For December 2022 the dates are 28th Nov – 2nd Dec 2022 5th – 9th Dec 2022
€430 per person
Why do an Early Season Clinic?
Val d’Isere and Tignes are renowned for exceptional early season snow conditions. So it made perfect sense to us to run, at low season prices, some of our tried and tested Clinics. You and get the best tuition, and training, in a fun and friendly environment.
As coaches at TDCski when we all came through our pathways to becoming instructors and trainers, we were personally always geared up to get in some early season training, and we realised that you get some of the best skiing and personal develop during these times. It really gets your season started and sets you up for success.
What Are Early Season Clinics?
5 half days of training Small Group Sizes Maximised Personal Development and Coaching
Not Done a TDCski Clinic Before?
What should you expect? Here’s a Sample weekly plan to give you a taste…..
Development Level for strong RED run skiers. Below gives you an idea of the benefits and the weekly progression that you will enjoy when taking part in a 5 day early season clinic.
09.00 – 12.00 Monday
Rediscover ski legs and develop confidence
Establish group and individual goals
Focus on finding the middle of the ski – stance and posture
Control your speed and line – refresher on how we turn
09.00 – 12.00 Tuesday
Develop better rotary skills to tighten your turns and deal with difficult areas of the mountain (ice, narrow sections etc.)
Increase control and accuracy in short radius turns
Develop more discipline controlling rotary movements of the upper body
09.00 – 12.00 Wednesday
Develop better lateral movement to improve edging skills
Carving – technique and tactics
Use the equipment better to reduce effort and increase enjoyment
09.00 – 12.00 Thursday
Consolidate skill development
Apply skills to ski steeper slopes and more challenging terrain
Apply skills to ski non-groomed snow
09.00 – 12.00 Friday
Consolidate skill development
Attend to any goals not yet achieved
Turn on the style and let rip!
What Level Of Skier Do I need to Be?
We have a range of clinics to suit your skiing ability and objectives
Discovery Clinic: For strong blue run skiers… Development Clinic: For strong red run skiers…. Development Plus Clinic:For strong red run /ok black run skiers… Challenges Clinic: For strong black run skiers…
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.
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.
What’s the difference? Is there a difference between Ski Lessons and Ski Coaching?
At the start of every season, we do the rounds, meeting all the new staff in the ski shops, in the chalets etc. Lots of them know us from previous years but every year there are new faces. So, once again our job is to explain what it is that we do at TDCski, how are we different?
What is it that TDCski does that is different?
So I tell a story about a conversation that took place on a chairlift, that maybe did or didn’t actually happen. Whether it happened is not the point, the story helps answer our question. The conversation is between me, an instructor, and a random friendly holidaymaker who has overheard my conversation, in English, with my client that day. It goes like this…
“Excuse me, are you a Ski Instructor?”
“Yes I am.”
“I want to get better….but I don’t want to go to ski school.”
And that is it! Right there, that conversation convinced me and my like-minded colleagues to set up TDCski.
Here was a skier on a chairlift, with an obvious aspiration to improve but to them, the thought of going to “ski school” was just not going to cut it. They wanted to take the skills they already had and they wanted to ski the mountain, be challenged and achieve new heights in their performance.
For them, the idea of Ski School came with connotations of standing in line and skiing one by one to be told what they were doing wrong. Where’s the fun in that?
The funny thing is that a lot of “Ski Lessons”, run by good instructors, don’t have those negative aspects to them, but that remains the perception!
Giles, Paul, Phil and myself (founding four), talked about this and we realised that we already ran our ski lessons in a way that facilitated improvement and challenged the students. We used the tools that we had all learnt with BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors) and we made sure that our students really got to improve their performance. It was not just about technical issues, there were tactical and psychological approaches too (plus a few others but let’s not get too geeky!). We would keep students moving, we would give what were perceived as “tips” and we would set the environment to allow our students to practice and apply them. We kept things simple, but precise. People liked it, it was safe, fun, positive, challenging. People improved, did lots of skiing and had a good time. People described it as Ski Coaching!!!!
Turns out our Ski Lessons were in fact Ski Coaching, or at least that was the perception.
So what did we do? Well in 2002 we stripped away all the words that implied those old, ski school connotations. At TDC – The Development Centre – there were no more instructors, we were coaches; there were no more lessons, there were sessions and clinics; we weren’t a Ski School, we were a training and Development Centre.
