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The view from............ Val d'Isere and the Espace Killy

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The view from............ Val d'Isere and the Espace Killy

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Heading out on Saturday, staying at chalet saffron with crystal, really looking forward to first trip to val, just preparing the sun cream now ready for the unseasonal temps!!

Should be a great sunny week, we'll try and avoid the lower areas if possible lol....

Steve I've been reading your daily posts avidly, and if there had been fresh snow was going to ask you about teaching for a reasonably wary off piste numpty like me, however with the forecast as it is probably going to stay on piste most of the week...

would be great to meet up with fellow SH snowHead if anyone around next week
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
WHAT A FUN DAY

It was overcast all morning... I had the 4 kids of two familys from earlier in the week and being their last day in resort the brief was for 'fun' We started with a trip through the Acticross course which always goes down well with all ages!!!!!!!! Then we decided to do the Vallee Perdue..... it was fantastic fun and they had a great time..... it has really filled in - you can almost ski OVER the 'hole' now.... anyway we had a lot of fun. After that we headed up and had a go in the stade...... Sara in the Stade Bonnevie is such a lovely person and she was so helpful gathering the kids together at the bottom and showing them their times.

After that they wanted to go into the park - they have really only just got the park built so the features are not too big yet but still being teens they were keen to hit the jumps and boxes...... they loved having a go at a couple of tricks (mute and safety grabs) I showed them.

After all that excitement it was time for a quick trip down Le Face..... back, tired, into the various mums and dads care..... there were lots of calls as I left for 'loads of food,' so I obviously tired them out adequately!

The afternoon was also much fun...... had three friends in their early twenty's from London. They knew Val pretty well but, by their own words, had been silly off piste too many times so they were here to learn the ropes in terms of technique and also in terms of safety.

We bashed around the Jardins de Borsat and then the Spatule before finally finishing off on the Kern.... the 15cm of fresh we had had overnight made it a WONDERFUL afternoons off piste..... however all in all I am pretty shattered now it has to be said!

They are still forecasting for the temperature to go through the roof this weekend but lets hope they are wrong..... although I am looking forward to some nice settled weather.

Todays photos were not taken by me, but by a colleague..... it shows the view down the 'Table d'Orientation' which is a couloir from the very top of the Bellevarde down into Le Kern. It is not skied very often anymore since the Olympique comes in much lower down than the old cable car used to. It is nearly 10 years since I last skied down here but seeing this picture brought back some fond memories.... maybe one day soon Ill have someone who fancies the 20 minute hike up there and then can handle the descent - it is pretty steep!




The old 'Bellevarde Cable Car' top station..... anyone remember that ski down form the top - BLIMEY that was tough on beginners!


Great views towards Pisteurs and the Charvet.

Thanks to Blair Aitken for these pics!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
That middle pic of the old cable car station is ace - what happened to the lift? Decommissioned?
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Specialman wrote:
That middle pic of the old cable car station is ace - what happened to the lift? Decommissioned?


Yea decommissioned - used to go from the same building (at the bottom obviously) of the Solaise Cable car to the top of the Bellevarde..... it was replaced in 2001 I do believe (or was it 2000 or even 2002 - around about then!) by the current Olympique - advantage a) more efficient passenger wise b) less prone to wind c) leaves from a better location at the bottom d) arrives at a more friendly location at the top of the mountain - certainly for anyone not used to steep red'ish runs for a warm up! Main disadvantage was that the Taniere restaurant in the middle of the Face lost loads of business as before SOOOOO many people used to take the two chairlifts up the Face and would have to pass that restaurant..... now those two chairs are a welcome additional way of getting up when the Olympique looks busy!

MORNING REPORT Clear night so there will have been a hard freeze but this is the last time it should be quite like this for a few days as the isotherms are rising......... almost like early Spring - BUT FEAR NOT READERS Winter conditions will soon return I can guarantee it!
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
yes seems a goo possibility of very cold temps retruning from 11/12 Jan...........but of course a long way out to have any certainty behind the forecast.......

fingers crossed as i m out 12/01
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I'm out on Sunday. The forecast is currently for glorious sunshine, but freeze/thaw conditions. I know the EK fairly well, but was wondering if anyone could suggest the best runs to hit first thing in the morning so it's not like skiing over corrugated iron?
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Steve Angus, I remember the old lift exit, was replaced for the Alberville Olympics late 90's I recall, before that it was a 2 lift job to get up Bellevarde, with a traverse across half way up. As you say newbies had a fun (not) time exiting there..........once came down there on my MTB too in summer chasing the John Tomac's who were doing a downhill out of Follies Douce down to La Daille, that was proper fun..........couldnt even keep up with them down to their start hut!!

