Ski lessons aren’t for beginners.

It is such a shame that ski and boarding lessons are seen in such a poor light. Once most people can wobble around the blue runs they feel it is time to ditch the lessons and have some FUN! Wholly admirable, and getting out there and ‘just doing it’ will make your skiing and riding much better….up to a point. But never taking another lesson is also likely to cause bad habits to accumulate.

When a big enough gang of bad habits have started to hang around they will pin you onto an ‘intermeadiate plateau’. These places are a real, real bore: the frustration, and missing out on the satisfaction of improvement, can just take the edge off the fun of snowsports.

More positively getting better opens up so many doors: what if you luck out and it dumps so much powder snow that the piste machines can’t keep up?  Or alternatively what if luck does not favour you and there is no fresh snow? At the end of winter it can all change within a day: typical spring weather gives you a mix of bullet proof surfaces first thing, changing to perfect ‘hero-snow’ and then a slush fest. We are out there, in all conditions, and loving it.

If you are faced with conditions that are too challenging for your skill level you could decide to have lessons there and then. We think there is an even better way.

  • Get better at skiing or snowboarding all the time.
  • Choose the right instructor for you, and your ski and snowboarding objectives.
  • Becoming more skilled keeps the fun coming.

Being based here year round we know what’s what with the teachers and guides. Let us steer you away from some po-faced montagnard who can’t be bothered with yet another imbecile from the low-lands, or the dude who only wants to awe you with what a true ski/boarding god he is, as he bestow a few previous moments of his time. No, we would rather introduce you to someone who will help you do what you want to, and have FUN!

Because the best ones get booked up think ahead, don’t be left with the ‘others’.

The art of skiing – an interview with Basi News

How did you get into skiing and what prompted you to pursue a BASI pathway?

I started skiing late. I was around 22 when I first put on skis,  in Japan. I was teaching English at the time. I loved it instantly, and could not understand why I had left it so long; I immediately wanted to  do this all the time, and to be in the mountain environment.

It took me a long time to achieve this, but I now live full time in the Alps, in Chamonix. I won’t bore you with how I continued in my career, holding a deluded belief that I could also teach myself to ski.

Eventually, on a BASI level 1 course, I understood it didn’t have to be as hard as I was making it for myself. I was helped to reconstruct a few strange habits. Overnight, I was enjoying skiing  more.  I experienced similar improvements at level 2, and I was convinced: take lessons if you want to improve your skiing. Don’t be like me.

As I still was still working long hours in the corporate world, BASI offered a neat solution with modular courses. I was able to drop in and out over a few years. The ability to work through the syllabus at any speed is a great strength of the system for people like me. Not everyone is in a position to commit the time, money or bandwidth to qualify in a short space of time.

Where, when and how did your interest in art develop? Where did you develop your skill?

Unlike Skiing, I found art, drawing painting and anything visual very early as a small child.  But like skiing, I left it late to take formal training.  A redundancy gave me the gift of time to attend Falmouth College of Art.  I actually spent most of this time in Chamonix but that’s another story. Happy days:  skiing and making visual work.

What is your favourite medium for work?

I work in paint, often on glass, and am a printmaker. Glass for its fluidity, and print for the light and immediate way that images can be created. Both methods are spontaneous, and work well with snowsports and the mountain environment.

What subjects do you work with?

I paint the art of skiing or riding, the essence of the snowsports experience!  This could be capturing what flashes past my eyes as I ski, or as I watch a skier or boarder. This may be the colour, the sensation, the movement, a position, some technical skill, or the ‘design’ the skier makes against the dramatic mountain.

I also notice that my training to improve ‘my eye’ as a ski instructor is adding positively to the work.

So what parallels are there between art and skiing?

Well, we all have seen how instructors love to draw in the snow. I think this is funny in itself, but I am sure that actually there is a lot more to this habit….

I am fascinated by the links I see with good skiing and creating visual artwork: the’ inner feeling’,   the way ‘you know when its right’; the dynamic shapes that are mad,  and  the way  we ‘read’ the terrain.   Trainers can ask you to interpret a task creatively. All these are artistic traits too.

The colours and design of fashion and kit play a part. And its seasonal: most artists cannot be creative all the time.

But to give a more concrete example, I am often struck by how an analysis of a run can be like the analysis of a picture: in a video analysis, the visual picture of a skier is created from technical inputs, and we all are trained to see these as teachers, looking for clues.  At times it is similar to the technical assessment of a piece of visual work: art critics or buyers  may look at the colour palate, the composition, how  the work  is put together,  what has the artist has done before,  and does it answer the brief?

And then there is the unavoidable –  do I like it? is it any good?

That may be why skiers, like artists vary in their liking and ability to take feedback.  It is an ability that can be developed, but the timing and delivery of this is key.  On a given day an artist or a skier in training may not be ready to hear something.  Yet they could be receptive to the same point days, weeks, or years, later. Good art coaches and ski coaches share this insight.

Life drawing is another example.  Life drawing classes focus heavily on the form of the human body, and particularly where the weight is, how the movement of one limb influences the position of another.

For me making art is straight forward and I know just how to get into ‘flow’ with it. I also know that there is no point if flow is not around, better do something else for a bit, change your head.

I am a more natural artist than a natural skiing athlete, and I have to work harder at my skiing, but this does not matter.  I enjoy the process. Even raw material like mine can be improved, and this is also the point of training and education. I say the same thing to people I teach art to – everyone can be shown a way to be better, to enjoy the process more, at any point in their development.

Where and what stimulates your inspiration for subject matter?

The actual environment of the ski slope is so full of visual subjects –the obvious majestic mountains, the weather, but I am also interested in the kit, and the styling. I love the variety of the graphics on snowboards, and this year’s look of single blocks of bright colours, unexpected colour combinations and asymmetric designs.

You are currently training for your level 3 – how are you progressing and how far do you want to go?

I would love to be able to ski to level 3 standard, and am continuing to work towards this.  I have completed all modules, except the technical and teach, and I have trained with Bass Chamonix and Interski in the Aosta valley.

Who are your typical clients

I sell commissioned originals to people who would like to see their ‘hero skiing moments’ depicted and properly honoured, and to chalets looking for their own identity, and prints  or originals to snowsports enthusiasts.

I also work with people who want to learn to paint or be involved in a different activity while another member of their party is getting their adrenalin kicks in Chamonix.

I am trained as an illustrator, and can work to any brief – do get in touch at http://www.sarapendlebury.com  or sara_pendlebury@hotmail.com if you have an idea that you would like to see transferred to paint or print.

Where have you or are you exhibiting?

Please support me by liking my facebook page!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chamonix-Fine-Art/163290020429150.

You can also see my work at www.sarapendlebury.com.

I have exhibited in Cornwall, in Chamonix, and at the London Business Design centre, London City Hall and the William Morris Gallery in London. This April I took part in an exhibition opposite the new Olympic stadium  Spring at the Smokehouse

http://www.sarapendlebury.com/2012/04/01/spring-at-the-smokehouse-exhibition/

Whats next?

For anyone missing the northern hemisphere ski season, I am running a competition to win a print of your choice from my collection this summer.

To enter, all I am asking is for your suggestion of name for the picture shown.

Click on this link to enter or go to http://www.sarapendlebury.com/competition/