Friday, 9 July 2010

It's been an intense start

When I arrived on this course, I thought that I could ski to a reasonably good level, spending parts of my winters hacking around red and blue runs at high speed.

saas fee ski area - where is everybody?

I used to be pretty proud that I had taught myself to ski but with the help of the coaches on the Warren Smith course, I’m already a much better skier with a better understanding of what is happening, why and where I was going wrong before.

The first day of skiing on the summer course started with a 7.30am (!) meet outside the hotel and a 45-minute ride up to the glacier on two gondolas and funicular that takes you up to 3500m.

Once you stumble out of the Allalin station, you are surrounded by a ring of 4000m+ peaks that tower above the ski area and the pisted plateau opens out before you.

There are four main pistes, taken up with young racers and ski teams on summer camps, as well as us gappies learning to ski all over again.

Over on the far side of the glacier there is a massive snowpark with various sized kickers and rails. This is where all the gangstas* on summer freestyle camps hang out who make up about half the traffic up top.

When you are up on the glacier, the altitude starts to be a problem when you step out of the funicular and climb the stairs to the lobby. It’s difficult to breathe at first and for the first few days performing at any kind of dynamic level is energy sapping (at least for me it is but then I counted playing cricket and drinking as ‘preparation’ for this course).
The other thing to watch out for at such altitudes is the sun. Already we’ve had a couple of guys on the course who didn’t bother with sun cream and are now sporting some seasonnaire style goggle tan lines after just one day - very amusing for the rest of us who are slapping on the 50+ SPF.

The intensity of the sun combined with altitude means we are drinking loads of water; personally I’m doing about two litres per day up there in a five-hour session.
It’s our mid-week day off today and I’ll be using the time to catch up on emails and resting in preparation for an increase in the intensity of our skiing for the rest of the week prior to the BASI Level 1 course next week.
*As christened by Woodsy – British freestyle skier who turned up today for the Saas-Fee ride competition next week who has been hanging out with us

published here

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