SKI COURSES ALL YEAR ROUND! For Novices, Intermediates, Advanced, Expert and Pro Skiers
JOIN THE SKIING REVOLUTION! WWW.SNOWORKS.COM OR CALL 0844 543 0503 PHOTO: Emma
Carrick-Anderson, Snoworks instructor, coach and four time Olympic skier.
ROSS C A S E S KI COUR LDWIDE! S 0 5 R E OV ES WOR I R T N U O 12 C
SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI | 1
INDEX 1 HI, I’M PHIL SMITH, DIRECTOR OF SNOWORKS SKI COURSES AND I’D LIKE TO INTRODUCE YOU TO OUR SECOND ‘LIVE TO SKI’ GUIDE. The ‘Live To Ski’ Guide is an extension of the whole Snoworks Ski Courses philosophy bringing exciting skiing news direct to passionate skiers like ourselves. Why ‘Live To Ski?’ It’s what our whole ethos is about. We’ve brought to you information on all things exciting in the world of Snoworks, along with vital stuff that will keep you safe in the mountains. It’s packed with information about the great skiing destinations we go to, the latest kit on the mountain, the philosophies we use on our ski courses that are designed to help you improve your skiing even further, along with testimonials from Snoworks’ guests. Snoworks is all about the skiing experience. Visiting great places, skiing with other like minded skiers and getting to a ski level where you can enjoy the whole mountain environment. Enjoy.
2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10 14
ARE INTERMEDIATE SKIERS MISSING OUT?
20 HOW TO SELECT SKIS 22 RACE CARVE JOURNEY 23 MY WITH SNOWORKS
ALL-TERRAIN IN THE THREE VALLEYS TANIA GRAZIANO MY ALL-TERRAIN COURSE
BY WILL HAINES
BEGINNERS AND NOVICE SKIERS PARTNERS SKIING AT DIFFERENT SKI ABILITIES THE ‘INTERMEDIATE PLATEAU’ BY MIKE JONES
TECHNIQUE OR SKILL?
I have the impression that the traditional method of booking a skiing holiday may be back to front. It goes something like this:
AROUND THE WORLD IN 40 DAYS CHILE - THE PACIFIC RING OF FIRE SNOWORKS GAP 8 WEEKS TO INSTRUCTOR
SNOWORKS STAFF SPOTLIGHTS
THE GAP 30 BRIDGE BASI LEVEL 3
GAP - WHAT OUR SKIERS SAY
SO YOU THINK IT’S ALL OVER?
THE THREE VALLEYS OFF-PISTE MECCA AVALANCHE AWARENESS BY RICHARD MANSFIELD
Every day when I’m out on the slopes teaching I look around and see countless intermediate skiers that have the potential to do so much more with their skiing.
HUMBLE BEGINNINGS BY LINDA WILSON
PHIL SMITH EXPLAINS WHY SO MANY INTERMEDIATE SKIERS COULD BE MISSING OUT ON SO MUCH MORE...
Maybe what I’m seeing is what they want to do, maybe it’s what intermediate skiers think intermediate skiers do, maybe they don’t know what is possible and could be missing out on so much more with just a little bit of help and advice.
THE SECRET OF SNOWORKS
SKI WITH 16 WHY SNOWORKS BY
THE HISTORY OF OFF-PISTE EQUIPMENT
ARE INTERMEDIATE SKIERS MISSING OUT ON SO MUCH MORE?
1 Research a resort based on price, accommodation, availability and airport. 2 Book a ski holiday. 3 O nce out there possibly look for some kind of tuition. This is often booked on the bus on the way to the resort or on arrival in the resort. 4 If not committed to tuition then maybe take a private lesson or two during the week. 5 If not too bothered about ski school maybe take some ski hosting. 6 Open the curtains and look at the weather. 7 Sunny – great let’s go skiing. 8 S nowing and cloudy – mmmmm maybe a longer breakfast and see what the weather’s doing later. 9 S tick to well pisted runs – blues and reds, maybe try an occasional black if it does not look too difficult and the snow is good.
So what could you be doing instead? Let’s turn the above around and follow it in the other direction. 1 S ki most places on the mountain with confidence. Happily tackle any marked runs and be taken to amazing places and have the confidence to ski them. 2 It’s snowing and cloudy – great, get a quick breakfast and head out as soon as possible to get the best snow and go to the best places knowing that you’ll be able to ski them with confidence. There’s nothing like going skiing when it’s snowing, the slopes are deserted (I wonder why!) with fresh snow everywhere! 3 Open the curtains and go “yeeehaaah!” whatever the weather.
More importantly... 4 Have booked the on-snow training well in advance. Have researched the instructors, the ski school, have had great recommendations and are confident that these are the people you want to teach you. 5 F inally, once all the on-snow tuition has been decided – the most suitable course – the most suitable week. Then look for a tour operator that has packages that will take you to the place where you’ve organized the tuition. Make sure they can organize the package for the week you need to go as the on-snow ski tuition is the most important aspect of the holiday and could make or break your holiday. 6 L astly book a skiing holiday knowing that the on-snow experience is all taken care of.
SNOWORKS PHILOSOPHY OUTPUT FOCUSED:
SKI COURSES PROGRAMME
Call UK: 0844 543 0503 International: +44 870 122 5549 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit: www.snoworks.com
Focus on your goal. Become an ‘output oriented skier’. Control your speed and direction at will.
The on-snow experience can make or break a skiing holiday. Make sure it becomes a priority.
2 | SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI
SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI | 3
ALL-TERRAIN LA TANIA
SNOWORKS PHILOSOPHY SKI IN THE NOW:
Be aware of the future, let go of the past, focus on the now.
TANIA GRAZIANO TESTIMONIAL
AS THE ADVERT GOES. WE DO WHAT IT SAYS ON THE TIN. ALL-TERRAIN SKIING FOR ASPIRANT ALL-TERRAIN SKIERS. BUMPS, COULOIRS, WHOOPING IN THE FRESH TRACKS OR CARVING UP THE PISTES - WE’RE WITH YOU ALL THE WAY. La Tania, built for the 1992 Olympics, has grown into it’s own unique station with lifts and access into the heart of the 3 Valleys. FOR PISTES The biggest web of interconnecting lift systems in the world with over 600km of varied pistes. This is truly a piste skier’s paradise. There is nowhere in the world that offers so much variety.
FOR BUMPS You are literally spoilt for choice with quick access to a myriad of moguls including; Chanrossa, Suisses, Bartavelle and the appropriately named Bosses to name only a few.
FOR FRESH TRACKS
I first became interested in Snoworks after my husband Marcus returned having spent a week with them. l could n ot believe how much he had improved.
Prior to him going we were about the same level, when he returned he outstripped me easily. Never one to be beaten, I decided that I had to try it for myself.
FOR APRES SKI
So off I went with my friend to La Tania, Les 3 Vallees. On the first night our instructors, Mike and Lee introduced themselves and we discussed what level we thought we were. Just as they left they handed me a rucksack with an avalanche kit in. An avalanche kit! What had I said that made them think I was at that level? I must have been speaking Serb Croat! I said l could do ‘reds’ that I don’t particularly like ‘blacks’ but I would do them under duress.
Live music to relax in the evenings at one of the many alpine retreats. Mostly chalet living, you’ll have a homely welcome off the slope with tea and cake awaiting you and the occasional beer from the honesty bar. This really is 3 Valleys skiing at a pinch of the price.
The next day we met having had a sleepless night full of nightmares about being dug out of an avalanche! After going down a couple of red runs, Lee was unimpressed and said if I went down a black like that he be picking me up limb from limb. Next slope, black run.
Jump of any lift and you have off-piste galore. Take a traverse or hike a little and a whole world of off-piste awaits you.
FOR SNOW From 1,400m at La Tania village to 3,230m at the top of Bouchet in Val Thorens, with over 1,200 snow cannons, this is one of the most snow sure ski areas in the world.
What am I doing here! I felt terrified but did what Lee showed me to do and remarkably managed to get to the bottom with all my limbs intact and without injury. In fact I would go so far as to say I was actually in control, sort of.
The next day, not thinking I was as in control as I thought I was, Lee suggested l move down a group. However, l decided actually I could do this and what’s more I wanted to do this, so l asked to stay in the his group. By Wednesday I had been down about 17 blacks and now felt totally non-phased. It was then that Lee seemed to think it would be a good idea to take us down this cruddy off-piste hell hole. Not what I had in mind in a million years! I was almost sick with fear. We, the group, all looked at him in utter disbelief. I managed to get a grip and copy what he did well enough to get down. Once we were down I told Lee I was more than happy to move down a group now. He ignored me and after that vote of confidence I flew, feeling almost invincible. On the last day we were all going down black off-piste and it was absolutely amazing, thrilling and exhilarating”.
I was presented with a certificate for ‘most improved’ and put it on my mantelpiece.
It was brilliant and I shall be back next year. It’s all about attitude - when you commit and get your attitude right it is amazing what we are all capable of. Fondest memories and sincerest thanks guys.
“I learnt so much about skiing and about myself on that course. Everything is achievable when you have a ‘can do’ attitude. I felt on a complete high for weeks after the course and glowed with pride.” PHOTO: Lee Townend,
4 | SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI
SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI | 5
BEGINNERS AND NOVICES AFTER YEARS OF SPECIALISING IN TEACHING INTERMEDIATES, ADVANCED, EXPERT AND ELITE SKIERS WE’VE DECIDED TO OFFER LIMITED COURSES FOR BEGINNERS AND NOVICES TO LEARN THE ART OF SKIING THE SNOWORKS WAY RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING.
Sports such as rugby, football, surfing and ice hockey are sports that take place in ‘open’ environments.
HOW CAN BEGINNERS AND NOVICES BENEFIT FROM SNOWORKS?
‘Open’ sports involve performance that is constantly changing. Open play in football or ice hockey. Nothing is ever the same.
Over the years we’ve developed our philosophies to cater for what we term the ‘OPEN’ environment. To explain very briefly ‘Open’ environments are constantly changing whereas ‘Closed’ environments remain the same. Sports such as running in lanes, swimming in lanes, high diving and gymnastics are sports that take places in relatively ‘closed’ environments.
How sports are learnt and performed are different depending on whether they take place in ‘open’ or ‘closed’ environments. ‘Closed’ sports involve performance that is predetermined and repetitive. Like throwing a javelin or doing a ‘triple toe loop’ in figure skating. Very skillful but very similar all the time.
WHAT IS SKIING? Most people would say ‘open’. It’s always changing. But when we ask the same people how they learnt they say ‘closed’. So you can see a conflict exists between learning to ski and becoming a competent all-mountain skier. In the early stages of learning to ski this conflict is not apparent. It’s only apparent when the environment becomes more
MY PARTNER & I
ARE AT DIFFERENT SKI LEVELS
‘open’. This is normally at the red run stage. As ice starts to appear, bumps start to form, runs have not been pisted. This is when many skiers that have learnt ‘closed’ start to experience difficulties. It’s called the ‘INTERMEDIATE PLATEAU’. It’s when the environment goes from ‘closed’ to ‘open’. Historically ski teaching is fairly ‘closed’ in the early stages as indeed the runs are fairly ‘closed’. But if you’re not careful you can become trapped in this way of skiing and then forever be frustrated when the terrain becomes more ‘open’ and challenging. As a beginner or novice if you learn ‘open’ right from the start then you have no problems when the terrain starts to become ‘open’. So no INTERMEDIATE PLATEAU. Of course there are other factors such as emotions and fitness but as far as your technique is concerned you’ll be an ‘OPEN’ skier from the start.
