Updates from coaches and housemums. Largely seasonal but occasional news and updates will be included. Any BSA members with action shots to post please send them to Dom. Our blog is live at: http://britskiacad.blogspot.co.uk/

Our BSA group arrived from Melbourne to Christchurch on August 25th. The views coming into New Zealand were spectacular. The country is covered with large, bright blue lakes, and although we didn’t land directly amongst the mountains, their sharp peaks were visible from the window between the clouds. 

By the time we made it through customs, ordered lunch and went to our hotel, it was late afternoon. The customs regulations for both Australia and New Zealand were extremely strict. Both countries, in their isolated locations, have developed such unique ecosystems that any foreign organic material could collapse the balance of biodiversity on their islands. 
Some of us that arrived early to Christchurch were able to take a closer look at native New Zealand species, as we visited the city's botanical gardens. Since we were in the Southern hemisphere, winter was getting close to its end, so some of the gardens were relatively empty, but there was a wide range of year-round trees that I had never seen before. 

We drove into downtown Christchurch for dinner. One noticeably different aspect of New Zealand, compared to other countries where I've dined, is their depth of alternative diet options. Practically every restaurant or cafe visited on this trip has had a gluten free and vegan menu, which made life much easier for our group. 
The following day we set off on our five hour drive to Arrowtown. So far, I haven’t seen an area of New Zealand that isn’t scenic (or covered with sheep) and of course this drive was no exception. We stopped at the beautiful Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki on the way there and back. 
Those staying in Queenstown or Arrowtown usually ski at either Coronet Peak or the Remarkables (actually visible from Coronet Peak). The other ski area that Arrowtown/Queenstown visitors can access is Cardrona, located a little further from the valley than the other two. Our race series (once again two slaloms and two giant slaloms) was held at Coronet. 

This trip wasn’t my first time skiing in New Zealand, in fact I had been to Coronet Peak at the same time last year. Unfortunately, that trip was cut short when I dislocated my shoulder, training GS on the very hill where we were about to race. Naturally, I was a bit anxious coming back to that piste, but my nerves were calmed when I rode the first chair up and saw the amazing colourful sunrise. 

The races at both Hotham and Coronet were part of the Australia New Zealand Cup (a high standard for racers). The series at Coronet was even more competitive than in Hotham - there were several racers who had been in the top ten of World Cups, from countries such as Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovakia and Switzerland. Even Ted Ligety entered into the slalom race, though he decided not to ski his second run. 

The spring conditions of constant freezing and melting snow had left the hill pretty icy - which was actually a positive, when you consider how many racers were entered, espicially on the men's side, numbering 70-80. The harder the snow, the better the course holds up, and the more fair it is to all competitors, even those running later. Even with the hard snow surface, the boys with the higher bib numbers were left with quite a rough course. 

From our group, we had two personal bests, but I believe that the New Zealand segment of this trip was more about experience than results. We were definitely one of the younger teams there; the majority of our group was only second year FIS (with two first years and one third year) while some of the winning racers had already had five or more seasons. Our coach Simone advised us to watch the winners and the fast skiers to see how they were skiing during the race and also to observe their preparation before it. 

We spent the last day after the races walking around Queenstown. There were many souvenir shops, and plenty of All Black rugby team paraphernalia. I was also pleased to hit what I think of as the three most classic Queenstown destinations: Ferg Burgers, the Cookie Time Cookie Bar and the shore of Lake Wakatipu. Throughout the week we had also explored downtown Arrowtown which was significantly smaller than Queenstown, but very charming with its shops and array of 15 or so restaurants. 

New Zealand was the final destination of the summer, and as of now I am travelling back home to Vail, Colorado, to start my final year of High School. This summer has undoubtedly been the busiest of my life, but I have had such an amazing skiing and travel experience. 

I am very grateful to BSA for organizing all these ski camps and can’t thank them enough for this rewarding summer. I also want to thank my ski equipment sponsors (Atomic, POC / 2pure, Reusch, Tenson, Slick Willy's, Leki) as this sport is not cheap. Finally thank you to those reading this blog. I hope that I have given you a decent understanding of ski race travel in the summer. It is highly recommended!

