A one day course with “In Depth Snowsports”

Reporter: Andrew Walker

Having accepted an invitation to join one of In Depth Snowsports’ one day courses, on a warm sunny September day I blew the dust off my skis and headed to the Chill Factore for my first experience of indoor snow.

In Depth run a number of courses for both skiers and boarders, and I was on the Ski Performance Clinic, which according to the company’s website is designed to improve all areas of your piste performance from big fast carved turns to dynamic short radius turns. There is of course a limit to what you can do in a day, but as we started at 9am and didn’t finish until 4pm it was a very full day, particularly as the slope was relatively empty and there were no lift queues.

There were two instructors for the day, Gareth Shelbourne and Andy Roose. With eight people on the course that meant four apiece, so we started with a run down to assess ski levels, and I was put in a group of four with three ladies, under the guidance of Gareth. One or two people may have noticed that I ski with my skis quite close together, and pretty much the first thing I had to do was to widen my stance. The main theme of the morning was carving, and we had a number of exercises to focus our minds on the edges of the skis, including crossing the slope in a curve and then reversing along our own tracks – not as easy as you might think. We progressed onto J-turns, and long wide turns, keeping those edges firmly under control. After lunch we used the techniques from the morning session and progressed onto shorter turns, with much emphasis on position and balance.

I asked my fellow course members for their views of the day, both at lunchtime and after the end of the day. It seems to be the natural order of things that half way through a course you reach a low point, before it all comes together again. I suppose if that wasn’t the case you wouldn’t have learned anything. One was worried after the morning session that it would be like some other ski instruction, where you spend much of your time standing around doing exercises and little else, but by 4 pm she had become very positive and enthusiastic, and couldn’t wait to get back on the slope given that our lift passes ran until 6 pm. All three said that they were very happy with the day.

The day was full but well-paced. With a small group you felt like you were getting a personalised service, and you could ask questions at any time. We had video sessions both morning and afternoon, and were able to view the results and see the improvements, which there undoubtedly were. I have had many ski lessons on holidays, but never anything outside the season, so I cannot make any comparison with other instruction or courses at the Chill Factore. However, for those wishing to keep skiing throughout the year, maintain and improve their technique, or just have a refresher day before the new season starts, the view of my fellow skiers suggests that the In Depth course was very much appreciated. In-Depth’s website is at http://www.indepthsnowsports.co.uk/

The next Ski Performance Clinics are on 31 October and 14 November. The cost is £120, which includes a full day lift pass. SCoM members can get a £10 discount by using the discount code PROMO10.

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