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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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'The Look'

Posted on
January 9, 2011

For most of this week I have been teaching Vladimir and his eldest son from Moscow. His voice is very deep, and coupled with a strong Russian accent it sometimes felt as though I were involved in a James Bond or Jason Bourne film. One thing constantly caught my eye, his deep stare - it even haunted me at night-time. My imagination ran wild, like a child reading Cold War stories; I often wondered if he had travelled the globe and knew the underworld in Moscow that you and I don't want to know about. "Pull yourself together Martin, nothing sinister is happening here in Méribel." I declared to myself.

He is such a loving father and husband. Sasha, his eldest son, only wanted to ski hard: off-piste, in the bumps, on black pistes - and only reds as a last resort, a typical pumped-up boy teenager in other words. Vladimir always stayed close by, but usually avoided the more extreme requests from Sasha. On the chairlifts they were often talking to each other, and regularly spoke to me with passion about their country.

Sasha was determined to have a go at the 'big airbag' jump at the top of the Altiport piste. Fortunately Vladimir didn't want to take part; that let me off the hook as well, phew. Even during these moments of parental bonding, I couldn't help noticing things about Vladimir, for example he was always alert.

Whenever we stopped for lunch or the occasional waffle, he seemed to be constantly checking his surroundings. Or was I getting carried away with the Russian paranoia thing?

Today we went to the 'Ferme de la Choumette' in St Martin for lunch. The farm animals are a great attraction at this restaurant, with the milk and other produce obviously being fresh. The whole family loved the experience, including Vladimir. But occasionally, occasionally, that 'look' thing was still going on !?!

We've got some snowfalls due our way in the next couple of days, in fact it's snowing outside as I type, fantastic.MartinP.S. It was no good, I couldn't resist it any longer, I just had to ask Vladimir what his job was. "I'm retired, from the military" he replied on the chairlift. "Oh, how exciting" I thought, thinking he may have been some high-flying General. "Were you in the Army?" I bleated out...... He gave me that dark 'look' again and ignored me for a moment. He then leant forward, and spoke to me in his deep voice... "I was in the KGB, and retired in 1995 because I got bored after the end of the Cold War". GULP. He continued softly "I travelled the world for many years, it was a great job" and then listed the huge number of countries he visited. I must have looked shocked because he quickly said, more cheerfully "I'm not carrying a gun here". DOUBLE GULP.

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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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