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/

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.

Four plucky former BSA trainees knocked out Team USA in Saturday morning's Olympic Alpine team event, and were then only two tenths off beating the Norwegian team (the eventual bronze medal winners). An inspired performance from Alex Tilley, Laurie Taylor, Charlie Guest and Dave Ryding, who finished in joint fifth place. Putting that alongside Dave's ninth place in the Olympic slalom, only half a second from bronze, and Laurie's 26th place, that's our best Olympic showing in sixteen years.

Back in the day these rockstars logged a total of 150 weeks of ski academy training between the four of them. Dave is a wee bit of a ringer on Team BSA with only a few weeks logged, but hey, we'll take him. We are immensely proud of these athletes and look forward to presenting them with training awards of £2500 each when they get home, courtesy of the BSA 2018 Olympic Auction. Many thanks to everyone who supported the fundraiser. You are helping to keep our senior racers on the road and improving opportunities for junior races with an even better ski academy.

Daisi gains first place in SG at the English Champs in Bormio,
Alex is warming up for this afternoon's GS in Pyeong Chang, weather permitting!


Dear Ski Folk 


Congratulations to Dave Ryding, Charlie Guest, Laurie Taylor and Alex Tilley, who have been selected for the GB Alpine ski team to the PyeongChang Games. The British Ski Academy played a major part in the development of Charlie, Alex and Laurie. Less so with Dave but we're proud to have given him a leg up onto the national team. These heroes and heroines of GB Alpine will receive an equal share of one third of the auction fundraiser. Looks like that should breach £2000 for each of the athletes. 

MANY THANKS to everyone who has contributed with donations and auction bids.

Bidding closes tomorrow night on any lots that have already been staked out by keen-eyed well-wishers of the BSA and of our GB Alpine Team. The fundraiser will stay open to facilitate donations and there are some auction lots not yet snapped up... Take another look. The BSA uniform is offered at less than cost. And there's a video of the Chel-ski set up for the Mollie King lot .

Please make a bid!