LADIES WOT SKI and some great weather!

32 ‘LADIES WOT SKI!’ and some great weather!

 

What a superb 4 days skiing here in Solden, Austria. The company has been just fantastic and the bright sunny weather puts the icing on the cake!

I am here with the group…Ladies Wot Ski’! from Hemel Hempstead snow centre, There are 32 in total.

The ability levels are from plough parallel skiers  to a group with their Instructor qualifications wishing to improve their performance and prepare themselves for the next level.

Working with everyone is a pleasure and they are all out to gain the most from the limited time here in SOLDEN. If you thought that a bunch of rugby players were hard party goers then just try a few days with these girls…they party and ski hard!

The organiser of the whole event is Greg Price. I have known Greg for over 20 years as he was one of World Class Skiers very first guests in Hintertux on our inaugural trip! Greg facilitates the ladies morning at Hemel Hempstead Snowcentre and as such has developed their skiing, along with fellow instructors, Linda Forbes, Richard Fetherston, Calum Wood , Barbara Cox, Lucy Tape, and Louise Rogers…….The group gels together really well and they all have a common goal, to develop their skiing and enjoy themselves! It has grown from small numbers attending to this large group who all love skiing. Asking a few questions around everyone, it is clear, that this is a time for them to get away from normality and the daily organising of family activities etc to creating time for themselves. It also is a reminder of why they all ski at the centre, to ultimately enjoy the mountains in all their splendour.

My gang….seen here enjoying the weather!

So I say to you ‘Ladies Wot Ski’ and Greg, thank you for a fun few days and being great company and a fantastic ski group.  Maybe see you all in Hintertux some day. Keep chasing those skiers girls!
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PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-TZ20

PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-TZ20

Product review.

For your interest…and what do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

I have been looking for a good compact digital camera for some while now as my SLR camera is great; however, it is a bit of a task carrying it about, especially when I’m working on the mountain every day.

After talking to a fellow ski teacher and my nephew (incidentally is heavily into photography!) I went for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 camera.

The images are superb and the 14 mega pixels combined with the quality Leica lens make this little gem a quality product.

In the past I shunned the auto programmes on compact cameras and went for the manual settings on my slr where I thought I would have more control..you do of course. However, the programmable settings on the Panasonic are superb. You have a variety of scene settings which allow you to change from various light modes in an instant. Of course, with my requirements the snow setting needed to be good, it certainly is. There are I know, many other auto settings on other compacts but I have not found any as good as this.

As you can see here, the Panasonic DMC-TZ20 image quality is outstanding for a small compact digital camera. I will update more images on the gallery section when I get more. It has a fantastic 16* optical zoom and coupled with a further 21* intelligent digital zoom you have a good range to work with. The wide angle of 24mm gives you the facility to embrace big mountain vistas!

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To add to the range of functions, the rapid auto focus multiple shots is brilliant for action ski shots. If you need more it will take up to 60 shots per second! Not auto focus though. Using this mode eats up your memory however..

If you have a 3d TV, then you can also click to the 3d mode on the camera and hey presto! You have 3d pictures!

A touch screen mode helps you navigate through your images quickly and makes life a doddle.

You do of course have a fully functioning manual mode if you need to make some creative pictures….if you have time when you are busy capturing the next action shot!

The HD video mode is superb and I will be using this at the next opportunity to gather some product reviews or client interviews..

The extarodinary thing, is that it has a GPS module built in!. Fantastic for identifying your location when you get home. I think it’s best if you are an oil explorer or a modern Indiana Jones, looking for the lost arc!

All in all, this is a great little package, the DMC-TZ20 is versatile and small enough to take anywhere. I only wish I had this when I was in Argentina…..Lee Townend, thanks for your advice, this is a great product, £219.00 well spent at Heathrow!

Celebrating with the Mayor..and..Mr Glen Plake..

Our 20th anniversary welcome from the Mayor.

To celebrate our 20th year we were invited to the new Tux Centre in Lanersbach to have an evening with the mayor.

