Pre-season slalom training, Tignes, October 2008

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Pre-season slalom training in Tignes

Just back from a fairly easy morning on the Grand Motte. Rosolin is in superb condition, and OK elsewhere (although bits of Champagny and 35 are bullet proof). Weather was very pleasant, with blue skies and reasonable mild temperatures. I'm making the most of it as a bit more cloud is forecast from the end of tomorrow. Very busy first thing with loads of junior race clubs, but the lift queues get shorter as the morning went on.

The good news is that I haven't forgotten to ski. Always a worry at this time of year! New ski boots are very interesting - I've not skied in boots so stiff before, so that's going to take some getting used to. Slalom training starts tomorrow - let the humiliation begin...

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Day 2 of the course and it’s very enjoyable but I’m still catching gates in the face! This is the most demanding skiing I've ever done - with icy conditions and sketchy technique making it a real challenge to keep it together and not lose my head entirely. I was actually excused from fitness testing on Monday, but I did go for a run instead, and I think I'll have no such luck for the sessions on Wednesday and Friday. Made a bit more progress today, despite battling with a migraine all morning (it was less than pleasant having to vomit behind the 35 draglift building). Video analysis tonight so I'll be able to see just how much work I have to do to get even remotely close to the the other guys in my group, who are an absolute joy to watch (as well as being fun to ski with).

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It snowed a bit today, but not much more than a dusting. Once again we were given a lane on 35, which remains pretty icy especially once you start running the gates. I think we'll probably be there for the rest of the week, although the lift queue there is much shorter than Rosolin at the moment.

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Day 3 and I skied better today, so making some progress with my skiing. It’s still brutally hard, but so much fun. My coach for the week, Emma Carrick Anderson, is a world class skier (competed in four Olympic games, World Cup skier for a decade, etc) and is helping me make slow but steady progress. It’s awesome to watch her ski. It’s very busy here at the moment, with lots of junior and senior race clubs doing their pre-season training. The first couple of funiculars up to the Grand Motte are a bit of a zoo, but it’s not too bad on the glacier itself.

The fitness session this evening was volleyball then core strength work. I suspect I might not be able to move tomorrow, nevermind ski...

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The last day has been and gone! We’ve spent just about all of the week on a steep training lane, with very icy conditions; a challenging introduction to slalom skiing for me. My skiing has improved a lot, but I know how much more work I need to put in to get the hang of this!

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Although it’s been tough I finished the skiing with a smile on my face.

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Which is certainly not how I finished the fitness session this evening, which I’m sure ended with an exhausted grimace! No rest for the wicked, so we did a warm-up, half an hour of plyometric exercises on a steep slope then a fifteen minute run to warm down. Madness...

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At least the hotel staff had saved us some afternoon tea for when we finished.

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All in all a great week of skiing, and a fine way to get the winter off to an early start.