars’ – are hamstrings act like decelerators.

REASON 4: BE BALANCED – STRENGTH THROUGH RANGE

As well as being strong, our hamstrings need good length in them to optimally provide the qualities discussed.  If the hamstrings are tight, they can pull on your pelvis and cause biomechanical imbalances. You are at risk of this if you ski or snowboard for long periods, as you are nearly always working with a bent knee and therefore at risk of the hamstrings tightening and potentially straining.

REASON 5: BIOMECHANICS

Sorry ladies but this is aimed at us!  Women are more likely to have valgus collapse in their knees -meaning our physiology generally means our knee drops into adduction and internal rotation more easily (i.e. collapses in).  While skiing or snowboarding with our knees in a bent position our inside knee ligament (MCL) is not so effective at supporting our knees – our hamstrings (as well as other muscles of the knee), play a huge support and protection role to the knee ligaments.

There are of course many exercises, but give these 5 a go to get your hamstrings and glutes firing up…..

BRIDGE; start – spine neutral, core activated
BRIDGE; finish:  squeeze through your gluts to form a stable platform.  Rest on the heels for increased hamstring bias
ADVANCED OPTIONS; single leg +/- weight
RUSSIAN DEADLIFT; keep the knees relatively straight, but soft.  Hinge from the hips with chosen weight (barbell, kettlebell or a backpack filled up!).  Squeeze through the gluts and core to stand back upright
GYM BALL HAMSTRING CURLS; start-core engaged, hips off the floor maintaining a neutral pelvis, feet resting on the ball 
GYM BALL HAMSTRING CURLS; finish – maintaining the neutral pelvis use your feet to slide the ball away.  Repeat
REVERSE GLIDERS; start – find a slidy surface and place a tissue or towel under 1 foot
REVERSE GLIDERS; finish – slide the tissue backwards into a lunge.  Keep hips forwards and ensure front knee doesn’t go over front ankle (NB focus on feeling the hamstrings firing in the front stable leg)
RUNNERS REACH; start – core engaged standing tall on one foot, the other leg at 90 degrees
RUNNERS REACH; finish – reach forwards and out, keeping front knee soft and pelvis aligned towards the floor.  Drive through the gluts and hamstrings back to the start position
LANDING CONTROL; start on a step (stairs or the yellow pages)!
LANDING CONTROL; finish – drop and stick.  Try and land soft.  The aim is to control your knee – do not let it track inwards!
For power this exercise it can be progressed by landing and exploding straight up into a single leg hop

Start with low reps and sets i.e 4-6 reps x 3 sets, and build up as you gain strength and confidence.  As with any exercise it is important to fully warm up and seek further advice if you are unsure of any of the exercises.  Feel free to get in touch for advice and more ways you can prepare yourself for your sport or post injury programmes  

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

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

The thing I love about skiing most is…

Win a lesson with
the development centre 

Photo/Story Comp

photo credit Siobhãn Miller
photo credit Siobhãn Miller

As our thoughts start to turn to winter, we find ourselves, starting to think more about the excitement of the oncoming season.
We find ourselves getting skis and boots out of the locker, even though we know that it is another two months until we get to play on them.

Computers are busy with preparations and talk of new snow, and our minds start running wild with thoughts of seasons past. Memories of the best powder days, of the finest blue bird days, of the friends, of the laughter, of the fun all start to coming to the fore of the mind.

With all these thoughts and emotions flying around, here at TDCski we have found ourselves starting to tell each others stories.
“Do you remember that time when…”, “What about when we…”, “The thing I loved that day the most was…” the stories go on.

If we’re having these thoughts then we bet you are too.

it was deep
it was deep

Wouldn’t it be great if we could get everyone to share their stories?

So we thought it might be fun if we run a little competition – the winner gets a free TDCski Val d’Isere 3hr Private Lesson (€230-€280), or a free place on a 5 day Early Season Clinic (€300).

Win a Free Private Lesson or 5 day Early Season Clinic

Fun with a Helicopter
Fun day out with friends

To win this prize all you need to do is to post a photo and a story,  or an heartfelt recollection, of what it is that you love about skiing the most on our Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/tdcski

A great photo, well written words, an overall passion for skiing.

The competition will be open until Val d’Isere’s opening day 28th Nov 2015.

Photos and stories will be reviewed by a select TDCski panel.
The Panel is looking for/judging based on – a great photo, well written words, an overall passion for skiing.
Winner will be announced on Val d’Isere opening day – 28th Nov.

We love skiing, we know you do too, so share those stories.

