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Val d'Isère Training Week — 14th to 21st December 2021

Reporter: Tim Jones

In April last year following a March skiing holiday with family I joined the Ski Club of Manchester to “learn to ski properly” although i have been on a number of previous family ski trips I had not progressed much above a beginner/intermediate standard and had developed a poor technique.

Now recently retired, with lots of spare time, I am keen to learn to ski “properly” my wife is not as keen, so l looked online for a club to join. I live in St Helens so not too far from the Chill Factore. I thankfully came across the SCoM and signed up in April 2022. During the summer I attended many of the club sessions at the Chill Factore and although the 3 club ski trips were fully booked I put my name down on the reserve lists.

At the end of August I was delighted to get a place on the pre Christmas development trip to Val d'Isère, but as the date of the trip came closer I became apprehensive, I would be meeting lots of new people, I would be sharing a room with someone I had yet to meet, my skiing ability wasn’t up to standard, I would be holidaying without a family member for the first time, quite a lot of firsts! However, from the moment we met up at the airport my nervousness dissipated, everyone was so welcoming and friendly, in fact being a newbie became a positive as people seemed to make an extra effort to make sure I was OK!, on and off the slopes, I hope I didn’t play on this too much! I also couldn’t have wished for a better room mate, a very experienced and knowledgeable skier and a lovely person, hopefully a friend for life.

In the resort we were looked after in a fully catered chalet by three wonderful young chalet hosts, they worked hard to make sure we enjoyed our stay, the service couldn’t be faulted.

The weather wasn’t the best for the first few days, low visibility on the slopes was problematic, but the rest of the week with predominantly blue skies made up for it.

The development lessons, 3 hour sessions in the morning on 5 days, were excellent, we were assigned to small groups based on ability, there were 4 in my set and I definitely improved my skiing technique from the group and individual coaching and had fun at the same time. Outside of lessons we consolidated our learning on the slopes and I was fortunate to benefit from some club members experience of the resort who acted as guides around the mountain, for which i was so grateful, not sure how I would have fared without their expert navigation skills.

There was also lots of time for socialising and getting to know people which made the skiing so much more enjoyable and I’m already looking forward to next year’s trip.

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