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Getting better, much better - Jane Peel, Tignes
Thursday January 21, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

PlanetSKI's Jane Peel is trying to become a better skier. She has taken 1 step back, but when will the 2 steps forward come? It's all in the mind.

How to ski - part three

Positive mental attitude.

As I approach the end of my Snoworks experience, I conclude that is what I need.

I give myself a good talking to, tell myself I'm not a bad skier, and that today I will go out, feel at one with the mountain, and just ski. 

At the top of the lift I clip into my Salomon Lumens and think of nothing but the rhythm I want for my turns, chanting under my breath, "right foot, left foot".

Suddenly, it's effortless.  

I'm balanced.  I'm in control. And I'm relaxed, even now we are being taken on steeper, deeper terrain.

There are still lumps and bumps underneath the powder, but I am concentrating only on what the edges underneath my feet are doing, and it's working. 

I allow myself a few squeals of delight as I drive through the powder, and when I stop, all I can think to say is  hoo-flipping-ray!

I look up the slope and imagine Emma's  eyes widening under her goggles.

Waiting fo Emma and the othersWaiting fo Emma and the others













I finally "get" and have managed to apply the Snoworks philosophy.

I am more comfortable all over the mountain, including in the trees, where I've been helped to overcome a slight paranoia about skiing into them. 

"Don't look at them," was a good piece of advice. 

No longer scary treesNo longer scary trees













"Pick your route first, then look at the snow just beneath your downhill ski".   

Most importantly, it's made me realise I've spent too long over-complicating the sport. 

Some of the techniques I was taught years ago simply don't work away from the groomed pistes.

None of this will be new to the many fans of Snoworks.  They keep coming back for more.

Phil HardingPhil Harding













Phil Harding, who's in Tignes for the season,  has just completed his 26th course in 11 years.

He is now very much an advanced skier.  

"I like the fact that all the instructors make the focus very easy to accomplish," he tells me.

"They will not overburden you with too much information.  It's about focussing on simple concepts that have a significant effect on how you ski".

Phil Harding in the powderPhil Harding in the powder















In contrast,  Sally Horsburgh has just finished her first Snoworks course.

She tells me she will celebrate her 60th birthday this year.   

Sally HorsburghSally Horsburgh













"I started skiing 30 years ago for one or two weeks a season," she says. "Now I ski for five or six weeks a year but I haven't had a lesson in about 25 years.

"I was beginning to feel I was losing my confidence on anything difficult - the bumps, blacks and off-piste.

"The course has confirmed that my basic technique is there and has fine-tuned things to give me back my confidence.

"I definitely want to come back and do another course next year".

Ringing endorsements indeed,  from a Snoworks veteran, a first-timer and even - after some early scepticism -  yours truly!

Happy at last!Happy at last!


















Thank you Emma Carrick-Anderson, Phil Smith and all at Snoworks.


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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