So here we are again, late November. I’m looking out the window at diagonal drizzle in a North Devon garden which seems to have adopted grey-scale and it’s all a bit sloppy. The squirrels are preparing to bury themselves to get away and the birds are looking decidedly pissed off. And here I am, the smug bastard human sat by a fire writing about how happy I am the snow is returning to the Alps and its nearly crazed maniac snow-sliding season. What a prick. It’s been a while since my last post (http://www.natives.co.uk/news/its-nearly-skiing-time-avoriaz-alpine-ski-school-rep-and-natives-blogger-george/6180). Can’t think of a sufficient excuse as to what has prevented me from finding the time for two years so I shan’t even try.
The ski school team have been around the world since the lifts closed in April. Mark spent 3 months climbing around the coast of Greenland and sailing across the north Atlantic, I spent the season instructing and hiking in New Zealand, Ian has enjoyed the under-rated joys of a coastal North Devon summer, Aaron has been skiing, mountaineering and film making in Scotland, Keith climbing around the Croatian Coast, Jean Marie life guarding the Les Gets Lakes, Pierre on the shores of Lake Geneva and Laurent running his mountain biking school in Avoriaz. It’s all been a lot of fun, but nothing quite like a winter in The Portes du Soleil. It’s time to re-assemble the collection of individuals that together make up The Avoriaz Alpine Ski School.
Above - George on the Summit of The Remarkables, New Zealand with Queenstown in the Background. Below, Mark and friends on an ice berg off the coast of Greenland. In boardshorts.
I was made almost entirely of blubber and unable to speak, walk or piddle neatly when Ian Mckellar set up one of the first and few British run ski schools in the Alps back in 1992 with local partner Laurent Calvet. There’s been 23 seasons since then, and we are proud to have developed a pretty smart formula – a small team of British and local instructors offering ski and snowboard lessons to all ages and abilities from our HQ building on the Avoriaz beginners pleateau.
As always, everyone flips out at the first proper snow fall in November, but I am quietly confident no one lost it as loosely as I. After a warm and scarily dry start to the month, I tried to stay calm at the sight of the ginormous figures in the precipitation box for Avoriaz in a few days. I feared rain, but woke up to 60cm of fluff and a snowline way down to 1000m. Needless to say I was running around in circles like a one-winged wasp trapped inside a helium balloon. This week we’re looking at the prospect of heaps more consistent snowfall and we’re all as excited as the first time we saw a naked boobie.
So what’s new at the ski school? We’re running a series of multi day snow camps for those progressing from the intermediate plateau with video feedback and evening technical talks, Mark is teaming up with World Cup Mogul star Ben Cavet to run a selection of mogul courses for advanced skiers and training instructors and we’re continuing to push our Avalanche Awareness and Backcountry clinics. A lot of effort will continue to focus on delivering awesome service at the important part of our business – beginner and intermediate groups and private lessons to kids and adults.
I’m setting up my own videography and marketing company – The Treble Edit (www.trebleedit.com) and aiming to continually record the awesome mountain hunting lifestyle of The Portes du Soleil and the Southern Alps of New Zealand. I’ll be selling technical feedback and souvenir packages to skiing guests, regular promotional videos to small businesses and the exciting ski action edits of rippers frolicking with gravity.
Hopefully I’ll find the time to blog again, fingers crossed its before November 2017. Enjoy your winters y’all!