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Giles Lewis & Phil Harrison 'Almost Ski Gods ....'

by John Lymer

Giles & Phil are known to many members, as former SCoM members and the sons of Barry & Jonquil and David & Ruth respectively. The pair entertained the assembled group at the Belfry with explanations of how they came "from skiing at Rossendale and Rushup Edge to becoming (almost) ski gods"! They explained how they qualified as Ski Instructors in France and followed their talk with a video of their off-duty "road trip" to La Grave and Chamonix, so we could judge for ourselves.

Giles and Phil have joined forces with Colin Tanner and Paul Garner to form the development centre, a new British ski school based next season in Val d'Isère and with links to Precision Ski. Their aim is to provide high quality coaching in groups of not more than 6. Sessions of 3 x 3 hours will cover the likes of racing and off-piste (not glaciers) or other skills, at a cost of E180. For more information see

Phil and Giles have spent much of their careers in Val d'Isère and Courchevel and Phil spends his Summers "following the snow" to ski (work) in Australia and New Zealand. He also manages some surfing in Australia, though he managed to spoil the exotic image in our minds when he said skiing in New Zealand is very like Scotland.

It takes 3 to 4 seasons to gain all of the necessary BASI qualifications to become an Instructor, but to teach in France also requires the CAPA, now known as the European Speed Test. However, anyone qualifying pre-1995 is exempt from the speed test, now jointly organised by the governing bodies of several countries and integrated into the BASI qualifications. It involves a complex points system, but in essence, to pass you have to finish a slalom course of under 1 minute 20 seconds within 10 seconds of skiers who are roughly at national team standard. This is some achievement by our intrepid duo - only about 5% of Brits pass! (The overall pass rate is about 20% and re-takes are allowed).

So, when you next go to Val d'Isère, be sure to think about some personal coaching from some very able Instructors - and look up the development centre.