Visiting Lake Pukaki

Friday 07 September, 1800 to 2000

Gate training with coaching from GB number 2 Laurie Taylor, and the two top-ranked British ladies on dry slopes, Lauren Vale and Nicole Shering, and former top ranked dry slope racer Malcolm Erskine

£30 including ski pass if pre-booked online Forty racers maximum - 30 Places available


Access to gates without training will depend on numbers, £20, cash only

Saturday 08 September, Welsh Outdoor Champs

Race support with Lauren, Nicole and Malcolm
£30  if pre-booked online

Booking only available online via BSA website

Before the skiing segment of the Austrailia trip, my mom, dad and I spent a few days in Melbourne. Australia is in the UTC+10 timezone, which is 16 hours ahead of Colorado. However, we viewed our day as being six hours behind that of MST, just on the next day. I personally have a harder time travelling West than East, and had trouble staying awake past 7:30 on our first night. 

The next day, we rode the public tram through Melbourne just to get a feel for the city. We walked by the Yarra River, stopped in a vintage clothing shop and visited the Australian Centre for the Moving Image - a free interactive film museum. ACMI had the history of televisions and movies along with many exhibits, including one for virtual reality. I was glad to have been in South Africa a week before, as both locations had cold winter conditions. 

After a jetlag induced nap in our hotel room, my family went to the Queen Victoria Night Market. We talked to some of the locals at the event, who explained some differences between the day and night market. Generally, the day market had more retail shopping booths scattered with some restaurant locations, but the entire area was far more spread out. The night market was more of a social gathering crowded with other people. All of the booths were under a massive pavilion area. One side of the pavilion had live music while the other had a fire eating performer. The majority of the stands sold food with a few retail shops scattered throughout the area. These sold more unique products, like lighted balloons, wood carvings and dream catchers, whereas the day market sold every day items like towels or grocery fruit and vegetables. During our stay we made a visit to the day market as well. 

My family and I also travelled to an interactive Australian wild life preserve. Australia has an extremely unique ecosystem containing marsupial species found only on its island so most of the animals at the preserve I had never seen before. That night we visited the Chinatown segment of Melbourne and the next day we met the rest of the ski group, consisting of five boys, four girls (myself included) and two coaches.

Our first ski resort destination was Falls Creek. We drove for six hours mainly uphill, and it was as if we travelled through several continents. The first segment of the drive was in an empty arid desert that was fairly warm. Next, we passed through eucalyptus forests that were humid and remnant of a rainforest. Finally, we reached the snowy roads leading up to the mountain. We checked into our apartment- which was conveniently located on the mountain for skiing in and out. 
There isn’t much of a town surrounding Falls Creek, mainly hotels and restaurants. I was therefore surprised to learn that my dad has a friend who lives at the resort year round- Steve Lee- another ex racer, who is one of two Australian men to ever win a skiing world cup race. Steve picked my dad and I up for dinner at his house one night, on a snowmobile towing a bench behind him. This was the most efficient way to travel across the resort as all the roads were below the town, and the paths between the buildings were under 3-4 feet of snow.
The weather was variable in Falls Creek, it sometimes got very foggy, but we had five solid days of training with two slalom races. At these races, we had one personal best score, which means that one of our athletes scored their lowest FIS point result ever (counter-intuitively, the lower points the better). 
The next race series was at Mount Hotham, also in Australia. This time our group stayed off the mountain, in a town called Dinner Plain, about a 20 minute drive away. The races at Hotham were part of the Australia New Zealand Cup, a continental cup, and were therefore quite high level. There were skiers from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the USA, Slovakia, Norway and Italy. Some of them had competed in World Cups or the Olympics. 

