It was the best of times, it was the worst of times .......
Val d’Isère coaching holiday December 2017

Reporter: John Wilkinson

What a week of total contrasts! One day blue skies, fresh powder wonderful skiing – yet on another day howling winds and lack of visibility! It was quite a shock to find myself stationary and blinded on the steepest sections of Diebold just out of the Bellevarde Funival, the wind so strong!

Paul (No. 2) of the A (for Arcteryx) team relished his full 5 days of off-piste skiing with instructor Rich – deep and steep – outlasting his fellows on the last day’s instruction/guiding as the rest withdrew, exhausted or injured.

But poor old Steve never got to put his skis on, confined to his room all week by a vicious bug. It went around the hotel possibly effecting 9 residents and 3 staff, with a surprising range of symptoms.

Savoie residents enjoyed their luxury as the Champs lot again suffered a confusion of 2 dinner sittings, cold and cramped bar and undercooked potatoes. But as the week progressed the food was often superb, especially the vegetarian option.

TDC instruction/guiding again excelled, locating the best pistes and powder for our development and delight. Rab was monopolised as usual by his appreciative group, Rich impressive with his challenging leadership and magic repair of broken binding (amazing what you can do with a piece of string!) and Scott with a magnificent fall as a ‘shark’ took an enormous deep bite out of his ski.

The final day (Monday) demonstrated the contrasts most starkly. Howling winds, face-stinging snow, shocking visibility with a considerable depth of new snow in the morning. Skiing Diebold/Orange was a test of survival as invisible moguls tossed us about, we were happy to get down in one piece to Tuff’s for an extended coffee break. Enough for me to retire to pack and shop, but the hardy crew returned up the mountain and after a lengthy lunch, the sun came out and they skied Familiale with the deepest snow and best conditions ever!

It’s always a surprise (after 4 years) how intense and exhausting 3 hours of quality instruction can be, but hopefully improving our skiing.

Many thanks to TDC and the holiday organisers (and Treasurer) especially David who may have lost some hair with the repeated flight changes, disruptions and reimbursements!