Luke, Leonie, Florence, Tibo – Conquering Comfort

Photo of Florence starting off the day doing her Jawa (Star Wars) impersonation… This being Florence’s 21st birthday the day would be organised around her objective to get to the highest point in the 3 valleys. We actually achieved that because the Cime Carron is the highest point at 3200m. There is a higher point but technically it’s actually in another valley and there isn’t time to get there and back from Courchevel without skipping lunch. Following an over-intensive technical day yesterday the goal for today was “FUN”!  This would mean keeping everyone within their technical limits but also looking for some adventure depending on the snow and visibility conditions.  The sky cleared and about 30cm of fresh snow was available at altitude. Just skiing longer runs with Florence behind me revealed that she would keep up a good pace and even remain on my heels when we strayed off piste. It turns out that Florence copes better when she can follow and she is probably able to copy my dynamics directly to some degree. Some people operate well by copying and the related learning process is called “osmosis”. There would be no other technical input today, partly because the travelling meant that we had to either ski or rest and partly because it was important for everyone to just get the chance to tackle terrain and snow by having the opportunity to simply try out all they have been learning. All I was doing was finding opportunities – good snow and safe routes off piste.


After skiing was over there was an official awards ceremony. Leonie took top spot for “most Improved” as she was tackling all sorts of black runs and steep off piste with good control. Luke won the “Best Jump” for his spectacular leap onto the Air Bag – and also “Best Face Plant” for his final fall off piste in deep snow where he flipped over backwards and headfirst down the mountain. (unfortunately not filmed). Tibo won the “Most Potential” award and we all agreed that he has the most potential energy – though nobody really knows what energy actually is… ( Florence won the “Most Natural” because she just functions by following and copying and can only ski her best when there is no mental interference. Her basic movements – when relaxed – are the most natural.                                   Conquering “comfort” … the favourite poem of general Douglas McArthur … YOUTH POEM
By: Samuel Ullman

            Youth is not a time of life - it is a state of mind,
            it is a temper of the will,
            a quality of the imagination,
            a vigor of the emotions,
            a predominance of courage over timidity,
            of the appetite for adventure over love of ease.

            Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years.
            People grow old only by deserting their ideals.
            Years wrinkle the skin,
            but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.
            Worry, doubt, self-distrust,
            fear and despair - these are the long,
            long years that bow the head and
            turn the growing spirit back to dust.

            Whether they are sixteen or seventy,
            there is in every being's heart
            the love of wonder,
            the sweet amazement at the stars
            and starlike things and thoughts,
            the undaunted challenge of events,
            the unfailing childlike appetite
            for what is to come next,
            and the joy and the game of life.

            You are as young as your faith,
            as old as your doubt;
            as young as your self-confidence,
            as old as your fear,
            as young as your hope,
            as old as your despair.
            When the wires are all down
            and all the innermost core of your heart
            is covered with the snows of pessimism
            and the ice of cynicism,
            then you are grown old indeed.

            But so long as your heart receives messages
            of beauty, cheer, courage, grandeur
            and power from the earth,
            from man and from the Infinite,
            so long you are young.

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