Great photos btw, enjoy your posts.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I must have gone up that cable car when I came to Val with my family many years ago, but I don't remember it at all! Great photos.
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Piccadilly, It came out of the same building that the Solaise Cable Car still comes from (the unused half became offices/apts) and was the same size. There used to be a great cheap caf called Rendezvous I think beneath it. Sadly it disappeared as all the folk sailed past the high side on the way to the Olympique (built 2002 I checked today!)
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Quote:

I'm out on Sunday. The forecast is currently for glorious sunshine, but freeze/thaw conditions. I know the EK fairly well, but was wondering if anyone could suggest the best runs to hit first thing in the morning so it's not like skiing over corrugated iron?


We're out to Val Claret on Sat too, would be interested to hear any tips for best places to ski in these conditions as it's always been fairly cold/dumping when we've been in EK in the past.

Quite looking forward to a sunny week really! Very Happy
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chrisdb, From VC the best early piste is Grattalu - go up the Tichot chair and then the Grattalu chairs - it gets the sun fairly early
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Wall to wall blue..........




Had a lovely morning taking a guy on a journey (as he had not been out of Val yet) to Brevieres and back.... he LOVED it (and who wouldn't with views like that!).

Anyway he was a strong guy but we had to work quite hard on his technique as he had been using a fair amount of brute force to get from A - B. Anyway he really enjoyed himself and improved which is always the goal!

At lunchtime I was reminded how lucky we are to have Chevallot bakery here in Val d'isere. Patrick and his team have won many regional and national French bakery awards and you can tell why! YUMMY..... my personal favourites there are a Fougasse Provencale or a Club Poulet sandwich........ perfect!

In the afternoon I had a delightful couple..... you could tell a mile off that they had lots of good instruction as their techniques were really strong.... they just lacked a little bit of confidence and experience but they were still making really good clean arcs on red runs - BRAVO!

Talking of lessons........... it is staggering how much people waste on lessons..... seriously. As you can imagine I spend countless hours watching people that I am not actually teaching at the time from chairlifts etc. That is on top of the hundreds of hours I actually teach and the hundreds of days I spend on the hill a year and the 17 odd seasons I have been teaching for............. people seem to take one step forward in a lesson and then two steps backwards out of the lesson and it virtually always comes down to the same failings over and over again. For example a classic is the following:



....red run skier but I KNOW that this guys skiing would be improved massively if he just changed his posture and got ankle flex and tilted his pelvis up as well as brought his hands into a ready position..... those three things would give him so many more strings to his bow and his skiing could improve.......... I am sure at more than one point in his skiing career that posture will have been mentioned to him. So once again if this person was in a lesson then i'd put a pound to a penny that the instructor concerned would refocus on what he has already learnt but perhaps has let slip. Of course people get rusty but sometimes people try really hard to undo the hard work they have put into getting it right in the first place......... it amazes me sometimes!

On another note ..... last night a rather drunken 21 yr old British man thought that he would recreate the scene from the famous French ski film "Bronzés font du ski". In a nutshell the un-named guy climbed one of the lift pylons on the Rogoney lift at the Rond Pond des Pistes... climbed onto one of the chairs and fell asleep. The Police Municipale were unable to rouse him through snowballs and shouting and the fire service had to be called in to go get him down...... his embarrassed girlfriend was not to happy when he finally was brought back down!
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Dr John don't think the freeze-thaw will be that extreme.... but basically to avoid any potential corrugated pistes stay on north / north east facing slopes to be 100% sure.... like the solaise / face etc..... basically if a piste generally points in the direction of Mont Blanc then it will have have avoided the worst of the temps / sun.... but as I said it should not get anyway near as bad as it does in the Spring time when the sun gets higher in the sky for longer!
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You know it makes sense.
^ what a knobhead!! Marvellous advert for the Brits rolling eyes

To be honest I'd love a whole season of lessons to undo a lifetime of bad habits.


chocksaway, I know where you mean now, but I just can't picture where it ended up or what the view was when you walked out, or the run down or anything! It's funny how memories just disappear!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Steve Angus, cool, cheers. Looking forward to one of your guys whipping me into some sort of shape next week.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
....red run skier but I KNOW that this guys skiing would be improved massively if he just changed his posture and got ankle flex and tilted his pelvis up as well as brought his hands into a ready position..... those three things would give him so many more strings to his bow and his skiing could improve.......... I am sure at more than one point in his skiing career that posture will have been mentioned to him. So once again if this person was in a lesson then i'd put a pound to a penny that the instructor concerned would refocus on what he has already learnt but perhaps has let slip. Of course people get rusty but sometimes people try really hard to undo the hard work they have put into getting it right in the first place......... it amazes me sometimes!

