So what makes a group of competent skiers go back to ski school? In my case it was a combination of two things: all the good things I had heard about the Warren Smith Ski Academy (WSSA) from friends but also because all those so called friends (you know who you are) abandoned me leaving me to head off on a long planned ski week on my own. No problem I thought  – going back to ski school means I’ll have some people to ski with and I’ll spend some time correcting all those bad habits I have picked up over the years. So here I am in Verbier on a week long course with six other skiers all keen to take their skiing to a new level. There are a lot of worse places to be back at school…

Ski school but not as you know it…

We all remember being urged to ‘bend ze knees’ and ‘look down ze hill’ – Warren Smith’s instructors don’t approach the serious art of instruction in the same way. For a start, we had group warm up and end of session exercises  – we might look like we’re just lying around but this is clearly a programme developed to ensure we get as much as possible out of the week. Keeping us supple means we’ll be able to perform better on the slopes.

Kate at the Warren Smith Academy warm up

Secondly, today was really fun: we went back to basics focusing on ankle flexing and our skiing stance and all of us were focused both on doing the best we could but also providing feedback to each other – this is ski school for grown ups. Consequently, the exercises we went through made an immediate difference for all of us. Our instructor Rob reminded us that what we would get out of the course would definitely be directly related to the effort we put in, but he also made sure we were there to enjoy ourselves. In between the (sometimes quite challenging) exercises we had a few runs just to enjoy being on the mountain and totally amazing snow conditions; funnily enough our ‘free’ skiing just got better as the day went on.

Kate and friends having their Warren Smith Academy lesson
WSSA also do video analysis at the start and at the end of the week. Tomorrow is our first video session and then we will be subjected to analysis over apres ski. To be honest I am not sure if I am really looking forward to it – it’s all too easy to be self critical but after today I do know that doing this in a group will be very supportive and helpful. And I’ll be skiing better tomorrow than today and hopefully by the end of the week I’ll see a real difference. Oh, and I think I made some new friends…