For years my partner and myself have been going skiing together and for years we’ve been coming up with the same problem. I am more adventurous and ski at a higher speed than my partner. However we both love our skiing and we both want to get better. Every year we end up with the same scenario; how can we both get what we want out of our skiing but still have a ski holiday together? We’ve always had a lovely time but more often than not our time on the snow fell below expectations. I would persuade my partner to tackle more demanding terrain often leading to bouts of hysteria as to why we ended up perched on the side of a precipice. Then we found Snoworks and discovered lots of other couples in exactly the same situation. Was it possible that we could both have a great ski holiday together, both get what we wanted on the slopes and still have time to ski together? It all sounded too good to be true. We booked. On the evening of arrival Phil and the other Snoworks instructors greeted us all and chatted to us each individually to get an idea of our level, what sort of skiing we wanted to do during the week and whether we wanted to be pushed or ski within our comfort zone.
SNOWORKS PHILOSOPHY MOVE SNOW:
Control the amount of snow you move with your edges and base of your skis. ‘If you can move it, you can ski it’.
We had booked on the All-Terrain half day course so it meant that my partner and myself could go into separate groups for half a day and still have time to ski together for the other half a day. They could not guarantee that our groups would be at the same time every day as there were many different couples all at different levels. However they did guarantee to rotate groups so we would get some of the week with
our lessons at the same time. It just so happened on this occasion our groups ended up being at the same time for the whole week so we could get exactly what we wanted. We were both a bit nervous to begin with as we have always skied together in the past and suddenly skiing with other skiers that we had never met before all seemed a bit daunting. Did we need to worry? Not in the slightest. Why had we not done this type of skiing holiday before? I’ll never know. On the first day away we went. Everyone was in the same boat. I was in a group of Adventurous Intermediates (Snoworks Level 4) and my partner was in a group of Intermediates (Snoworks Level 3). In no time at all I was introduced to the skills that would allow me to venture into the off-piste, what I’ve always wanted. Whilst my partner could learn to cope with more demanding conditions on-piste such as steeper more challenging reds, bumps and ice.
“By the end of the week I could venture off-piste competently and actually ski powder! My partner could cope with steep awkward reds, ice and even easy black runs.”
We met so many skiers all in the same situation that we even ended up skiing with the other skiers on the other half day when we were not in a course. By the end of the week I could venture off-piste competently and actually ski powder! My partner could cope with steep awkward reds, ice and even easy black runs. It was in stark contrast to our previous ski holidays where I always felt frustrated and held back and my partner constantly terrified that I would end up taking her down a black run. Now we book all our skiing holidays with Snoworks and I have learnt that the most important aspect of our skiing holiday is our time on the snow. We have also made lots of new friends with similar interests. We keep in touch and organise our skiing holidays so they coincide allowing us to enjoy skiing even more than we thought we could.
PHOTOS: Top, Mike
Barker, Lee Townend and Phil Smith. part of the Snoworks team of instructors. Bottom, Junior Race Training In Tignes.
6 | SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI
SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI | 7
MIKE JONES INTERMEDIATE PLATEAU MIKE JONES, SNOWORKS CLIENT, DESCRIBES HIS JOURNEY FROM THE INTERMEDIATE PLATEAU TO A COMPETENT ALLMOUNTAIN SKIER.
It is not easy passing through Boston airport with a broken leg not yet in plaster. The left leg was not much good either as I had ruptured the medial ligament on my very first ski holiday some three weeks earlier. Eventually both injuries did repair and some months later I resumed training at my local ski slope in Torquay. By this time I was hooked on the sport and determined to get the best of this strange but vastly rewarding pastime. My boys, well two of the three, seemed to glide down the slope with consummate ease, how was this possible? I was only in my mid-forties and yet resembled a constipated gorilla on the slopes! Early one Sunday morning in October in typical British drizzle my youngest son and I were the only two on our local slope. Ron, the slope’s coach, as usual focused all
his attention on my son whilst I was left to perfect the bad habits I had already acquired. Driving home my son was pouring over a flyer that Ron had thrust in his hands – “Tell yer Dad to get in touch with this company,” were his instructions.
It was my second season on the slopes and my ski buddies, all of whom are experienced skiers, were bemused to see that I had begun to match them in terms of speed, endurance and coping with all the different types of snow and terrain.
We booked on our first preChristmas All-Terrain course in Tignes and as we queued for the funicular at Val Claret on the first morning I recall it was cold, raining and visibility was very poor. I had been placed in the lowest group and my boys had typically made it to the top group.
After seeing my improvement seven of my ski buddies joined me on the Snoworks course the following November. All of us ski to a much higher standard now thanks to Phil and his carefully selected expert coaches.
There was an air of trepidation as many of us were intermediate skiers more comfortable on perfectly groomed runs. Blue sky would have eased the tension. As we emerged from the funicular at 3200m we were greeted with the majestic view of the snow clad Grande Motte glacier and blue sky. We had a great day; the tuition was of the highest standard and in English to boot. The week progressed, as did my skiing, and every day was filled with enjoyment and improvements. I went home a much more competent skier and at the end of the season I decided to book the same course for the following November.
I am now a competent all mountain skier and can ski most places on and off-piste. I am not daunted any more by bad visibility, fresh snow, bumps or ice. I enjoy looking for challenges and feel confident that I can cope with most of what the mountain can throw at me. The enjoyment I now have from my skiing is immeasurable and have progressed to the Backcountry and Ski Safari weeks where the all day format allows me to experience even more of the whole mountain. I would recommend Snoworks to any aspiring skier.
“I am now a competent all mountain skier and can ski most places on and off-piste. I am not daunted any more by bad visibility, fresh snow, bumps or ice.”
OF SNOWORKS COULD THIS BE AT THE CORE OF WHY THOUSANDS, PERHAPS MILLIONS, OF SKIERS AROUND THE WORLD DEVELOP LEARNING PLATEAUS, UNABLE TO PROGRESS NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES THEY SIGN UP FOR SKI SCHOOL?
PHIL SMITH talks about going ‘OPEN’. WHAT ARE OPEN AND CLOSED SPORTS? Closed sports are where the environment does not change such as running in lanes, swimming in lanes, javelin throwing, discus and hammer. Open sports are where the environment is constantly changing such as football, rugby, tennis, sailing and surfing.
IS SKIING OPEN OR CLOSED? Skiing is probably one of the most ‘open’ and dynamic sports there is, yet somewhat alarmingly, the industry has built it’s understanding and foundations of skiing and teaching skiing on ‘closed sports’ methodology. It is why there are so many different systems and ways of learning to ski and why so many skiers who travel to different resorts and countries in their skiing life are left confused, bewildered and despairing at the inconsistencies of how skiing is taught. It may also explain why so many just don’t bother pursuing skiing tuition beyond the so-called ‘basics’.
SNOWORKS PHILOSOPHY TWIST PUSH EDGE:
The steering skills of skiing. The greater skill you develop in these the greater skill you develop as a skier.
PHOTOS: Main. Mike
Barker, Snoworks instructor. Insert. SnoworksGap Fast Track To Instructor Course.
For many skiers, the perception of ski school is only useful for gaining control over your skis for the pistes and groomed runs, where the environment is indeed less open, along with perhaps a broad understanding of mountain safety…oh, and how to get up lifts of course. But if the basics have been taught in ‘closed’ environment terms then that’s it, you’re trapped for life. Unless, that is, you recognise this is how you’ve been taught and break free, starting the journey on a more long term and sustainable ‘open’ ski learning methodology. To clarify the difference between open and closed, it is useful to understand the difference between why we have been taught to learn these closed methods. When learning closed skills for closed sports, the movements tend to involve repetitive patterns; there’s a start and finish, like throwing a javelin, where the movement pattern can be described accurately. When learning open skills for open sports there’s no start or finish to the movement patterns, they have to be continually adapted to the changing environment. A simply analogy I constantly use, would be trying to describe (and then teach!) the movement patterns of running through a crowded bar carrying a tray of drinks. To accurately describe what is happening and how to copy it is impossible. The probability of the same thing happening again exactly is akin to winning the lottery twice. Set movement patterns would only work if you ran through the bar where each time everyone and everything always stayed in the same place. But of course, this would never happen; more people may have arrived, creating more obstacles and furniture may have moved. The variables are infinite. This is why we don’t teach ‘set movement patterns’ any more for all-terrain skiing.
“Skiing is probably one of the most ‘open’ and dynamic sports there is, yet somewhat alarmingly, the industry has built it’s understanding and foundations of skiing and teaching skiing on ‘closed sports’ methodology.”
8 | SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI
SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI | 9
ARE YOU A CLOSED SKIER? Do you find yourself saying any (or all) of these? Are you a ‘variables victim’? • I’m OK providing it doesn’t get icy • I can ski powder but when it begins to get varied I struggle • I’m OK providing it doesn’t get steep • Other skiers put me off • I can’t control my speed • I end up skiing too fast and lose control • I’m OK providing the bumps are nicely spread out • I struggle in bad visibility • I struggle in slush
DOES ANY OF THIS SOUND FAMILIAR? • Don’t lean back • Face downhill • Stand up, sink down • Push into the front of the boots • Don’t skid • Get a rhythm • Bounce up and down • Equally weight your skis • Keep more weight on the outside ski • Plant your pole and stand up
• I struggle on narrow paths
• There are three phases to making a turn
• I struggle when it gets crowded
All the above statements describe ‘closed techniques’. There is no consideration to the variables.
• Trees put me off Each statement has a variable attached to it – slope steepness, hazards, visibility, snow texture, other skiers or speed. If any of these statements ring true with you, then it’s time to go open, because having learned the closed method of skiing, you will always be a victim of skiing variables.
By practicing any of the above, you will simply end up at a plateau when performance doesn’t match the variable. It’s a vicious circle.
INSTEAD OF LEARNING ‘SET MOVEMENT PATTERNS’ WHICH ARE REPETITIVE, CREATE INSTEAD A TOOLBOX OF SKIING SKILLS. THE SUBCONSCIOUS CAN THEN UNDERSTAND HOW AND WHEN TO EMPLOY THESE SKILLS INSTINCTIVELY, ADJUSTING TO THE TERRAIN AUTOMATICALLY. AKIN TO RUNNING THROUGH A CROWDED BAR CARRYING A TRAY OF DRINKS.
• • • • •
Edge Control Skills Pressure Control Skills Rotary Control Skills Skills to Control Speed Skills to Control Line
Think of these skills as drills. It’s just like going to the gym or having a workout. Then when you go skiing you can just ski and instead of focusing on set movements and techniques - you just ski. Your subconscious can take control of your movements. Your skiing becoming an infinite blend of movements where nothing is ever the same. Everything is constantly changing to match the terrain you’re skiing. Just like running through through a crowded bar carrying a tray of drinks.
BEGINNINGS Linda Wilson, manager of the Snoworks Booking Office, talks about her journey from her first day on skis to co-ordinating the whole Snoworks Ski Courses programme. I know many Snoworks guests very well and yet have never met most of them! When I do unexpectedly turn up in resort I feel like royalty. Everyone is so pleased to finally meet the voice at the end of the phone. I may be the most experienced desk jockey of the team but I also ski. In fact my humble ski journey began from a barbecue at the very understated dry ski slope at Telford. The same slope where our own Snoworks instructor Lee Townend started. Perhaps Lee and I have that in common but I’m sure his first experience of skiing was more successful than mine! I must have been one of the worst beginners on that tiny slope. The lift queue used to snake dangerously across the slope and I was like Moses parting the red sea when attempting to stop at the bottom! They say every cloud has a silver lining and I met one of my very best friends on one of these dangerous Mondays when I wiped him out attempting to stop!
HOW TO SKI OPEN
EXPAND YOUR TOOLBOX OF SKILLS - DEVELOP:
By shifting your focus and concentration from the myths of making set movement patterns onto developing and perfecting skills, you will instantly begin to understand the reality of the changing environment. Developing skills rather than set ‘movement patterns’ allows you to be able to develop your skiing and take it much further, much faster than you and all those skiers that are ‘closed’ may ever know. Developing skills rather than set ‘movement patterns’ gives you total independence, connecting you with the ski against snow, snow structure, snow depth, terrain, steepness and speed to name but a few skiing variables. Learning open skiing comes with a warning though, you’ll wish you’d discovered it years ago.
