Sunday, 13 November 2011

Overdue update and a trip to Italy.

I've not put a post up since the end of our first week in Tignes, with one group just finished and we were waiting for another.

Well, the second weeks group arrived and were mainly made up of Irish trainees (19 of them!) out on a selection camp for the World Schools Champs (being held in Gressoney, Aosta, In March).

We had a good few days of GS training with some improvements being made by the guys, once we'd sorted out some of the kit. We had 50kg guys turning up with 140 flex boots! At least we had Jules from the Boot Room (Chamonix) up here and on hand to help with the boot issues.

Coaches Harri, Euan and Brian with Trainee George
The planned slalom training didn't happen due to the glacier being stormbound on that day so the guys left on November 6th having done some worthwhile GS.
The storms that shut the glacier brought us some fresh, and very welcome, snow for a few days off and a bit of R & R for me.

So after a few days relaxing and free skiing, we headed off to Aosta to check out our base for the winter and to have a sneaky trip to the Milan International Motorcycle show which is the biggest of it's kind with a lot of new models on display and some great displays outside the halls.
Firstly though, we stayed in the centre of Aosta in the Hotel Europe which was very nice.

Aosta town hall - taken with Photsynth

After a nice meal we were set for the trip to Milan, via our base which is looking good for the winter, sitting up above Aosta town with some amazing views (below) and still only 10 minutes from the main Pila Gondola!

So today was back to business as usual with some SG training on the glacier in preparation for the 2 mens SG races this week and a DH on Friday. We've got one athlete out so he's pretty spoilt as far as training and feedback are concerned.
At the end of the week it's off to Ireland for a few days to shadow a coaching course for me, then back out here to Tignes where, hopefully, we may see snow start to fall in the villages.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Great Conditions and training in Tignes!

This last week has seen the first block of training for us up on the Grand Motte in Tignes.

With a reasonably small group for week one of 14 and 3 coaches, we had an awesome weeks training with only one day lost due to high winds on the glacier. The rest of the week saw mainly sunny skies and great snow with only one morning starting in the cloud.

One morning starting in the cloud 
One or two courses!!
The conditions worked in the athletes favour, meaning some great work being done, leading to meaningful improvement for all of those training here.
Yesterday saw the departure of the first group and arrival of a small number who are training over the weekend. This morning, we headed up to set slalom for just two trainees and were asked to team up with another club. It turns out they only have two trainees but they're some of the best in their region. The Comite Du Mont Blanc. This gave our guys something to aim for!

Looking down on this mornings course 
Panorama of the course using Photosynth 

Next group arrive tomorrow with 19 trainees from Ireland and two more coaches so it's going to be a busy week, with more snow forecast for mid week to refresh the glacier we're looking forward to it!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

New Kit Arrivals

In the last few days we've had a load of new kit arrive for the season.

On Saturday, we picked up a load of brushgrip bases to replace the screw in's on most of our gates. This will make our coaches job easier this winter, and make setting much quicker with no keying in. Thanks to Ski Bitz for these and the discount they're offering for Impulse club members.

Then yesterday, a few boxes of Skis and boots for the coaching staff arrived making us a happy bunch.

A BIG thanks to the guys at Head UK for this lot. Not just race skis in there either. There's a few 'toys'.

Still lots to do before we travel out to the mountains later in the month, including setting up for the London SKi and Board Show at Earls Court next week - Come and visit us on Stand J1 (The Valle D'Aosta Stand), just as you walk into the exhibition hall. We'll also be in Birmingham, the following week at the British Ski + Board Show!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Irish Champs Bursary Winners.

We've just come back from Kilternan, near Dublin, where we attended the Irish Champs.
We've been at these races for a number of years now and this time, we gave away two bursaries to Irish racers, 1 male and one female.
In order to give all the Irish racers a chance, these prizes were drawn, rather than given to winners of categories. 
The two lucky winners were:

Emily Ainsworth and Alex Doogan. These guys won a weeks training package with us over the winter.

There was some great racing at the weekend, despite the weather!

We struggled to see the top of the slope through the fog and rain for the dual on Saturday!

With rain ALL day on Saturday and even some fog later in the day, the Dual slalom was interesting as you couldn't se the top of the slope from the bottom!
The rain eased off overnight and it was reasonably dry on Sunday, with low cloud visible over Dublin bay from the top of the hill.

Cloudy over Dublin Bay

The Mens race on Sunday saw what was probably the tights finish we've seen this summer with only 5 hundredths of a second seperating the top 3.
Tom Hales, 1 hundredth ahead of Gerard Flahive who was 4 hundredths ahead of Andrew Watson.