Out of the group 4 celebrated their 10 years of visits, Darrell Jennings, Dorothy Hayle, Mike Rigby and Alun Hughes seen below with a presentation from the Mayor of a book of the area.

 

For their 20 years, Ian Devereux, Marianne Devereux, Simon Garner, Mary Mcmichael, Andrew Lockerbie, John Gardiner and myself…seen here with a framed certificate!

It’s so refreshing to see such a positive and young Mayor of the area, no gold chains or expensive jaguars to drive him around here, more than I can say of some towns I can think of in the UK…I wonder if the tourist area of my home town in Torbay can get a lesson from this. Just for interest, the small area of TUX sells over a million bed nights here every year…not bad for a small area in Austria. Torbay..get a grip..

 

Just to finish off….Met my ski hero today..Mr Glen Plake…who knows, maybe he will make a guest appearance with us…more news on that later..? Thank you Sarah for the picture!

 

So as we finish the first week in Tux, thank you folks for another memorable time….

I wonder who will be at the next 20 years celebrations?!

Time flies and ‘you’re no longer a virgin’..

20 YEARS!
Great to be working with the original team for our 20th anneversary, John Gardiner, Andrew Lockerbie and myself…it’s where it all started…!

Well here we are, back in Hintertux and what a week it is! The snow is in great condition. Seen here the group and some happy faces at the summit!

Sarah, new to the World Class experience says it all here……..

‘You’re no longer a virgin ….”

… said  Andy (Lockerbie) as I headed towards the bar, smiling, after my first day skiing with World Class Skiing (WCS) on Hintertux glacier.   There were 23 skiers at their Autumn Showcase and what made me unusual (well – what I want to admit to in print!) was that it was my first day skiing with WCS and my first day on the Hintertux Glacier, whilst about 20 of the group had skied here with WCS before.

Had I not met Alex skiing in Les Arcs in 2009  I would never have thought I was good enough to attend something with the words ‘World class’ and ‘skiing’ in the same sentence, but he said words the the effect that of course I was and that I would love it.

To be completely truthful I was quite nervous about coming – partly because no-one wants to be the skier who struggles to keep up and partly because everyone else may be fanatical skiers who talked about nothing else than the technical ins and outs of bits of kit or the last black run they’d conquered.  From the moment I met up with Alex and some of the group at Munich my nerves started to dissipate.  They seemed like minded, sporty people who loved being on the mountain on skis, but most importantly they had a sense of humour and knew how to laugh.

A little over 48 hours into my adventure my only regrets are that I didn’t find out about WCS years ago…. and that I have to be back at work next week so can’t stay for the second week!

Well there you go! Thank you Sarah!

The group today….

20 years later and it only seems that it was yesterday when we first brought our happy skiers to the glacier…time waits for no man they say. We all wonder how time flies and events like this bring it all in to vision very quickly. as the taxi drive said in Bariloche last month, in one of my older blogs,  ‘life has many chapters and we need to read them properly in order to understand what life throws at us’..Profound words from a very down to earth chap in Andes…..So on that note.

Keep your eyes peeled for some great news about the World Class Skiing adventure to South America…published here very soon!

Budapest ISIA standards meeting.

I.S.I.A.  (International Ski Instructors Association) meeting, Budapest, October 2011-10-10

Minimum standards and members off piste security modules.

A very quick visit for me to Budapest this week. I am lucky to represent B.A.S.I. at this important meeting.

Firstly, Budapest is a wonderful city, vibrant and very grand. The old buildings from the Habsburg empire and then the regal buildings from the recent communist rule. A trip to Heroes Square shows the imposing feeling of times past and the entrance shown here to the Parliament building shows off it’s powerful designs of past times.

The ISIA committee organised a visit to the Parliament buildings and a viewing of the crown and one of the internal government rooms where all National major decisions are made. Decorated in gold leaf..all 60 kg of it makes you wonder at all the intricate work which has gone into this building. 700 rooms make this construction pretty large!

However, we were not here just for the splendours of the city, we were there for our meeting….

 

 

 

 

Nations present were, Germany, Ireland, UK, Poland, Italy, U.S.A. Argentina, Japan, Solvienia, Finland, San Marino, Andorra, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Holland, Romania and Hungary.

2 days of presentations and discussion on the important topics of safety and the minimum standards to be adopted for all countries who are members of  I.S.I.A. This is a vital issue for the association as we are all striving to qualify excellent ski instructors. It is widely known that keeping the standards of newly qualified ski teachers is paramount as this has a direct correlation between tourist satisfaction and as such return rates for resorts and ski schools.

The policing of the standards within I.S.I.A.  needs to be addressed and assistance should be given to those Nations who may not be at the level just yet.

B.A.S.I. is already complying with the I.S.I.A. standards. This is not only looking at the skier ability both teaching and technical aspects but at how the associations deal with the administration of the candidates, hours logged, courses attended, etc.etc.

The topic of security/off piste mountain safety has also been on the agenda. Presentations were made by a number of nations and their approach to this subject. Some are just about to incorporate the modules and others have them already implemented. Each Nation is slightly different in their approach, however, all are aimed at ensuring the ski instructor has the right tools for ensuring the safety of clients when venturing on to areas outside of the designated runs.. I.S.I.A. does have specific guidelines within the remit of off piste security. We do not train ski teachers to be mountain guides and therefore we do not award qualifications for guiding clients off piste in glaciated areas, overnight stays in mountain huts and do not promote the use of rope work only introduce the scenarios within a course so as to give the ski teacher an understanding of the processes involved in rope rescue and safety.  The ideas of Germany and the Nederland’s are to incorporate a ‘FREERIDE’ module which would incorporate mountain hazards and snow safety, but not so much on ski touring. This ‘FREERIDE’ modules a good idea I feel and has relevance in our profession.

In summary, BASI and the Irish association are, in my opinion, ahead of the game in ensuring standards, course content, across the board, and Mountain safety issues. BASI members should be proud of our achievements.

Until the next ISIA meeting….farewell from Budapest.

ISIA Meeting Budapest

October 9th, ISIA (International Ski Instructors Association) meeting in Budapest. Looking forward to a new location and different surroundings!

Look out for the news next week!

World Class Skiing news..

COPY OF THE LATEST WORLD CLASS SKIING NEWSLETTER,
OUT TODAY!

See below the latest pictures of the new lift in Hintertux..

Hi There!

The Hintertux glacier is open and very snowy!

The news is looking great for snow coverage ready for our 20th Anniversary trip on the 22nd and 29th October. The betterpark is open and the skiing is good.

If you are tempted, then we have a few rooms left on each week, however, we anticipate that these will soon go as the news spreads of the good conditions. Contact us NOW!

NEW WEBSITE AND BLOG!   

www.worldclassskiing.co.uk

Have you visited the world class skiing site recently? The all new look web site is now up and running and new information being updated regularly. There are new review pages with video, a blog with details of recent exciting adventures in South America..and links to photos and other interesting social media sites. Just sign up for the updates!

Get yourself ready for a World Class Skiing adventure next year to Argentina!. How do you fancy skiing with Condors overhead, a trip to ski a Volcano in Chile? And maybe a night or two in Buenos Aires to tango the nights away and finish off your adventure,! To get a feel of Argentina, visit the blog on the new web site and view September 2010 and September 2011 where you will see some great pics and get a sense of what the area offers.  All will be published soon as the details emerge..

So on that note, get your skis ready for an awesome autumn and wild winter!

Regards, The World Class Skiing team

 

P.S.

Here is a glimpse of the snow at Hintertux along with some up to date photos (courtesy of the Hintertux lift company) of the new lift progress!

If you have not so yet…Book now for October! It’s looking great!!!!

BASI level 2 Argentina 2011

THE END OF THE BASI GAP IN Argentina.

Today, our last day on the hill with the students, is bittersweet. The decision has been made and some have passed the level 2 and some sadly not. It is always a hard job for the trainers. ALL the students have worked very hard for this and there is no doubt that they are keen and committed to working through the exams. There are 5 trainers working here, Lee Townend, Duncan Adamason, Simon Cooke, Rob Norton and me… 3 alpine and 2 snowboard. Thanks guys for making the month the best it can be…and next year? will you be back? I hope so.