…turns out that nobody searches for “ski coaching” not even people who want it!
This is still our ethos today, but with the advent of the internet it turns out that nobody searches for “ski coaching” not even people who want it! So all the old school words had to come back in especially on the website. But still to this day, we call our-selves coaches and we run clinics.
The difference between “Ski Lesson” and “Ski Coaching” is at the heart of everything that we do.
by Colin Tanner – Ski Coach!
Paul, Giles, Colin and Phil started The Development Centre in Val d’Isere 2002 www.tdcski.com
7 night holiday & 5 day ski clinic – package price £949 pp – saving £276
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
– 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.
OK, “surviving” might be a bit strong, but keeping warm on the slopes in the middle of winter can be a challenge. As well as the main clothing like jackets and trousers, there are other things that can make a big difference for people who struggle to stay warm:
Extremities get cold first. It is what the body does to protect itself from cold. So, if your hands or feet get cold, it might not be down to the gloves or boots, but because you haven’t got enough layers on. Wear good thermals, and if your hands and feet are still cold, wear another jumper.
Helmet and Hat
Helmets can expose the neck to cold mountain air. Neck warmers, thin balaclavas or multipurpose tubes keep you toasty warm. Like scarves, but better.
Get your feet out
Particularly for skiers: if your feet have been cold and numb for more than an hour, you need to warm them up. Get inside, take off the boots and get the feet warm again. This will allow you to ski again afterwards, rather than developing serious cold injuries.
Dry your boots
Damp or wet boots are bad news. You need to dry your boots overnight, so if the hotel or apartment doesn’t have specific boot heaters, you need to make your own arrangements. Portable boot dryers work really well and are easier than balancing boots on radiators.
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’isere Tignes and the Three Valleys, France. He is a trainer and examiner of Instructors for BASI and a member of the British Demo team.
This Summer sees a lot of work going on around the 3 Valleys with 3 new lifts going in.
In Mottaret the old fixed chairs of Arolles & Table Verte are removed along with the Combes 4-man chair. A new Combes 6-seater routed to the right of where it is now and with a mid-station exit to a new floodlit green run is being constructed. A new beginners area with a short Arolles drag lift are also being built.
Over in the Belleville Valley the occasional bottleneck of St Martin 2 is to be relieved with an upgrade to a 6 seater hi-speed detachable hooded chair with the old 4-man being moved to replace the old Bettex 2-man chair to now give access to the bottom of the Gros Tougne piste for direct access in to Les Menuires.
Watch La Société des 3 Vallées video animating some of the new upgrades
Are you Skiing in Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel, Motteret, St.Martin or Les Menuires?
Why not try a Private Development with TDCski in the 3 valleys this winter ?
There’s no better way to hone old and new skills than to take a 3 hour private development lesson with one of our BASI 4 coaches.
We can tailor each lesson specifically to your requirements and concentrate on your strengths and weaknesses to produce a better performance all over the mountain.
Lessons start at 9am or 1pm and are available at just 250€ for 1-4 people.
We can meet you in Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel, Motteret, St.Martin or Les Menuires.
To book contact [email protected] or call +33 6 85 88 05 91
In the Vanoise national park that incorporates Val d’Isere and Tignes, TDC coaches and clients ski to extremely cool and inaccessible places, then get a helicopter back out. Being dropped on top of a mountain is not permitted in France, but getting picked up in certain places at the bottom is fine.
Some of our coaches have had the requisite training and been signed-off allowing them to call in the helicopter and arrange the pick up. Amongst other things, this entails stacking skis, pacing out distances, and sticking your arms up in the air facing the correct way (over simplified).
Destinations that the development centre heliski guide / instruct to include:
Lac du Chevril – big dammed reservoir below Tignes, usually via an exhilarating route down.
Bonneval – over the back of the Pissillias Val d’Isere Glacier and down the other side.
The heli pilot (undoubtedly the coolest looking guy I’ve ever met) can then drop back to the top of Solaise, bottom of La Daille, or in Val Claret to continue the off piste experience.
If any of this takes your fancy, then speak to our office [email protected] about arranging a half day trip (instructor and heli) from 340eu, or just bolt on a helicopter ride to your already arranged lesson, from 115eu