Teletastic

Last season I ended the winter on a high note, passing the first module of my BASI Level 3 ISIA qualification.  A year on and I’m 4 modules in, having just ended this winter passing my Second Discipline module.

The Second Discipline is to make you a more rounded ski instructor I guess, showing that you are adaptable and that you don’t only just teach skiing.  The problem that now have is that for my second discipline, I chose Telemark skiing and I think I’m in love with it.  I genuinely think I may have found something that I can work on for years to come and I know what I’ll be doing on my days off next season.

For those of you who don’t know what Telemark skiing is, have a look at the above picture.  Where a regular ski boot attaches to the ski at the front and rear of the boot, the Telemark ski is only attached at the front.  This leads to a way of skiing that is completely different to regular Alpine skiing.

It’s difficult to describe the sensation but the balance points, the way in which you use the skis, the possible different ways of skiing – in fact everything – is different.  It’s also as cool as it looks – the rhythm  of the turns are completely different to Alpine skiing and it feels really free.  Those that saw us in Les Gets on Friday last week would have had a real visual treat as 11 Telemarkers of varying ability and style were tearing around the pistes.

The end of the season is fast approaching with Morgins shutting on the 15 April and end of season parties in full effect.  We’ve had all of the live music on the pistes parties in the Portes du Soleil, Retro ski day in Chatel and the annual beer race in the Lior D’Or dutch bar.  I didn’t go to the beer race as I had to work the next day and I didn’t want to get roped in but I heard it was messy.  They usually have a hose on hand to wash the vomit down the street….

The end of the ski season means also it’s time to replace or retire a load of equipment.  The season is hard on skis that are constantly being skied over by kids, boots that are flexed into submission by bend the knees demos and poles bent through too much leaning on.  Sadly, I’m retiring my Head teaching skis this year which have served me well for two and a half seasons and looking to replace them with new teaching skis, race boots, telemark boots and bindings and googles.

We’ve got a school group here this week for what looks to be the final weeks serious work of the season and it’s supposed to rain all this week.  Teaching skiing in the rain is the ultimate misery but we are all a bit demob happy after a bumper season so everyone is making the best of it.

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At last, a rest.

It’s been a while since I last blogged, mainly due to how busy it’s been at the ski school during the school holidays.  I’m looking at the list of days worked here in front of me and tomorrow will be my first day off snow for ages and I’ve had 5 days off from teaching since the start of February.
get your lunge on

This is a massive volume in comparison to last year and I’ve already gone way past the total amount of hours worked last year.  This is great from an earnings and experience point of view but it’s taken a toll on my body and ski technique.  Trying to balance a winter lifestyle built around après ski along with constant skiing means unexpected leg cramps, an aching Achilles and ski equipment that is starting to break down.    

An unexpected bonus of this bumper ski season was my first proper week teaching in French in the ski collective groups in the middle of the Swiss school holidays.  This was a little unexpected but once I got into the swing of things it was pretty straightforward.  The important thing for me was that once I learned the right phrase for the thing I wanted, was to write it down that night to ensure I don’t forget it for next time.  I’m pleased that the ski school trusted me with it and the kids I taught had a good time.

I thought I might get a rest at the end of the holidays but in early March, Cheeko and Hughsey from home came visiting and brought with them their usual week of drinking and carnage.  You know well enough by now what happens when they come here but this time, they discovered the Dutch après ski bar in Chatel and bars in the sunshine up the mountain.  My leg cramps got worse that week…

I’ve been practicing my telemarking skills for the BASI level 1 telemark course that I have next week (see pic) which was interesting in the mogul slush conditions this week.  Myself and a friend even resorted to having a lesson from someone who knew what they were doing, just to get the technical knowledge that I needed to square this new technique in my head.

It’s started snowing big again today in the Portes du Soleil, laying a new layer of snow over bumpy slush and mogulled pistes.  The real question I suppose is whether I will stick to my plan for a day off or be tempted up the hill for some fresh tracks…

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Tele-tastic

I always seem to go out in Chatel on the wrong night. 
Snowy Chatel (just to remind you all what it looked like)

In the Avalanche Bar, Tuesday night is always a pretty big night with various themes.  Last week it was neon, this week I’ve been gearing up for moustache night but given that I had a rare free day to myself today, I got smashed up last night and now I’m going to miss yet another Tuesday night.  I know I’ll get a load of hassle for this but I’m working tomorrow and ski teaching with a hangover just isn’t fun.
After the chaos of the hot weather week last week, things are back to normal here now with cold temperatures meaning that the snow cannons are in action.  Because of the limited snow that seems to be a problem with the whole of the alps, the afternoons aren’t great with most of the top snow scraped off leaving sheet ice to play on.
This might account for the massive amount of injuries and constant ambulances and helicopters flying about.  The other night there were apparently 10-people in the pub with arms in slings and various other ailments.  If this continues on it’s going to be chaos in February when all the half-termers arrive.
I went telemarking the other day and I’m hooked.  It’s actually not as difficult as I thought it would be and it only took a few hours to work it all out.  It’s an addictive feeling and quite a difficult one to describe but it does feel so much more natural than regular skiing.  There is a certain something about the turn shapes and rhythm of it that really appeals to me, so much so that I’m going for it again on Thursday. 
Of course it will eventually mean a whole load of shiny new equipment and a new pair of skis so I think I’ll be hitting the end of season sales hard.
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