Today at Cerro Catedral

Just a very quick post.

Weather a little cooler today, however, the views and snow at the top are still good!  The Peak Leaders gap course has finished today. Our course with Basecamp still goes on, we finish the BASI level two exam on Friday.

ALL the students have worked so hard to gain the qualification and their skiing performances have changed for the better over the past 2 months.

More Student interviews up on the blog soon!

It will be a shame to leave this country on the Saturday.

Chile day trip

The Chile day trip!

Well, we had two attempts at getting through the border!  We drove 2 hours via Villa Angostura, which incidentally is very smart and has a real ‘town feel’ about it. Different to many other places I have seen in Argentina so far.

As we went through the various customs police and collected a tome of paperwork, which seemed to have to be ceremoniously stamped by lots of officials, only to find once we had managed to get out of the border police department, which meant we had officially left Argentina, to then be turned back by the customs because our hire car paperwork was not up to date!.  Now, at this point we were neither in Argentina nor Chile. A bit confusing for the border police? Luckily a very helpful immigration officer found us and helped us sort it out.  We almost had to spend the night at the border office!  It seems that it all revolves around ensuring people are employed, vastly inefficient way of controlling a border I think.

So, having returned, rather hacked off that we were not spending two days in Chile, our new hire car, equipped with the required paperwork, was waiting for us back in Bariloche ready to leave the following day.  This meant that our stay in Chile was for only a few hours as I needed to get back to the Mountain to resume the BASI ski course the following day….Frustrating!

The second attempt was successful however,  and having 2 other BASI trainers Andrew and Steve, come along made it even more interesting…….Their hire car was dropped off at their hotel at 8.30am. All good they thought? Only to be told by the car hire company owner (who dropped the car off) that they needed a new light bulb and it would all be fine, they just had to take him back into Bariloche to get one fitted!  Strange…..think I had the same problem the previous week, that was for wheel balancing!  The real hilarious bit is when the car hire chap asked if he could be dropped off at his house on the way! Seems like our early start turned into a mid morning dash to Chile!

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We made it in the end to have a few hours sampling the terrain of a different country. As you come out of Argentina you need to drive for about a further 20 KMs before you reach the Chilean border control on the other side.  This ‘no man’s land’ is a big area and leaves you wondering what would happen to you if it all went wrong up there…The whole journey from Bariloche to the Chilean border takes about 3.5 hours allowing for border control etc.

As you go over the pass you soon realise that the terrain is very different to the Argentinean side of the Andes. We now seem to be in a rain forest, this makes sense as the mountains face the Pacific. The drive through the countryside at the base of the mountain reminds me of driving over ‘my native county of Devon’s’ Dartmoor! Very strange, the infrastructure is very different to Argentina; the roads for example are a big improvement.

Stopping for lunch in a lakeside restaurant near a very basic small town  (which was definitely NOT like a town from Devon!) After our rather late lunch, our travelling companions Steve Ricketts and Andrew Lockerbie, headed off to where we (me and Rob) were supposed to be going the day before. Puerto Montt, a City on the Pacific coast. The pictures I have seen of it look as if it should be on the coast of Devon!  As we waved goodbye my only hope  was that their car would make it…it had been misfiring all the way from Bariloche.  Good luck boys!  They are supposed to return this evening, if they do not…well, they have probably forgotten to stamp the right bits of paper.

Sadly, as it was such a misty wet day, our views of the Volcanoes as we drove down the valley were hidden in the clouds…..never mind, better luck next time I hear myself say.

Patagonian drive

Last weekend I managed to get two days away from skiing and get myself off on an amazing drive across a small portion of Argentina.  I was assured by my compadres’ that the drive was easy. However, it was 300kms away and across various areas of differing terrain!  As long as I turned right, then stayed on the 40 route road for 120kms I would be fine……that was until the car hire chap asked if I would like to have the wheels balanced.

A speedy trip into Bariloche following the previously mentioned car hire owner… left me in the middle of a city with no traffic rules…well, apart from red traffic lights!  Anyway I managed to ease myself out of the town via the surrounding suburbs. Easy if you have driven here before and easy if you know where you are going!

Finally I was on the right road and following my map kindly drawn for me by my new friend here at Romero Restaurant , Guido. The plan is to get to Jane Williams farm. Seen below here, Guido working hard to look intelegent!

Jane, kindly sent me written directions which proved invaluable when seeking her out. I headed for ‘La Rinconada,…La Rinconada is a junction in the road….I had visions that it was a town or at least a few houses.!

The roads here are enormous, once you are on a road you had better make sure it is the right one otherwise you will be travelling for hundreds of kilometres before you find out if it is indeed the right one! Scary thought when you are used to A & B roads of  Devon UK!

