27th October 2009 | Ben Clatworthy, Racing and Sports Correspondent
The Kandahar Ski Team is race training in Saas Fee this week and I’m blogging from the slopes. The Kandahar coaches kids and has seen some of the best British racers pass through.
Konrad Bartelski, the Bell brothers, Chemmy Alcott and Ed Drake have skied with the Kandahar. I can’t pretend I will ever ski like them, but I have raced with the club for a few years and it is fun, especially at this time of year.
I always find it strange telling people that I’m skiing in October.
“There’ll be no snow”. “There’ll be nothing to do”. “Aren’t ski resorts closed now?” But the answer is no.
Here in Saas Fee the snow is in fine condition, the temperature is cold and the sun is shining. What more can you ask for?
The first day on snow is always slow to start; there are lift passes to be got, and various other administrational jobs to be tackled. I must say that Georgina, the chief organiser of us all, takes all this very much in her stride.To get to the top of Saas Fee you have to take 2 gondola lifts and then a train. Once at the summit we’re then able to put on our boots, which by this point are frozen inside, so just getting ones boots on can become quite the task.
There are loads of other people out enjoying the conditions.
October is often said to mark the beginning of the new race season and with this comes a new age category and therefore the regulations require me to use longer skis. These take a bit of time to get used to, so the real order of the day is free skiing and a chance to find our ‘ski legs’ again.
I must say that I breathed a sigh of relief this morning when I looked at the webcam from the comfort of our hotel; the temperature was -4 degrees, last week it was -17.
Many people I met on the glacier were very quick to tell me that it was ‘warm’ and that I should feel privileged that I wasn’t skiing a week ago.
Sadly early mornings don’t mean early lunches; we head off the glacier at 1.45 then grab a quick bite. However trainee ski racers days don’t end then, straight after lunch its back to the hotel for fitness training, video assessment work and ski prep; all of which I will talk more of in the coming days.
It ain’t a holiday. Honest!