Strangley moving snow and a coffee…

31/1/2019

Now, I am Mr Safety, Mr ‘What if’? Wear a life jacket, Don’t drive with bald tyres…wrap up warm etc etc.

However…

4 years ago today I had a bit of a spill. 11.40 am.  A ride which was rather disturbing. You could say the ride of my life. But then, that’s probably a bit dramatic.

My first real venture after 45 years of skiing….in an Avalanche. For sure I’ve been on a few, slipped down a few minor chutes but never been tangled up in one until this one.

To the bystander it may have looked rather tame, but to me, in it, it certainly didn’t feel tame at all.

It was a sunny day, a day off from Training and Assessing ski teachers in Switzerland for my Association. My colleagues and I went for a leisurely ski to enjoy the fantastic fall of snow on a crisp, cold sunny morning. One of those days that you just knew that sleeping in was stupid.

Off we ventured up the hill to the slope which, apparently, never slips..(I should have listened to my inner voice..!) The open area was almost full of other skiers all stating their claim on their bit of virgin snow. Billowing powder went everywhere and the area looked fabulous.

Our first run went well and stoked with the feeling of freedom, my buddies said, ‘another..run?’ I wanted a coffee, but thought I should join them in that ‘just one more run’

As we entered into the pitch, I mentioned to my skiing buddy..’This Snow is moving strangely and feels rather odd’ ‘Yes it is and does, I thought that too’ she said.

After several majestic arcs and powder up to the chest…my ski pre released, or maybe it was just my bad skiing..and ‘BINGO’! I’m now face down and frantically digging myself out. Me shouting, its OK, I’m fine I’ll just find my ski. After realizing I needed to trudge through the deep powder up the slope to find my lost ski I took  the other one off and walked up the slope a few meters.

Making the ‘cross hatch’ search I soon felt and heard the ‘clonk’ as it came across the ski, I turned and shouted, ITS OK, I’VE FOUND IT!  At that point I did’nt quite understand why my friend was screaming loudly..ALEX! ALEX! ALEX! LOOK UP! LOOK UP! she said..I did, and a load of expletives passed my lips…I was already almost up to my chest in the snow and to see what looked like the same amount in height coming towards me I figured that a wave of snow trundling down was a bit like the surf near our local beaches..I thought, naively that diving into it will bring me out the other side of it just like a surf wave…It did’nt.

The snow kept coming, pushing me, trundling me in a washing machine, pushing me down the slope. Yes for sure, you get these thoughts going through your  head, Is this really it? My Wife, Son, Family, the dog? why did I think of the dog?! Then as quick as those thoughts came into my head the thoughts of, ‘I’m wearing our associations uniform, My transceiver was in the bedroom not on me….(I wasn’t planning on going off piste that day!) And this was not good news if ‘this was it..’curtains’.!

Tumbling through the debris and sort of trying to swim, I emerged, who knows how, on the top as the avalanche slowly came to a stop about 100 mtrs above my buddies.

They were, and I’m sure would agree, rather stunned and some, upset at the situation. One said I wasn’t sure what I was going to have to say to your wife! (You would have done a great Job I’m sure’D’).

After standing up, and at that moment, terrified the rest of the slope may go and take us with it, I recall shouting,’ITS OK, I’M FINE! (Inside I’m thinking I’ve got to get out of here) I then proceeded to walk through the deep powder to the gang, its almost impossible when the snow is well over waist height..to walk that 100 mtrs seemed to take ages, maybe 15-20 minutes? who knows. It went on and on. Eventually arriving with my buddies, safe, but rather ‘shaken’ At that moment a frantic Swiss skier arrived, panicking, and with no real calm rescue behavior, got his transceiver and shovel out and started frantically trying to search the debris…It would have been futile, he was too stressed to handle it. We told him that there was no one else in it, just me and I’m OK.

This served as a real eye opener that in any disaster, stress should be channeled into a calming behavior, take stock, look at the situation and then proceed to take action. Its a bit like what we teach in First Aid, Stop, Call for help, Check for Danger, then check response etc..its a default mechanism, you can then start to work out what to do. Just panicking is useless.

