Well the season is steadily creeping up on us here in Les Gets – we have our first proper snowfall, the chalets are being prepared for active service and the pubs and restaurants are gradually opening.
Ed arrived two nights ago, his skis still have fresh snow on them from New Zealand and he is already looking forward to training with JJC in Saas Fe this weekend. We had a quick beer with Mo & Sal of TSI the other night, before they similarly head off to Val D’Isere for training with Gi Lewis.
Meanwhile Joe, having kicked the building work into touch, is going over to Chamonix on Wednesday to sort out a whole list of issues, from boot heaters to concerned BASI members wanting a chat with a member of the BASI board. He’s regretfully decided we’ve too much on to sneak off and join the others in Val D’Isere for a cheeky few days but no doubt we can make up for lost time once the season gets going.
And me? Well after a couple of tentative trips out on the snowshoes, I’m looking forward to skinning up Mt Cheri with Andrea and Jane (and of course Dilly & Delilah!) on Thursday. That’s assuming we’re not snowed off, you never know your luck!!
Les Gets is opening this weekend! The intention is to open weekends only between now and the beginning of what we think of as the season proper, in mid-December.
It’s a great opportunity for us to get our ski-legs and for anyone in reasonable driving distance (Geneva?) to get a taster if they have never tried to ski or board before. If this is you, don’t be shy, give us a call to arrange a lesson so that Ed or Joe can set you in the right direction!
The rest of you, don’t be too jealous, it will only be a limited opening and we are not expecting knee deep powder – although stranger things have happened……
This is the time of year when I normally have had a sneaky early ski at the BASI Trainers conference, however this year it was held off-snow and in Scotland near Aviemore the spiritual home of British skiing.
Among lots of valuable talk, listening, seminars, discussion and the odd beer, one part of it will leave an ever-lasting impression on me. The powers that be at BASI sometimes get outside people to come in and either present ideas on aspects of teaching or expert opinion in various subjects, Steve Redgrave’s talk on his amazing Olympic life for an example from a previous one comes to mind.
This year a guy with the very ordinary name of David Smith came along and told us his life story. He turned out to be anything but ordinary, I cannot tell everything here because it is way too complex and long but here’s a précis:
• Born with his feet on the wrong way round
• Many operations to correct this in his early years
• Many goes at many different sports to become a “normal/able bodied athlete”
• Someone mentions there’s such a thing as Paralympics
• Failure to perform because of reasons undiscovered in bob sleigh, martial arts, 400 m running and then in rowing
• Being called “virus” by team mates
• Taken into hospital for tests a few months before a trial
• Being “elated” at being told the reason for his “failure”…. a tumour in his spinal chord
• Being paralysed from the neck down after operation
• A blood clot delaying recovery upon release, requiring another OP
• Training “in his mind” while paralysed
• Working his way back little by little but harder work than I’ve ever done
• Making it to the London Olympics rowing final 2012
• Almost missing the start due to a mess up within the boat on the water
• Driving himself to breaking point during the race
• Winning the race even though Germany were the favourites after beating the world record by 6 seconds in the previous round and having a terrible start farce
All this over his lifetime, I’m sure there must be further info on the internet re timescale for interested parties out there and a book that I will certainly buy. After he finished speaking he said that although his medal was his pride and joy, his bit of advice for us in the room was – “the whole journey not the result is the thing to be prized, as it makes you, you”. He then told us that if we wanted to see and touch said medal we were more than welcome, well, not being backwards in coming forwards….. see picture.
Dave Smith, probably the most inspiring human being I’ve met, thank you! Joe Beer
Joe returned from the BASI Trainers conference as always ebullient with everything that had been discussed, had a weekend of downtime here in Essex and the drove back to Les Gets yesterday.
He’s got a few days in Les Gets getting the house organised for winter before flying back to the UK to help me pack up here and we drive over to France for the season next weekend. Only had a brief telephone conversation but he says the recent snow sadly does not appear to have lasted – actually not so sad there is always a frenzy of activity that has to be endured at the start of every season before we can relax and enjoy the white stuff guilt free!
On that note gotta go but Joe has promised some blogging on some interesting topics after the Trainer’s Conference so watch this space!!
It is a month until Les Gets closes for this winter season, and yet last week we had powder skiing yet again. Saturday (with Andrea) and Tuesday (with Joe) I enjoyed two of my best powder mornings of the season. And Friday (with Jo H) may not have been powder but the morning conditions were yet again excellent!
So don’t write off a ski trip in one of the lower resorts in the Alps yet it isn’t just that the snow quality is good, we have great cover on all the slopes too.
Don’t take my word for it, come and check it out for yourself!
Today was Joe’s first full day out of ski boots this season. Having waved goodbye to the half term holiday makers, he is enjoying scratching his backside in front of Football Focus! A stroll with Delilah is about the most energetic thing we are likely to do today and after our weekly staff meeting we are all treating ourselves to tapas at the Boomerang, washed down with a well earned beer or two!!
When Joe & Ed have had a chance to scrape themselves off the floor after wall to wall teaching high season, we’ll be looking for the opportunity for a cheeky away day – more on that later…….
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Understandably quite a few folk in the French ski industry have something to say about the new ruling on unqualified guides in the French Alps. When I gave up teaching in 2006, several friends who ran chalets offered me the … Continue reading →