Of all the places I have skied this summer, (Les Deux Alpes, Tiffindell SA, Falls Creek AUS, Coronet Peak NZL) Mount Hotham’s snow conditions were the most familiar to me as they reminded me of a Colorado winter. The series consisted of four races- two slalom and two GS. From those races, five BSA athletes scored personal bests and lowered their points. There was one scheduled day where it was too foggy to hold a race, so we had to take a weather day, and leave Australia a day later than expected. 
Skiing in Australia was almost as odd as skiing in South Africa. In most other ski resorts, the main divider between two ski runs are pine trees. Occasionally, there are patches of spaced out aspen trees that you can ski through but of course in the winter they have lost all their leaves. In Falls Creek and Hotham, the only trees present were eucalyptus. In some areas they were dense enough to create separate trails like pine trees. But certain in areas where the trees were small and spaced out, you could ski around them and under them, as if it were a wooden obstacle course. Additionally, even though it been winter for months, none of the trees had lost their leaves resulting in a beautiful, if not confusing winter scene. 
After ten days of skiing, six races and four travel days we were packed to leave Australia. The next destination would be New Zealand for another series of four races. I am actually in New Zealand now, and will let everyone know how the trip goes soon! 

When my dad and I flew into Johannesburg on July 20th, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that Africa wasn’t meant to be snowy, so reaching an area that had enough snow for skiing would be quite difficult. 

My dad and I were in the city for a few days before the rest of the group arrived and were able to look around. We saw the downtown areas of Johannesburg and parts of Soweto, which contained some very poor residences. 

The next day, we met the rest of the BSA group back at the airport of Jo-burg and then we all flew to Bloemfontein, in a tiny propeller plane. Our group of 15 took up the majority of the plane. Luckily, our whole group had been in England or other parts of Europe, so none of us had to deal with jetlag. 

From Bloemfontein, we hired a taxi service to take us up to Tiffindell resort. We drove for five hours on open roads, surrounded by completely desolate grasslands until we reached the nearest town to Tiffindell, Barkly East. At this point the skies were darkening and we began to drive on bumpy dirt roads. 

The last segment was quite steep, windy and narrow, and I wondered how anyone ever found this specific mountain and decided to create a ski area. It was another two hours until we reached the resort and, until we saw snow. Tiffindell is undoubtedly the most remote place I have ever skied- or been. 

The next morning we were finally able to take in our surroundings. All the houses and buildings of Tiffindell were within a quarter mile area, with the ski area above it all. The insides of the houses were also very spacious and cozy. 

We spent two days training at the resort before the races. There was a single run with two surface lifts. The top lift led to a steep pitch the length of 12 slalom gates and then the hill began to flatten towards the finish. The snow was man-made, and pretty firm, but a week or two after we left Tiffindell actually got several Inches of natural snow. After each morning of training or racing we ate the inclusive lunch provided to us; surprisingly, the meals were quite similar to British food.

There were a total of ten races in South Africa, but we only spent five days racing because every day, we did two races- a total of four slalom runs. It was a little tiring, but at the same time, there was less pressure on each run. Generally, there were two courses that we alternated between. This made it easier to improve from run to run, because we already had a strategy for the set. There were only 22 girls competing which meant there was usually less of a break in between each run. 

The weather was quite sunny for most days of racing. However, there were strong winds and therefore built-in weather days in case it ever became too windy for the surface lift to function. We only had to use one weather day. For the FIS entry league races (four in total) we only raced on the flat, shorter half of the slope. Inevitably it was more of a sprint slalom. For the FIS citizen races, standard FIS races and National Junior Championships we skied the entire hill, including the steep top section. 

On the “bad-weather” day, our coaches convinced us to hike Ben MacDhui, the tallest mountain in this area of the Drakensberg range, at 3001 meters. The hike up was pretty standard at the beginning, although we had to cross the ski run. As we approached the peak and increased our exposure, the wind speeds rapidly increased. By the time we reached the top of the mountain, it felt as if we were in a wind tunnel. It was hard to hear one another speak, and when I leaned forward the gusts supported me. The hike was about 90 minutes in total. 

After ten days, we said goodbye to Tiffindell and started on the long drive down the mountain. I was very grateful to have this experience, during which we met a lot of interesting people. There were racers from Austria, Belgium, Britain, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Kosovo, Portugal, South Africa, Turkey, and the USA.

