Mar 22nd – Verbier 5 day Academy
- 5 Day Academy
- Verbier, Switzerland
About the Course
The winter 5 day group courses run from Sunday to Friday with the Wednesday off (a few courses run to alternate schedules – please always refer to the course title and the pre-course info email). They are designed to build and develop skill and confidence, to enable people to ski all terrains including Moguls, Steeps, Variables, Powder and how to Carve effectively on piste. Skills are developed during the coaching by practicing specific exercises that benefit the main topics. Progressively, the new levels of skill are tested in suitable terrains to build confidence. During the group courses each skier is also looked at from an individual point of view due to the fact that we are all individuals and have different strengths and weaknesses that need identifying and developing.
Please check your ability level using our 1 to 6 Video Levels System before booking the course to make sure you’re at the right standard for the course. Level 1 is basic intermediate. Level 6 is athlete.
We meet together as a group everyday at 10am at Ruinettes on the snow (top of the Medran lift which is the base lift of Verbier, Medran-Ruinettes takes about 15 minutes).
We ski until 3pm and take a lunch break at approximately 12.45pm. Please bring a small or medium size backpack to store your bottle of water and energy bars in. It can also carry your belongings i.e. Ski Jacket, Fleece, Gloves etc if the weather is extra cold or warm. Please note that Wednesday is a rest day from the course and a day for you to freeski.
We will be filming and doing video analysis on the Monday and Thursday and watching the footage and analysing it after skiing those days. Normally this will take place directly after skiing at Ski Service Ruinettes but times and locations may vary depending on group numbers. The coaches will let you know exact plans on the day. It usually makes a big difference the next day with what you’re working on so it’s a good idea to bring a notepad and pen to make notes.
The groups are a maximum of 8 persons for most courses. This is the standard number of people on an Academy course unless you are doing the “6 MAX” academy course or the Supergroup option which are both max. 6 people. 8 people is the perfect number to work through the exercises set, receive good individual feedback and get to move around the mountain to find the ideal terrain.
To read reviews and press articles on the courses, click here.
One of the biggest areas of development on the courses is Ankle Flex development. Most skiers join us with a lack of ankle flex. Most skier flex at the knee more than the ankle and this puts the skiers weight back. Once it’s back it makes it hard to steer and almost impossible to ski steeps, moguls and freeride terrain. Your thighs end up being used to help you stand up rather than being used to help you steer the skis.
The reason that most skiers have a lack of ankle flex is that a lot of skiers learn to ski in boots that are too stiff for them to flex so the joint that compensates and does the majority of the flexing is the knee. A lot of skiers also suffer from having calf muscles that are too tight to be able to move and flex the ski boot.
With specific ankle flex development exercises you will learn to dominate your ski boots and flex them so as to allow you to be in balance and maintain leverage in the legs to have powder to steer. Once you have this flex you automatically have power and in turn confidence. The learning process increases dramatically with this and your skiing takes a major step change in its level.
All skiers that come on the Academy courses, whether in Group 1 or Group 6, have a problem maintaining symmetry whilst turning. Perfect symmetry is skiing from turn to turn with your hips, knees and feet the same distance apart allowing both ski edges to be at identical angles. It’s common for most skiers to ski with either their knees dropping closer together or their feet splitting wider apart. Both of these create the classic A-Frame stance.
The A-Frame stance makes it difficult to carve, ski powder, moguls, steeps and generally build on your ski technique as your ski edge angles will always be different. On the courses we address this issue and leave you with a strong, symmetrical stance that allows you to build good ski technique on.
Whilst developing your ski symmetry we will work on biomechanical aspects such as switching on certain muscle groups that help maintain the ideal stance, checking your ski boots to make sure they are set up correctly and integrating the 0-Frame stance into your skiing. Having skier symmetry is crucial in preventing knee injury, fatigue, accidents whilst skiing and allowing you to reach your true skiing potential.
Most skiers who attend the courses, even at Instructor level, steer their skis by foot steering. Steering the skis by foot steering is usually what you get taught in your first week of ski school tuition. Unfortunately it usually stays with you through your skiing life. Foot steering is weak and although it might get you through your first week of skiing it isn’t efficient for more advanced skiing. Foot steering can also put stress on the knee joint.
