Was it possible to ski at New Year this winter? The press both in the UK and France were suggesting not. Was it possible in Meribel? You betcha, see previous blog post for the background into the snow conditions. In fact my clients booked for the New Year week were adversely affected by the weather. You see, it took them over eleven hours to get from Geneva airport to Meribel because of the snow storm. Eleven hours...... normally it takes just over two hours. So what has this got to do with skiing in Meribel this winter, and delivering private ski lessons? Plenty.
The day that Max, Callum and their parents were trying desperately to get to Meribel, I was fluffing around the mountain in lovely fresh snow with John and Gilly. We were enjoying some powder snow on empty pistes. The fresh snowfall was not only fun to ski on, but also much needed. However poor Max, Callum and the rest of their family didn't arrive at their hotel until 4am the next morning due to the chaos on the roads. You may remember reading about it in the UK press, something like 15,000 were caught in the various French Alp valleys. At least Max and Co eventually made it to resort that night and didn't have to stay overnight in makeshift accommodation. Needless to say, their lesson start time was delayed a little the first morning.
So how did the week go? Max and Callum are seven years old, good friends who live close to each other in London. They had skied a few times before. Their parents explained that they had been in group lessons before, but decided that the boys would benefit more from having private lessons instead. We started off nice and steady on some green pistes, which allowed them to ease into the ski holiday after their epic travel day. It didn't take long for them gain confidence before we ventured onto some blue pistes.
We concentrated on having fun, staying safe and improving their technique. In the past I've written a blog post about teaching children to ski, click here for the link if you are interested. My goal was to make sure I didn't take the boys on too steep a piste. This is quite a common mistake that adults make when skiing with, and trying to develop, their child's skills. One main reason it is a problem is that children can immediately revert back to a very wide snow plough and also lean even further back.
I believe it is important to encourage them to progress away from a small pizza shape (snow plough) to the French chips (parallel) as soon as possible. However you may notice in these photos, both Max and Callum have reverted back to the 'racing snow plough'. Their parents asked me if I minded taking a few photos of them skiing, which of course is no problem. But what happens when a camera is pointed towards them when skiing? Yep, sure enough all technique goes out of the window, and they start to race towards the camera trying to look fast !?! Oh well, all good intentions and all that.
I had a really fun week skiing with the boys. There was lots of snow flicking, falling over, eating snow and trying to find the biggest snowballs ever to chuck at me.
I also had a few afternoons skiing with their Dads. It was interesting to hear all about their sons away from the skiing environment, this meant in turn I could use this information the following morning to my advantage during their lessons in a constructive manner. Likewise it was also fun for the three of us to ski together and help develop their own skiing.
Tim and Hamish were great company, and we were able to find some lovely snow at the same time which was quite rewarding especially due to the mountain being so busy during the New Year week. It was also really nice to talk to them about life back in the UK. It is fascinating to hear what people do for work, and Hamish is no exception. Without going on too much, or name dropping, he has a very glamorous job. He works in TV, and is a very highly respected Director. Recent projects include being responsible for the Super Bowl Halftime show, the Oscars, MTV awards, the opening ceremony at the London Olympics (alongside Danny Boyle), and working with all the worlds top pop stars. So when he asked me to take a few photographs of them skiing, how much pressure did I feel under? An enormous amount.
It was such a fun week yet again meeting lovely people and having a great ski in gorgeous weather. It was a real shame to say goodbye to Max, Callum and their family at the end of the week. But fingers crossed they will pay a visit back to Meribel another time.
The weather has continued to stay nice and sunny for most of the time, with lower temperatures at night, this has enabled the snow cannons to work. If you enjoyed this blog post, you might like to read another article from last winter during a school holiday week, click here for the link. Please feel free to share away on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ by using the social media icons. Or leave a comment below, it's always great to hear from you. Martin.
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Hi everybody, and welcome to a long overdue blog post from your favourite blogging Méribel ski instructor. With the season soon coming to an end, I'd thought that I'd write another article that might help you become more aware about the possibilities of improving your skiing in all conditions.