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]

Ski Club of Manchester early Season trip

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.

Ski Club of Manchester Dec 2013 Trip
Ski Club of Manchester Dec 2013 Trip

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.

Click here to have a look at the specific details of the great 2013 SCoM package.

How do I book on to the SCoM December 2013 Trip?

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 [email protected] 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.

5 days of half Coaching
5 half days of TDCski Coaching

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.

The TDC Tean look forward to skiing with SCoM
The TDC Team look forward to skiing with SCoM

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.

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.

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