Ski Touring Is The New Cool!

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

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

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

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

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

Ski Touring Equipment
Ski Touring Equipment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coach’s Corner Sept 2019

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

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

This article will look at dealing with the dreaded ice.

Who needs grip?

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

Loosen up

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

Search and conquer

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

Actions

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

Jan 27th 2017 Snow Conditions Val d’Isere Tignes

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

Conditions On Piste Are Fantastic…Again

TDCski Coach Clare
Clare’s Report

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

Things are looking good for February.

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

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

Keep Watching!!!

TDCski The Development CentreSki Lessons Val d’IsereSki Lessons Tignes

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

 

Surviving Winter

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:

Wear Thermals

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.

Wear Thermals TDCski
Wear Good Thermals

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.

Lange Boots
Get Your Feet Out

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 Dynastar
Dynastar Skis

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, FranceHe 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

The Development Centre coaches tell us what they love about skiing.

Autumn arrives in the northern hemisphere and this means one thing: it’s nearly time to go sliding around on the snow! The anticipation is really exciting, but nothing beats those moments when you’re doing it, enjoying the mountains in the best way we know how. Here at the development centre we’ve been sharing our passion for skiing since 2002 and we’re pumped up for the coming season. These are some of the things that we’re looking forwards to the most –

The Corduroy

cordorouy
Heading down a freshly groomed piste allows you to feel how smoothly and precisely you are skiing. Less interference from the snow, it’s about enjoying your best turns.

Feel of the carve

carve
Make like a racer, feel the forces driving the turn and appreciate what modern skis can do on the piste. The deeper you go, the bigger the rush.

Air Time

jumpIt’s not the size that counts.

Jumps of any size are exhilarating, whether in the park or in the backcountry, jumping is one of those things some people (us) never quite grow out of.

The Quiet of the Powder

Sometimes, after some deep powder turns,the only noise is your own breathing

pow

 

Sharing it

share (2) share3

Wshare the lovee love skiing for ourselves , but we also love it when we can share our passion, knowledge and enthusiasm with others. We love making a real difference to people’s
holidays.

The Development Centre run ski schools in Val d’Isere, Tignes and the Three Valleys. Our team of highly qualified, experienced and motivated instructors are there to help you to achieve your goals, whatever they might be.

www.tdcski.com

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

HeliSki in Val d’Isere, France

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.

photo credit Siobhãn Miller
photo credit – Siobhãn Miller

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.

Bonneval HeliSki TDC
The Heli works out way cheaper than a taxi. Credit google maps

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.

HeliSki Pilot

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

Bon Ski!

“Perfect day! Couloir & chopper action – tick! Thanks TDC” – Fliss

“Best day skiing of my life!” – Holly