The exam had finally arrived! This was the week that our whole season revolved around. Our training had intensified to the point where the exam would seem like a walk in the park. The exam consists of five days continuous assessment, piste long, piste short, bumps, variables and steeps. We all had a welcome meeting on the Sunday evening to get to know our peers and meet our trainers. After that, it was all go!
The plan was to head to Savoleyres, where the aim of the day was to become accustomed with our trainer and start improving our short turns. The visibility was nothing short of horrendous, leaving morale at a comical “well, we can only do our best!” By the end of the day we had all been given something to work on in our shorts. The evening brought our first lecture of the week. We discussed our personal performance, and how we could develop it throughout the week. Immediately after, it was off to the pub for a quick pint and a cool down.
What a difference a day makes. The skies had cleared and the snow was perfect for some long turns. The group headed for the Verbier side of the mountain, specifically the red piste under the Mayentzet chairlift. After some hard skiing all morning we had our last run filmed by our trainer… No pressure then! After a brief break for lunch we headed for the infamous M25 bumps. These were a huge challenge but proved fun, with many of us getting thrown about. The trainers took some more video footage to end the day, after that we headed for home. The evening meeting was a review of our video footage. I found this especially helpful, as it is clear to see where I needed to improve.
The halfway point of the course and things were getting serious (well, almost). With really good off piste conditions and more clear skies we hit the variables. We headed to the top of Fontanet where we were greeted with fluffy powder. Everyone in the group was having a great time, especially when we grabbed some ‘air time’ between turns. After the on snow session we had all had a mid-week debrief. This was to give us an idea of where we were in regards to the level of skiing required. Naturally I was nervous going into the meeting with my trainer. The news was good however. As long as I didn’t take my foot off the gas I was on track to pass!
Thursday and Friday were crunch time. Both groups skied together, with both trainers scrutinising our every turn. The feeling was one of high intensity and stress, but to stay as relaxed as possible we all shared our worst jokes on the lift back up. Trust me, there were some howlers! As the day wore on we were all itching to know how we’d done. Eventually the trainers took us to our favourite variables pitch. They both split apart at the bottom and called us down one-by-one. Skiing up to Amanda (my trainer) I had a nervous smile on my face. She gave me a big hug and said, “Congratulations, you’ve passed!!” I was so happy I hugged her three more times!
Well that was it. All the hard work was done. The only thing left to do was prop up the bar. Everyone was in great spirits and having a ball, safe in the knowledge that we didn’t have to wake up to an exam in the morning.
Lastly, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Harry, Ross and Sega for all their hard work and input this season. Their expert training has helped all of us improve drastically this season. And of course without them I couldn’t have passed my tech exam. Thanks guys!