Jules, Ellie, Matilda, Mia, Jemima, Amelie

First ever blue piste for the little ones – in dense fog. The huge advantage of this is that everybody stayed very close together in a line and with Jemima on form shouting at everyone who didn’t conform to her expectations we had our own built in foghorn. Everyone coped easily with the long route to the next lift which would lead to much higher, steeper and longer blue runs. I decided to go ahead with the challenge of the steeper runs while everyone was fresh.  Our only incident was when several skiers had snow stick to the wax on their skis half way down a steep section. Fortunately it didn’t take long to spot the problem and clean the skis.

While descending later on in slush Mia and Jemima tended to “plough” – but when they were told to keep the skis closer together they automatically achieved correct use of the feet and dynamics. This is because the uphill ski was allowed to stay on its uphill edge and was easy to “pull inwards” (downhill) into the new turn. This is mostly an unconscious blending of pivoting and dynamics. Having learned the two skills separately the blend happens spontaneously just by avoiding a wide, defensive stance. (When the uphill ski is held down close to the lower ski it is on its uphill edge – when spread out uphill it is on its inside edge). All I have to say to the girls though is “put your skis close together” – and immediately they are skiing parallel and with good dynamics even in slush and bumps. 

Cloud Breathing

The nose is the breathing organ – but all the children were breathing through the mouth. While in the cloud, breathing in and out through the nose lets you smell and feel the humid air differently. The slight restriction in breathing this causes increases blood CO2 – which in turn controls tissue oxygenation – giving more oxygen to your brain, heart and muscles. The greatest advantage however is that Jemima had to be silent when cloud breathing. Usually two seconds after setting off it was evident that the cloud breathing had already stopped!

Short Swings

We had a brief practise at pivoting, with Mia receiving a quick lesson having missed it yesterday and there was impressive progress all round (Mia also did some foot work indoors at the chalet in the morning). Tomorrow I’ll film the pivoting again to show the improvements. Today however it was to lead into Short Swings. The Short Swing is really a pivot but executed partially in mid air. Everything is the same but instead of pushing the body downhill against the ski pole you literally jump. (It gets more complicated but I’m keeping it simple here). The current goal is to give a method of getting around quickly when on something very steep and narrow. The exercise also enhances all the muscular coordination and movements we have been working on – but makes the legs more active and mobile. Later, we also used bumps for pivoting the fronts of the skis downhill, making great use of otherwise challenging terrain and conditions. The children were all enjoying the bumps and slush due entirely to the fundamental techniques they have learned being suitable for all conditions.


The slalom was filmed from behind to show how dynamics were being used to produce good parallel skiing. Not bad for day 5 beginners! Nobody was “pushing out” the skis, stemming or getting any major movements wrong. Magic foot, Magic Pull (front of ski), Magic Wall…. all the way!

Jules successfully escapes

Impressively, Jules managed to escape this time (only 2nd attempt) – completely unseen. Just as Amelia, Ellie and I were about to leave the top of the Plattier’s lift area at high altitude in dense fog out pops little Jules from a telecabine – having navigated the lift system by himself and not wanting to stop skiing. Luckily I’d stopped to clean Amelia’s goggles or we would have been off already without him. Meanwhile his distraught mum thought he had wandered off somewhere in town far below and didn’t even imagine he had somehow bypassed everyone and followed us up the mountain. While she must have felt horrified I felt overjoyed to have him safe by me. I called his dad immediately to let him know we had him at the top of the mountain.

Until now I’d only seen Jules a bit out of control when skiing slowly with the girls and thought this might be a long, slow descent. However I immediately put Jules to the test with our short turns on a steep and narrow run that serves as a boarder cross type circuit – and he was rock solid and on my tail the whole way. The entire descent was at a good speed and Jules skied like a seasoned skier – fully in control – even over big slushy bumps and in good rhythm – leaving the stronger girls way behind. Jules definitely has the right aptitude and his frightening escape turned out to have an incredibly positive outcome.

The new rule is “Never take a lift when there is nobody you know to accompany you. Just wait at the bottom if you are lost.”  Also – all the children should have a note with telephone numbers and residence written on it.

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