The point of this exercise was to visit Jane and see for myself the amazing farm and her even more amazing exploits.  The views on the way left me breathless, the sights are amazing with such varied terrain and awe inspiring vistas.  Every turn you take in the car has a picture waiting to be taken.  There are so few cars on the road that it feels that it all belongs to you, the space, the views the sky!  The light, if you are into any kind of artistic pastime is just fantastic.  The light makes everything so much more vivid just superb for photography.  There are rock formations which you generally only see in the National Geographic magazines.

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Once I arrived at the farm I was greeted firstly by a goat which thought it was a dog, and a dog which was bigger than the goat and still only 4 months old!

Jane, the farm owner, has lived in Argentina for the last 30 years and her family, of two sons both currently working in the UK.  The farm has an outstanding 15000 acres, 850 cattle and over 70 horses and has views which quite frankly take your breath away. The area, being in the middle of ancient volcano activity, has mountains which many are un-named, with flat tops and near vertical cliffs surrounding them. To go horse riding in this terrain must be the ultimate in any adventure.  The farm is completely self sufficient having its own hydro electric power supply and own water  etc.  All this is kept up by Jane and her 10 workers on the farm. She is an inspiration and a true pioneer!

As well as looking after the farm and the up keep of this, Jane and her fellow workers, organise various trips across the surrounding areas, from just a few days to an awesome 3 week crossing the continent horse riding trip. Starting on the Pacific in Chile and ending up on the Argentinian Atlantic coast. Camping along the way in completely desolate areas where there is no access by car and to add to the remoteness, no rescue helicopters or help! Now that’s what I call real life.  To enable this mammoth trek, Jane needs to arrange that the backup horses are taken via a huge truck across dirt roads to rendezvous with you every 2-3 days. The horses are kept in a corral by the gaucho’s who travel with them, and you!  This whole adventure is amazing and to see this in more detail you need to visit the web site which is at the end of this blog.

The accommodation which is supplied on the farm is of a very high quality and Jane also caters for ‘non’ horse riders as there are various other adventure activities in the area such as white water rafting…..big stuff over here!

My stay was fantastic even though it was for only a day and a half! A walk around the ‘deer fenced’ off part of the farm followed by assisting in the vaccination of 40 odd horses, only to be asked if  I would like a ride across the hillside. Well, having NEVER ridden a horse I thought it was about time  I did.  I loved it! None of the ‘pomp’ of what I felt was British horse riding, this was; a case of,  here’s a horse, here’s a saddle’ here are some reigns and this is how you steer the horse, let’s go…That’s my kind of riding! Off we went, which must be bread & butter to Jane, across the volcanic hillside above the farm. For me, unforgettable.

Returning back to Bariloche was, again, an awe inspiring trip.  Thank you Jane for your time,  I have learned so much about the Argentinian way of life and an insight into how to live out here.

The real way to do it is like Jane, take it for what it is and live life to the full!  Hope to ski with you soon Jane!

Thanks again.

BASI gap course Argentina Interviews, part one

BASI gap course interviews, part one.

There are 6 candidates here on the BASECAMP organised BASI Instructors course in Bariloche. Let me introduce you to the first two members of the group. Joe and Jess.

A quick intro from Joe..

‘My name is Joe, I’m 18 and live in Sherborne, Dorset (UK). I finished my A levels this year in Philosophy, English Literature and French and managed to get some half decent grades. My interests include Motorbikes, Literature, learning languages, culture, skateboarding, snowboarding and writing.I didn’t feel that university would have been a good move for me at the current time, having seen so little of the world and its wonders.

For this reason I decided to come to Argentina, having always wanted to get to South America and explore its culture, figuring that  San Carlos de Bariloche would be as good a starting point as any! Having skied the Alps with my family for a fair few years, I figured that ski instruction would be an ideal way to travel (another passion of mine) and work at the same time, doing something that I greatly enjoy.

Despite the course not having finished yet, I feel a definite improvement in my skiing thanks to Alex Leaf and his infallible skiing expertise. In all, I’d recommend skiing in Argentina and gaining your qualifications through BASI, which is a thorough and enjoyable method of doing so, assuring you quality instruction and the confidence to pass on all you have learned to people new to the skiing world. Coming to Argentina and immersing myself in its completely crazy way of life is something that I will never forget, and, I’m sure will prove to have changed me for the better!’
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And from Jess….
I’m Jess from Lincolnshire UK. I am 22 years old and have taken a career break to do my BASI ski teaching qualifications. My job in the UK involves writing specifications for IT programmers, which sounds very boring, however I love the job!
Coming out to Argentina has been a great opportunity for me as I have been able to meet many people from different walks of life. It has been a great eye opener and I would love to continue with my travels and embrace other cultures. After two bouts of travelling you would think my wonderlust would have subsided however this doesnt seem to be the case!
I am looking forward to improving my skiing over the remainder of this trip and  can”t wait to get out in the European slopes to show all I have learnt.
N.B. You may have to listen carefully as the wind noise interferes somewhat! also wearing MY..Alex’s sunglasses, apologies for lack of  face!
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Mount El Tronador, Thunder mountain, Argentina.

