Big Snow is coming to Verbier soon…
There is definitely a wealth divide in Verbier, only the divide isn’t being measured with cash but with snow. And interestingly it is the north which has more than the south. The south facing slopes of Verbier are no longer white, or shades of white and brown, they are green! Spring really is here very early. However the recent snow fall last weekend has help keep the north rich in the white stuff, with north facing skiing in good condition. More snow is forecast for the coming weekend, I’ll keep you posted as to how the wealth is divided!
If you need some help over coming the divide this winter in Verbier then please do contact me Roddy Willis Verbier Ski Instructor.
In Rocky Garden Verbier today the party was still chilled. The darkened corners of Rocky Garden away from the heat of sun there is still epic powder to found. If, corn or spring snow is your thing then the season to be merry is here for those in the know. Like all great parties timing is the key, arrive to early and be welcomed by a crusty hard host. Arrive to late and all the guests have turned to slush and mush. Please contact me if you need a party guide to Verbier.
It seems to be only a few days ago that we were celebrating Shrove Tuesday. Eating banana filled pancakes smothered in chocolate sauce and washed down, nicely, with a little too much white wine. So, what on earth has this got to do with a snow report from Verbier? Well, as I said it seems like only a few days ago that I was stuffed to the gunnels and in need of forty days of Lent to recover from my over indulgence. However, with a sudden rise in temperature, it is as if the forty days of Lent have passed and the skiing is more akin to Easter. All very interesting. But, I think we will be firmly back on track with Lent from Saturday with the return of minus temperatures and HOPEFULLY some new snow.
The picture above shows my overheated skiing companions on the run to Mache and enjoying some fresh tracks high up the valley then soft slushy bumps on the lower slopes.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
The end of another epic weekend of powder skiing in Verbier.
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.