It’s a bright bluebird Saturday and the end of another week’s training for the ISIA group here at Altitude Verbier. The past month as seen some monumental weather, ranging from metres of powder in early December, to nearly three weeks of sunshine and drought over xmas and new year. We ended week three of training (our first after two weeks of working & teaching) with a much needed dump of fresh and with more to come over the next two weeks it looks like being a January to remember.
This week’s training has taken a focus on bumps, shorts and by intervention of the weather, powder. In the mornings we tried to imitate Remi’s legendary “fast feet”, tore up the off piste (and at times had it do the same back to us), skied on one ski, with no poles and in bumps ranging from ice laden mini coopers to invisible powder covered sharks just waiting to catch us unawares. We scaled Mont Gele, Mont Fort and most of the bump laden iteneries Verbier has to offer. There were a few spectacular falls, some real challenges and a big fat slab of progress from everyone in the group. We even got our own little business card “tips” to take home; “Less Marshmallow, More Fight”, was perhaps the quote of the week.
In the afternoons we skied with Will, focusing primarily on carving shorts & longs. Speed played a big factor in these sessions; both smooth control thereof and in the “cat and mouse” exercise for longs, just how fast we could tear huge carved turns down the empty front side race piste of Savolyeres. We played with eliminating chatter, increasing inclination & angulation and working at achieving smooth carved lines from top to tail of the turn in any radius. The icy conditions proved tough and really made us work hard to get turn-wide grip but was perhaps the best training ground we could have had to play with. From ducking to avoid low flying snow-planes, to skimming the snow with our hands on maximum edge, to the simple pleasure of tearing down the mountain in the blazing sunshine with a group of awesome people, it’s a been a fabulous week.