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Out of 30 alpine skiers 24   passed and are very happy indeed! From here we hope that they will use the new skills to work within the ski industry and meet many new friends along the way.  It is a fine way to bridge the gap from pure academics to a skill which involves real people skills and learning to empathise with our fellow human beings. Snowsports is a great leveller; it brings people from all aspects of life onto a common ground, perfect for ensuring good communication.

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As trainers, we try very hard to ensure we deliver the goods in a professional way, we also do our best to get the most out of each student, and we want them ALL to pass. Sometimes this is not possible. The association is part of the ISIA and as such we have to abide by the International rules and standards and therefore we take real care on the assessments we make, the decisions are not taken lightly.

So, to all of the guys and girls who were on these courses, we wish you the very best of luck and a great future in whatever you do!

What a fantastic bunch of students! Positive, polite, engaging and enthusiastic.  It is good to see that our future will be in safe hands.

Again Argentina has been a memorable visit and dam those Condors, always tantalising close, yet not close enough for my camera…I’ll get you next time!

And just to finish… we are mentally exahusted, where are the Quilmes…..?!

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Chewbacca lives!…in Bariloche? & don’t use the diving board…..

CHEWBACCA LIVES!….in Bariloche, and don’t use the diving board

What an amazingly bright clear day to have for  our last day off. Last night was one of the gap year students, Callum, 21st birthday party, seen here just before they went out in fancy dress…at  12.30 am?

Browsing around town today to get the touristy gifts and chocolate, it turned out to be a good day for photography.  The lake was smooth and calm with the water showing up as blue as it could be. Fills your senses when you see the world like that.  Again, the ash has another victim, the Bariloche municipal swimming pool. Seen here, the empty lifeguard chair says it all. NO DIVING AND NO BOMBING. Well, you could try but you would end up in hospital after hitting the ash at the shallow end! This will take some cleaning I’m sure.

Funny how dogs look like their owners. Well, if this one looks like it’s owner then my bet is on ‘Chewbacca’  from Star wars..I looked all over the place but he eluded me. Also nice to see that cafes have a GY FR  code?..looks like a WIFI sticker..ALL cafes should be friendly.
  

If you take all ok through the flickr photos you will see some images of the volcano in the background still spewing the ash out.  Billions of tons must be floating about in the atmosphere.  Where ever you go in the town and whichever shop or café you go in there will be a light covering of dust on all the goods. It must be a real nightmare for the shop keepers, continually dusting. I found an astonishing amount of shops which I had never seen before. There are a number of malls and one I found opened up into what felt like an auditorium. With all these goods I wonder if they will ever sell them all. One shop I walked into was quite sad, I had obviously been the only customer for hours, a small kiosk type,  run by a young girl and her mother. full of mens shirts and jeans all discounted. I almost bought something just to help them out! ..I didn’t..though.. I know how it feels having run our own shop for 10 years…It’s hard.   Even within the mall the dust was everywhere..

I fancied some fruit today, but then, I thought of the dust…..

Condor moment…and ash…

Condor moment…and ash….

Whilst out with my Level 2 group..pictures here, Matt, Nick, Jess, Lucy, Katie, Tom, Luke, Hal, Graham and George.

Today the weather was fantastic with some amazing views over the Andes. We are lucky with the clear skies to see the Volcano in the distance still spewing the ash into the sky.

As we were going through our BASI Central Theme( This must be Tuesday!) we had a visit from a group of Condors. Swirling round the radio tower and teasing us for a photo! Shooting into the sun means less contrast but with some magnification here you can see the size of these birds. 2 settled on the rock near the ski slope, so, tomorrow, if they are there, we will be paying them a closer visit and hopefully get some good shots of them basking in the warm sunshine. It was very impressive today to see a snowboarder ride close by to one as the bird took off…it’s wing span was clearly at least twice the size of the snowboarder who was only about 6 feet away from him! These birds are truly gigantic!


 

What a great interlude whilst demonstrating the skiing central theme….

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