Badminton Snow Report 2013

While Premier League footballers hanker for a mid season break and some warm weather training in Dubai, Ranmoor Badminton decided to recharge the batteries with a cold weather break to Courchevel in the French Alps for a week's skiing organised by Kelly Travels, the club's own travel agency.

Despite the risk of injury and the impact this could have on the badminton season, the group included three of the five team captains in Rich W, Steve and Karen. Also 'on piste' were key mens and ladies team players Sam, Rich J and Lesley. The potential for disaster was thus high. We were buoyed by the news though that two of our other members had just returned from a similar trip with no injuries other than swollen pride after a "hockey stop fail" captured on camera by the ski instructor and subsequently shared on Facebook!

Kelly friends Claire and Sarah joined the group to make up an eight. The group were warned that they were likely to prove a bit lightweight to cope with Sarah's drinking ability, and the biggest fear was that liver damage may prove more of a handicap to the badminton season than ski damage.

With no lessons booked this year, all eight stayed together for large parts of the holiday and skied large sections of the Three Valleys with trips to Meribel, Val Thorens and Les Menuires. Over the duration of the week we made around 70 descents, skiing 200 kilometres on piste taking over 20 hours with over a 30,000 metre vertical descent!
First descent about to begin for the gang
The weather was mixed but generally good with good skiing for the first few days and warmer weather leading to softer pistes and sheet ice in the latter days.
Of the group Sarah and Rich J had the most extensive ski experience, especially Sarah with her 10+ years working as a chalet girl / business owner / all round godfather of Morzine! She has more connections than British Airways! Sam and Rich W had the most limited ski experience but that was due to lead to some highly amusing incidents!

The week can best be summarised in a series of awards and pictures:

MOST FALLS IN THE WEEK - Rich W. They say youth has no fear and Rich proved it with his impressive speed down the slopes. Amazing by his own admission on Day 1 but a change in piste conditions and a few nasty falls on Day 2 led to Rich soaring to the top of the falls league table, crowned in style with a final flourish with yards to go on the final descent of the week. Second place is a tie between Sam and Lesley, with Sarah and Steve bringing up the rear with zero falls, though in Steve's case there were some hairy last gasp recoveries.
Worried skiers wonder why Rich is eating snow
MOST DRAMATIC WIPEOUT - Sam. The impressiveness of the foot of fresh air under his skis after the Terrain Park jump, legs and arms all akimbo, was matched by the impressive collapse in a ball of powdery smoke shortly after before he could hit the second jump. Luckily, and incredibly, no injuries.

Sam flies through the air like an eagle.....
....and lands like a Scud missile! Kapow!

THE NICE YOU COULD JOIN US AWARD - Claire, because being late can become a mission in life, be it last to turn up for après ski, last down for breakfast, last to ski down to the bottom of the piste, it goes on.....and on.....and on....and on! Ironic she had to wait four hours at the airport for us after her flight from Gatwick, and clearly had a mission to get us back.

THE MOST UNLIKELY BROMANCE AWARD - Rich J and Steve for their après ski bonding and occasional side trips to dash down a few blacks. Special mention to Sam and Rich J for shoving their twin beds together for a bit of shared bodily warmth.

Rich must give Steve another little touch....but looking at Sam's face where is his other hand?

THE BIGGEST CHAIRLIFT DISASTER AWARD - Karen. Unfortunately 'keep your tips up' is advice best followed or it can result in a snapped ski, and sometimes a snapped cruciate ligament! Luckily in this case only the former, although it resulted in a week of negotiations and a final €400 bill. Ouch! Special mention to Rich W and Sam who clearly missed the chair lift instruction in the lessons a year earlier. Rich slipping and twisting Lesley's knee on embarking, and Sam slipping (at the same lift) and smashing his poles against Steve's (helmeted) head, also on embarking, then snapped his pole on another chair then swapped it in Skiset without them noticing.

Karen wonders if this is the new ski design for 2013
THE NICE FILM OF THE SNOW AWARD - Sarah. Unfortunately her skiing skills were in excess of her videoing skills, with most footage being of either the snow or the sky, with no people. When she did get us in focus it made the Blair Witch Project look like a smooth recording.

THE BIGGEST CLOTHING DISASTER AWARD - Lesley. Having salopettes which gape open at the back can be an invitation to trouble makers, and Sam and Rich J both obliged, sneakily pouring beer down the gap in après ski. Sue Oakley for a design flaw I think. Special mention to Sarah for her belisha beacon impression of bright orange trousers, bright blue coat and bright orange zips. 

Sarah was often invisible on the slopes....not!
THE EQUIPMENT MALFUNCTION AWARD - Steve. Bravely going for Saloman BBR skis on day 1 proved harder to turn, so the shop changed them to a Rossignal Experience 83 ski, after Steve asked for Intermediates. These skis are shaped like a longbow, flared up at both ends and in the middle. Turning was fantastic but grip on sheet ice was zero given Steve's lack of ability. Internet search at airport - all mountain skis for advanced to expert skiers. That's a fail Skiset! Special mention to the official Three Valleys App which failed to track us correctly saying we had skied 5000 miles in a day!

THE OFF PISTE ADVENTURE AWARD - Sam. Being up a tree upside down next to a green run tells it's own story. No wonder Sarah and Steve were waiting 20 minutes after burning it down an adjoining red. Special mention to Rich J for diverting off piste to cut onto our red and ending up stuck in 6 ft of powder for 15 minutes, and to Steve for leading the team up a slip road thinking there would be an exciting 5 foot drop back to the piste, which turned out to be 20 foot!

Sam took the "get back to nature" request too literally
So the adventure ends and Ranmoor Badders return refreshed and rejuvenated for the final push! Swollen shins and calves will be massaged, and we will be ready to go!