More spiders in the snow

Verbier Snow Prediction Winter 2011-12 | Snow-Spiders

Verbier Snow Prediction

Massive Spider – It’s a sign

Verbier Snow Prediction

Each year I like to have a go at predicting the level of snowfall coming next winter to Verbier. You might remember last year I predicted that Volcanic ash would cause the ‘Mother of all Dumps’ and it was going to be a season of mega Pow! As you might imagine I need to find a different method of predicting next winters’ snowfalls, volcanoes in Iceland with strange names really didn’t produce the goods last winter.

MysticMikey (the guru of snow prediction) on Twitter has suggested trout swimming the wrong way and a ton of berries = SNOW. But I now think the number of oversized spiders in Verbier is the real talisman of mega snow. And here is the proof that next winter will produce the hundred-year-storm and we’ll ski fresh tracks every day of the winter.

Spiders helping predict snow in Verbier

More spiders…

If you have any pictures of whooper spiders that prove my theory? Then please do send them to me and I’ll publish them. Or, if you have seen any other signs that the storm is coming then please let me know.

Off out the door for some summer fun at the seaside

Verbier Snow Prediction Season 10/11

Verbier Snow Prediction 2010 - 2011

Epic Snow Conditions

Sitting around waiting for the skiing to start again I am predicting the future weather and snow in Verbier. If my research is correct we should be in for cooler climes over the next few years and that might mean more snow than usual next winter. So what is the reason for my snow prediction?

Answer: Gilbert White (18 July 1720 – 26 June 1793) recorded the effects on world climate after the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Laki in 1783. Laki is just next door to Eyjafjallajokull, the volcano which has caused airlines trouble this year in Europe.

In the years after Laki erupted the climate chilled in Europe and thousands died from famine caused by crop failure due to the cooler weather. I am not sure the size of the current Icelandic eruptions will cause a famine in these modern times. However, it might cause cooler average temperatures which could result in a fantastic snow conditions in Verbier next winter season.

Mean while it is time to enjoy the summer and I am off out the door for a spot of fun.

Off out the door for some summer fun at the seaside

If you’ve got this far maybe read another or my snow prediction blogs or book some skiing in Verbier!

Wet snow avalanches in Verbier

Verbier After The Storm

Wet snow avalanches in Verbier

After the Storm – Wet Snow Avalanches in Verbier

You might be thinking from my last blog ‘The storm is brewing‘ that it is all doom and gloom in Verbier. I can report that there is still skiing on the pistes in Verbier. Above 2800 meters the snow is still dry and crisp. All north facing itineraries are now open again. The itineraries Vallon d’Arbi, Col de Mines are closed. In the morning the pistes are firm and defrost with heat of the day, turning to slushy bumps in afternoon. So, the afternoons are fantastic fun for the keen mogul skiers.

Here are some pictures of the aftermath of the events last Sunday. So, the positive side is the snow which has fallen onto the piste can be used to maintain the skiing over the Easter holidays.

All in all the skiing is still very good in Verbier. Maybe time to book your Easter ski lessons.


Full depth wet snow avalanche

The Storm Is Brewing | Verbier March 2010

Full depth wet snow avalanche

Extra-ordinary times in Verbier

The avalanche risk this morning shifted to Level 4. The avalanche bulletin also had warnings for all aspects of the mountain, especially on steep slopes below 2600 meters. What is extra-ordinary is that the increased risk is not from a massive snow-fall but a sequence of extra-ordinary weather.

Three days of very hot sunshine causing wet snow slides in the afternoon on southerly aspects of the mountain. This is not un-common for this time of year. But the mild temperatures over night have stopped the snow pack re-freezing, which has increased the risk of avalanches. This has caused large slides on the Col de Mine, Route Carrefour and Creblet. Also, closing some ski lifts and all the classic itineraries in the afternoon.

Saturday brought heavy cloud cover and the threat of precipitation. As I skied back to Verbier the weather turned for the worse with rain at over 2600 meters. At the same time there were avalanches on all aspects of the mountain. During the course of Saturday night the rain fell like cats and dogs, increasing the risk of avalanche from yesterdays 3 to 4.

