Why YOU should book a refresher BEFORE you go

 ‘Maybe I should have taken that refresher lesson at Snow Factor after all…’ – “Liability Lauren”, February 2016, Chamonix.

My three friends and I have booked a kind-of last minute ski holiday in Chamonix, we are all very, very excited.  Amy and I have been skiing semi regularly with our families since we were young, so we are feeling quite confident that we can tackle greens and blues and the occasional red run.  The other two, Lauren and Laura who are known as the LBs, have not been skiing since a school trip to Pila in 2006 and yet they seem to be more focused on how to look at Apres-Ski rather than how to actually manoeuvre down the slopes. They have passed up the option to do the 2-hour refresher lesson at Snow Factor with the reasoning that their ski group in 2006 tackled one black run throughout the week so it should be fine, it’s like riding a bike right?

It turns out it’s not quite like riding a bike…

Our Holiday

Day one, we have managed to successfully hire ski gear and organise lift passes. Now to transport ourselves up the slopes of Brévent via gondola and then chair lift – it’s going swimmingly, who needs a refresher lesson eh? Now we’re at the top and it’s time to ski. One of the girls has forgotten how to lock her ski boot into the binding, we’re off to great start. Five long minutes later we decide to ease ourselves in with a wide blue run that’s perfect for meandering. I go down a little and turn back to see how the LBs are getting on. They are two pizza slices sliding down slowly. Both are shouting a lot, mainly about how they are going too fast, don’t know how to turn and don’t want to take out any children. One LB falls, the other one follows – this happens 3 times on the first run, its comedy gold.

The LBs gather themselves and soon we are getting down blue runs quite confidently with less and less falls (I’m secretly disappointed about this as it is very entertaining as a spectator). Amy and I want to try a red run, we choose one that runs parallel to a blue run and meets at the bottom so we can all meet at the chair lift. With clear instructions we send the Lbs on their wobbly way while we go down the red. We wait at the chair lift but the Lbs are nowhere to be seen – perhaps they have beaten us, good for them! We’ll get them at the top. At the top for a 20 minutes now and they are still MIA… Amy’s phone rings and she puts it on loud speaker “Erm guys, we have made a mistake. We went up the wrong chair lift and there’s only two reds and a black up here….” Uh-oh. We tell them to wait for us and we can help them get down, we hope.

At the top we see a kids ski school start the run, we reassure them that if the kids can do it, so can they! We start off with some strong snow plows before it comes to the steeper part, they are going to have to start turning. Both LBs are struggling, one LB can only turn left until she reaches the side of the piste. She then reverses/moonwalks backwards before she has enough space so she can swoop left again and repeat. The other LB has forgotten how to turn completely. She uses an alternative, but not recommended technique of falling and rolling over to change direction.

nail ( LB in action…)

A friendly man has seen the comedy act from above in the lift – he comes to help the LBs down as clearly Amy and I’s advice of ‘just turn’ isn’t quite working.

He speaks calmly and shows the girls how to turn without falling and in a more parallel way. He also demonstrates how to ‘pole plant’, using their poles as a guide for their turns. He stays with us until the slope becomes gentler, wishes us well and whizzes away.

The moral of this story is that this whole situation could have been easily avoided had the girls decided to take the refresher lesson. They would have reminded themselves of everything they had learned during their previous 2006 trip and gotten some immediate pointers on how to improve their technique. What’s more, the LBs would probably have had less bruises and more dignity.

Do you want to avoid a situation like the LBs? Then, here at Snow Factor, we have the answer and for only £30pp. Our two hour refresher lessons include one hour with an expert instructor followed by a one hour lift pass so you can remain on the slope to practise all of your newly refreshed and improved skills.

book-now LONG