Ski Season NZ Covid-19

How the Ski Season in New Zealand ran with Covid-19 restrictions

Colin Tanner 26th Sept 2020

As many of you may know, I spend my “summers” in New Zealand.
Obviously, summer in Europe is winter in NZ.

So in March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic really kicked in and France, like many other countries, shut down it’s ski resorts, I packed up my bags and headed to my family in New Zealand.

Like many of us we thought that after a few months is was all going to blow over…. how naive were we?

In NZ, about 3 months out from the start of the ski season, it became very apparent that the question about whether or not the 2020 NZ ski season could go-ahead was a very real question.

As I heard one Ski Area boss say – the goal of getting a covid-19 ski season up and running successfully became a bit of a shining light of hope for the whole country…and the global ski world was watching.

NZ’s Government implemented a 4 tier Alert Level system. With Level 4 being “full lockdown” and Level 1 being life as “normal” but with the international borders closed.

In the build-up to the winter season, NZ started dropping down from the initial Level 4, to Level 3. With hard work and collaboration of ski resort management, guidelines and operating protocols were written up that would allow ski resorts to open if, and only if, Alert Level 2 was achieved.

So the goal was clear, get to Level 2 and the lifts could turn!

As it turned out opening dates were delayed because of maintenance delays that were caused by full lockdown in Level 4.

Then the alert levels dropped from 3 to 2 and then to Alert Level 1, all before the revised opening dates of 26th June.

So we opened the season on alert Level 1 – no restrictions, no masks required, no distancing required.

But would there be any customers? The international borders were closed and there are normally a lot of Australians and other overseas visitors who come skiing in NZ.

Ski Coaching in a Mask
Following Protocols On the Mountain

Turns out that New Zealanders, and those that were already inside the borders, couldn’t leave the country, so they came skiing! There were some really busy days during school holidays when the resorts infrastructures (roads, car parks, access etc) reached maximum capacity and therefore naturally limited the number of skiers in each ski resort.

The resorts were short staffed – no international workers – and things were busy.

Then on the 11th August Covid came back! As of the 12th August the whole country was at Alert Level 2 – so all the protocols that were originally written up were rolled out.

Masks were required – interestingly enough a ski buff, or neck tube, or a scarf was considered a suitable mask.
Social distancing was required which meant limited numbers of people on a chairlift at any one time – although if you were in your own “bubble” then you could all get on a chairlift as normal.
Lift line queues became longer as minimum distances between people was required.
Ski School lessons were still OK, but again distancing was adhered to and face masks/covers were encouraged.

So on the snow you were outside, in vast open areas, and things worked well.

Inside buildings and spaces were some of the trickiest areas to make changes.
Tables spaced out, limited numbers of people allowed in any space.
Bad weather was going to pose a problem, the limit to the number of people in an area would still apply. So if a storm or bad weather came in then people would have to head home, they couldn’t just squeeze into a restaurant or cafe and ride it out.
As it turned out the weather was good for the most part and outside tables were popular.

Restaurants and bars were table service only, all payments were cashless.
In fact, whole ski resorts went cashless for the whole ski season – all payments were by contactless card.

After an initial few nervous days, the ski season at Alert Level 2 got into the swing of things, and we all found ways to make ourselves and the people around us feel comfortable and safe.
It was all new, and awkward to start with, but everyone found their comfort zone, and it worked well.

To be honest, the biggest thing was making yourself and those around you feel safe.

Skiing with Covid Restrictions

Patience and kindness was the order of the day.
Things took longer!
Longer to buy a pass, longer to find a table, longer to get on the lift, longer to buy a coffee.
Everything took longer, and everyone knew this, but at first, there were still frustrations, but soon your expectations adjusted to the reality of the situation.

At the end of the day it was better to be skiing, and have to wait in a longer lift queue, than to not be skiing at all.

The NZ season is nearing the end now, and on reflection I think it will be seen as a successful season, ran under difficult conditions.
But it did run.

As the European and Northern Hemisphere winters approach, I am taken back to those feelings that we had in NZ three months before the season here.
The worry and the fear, the overall uncertainty about going into uncharted waters.

Looking back, those fears were needed as it motivated everyone to rethink and to adjust, once those adjustments were made, and the season got running then it was OK.
It was more than OK, it was good!

a personal reflection on the NZ ski season 2020

Looking to Europe and the Northern Hemisphere winter season I am sure that the next two or three months will be full of fear, and worries, and uncertainty.

But once it has started and we see that it can work, then the passion and love for the mountain and winter sports can shine through.

We will find ways to make ourselves, and those around us, feel comfortable and safe.

Here is hoping that in late spring 2021 we can all look back at what has been a successful season, ran under different circumstances.

Colin Tanner

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.

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.

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

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

 

You Want To Go Skiing, But Your Partner Is Not So Keen

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.

Apres Ski in a Spa
what could be better than the chance to enjoy a soothing massage

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

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.

There is still snow in the Espace Killy!

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.

From From Paul
From From Paul
From From Paul

24 hour ski challenge

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.

From tdc various photos

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.

Thanks again for all your support and generosity.