Eventually 3 helicopters arrived to search the area and rescue a snowboarder over the other side (nothing to do with he Avalanche) . Followed by two piste security guys and their dogs.. This was not good news for me. Trying desperately hard to not reveal my name for fear of the dreaded ‘FACEBOOK’ Idiot social media scandal I started to set off with one ski from my fiend to get to safety. It was too late, the helicopter winch man and doctor said ‘we can take you back’ here, clip in. I thought that the ride beneath the helicopter at 1000 ft would be rather exciting so I agreed.

Landing at the safe point I quickly un clipped and said thank you only to be told, you must come to hospital…you can suffer secondary drowning from inhalation of snow crystals..Drat.. they got me I thought!. Insurance card at the  ready off we went.’ Bugger, I thought, I’ve been rumbled. Ho, a word on Insurance, It took them almost a year to pay up..the 14000 swiss franks for the ‘rescue’ Lets face it, they had to find someone to pay for it..its Switzerland after all.

After several hours in Sion Hospital I was released…Luckily no names were put out to the press from that incident..phew, However, that was the same day that 14 others were killed in Switzerland in avalanches, so sad. I was the very lucky one.

I monitored the press for several weeks afterwards and I got off Scott free! Until now. But then, its old news, BREXIT, TRUMP, NIGEL FARAGE AND BORIS have taken over the top place.

All I know is this,  Always remember, your fate is in your hands, don’t do something your not sure about, and if that snow moves strangely……

go and have a coffee.

SKI TOUR 2018 TAUPLITZ!

What a great touring week with Martin and Helen in Tauplitz and the surrounding area.

This part of Austria is ideally positioned for accessing some fun ski touring venues. Check out the quick video!!

 

Day one was a Baptism of fire! A walk straight up the Loser mountain resort. We felt we needed to ensure our fitness and skills were up to date! Using our navigation skills and various techy gizmos, the walk up was an easily navigated route. Straight through the Forrest! Having lunch at the top with an amazing view.

After a few equipment issues we decided to use the second day back at Tauplitz to embark on an easy tour route. The guide book says, 3 hours, well, we quickly established that this was certainly NOT a simple 3 hour walk. After around 3 hours we soon decided that the distance we achieved was enough and turned back to ensure we were not caught out after dark. So as not to waste time and take advantage of the space we ran through a short Transceiver search training session.

 

The following day, Tuesday, the weather set in and with flat light and almost zero visibility we decided to have an ‘on piste’ day or so whist the weather cleared up. By Thursday the skies cleared and out final tour was fantastic

After a light snowfall the walk through the woods to the open pistes was sublime, quiet, still and untouched powder snow. It was such a privilege to walk through the un pisted and untouched areas of Tauplitiz. After several hours and a quick coffee stop we ended up having lunch atop of a superb open run away from all the hustle and bustle of the resorts. A lunch to remember followed by a run to remember!

Touring is where its at.. Get out there!!

Thanks Martin, Helen for your great hospitality! Here’s to next year!!!

Rossignol Hero Elite Short turn skis

After skiing these skis for the past 3 years I have found them to be absolutely awesome! Superb grip on the piste and just the ultimate for short grippy turns.

The Rossignol Hero Elite Short turn skis are the best there is for me.

Check out the video, it says it all..

Rossignol Hero Elite Short turn skis Review.

With a well groomed piste and some firm snow, the Rossignol Heros are at home.


Alex Leaf Rossignol Hero Elite Short Turn skis

Rossignol Hero skis

for more visit our facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/worldclassskiing

Skiing the Stubai Glacier, Cakes and Fly Clapping

WCS has visited Stubai this year after many years absence. Our May ski performance week was a great success with the added bonus of so few people skiing the glacier! Some days it seemed like we were the only people on the mountain, it was exceptional.!

We departed on 20th May and had 6 full days skiing and to return to the UK on the 27th.

The Glacier

There are so many pistes on the Stubai Glacier it appears like a true winter resort with so many different aspects available to us. The new lift was closed however for maintenance so there were a few runs which we did not ski but I am sure we will next year!

TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN!

TIME FOR COFFEE!