Mountain Security

This morning the residents of Verbier were awoken with the noise of the mountain security teams blasting, a noise normally associated with a powder dump! Not a rain dump…. This morning as I met my clients at 9am it was still raining. After hanging around drinking coffee till 11 waiting for lifts to open, normally the sign for a great day of powder, the resort decided to close all lifts for the day due to avalanche risk.

In my 22 years in the Alps, resorts have shut because there has been too much snow but not because it has rained! Hopefully the predicted drop in temperature later this week will stop the thaw and maybe bring some fresh snow.

wet snow avalanche falls across the piste in Verbier

If you want to learn more about the weather and snow then it’s maybe time to book ski lessons with Roddy

Intersting snow has fallen in Verbier

Carnival Snowfall Verbier

Intersting snow has fallen in Verbier

Carnival Snow Verbier

An interesting phenomenon appeared on Saturday, a new form of snow fell on the streets of Le Chable, consisting of flat colourful discs and falling in a localised area on the main road through la Chable. All very interesting and I have decided to call the Swiss weather service to report my findings. See picture above.

Anyway onto the real news, my skiing partners for today arrived at the meeting point looking a little bedraggled from the previous evenings carnival festivities. They talk of visiting all sorts dancing spots and strange bars as it is the 25th anniversary of the Carnival des Bagnes.  All this leaves me wondering if this has anything to with the strange snow I have seen!

It is half term week and the slopes are getting are busy and with a low temperatures there are still pockets of powder to be found in a few secret stashes around the four valleys. Closer to home the pistes in Verbier are firm and well groomed in the morning then turning to bumps and ice in the afternoon with the half term traffic. The skiing off the groomed pistes in Verbier is turning to moguls as can be seen in the second of my photos which is lots of fun if that if moguls are your thing!


Road to the Olympics

Road to the Olympics

Road to the Olympics

By Andy Longley

My journey to the Olympics started on the 29th of November 2009, coincidentally this was my 19th birthday. I boarded a plane in Manchester airport and flew to Copenhagen where I had a 7hour layover before boarding a second flight to Helsinki then followed a 3hour layover before flying to my final airport of Kuusamo. The travelling was not done yet though, I then got on a further 2hour bus ride to the town of Suomu Tunturi (on the arctic circle). I was here for the ‘Freestyle Premier’ the opening world cup events for the 09-10 Winter Olympic season. Having registered for the competition I was shown to my cabin where I was to stay for the duration of the event.

I awoke the morning of the first training day at 7am eager to ski, as I opened the curtains the first thing that struck me was how dark it was in fact I never saw the sun for the entire time I was in Finland it just got light at around 11am and by 1pm it was going dark again. The other thing to notice when you are in the Arctic Circle is the serious cold temperatures of around -20, which keeps the snow super dry yet firm when it is skied into moguls.

My first two days training went well, the course had a huge jump at the bottom with a big vertical drop which allowed for a lot of drop time.  I chose to train a cork 720 on the top Jump and a Back flip on the bottom, where normally you would do the bigger trick at the bottom.

Competition day one seemed to go really well, I dropped in for my run one of the last competitors to ski. I skied into the top jump rather cautiously as I am not too used to landing a cork in the top moguls however I did stomp the jump and land perfectly in line for the next bumps. I continued on down the middle section skiing maybe a little slower than I would have hoped but came into the top jump without too much of a speed check and went HUGE, I again stomped this jump and crossed the finish line. I scored 17.96 points in this competition which wasn’t bad to say I did ski slower that I would have hoped but I did finish 42 nd.

After having a welcome break over Christmas and New Year at home It was time for the World Cup tour to resume in Calgary, Canada. After an interesting flight from Manchester to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Calgary (flying back over the UK?) we arrived in Calgary and drove to our hotel.

