So it’s been a while. The last written blog entry date was in December 2014. That’s a bit too long but to be fair, I’ve been caught up in a lot of things.
The short list of what I’ve been up to basically runs as follows.
- Take a year off from BASI ski instructor exams to rediscover my love for skiing and partying
- Get divorced
- Start a business
- Become sober
- Get back on the ski instructor exam trail
There is a lot more too it than that but those five small items have taken up a lot of time and I want to strike a balance in this blog between content and privacy.
In all this time that I haven’t been blogging there have been two major ski related experiences that have changed my perspective on skiing.
The first was a day in the season off of BASI where I got up early and went to see my good friend Ali McGrain in Courchevel. Ali has been working in the US for years but was in Europe also doing his own exploration of the BASI system with a view to becoming full cert over here. Ali is a full on ski geek like me (and won’t mind me calling him that) and we had a fantastic day bombing about the 3 valleys, talking shop.
I’ve read in a few books here and there that when you let go of skiing in your head and stop thinking technically, that’s when you start to make the real discoveries. This was a day like that. Because of the nature of the ski runs in the 3 valleys, long cruisy reds with seriously big distance in between lifts, you can really get into a groove and experiment with different things. It was here that I found a freedom of movement in my hip joint, a proper discovery that has transformed my skiing.
The second experience was actually on the BASI level 4 technical exam that I only managed 3 days of last time. To be fair, at the time this was a in full marriage breakdown time so it was difficult to concentrate. However, this time, I had trained well and was in a much better place mentally for my trip to Val D’Isere.
I had a great trainer in Giles Lewis who was inspirational as a person and also a skier, especially in moguls. I was skiing really well on the first two days and was feeling super confident I until the last run of the second day when I ripped a massive hole in the bottom and edge of my favourite pair of skis.
It turned out that were beyond help and the only other pair of skis that I had taken with me as a spare were a set of 185cm GS skis which I despised. A measure of how confident I felt at this point though, after a very strong two days on the exam, I said to myself,
‘do you know what, I feel confident, I’ll take these shitty skis I don’t like and ski the bolllocks off them. I’ll show you all.’
I didn’t quite work that way and quite who I was going to ‘show’ was unclear. Often, I wasn’t going fast enough to get the ski bending properly and it was just way too long to be that effective in quite short ruts in the moguls we were skiing. Over the course of he week I gradually felt the exam slip away from me until on Friday afternoon, I was told that I wasn’t good enough. By that point, I just wanted to go home anyway and headed back north to a warm bed and some good food.
Although on the face of it, this was a negative experience, it many ways it was positive, and also meant I got to buy a new pair of skis which I absolutely love. If I had been on the exam on these skis, I know I would have passed. I spent many lift rides with trainers on that exam, chatting about life in general and the journey to full cert and I know it’s not a rush. I’ll be back, better than ever but for now I’m looking at alternative instructor systems more aligned with where I want to be in the future.
Plans for the summer I hear you ask? My summers are mainly spent plotting for the winter. Saas Fee opens mid-July and I’ll be up there training for my next project. I’ll also be running a ski camp for some kids that I work with, also in Saas Fee.
Other projects include nutrition and health coaching certification which means lots of study and a language camp that starts next week.
Skiing dates are already starting to come in and my diary for 2016/7 season is starting to look busy already. Get your bookings in soon to avoid the rush 🙂