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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Joe & Ed are on the second and final day of their first aid refresher, I hope Joe’s head wasn’t too fuzzy after the lovely wine tasting & tapas at The Boomerang in Les Gets last night!
So whilst they are up at Chalet Tressud doing their bit to help keep the slopes safe for our lovely clients, Delilah & I have been out for our first snow-shoe of the season with Jayne of Ski Blue Ridge and Jo Halliwell (of the aforementioned Chalet Tressud), not forgetting Delilah’s BFF, Marmite!!
Fresh snow has been falling all last night and today so we were a bit apprehensive about the drive up to Mt Caly (which is one of the last to be cleared whenever there is new snow) but there were no dramas and it was well worth it for a glorious 2 hour stomp around the cross country track in the fresh air, light snowflakes falling all the time. Just the perfect way to break out the winter paraphernalia and get back into winter mode!
And now back at basecamp with the log fire going and a slightly snowballed Delilah thawing out on the hearth (ok so she’s taken over the couch again but I have made her sit on her blanket!). Hot mug of tea anyone?
It’s the first of December and the snow is already here (more on the way apparently)!
Joe is on a first aid refresher this weekend and the car’s in the garage getting the winter tyres fitted, or we would both be rummaging around for the skins so we could go and check out the conditions for ourselves. Rumours though are for an early opening in Avoriaz and Les Gets – not sure about Morzine and not sure if it would just be for a weekend, but definitely a good optimistic start to the season!
Bar Bush opened for the season last night, the Boomerang will open this evening so it looks like we’re all set with something & somewhere to celebrate – Hurrah!
Tonight Joe and I are off to our local gym to join in – a trampoline session! Trampoline is an excellent way to get fit for ski lessons and you don’t have to be able to do somersaults or backflips to benefit:
Trampolinists need good spatial awareness – a key skill for skiers, even bouncing evenly on the cross takes some getting used to
A popular trampoline warm up is called Countdown, where you perform a sequence of movements starting with 5 of each, then 4 of each and so on down to one. Sounds simple but I can assure you this is a thorough workout in its own right!
Done properly trampoline is great for the legs and is not a high impact sport
And not to be under-rated – trampoline is FUN!
Of course we are not advocating that you all pile onto the kiddies trampolines in the garden, without supervision and sensible precautions it can be very dangerous. So if you do not know what you are doing head over to the local sports centre for advice and expert tuition.
As for Joe and me, we haven’t done a course for at least 15 years so I’ll let you know how we get on…..
Directly ski season finishes many of the ski instructors in Les Gets or Morzine switch seamlessly to cycling. Of course biking has many attractions in its’ own right and for skiers it is an excellent way to maintain fitness out of season because:
Cyclists, like skiers and snowboarders need strong legs
It is great for cardio-vascular fitness. Snowsports require a mixture of aerobic & anaerobic fitness because they are power sports but also most skiers will put in a full day on the slopes. Good cardio fitness is a big help in acclimatising to high altitudes too.
Both cycling and skiing/snowboarding require good balance – have you ever tried riding a bike very slowly?
Like many ski resorts the lifts in Les Gets and Morzine are open in summer to make the slopes accessible to mountain bikers. This adrenaline packed bike sport shares many of the exhilarating and technical aspects of skiing but it does come with a health warning – falling off a bike can hurt a LOT more than taking a tumble on skis!
So if you are thinking of taking up cycling to help your ski fitness you are probably best getting your mileage on road, or sticking to the slightly tamer aspects of off roading, usually termed cross country biking. Falling aside, cycling unlike skiing, is a no impact sport and therefore relatively kind to the joints.
Do include some hill work in your mileage if you can. The uphill sections are great leg strengtheners and the downhill sections provide the same freefall experienced when you ski a slope, often a difficult sensation to simulate or explain to beginners.
The great thing about biking is that just about anyone can do it, at their own level. A decent bike needn’t cost the earth and it is very easy to fit this sport into your everyday life. There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing, so invest in a lightweight, high visibility waterproof and a hard hat. Oh, and some good comfy cycling shorts – these days you can buy some pretty trendy ones, you don’t need to look as though you are wearing a lycra nappy! But if you are one of life’s fair weather sports men & women, check out the spinning classes at your local gym.
By the time you arrive in Morzine or Les Gets for ski lessons you will need to work on both your aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Being supple will help avoid injury and Snowsports require reasonable balance & co-ordination. So where do you start?
Let’s begin with basic fitness. If you do not regularly take part in sports or exercise the best way to start is by raising your general levels of every day activity: walk or cycle short journeys instead of using the car, take the dog out twice a day for a proper walk of at least twenty minutes a session. Get out and dig the garden!
And on weekends take the family out to the local recreation ground, take a ball and run around! This summer we’ve enjoyed several games of Sunday rounders, about twenty friends and their kids meet up for the afternoon and get involved. Nothing high tech or expensive, just a bat and ball and afterwards we head to the nearest house for a bbq, or the local for lunch.
Joining a gym is obviously great, but only if you attend regularly, half a dozen classes a year won’t cut the mustard! Whereas activity built into your normal lifestyle is much more likely to become a regular habit and help you maintain a good general level of fitness. From there you can start building up to prepare for a sporting holiday and hopefully avoid too much of the discomfort and injury that so often accompanies last minute preparations for a ski holiday.
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. … Continue reading →