Ever since my dad taught me ski in between his legs at the age of 3 on the Nursery slopes of Valmorel, skiing was my first love. That was until Snowboarding came on the scene when I was a teenager and desperate to be part of the cool gang; I quickly ditched my skis strapped on a snowboard and haven’t looked back since.
I went on a ski trip with a group of work mates recently and I was the only boarder. I struggled to keep up as no one wanted to wait around long enough for me to strap in at the top of the lift. So I decided that this year I would go back to my first love – skiing!
But after 10 years would I still be able to ski? Will it be like riding a bike? Will I be carving down the slopes or will I be crossing skis and catching edges? Now I didn’t want to be finding out the answer to these questions on the first day of the ski trip and once again holding up the group, so I booked myself on to an early season Snoworks All Terrain course in Tignes.
I was staying with all the other people on the Snoworks courses at Le Aiguille Percee which is a recently refurbished Mark Warner hotel right on the slopes in the centre of Tignes Le Lac. At the welcome meeting I faced my first dilemma which was whether to put myself in level 4 or level 5 so I spoke to the instructor and he said to go in Level at 4 to begin with and I could move up if I wanted to progress on to level 5. After the welcome meeting I went to the bar for a couple of beers had a lovely dinner and went to bed excited at the thought of skiing for the first time in a decade.
At 9:15 the next morning I met up with my group at the brand new Toviere lift and I was introduced to my instructor, Dave. As we set off for the first lift I used my poles to propel myself forward promptly caught an edge crossed my skis and fell over in heap! This is going to be a long day I thought. As we got on the lift Dave had waited for me and feeling very embarrassed I thanked him for waiting and explained my situation. Dave said that everything would be fine just relax and listen to his advice and he would have me Carving down the mountain in no time.
Dave explains that on the first run he just going to take a look at all of us skiing so that he can see what we need to work on to improve our technique. About half way down the run I am really getting into it, I can feel the difference that the new ski technology makes as I carve effortlessly down the slope. As we reach the bottom Dave is waiting to tear into my technique “You can tell you are a boarder you are swinging those shoulders all over the shop. Try to keep your upper body in one position, point your skis in the direction you want to travel, and focus on where you want to be and how you are going to get there”.
Snoworks courses focus on a policy of learning by doing so the Instructors guide you through a series of exercises that are designed to get you thinking about how we are steering our skis. The Instructor will demonstrate an exercise for the group to practice on the next run. We would then discuss if we were twisting, pushing, or edging our skis and think about when that particular technique would be applied.
I can fully recommend Snoworks courses to anyone who is trying to improve any aspect of their skiing from novices to pros. Even if you are just looking to ski with like minded people who have a passion for the mountain Snoworks have a course suitable for everybody. The All Terrain course that I went on is £325 for 5 half days of tuition with a Snoworks Instructor.
Snoworks offer all types of courses from all terrain, backcountry, race training, and gap year Instructor courses so there really is a course for everyone. Check out everything that they have to offer at Snoworks
by Alex Perrett