ON OUR DIRECT SKI TRIPS FROM JERSEY I SEE MANY SKIERS WHO ARE STUCK ON THE ™INTERMEDIATE PLATEAU∫. THEY CAN CRUISE BLUE RUNS EASILY BUT SOMETIMES FALTER OR GET THROWN OFF BALANCE WHEN CONFRONTED WITH A SIGNIFICANT RED RUN THAT HAS DEVELOPED SOME BUMPS OR ™MOGULS∫. OFTEN WE SEE PEOPLE WHO HAVE DEVELOPED BAD HABITS WHICH ARE HARD TO SHAKE OFF, OR FIND IT HARD TO ADEQUATELY CONTROL THEIR SPEED ON A STEEP PITCH.

If you are a skier who feels that you would like to improve, get out of a rut, or just keep up with your children, or perhaps you are an advanced skier who wants to ski steeper slopes with more control, then a skiing skills course might be just the ticket to move your skiing up to the next level! I went to The Warren Smith Ski Academy skills course in early November to see what it was all about.

Warren is one of Britain’s leading professional free skiers and an Internationally Certified Performance Coach and Ski Instructor. He has spent many years teaching recreational skiers, developing ski instructors and coaching racers all over Europe. The Warren Smith Ski Academy pro team are not only internationally qualified coaches and instructors, but a group of elite professionals who have been handpicked and trained by Warren Smith to give out the classic Academy product of coaching that combines Ski Technique, Ski Biomechanics and Ski Physiology. The combination of the three is what has earned Warren Smith and his Academy international recognition in the ski industry. He also writes the ski skills section in the Daily Mail Ski and Snowboard Magazine.

The November courses were in Cervinia, with access to Europe’s highest lifts, and proud holder of the best snow record in Italy, Cervinia is one of the world’s leading resorts. Located at the head of a long valley leading off the Aosta Valley, this high-altitude ski area links with Zermatt in Switzerland and has a resort altitude of 2050m with access to 350km of pistes from 1525-3480m – and you can even ski here in the summer, too. Meanwhile, the village itself has plenty to offer after the slopes have closed for the day including good restaurants and numerous activities.

The 3* Hotel Mon Reve in Cervinia offers comfort and superior services that include covered car parking, 25 rooms that are furnished with wooden furniture typical of Val d’Aosta alpine living and a solarium area facing the Cervino (Matterhorn) and the Great Muraille. It is situated directly on ski slope no.3 at the foot of the Cervino.  It is in one of the earliest known villages of Cervinia referred to as “Alpe Giomein”. In fact, the first ever hotel in Cervinia was built here in 1913, being the sunniest area of the “Breuil Valley.” All the staff were very friendly and the view from my window was straight onto the South face of the Matterhorn!

The Hotel also has a free shuttle to the centre in a 10 seater Land Rover Defender, complete with ski holder box on the rear door which took us to the main cable car station and the ski hire shop, ‘The Sport Center’, where the very helpful. Allesandro furnished me with some Rossignol S80 freeride skis for the course which were perfect for the conditions.

The coach for our group was Rob Stanford. Rob has been part of the Academy coaching team for 8 years and his drive for coaching comes from his upbringing in competitive sport. His passion, combined with 13 years of professional skiing across the globe and a diploma in sports science, result in Rob being one of the strongest, most versatile and technical ski coaches in the business.

The courses are designed to build and develop skill and confidence, to enable people to ski all terrains including Moguls, Steeps, Variables, Powder and how to Carve effectively on piste. Skills are developed during the coaching by practicing specific exercises that benefit the main topics. Progressively, the new levels of skill are tested in suitable terrains to build confidence. During the group courses each skier is also looked at from an individual point of view due to the fact that we are all individuals and have different strengths and weaknesses that need identifying and developing.

Rob filmed us on the Monday and Thursday and we watched the footage with his analysis on those evenings before dinner. I had never had video analysis of my skiing before, but had heard that it was a very humbling experience!  In fact, it’s a brilliant diagnostic tool as the video can be frozen frame by frame to check the various positions and angles of the body and skis through the turns, with Rob giving a technical analysis and corrective points. We all showed a marked improvement by the Thursday session, which shows that you can teach an old dog some new tricks! These videos with commentary of your own performance, and some demonstrations by the coaches in various terrains are put on a memory stick which you can take with you at the end of the course for both future reference and to check your progress.

The Warren Smith Ski academy runs courses in the Autumn and Summer in Cervinia, Italy, and throughout the winter in Verbier , Switzerland, (where they also

I HAD NEVER HAD VIDEO ANALYSIS OF MY SKIING BEFORE, BUT HAD HEARD THAT IT WAS A VERY HUMBLING EXPERIENCE!  IN FACT, IT’S A BRILLIANT DIAGNOSTIC TOOL

complete with ski holder box on the rear door which took us to the main cable car station and the ski hire shop, ‘The Sport Center’, where the very helpful. Allesandro furnished me with some Rossignol S80 freeride skis for the course which were perfect for the conditions.

The coach for our group was Rob Stanford. Rob has been part of the Academy coaching team for 8 years and his drive for coaching comes from his upbringing in competitive sport. His passion, combined with 13 years of professional skiing across the globe and a diploma in sports science, result in Rob being one of the strongest, most versatile and technical ski coaches in the business.

The courses are designed to build and develop skill and confidence, to enable people to ski all terrains including Moguls, Steeps, Variables, Powder and how to Carve effectively on piste. Skills are developed during the coaching by practicing specific exercises that benefit the main topics. Progressively, the new levels of skill are tested in suitable terrains to build confidence. During the group courses each skier is also looked at from an individual point of view due to the fact that we are all individuals and have different strengths and weaknesses that need identifying and developing.

Rob filmed us on the Monday and Thursday and we watched the footage with his analysis on those evenings before dinner. I had never had video analysis of my skiing before, but had heard that it was a very humbling experience!  In fact, it’s a brilliant diagnostic tool as the video can be frozen frame by frame to check the various positions and angles of the body and skis through the turns, with Rob giving a technical analysis and corrective points. We all showed a marked improvement by the Thursday session, which shows that you can teach an old dog some new tricks! These videos with commentary of your own performance, and some demonstrations by the coaches in various terrains are put on a memory stick which you can take with you at the end of the course for both future reference and to check your progress.

The Warren Smith Ski academy runs courses in the Autumn and Summer in Cervinia, Italy, and throughout the winter in Verbier , Switzerland, (where they also offer gap year instructor courses), which can be reached by flying direct from Jersey to Geneva with Blue Islands. There is also a Powder skiing camp in Utah in February. For me, the November course was a fantastic tune-up for the coming ski season, and, if you can, I would definitely recommend getting some extra training, it will certainly pay off!

TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT SKI SKILLS COURSES WITH THE ACADEMY, SHORT BREAK SKI AND SNOWBOARD ADVENTURES FROM JERSEY AND EVEN TAILOR MADE OPTIONS CONTACT GEOFF SPENCER-TUCKER   AT GEOFF@JERSEYSKI.COM OR TELEPHONE 07797 738 180

JERSEYSKI.COM OFFER  SNOWSPORT WEEKEND BREAKS AND LONGER TRIPS BOTH BY AIR AND SELF DRIVE WITH FERRY TO SPECIALLY SELECTED RESORTS WHICH GEOFF HAS VISITED. BLUE ISLANDS FLY DIRECT TO BOTH ZURICH AND GENEVA. FOR MORE INFORMATION SEE: WWW.BLUEISLANDS.COM