Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Back in Saas.

So I’m back and so is the ski season. The summer ski season that is. This summer, I’m going to be making regular trips up to Saas Fee to prepare myself for my BASI Level 3 exams in Zermatt in November.

Atomic SL's - Surprisingly good in the pow :))

The technical level of skiing for this is a lot higher than the Level 2, so I need to be ready and a one week pre-course warm up in Zermatt just won’t cut it as far as preparation is concerned.

It’s been really cool being back in Saas Fee. This time last year, I spent 9-weeks one a gap course with the Warren Smith Ski Academy in Saas Fee which lead me to my current life of teaching skiing in the winter and teaching football in the summer. Being back in the toytown village of Saas with the electric cars and familiar faces from last summer has been great.

The journey up to the summer skiing on the glacier takes about 45-minutes, 2 cable cars and a funicular train before you emerge at 3800m gasping for breath. There are about 40kms of piste to rip and a great park with masses of kickers, rails and a pipe to keep the park rats happy. The Glacier opens at 7am (!) and finishes at 1pm when it gets super slushy so it means plenty of early starts.

I’m here working on the technical elements of skiing, things like refining short turns and making them more dynamic, as well as hammering long turns and bumps. One of my coaches from last year, Scouse, had a look at my skiing and kindly mentioned that it had improved massively after a winter of skiing which is reassuring and has given me extra confidence that I’m heading in the right direction.

A happy benefit of having been here before is that I’ve been able to stay at a friend’s place here in Saas. The friend in question is Maria Ramberger, Austria’s top ranked SnowboardCross racer who is also here training for the whole summer. It’s been great catching lifts and catching up with her and generally blasting around Saas glacier at high speed. She also cooks a decent pasta.

It’s been a refreshing few days here, almost like a mini holiday and it’s been great to be on skis again. That said, I’m a complete convert to summers in Chatel, which I never expected. I was expecting summer in the Alps to be one long wait for winter but in many ways, the scenery, the sunsets and barbeques are even better than the skiing and drinking of winter. With summer skiing less than 2-hours away it seems I’ve got the best of both worlds.

Online here at Mad Dog Ski.


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