Club Instruction Holiday To Val d'Isère, December 13th–20th 2015

Reporter: Malcolm Evans

See or post photographs from the trip on the Yahoo! site.

At last, a snow assured pre-Christmas SCoM trip found us eagerly piling into the transfer coach and, after a wait while some skis were found in the darker areas of Geneva Airport, we trundled contentedly towards the Alps. There wasn’t much snow on the Jura Mountains north of the lake but we were heading for the heights to the south and, in many respects, we reached them geographically, socially and ski-ingly.

The Hotel Champs Avalins was much as before, a little tired, a touch ill-conceived and, this year, pretty full. We shared largely with a group of very polite 15-18 year-olds from a public school in the south east of England. Charming they were, both to the more mature of Manchester and the group of young ladies who emerged from a room in the early hours of Tuesday morning. You certainly get value from private education (oops—musn’t mention that to my grandsons).

Our instructors from TDC met us as usual, unfortunately hampered by injury and infection so some rearrangement to groups was necessary. It was no surprise to hear everyone singing the instructors’ praises after Day One; they really are on top of their game. A handy fall of snow overnight on Tuesday, stopping just before we boarded the funicular, gave us the most perfect conditions to practise on powder what we had learned on the generous slopes around Bellevarde. Clearly, each group operated in different environments, but the video replay evening at the Pacific Bar showed how we were all working on one main theme—the turn; in the powder, off the piste, on moguls, cruisy blues and steep reds there was no substitute for the mechanics of technique and no excuses for the vagaries of the route.

The weather was magnificent . It culminated in a fabulous final day with many of us taking to the glacier above the Solaise and Le Fornet areas. It was a pleasing surprise that wherever we went throughout the week, we always seemed to meet a crowd of SCoM members in the bar; that was especially true of the après. What skill so many members have with a bottle of weissbier and a curvy glass! Fortunately, they did not exhibit that technique at the delightful gathering hosted by Jonquil and Barry Lewis (and I was pleased to see that the mark left by my red wine two years ago was also absent).

What more is there to say? Many thanks to those involved in the preparation and delivery of such a successful and enjoyable holiday and several French oaths to the return coach driver who dropped us at the wrong terminal. ........................