There was a South African ski Academy on the mountain, and we later learned that some of those athletes normally lived in quite poor areas, and had to rely purely on donations of ski equipment - but nevertheless were pursuing a ski career. A lot of the visiting athletes had donated their old ski equipment to the kids in South Africa, so the whole race had a very positive atmosphere. Being in such a small area for an extended amount of time can really bring people together. 

The next stop on the list is our Australia and New Zealand trip. I’m very much looking forward to this one!! Until next time… 

After the off day, we began our four day GS training block. A lot of the athletes at the camp are in their first year of FIS (International Ski Federation) racing, which means they have to move to a larger ski radius. Often this is a difficult transition, so the coaches included brushies in our course to ensure that we skied the correct line. The conditions were a little more variable, ranging from rock hard surfaces to softer rutted ones, but as our head coach Simone reminded us, difficult conditions make a better skier. 
This entire camp was a progression. Therefore, we were still working towards a stable upper body and we started each day with the same pattern of drills as the block before. The warm up drills helped us create efficient habits in our skiing, and once we brought those into the course, our skiing improved noticeably. 
Les Deux Alpes had a few more busy days, but luckily this barely affected our training. Simone organized priority access for BSA athletes; the same level of access as the French regional teams. This meant that in the morning, we were able to skip the main queue for the first gondola, which would otherwise be a 45-minute wait. 
A few afternoons this week, we were very lucky to be visited by a Nemanje Ignjatovic, a world class ski technician who had previously worked with the Finnish national ski team. He was more than able to answer our questions, and he showed us his tricks for maximizing ski preparation. 
The day before our off day, we hiked towards the Diable chairlift. Once again, it was quite a difficult dryland, but the views provided temporary distraction from our tired legs and shortness of breath. The following off day, we once again split into two groups. My group drove to see the medieval town of Briancon, and the long established military fort, built in 1709. The other group stayed in town to go swimming and to go down the luge. 
The final training block that I participated in was another four days of slalom. During this session, those of us who are going down to race slalom in South Africa began to shift into race mode. Often, the training camps I have attended have one or two days of freeskiing then the second we go into gates, everyone focuses on skiing fast, and the thought of skiing technically well goes out the window. This makes the course seem much harder. However, since we had already run gates while doing drills, skiing the correct line and focusing on our technique, there was a much more solid foundation for focusing on speed. We had one foggy day out of the four, but the lifts stayed open so we were able to train through it. 
On the final day off we played paintball. This was my first time ever playing so I was a little nervous. This was not helped when a group of 20 Italian boys showed up. They were also on a ski camp. We ended up mixing with their group and playing against other BSA members as well. It was far more fun than I expected! Ultimately it was a giant game of capture-the-flag in a forest area. Each team had a fort and structures to hide behind. Paintball with two ski teams obviously became quite competitive and some of us may have left with a few bruises but everyone was alright. 
In a week or so, a group of us are heading down to South Africa for ten FIS slalom races. I wasn’t aware that you could ski in South Africa, so this will be an interesting experience. I will post my next blog while I’m there. Thanks for reading!

My dad and I flew into Munich on June 21st to pick up the BSA van. We met the other
athletes, Jake, Tom, Charlie and Soneva at the Geneva airport a couple of days
later, and drove into Les Deux Alpes that afternoon. There we met our coaches
Simo and Alice and the other athletes: Daisi, Francesa, Gigi, Zoe and David.

I hadn't been to the Alps in the summer before, and I was amazed by how green the
typically white mountains were, and enjoyed the view from the Jandri Express
gondola. I also appreciated the simplicity of the commute, all we had to do was
walk to the gondola from our hotel and it led directly to the bottom of the

My legs definitely felt shaky for our first day of skiing but luckily, we did not
jump into gates right
We started with some slow drills, such as edge sets and garlands to practice
edging our skis and getting used to the snow. For the entire first day, we did
drills, specifically focused on our alignments. Some of these included pivot
slips, short swings, poles-on-hips, poles-on-shoulders, lifting the inside ski
and javelin turns. We added the last four drills to our progressional warm-up,
everyday before training. The snow held up very well, similar to winter
conditions. It did not soften up until 11:30 which was a good ease into our
first day.