The Snow

Terrific conditions and to add to the excitement we had a fall of snow on the Wednesday evening meaning that on the Thursday morning we had some fresh snow to ski which stayed in good condition until about midday. Overall the snow remained skiable up to about 2 .30 and our last runs down were around 3 pm so plenty of skiable time on the slopes. No ice to be seen!

Interlude..

Spectacular views from the hotel.


 

The Hotel

We stayed at the Hotel Gastiegerhof, just 15 minutes from the Glacier, our Hotel owners bused us up to the glacier every morning which was a real bonus! The regular bus however, departed just 3 minutes away from the Hotel every 20 mins or so. We used this public bus to return each afternoon and upon arrival at the hotel we could enjoy the great spread of tea, coffee and of course CAKES! There is also some very enjoyable beer stops on the route home, if a beer rather than tea and cakes is your ‘bag’!

The Valley

A very pretty and breathtaking valley with waterfalls and walkways all around. We did have the intention of taking some time each afternoon to go on a few walks, however, after a full day skiing the swimming pool and sauna in the Hotel were a more relaxing bet !

With easy access to both Innsbruck Airport and Munich the transfer times are very acceptable. Only 45 mins to Innsbruck and 2.5 hours to Munich. The regular bus for the valley also goes straight into Innsbruck should you want to take some time out from skiing.

During the week we worked on individuals ski preferences, from short turns to skiing the variables! A perfect week for improving skills for BASI /IASI courses along with skiing for personal performance.

As there are so many different aspects to ski on the glacier we had ample opportunity to sneak out the best snow for the skills and drills we wanted to work on. A perfect piste for ’round robin’ skiing was discovered if you felt like practicing long radius turns for example, Me, the coach! would place mayself strategically where I could see individuals skiing down and then give feedback and set new goals for the next run down. This gives so much ski time and less of standing about talking about it! We are there for the skiing remember…

So to sum up, the Skiing is fantastic, the weather was fantastic, the hotel was fantastic, the food was fantastic and of course the company was fantastic…Simon, Alison, Tim, Belinda, Linda, Cathy, Graham, Tracy..thank you team for making the WCS STUBAI course a great success! We will be back…next May.

 

Ho, yes, Fly Clapping….best you ask the Master…Tim, he is the world champion at ‘FLY CLAPPING’

See you next year!

Get out there! Ski Touring in March

What an amazing week. Instead of just dashing about on the piste, we spent a terrific week exploring the outback of this lovely region.

Our first venture into the delights of ski touring and all done within easy reach of the resorts and their facilities.  Staying at Apartment Strimms in Zauchensee and the chalet next door, our week was packed with new experiences for all.

We set up the week for people who had very little or no experience in the discipline of ski touring. Learning new skills such as transceiver searches, how to apply skins to the skis and kick turns with your heels free! That’s fun…

Martin Helen, Steve, Belinda and Simon were our great team on this fun packed week. All ready for trying out the new skill. Its safe to say we are all HOOKED now, looking for our next mini ski tour.

The weather was absolutely fantastic, the snow was great on the piste and the off piste was challenging but then, that’s part of going off piste!

First day was spent learning that skiing off piste is not all about creating lovely arcs in deep powder, sometimes there is no powder, so learning new skills such as coping with heavy conditions and how to get up from a fall in deep snow..as sometimes when you walk into a hole next to a tree…that’s funny…sorry Belinda and Helen…but then, I seem to remember Martin also had an argument with the front of his skis….shame those heels kept moving out Martin! Video to follow on FB?

Day two, get to know your equipment… A morning learning about, skins, probes, transceivers, shovels, maps and altimeters..Ho, and how to stick together as a group, this is team work. Following our equipment intro we went on an easy walk through the off piste. After a few hours it soon became a late lunch and a ski back to the apartment…a beer on the way though of course!

The rest of the week was taken up with some easy tours and a day of piste skiing to search out the area. 6 full days of beginners touring needs to be split up we felt. Our finale was a tour around a mountain to bring us back to the piste and end of a great day.  Funny how we seemed to always end up in the apre ski bar.. I wonder why? Eating out was great too, we can sample all the little local restaurants, not that there are many in Zauchensee but, a trip down to Altenmarkt was a must one evening.  We were very well looked after by Karen and Nigel Thompson from Appartment Strimms. Nigel ensured that the local ski hire shop helped us arrange the correct gear. Touring skis, bindings, skins and boots for a week for 89 euros? that’s a crazy deal! Nigel has been in the area for a good few years and knows the surrrounding area like the back of his hand! We have already booked next year, and a kit list will follow for those who are interested.