Arriving at the Westin, Calgary was definitely a welcome surprise it’s not often on the world cup tour that the organisers put you up in a 4star city hotel. The second surprise of the trip was yet to come, when we drove over to COP (Canada’s Olympic Park) I found that the moguls course was made on the landing of the old ski flying hill where Eddy the Eagle jumped in the ’88 games. This in its self meant that there was an interesting twist to the course, the top section of the course was pretty mellow with really technical bumps but then half way down the middle section the gradient increased 7degrees from 26 to 33degrees. This meant that the section where you can usually let the skis run was the section where you had to ‘slam on the anchors’ and control your speed for the jump.

Competition Day 1

Well it seems that the snow seems to want to change every day, the first day on the course it was -32 and the second day it was -18 which meant that the snow stayed super soft however on the 3rd day (first comp day) it had been super warm during the morning causing the snow to melt slightly and set super hard in the afternoon before competition. I went through my run being super cautious and not wanting to ski out or crash like I knew many before me had done. I landed both airs with some sketchy skiing but all in all I was happy and finished a respectable 37 th, around halfway in the field.

Competition Day 2

Again day 4 brought completely different conditions, the snow was soft and formed the bumps perfectly. My training runs went really well, and I was feeling super confident on improving on the day before, unfortunately when i dropped in for my actual competition run things didn’t go as planned, i hit the first few moguls wrong which left me fighting for control until the bottom jump. I hasten to add that my result wasn’t as good as the days before, finishing in 44 th position.

Deer Valley

After having spent what seemed like an eternity sitting on the plane in Calgary airport we eventually took off and two hours later landed in Salt Lake City. The reason for the delay in take off no-one knew but why, however we were all thinking that as there were around 40 seats on the plane and 35 of us were skiers with a Hold bag and 2pairs of skis that they were having problems fitting all the luggage on. As we stood in baggage reclaim we realised this was the case, everyone seemed to receive their ski bags but the majority of hold baggage was no-where to be seen.

Due to having no ski boots, clothes, goggles (basicly everything but skis and poles) we spent the first day in deer valley doing nothing much at all except calling salt lake airport every hour to see if luggage had arrived yet as we were missing the first of 2 training days. Fortunately that night our luggage did arrive at around 9pm so it was at least nice to go to bed knowing you had a clean change of clothes in the morning.

I woke up the next morning excited that I could finally train on the infamous ‘champions run’ in deer valley, this course if famous because of the 2002 Winter Olympic games where Jonny Mosely surprised the crowd by doing the first inverted jump in a moguls competition ‘the dinner roll’. To do this trick Mosely essentially passed over the opportunity to win gold, but he changed the sport of mogul skiing forever as inverted aerials are now common place in the bumps. It was the games in 2002 that sparked my personal interest in freestyle skiing.

Having ridden the chair to the top of the course I started the inspection, the first thing to note about deer valley is that the gradient never backs off it is a constant 29degree slope. Another thing to notice is just how much bigger the jumps are than any of the other world cup stops, it is a true show-mans course. During training I tried many different trick variations and decided that for the first competition at least I would do a Backflip at the top and a Lincon Loop (sideflip) at the bottom.

Competition day 1, training went well. I got everything down as I had in practice the day before. This made me feel confident as I stepped into the gate, I dropped in and the top section felt perfect a big backflip off the top jump and then I was into the middle section. Time to charge, unfortunately when you make a slight mistake in moguls it is made very quickly into a big one, so I had a few leg splits in this section. Needless to say I was penalised by the judges for these mistakes again and finished 44 th in the event. Pretty much a similar story for competition day 2, except I went back to my preferred trick of a cork 720 on the bottom jump and finished 42nd in the event.

Looking back on the last 2 years and my road to the Olympics I am not ashamed to say I didn’t qualify, I needed to be ranked in the top30 in the world and I currently sit in the mid 30’s. I am happy to have got so close and I still have time on my side, 2010 would have been great for my experience but now its time to get training for 2014. It is my dream to get onto the podium in Sochi, Russia now I have to make that dream reality.


Powder tracks Savoleyres Verbier

Epic Powder Days In Verbier

Epic Verbier Off-Piste Skiing

Verbier off-piste skiing came alight at the weekend with a fresh snow fall of 30cm and more in places.