A day off from Ski teaching!

Now, you can either sample the local bars untill 7am, or, sample the country of Argentina. On this occasion I decided on the latter! I’m so pleased I did!

This mountain is certainly an amazing sight. If you visit this country I strongly advise that this is a ‘must’ on your trip!  The road from our Hotel, Estancia del Carmen, just outside Bariloche to the junction of the Mount El Tronador turn is only about  20 k’s, however, the dirt track road which takes you on a mountain and lakes extraviganza is over 60 kilometers and takes 1.5 hours! make sure that you are happy on gravel tracks that’s all I can say!

During the trip we were lucky to visit some river falls which were were truly inspiring, showing the great power of water on the move! The river winds it’s way down and crosses the Andes and into Chile and eventually into the Pacific.  Just for your info…the border between Argentina and Chile runs along the peaks of the mountain range. The amazing colours of the river are a trade mark of this special mountain national park. Emerald green….it’s a shame that the pictures never really show it. Amazing too, bamboo grows prolifically here in Argentina!

Eventually we arrived at the foot of this great mountain, Tronador. Named as such (Thunder mountain) as the avalanches which are almost continuous, thunder down the valley into the glaciers below with the sound of,  well, thunder!.  My travelling companions were awe struck at it’s magnificence as was I.

Here are just a few shots and the rest I’ll get onto flickr as soon as time allows.

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Joe, Devon, Rob & Alex…we just did not want to leave….

View from Condor 3 Bariloche, Argentina

Today in Argentina, the skiing has been just amazing. Seen here, the view from the top of the Condor 3 lift.  Now there are lakes, and there are Lakes. This is what you call a lake! We had a truly amazing day with great company and fantastic weather. The Base Camp group here are enjoying the experience and are imersing themselves into the Argentinian way of life.  I have 6 people with me, One from Seattle, one from Sydney, and  four from the UK.

Age ranges from 18 years to 28 years of age. We are, at the moment, in the first week of the BASI level one Ski Instructors exam.

There are a further 2 courses to do before the experience ends, for me on the 26th September, for the students, the 2nd October.

It seems that to truly have a ‘world view’ it is important that gap year programmes such as this one supplied by Base Camp..UK, are encouraged for all.

Keep updated her to see more video blogs and pictures as we go!

How to get to Bariloche…slowly!

How to get to Bariloche, Argentina…slowly.

Seems that the most cost effective way to get to Bariloche from the UK is with Air Europe via Madrid. This may be cost effective but not the easiest nor quickest!  Like all things which are seen as cheaper, it does not mean the best!!

Air Europe has some very good aircraft and has great cabin crew, but where it seems to fall apart is in the ‘customer care’ department! After delayed flights by them it meant I missed all my connection flights to Bariloche. So, they did eventually agree to put me up in both Madrid and Buenos Aires!

Like the great Chinese proverb ‘it is more important to enjoy the journey than it is to get there’ I did enjoy the travel even with the delays!

What a great country this is, Argentina. A population of over 37 million and 11 million live in Buenos Aires itself!  There is clearly, however, a huge gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have not’s here.  Wealthy living alongside people in desperate poverty.  You can see this in Buenos Aires especially.

Having just arrived and only skied for one afternoon I do not have any great pictures of the area yet but hope to get some shortly when it manages to stop snowing! All the runs are complete and the whole mountain is skiable.  My BASI gap students are settled in here and are keen to get on with the course.

More to come soon!

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Fresh Snow in Bariloche Argentina!

“How lucky I am, and what a privilege it is, to be delivering such high quality training on behalf of  BASI in Bariloche, Argentina. The gap year students I will be working with have the benefit of a stunning location and an opportunity to kickstart their careers in Snowsports Instruction. I depart tomorrow for a month of skiing where, apparently, the snow is superb. How about that for a damp UK August!”                                  Quote from Alex Leaf  for  www.Planet

Almost there, I depart tomorrow from Plymouth, and arrive a day later after numerous flights! So my intention is to update this blog with some video reports and photos…keep looking! Leaving a very damp August is not too much of a problem!

On Devon Radio today at lunchtime, should be fun!

Kind regards, Alex…

Womens ski week, March 2011


After many requests World Class Skiing has set up a special week dedicated to women who like to ski…with good company and great tuition!

