Pre-Season Tune-Up 2012 - Loads of fresh snow and great early skiing

Back to Tignes for the opening of our new winter season with the Pre-Season Tune-Up. It's wonderful to be back on a mountain, particularly when it's still only the beginning of October.


There were three or four autumn snowfalls before we arrived so our first day skiing on the Grand Motte glacier is simply magical! Firm, grippy snow on piste, and very few people around so no lift queues and quiet slopes. We have two groups for the weekend, with 12 people in total plus Inside Out Skiing coaches Rob & Scott. Lots of great work is done on Day 1 as everyone finds their ski legs and gets stuck in to brushing up their skills. Back at the hotel we have a gala dinner to celebrate the opening of the 2012/13 season, and it's a special evening with everyone in great form after such a special day on the hill. Good work Team 1!

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Piste conditions were absolutely superb, with firm, grippy snow that was a joy to ski on. Amazing conditions considering it's just the first week of October. By the end of the day everyone's smile muscles had received a thorough work out!

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Day 2 couldn't be more different, as a storm passes through and we get a whole range of weather and an early finish as the lifts have to close because of high wind. It's a real test of ability and resilience to ski for the first couple of hours before we are shepherded off the hill. All is not lost however, as we get some skiing done and even more snow falls to improve the conditions.

Day 3 returns to good conditions, which is nice for those people who are with us for just the long weekend. We leave the glacier at around 2.30pm, then a quick dash back to the hotel to complete the video feedback and the journey back to Geneva airport for those leaving us.

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Day 4 sees the mid-week crew joining those who are staying for the full week. We have eight in total, ranging from skiers with six or seven weeks experience through to those training for their Level 1 and Level 2 instructor exams. It's a bit busier on the glacier, but we have the pleasure of watching some of the French A team slalom and GS ski racers training. It's humbling and uplifting watching those guys go about their stuff! We do some pretty technical development focusing on using body movements to help find more grip for the skis, especially early in the turn. Everyone makes good progress and skis much more fluidly as a result. Good work Team 2!

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Day 5 sees autumn storms, and frustratingly the glacier doesn't open because of 100kph winds at the top. We head back to the hotel for a video analysis session and then a bit of a hike to the next village in Tignes. We looked at video of a range of skiers, from relatively new to very experienced and it was interesting to see some common issues throughout the ability range

Day 6, the last day of this trip, sees a return once again to perfect conditions. There is a bit of a slow start as ice is cleared from various cables on the chairlift following yesterday's storm, but once we get on to the glacier we have perfect conditions for a morning's work on carving, clean transitions and high speed, long radius turns. Very solid progress is made by everyone, and it's the perfect way to finish the first trip of the season.

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Tony Graham

Can't wait for the next trip with Inside Out, to Meribel on 8 December...

Here's a photo slideshow of the trip, with lots more photos in the Photo Gallery.