What seems to be clear is that this week made a real team bond with everyone, its not just about how fast we could get around, it was about how we worked together. That’s teamwork.

Each day we needed to be clear on any avalanche risks and make sure we avoided any dangerous areas so after our morning coffee and discussion on the route, off we went for an adventure!

Freedom…Away from the mad pistes..

Now that’s touring…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch in the sun!..So join us next year 2018 and find out just what skiing is all about…Its not just how you make a turn..just GET OUT THERE!

Thanks to;  MARTIN – HELEN – STEVE – BELINDA – SIMON for making this one of the best ever World Class Skiing adventures!

P.S. Fancy trying this in the Andes?

world class skiing hemel hempstead

Socks and a cup of great coffee….Point 6 is what it’s about.

How to improve your ski performance…with a pair of POINT 6 SOCKS..!

Its been some time since Christmas, and with great skiing since then I thought I would write a little piece about my Christmas Pressie….a pair of Socks…

A good old time honored gift its what your mother would always put into your Christmas sack if there was nothing else she could think of. Well, my new pair of socks are awesome!

POINT 6 SOCKS Ski Light.

Light terry loop cushioning in the shin and under the foot offers fantastic comfort and warmth. This is the most versatile weight of ski sock- not too thick, not too thin.

Wool 62% Spandex 2% Nylon 36%

I’ve worn some socks in my time, but, these are quite definitely the most comfortable and warm socks I’ve ever had! Good cusioning and just the right amount of paddding in the right places. Gives a good feel in the boot. It also makes you ski better!

If you haven’t got a pair yet, bag some soon, they are just superb! I don’t often rave about my socks, but these have fired me up to shout about them.

As for the Coffee? well, you will need to find out on the next blog just how good coffee can taste on the side of a mountain…whilst wearing my socks, of course.

The Sunny Ski Safari !

The Mayrhofen Ski Safari, and the added bonus of wall to wall sunshine!

We had such a fantastic week in Mayrhofen. In fact, all the Ziller Valley. With the great links from resort to resort via the transportation links available all on your lift pass!

Starting as always on the Penken (Mayrhofen area) and spending two days exploring the area we managed to find our ski legs on various pistes within the resort.

Mayrhofen boasts of a great town life and lots of entertainment, if that’s what you want, or, our Hotels provided both evening music and dancing if that’s your thing or return to your room for a quiet nights sleep! your choice. The Neue Post hotel provides a top quality wellness area which is perfect for easing those tired legs after a day’s worth of ripping the mountain up.

Our great team this year involved, Barbara, Louise, Belinda, Nikki, Jess and Tracy. Great company thank you.  We had a ski agenda, and that’s to leave the week with some new found skills to improve your ski performance and I think we did that judging by your smiles!

After skiing the Penken area we swiftly moved onto the Kaltenbach arena which links up to Hoch Fugen, This hosts some amazing skiing with more than enough to keep us occupied for a few days if we so wished. Our plan was to get up to the Hintertux glacier, however, after our visit to the Arhorn Ski area it was soon apparent that with so few people in that part of the resort and superb snow it was to become our favorite area to ski. In fact, its the locals mountain of choice. Home of some of the worlds most famous ski racers. There was plenty of race training going on down the black run whilst we were there.

It’s always the ‘carving’ skills which we are all focused on. After a few days warming up, carving seemed to take precedent whilst we had some empty pistes on the Arhorn. Perfect gradients for building confidence and learning how we can best find that early elusive edge, and keep it …..all the way round that arc!

Seen here some images of the team practicing and learning new skills to create that rounded arc on the edge. More images to be found on our facebook group page. www.facebook.com/worldclassskiing

Thanks Team for a  truly great week, See you soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AVOID BANK CURRENCY CHARGES! CAXTON

HOW TO SAVE MONEY WHILST ABROAD! USE A CAXTON fx card!