From these rainy and dismal Mondays at Telford, along with the fantastic instruction of the legendary Alan Ashfield I persevered, eventually learning to stop. I became a pretty competent skier having never even seen the snow! I am living proof that the right teacher can turn you into a successful skier. My first experience of skiing on snow was in Pra Loup. It was most skiers’ dream - powder snow. Not for me! I hated it and I was back to those early days of constantly hitting the deck with skis off and walking down the slope in frustration. I was ready to give up. Luckily I’m not a quitter. I persevered and have been having fun on the slopes ever since. On every holiday I take instruction. There is always something to be learned from skilled ski instructors and in my view it’s madness to take a ski holiday without them. As a result of my Telford days an unexpected opportunity came out of the blue one day and I was offered a sales job with a group tour operator called Hourmont Total Ski. I was a secretary at the time and this was a massive mountain to climb. I took on the challenge and my journey into the commercial world of travel and skiing began. I never looked back.
Many years later a travel agency job came my way. I was involved in working with a number of ski course providers and in 2003 was there at the formation of Snoworks Ski Courses. Phil Smith was at the helm and I was running the booking office. Our aim was to offer a seamless transition from the first telephone or email enquiry to stepping onto the ski slopes. Other key overseas staff joined us on a permanent basis. Emma Carrick-Anderson following her retirement from international racing. Lee Townend, Mike Barker and more recently Nick Quinn. This combination of long term office knowledge and committed overseas staff helps us offer a personal service many companies are yet to achieve. I have had the fortune to ski in a multitude of resorts in Europe and beyond and feed my love of travel and skiing through my job. I feel very privileged to have seen so many places in the world and have met some of the most amazing people who have now become lifelong friends. Not bad for a desk jockey!
10 | SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI
SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI | 11
PHIL SMITH FIRST JOB AS AN ADULT? Electronics but don’t ask me to change a plug! Hence why I became a ski instructor.
BACK UP PROFESSION? Electronics was the idea which is why I took an apprenticeship at 16. However maybe a wrong choice as electronics now is as different from then as carving skis is to straight skis now. So it’s down to ski, ski or ski.
WORST SKIING OUTFIT YOU HAVE EVER USED PRIVATELY OR PROFESSIONALLY? Has to be my BASI demonstration ski suit from the Canadian Interski Congress. Maybe it was in then!
FAVOURITE SAYING? Has to be Master Oogway from Kung Foo Panda talking to Po. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift that’s why it’s called the present.
WORST HABIT? Better ask my wife!
WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO SKI? Harlow Ski centre. One of the original artificial ski slopes in the UK. Opened by the local sports Centre which was local government funded and run. 100metres of skimat. The original artificial surface.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST ALPINE RESORT TO SKI IN? Aviemore. A weekend with the school. Then Chateau d’Oeux in Switzerland. The White Highlands.
WHERE DID YOU FIRST INSTRUCT? Harlow Ski Slope.
FAVOURITE RESORT TO SKI? So many for different reasons. I suppose still my favourite place ever is the Southern Volcanoes Chile. In particular Huilo Huilo and Corralco.
FAVOURITE FOOD? On a ski holiday has to be our Japanese Adventure.
BEST MOUNTAIN MEAL?
WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO SKI?
WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO SKI?
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST ALPINE RESORT TO SKI IN?
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST ALPINE RESORT TO SKI IN?
WHERE DID YOU FIRST INSTRUCT?
On a dry slope in Central Scotland. Once I passed my (old) Grade 3 I went to Les Orres in the southern French Alps.
FAVOURITE RESORT TO SKI?
FAVOURITE RESORT TO SKI?
St Anton, Austria.
Kaiserschmarren - Austrian Pancake. Gorgeous but not too often!
Might have to say my home base for the Winter of Ste Foy. The skiing is great, it’s usually quiet and the back country is fantastic. I also take great pleasure at the busy time of being able to ski Les Arcs and Tignes/Val D’Isere from Ste Foy and be grateful that I am not battling my way though the masses!. Vail is pretty good too!
FIRST JOB AS AN ADULT?
WHAT BROUGHT ME TO SNOWORKS?
Haven’t had one yet!
The opportunity to provide something different for skiers. Ski school existed for the mass market. Instruction was geared to beginners, novices and early intermediates. We wanted to change the face of ski teaching. Provide excitement, adventure, companionship and a route to all-mountain skiing for everyone.
BACK UP PROFESSION?
My first ever catsuit which I was very proud of was GREEN and baggy.
Commentator for BBC and Eurosport - being MUM but it doesn’t pay well!
WORST SKIING OUTFIT YOU HAVE EVER USED PRIVATELY OR PROFESSIONALLY?
FAVOURITE SAYING? Never give up! WORST HABIT? Having to have perfection in the house - not easy with 4 boys.
BEST MOUNTAIN MEAL? See number 5.
WHAT BROUGHT ME TO SNOWORKS? To pass on some of my experience to others and to enable them to enjoy the mountains like we do. My love of skiing the whole mountain and being able to do that every day makes me feel very lucky.
TIPS AND HINTS
Fast Track To Instructor. 8 week course in the Autumn in Tignes.
WHERE DID YOU FIRST INSTRUCT?
It’s got to be quick service and fast to get back out skiing. So locally it’s probably Bar de l’Ouillette on the Solaise in Val D’Isere overlooking the lake and right next to the Helipad. So if you’ve just done Mickeys Ears or Bonneval you can get dropped by heli here.
Go to my favourite quote. Ski in the ‘now’. OK I’m a Kung Fu Panda Fan!.
Campitello, Italy aged 2.
Contact with the mountain! Feel the ski against the snow and keep your focus down there. If you do that you don’t need any tips or hints as you will be able to adjust what you do as you feel the snow beneath you.
If you have ever waited for a ferry in Oban on the west coast of Scotland go to the seafood shack beside the ferry terminal. I recommend the Langoustine in hot garlic butter with sweet chilli dip.
FIRST JOB AS AN ADULT? I did a season on a sporting estate on the east side of Scotland.
BACK UP PROFESSION? Scottish Tour Guide. I spend my Summers having fun in Scotland with visitors, walking tours, driver guiding, whisky tours, exploring the islands. You should come!
WORST SKIING OUTFIT YOU HAVE EVER USED PRIVATELY OR PROFESSIONALLY? Well, we all used to wear Nevica fluorescent patches and I am not particularly proud of that.
FAVOURITE SAYING? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. (except bears, bears will kill you).
WORST HABIT? If I have to get from A-B quickly on the mountain, I love listening to music. There can’t be many people who have skied top to bottom of Vail Mountain listening to bagpipe tunes!
BEST MOUNTAIN MEAL? Game Creek Club, Game Creek Bowl, Vail, Colorado. 8 courses, taken there in a heated snowcat and coming down the gondola at 1.30am takes some beating, oh and a 25 yr old Glenmorangie to finish the evening off.
12 | SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI
SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI | 13
WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO SKI? Telford dry ski slope with Stafford Ski Club with legends such as John Sheddon.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST ALPINE RESORT TO SKI IN? Bad Kleinkirchheim in the Nockberge region of Southern Austria.
WHERE DID YOU FIRST INSTRUCT? Telford dry ski slope, then Stoke dry ski slope, then Swadlincote dry skis slope, then I was in the first wave of instructors in the ALL NEW Tamworth SnowDome.
FAVOURITE RESORT TO SKI? 3 Valleys for sheer size and variation, Japan for powder, Chile for culture and scenery, St Anton for off-piste.
WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO SKI?
WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO SKI?
WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO SKI?
On a school holiday at Crans Montana.
I learnt to ski on Pendle Hill firstly on a patch of snow and then on the dry slope aged 7.
Oadby, Leicestershire back in the 80’s when it snowed properly in the UK on a flood relief plain.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST ALPINE RESORT TO SKI IN?
Kitzbuhel, Austria at minus 6 months.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST ALPINE RESORT TO SKI IN? First one for a season Oberjoch, Bavaria.
I am a big curry and risotto fan, but if you’re in Japan the sushi is amazing, if you’re in Austria I enjoy a Tyrolean Gröstl.
Gloucester dry ski slope teaching next to Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards.
My first visit to an alpine resort was to Westendorf in Austria aged 9, I was ill for most of the week but managed to ski the last 2 days. After that we were regular visitors to Aviemore camping at Glenmore Lodge.
FIRST JOB AS AN ADULT?
FAVOURITE RESORT TO SKI?
WHERE DID YOU FIRST INSTRUCT?
I first taught on Pendle after passing my ASSI aged 16. I did my first full season aged 18 working for Weekend Ski Club in Aviemore.
Chef. I left school and didn’t go to Uni. I did 3 years at catering college in Stone (Nr Stoke) and worked as a professional chef for over 8 years.
BACK UP PROFESSION? I should get one I suppose, thinking about becoming an airline pilot!
WORST SKIING OUTFIT YOU HAVE EVER USED PRIVATELY OR PROFESSIONALLY?
WHERE DID YOU FIRST INSTRUCT?
FAVOURITE FOOD? Curry.
FIRST JOB AS AN ADULT? British Army Parachute Regiment.
In the 80’s I was the proud owner of an American one piece suit with matching bum bag. Gareth Roberts (former Snoworks Instructor) probably has photographic evidence as he would have been on the same Stafford Ski Club holidays!
BACK UP PROFESSION?
Cat suit without protection on a downhill.
Firefighter 13 years.
WORST SKIING OUTFIT YOU HAVE EVER USED PRIVATELY OR PROFESSIONALLY?
FAVOURITE RESORT TO SKI? I love teaching in the 3 valleys for its great variety of terrain and wide open pistes. For my personal skiing I love the steep couloirs and open powder fields of Tignes and Val D’Isere.
FAVOURITE FOOD? I do love a good steak but my real favourite for a treat must be an indian from my local curry house at home.
FIRST JOB AS AN ADULT?
A few favourites. ‘Work to live, live to ski’, ‘pain is temporary, quitting is forever’, ‘you can spend all your time making money or spend all your money making time’. Who can tell me where quote 2 and 3 are from?
FAVOURITE SAYING? That’s brilliant.
Was an apprentice electrician working for a plumbing firm hence I also learned to be a plumber.
BACK UP PROFESSION?
I guess at the minute my back up is in ‘rope access’. As a last resort I could go back to plumbing.
Picking my nose (are we really going to put this in LTS2?) trying to stop!
BEST MOUNTAIN MEAL? For a good meal at a good price go to the Bouc Blanc at the top of the la Tania bubble. If you’re looking to spend more, but want value for money go to the Azimut in le Praz.
WHAT BROUGHT ME TO SNOWORKS? The variety of the job and clients I get to deliver to, work with and ski with. One day I’m teaching skiers to become teachers, the next minute setting G.S gates for racers, then Backcountry in 3-Valleys and not forgetting sharing the knowledge and pleasure of deep deep pow in Japan, Kashmir and Chile.
BEST TIP? 500€ so far, but I have faith in our amazing Snoworks guests ;-). ‘Work to live, Live to Ski’.
BEST MOUNTAIN MEAL? Noodles from Tignes cuisine.
WHAT BROUGHT ME TO SNOWORKS? I saw the kind of courses Snoworks was producing and I wanted to go on one. I was offered the chance of joining the instructor team and after that there was no turning back. The thought of working with such an experienced team appealed to me as it helps continue development and keeps apathy away.
WORST SKIING OUTFIT YOU HAVE EVER USED PRIVATELY OR PROFESSIONALLY? Some of the ski school uniforms over the years have been pretty horrific particularly the pink and turquoise Nevica suits of the early 90’s. Also the one piece suits provided in certain Italian ski schools were pretty bad.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST ALPINE RESORT TO SKI IN? WHERE DID YOU FIRST INSTRUCT? Wengen, Switzerland.
