This week has seen the Altitude ISIA group tackle faster speeds, greater angles and cover more mileage than we’ve done so far in a week’s training. The focus of the week was racing, pure carving and piste performance skiing. The week began by looking at speed, and pushing ourselves to go faster than we’ve done before. Standing at the top of Attelas we were told “tuck turns, straight line tuck the steep pitch, then more tuck turns at the bottom”. It was a week of paying homage to the old adage that you only conquer your fears by facing them, accepting them and just going for it. That first day prepared us well for a fast Giant Slalom course in Bruson on the Tuesday. A series of fast gates on the opening pitches, into a compression and a tight corner gate at high speed saw a few prangs but a whole lot of rip roaring fun and adrenalin. More fears were cast aside, more speed was accrued and our pure carving came on leaps and bounds.
Wednesday saw us work on more gates, this time a far more technical course with offset gates and tighter turns which really pushed us to use everything we’d been training the previous days. On Thursday the main challenge was the cold. A brisk -23C at the top of mountain plus our speed generated wind-chill certainly added up to more than a few shivers and ice encrusted faces. Warming up from the cold we watched and analysed world cup racers, studied their technique and learnt how we could apply it within our own skiing.
Friday saw us rising from slumber at 6am, the weather a balmy -14C as we piled into the minibus for our week finale road-trip to Courmayeur. A two hour drive, with about 4 songs on repeat to entertain us, we arrived, skied more miles at a faster pace than I’ve ever done before and sat down to an amazing home cooked Italian lunch. Stories of near wipe outs, unexpected air, the rush of high speed carving and the satisfied sound of contented skiers ensued. Bellies well and truly full the afternoon saw us check off the last few remaining areas of the mountain, hit a cheeky little off piste, take in the breathtaking views of Mont Blanc and eek that last little bit of energy out of our legs for just “one more run”. All in all it was the perfect end to a fantastic week.
Roll on next week!
Below are a few pictures of us race training:
And of the group in Courmayeur: