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Season Diary - Day 1: Welcome to the Jungle

Updated: Jan 28


What a day to kick off the 2023/24 season.


This day has been in my mind for a while; the first day back of any season always is. I was expecting to come back to the slopes and spend the day working on my technique. See, skiing is like riding a bike, in that you never really forget how to do it. But unlike riding a bike, it takes a little while just to shake off the rust and get back into the flow of things.


This is especially true with steeper and more challenging terrain, where technique is always the answer to any question posed by the terrain. Therefore, it is always, always worth taking some time to work on your technique - this could be a run, or this could be the whole day, just refreshing what you know.


I like to star big. Wide, long carving turns are much simpler and require less effort - and skill - to execute well and get you back in the flow. You still need to get your body position and weight right, however, so the long time you have in each turn is an excellent opportunity to work on pitching your weight slightly forward over your toes, and, of course, over your outside ski. You can also work hard to elevate your body and release all this weight at the end of the turn.


Once you have this down, you can begin to shorten your turns, working to move your legs more and more, and quicker and quicker beneath you, until you are back to your shredding best.


 

Best Laid Plans ...

See the trouble when it snows nearly 10 inches overnight is that you don't necessarily have the option to do this.


We were immediately seeking out the best powder we could find, which wasn't difficult. An initial run up and down Palafour, a nice blue run that just so happened to be my first run post-COVID, was all we had to warm up the legs.


Heading up the long slow Borsat chair we had plenty of time to think on our sins - mostly the fact that I was about to ski knee deep powder on 82mm skis. However, these were brand new top of the line skis from Völkl, and really did not disappoint.


The snow quality was also superb. I had to work really hard to release the skis from each turn, making a serious effort to keep knees and ankles together to help float through the powder. But when I drove the skis into the deep deep snow, I felt the entire snowpack push back, feeding me energy to help me round off my turns and push out and into the next one.


Marmottes became our playground, narrowly avoiding the preparations for the Val d'Isere World Cup Slalom taking place shortly to find some absolutely exquisite powder turns on short but sharp pitches.


The weather turned after lunch, however, and all we were able to do was float back to home and a well earned beer. Fierce winds made for some ugly chairlift rides and snow once again began to bucket down. The good news is that the snow has continued all evening yet again, meaning even more monster conditions for tomorrow!





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