The slope itself is set in some great countryside and, even with the wet weather, it was a great weekend.

Views from around the slope

Some of the Irish lads modelling the events t shirts

Friday, 30 September 2011

New Training Kit Designs

Today we received the designs for our new catsuits, training jackets and shorts. It was great to se our designs on the new kit just ahead of our trip over to Ireland for their Champs this weekend.

We think they look great. They're now available to order so contact us if you're interested. We will be organising an evening at Hemel to try sizing.

Catsuit back

Catsuit front

Softshell Front

Softshell Back

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Looking Forward to the Irish Champs Weekend

This weekend is the last big race of the artificial slope season at Kilternan, Ireland.

We're joint sponsors of the event with The Great Outdoors who have been sponsoring the event since forever! We're giving away 2 training bursaries to Irish racers. This is a continuation of the long association we have with Irish racing, in fact, this will be the 17th year that Phil has attended the event!

T shirts for all competitors

Good luck to all of our racers in Ireland this weekend and those racing at the Ersa Champs at Hemel.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Congratulations to our Bursary winners!

This weekend was the All England Championships, held at Norfolk ski club.
Aosta Race Academy Sponsored the event, giving away four bursaries as prizes.

It was a great day with a really good turnout making for some great racing. The first course was set by Sally Bartlett which saw quite a few of the field have problems. The second course was set by Impulse and ARA head coach, Phil Brown. This course initially looked easier than the first but proved to be as tricky for several athletes.

The ARA bursaries were presented after the main prize giving. Phil presented the main awards followed by these. The prizes were drawn from start numbers. We think this gives the racers an equal chance of winning and opens the chance up to more athletes.
Our winners were:
Mini Girls - Megan Skipper from Norfolk
Mini Boys - Thomas Reidy from Norfolk
Ch and Jnr Girls - Ella Ward from Chill Factore
Ch and Jnr Boys - Simon Wilkins from Telford

The above athletes can look forward to a weeks training out at our base in Aosta this season!

Phil Presenting the main prizes

L-R: Ella Ward, Megan Skipper with their award, Phil Brown

A nice touch! The ARA logo on all of the trophies in recognition of our sponsorship

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Landgraaf day 2

Today we got into some gates, albeit stubbies. I've not seen so many teams here at one time before. There were six lanes in use for most of the day with a new start ramp servicing one of the lanes. This was above the snow start ramp that is there for the rest of the summer.

So, we had a tech session first thing followed by a couple of hours in the stubby course on the medium injected part of the hill. This was great training after the tech sessions we've been running over the last day and a bit with some interesting changes to the trainees skiing from previously.

We finished with a short tech session to build on what we'd seen in the gates.
Tomorrow will see a a get session in the morning, a short tech session then we'll be on our way back to the UK.
We've got another Landgraaf camp next month for a couple of days and there are a few places left on it.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Back Into The Big Freezer

Today was the first day of our Bank Holiday camp at Landgraaf. It's our second trip here this season but there are no races this time.
There are a shed load of teams here though, including the Savoie girls team and the Swiss EC mens team - great to watch for our guys.

Loads of team vans and extra containers for ski tuning!

So, we worked on about 5.5 hours of tech over the day with some good improvements for all athletes. Tomorrow sees a short tech session to build on this, followed by a gate session with stubbies to take the improvements into the course.

All in all, a good day today and we're looking forward to tomorrow to see how the guys fare in the stubbies. The training side of the hill looks good with 2 rollers now set on it to give the guys a little extra challenge. Should be great fun!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Aosta Academy Trainee Picks Up Awards!

Impulse and ARA trainee Finlay Davies has just picked up a place on the Gifted and Talented programme at his regions Multi Skills Academy.

Fin was selected by his school, along with around 250 children from his region to attend 2 assessment mornings where he was selected, along with only 16 others to go forward in the programme.

Fin believes all the work he has put in for his skiing was a major factor in this achievement.

From here, Fin will attend further sessions later in the year where he’ll  perform tasks such as those featured on the MSA website here.

It’s a great milestone for Fin as he moves up to secondary school and gets ready for the season ahead. His preparation has been has gone well with skills and drills on the indoor yielding some great results (see below).

Finlay with His Trophies

The final round of the British Indoor Grand Prix Series finished at Castleford (Leeds) recently with Fin entering the race on the same points in the series as his nearest competitor going into the last race of the series.
 The pressure was on and there were also some other racers in the mix who could turn the results up side down (Ryan McCann over from Austria) and British Team member Scott Buchan. However,  due to the points, the fight for the title was between Nathan and Fin.
 Fin only had to beat Breeze to claim the series title but put on in immense push and ended up winning on the Saturday.

