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Learning to ski the whole mountain - Jane Peel, Tignes
Thursday January 21, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

PlanetSKI is on an all-terrain course with the company, Snoworks, in Tignes. The course lived up to its name with all weather conditions as well as all terrain.

How to ski - Part two

Day two of my Snoworks experience dawned much as the first. 

Opening the curtains revealed another snowy scene, but I now knew that bad visibility and unpredictable snow should not affect my skiing. 

Well, that was the theory. 

"You're overthinking, Jane," my instructor, Emma Carrick-Anderson told me.

I was trying to concentrate so hard on what was going on with my feet that everything was going horribly wrong. 

It is all in the feet according to Snoworks as I discovered on the first part of the course.

My brain would not work quickly enough to process everything I was asking it to do, and it was not sending the right signals to the body. 

I was standing up, bouncing up and down with my upper body.

I was not keeping low enough to the ground,  not flexing the knees enough to maintain control of my edges.

I'm as stiff as a board, I moaned.   

"Stiffness is in the mind," Emma responded.

Emma shows how its doneEmma shows how its done













The next 24 hours or so can best be described as character-building. 

Or frustrating.

It was taking me a long time to clear my mind of previous instruction and the very specific techniques I'd been taught.

Others in Emma's group were getting it much quicker than I was.

Rosie gets itRosie gets it













Even after the sun came out for the first time in the week, lifting the entire group's spirits, my skiing was still in the doldrums.

Sunshine lifts the spiritsSunshine lifts the spirits














I was struggling to cope off-piste. 

Unfortunately for me, because of the amount of snow, everywhere seemed to be off-piste!

This was another problem. 

I couldn't stop being negative, constantly criticising my perceived failures. 

I wasn't focussing on the "now".

Emma's advice was that I should think about off-piste skiing as a series of recoveries. 

It doesn't matter what you look like, if you stay on your feet, you're doing OK.

"Ski like a child," Emma advised me.  "Children ski in the here and now".

Emma coaches JaneEmma coaches Jane















It should be pretty straightforward, shouldn't it?

All I had to do, she said, was change the pressure from one foot to the other in a pedalling action in order to change direction. 

No forced turns, just move from one inside edge to the other. 

And not overthink.


Surely it had to work.

Find out if there's a happy ending in the final instalment of my Snoworks experience, coming soon...


Snoworks run a range of courses, from helping skiers overcome the intermediate plateau to hardcore backcountry adventures for the more advanced skiers. 

For more information go to

Jane stayed at Mark Warner's Chalet Hotel L'Ecrin in Tignes Val Claret. Mark Warner ( offers a week's chalet board at L'Ecrin for £899 per person, based on two sharing, including flights from Gatwick and transfers, departing on 13 March 2016. 

Departures from other airports, including Heathrow, are available. 

 See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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