FAVOURITE RESORT TO SKI? Courchevel, all round cruising and off-piste with a cheeky visit to 1650 for face painting. St Anton for off-piste adventures.
FAVOURITE FOOD? Cumberland pie with peas and gravy.
FIRST JOB AS AN ADULT? Car parts salesman and delivery driver.
BACK UP PROFESSION? Wheeler dealer/exhibition bus driver/scuba instructor/anything involved with selling something!
WORST SKIING OUTFIT YOU HAVE EVER USED PRIVATELY OR PROFESSIONALLY? Kermit an Ex GB team catsuit, which back in the early 90’s were hard to get for skiers and it had gone round the club.
FAVOURITE SAYING? Bosh, Boom, Wicked, Awesome. Anything to make me sound younger!.
WORST HABIT? Clicking things like pen lids, carabiners, poppers on shorts etc.
BEST MOUNTAIN MEAL? Bratwurst mustard and walnut bread.
WHAT BROUGHT ME TO SNOWORKS?
BEST TIP? Two metres down, one metre back (if you
don’t understand this, come ski with me!).
Untidiness at home.
After my first career of ski race coaching and traveling the world skiing only 2/3 runs a day coaching the Olympians of tomorrow, I felt a change was in order. Snoworks is a great balance being able to use my race experience training Eurotest and Test Technique candidates along with some amazing experiences in the deepest powder available, thank you!
BEST MOUNTAIN MEAL?
TIPS AND HINTS Weather is weather it’s the only thing we can’t
Steak and a salad sitting on a balcony with a beautiful view over the mountains.
change! It’s all in there, you just need to get it out.
FAVOURITE SAYING? Don’t forget to smile.
14 | SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI
SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI | 15
RESORT REVIEWS GRESSONEY Spectacular off-piste skiing in the heart of the Monte Rosa mountain range. The scale here is deceptive. The surrounding mountains are so high that it’s hard to believe the altitude of the top lift is higher than the top of the Grande Motte cable car in Tignes. Links to Champoluc and Alagna mean you can explore this vast ski area with ease and a helidrop on the Monte Rosa with an off-piste descent into Zermat the icing on the cake. This is truly a backcountry skier’s paradise.
STE FOY People have skied in Ste Foy for a number of years, the attractions of this small ski area do not diminish. It may not be the unknown gem that it once was but you can still avoid the crowds of the nearby mega resorts and find untracked snow well after a recent snow fall.
3 VALLEYS (MERIBEL, LA TANIA AND COURCHEVEL) Your first thoughts may be; expensive, piste skiing and not for me. Think again. The 3 Valleys has some of the best off-piste around with an immense area encompassing all types of terrain for all levels of skiers. Meribel, La Tania, Courchevel and Val Thorens link to form the largest ski area in the world with a total of 8 linked resorts. You can buy Champagne and Fois Gras on the slopes but equally you can get lunch for €8 - €15 (£6 - £12). There’s easily accessible off-piste along with descents to refuge huts. For steep skiing head to the couloirs. You can even take a helicopter pick up after a long day’s backcountry skiing. For beginners and novices the pistes have to be amongst the most well groomed in the world. The Three Valleys is for everyone.
With a little effort the off-piste possibilities are extensive and the terrain near the pistes is a perfect introduction to the art of off-piste skiing. The pistes themselves are excellent. Arriving at the top of Aiguille lift at the end of the day for a final blast down the hill is always fun and it’s not unusual to find groomed runs even at that time of day. So give Ste Foy a go and think quality not quantity.
...epic skiing, fantastic food, amazing views, friendly folk and a fantastic historical town, unfound in any other ski resort.
Gulmarg, the highest cable car in the world with a top station at a mesmerizing 3,950 metres. One huge mountain range, one cable car, no pistes and endless off-piste skiing. Combine this with Delhi the world’s second most populated city, the Taj Mahal the most beautiful building in the world, with a stay in house boats on Lake Dal and you’ll understand why our first trip to Kashmir sold out within days of being launched. A visit to India and Kashmir will leave you breathless. A mixture of cultures, a feast on the eyes and limitless off-piste skiing.
Growing up idolizing ski heroes such as ‘Glen Plake’ and ‘Scott Schmidt’ made famous in the movie ‘Blizzard of Aahhh’s’. Telluride was always a place we wanted to ski. Epic powder, the world’s best moguls, and an unspoilt mining town with saloon door bars and Stetsons.
POWDER! End of article... All joking aside there is no such thing as guaranteed powder on a ski holiday, we all wish there was, however this is as likely a guarantee as you are going to get! The cold wind from Siberia picks up moisture from the Sea of Japan and drops an average of 15 metres of snow a season! (Europe gets 8 - 10 on a good year) It is also the lightest in the world, linking your turns between the sacred silver birch trees as it bellows over your head. If you like powder, trees and Sushi this is a must have holiday.
The cold wind from Siberia picks up moisture from the Sea of Japan and drops an average of 15metres of snow a season! (Europe gets 8-10 on a good year)
ST ANTON St Anton has it all and rarely disappoints with massive amounts of powder throughout January and February. The off-piste is endless and incredibly varied offering accessible off-piste to everyone from gentle meadows to 48 degree couloirs and of course the fabulous descent off the top of the Valuga! Not only does it offer immense amounts of incredible skiing with Zurs and Lech just a short bus ride away but St Anton town itself is a lively place with a cosmopolitan feel. A modern holiday resort which has retained it’s traditional appeal. If it’s ‘true’ apres ski you’re after then St Anton has it with the Moserwirt and Krazy Kanguruh kicking off mid
in Tignes. Insert. Junior Race Course in Tignes. Summer and Autumn.
afternoon in true Austrian thigh slapping fashion. New in 2015. Our first fast-track GAP ski instructor course with a guaranteed job on success! In conjunction with the Arlberg Ski School, we are putting together a 4-week instructor program that will give the successful student the ‘Anwärter’ ski teaching qualification. A proficient level of the German language is required prior to applying.
COURMAYEUR Courmayeur, situated against the backdrop of Europe’s most famous and highest mountain Mont Blanc. A picturesque village with everything Italian – quaint backstreets with cafes and restaurants and of course Italian Cappuccinos! The skiing, well what can we say! You’re on the doorstep of Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc. Along with the longest, most famous, most spectacular off-piste descent in the world, 23km and 2,800-metre vertical descent. It’s the home of the Vallée Blanche.
TIGNES/VAL D’ISERE One of our ‘home’ resorts which consistently has the best snow in the Alps. With a glacier at 3500m hosting skiing year round, multiple other sports undertaken in the valley, a brand new sports centre with water sports in the summer you can see why Tignes was elected ‘The Sportiest Town’ by the daily sports paper ‘L’Equipe’. Lying at 2100m is Tignes Le Lac, the centre of the 3 villages which make up the whole resort. Accessible by car with a massive expanse of fast lifts and steep descents such as the ‘Fingers’ and ‘Mickey’s Ears’. For intermediates there are gentle blues and winding greens which cross the blue ribboned downhill slope of Val D’Isere. With Val D’Isere you double the scope for adventure. With the use of helicopters when weather permits you can head as far afield as Bonneval.
...one of our ‘home’ resorts which consistently has the best snow in the Alps.
...the longest, most famous, most spectacular off-piste descent in the world, 23km and 2,800-metre vertical descent. It’s the home of the Vallée Blanche.
PHOTOS: Main. Race Training
SNOWORKS PHILOSOPHY MEASURE PERFORMANCE: Measure your performance, don’t judge. A measure is a true indication of how well you ski.
16 | SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI
SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI | 17
TED WALKER, SNOWORKS SKIER AND ADVENTURER, EXPLAINS WHY HE COMES SKIING WITH SNOWORKS...
The date of my cherished ski holiday drew closer. Like many other skiers, I began looking at the snow reports and webcams eagerly hoping for those perfect skiing conditions. I had booked to travel on the 5 day Vanoise All-Terrain Safari course in February. Nervously looking at the snow report it appeared that there had been no snowfalls for some time. I travelled out a couple of days early to Meribel to get warmed up for the weekend. I wasn’t expecting great snow but what I did get was ice and plenty of it. My aspirations are to ski powder and if I can’t get powder I want great skiing experiences and the best snow available. I long for powder but I know this is an impossibility to get all the time but one can always dream. But ice everywhere was stretching it. I could not find a single bit of reasonable snow. This was going to be a disaster.
This kind of knowledge can turn a ski holiday from a disaster into a truly memorable experience and is one of the main reasons why I continue to go skiing with Snoworks. I now spend many of my skiing holidays every winter with Snoworks.
I arrived at the hotel and met Lee the course director. He could obviously tell that I was concerned about the lack of snow from the disappointed look on my face. “Don’t worry.” says Lee the eternal optimist. We’re going to get some great skiing over the next five days. “Where? I’ve been here for 2 days and only skied ice on-piste and off-piste, not a single bit of decent snow”. Lee simply replied, “trust us.” The first day of the course and we headed up to Champagny, straight up to the Bellcote glacier in the La Plagne sector of Paradiski and onto the north face off-piste. To my surprise perfect off-piste conditions. Not powder but some of the best snow you could ask for. In fact the next four days we skied great snow without any ice and to top it all, hardly any other skiers in sight. A miracle? No, just the ability to know the mountain well and judge where and at what time of day to ski which slopes.
GO OPEN: Skiing is an open
sport. Conditions constantly change. That means your skiing must constantly change too.
“I am confident that wherever I go, whatever time of year, Snoworks instructors and guides will be able to take me to the best skiing available.” My skiing exploits with Snoworks have taken me all across Europe and as far afield as South America and it’s always been the same; sniff out the best snow available! Bring on the powder! PHOTO: Skiing
from Mickeys Ears to Lac du Chevril in Tignes for a heli-pickup.
OFF-PISTE MECCA 3 VALLEYS INSTRUCTORS’ FAVOURITE ROUTES VALLÉE DES AVALS Easy access (10-20 minute walk) opens up a fantastic valley at the east of Courchevel 1650, giving various options for off-piste skiing and vast choices for ski touring. Add in views of Mont Blanc, the Grand Bec and a fantastic refuge for lunch and this is an area you could spend a week in!
COL DU FRUIT/CREUX NOIR BOWL Access via the Chanrossa chair or Creux Noir chair and you’re treated to several variations of pitch and length on north facing slopes with an effortless exit. When conditions are right we can take the opposite side to drop into the Tueda National Park, again with the prospect of magnificent views and another lesser known refuge for a hearty feed.
PYRAMIDS (EQUINOX) Take the short (5-15 minute) hike to the summit of the Roc Mugnier from Chanrossa chair and you’re welcomed by probably the best view of Mont Blanc short of getting in a helicopter. There are various choices of descents on north facing aspects, with an effortless return to the slopes of Courchevel 1650. Why is it nicknamed ‘Equinox’? Be sure to ask your Snoworks instructor when you give it a go.
MONT DU VALLON A well-known mountain peak in the Meribel Mottaret valley with only two pistes which can become very busy. For great off-piste take either the high right traverse and reach the north facing off-piste slopes down to Lac Tueda or head left to reach the bowls under the Glacier du Borgne. No effort in or out with fabulous off-piste.
VALLÉE DU OLYMPIC Take a short traverse along the ridge line of the Montagne de Cherferie in the Meribel valley and the off-piste options are endless. Drop off east to return to Meribel or Les Allues or even further out (ski touring) to the Refuge La Traie and a tow out on the guardian’s ski-doo before returning to Les Allues. Drop onto the west face for open fields down toward St-Martin-de-Belleville or further out to Beranger (ski touring or taxi return).