Thigh steering is a much more powerful way of steering your skis and allows you to steer with more confidence on steeper slopes, in moguls and in freeride terrain. It also allows you to carve more effectively and move onto skiing higher speeds without loosing control.
For thigh steering to switch on we develop specific exercises that provoke you to use the muscles in the legs that control this movement. Once you find the muscles (usually takes about 15 minutes to switch them on) you will immediately feel stronger in your skiing and more secure. Once we have you doing this, other aspects of skiing we show you during the week are easily absorbed and changes take place in your technique with ease.
Left + Right differences and physiology:
All skiers suffer from having a weaker turn direction. At the Academy we are fully aware of the importance for the skier to first feel the difference between left and right turns and then understand why there is a weakness with one side. With the sport of skiing you are only as good as your weakest turn. This is especially obvious in powder, slush, steeps and in moguls.
Skiers generally have a weaker turn due to left and right side differences with the brain, injuries to certain sides of the body, imbalances on the left and right side of the body and equipment that might not be set up correctly.
With the use of video analysis, exercises and biomechanical awareness we make you aware of your weaker direction, show you it on video and then build it up with specific exercises that benefit the weaker side of the body. Once you are balanced the sport of skiing will feel different to you and the foundation of you skiing will be strong and secure.
Nearly all skiers that join the Academy courses are never using their middle body strength to its full potential. Many skiers break at the waist when skiing moguls, powder or just carving at higher speeds. The more dynamic skiing becomes the more you need to activate your core whilst skiing to keep the middle body strong and avoid it collapsing. On the course you’ll learn how to activate your core whilst skiing with simple exercises that are easy to integrate into your normal skiing technique.
To assist your Moguls, Steeps, Variables and Freeride terrain skiing you’ll learn how to develop your pole plant timing and arm positioning. This gives your pole plant more overall strength and it will support your body effectively when initiating your turns in these terrains.
Every skier that joins a course has their own individual skiing style. An important part of the Academy course is to offer each skier feedback on their own technique specific to them. This takes places at various times during the week.
As well as the above topics various other aspects are also covered such as Short Radius Turns, Developing Leg Lean, Progressive Steering, Loading the Skis, Skidding and lots more. Many skiers attend several course during the year whether Winter in Verbier, Spring or Autumn in UK or summer in Cervinia.
Available Group Levels
Levels 1-6 (Basic Intermediate-Athlete)
Skiers ability levels range from basic intermediate skiers wishing to get off the typical intermediate plateau (Level 1) to skiers taking their instructors exams and performance training for competition (alpine racing, freeride or freestyle)(L6).
On the first day of the course we have a ski-off where we split the whole group into smaller individual groups based on their ski ability and confidence. To easily identify the levels of skiers, and roughly assess which level you currently are, please click here.
For impeccable service and regular low cost flights from the UK to Geneva or Zurich please visit our partners at SWISS. To get to Verbier book a return flight to Geneva Airport. Once you get to Geneva airport you can get to Verbier by Train (www.sbb.ch). For full details on travel plans to Verbier use the Verbier Tourism website and click on the ‘Access’ tab. Another excellent website for finding information on Verbier is www.verbinet.com. If you click on the ‘Travel/Transport’ tab you will find every solution.
Please click the link below to see information regarding accommodation for Verbier or Cervinia:
Price: £469 (£439 for Academy Members) – (Course Only)
Supergroup and “6 MAX” Price: £619 (£589 for Academy members) – (Course only)
Weekend course price: £269 (course only)
Private Coaching also available
Any member of the Ski Academy team can be hired out on a daily basis (subject to availability). Private tuition is better suited to people who require one to one coaching or who wish to bring a group out to the Alps. Private coaching is available in Verbier upon request from November – April. To check availability please contact us
Full day (5 hours) – £349
Half day (3 hours) – £229
*Maximum 7 extra persons. Extra people charges may apply. Other hrs available on request.
(course fees and private fees are exempt from VAT)
If you need to rent skis or boots or wish to pre-order your lift pass our partners at Ski Service Verbier are offering all Academy course participants a special discounts that you can use towards any type of rental this season and discounts on your lift pass too! To obtain this discount please click the following link:
This gives you a massive discount. Please note this discount has to be used online. Their team is also available to advise you on any queries you may have regarding skis and boots
With regard to which lift pass to get – for all the courses you’ll need a 4 Valley Liftpass to cover the entire area.