We love skiing, we know you do to, so share those stories with us and win some fantastic ski coaching.

www.tdcski.com

www.facebook.com/tdcski

BASI Prep and Training Courses for Instructors

BASI Prep & Training Courses for Instructors

Adobe Photoshop PDF

IMG_8602crop
Zen and the art of Skiing

Established before time began, The Development Centre run the finest BASI prep courses in the Universe. If you are looking to develop your skiing towards qualification, then only the barking mad would overlook this intergalactic award winning program.

We use coaches who are chiseled from solid gold and each one must have won at least two Nobel prizes. The terrain in the Espace Killy is second to none, and on top of that we send our coaches up the mountain at night to hand craft each piste that we might use.

Occasionally our candidates explode with delight, but those that survive are sure to have had the most extraordinary and superlative week of their lives.

Are you up for this?

Contact [email protected] to book.

Dates:

BASI Prep Training Dates December 2014

intergalactic ski super hero. Gold on the inside.
One of our intergalactic ski super heroes. Gold on the inside.

Level 3/4 1st-5th December 2014
Level 3/4 15th-19th December 2014

300 Euros per week. 550 Euros for two weeks

BASI Prep Training Dates January 2015

Level 3/4 5th-9th January 2015
Level 3/4 12th-16th January 2015
Level 3/4 19th-23rd January 2015

350 Euros per week. 600 Euros for two weeks

For more information about the possibilities please refer to our website page…
TDCski Instructor Training Courses and TDCski BASI Prep Courses.

TDCski and VIP SKI team up for Pre Christmas Ski Deals

Early Season Clinics in partnership with VIP SKI

We’ve teamed up with the fantastic VIP SKI again this winter. VIP SKI are offering an amazing package that includes a 5 day TDCski Early Season Coaching Clinic and a week of accommodation in VIP SKI’s wonderful Aspen Lodge chalet, with the usual VIP SKI service and catering.

VIP SKI and TDCski
Never again will you see a package this good…

Early Season Clinics only €280 for 5 half days. You can book just the Clinic and organise your own accommodation, or you can take up the amazing deal from VIP SKI.

A TDCski 5 day clinic in the full winter season costs 375€ per person. Early Season Clinics are available at a reduced cost of €280 pp, but book the accommodation package with VIP SKI and effectively pay just €150 per person for the ski clinic!

VIP SKI Prices from £599 per person for 7 nights catered chalet accommodation and 5 days ski clinic (3 hours per day)

Find out more about the VIP SKI deal…

Get a head start on your ski development and enjoy a pre-Christmas trip to the French Alps. Enjoy the famous TDCski coaches in their ability to improve your skiing whilst delivering a fun and inspiring course. Rather than pre-planned lessons and drills, TDCski’s approach is based around coaching you on your style as an individual, allowing you to really make a breakthrough in confidence and ability.

The snow conditions have been consistently impressive at this time of year and with access to two glaciers (Val d’Isere and Tignes) snow is assured.

Never again will you see a package this good…

Ski Pre Christmas Val d'Isere
With access to two glaciers (Val d’Isere and Tignes) snow is assured

Week commencing 30 Nov
Exclusive package price = £599pp
Saving up to £225 (price excludes travel)

Week commencing 7 Dec
Exclusive package price = £649pp
Saving up to £225 (excludes travel)

Week commencing 14 Dec 
Exclusive package price = £1079pp
Saving up to £225 (includes Gatwick flight & transfers)

Package price includes 7 nights accommodation as described and TDCski Coaching Monday to Friday, 3hrs per day. Price on 30 Nov & 7 Dec does not include flight or transfer (this can be arranged for a supplement). For limited period only single supplement is an additional £100. (applies to 30 Nov and 7 Dec only)

Contact TDCski or call +33 (0)6 15 55 31 56

Contact VIP SKI via website if you require any further info.

TDC coach Steve Angus at Hemel Snow Centre in the UK

Ski with TDC – in the UK Snowdomes

Get your skis on before it snows…Hemel Snow Centre

What’s On: Piste performance and All Terrain clinics at Hemel Snow Centre.

What do you do?: 3 hours on snow training plus video analysis time.

When: Clinics run from 4-9pm on Saturday evenings
Saturday 14th September – afternoon / evening
Saturday 28th September – afternoon / evening
Saturday 5th October – afternoon / evening
Saturday 19th October – afternoon / evening

Meet TDC coach Steve from 4pm…. ski from 4.30-6.30pm, coffee break, then 6.30-8pm back on snow. Followed by video analysis then depart for 9pm.

Technical content tailored to individuals needs and wants.

You should be able to ski confidently on a blue run. Equally you could have a high level of performance and still develop your skills and understanding during these sessions.

Cost: £75 per clinic with a reduced rate of £60 if you book a second session. Price includes – slope entry fee, lift pass, equipment hire, coaching.
Min of 2 and max of 4 people a session.

Après-Ski: Video analysis and performance development discussion

Booking: contact Steve Angus on [email protected]