Article by Ben Nathan, ISIA qualified ski instructor
Every resort is different to teach in, some favour beginners, some intermediates and some advanced skiers. Les Gets offers the best value, to those wanting to learn to ski, as it has pistes which support learning at every level of skill and so means one can gain skiing skills faster and to a stronger level, than other resorts. This applies not just to someone new to skiing, but also to experienced skiers wanting to further hone their skills.
The key to learning strong skiing skills, as quickly as possible, is to progress gradually, practicing at each level. All beginners start on the nursery slopes, where there is a ‘magic carpet’ to get to the top, however, many resorts have a beginner run which is too steep at the top to start learning on, this means that learners cannot use the magic carpet on the first two hours of lessons, they have to side step up the slope, this takes much longer than using the magic carpet and delays learning.
Les Gets has three nursery slopes, each very gentle, and with a very gradual progression from one to the other, meaning that one can learn much faster. Having learnt the snow plough, it is important to gradually learn to plough parallel – where one starts the turn in the snow plough position and finishes as a parallel turn. It is important, as this stage, not to move onto more difficult terrain, as this often resuts in learning unbalanced positions, which typically will limit progression of learning and will take longer to correct at a later date.
The fundamental skills needed for the parallel turn is balance on the correct ski. The quickest and easiest way to learn this is on easy terrain. Les Gets has over 10 easy blue runs, which are ideal, after having learnt to snow plough, to perfect first plough parallel and then parallel turns. This means that those at this level can have variety and can enjoy the whole of the resort while at the same time gaining valuable skills. Many other resorts have only one or two suitable runs, with the result that people either get bored using the same run over and over again, or try to learn on more difficult terrain than appropriate – they are unbalanced and have to re-learn at a later date.
Les Gets, arguably, is the best teaching terrain in the world and does not lack advanced terrain either. There are a number of pistes of different grades running next or close to each other, using the same lifts, so friends of different abilities can spend a day skiing together.
As one advances, there are black and off piste runs. In the Les Gets bowl and on Mont Chery, there are endless powder ski runs and at Nyon there are cliff drops. If you are considering a longer holiday, Les Gets is part of the Portes du Soleil, with some 625km piste, furthermore, most of this can be accessed via blue runs.
Another great reason to learn in Les Gets, is the experience of the instructors. To teach in France uniquely requires the worlds highest level of ski instructor qualification – which for UK instructors is BASI Level 4. To get to this level, instructors will have had many years of experience and be of an exceptionally high standard of ski teaching.
I am currently BASI Level 3/ISIA, just returned from teaching in Perisher ( Austrailia), and will be teaching in Verbier Switzerland this coming winter. Have taught in many European resorts, working towards qualifications to teach in France and, being passionate about teaching, look forward to teaching in Les Gets.
Please note, the above photographs were all taken this summer while I was teaching in Perisher.
For more information on skiing and accommodation in Les Gets, chalets1066.com