Ryan’s Blog: Keep calm… winter is coming!
Eddie Cochran pondered in his famous song that “there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.” After a summer of British sporting disappointment, I’m sat here fondly remembering my earlier months spent skiing Whistler-Blackcomb as both a Leader for the Ski Club of Great Britain and a student of ALLTRACKS Academy. Nothing this summer has succeeded in fully diverting my attention from fond memories of winter past. Roy’s boys stuttered and fell at their first World Cup hurdle, Murray fell short in the defence of his Wimbledon title and Le Tour de France was a crashing disappointment. I even failed to land tickets for Glastonbury! Maybe Mr. Cochran was right. The summertime blues indeed.
A comedown was always a possibility after a winter of such incredible highs. The 2013-14 season was an amazing experience for me. Whistler-Blackcomb certainly didn’t disappoint. ALLTRACKS Academy completely revolutionised my skiing, I enjoyed my first ever leading experience for the Ski Club, became a qualified CSIA ski instructor and learned a great deal more about backcountry skiing through AST (Avalanche Skills Training) courses. I explored many wonders of the Canadian backcountry by means of ski touring and cat-skiing trips. Late in the season, I was even lucky enough to see bears in their natural habitat (the Whistler golf course, Hole 17). And to think that I enjoyed these experiences whilst meeting cool new people, making friends for life and introducing pre-existing friends to many of the Whistler delights. Yeah, I guess a comedown was always on the cards.
How did I plan to combat these summer blues? There was only one thing for it: start organising the next trip! Actually, for weeks now I have been in the process of putting together another adventure for next season. Where am I looking? Erm, Whistler, of course. Seriously, even after skiing ninety days there last season I still feel there is a great deal to see and do. I have barely scratched the surface of the backcountry but even the resort itself offers lines I am yet to ski. Poet and essayist Samuel Johnson once famously suggested that “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” For me, Whistler is like that. When a person is tired of Whistler, they are tired of skiing.
Clearly I am not the only person already thinking about next season. Many of you will no doubt have heard the thud of the new Ski Club Freshtracks brochure come crashing through your letterbox recently. Jam-packed full of amazing trips, catering for all desires and abilities, you’d be hard-pushed to not find the holiday of your dreams. Freshtracks holidays range from improving your off-piste skiing in the much celebrated Ski Club chalet in Flaine, to developing your technique in the Dolomites. From exploring the mesmerising peaks of the Chamonix valley with excellent mountain guides, to enjoying a more relaxed experience on the Ski & Spa trip in Bad Hofgastein. Whatever your fancy you’ll be in good hands in the Freshtracks programme. Being such a fan of North American skiing, the standouts for me are undoubtedly the Powder Highway Exploration in British Columbia and the USA Ultimate Ski Experience in Utah and Jackson Hole. Wow! Surely the thought of some of these have stirred your inner ski demon.
However, if you’ve more free time put aside for that something special next season and aspire to seriously improve your skiing, then I couldn’t recommend ALLTRACKS Academy highly enough. Based in Whistler, the Hampshire born ALLTRACKS offer courses ranging from gaining your instructor qualifications to off-piste mastery, from general improvement to freestyle clinics. By keeping group sizes small, the ALLTRACKS coaches can really fine tune an individual’s weaknesses. They will rebuild you as a skier, giving you the tools to not only jump a level, but to jump several. I personally saw them take an intermediate skier with only three weeks experience in them, transform them so much that within their 11 week course they became a CSIA Level 2 instructor and were skiing gnarly and infamous descents like Couloir Extreme (double black diamond). For more information on these courses, see my earlier blog entries and check out their website.
As I write this, it would seem my summertime blues are cured. My inner ski demon has stirred and I am beginning to get excited about what the 2014/15 season will bring. In the world of winter sports enthusiasts, maybe the cure for the summertime blues comes in the anticipation of the next adventure. The next powder fix. And fear not people, for winter is coming!
I certainly hope to see you out in Whistler. But if your own excitement levels haven’t yet risen, then here are some of my favourite snaps from last year to help get you in the mood. Happy ski planning folks!
Ski Club members are entitled to fantastic discounts with alltracksacademy.com, including £200 off 11 week courses and £100 off 2-7 week courses.
Categories: Ski Club Leaders