Steve, are you talking about this thing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7ynRihTlN4
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
.....yea more or less...... but dodgy location..... not sure what French / Swiss and American all have to do with each other but the sentiment is correct.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Blimey, he's a bit boring, isn't he?!
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Pedantica wrote:
Blimey, he's a bit boring, isn't he?!


that was the first hit when I googled 'ski ready position'. may be a bit boring, but easy and simple to understand imo. I am off to Tignes on 12 and will be affraid to be caught by Steve's camera and be commented for the bad 'ready position' Laughing Embarassed Laughing Embarassed
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Steve Angus, Christ I hope you never see me ski! Never had a single ski lesson in my life lol! Laughing
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ha ha folks..... don't worry I didnt take that photo - someone else caught this unknown bloke skiing....... i thought it would be unfair posting a picture of someone I actually taught or knew...... However I do plan (on the flip side) to post images / videos of good technique and also perhaps mini tutorials using a new app I have downloaded! .... in due course! FEAR NOT

Clear and a few deg c under this morning....... groundhog day weather wise!
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Steve Angus wrote:
ha ha folks..... don't worry I didnt take that photo - someone else caught this unknown bloke skiing....... i thought it would be unfair posting a picture of someone I actually taught or knew...... However I do plan (on the flip side) to post images / videos of good technique and also perhaps mini tutorials using a new app I have downloaded! .... in due course! FEAR NOT

Clear and a few deg c under this morning....... groundhog day weather wise!


Oh, that would be great Steve Angus, really looking forward to more pics and videos - I am also self tought mostly, some things go intuititively. This year might be too late, but next year I will go to one of the 'development clinics'. I can do blacks and a bit of off-piste, but would love to strengthen my intuition based skiing with some good advice and practice with the profesional.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Ricklovesthepowder wrote:
Steve Angus, Christ I hope you never see me ski! Never had a single ski lesson in my life lol! Laughing
I hope he never sees me ski for the exact opposite reason - I've had loads of lessons in the last few years, so am probably one of the ones still doing it all wrong/wasting money!
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I've not had lessons for about three years now and know bad habits will be creeping in, so have invested some money in sorting this out this year - sadly, not with you Steve Angus, !

Heading out tomorrow morning, just finished the packing and have decided it's beer o'clock before an early night - very excited myself, Mr jocrad is beside himself!!

Very Happy
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Such a contrast from yesterday in terms of teaching.... but that is the wonderful delight of teaching! In the morning I had a couple of regular TDC client kids and they were having their first snowboard lesson..... they picked it up really well.... I really enjoyed teaching them.... they will be back at half term so will continue off from where we got to today!

This afternoon was spent on the Savonnettes slopes with a couple of cute kids.... one nearly 4 and the other 6. They were not too keen on learning to ski, you can tell, but with a little bit of persuasion they got going! They tired pretty quickly so mum and dad took them off early so I finished earlier than planned - BONUS

I am up EXTREMELY early to hit the road tomorrow shortly before 5am so had better get to bed soon..... they are forecasting 20000 cars coming back up the road into resorts which is not too bad a number but going down the road between Bourg and Moutiers somewhere in the region of 30000 cars which will cause big problems.... so if you have options as to when you travel tomorrow either leave REAL early or REAL late!

Personally I have a 4 hour wait at GVA tomorrow so may take the opportunity to get some kip in the car or go into Geneva or may just hang out in the airport - we shall see!

Weather and av risk wise... sun and more sun but temperatures finally coming down sometime next week. They are actually lowering the av risk down to 1 below mid mountain tomorrow and 2 above as the snow is pretty chalky everywhere now and well bound together. However there is some depth and now surface faceting higher up and this is up to a foot deep in places therefore on steeper elevations at altitude with the next snowfall it will be VERY dangerous.... but for now go wild!

mooney058 - sounds good - see you when I see you.... you sound more 'development plus' level to me!
Pedantica - I meant it from the view of persons who consciously don't implement what they do in lessons - I was not intentionally making a viscous / sweeping statement..... but you can tell some people who just don't seem to want to follow the mould / or when advice falls on deaf ears.
jocrad - have fun.... who you with? Sure whomever it is will whip you into shape.
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mooney058 - sounds good - see you when I see you.... you sound more 'development plus' level to me!