The next day the pressure was off - the championship title was in the bag (and the cheque for £100!).
With this in mind whatever happen in Sundays race, which was for the British Indoor Championship title, was a bonus.
Fin again put in 2 blinding runs beating his competition by two tenths overall to win the title.

ARA programme director Phil Brown said 'This reinforces what our athletes can achieve with the continuity of our program and the hard work that they perform in order to achieve their goals. We expect to see more of our athletes moving in this direction as we become established at our new base over the coming season'.

For more information on Fin or the other athletes from Aosta Race Academy, visit

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Roundup On The Irish Summer Camp

The camp finished on Saturday but we've not been able to get this final blog uploaded until now.
What can we say, another really great camp this summer with a great group of trainees who were really engaged with what they were doing.

The camp ran with mainly technical training, only introducing stubby gates on the penultimate day of the four day camp and full gates on the final day. We used a reference task with video on day one and then re did this on the last day. When we combined the video from day one and the final day, the results were really obvious for the athletes to see and there were some great improvements.

The final afternoon saw us running a dual slalom to give the group a little competition and fun to finish the camp on.

All in all, it was a great camp to work on and thanks to The Ski Club of Ireland for organising it, Brian Byrne for coaching, Head skis and Bartletts for supplying some test skis for the trainees.

Next for us is a camp in Landgraaf this coming bank holiday weekend.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Back in the Emerald Isle

This week we are back at Kilternan and the Ski Club of Ireland for the second time this year. This time it's our annual trip to run the summer camp on the dry slope over here.

Working with local coach Brian Byrne, we've got a mixed group of athletes with some coming from the club and some from the schools training that we came over for earlier this year so most of them are trainees that we've worked with previously, some for many years.

Today was the second day of the camp and we're running until Saturday. We've been working on slow drills to take the athletes back and work on their fundamental skiing. After 2 days we're already seeing great improvements and the guys are all really engaged with what we're doing which makes it really enjoyable to do.

The setting here is great with views from the top over Dublin bay and the disused golf course next to the slope is hope to several deer that we see on most days here. The weather has held well so far with a great sunny day yesterday and the threat of rain today that didn't materialise. I'm not sure that our luck with the weather will remain right through the camp, but we'll see what tomorrow brings.

The deer on the old golf course

The View Over Dublin Bay From The Top Of The Sope

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Back To The Dry Slope!

It was out of the fridge and onto the mat yesterday with a training day at Gloucester with their club.
It's a while since I've been to the slope and it was interesting to see it a little shorter, but with some great start ramps at the top.

It was a warm day but, fortunately, the slope is well served with a mist system so the smell of burning base wasn't too prevalent!
With a small group, we ran with drills for the morning and beginning of the afternoon, putting what was learnt into some stubby courses and eventually full gates.
All the trainees seemed to take some improvement from the day which was proven when some of them competed in the summer league race today at the slope. With teams from Torquay, Avon, Midlands ski club and Gloucester itself.

The racing has a great format with 2 timed runs in the morning and then all racers put into groups of four to run a dual slalom. The groups are organised from the mornings runs with similar times for all for members of the group. This makes for some close and exciting dual slalom racing.

Hopefully we'll be back here for some more training later in the summer.

Well, off to Ireland on Tuesday to run the annual Ski Club Of Ireland Summer Camp so the next blog will be from the emerald isle.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Head Camp at Hemel - Last Day

Well, the last day of this camp today, and what a great day it was! The guys were working on various drills to improve their lateral seperation with great success.
Just before lunch, the slope staff set a tight course of brush gates, not dissimilar to the course of stubbies we used yesterday afternoon.
When asked if our racers would ski this course to start building a rut line, we needed no further encouragement. The group showed great improvement over previous days and had a great session.

Some of the group outside the centre

This afternoon saw the training step up a little. The slope has had a roller on one side for some time now but this was made a little more extreme last night, in preparation for the freestyle sessions tonight and tomorrow.
This allowed us to have some fun with setting, using the terrain to allow the trainees to increase their versatility in the course. With the quite sharp drop off after the roller It made for some inventive course setting.

That's it for our camps at Hemel this summer. I'll be at Gloucester tomorrow and then a summer camp in Kilternan (Dublin) next week.

Then it's out to landgraaf for the August Bank Holiday to get 3 days training in on the awesome 500m indoor slope.