March 2011..19th -26th. We will be staying at the Sport Hotel Kirchler in Lannersbach, Austria. This hotel has all the facilities to make it a relaxing, fun week.  It is situated in a small village high in the Austrian mountains and there are various bars,  cafes and shops within the village.  The wellness centre in the  Hotel is superb, with saunas, steam rooms and hot tub.  To compliment this there are various spa therapies available should you wish to try them.  Dining at the hotel is superb!  They truly excel; fantastic food with varied and interesting menus.

See the hotel here…

The skiing in the Tuxertal and Zillertal is superb with skiing in the treeline or up on the world famous Hintertux glacier; views to write home about!  There are a variety of lovely mountain restaurants and coffee stops and,  if you fancy a change of scene, we can travel further down the valley to Mayrhofen,  a charming town with quality shopping and leisure facilities.  Here, the ski areas of the Penken and Ahorn are easily accessed.

The course. (5 days of 5 hours per day)
World Class Skiing is dedicated to ensuring that you have the best tuition available and that it is delivered in a friendly, fun climate.  We will ski for the mornings and offer a different theme each afternoon, designed to boost confidence and skills.  Throughout the day, there will be plenty of opportunity to adjust the pace and style of the tuition, and don’t forget the inevitable coffee stop;  there are some lovely mountain cafes and dining to be sampled in the Ziller and Tux valleys!  At the day’s end you can enjoy a relaxing time in the wellness suite before dinner, and talk over the day’s events in the smart hotel bar and lounge.

Easy to book

  • 7 nights half board accommodation
  • 5 days at 5 hours per day World Class coaching
  • Use of the wellness area in the Hotel
  • Fun guaranteed!

What you will need;

  • A flight to Munich..currently about £67 with Easyjet
  • A lift pass (approx. 180 Euros)
  • A transfer from the airport to resort and back  (A return is 120 Euros approx. and can be arranged by us.)

So, to reserve your place simply fill in the booking form using this link to the booking page and send to us with a £50 deposit to secure your place!….EASY!

See what two skiers think about the World Class Skiing week!

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Kind regards, Alex…See you in Lanersbach!


Here is the latest email news from  World Class Skiing sent to all our members today.

Attached is a copy of the news.

Autumn showcases are now booking, so if you wish to go,  fill in the form and post off! Or call
0870 060 4343  or  0117 230 1644

(mobile & Skype number  Calls charged at local rate)


This winter, invest in yourself! Come with us on a World Class Skiing experience. We can help you to take your skiing to the ultimate!
Who are we? Read on for a review of our activity in Winter 09/10 and the new season’s offers on development ski courses, instructor training and personal performance

During the past season Alex Leaf, the Director of World Class Skiing has visited five countries across Europe delivering specialist ski development courses for private groups, personal performance coaching sessions and training for BASI, the British Association of  Snowsports Instructors.


We have been working closely with ‘New Generation’ to develop a larger presence in Les Arcs, France, and have some exciting developments on the horizon.      WATCH THIS  SPACE!


Gap courses in Argentina are proving ever more popular. BASI will be running the training and assessments content of the courses taking place in Bariloche Southern Argentina this September and Alex Leaf is pleased to be delivering this programme.


  • During May,our qualifying association was visited in Hintertux by the International Association of  Ski Instructors, to ensure that the delivery and quality of our ski and snowboard instructors meet international standards. The inspectors were extremely impressed with our association and left with real praise for BASI, recognising our separate discipline education and training methods as beingoutstanding.  In addition, the I.S.I.A Congress was held, this year, in Aviemore.  Members from as far afield as Japan attendedand were so impressed that several nations have invited BASI to assist in the development of their industry, using our methods as a model!
  • Who says the Brits can not ski!


  • The Snow Centre at Hemel Hempstead is now entering its second year and is storming ahead! Recently, the centre held courses for 50 people attending BASI level one ski instructor courses. Again, World Class Skiing was invited to supply a trainer to deliver one of these courses. ContactHemel Snow Centre for more details!
    Latest..HOT  OFF  THE  PRESS! Visit and go to Fancy becoming a ski instructor part two, to see interviews and more info.


  • Now that you have seen some examples of the contribution we are making to the development of snowsports for the UK, we invite you to come and joinus! This Autumn, our showcases are proving as popular as ever and we havestarted booking up for each week already!
  • During theweek you will develop and prepare your ski performance for the winter.  If you are attending a BASI ski teachers course during the next season, take advantage of skiing with a trainer who currently delivers the course, and get up to the minute information and prepare new skills.
  • If you arelooking for some early skiing with the best ski coaching available then come with World Class Skiing in October.
  • PLUS..If you book within 1 week of this news letter you will receive a FREE WCS Buff!
  • OCTOBER 23rd
    OCTOBER 30th
  • £739 Sharedroom
    £784 Single room

Price includes;  Half board accommodation AND course fee. 5 days ski coaching with adifference!
Places are limited, If you have your own accommodation the course fee is only £345 for 5 days @ 5 hours per day of fun learning!!

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