Thanks Steve Angus, 12 Jan I am in Tignes with friends for 'guys only skiing', then in Feb with my family in Les Menuires, but long weekend sometime in March would also be an option - would love to come back to ValD or Tignes and to have part of the development clinics with you (if work allows) - not very certain at this moment, but you never know. Otherwise a full week/5 days of intensive training would be my priority for the next season, more importantly as my friends from 'guys only' annual skiing are contemplating Vallee Blanche sooner rather than later.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
mooney058, Fantastic video! Any more like it u cud upload?
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Quote:

I KNOW that this guys skiing would be improved massively if he just changed his posture

I think that guy is a girl. wink
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You know it makes sense.
pam w, it never ceases to amaze me how observant some ski instructors are. Or not. wink
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
pam w / Pedantica ???????? not sure male or female............ but yes we are observant - usually!

ONE OF THE BIG'UNS DONE

So that is one of the biggest transfer days done and dusted and what a day it turned out to be..... personally the traffic was fine but I am sure others were stuck in some big queues.

My alarm went off at 3.30 and I was on the road by just after 5 (had to do a small job on the car first hence got up so early). The passengers were (for the most part) fast asleep by the time we had even gotten to La Daille but that was fine by me - I just had to drive!

Even at that time in the morning the roads had a reasonable amount of traffic on them but we sailed through in good time all the way to Geneva.

I knew Geneva was going to be busy but the queue for Swiss check in was about 100 yards long - I could not believe it - arriving the 2 full hours in advance was DEFINITELY the way forward.

I headed upstairs to have some breakfast and start my 4 hour wait for the incoming flight and saw the queue for security:


THAT IS A GOOD 30 mins just to get through security!

When the incoming guests came through they were obviously pretty tired already...... 2 kids (1 at 3 and another at 18 mths) and all the luggage! BA had put them at the back and by the time they got their luggage etc it had taken them well over an hour to get through!

Anyway we finally got on the road after the kids seats had been fitted....... the journey back was OK although we had to take a fair few stops for toilets etc etc etc and then we all stopped at McDonalds in Bourg for kids dinner....... they were very well behaved I must say all round and did manage to sleep a little which was good news! There was an attempt to do a food shop but it was a step too far for the kids so after completing isle 1 in Super U the tears and tantrums started so we canned that idea!

Anyway I finally got home for dinner and beer about 8pm and as you can imagine I was in bed shortly after that! So that was the story of my transfer day.

Weather-wise it looks like it is going to be another sunny and warm day out there today...... time to get on my snowboard!

Thanks for reading folks!
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Steve Angus, sounds like your day could have been a lot worse - good job you started really early. Enjoy the good weather; for people happy to stay on piste it's absolutely wonderful at the moment and this coming week (though maybe not today, with day trippers) should be really quiet.
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Steve Angus wrote:
I headed upstairs to have some breakfast and start my 4 hour wait for the incoming flight and saw the queue for security:



Is there any other major international airport that has such a rubbish design for security? Not only is it too small but with the 'traying' done centrally rather then per scanning line you can only go as fast as the person with the 8 different items all needing traying, hence the line only goes at the speed of the slowest person.

Bonkers...
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?



TRANQUIL

First thing this morning there was a lovely calm over the resort.... I helped our chalet guests up to the Jardins des Enfant ...... as always these things take longer than planned with little ones. By the time we left them (after the lengthy check in process etc) they were quite content.

Mum, Dad and I had a nice gentle warm up on the snowboard up on the Solaise and there was NO-ONE around.... it was lovely. About the only language we heard on the slopes was Russian today as (relatively speaking) there are a fair few Russians around this week!

I dropped them off for lunch at the Tete de Solaise...... this afternoon was spent chilling at home and doing various odd jobs like take the Xmas tree down etc.

I has been lovely to do very little this afternoon / evening.

This week looks (once again) as if it will be nice and sunny and quite quiet on the lesson front...... time for some general down time!

Until tomorrow....
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patricksh wrote:
mooney058, Fantastic video! Any more like it u cud upload?


I just googled 'ski ready position' ant this was the first hit on youtube under that search. Take note of what Steve Angus is saying, google it and you will find lots of materials - not sure how good or reliable it will be - lots of people upload stuff, so better stick to advices you can trust.