Not that this is an awe inspiring, flashy, trendy or ‘isn’t the snow fantastic’ post, Its a rather sensible look at how to avoid the card and bank charges when dealing with foreign currency.

Recently our good friends at Impulse Racing steered us towards CAXTON-fx it’s a debit card, and more, for dealing efficiently with international transactions. Basically when you use your card abroad, your bank will charge you for the transaction, even your debit card, and then take a % of the transaction to add insult ! Add up these charges over the year and you will be amazed at just how it adds up. We at World Class Skiing are, by nature of the business, paying hotels, lift companies and expenses whilst abroad. So, now having the CAXTON-fx  account we have managed to save our business a considerable amount on bank charges, in just 3 months.

Of course, you do not need a business to have a Caxton-fx card, take out a personal one.  Simply top up, when the rate is at its best, and then spend with your card abroad with no extra fees! We are lucky that we even have a designated account manager who will contact us when our preferred currency is in our favor, we can then ‘fix’ an amount at the agreed rate and use the cash when we need it!

To find out more and sign up if you wish, simply visit our bespoke World Class Skiing CAXTON-fx page by clicking the link on the right hand side below our events posts.!

 

Do it, we did and it has saved us lots!

Thanks Impulse Racing!

HINTERTUX 2015

HINTERTUX 2015

WHAT A WEEK!

25th Year in Tux..


 

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WCS in Hintertux, what a week we had. Amazing conditions with some great company.  At WCS we are forging ahead with some great projects and some new formats for our 2016 Hintertux Autumn ski weeks to make the week even more exciting!

The 2015 week was our 25 year in Hintertux.  We have seen some changes over the years and mainly in the shape of the glacier, at one point we thought it was disappearing rapidly. Now, with some fantastic snow management is looking the best it has for many years.

Our week was made a great success by the people who came along, thank you so much for your company and some great fun. With World Class Skiing we aim to ensure that everyone attending is part of the experience, the inclusive approach ensures we all have a great time. This year the settled weather along with superb snow conditions made everyday a day to put a smile on every ones faces.

To ensure we cater for all demands we will be developing a range of ‘ALL TERRAIN’ courses, at differing levels for abilities. With the ATC (All terrain Course) you will be sure of gaining new knowledge and skills for coping with the different areas of the mountain. Also the BDC (Bump Development Clinic) you will be able to tackle the bumps easily with coaching from the WCS trainers. These are just a few of the 2016 development programs we are preparing for you so keep an eye out for our new range of courses!

Take a look here at the conditions we enjoyed this year on the glacier.

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So, let’s see you all again next year for our pre season ski.

WORLD CLASS SKIING and WCT new offices!

Well, here we go, the company has just moved into its new base, an HQ which is only just above sea level….! Global warming had better not happen too quickly!

outside-office-panorama

We have taken on a fantastic space at the Plymouth University Building, Brixham Laboratory,  here in Brixham, Devon with probably the best view in the world! Apart from maybe the One at the top of Condor 3 in Bariloche, Argentina.. With the business expanding and lots of new projects to work on we decided to move up a notch and expand out!  Laura, who some of you will have already met either by email, telephone or in person is our business manager and overall number one organiser for WCS and WCT! Laura comes from a background in brand franchising and is bringing her skills to us and is my best motivator in ensuring WCS and WCT achieves its goals and keeps moving forward.

The office is part of a large laboratory building formally used by the firm ‘Astra Zenica’ as their environmental research establishment. All new and very well appointed, its the jewel in the crown for offices in the South West of the UK with an enviable position. We even get a Kayak rack!

A fully serviced space with 24/7 security and access and refreshment facilities on hand.

With this superb venue, we also have the use of training rooms, lecture facilities etc which make the venue ideal for all first aid courses and especially activity first aid with plenty of outside areas and facilities to use. With the old WW2 gun battery buildings near by making the surrounding area perfect for outdoor first aid scenarios.

When it comes to skiing, well, the outlook may not be a mountain covered in snow, but it is inspirational to look across the ocean and the boats in the bay.

So, if you  are in the South West of the UK anytime, come and see us, we would love to welcome you to the WCS & WCT HQ!

Remember to bring your Kayak, Fishing rod and swimming shorts….

laura-office

Laura, with her desk of certificates!

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