CIME DE CARON TO LAC DU LOU Probably the largest area of off-piste skiing in the 3 Valleys. From the telecabine Caron you can access countless options and aspects with or without ski touring of up to 5k descents of off-piste skiing with an effortless exit. Enough said!
LA MASSE TO BETTAIX Take the short (5-15 minute) walk and pole to the Col de la Bache and you can gain access to many variations with huge vertical descent back to Les Menuires or Bettaix. With minimal effort to enter the area and an exit right back to a chair lift it’s a wonder this area is not skied more. Shh!
LA MASSE TO VALLÉE DES ENCOMBRE A 30-45 minute hike or ski tour to the summit of La Gratte opens up a rarely seen world that is the Vallée des Encombre. Once on to the open fields of this off-piste area you would struggle to believe you had been in Les 3 Vallées that day. With the initial effort and 45-90 minute exit it may not be for the faint hearted, but it is a reward worth reaping for those with the right desire. After you can take a fantastic meal or coffee at Le Châtelard before the guardian of the gîtes drives you back round to St-Martin-de-Belleville.
LEE TOWNEND BRINGS YOU AN INSIGHT TO THE VAST OFF-PISTE SKIING AVAILABLE IN LES 3 VALLÉES. YOU CAN ENJOY THESE ROUTES AND MANY MORE ON THE ‘BACKCOUNTRY’, ‘BACKCOUNTRY ACCESS’ AND ‘OFF-PISTE’ COURSES. The majority of skiers in and around Les 3 Vallées, especially Courchevel, are there for the 600k of world-class groomed pistes, 200 efficient lifts and the highest quality of just about everything. Very few know that there are vast amounts of fabulous off-piste skiing also available. With Snoworks you can enjoy the most amazing off-piste in this area. Courses include; Off-Piste, Backcountry and Backcountry Access with an introduction to ski touring. We can safely take you well beyond the beaten track to explore the world beyond the fur coats and Foie Gras. We have accommodation and flight packages with Silver Ski in the village of La Tania at very competitive prices, you’re sure to have a fabulous experience.
18 | SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI
AVALANCHE AWARENESS LUCK OR JUDGEMENT? BY RICHARD MANSFIELD International Mountain Guide | IFMGA Personally I think a lot of skiers play their own form of Russian roulette when skiing off-piste in avalanche terrain. Should we trust to luck and perhaps the fact that there are already tracks to choose whether or not we ski a slope or should we be making considered judgment given all the information available?
BUT WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE JUDGMENTS ON THE SAFETY OF THE SNOW PACK?
• I check the weather and avalanche forecasts every day (especially if travelling to a new area). • I make sure my plan for the day suits the team I am with. • I may call friends who I know have skied recently in the area.
• I may call a local hut guardian in the area or go and see the pisteurs/ ski patrol for information if I am starting from a ski resort.
My final piece of advice is to seek out guides and instructors offering avalanche awareness courses and gain some good skills. We all need a little luck in life but don’t rely on luck to save your life.
PHIL SMITH, DIRECTOR OF SNOWORKS SKI COURSES, REPORTS ON THE HISTORY OF AVALANCHE SAFETY AND WHAT SAFETY EQUIPMENT TO EXPECT ON A SNOWORKS OFF-PISTE COURSE.
1. 1968 AVALANCHE TRANSCEIVERS
ITION LTD ED KS OR SNOW
HISTORY OF OFF-PISTE EQUIPMENT
It was as far back as the early 1900s when avalanche safety first began with the use of avalanche cords. Developed by a Bavarian mountaineer named Eugen Oertel and they’re still in use today. The principle is simple. A long cord is attached to the person. Whilst skiing, snowboarding or walking the cord is dragged along behind. The assumption is that if the person gets buried in an avalanche the light cord stays on top of the snow.
All of the above are major signs of instability and if any are noticed you should immediately start skiing with extreme caution and consider adapting your plans.
This article is not intended as the definitive way or system to approach avalanche awareness but hopefully raises some questions in your mind. The skills and experience needed to make reasoned judgment of the snow pack are many and multifaceted and even the most experienced guides, instructors and recreational skiers are not infallible and continue to be involved in avalanche incidents. Remember snow is very unpredictable.
1908 AVALANCHE CORDS
I also look out for recent avalanche activity, which is a dead give away! I look and listen for other major signs such as whoomphing, a settling of the snow pack that does literally make a whoomphing sound, once heard never forgotten! Cracks initiating from under your skis is another classic sign of instability as are big changes in temperature particularly sudden heating of the snowpack.
One day having turned back from a slope I felt was avalanche prone my team and I watched another group in front of us get avalanched on the slope a little higher “wow” said someone “that was lucky we turned back” I believe I had carefully considered all the information available and made a good call given that information, but why did I turn back and not the other team?
• I begin building a picture in my mind of how I imagine conditions may be.
Check out Kung Foo Avalanche on YouTube for fun information on avalanche awareness.
I check to see what the weather is actually doing compared to the forecast, especially the temperature, wind speed and wind direction, all of which can have a very big effect on our unpredictable snow and cause conditions and risk to change very quickly.
• I study maps of where I intend to ski.
For me, as a guide and with 35 seasons skiing under my belt, it begins before I get anywhere near the snow.
For me as a guide and with 35 seasons skiing under my belt it begins before I get anywhere near the snow. Once on the ground I observe what’s going on around me. It’s important to remember that both the avalanche and weather forecasts are exactly that, forecasts or predictions and the weather and avalanche risk could be different from what is suggested.
Remember that terrain choice such as slope angle and slope shape can help to reduce the risk of your team being avalanched and this should be used in conjunction with group safety skiing tactics making sure that the team are aware of the risks. Ski conservatively and look out for each other.
PRE-PLANNING IS SUPER IMPORTANT SO AT HOME:
A friend’s son who has a PhD in slab avalanches when asked to sum up what he had learnt in his years of study said, “Well snow is very unpredictable”! Perhaps not a very helpful observation Dr Snow but then again perhaps this concept is very helpful indeed. If when skiing off-piste we know we are in an unpredictable medium - snow - then surely we have to use every resource we can to make as valued a judgment as possible. It goes without saying that any team skiing off-piste should know what the avalanche risk is for the day and realise that the level of risk can change and everyone MUST have a transceiver a shovel and a probe and just as importantly must know how to use them efficiently.
SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI | 19
As long ago as 1968 the first avalanche transceiver, the Skadi, was created by a research team headed by John Lawton in New York. The Skadi was the first transceiver that could truly save lives. The first production units were sold in the early 70s and the Skadi quickly became a standard item for workers at risk of snow avalanche burial, such as ski patrolers.
2. 1973 RECCO
The Recco system was developed by Magnus Granhed in Åre Sweden in 1973. Although avalanche transceivers were found to be most effective, their disadvantage was the high cost, the need to turn them on and off and a requirement for batteries. This led Magnus to look at a reflector that could be carried by a skier at all times and rescuers could search for this with special equipment. Magnus formed Recco in 1980
and created a first prototype. A small handheld detector is carried by a rescuer, now standard issue with many ski resorts and mountain rescue teams. The reflectors are stitched into clothing and are currently used by over 200 makers of skiwear.
3. 1980 ORTOVOX F1
Gerald Kampel and Jürgen Wegner developed the ORTOVOX F1. Until then all avalanche transceivers would send and receive in different frequencies. The F1 could send and search on the same frequency. It soon became the number one avalanche transceiver on the market. In those early days of off-piste safety it was common for only the leader and a backmarker to carry a shovel and probe. As long as the backmarker did not get buried and the leader was not too far down the mountain you were OK! However this was pretty basic safety so it was not long before it was normal practice for everyone skiing off-piste to wear a transceiver, know how to use it and carry a shovel and probe. Even now we still see skiers and groups of skiers with leaders venturing off-piste with none of this. Madness. Snoworks introduced the compulsory use of transceivers, backpacks, shovels and probes on all off-piste courses. The Ortovox F1 was the preferred choice.
4. 1996 AIRBAG SYSTEMS
Airbags had been around way before this but 1996 saw the introduction of the first airbag system with dual airbags. The entire fill procedure was changed and integrated into the pack. Both airbags were housed in the pack’s side pouches in order to leave more room available in the pack.
5. 1997 FIRST DIGITAL TRANSCEIVER
The first digital transceiver was introduced by Backcountry Access under the brand name ‘Tracker’. The Tracker DTS soon
became the most widely used transceiver in North America and is still sold and used by many backcountry enthusiasts. It was fast and easy to use. The Tracker DTS became the preferred choice for Snoworks. All offpiste courses now included the use of the Tracker DTS along with BCA stashpack, shovel and probe.
6. 2000 AVALUNG
Denver psychiatrist Thomas Crowley began wondering what it would be like to be buried under an avalanche. He started tinkering with ways to survive one. After contemplating and then discarding several plans he hit on the solution whilst lying in bed. Why not design a device that could draw the air out of snow and then direct exhalations behind you? After several years of testing and perfecting Crowley’s invention which he named the AvaLung, it worked in a real avalanche, saving a backcountry skier.
7. 2010 BCA TRACKER 2
Snoworks replaces all it’s Trackers with the latest BCA Tracker 2, 22 litre stashpacks and new BCA shovels and probes. The Tracker 2 has the industry’s fastest, most precise pinpointing capability, with triple receive antenna, instantaneous real–time display and a user friendly interface.
8. 2013 BCA FLOAT 22
Snoworks introduce the availability of the BCA Float 22 Airbag System for hire on all off-piste courses. A lightweight bag with enough volume to carry shovel, probe and personal items. Also features a dedicated shovel and probe pocket and user friendly ski carrying system. The Airbags can be hired direct from Snoworks for the course duration (5 days). Packs must be reserved in advance. Email email@example.com to reserve one. Dates and information provided were to the best of the author’s knowledge at the time of writing.
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HOW TO SELECT SKIS IT’S SIMPLE TO SELECT A PAIR OF SKIS... THE FIRST THING TO REMEMBER IS THEY’RE ALL GOOD, ALL TURNED UP AT THE FRONT, ALL HAVE SLIPPERY SOLES AND ALL HAVE METAL EDGES. BUT IT CAN GO HORRIBLY WRONG AND YOU CAN END UP WITH A PAIR OF SKIS THAT JUST DO NOTHING FOR YOUR SKIING. ON THE OTHER HAND, GET IT RIGHT AND YOU COULD SEE YOUR SKIING LITERALLY TAKE OFF. We’ve taken a selection from the Salomon range that we all ski on here at Snoworks. However the advice will be the same for whichever ski manufacturer you choose.
TO SELECT THE MOST SUITABLE SKIS FOR YOUR SKIING YOU NEED TO ASK YOURSELF JUST TWO SIMPLE QUESTIONS: 1. W hat sort of terrain do I like to ski? • Terrain can be split into three categories – Piste, All-Terrain, Off-Piste 2. W hat sort of speeds do I like to ski at? • Speed can be split into three categories – Slower, Moderate, Faster
SELECTING A SUITABLE SKI
Firstly decide on the type of terrain you wish to ski and match this to the width of the ski underfoot. On the ski or the manufacturer’s website the dimensions of the tip middle and tail are shown in mm. For example the Q90 in a 177 length is 130 / 89 / 117. The middle number is always the width underfoot, in this case 89mm. We have divided the width under foot into three categories and matched this to the type of terrain you wish to ski.
Less than 80mm underfoot The narrower the ski the more suited for the piste. For example slalom skis are normally around 67mm underfoot. Many piste skis are around the 70mm to 75mm width. The closer you get to 80mm the more suited to all-terrain the ski becomes. You can still ski these skis in all-terrain and in off-piste but the narrower the ski the more difficult it is to use as the snow becomes soft or deep.
80mm to 90mm underfoot The majority of all-terrain skis sit in this category along with many skis that are recommended for off-piste. Don’t forget off-piste is part of all-terrain. So if you looking for an off-piste ski that you also want to use everywhere then it will come in this category. The closer to 80mm the more suited to piste skiing, the closer to 90mm the more suited for off-piste.
