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January Gap Course – 8th week

Two things became apparent to me before this week began. First, this experience has gone by in the blink of an eye. Second, if this week goes by as quick as the last seven have that must mean the level 2 exam is imminent. Sure enough, as a write this on the eve before our level 2 exams start, the week has flown by. We have crammed in a great deal but it’s true what they say, time flies when you’re having fun.

Long turns, short turns, bumps, steeps and variables

While this was an incredibly fun and enjoyable week, it was also a week to tidy up any parts of our skiing that needed some tweaking. So, to start the week, everyone was very focused to get some good training on our short and long turns as well as some bumps, steeps and variables practice in order to feel confident going into the exam. I can’t give enough praise to the coaches. They have been extremely patient and encouraging all the way through this training processes. On days when the weather has been miserable or we’ve felt down about the way we skied they have found ways to be positive.

Verbier Escape Room

This week also brought with it a new experience off the snow. Escape room. For me, this was something I had never done. It involved being locked in a room for an hour trying to find clues and unlock different boxes which gave more clues and so on until the end. The idea is to unlock the boxes as fast as you can. The record time was apparently twenty two minutes left on the clock. We got seventeen, so a pretty good effort from the altitude ‘gappies’ plus our coaches, Ross and Alejandro. I should say I was not an integral part of this team performance. If anything I was more of a hindrance than a help. I was more worried about trying to stay out of people’s way as they hurried about trying to solve the clues but I did enjoy the experience. For a few of the guys,

BASI Level 1 retake

Thursday was a very important day as they had their level one exam which they were unlucky to pass last time around. It was a pretty horrible day for the exam, poor visibility, cold and chopped up snow on the piste. None of which are particularly helpful when you are trying to demonstrate a good snowplough to the examiner. Needless to say, the guys all passed for which they thoroughly deserved a celebratory drink.

Fancy Dress Day

The final day of training was fancy dress. We had a great collection of different animal onesies, some people recycled outfits they used for Mardi Gras (I was part of this group), while others were more creative assembling flamboyantly colourful ski trousers, hats and tops. My personal favourite was a straight swap of ski outfits between Dan and Celia. Dan is the tallest male on our course and seeing him squeeze into Celia’s ski trousers and jacket was definitely a spectacle. Skiing in this attire was very entertaining despite a few odd looks from Verbier’s holiday makers. We also had a few competitions between the two groups including a simple race on the ski cross and another in which each group was judged by the coaches on how well they could ski in perfect synchronicity. It was a close run competition with each group grabbing a victory. We couldn’t have asked for a better end to the week and the course as a whole and to have such stunning weather was an added bonus. Perhaps a little cold for those who didn’t opt for warmth with their fancy dress, particularly Ross in his kilt!

Killian O’Brien

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