In my skiing lessons experience, I mostly got local people who were giving skiing lessons during the season, while being builders etc during off season. I survived, but my wife said she would never try to learn skiing ever again ... she is scarred, nervous which also annoys me a great deal, because when we go for familly ski, she is the one making sacrifises as she never goes skiing and if I try to talk her into trying it once again we end up arguaging. Also got my 7 y old son a good BASS instructor last year in Morzine - the first thing instructor tought ... me ... is not to take my son to the red slopes and practice on blue of what the instructor had tought him during several 2 hour sessions ... in a way, I tought my son how to get from the top of the lift to the bottom, while the instructor tought how to ski the same distance. Getting down the mountain and skiing down the mountain are two different things.
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mooney058 - thanks for your vote of confidence!



Well a semi - productive day!!!!!

I got to the Rond Pond des Pistes (which I always shorten to RPDP if you read this blog regularly) before 9 this morning and was due to meet the clients there as they dropped the kids off with the Jardins des Enfants! Cutting a long story short we had to do quite a lot of negotiating with the 3 year old as she really did not like the idea of trying skiing as part of her all day booking there..... anyway finally by about 10am we were able to leave and mum, dad and I had a lovely morning riding up the Bellevarde side. We took what we had worked on yesterday up a notch and onto some red run terrain and they did well.......... one little slip resulted in a rather bruised coxic (sp?) for mum but we battled away.

I did some video analysis with them at the Folie Douce and it was the first time that they had seen themself on video and they were (rightly) quite impressed with what they saw!

This afternoon the plan had been to 'pop' down to Bourg to do a food shop and back up and continue with the to do list......... well the 'pop' turned into a 4 hour marathon by the time I had gotten the car, driven down, selected, queued and then bought the food (Super U was rammed and it was a Monday afternoon!) and then made my way back up and then finally put all the food away..... so all in all I have not done nearly what I had wanted to do today - oh well not to worry there is always another day!

The weather is finally supposed to start changing in the next 24 hours so that will be a welcome return to more normal Winter conditions!



Right I think I will officially postpone the rest of todays to-do list until tomorrow afternoon as it looks like I have an afternoon off again tomorrow but back working again all day Wednesday!

Take care folks.
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What a fun day..... seriously!

So the boarders had a morning off so I was booked onto a one off private and who should turn up but our very own Dr John .... good to meet you! So I did the usual investigations into what the client wanted to work on and the response was two things.... steeper terrain technique and moguls!

Now very often (and especially when it is of the male variety) students over estimate their abilities but Dr John was jolly humble about his abilities.

We looped around on the Fontaine Froide a few times doing drills such as Javelin turns and outside ski to outside ski hops at the start of the turn. We then took what we had worked on onto Le Face to put things into practice. Later on we worked on the Tommeuse moguls and did some drills on (amongst other things) fore and aft balance.

This afternoon I have been doing a few odd jobs at home as I was supposed to be teaching but a slight mis-communication meant that it was not to be in the end!

As a ski school we have a meeting at 4pm and then a few of us are heading out for dinner before the second seasonnaires sign up evening (as a ski school we run a seasonnaires lesson programme) when hopefully hundreds of them will come and sign up for one of our, once a week, clinics we will be running!



So the other day it was requested of me that I upload mini videos showing good / bad technique and useful info from the point of view of an instructor! Well today I got some video footage of Dr John sliding down the face and have tried to use my new app to analyse it - see what you think..... this one talks about turn shape and necessity to be standing on your skis (mainly the outside ski) in a balanced position which allows the skier to steer a 'c' / 's' shape arc down the slope as opposed to 'pivot and skid 'z' shape turns' which are less skilful and not as impressive to look at. Anyway here goes - hope it comes out OK!

http://www.coachseye.com/hJFi
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Don't want to high jack this thread so will keep it short - can anyone recommend a company the does Dog Sledding in Val D'Isere?

Also - any other lone parents or people looking to share a guide / lessons (perhaps with Mr. Angus if he had availability) in March please have a look at the other thread I just posted - http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=95875

Thank you and goodbye.

PS - great thread Steve, thanks for the daily updates, can't wait to try Val D'Isere for the first time!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
First day in val and it was fantastic! No wind at all and was great to see the vista in all its glory. Very happy:)
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Good to meet you Steve. Great coach, great lesson. Spent the afternoon pootling around solaise practicing drills, especially like the ridge dolphin jump thingies. Now back in chalet with beer in hand trying to revive my calves which are like block of wood thanks to you pushing me hard on about 500 laps of moguls. Hope your mate buys you a beer after stacking it.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Thanks Steve, besides video (great stuff, especialy the comparison bit) I learnt a new term today - 'javelin turn', did not know about up until now.
ski holidays
    



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