Over 90mm underfoot Anything over 90mm and you’re looking off-piste (deep snow). The closer to 90mm the more suited to all-terrain. The wider the ski underfoot the more suited to deep snow and these days you can go wider and wider and wider. Don’t forget the wider the ski the less suitable it is for all-terrain and pistes.
WIDTH OF SKIS UNDERFOOT
Less than 80mm
Between 80 - 90mm
So putting the three types of terrain with the three different speeds you have nine categories. What you do is simply match the two criteria ‘width underfoot’ and ‘sidecut radius’ and come out with the suitable skis. It’s not an exact science so you can make adjustments wherever you choose.
EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE
RECOMMENDATIONS 3V SLALOM
2V GIANT SLALOM
70 - 74mm
77 - 81mm
RECOMMENDATIONS BBR 9.0
82 - 85mm
87 - 90mm
As always there are exceptions to the rule and the more competent skier you become the more skis you can use competently in the different types of terrain and at different speeds. These are just guidelines to help you find you way through the complex task of choosing a set of skis. All you need to do is select a width, a sidecut and then enjoy.
STEP TWO Secondly decide on the speed you like to ski at and match this to the sidecut radius of the ski. The sidecut radius is shown on the skis or the manufacturers website. The sidecut radius is not the turn radius but affects it. The sidecut radius is purely the geometrical shape of the side of the ski. We’ve split the sidecut radius into three categories and matched it to the differences in speed.
111 - 115mm
108 - 111mm
102 - 105mm
94 - 98mm
Snoworks Test Skis - Q90 and Q98 At Snoworks we need to cater for the greatest percentage of skiers over the greatest percentage of terrain over the greatest percentage of speeds. This year we’ve therefore opted for Salomon Q90s and the Q98s. The Q90 is a perfect choice for all-terrain and still has the width to be great in off-piste. The Q98 is the perfect choice for off-piste but still performs great in all-Terrain. You can reserve and hire these directly from Snoworks pending availability.
Less than 15m Sidecut Radius This is a pretty tight sidecut radius and is great for anyone interested in carving tighter curves or skiing at slower speeds. If you’re a pretty competent skier you can use these skis to travel at higher speeds as well. Don’t forget there are always exceptions to the rule.
15m to 20m Sidecut Radius
Over 20m Sidecut Radius Big turning skis for those that like to travel at high speeds and carve big curves. You can always travel at slower speeds on these skis but you won’t be able to ‘carve’ tight curves. Trying to ‘carve’ tight curves on these is like using a giant slalom ski to ski slalom it doesn’t work well. But if you want to ski fast, then these are for you.
A FAIL-SAFE WAY OF SELECTING SKIS
The widths shown are approximations as they can change with the length of the ski. For exact dimensions please go to www.salomon.com BACKGROUND PHOTO: Gressoney
Backcountry. Skiing from the Monte Rosa into Zermatt.
Less than 15m
Sidecuts vary immensely depending on the length of the ski. So the same ski in different lengths will have a different sidecut radius and therefore cross over between the categories as shown below. All you need to do to change the sidecut radius is change the length of the ski.
RECOMMENDATIONS 115 - 122mm
This is a generalisation as many slalom skiers ski pretty fast on skis with sidecuts less then 15m. It’s also possible to ski slower on skis with sidecuts over 20m. We’ve purely used this framework as a guideline and created the template from racing using the disciplines of Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super G and Downhill. Both the speed and sidecut radius increase as you move from Slalom to Giant Slalom to Super G to Downhill.
Great for anyone who likes to carve medium radius curves and travel at medium speeds. Again if you’re pretty competent you can ski slower or faster on skis with this sidecut.
CONNECT WITH THE MOUNTAIN: Skiing is like rock climbing. Your connection holds you onto the mountain. Concentrate on what you are doing with your feet, edges and base of your skis.
RECOMMENDATIONS BBR 8.0
11 - 13m
11 - 13m
11 - 14m
15 - 17m
14 - 20m
18 - 20m
20 - 22m
20 - 26m
RECOMMENDATIONS ROCKER 122
20 – 26m
2V GIANT SLALOM
20 - 22m
Select your skis by the width underfoot and the sidecut radius irrespective of make or model of ski. For example. “I want an off-piste ski that also turns quickly on-piste”. You need a ski over 90mm underfoot with a sidecut radius of less than 15m. EASY.
Carrick-Anderson. Bottom left. Nick Quinn Snoworks instructors.
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IT’S THE MOST TALKED ABOUT THING IN SKIING, ‘SIDECUT RADIUS’ BUT WHAT IS IT AND HOW CAN YOU USE IT? Sidecut radius is the shape of the ski. Wide at the tip, narrow in the middle and wide at the tail. Put it flat on the ground, draw around the edge and the curve will give you a part of a circle – The ‘Sidecut Radius’. So next comes the fun bit – ski down the mountain stick the ski on its edge and hey presto the ski takes you around a curve. Wow, how easy is that? It’s like cranking over a Ducati Desmosedici RR. Get it right, the edges bite and the skis accelerate leaving a mist of melted snow in your trail. Goodbye Citroen 2CV, hello Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. For those that don’t know, the Bugatti is the fastest road car ever produced with a top speed of 267mph and 0 to 60 in 2.4 seconds. Now that’s fast.
The sidecut radius is just the shape of the ski, stick the ski on its edge and it creates a different curve and this curve dictates where you go, it is called the ‘Carved Turn Radius’. So for those numberjacks amongst us here comes the formula, if you’re not into numbers just skip the next bit.
Carved Turn Radius = Sidecut Radius x Cos (Edge Angle) So what does this mean? It means your skis can make millions of different sized ‘carved turns’ simply by adjusting the angle of the ski against the snow. For example, a ski of a sidecut radius of 15 metres can make any size carved turn from 14 metres radius curve with a 20 degree edge angle to a 5 metre radius curve with a 70 degree edge angle and everything between.
On the arrival night, we had a meeting where we met the other people on the course and more importantly, our coaches; Emma Carrick-Anderson and Mike Barker. From the off they were incredibly reassuring and positive towards those of us who had never been in gates. They informed us of our daily schedule, equipment we would need, and they made an effort to get to know us and our goals. Overall, we all came out of the meeting feeling positive and reassured. At the start of the week, the coaches split us into groups of 8 or less. We would be on the hill from 8.30 until 1.30 and we would start by learning warm up techniques which were so useful come the day of the test. We went on to assisting the coaches
Edge Angle = The angle the ski makes with the snow.
So let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Carving is about skiing fast. Yep it’s an adrenalin filled roller coaster! But, and it’s a big BUT, summed up by the great Pirelli saying – “Power Is Nothing Without Control”. That’s where we come in – power harnessed with control.
So all you need to do is learn to adjust the edge angle and before you can say Jack Robinson you’ll have the speed of the Renault-powered RB8 Red Bull Formula 1 car and with a Snoworks Race Carve Course the control of Sebastian Vettel. If it was that easy you wouldn’t need a Snoworks Course. Rome wasn’t built in a day but you can begin your journey to adrenalin fuelled skiing.
First thing, it’s no good just sticking a ski on it’s edge and hoping for the best – you’ll end up like Denzil Washington in Unstoppable. You need to know how to control carving, how to lose or gain speed, how to control direction. So to begin with lets go back to that sidecut radius.
The Race Carve Course combines high octane skiing in and out of the gates. Working on skills and drills that will give you the accuracy of Howard Hill with the mindset of Yoda. PHOTO: Eurotest Training
Another important part of our training was what happened off the hill. Every day we would have video feedback where we would analyse our performance. This was important as it allowed us to see what was happening in relation to what we were feeling. This was followed by an afternoon fitness session which would always be related to our ski performance. Often,
we would end with an enjoyable game such as basketball to add an element of team spirit.
Although it may seem a similar set up to a lot of other race training companies, what really stood out for me was the high level of coaching given by Emma and Mike, and how much passion they injected into all of us. This provided us with the necessary drive and commitment which meant we all made huge improvements. After three Autumn’s training with Snoworks, I met some great people. I had improved my knowledge of racing and my general technical knowledge which is very useful for my teaching. Most importantly, Snoworks allowed me to go to Pila with confidence and new skills and I achieved my goal of passing the Eurotest. I would recommend Snoworks to anyone looking for race training, Thank you. Will Haines
RACE CARVE COURSES IN THE SUMMER AND AUTUMN WILL LITERALLY TAKE YOUR SKIING TO ANOTHER LEVEL.
The race timing would come out in the week if we had appropriate weather. This allowed us to see regular feedback on what drills were working for us as individuals. It added a healthy element of competition to keep the group lively and also it prepared us for Friday race days. These consisted of two timed runs through the gates, which anyone on a Snoworks course could participate in. With the added numbers of skiers doing other courses and a great prize up for grabs, it provided a very real atmosphere, which is important to have before entering the Eurotest.
Having never stepped onto a pair of race skis, let alone gone through a race course before, I was feeling slightly anxious as November rolled round but I needn’t have worried as it turned out to be one the most enjoyable experiences I have ever undertaken.
Strutt, Snoworks Guest. Race Carve Course. Autumn and Summer in Tignes.
in setting two courses; one on a steep gradient, the other on a lesser gradient. This was really insightful as I gained a much better understanding of how the course works. Next, we spent the final few hours working on our technique both in and out of the gates. The coaches were very quick to pinpoint what each individual needed, whether it be psychological, physical, technical or tactical. They had a great range of drills and exercises to keep us motivated whilst changing some deep set habits.
MY JOURNEY WITH SNOWORKS STARTED BACK IN 2009 WHEN I, ALONG WITH A FRIEND, DECIDED TO BOOK ONTO A RACE/EUROTEST TRAINING CAMP FOR 4 WEEKS IN THE AUTUMN.
Skiing is about traveling, going places, coping with the mountain. It’s not a demonstration.
BACK TO SKIING’S ROOTS:
MY JOURNEY WITH SNOWORKS
24 | SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI
MAYBE IT’S JUST SEMANTICS BUT THE MORE I TEACH THE GREATER CONFUSION EXISTS BETWEEN TECHNIQUE AND SKILL. Phil Smith reports. For many of our guests coming on a Snoworks Course for the first time their perception is they need to improve their ‘technique’ to become better. But what is technique and is it appropriate to all-mountain skiing? Or should you be looking at developing your ‘skill’? Or are the two the same? Lets look at the definition of the two words ‘technique’ and ‘skill’. Technique: A method, procedure or way something is done.
TARANTAISE ALL-TERRAIN SAFARI Just wanted to thank you Emma, Phil, Nick and Lee for all the superb coaching on the three courses I was lucky enough to attend this year. The All Terrain Safari in Tignes in January was a fantastic mix of on and off-piste instruction. A fabulous weeks Pro training in La Tania was followed by the season’s final highlight - Tarentaise Safari with the evercheerful Nick. Fantastic terrain and routes which were made even more thrilling by the unexpected bonus of a helicopter ride. A brilliant addition by you guys to the itinerary! And I just can’t say enough great things about the Auberge! All three trips, although entirely different, shared a common theme of excellent value-for-money accommodation, an interesting mix of old and new friends, and an amazing variety of skiing. A final “thank you” must go out to Linda as with all the too-ing and fro-ing about my plans, I could not have been the easiest customer to deal with! Thanks again for all your efforts to ensure each one of us had a great time, and look forward to skiing with you all next season!” Terri Danisevich | Macclesfield
For us at Snoworks we’ve found it useful to make a differentiation between the two. Technique is often used to describe an output, the way something is done. It often refers to a set movement pattern. The technique of the ‘Parallel Turn’ for example or the technique of a ‘Triple Toe Loop’ in ice skating. Technique is often associated with ‘closed’ sports where the movement pattern is repetitive and easily identifiable. The technique is often given a name. The Fosbury Flop in high jump. Front Crawl, Breast Stroke and Butterfly in swimming. But in ‘open’ sports like all-mountain skiing everything is changing all the time so there’s no identifiable movement pattern. No technique but plenty of skills to be learnt. In the open sport of rugby for example you have tackling, kicking, passing and catching skills. So in skiing to become a skillful skier you’ll need to develop lots of skills. This means you have to become very skilled in many things. Controlling speed, adjusting edge angles, moving snow, twisting skis, slipping, skidding, carving, jumping, stepping, skating, balancing, recovering, slowing down, speeding up, changing direction both quickly and slowly. You’ll also need to learn many psychological and tactical skills in order to use your technical skills skillfully. My suggestion is to become skillful rather than developing a technique. So technique and skill the same or different?
