Verbier Early Season Ski Instructor Course – Week 6


After five weeks living in resort you might think the trainees know Verbier better than most. Nevertheless, the discovery of the secret bakery, which sells freshly baked goods to desperately hungry party goers through the back window of Verbier’s main bakery at 4am in the morning, left the trainees feeling like they had ‘arrived’ and were part of Verbier’s rich tapestry of seasonaires. The discovery of the secret bakery certainly blew the trainee’s minds, but the discover of the ‘even secret-er bakery’ shook the very foundations of Chalet Turbon. Not content serving up ham and cheese croissants the team of baking Demi-God’s at this bakery even serve-up curry and beef sandwiches……..It’s fair to say this little gem won’t stay secret for very long.

Despite spending some serious time in Verbier’s fine baking establishments the team also spent a lot of time on the mountain with European Snowsport and a couple of cheeky evenings in Verbier’s infamous drinking establishments. As always the Casbah along with the Pub Mont Fort, which many seasonaires declare a second home, were popular spots at night. Talking of second homes, George tried to set up camp in the bath one evening but was promptly booted out by the girls at first light.

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Course Leader Kaspar and some of the crew.

Training this week took a big step-up with Julian Griffiths, the head honcho at European Snowsport and legendary trainer/examiner, took over the training programme……..and unsurprisingly pushed the trainees out of their comfort zone with the level of technical skiing. The near-empty pistes allowed the trainees to try very high-end exercises like blind skiing on black runs, one leg skiing, and so on……you could say it was an absolute masterclass.

Despite discovering the hidden bakeries of Verbier (which sound like something out of ‘Lord of the Rings’) and the fantastic training delivered by Julian, the true highlight of the week was the overnight stay in the Cabane de Tortin. This small wooden refuge lies on the east face of the Mont Fort at about 3000m above sea level. After a day of training the trainees packed their bags and headed up to the top of the Mont Fort glacier on the last Cable Car.

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Hiking for freshies!

Once they arrived at the top of the Glacier the guys and girls made their way to the high alpine mountain refuge nestled within the massive rocks just above the line of the Glacier. A warm welcome from the refuge owner Alexandrine, and their four little husky puppies, definitely surprised the group. It’s fair to say that the puppies, that were just 2 months old, captured the hearts of the group immediately. Later on in the evening, in front of a cozy fire, Alexandrine proved that she is a fantastic cook: warm potato soup, hearty noodles and blueberries for dessert, what more could you want at 10,000ft………way better than airline food! Everyone got an early night’s sleep, which in most cases was very deep, so that they could be the first trainees out on the hill the next day. Fortunately they were rewarded with some fresh powder!

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You can try and act the hard man but we know exactly what you’re thinking!

Arriving back in Verbier the next day we had a little surprise waiting for birthday girls Grace. Wonder Chalet girl Holly had baked a huge filling Birthday Cake in celebration……..which undoubtedly fed the trainees new-found addiction to baked goods.

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Happy Birthday Grace!

At the end of the week it was back to a more serious side of the course with the two-day First Aid course, which has to be completed before a trainee can enroll in the BASI 2 assessment. This year the First Aid was delivered by Peak Leader’s trainer and First Aid guru Emma Cairns. As everyone managed to pass I now feel much safer with eight qualified First Aider’s hanging around the chalet. After another great week everyone is looking forward to the coming week, which is guaranteed to bring some more highlights along the way!

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Trouble in the making!

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