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Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors

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Etre Timbre

Posted on
December 18, 2010

On Wednesday Méribel hosted the second round of the World Cup Bumps competition. Did any of you see the bumps last winter at the Olympics on television? It is a sport made for TV; one that stops you in your tracks.

Fundamentally the course is a steep piste turned into a long strip of large man-made bumps, which 99.9% of people would avoid like the plague on skis, with two huge kickers where the competitors launch off to perform stunning jumps. It's judged on the speed that the skiers rattle down, the technical performance, and the quality of the two jumps. Because of the flat light we had on the day, the photos don't show how huge these bumps and jumps were.

On TV it looks insane. In reality, I don't have the imagination to be able to put it across to you in words. However this may help....Sometimes during my French language lessons I come across idioms that make me smile. Here's one, 'Etre timbre'. Which means 'to be stamped', or 'to be nuts'. So are these athletes nuts?

This is skiing at the elite level, or beyond as some people would say. Most people can't even relate to such performances. All skiers though, at any level, will come across four issues; Technical, Physical, Tactical and Psychological. Let's quickly talk about beginner skiers. They will quickly build their technical skills, ie learn how to be balanced on the skis using the snowplough position to help them control their speed. Physically, the snowplough can be very tiring. Tactically they will realise that they have to choose a route down the piste that keeps them safe, ie turning to control their speed and avoiding any steep sections. And pyschologically they will experience many emotions, like the beauty of the mountains quickly being replaced by complete fear of a steep nursery slope.

So now let's go back to our rubber-legged friends in the minefield of bumps and jumps pulling several back flips when pinging off the ramps. Technically they are very skillful with fast movements, with a huge range of movement to be able to absorb each impact. Physically, they are super fit with strong core strength, explosive leg power, and at the same time being very supple. Tactically, they vary their speed carefully before launching off the jumps, and they will adjust their line in the bumps. Psychologically, well, I'll let you decide what goes on there !?!

It was an amazing spectacle to be able to experience, and great for Méribel to up its profile even further. Moving on, I've had a busy week teaching Lisa, and back with Rick. Lisa and I had different weather and snow conditions during our sessions. Sometimes flat light, sometimes stunning blue skies. We also made the most of checking out hot chocolate establishments as well. All for research purposes of course, it was nothing to do with it being super cold at minus daft degrees.

Rick and I were skiing together again, this time both on normal Alpine skis and then Telemark skis as shown here in the photos. Since these photos were taken we've had a decent dump of snow. In fact the apartment has just shaken because of some huge avalanche blasting going on outside. Perfect timing for the start of the Festive holiday period.

I don't have any of my own work yet for this week coming up, so fingers crossed the school will be able to find me some willing clients, how exciting. Some friends are also arriving in resort. Plus, Harriet my wife flies out on Wednesday for two and a bit weeks. It's going to be a brilliant week ahead I reckon.MartinP.S. Going back to our rubber-legged friends, here is a chap at the top of the course having a psychological moment before the off. Is he pre-visualising his run, or trying to keep his breakfast down? I didn't hang around to find out.

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With our skills- based system of learning, we give you the tools to safely negotiate any demands the mountains make on you, helping you to increase your comfort zone and ski in a wider range of conditions. Whether you are a nervous novice, a blue piste cruiser or an all mountain adventurer, we tailor your ski lessons to create a perfect fit. The question is, which one are you?

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