F A L K E · P.O.BOX 11 09 - D-57376 SCHMALLENBERG / GERMANY
Skill: The ability, coming from one’s knowledge, practice and aptitude to do something well.
ADVENTURE TEASERS LEBANON A 5 hour flight from London will take you to Lebanon, once known as the Switzerland of the Middle East. A narrow country with 250 kilometres of Mediterranean coastline along with two mountain rages. Fly into Beirut, a vibrant cosmopolitan city that will rival any city in the world for culture, history, cuisine and night life. Then use the uplift in three resorts, Mzaar, Ceders and Laqlouq to access backcountry skiing . Like all our adventure trips don’t come here for lift skiing. But if you want real adventure then Lebanon will rival anywhere.
RACE CARVE, TIGNES What a fantastic time on last week’s Race Carve course! Great group, great instruction, great feedback, great banter combined with perfect snow and weather. Loads of race time in the gates balanced with developing carving skills outside the gates. If I was not addicted before, I definitely am now. I’m now looking for the next Race Carve course and to putting all those carving skills to use this Winter. Andrew Evans | South Glamorgan
NOTE: Our Lebanon trip is currently on hold whilst we review the current unrest in some areas of the Middle East.
DESIGNED FOR FREEDOM
SOCHI, RUSSIA SOCHI IS A CITY IN KRASNODAR KRAI, RUSSIA, SITUATED ON THE BLACK SEA COAST NEAR THE BORDER BETWEEN GEORGIA AND RUSSIA. Greater Sochi sprawls for 145 kilometres along the shores of the Black Sea near the Caucasus Mountains. The main ski resorts around Sochi are Gasprom and Rosa Khutor and are only 30 miles from Sochi itself. Thanks to the 2014 Olympics and the millions spent on these 2 ski areas (Rosa Khutor being the larger one) accommodation is ample and many of the hotels offer true Russian style top class accommodation. There is a distinctive Austrian/Swiss influence mixed with chic Russian glamour. The base of Rosa Khutor which is the bigger of the 2 resorts, lies at an elevation of 560m and the Caucasus Express Gondola climbs to 2320m offering over a mile of vertical drop! That is some serious descent and some serious tired legs! This makes Rosa Khutor one of the biggest lift served mountains in the world and thanks to the Olympics, Rosa Khutor and Gasprom offer 58 lifts and over 150km of available ski runs. The area also boasts some truly fabulous heli-skiing with some of
Go deeper. Everything we make is designed to enable greater freedom in the mountains. The result is carefully crafted, head-to-toe gear for finding your deepest and most liberated moments.
the lightest powder imaginable and descents over a mile long. The skiable terrain accessible by helicopter is immense.
Although temperatures in Sochi are often well above freezing, just 30 miles away in the ski resorts, it’s a very different story with temperatures fluctuating between -3 and -20 most of the Winter.
The snow in the Caucasus Mountains is of a similar consistency to North America often offering supurb off- piste conditions with some fabulous steep gullies leading down into amazing tree lined areas Traditionally Russian food is really hearty food designed to keep you warm through the cold Winters. Dishes like Khachapuri (Georgian cheese bread) and Kharcho (rice with beef or lamb soup) seem to be local specialties but as Sochi is situated right on the coast, there is a strong seaside influence and seafood is plentiful. Certainly a place worth visiting! Keep your eye on the Snoworks programme.
COPYRIGHT© SALOMON SAS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PHOTOGRAPHER: CHRISTOFFER SJÖSTRÖM. SKIER: ANDREAS FRANSSON. LOCATION: GRAND EVERS (CHAMONIX), FRANCE.
TECHNIQUE OR SKILL?
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Ar ound t he w or ld i n 40 days
IF YOU HAVE EVER FANCIED A TRIP AROUND THE WORLD DOING WHAT YOU LOVE, WE MIGHT HAVE THE ANSWER TO YOUR DREAMS. UK departure with a snowy horizon, we are heading east. First stop the vibrant alpine resort of St Anton for some lift accessible off-piste with a Weiss beer at the end of the day and some dancing on the tables still with your ski boots on. Our second destination involves a little vodka tasting with either Russia or Macedonia on the cards, cat skiing galore with hearty eastern food in the evening. Third on our way east around the world has to be the Taj Mahal and Kashmir being 3950m our highest point at roughly half way on our trip. Now to the karaoke capital of the world, Tokyo and the deepest hero powder in the land of the rising sun on the North Island. Skiable day or night with the Japanese night skiing trend. A traditional chaji ceremony in the evening after some wasabi kitkat as your on snow snack during the day. Onward to our final destination in the USA with the “greatest snow on earth”. Home to the cowboy and larger meal portion after 5 weeks skiing some spectacular snow and experiencing awesome cultures the USA can only bring more hospitality, face shots and a menu selection which will keep you going until the end.
Dreams can come true.
DESIGNED FOR FREEDOM Go further. Everything we make is designed to enable greater freedom to access the best of the mountain. The result is carefully crafted, head-to-toe gear for escaping the crowds and finding the best snow.
SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI | 27
My partner and I attended the Snoworks All-Terrain course at level 3 and 4 in Tignes. Fantastic! Your instructors took me from a cautious intermediate to being comfortable on any piste in Tignes and revelling in off piste snow. They took my partner from someone who was afraid of speed to being comfortable and secure in clocking 40mph at the end of the week. This is wizardry! My instructor was excellent. Clear, perceptive, inspiring and a really good teacher. Quite the best I’ve had since I started skiing.”
Before my Snoworks course I mainly restricted myself to piste skiing, now I can look at any slope and KNOW how to ski it. It is not about applying the same technique to every condition. It is about the conditions and the ‘right’ way to ski it to get the most from your skiing and to be in control. The Snoworks course has allowed me to know how to tackle different terrain and conditions.”
SKIING THE PACIFIC RING OF FIRE
On arrival my ski tool kit contained just the one ‘tool’. In just three days of your instructor’s lessons I learnt more about skiing than I had in the last 10 years. He helped me to understand the basic techniques which I’ve been missing all these years! The Snoworks approach is very clear and easy to grasp.”
If someone had said to us we could be standing on the top of a live volcano looking down into the centre of the earth with bubbling lava one minute and then skiing off-piste in perfect snow the next we would have thought they were crazy. Yet here we are doing exactly that. Chile is a country of startling contrasts.
COPYRIGHT© SALOMON SAS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PHOTOGRAPHER: CHRISTOFFER SJÖSTRÖM. LOCATION: LA BALME, FRANCE.
Skiing after a Snoworks Course is truly a different experience, as you survey the mountain looking for fun and good snow, confident in your ability to rise to the challenges of the terrain. I am never balking at a piste marker again wondering what obstacles it will throw at me down the mountain, I am an all-terrain skier!”
Chile Adventure. Heading up Llaima Volcano for an classic off-piste descent.
SNOWORKS PHILOSOPHY BE YOU: Develop your own style, accept the way you ski, don’t try to be someone else. As Oscar Wilde once said “be you, everyone else is taken”.
We first started our adventures in Chile 13 years ago when we were lucky to meet Cristian Levy. Cristian runs his own Chilean tourism agency based in Temuco in the centre of the Lakes and Volcano district. We were familiar with the main Chilean ski destinations but Cristian persuaded us there is a totally different side to skiing in Chile. We’re used to The 3 Valleys and the Espace Killy with hundreds of ski lifts stretching in every direction. Here we are travelling half way around the world to ski in resorts with only a few ski lifts! This is a totally different type of ski experience. The scenery spectacular, the hospitality overwhelming, the skiing totally different and the opportunity to ski from the top of live volcanoes! Chile has us hooked. Every year we add to and amend the itinerary and shape it into the ultimate Chilean skiing experience designed for skiers from limited or no off-piste experience to off-piste experts.
PHIL SMITH CHATS ABOUT SKIING THE CHILEAN VOLCANOES
If you think one volcano is the same as another, think again. Every one is different. Different shape, different scenery, different summit and different history. Villarrica is one of the most famous volcanoes in Chile and last erupted around 2000. The scenery is spectacular, the crater is open and you cannot fail to be mesmerized with molten lava on one side and perfect snow on the other! Huilo Huilo is the most amazing place I have ever been to. Private trucks to take us through the national park to the base of the volcano and our own private skidoos take us up as high as possible. The hotels are unique, built to blend in with the tropical forest. Corralco is one of my favourite destinations. The new lodge is surrounded by araucarias trees and it feels like you’ve arrived in paradise. The volcano is stunning. Osorno is spectacular, perched on the edge of Llanquihue Lake with outstanding views. Casablanca is as romantic as the name suggests. Llaima is big and ominous. We take snow cats as high as possible to the base of the volcano opening up a huge area of off-piste skiing. Copahue is situated across the border in Argentina and has a well developed ski resort on the lower slopes. Each year we adjust the itinerary to include some of these volcanoes blending incredible scenery, unique skiing experiences with local hotels and culture. For more information go to: www.snoworks.com/adventures
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FAST TRACK TO BASI SKI INSTRUCTOR LEVEL 2 PROGRAM
BASI LEVEL 1 AND 2 FAST TRACK TO INSTRUCTOR INCLUDES:
PROFESSIONAL ALPINE SKI TRAINING PROGRAMS GAP COURSES FOR:
• 8 week’s training. 6 in Tignes and 2 in Courchevel •H alf board accommodation with Mark Warner in Tignes and catered chalet in Courchevel • BASI manual • Transfers to and from Geneva and Courchevel • Special reduced rates on skis, ski equipment and clothing
Snoworks GAP provide the highest quality training towards professional ski instructor courses and assessments.
•P ersonal performance development training in line with BASI level 1 and 2 assessment criteria
We help prepare instructors, coaches and leaders for all relevant awards.
• Race training (giant slalom included, slalom option available)
• All ski passes in all resorts • 1 year’s BASI membership • 2 day First Aid course • Criminal record disclosure • Child protection module
• Ski specific fitness training •S ki teacher development training in line with current BASI level 1 and 2 assessment criteria • Ski tuning clinics • Off-piste training with avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe • Full time male and female mentors for support
• Test Technique Slalom Training
• Job application assistance and contacts
• Eurotest GS Training
• 150 hours of training with BASI level 4 coaches
• All-mountain Ski Courses
• 70+ hours of shadowing
Snoworks Gap provides the facility to gain valuable ski school experience within the Snoworks all-mountain ski courses program.
• Video feedback analysis
Les Deux Alpes
• Salomon ‘Team GAP’ ski jacket • Fantastic reduced rates on recommended Salomon skis
Holidays where you’ll be first on the pistes and last home if you wish.
0844 273 6825
WEEK 2 – BASI Level 1 exam This week is your first level training and assessment and as a BASI business partner you’ll be provided with the highest quality examiners, who will join us in Tignes to train and assess you as level 1 ski instructors. It is continual assessment throughout the week, thus giving everyone a perfect opportunity to train and learn the necessary skills and knowledge throughout the week.