The snow started on Friday and s the snow fell all day and into the night.  A bluebird day was predicted for Saturday. I knew we were in for a great few days of epic Verbier powder skiing.

I met my skiing partners early Saturday morning. We headed straight for the front side of Savoleyres for two epic powder runs in the sunshine down to the town. We quickly followed this up with an amazing run from Creblet taking the high traverse towards Col de Mines. Fantastic conditions holding out all weekend. Monday we squeezed in a hike to the top of Greppon Blanc and skied in perfect powder to the valley floor. The best tasting hot dog in the Alps was waiting for us at the bottom. We then took the bus back to le Masses and made our way back to Verbier via a number of special side stashes of powder.

Epic powder fun for all the Verbier the crew, Emma TH, Amy, Jack and Babs from Beauty in Motion.

Keep an eye out for my future blogs and maybe book some off piste skiing in Verbier and the four Valleys.

Verbier Off Piste Skiing

More Epic Snow

The end of another epic weekend of powder skiing in Verbier.

Freeski Camp Zermatt

Zermatt Half Pide Shread

By: Oli The FreeSkier

We arrived in Zermatt to be greeted by the sight of the sun lit Matterhorn, what a great place for the first Freeski camp! After a day of organising final details, quest coach Andy Longley and myself were joined by Roddy Willis sports NLP and mental performance coaching.

First, Roddy focused his attentions on Andy Longley, he’s currently Britain’s number one moguls skier and is destined for the Olympics after achieving top results in the world champs last year. Roddy started mapping Andy’s thought process off the mountain by asking a series of progressive questions over a couple of hours. Following questions reasoning would be applied to the answers and then a statement or question reversed, perhaps even the use of some complex rhetoric. Following this Roddy returned to the same questions and received very different and more positive answers from Andy, who then remained determined and confident throughout the week – sometimes to my dismay – and shows that if you’re open to it then NLP can have a powerful positive effect on sports performance.

Next up on Roddy’s hit list the Freeski campers, everyone seemed a little intimidated by the prospects of hitting the park for a week with a new peer group on the first official day. Roddy worked his magic on the Campers and also taught Andy and I the basics of how to imbed commands into our natural speech (it’s actually pretty tricky, especially when you are consciously attempting it). Together we seemed to quickly create a relaxed environment, and everyone both opened up to our ideas and started to get stuck in.

This NLP malarkey really works when you want it to, Freeski will definitely be collaborating with Roddy on future camps and Freeski team training.

Happy Campers



what do you do in the summer?

Ski instructors | What they do in the summer?

What do ski instrcutors do in the summer

What do ski instructors do in the summer?

“I am a dolphin trainer at Brighton aquarium”
“Gosh, really, how did you become a dolphin trainer?”

Pretty much everyone who works in a ski resort will at some time have been asked about their summer job. At the start of my ski career I would respond with a number of different made up answers, including dolphin trainer!

But what do you really do in the summer?

I am a qualified furniture designer and cabinetmaker. What that really means is I can pretty much make anything from wood. Over the years my summer career has developed. From designing and making furniture to building bespoke kitchens, high spec bathrooms, designing and building shops and the project management of chalet construction projects.

If you need help with your building or renovation project this summer then check out or contact me.

Or in the winter season book me for some ski lessons in Verbier


Another great day skiing in Verbier

Yes another perfect day in paradise – Well…. someone has to live the dream!

Yes another perfect day in paradise

Well someone has to live the dream! Yes I was exclusively living the Verbier dream today and nearly forgot again to bring you the latest skiing conditions and weather updates. Perfect piste, perfect sunshine, and a mixture of variable off piste – all topped of with a lovely dollop of sunshine.

Outlook for the rest of the week: The official weather forecasts are predicting another couple of days of sunshine followed by a heavy snowfall late Thursday.  The slightly un-orthodox meteorologist MysticMikey has smelt the bacon and said it is going to snow!

Yes another perfect day in paradise – Well someone has to live the dream!