After training we eat our standard, included, three course lunch at our hotel. Most
afternoons, we walk around the town, tune our skis or buy snacks at the
supermarket. We have had lots of fun going down the luge track a few times,
which is included in our pass at Les Deux Alpes. Then at 4:00 we do dryland.
Usually I dread dryland after skiing all day, but the sessions we have done are
firstly focused on mobility and recovery and then focused on agility,
coordination, cardio etc. Plus they have been fun. I always feel much better
after stretching and playing games with my team. Dinner is also included in our
stay, and after that we watch and analyze our videos from training that day.

Our training days are broken into blocks of four with a rest day in between. During
the first four days of skiing, we started each morning with a progression of
drills to work on our alignment. It is important to go back to basics during
preseason, to ensure that we have a solid foundation of skiing to build on for
the rest of the year. During this block we have reviewed many helpful alignments
and movements that I had completely forgotten about during the stress of
competition season. After free skiing drills, we went around brushies while
executing the drill to rehearse those movements through a course.

The day before our off day, we went into a valley town called Venosc. All we had to
do was walk to the gondola that would then take us down into the valley. The
houses were built on on the hillside. For our dryland that day, we hiked up the
side of the valley, back to Les Deux Alpes. It was a steep, but very scenic
hike. As difficult as it was, I appreciated this dryland and the fact that we
had the following day off.

During our day off, we slept in, then Soneva and I explored Les Deux Alpes. We were excited to see so many creperies in one town and an array of beautiful wild
flowers. In the afternoon, we went back into Venosc and went rafting down the
valley river. We dipped through currents as the raft guide spun our boat in
circles. We got out of the raft to briefly swim next to a snowmelt waterfall
which was as beautiful as it was chilly. All of the boys chose to downhill
mountain bike all the way from the top of the Jandri express, through the town
of Les Deux Alpes and down into the valley of Venosc. Luckily, this time we rode
the gondola back out instead of walking.
I’m looking forward to our next block of training- GS, and will update this blog
after it!! :)

To all race organisers, families

Race dates have been now set for next season:

Artemis Anglo Scottish Cup 2019

3/4/5 January - Crevacol training and warm up events, free

6/7/8 January - PILA races

Entry fee for Bairns (U10/U12) £130

Entry fee U14/U16/U18 £150

Artemis British Interschool Ski Challenge 2019

16 March - Free access to Crevacol gate training

17 March - Free access to Pila gate training

18/19 March - PILA races 

Entry fee U10/U12 £90

Entry fee U14/U16/U18/U21 £100

Entry will be available via the website from mid-June, please take the event links from: https://www.britskiacad.org.uk/

Great reductions for BSA registered skiers on skis/boots/bindings - for further information on order/delivery dates (for collection in resort before glacier camps and season start, December) goto equipment page: for dealer/order information.  If Dave is for it, we are too!

Booking is now open for our Summer training
Les Deux Alpes Glacier Camp
16 July to 5 August, Long camp: £2,520
22 July to 05 August, Short camp: £1,840
20 to 30 August, Extra Camp, £1,100 (with pass from earlier camp)

High glacier with excellent resort facilities. Catered hotel accommodation with first class coaching and conditioning and accompanied travel options from Manchester, 15 July and London, 16 & 22 July, returning to London 05 August.

An equipment van will head out for the main Les Deux Alpes camp on 15 July.
See website: summer-race-camps for further info including flight details and If you have any questions on logistics, call Malcolm on 07970495533.

Pembrey Slalom Camp
19 to 22 August, Dry slope training camp Non-residential, £200
Residential (Sunday to Wednesday), £460. Now booking, (BSA Registration not required

FIS Options

South Africa and Australia, and training in Europe training including the above, see website or call Malcolm, on 07970 49553. 

With the GBR Series about to start, we are offering pre-race training at all the summer events as well as daily race support. BSA Staff coaches will be joined along the way by Olympians Alain and Baxter and Laurie Taylor.  Further details at: website/events also see Snowsports Facebook Page, GBR Series.