WEEK 5 & 6 – Ski school experience and personal performance A fantastic combination of gaining invaluable shadowing hours, both an essential part of BASI 2 and your future as a professional ski instructor. With various different Snoworks courses running you get the opportunity to shadow lessons, video sessions and day to day running of a ski school. Also this week the opportunity to begin real ski teaching with volunteer Snoworks guests. Note: Guests volunteer for this outside of the Snoworks Ski Courses program. It is not paid for and all guests volunteer at their own risk to provide valuable experience for gap students. Mix the above with continued personal performance tuned to your individual needs in preparation for your final exam and you will feel completely ready and prepared for BASI level 2.
WEEK 3 – Race week Time to step up the speed! Race training is one of the best ways to develop all of the four ‘Performance Threads’ in preparation for BASI level 2. ‘Technical’ - A week developing the skills of carving and edge control in preparation for BASI level 2. ‘Psychological’ Increasing your emotional threshold with the buzz of flying past the gates and the progressive increase of speed. ‘Physical’ - Off snow fitness sessions nurturing the athlete within you and making you into a better skier and giving you the competitive edge! ‘Tactical’ - You will gain knowledge about controlling speed and line in ski racing. (Giant slalom unless slalom or Test Technique training has been pre-arranged).
A snowball’s throw from the slopes
WEEK 4 – Personal performance and teaching By now you will have a fantastic grasp of where your skiing level is, understanding ski techniques and breaking down the ‘Fundamentals’. This week allows us to develop the individual aspects that you need to become a rounded and versatile skier and put you in a fantastic position for the level 2 assessments. We will look at all the ‘Strands’ – bumps, piste performance and variables/off-piste. Also starting this week will be the opportunity for ‘mock’ lessons, as we start to give you the opportunity for structured teaching practice.
• BASI level 1 and 2 training and assessment
• BASI LEVEL 1, 2, 3 • TRAINING FOR BASI LEVEL 4 • PREPARATION FOR THE SKI CLUB OF GREAT BRITAIN LEADERS COURSES • TRAINING TOWARDS OTHER NATIONALITY SKI INSTRUCTOR AWARDS
Snoworks GAP runs in conjunction with Snoworks Ski Courses allowing integration for all gap students into the Snoworks program incorporating:
WEEK 1 – Personal Performance Week 1 is all about getting out there and skiing. Building the team, building the skills, and understanding the ‘fundamentals’ of skiing and how to break down the ‘movements’ and ‘skills’ of ski technique. All Snoworks instructors and GAP trainers are passionate all-mountain ski teachers who will give you the skills and knowledge to become fabulous and passionate ski instructors yourselves. On week 1 we also look into the ‘Central Theme’, the BASI progression for teaching beginners, this will put you in a fantastic position for your first level exam.
We’ give y mor e a day
WEEK 7 & 8 – Basi Level 2 training and assessment in Courchevel The final two weeks of your fast-track ski instructor course are over in the fabulous ski resort of Courchevel, Just an hour away from Tignes. We transfer you to your chalet accommodation in the quaint village of Le Praz, Courchevel 1300, where you will be in the capable hands of BASI Trainers for a 2 week continual assessment and training course. This culminates in the BASI level 2 qualification, which if successful will allow you to teach skiing in many countries around the world!
Endorsed by BASI The British Association of Snowsports Instructors
TO BOOK: PRICE FOR THE 8 WEEK COURSE IS AVAILABLE FROM THE OFFICE Contact us for bespoke programs of less weeks or if you already have BASI level 1. A £500 deposit will be required to secure your place.
Call UK: 0844 543 0503 International: +44 870 122 5549 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit: www.snoworksgap.co.uk
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GAP COURSE TESTIMONIALS I left my country bumpkin self behind in Devon for 8 weeks, to wander off to Tignes to play on some snow. Now I can say that it was one of the best things I have ever done. Maybe even the best thing.
TIME TO BRIDGE THE GAP? NEW!
BASI LEVEL 3 ISIA GAP COURSE
Because the course was designed for a small group of people, we had much more focus on our individual skiing than we would have had with one of the larger companies. So this was perfect for me with my track record in homesickness!
Within the first week, we all felt like we were just skiing around getting better as a bunch of friends, rather than a random group of people on a course, and because of this we became each other’s best critics. Lee, Mike, Emma, Phil and Nick, were all really good at getting us to work out what we needed to improve in our skiing, which in turn would help us understand how to improve someone else’s skiing when we were teaching ourselves. The evening video sessions really helped, and created a lot of laughs too.
The BASI level 3 ‘International Snowsports Instructors Association’ award is a world recognised qualification that is awarded to equivalent level ski instructors across the world. It’s the next step up from BASI level 2 requiring a higher technical ability along with greater knowledge and understanding. It requires candidates to be well trained and educated.
I can’t believe we were only there for 8 weeks, we did so much skiing, hiking (in freezing rain, but it was fun!), basketball, running, circuits, more skiing, bumps, race training, sleeping, traveling, BASIing, and of course that odd bit of teaching.
SnoworksGAP have a flexible training program for prospective level 3 ISIA candidates. We have current Level 3 and 4 BASI Trainers guaranteed to deliver the course equating to a smooth transition from training to final assessment. Tignes in the Autumn offers perfect training conditions with fantastic training pistes along with a specific area for bumps training and in resort fitness facilities. It’s a perfect training venue along with the perfect preparation for Level 3 ISIA.
SnoworksGAP BASI ISIA Trainer and Assessor “It’s great to be part of the SnoworksGAP ISIA training programme. As an ISIA Trainer and Assessor for BASI I am completely up to date with current assessment criteria and look forward to helping prospective SnoworksGAP trainees achieve their goals”.
I can’t thank the whole Snoworks team, the other gappies, and everyone else involved in our course enough for making the time I had so amazing and so much fun! I wouldn’t change it for anything! I haven’t taught much since passing BASI 2 in December, but hope to do a full season this coming Winter. Thank you so much everyone! (And mummy and daddy Hugo)! I’ll be back. :) “ Alice Hugo - Devon
Firstly a big thank you to all the Snoworks trainers and coaches, they are all fantastic and provide the highest level of training. As well as being awesome at teaching they are really friendly and easy to get along with and happy to sort out any problems you may have. For me the flexibility of the course was a big plus as I had to miss the first 2 weeks due to work commitments, however this didn’t stop me from getting my BASI 2, or from getting along with the rest of the group. The other members were easy to get along with and everyone supported each other as we all had strong and weak points. After the BASI 1 we had 2 weeks to prepare for the BASI 2, and we had a fair amount of choice in what we could do. Our time was split between shadowing the Snoworks instructors and improving our own skiing. For me I spent those 2 weeks training slalom for the Test Technique which definitely helped when I went on to take the test. Finally I’d like to say that the Snoworks guys did a fantastic job in delivering a top class course and making sure that we had the knowledge and skills to pass the BASI 2 exam.” Doug Reid - London
You won’t find teaching better than Snoworks. Snoworks are committed to teaching you to become a better all-round skier, not just teaching you the skills to pass the test. Lee (the course director) manages that delicate balance of pushing you out of your comfort zone whilst at the same time acknowledging your limits, and he’s always on hand for oneon-one advice if the need ever arises. He’s quite simply the best instructor I’ve ever had. The rest of the Snoworks staff are all fantastic too.” Tom
32 | SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI
SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI | 33
SO YOU THINK IT’S ALL OVER?
SKIING IN THE SPRING, SUMMER AND AUTUMN
SKI LIKE A CHILD:
Rekindle the inner child within you. Experiment, don’t worry, lose your inhibitions, accept mistakes, enjoy and have fun.
Come May the temperature warms up, the winter’s over, it’s time to put away those skis and think about lazy afternoons on the beach, or is it? If you’re anything like Snoworks and just can’t get enough skiing then those skis are never going to be collecting dust! SKIING IN APRIL AND MAY, TIGNES AND HINTERTUX The Winter doesn’t seem to just tail off it finishes with a vengeance. Statistically more snow has dumped on the upper slopes in Tignes in The Espace Killy in April over the past four seasons than both December and January and only slightly less than February and March. That adds up to a hell of an end to the season and the slopes are deserted with great deals to be found on packages.
SKIING IN JUNE AND JULY, TIGNES The April snows top up the Tignes glacier like an Italian gelato for the summer opening towards the end of June and we’re amongst the first skiers up with Race Training for Pros, Race Carve for fun skiers, Junior Race, All-Terrain and Bumps. In the afternoon Tignes metamorphosizes into an adventure playground. Tennis, water activities, horse riding, climbing, swimming, white water rafting and if you’re in to mountain biking Tignes offers free lift access all summer.
SKIING IN AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER, NEW ZEALAND AND SOUTH AMERICA If it’s an adventure you want then why not switch over to the southern hemisphere with two outstanding Adventure trips with contrasting cultures.
FANCY WINNING A SNOWORKS LIMITED EDITION SAFETY PACK IN CONJUNCTION WITH BCA?
NEW ZEALAND Kia Ora – Welcome to New Zealand a playground of epic proportions and the home of ‘Middle Earth’. A truly once in a lifetime experience.
Just send us your best alpine Winter photo to: BCAcompetition@snoworks.co.uk Along with your name, address and contact number. Disclaimer. Submitting an image to the Snoworks BCA competition is an admission that all copyright is handed to Snoworks for publication. If you are not the original owner of the photo or do not own the copyright please do not submit your image to this competition. By entering the BCA competition all entries will be added to the Snoworks mailing list from the details provided.
CHILE A no holds-barred ski extravaganza in the Lakes and Volcanoes district of Chile combining amazing skiing experiences, spectacular scenery and extraordinary culture.
SKIING IN OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER The glacier reopens after a brief respite to replenish and top up the snow. The early autumn snows begin to arrive at the end of September and we’re amongst the first up from early October with what is probably the biggest pre-winter ski programme available spanning the whole of the autumn until the Espace Killy opens in December.
SKIING IN THE UK If you can’t get away but don’t want those legs developing lazy skier syndrome during the summer months then join Snoworks at both Hemel and Manchester snow domes throughout the spring, summer and autumn.
PHOTO COMPETITION C
SNOWORKS PHILOSOPHY TAKE THE JOURNEY: A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. Every expert skier has taken the journey to get to where they are. Don’t try to be what you cannot be. Imagine how expert skiers were skiing when they were just a few weeks ahead of you.
AVIEMORE BONNEVAL COURCHEVEL KAISERSCHMARREN SAINTE FOY KITZBUHEL
ST ANTON BRATWURST KERMIT BUMBAG CATSUIT WENGEN
Just for fun! Answers taken from Staff Spotlight on pages 10-13.
34 | SNOWORKS LIVE TO SKI
COURSE SKI PROGRAMME JANUARY - MAY BEGINNERS AND NOVICES
3 Valleys • Tignes
3 Valleys • St Foy
3 Valleys • Tignes • Telluride • Hintertux •
Kashmir • Japan •
OCTOBER - DECEMBER
Tignes • Manchester Chill Factore • Hemel Snowdome •
3 Valleys • Tignes • Val D’Isere •
St Anton • 3 Valleys • Tignes • Courmayeur • Gressoney •
RACE CARVE EUROTEST AND TEST TECHNIQUE
GAP SKI INSTRUCTOR
Tignes • South America •
GAP FAST TRACK TO SKI INSTRUCTOR LEVEL 2 AND GAP ISIA LEVEL 3 •
design : clevera.co.uk
PRO RACE TRAINING
Call UK: 0844 543 0503 International: +44 870 122 5549 Email: email@example.com Visit: www.snoworks.com
Photography: PollyABaldwin, DYNAMICPICTURES.CO.UK
PRO SKI INSTRUCTOR TRAINING
AND FOR MORE INFORMATION
BOOK A COURSE
EUROTEST AND TEST TECHNIQUE
Tignes Manchester Chill Factore
Chile • Argentina • New Zealand
Tignes • Val D’Isere •
RACE CARVE •
JUNE - SEPTEMBER