Review of Snoworks Race Carve Course

Sunday, 23 November 2014  | 

Do you like speed? Do you ever feel that you need a bit more adrenaline in your life? Do you want to carve edge angles like you've never done before? If the answer is yes then you might want to take a look at trying out a Snoworks Race Carve course.

I had a spare week over the summer and decided to spend it summer skiing in Tignes. Typically the glaciated terrain for summer skiing is quite limited (about 20km in Tignes), so I thought it would be a good idea to do a structured course to keep me fully occupied.  I've been on a few Snoworks courses in the past and always enjoyed them, and so I decided that I'd give their Race Carve course a try- I thought this would improve my general skiing and, as I'm a low level dry slope race, help my dry slope gate technique.

First a word about Snoworks.  The driving forces behind the company are Phil Smith and his wife Emma Carrick-Anderson- you might recognise Emma's name as she one of Britain's most successful female skiers, representing GB at 4 Olympics and skiing many World Cup and Europa Cup seasons. Their team includes some of the most highly qualified and experienced British ski coaches, including Nick Quinn (ex-BASI technical director), who was my coach for the week.  So in short, whatever your skiing level, from recreational skier to national team level, Snoworks will have an instructor who is well able to stretch and improve you. A particular feature that I like about the Snoworks approach is the focus on output-oriented skiing and the development of open skills- in other words, versatility.

So to the course itself, which began with a brief orientation meeting on the evening before we started 5 days of skiing. As planned, we then met early the next morning (about 8am) at the top station to start our course.  By this time, the trainers will already have been up the hill for an hour or so, setting the gates and getting the courses ready. We quickly got going with a warm up run, then straight onto a variety of carving drills, all aiming to help us build bigger edge angles. Then the moment of truth- into the course! The courses we trained on were all giant slalom courses, which was new to me as we pretty much only race slalom on the dry slope. First impression- this was fast!  In fact very fast!  As well as fast it was thrilling, fun, scary, exciting and basically an absolute blast. As the week went past I noticed a progressive difference in my course-mates and my carving ability out of the gates- bigger angles, better grip, more control, better carving on steeper terrain, more speed tolerance. As we improved, we moved onto tougher terrain and harder courses- not at an uncomfortable rate, but enough to challenge us. By the end of the week, we were ready for the big event- the Snoworks race day. This is when you get the chance to imaging the other life you could have had as an FIS racer (well maybe!).  Standing in the start gate, the start timer beeping, explode through the timing wand and away you go, just you and the course.

My overall impression? More excitement than I've had in a long time, good company, great coaching and a real improvement in my skiing.  What's not to love? I will be back. I know I can get 2 seconds off my time.....