Continental Cup, Australia

Kuhtai, Austria

Privatklinik Hochrum sports clinic, near Innsbruck, surrounded by mountains and ski resorts which means the staff are used to seeing ski injuries.

On an otherwise perfect day, a jump in the park took me higher up into the air than I had expected. I caught a brand new edge of one skis on the landing and one of my knees went in the wrong direction, namely sideways, my ski spun me onto my back.

There is no worse feeling than knowing that you’ve hurt yourself. I know worse things can happen, but shock mixed with bad feelings is not a winning combination. My knee was no longer working the way it should.

I did panic, initially, but after a ride in an ambulance, I saw a doctor called Eric in Kühtai. He was understanding and a former racer from Norway. He recommended I visit a clinic near Innsbruck, where he knew the doctors who looked after the Austrian ski team.

Later that day, I met with Dr Peter Gföller and his colleague at the sports clinic at Privatklinik Hochrum, which lead to a diagnosis of a torn ACL. The medical team were extremely helpful; they were both reassuring and kind. There was good energy at the clinic, and the worry I had felt earlier had turned to a feeling of calmness. The atmosphere at the clinic was restful and tranquil.

After Dr Gföller had gone through what he could do for me, an ACL repair would be easy for him to do. In 1997, I met a surgeon briefly about another knee injury; I clearly remember the sinking feeling when he had said he didn’t ski. Competing in Freestyle Moguls for Team GB means my knees have seen more operating rooms than most. Eventually, I got a second opinion on that injury from Mr Leach, the resident knee specialist for the Scottish Football Team. I saw a good surgeon in Sion, Switzerland, who spoke no English which was a voyage of discovery for me, my knowledge of French medical terms needed work.

Ageas Travel Insurance based in Hampshire, provided incredible support. Dr Gföller is a talented surgeon, the nursing staff and physios in the clinic were friendly and kind plus the food was healthy.

Privatklinik Hochrum is a highly advanced sports clinic and the insurance group Ageas Services were nothing short of impressive.

A bad accident turned into a different kind of experience which was not at all bad. Good surgery put a different spin on everything. I learned about Innsbruck and brushed up on speaking some German.

city flow Stay strong with Animal Flow

Bormio Ski Test 2010

Snowsports industries of GB (SIGB) ski test was held in Bormio, Italy, from late February until early March. Retailers and media try out next season’s ski kit and give their opinions.
The skis fell into 4 categories: Big Mountain, Freeride, on-piste carvers and All Mountain. The brands Armada, Atomic, Black Diamond, Blizzard, Dynafit, Dynastar, Fischer, Head, K2, Line, Movement, Nordica, Rossignol, Salomon, Scott, storm, Völkl, Zag

Monday morning

Ski boot brands Atomic, Black Diamond, Dalbello, Dynafit, Fischer, Head, Lange, Nordica, Rossignol, Salomon, Tecnica

Top of the Vallone télécabine, Società Impianti Bormio S.p.A (SIB) lift company is the well-known Stelvio slope. It has a reigning gradient of 63% and a total drop of 987m, thought to be one of the most difficult and impressive world cup downhill courses in the world

Everyone wears a helmet these days, helmet and goggle brands Bern, Bollé, Smith, Sweet and protection from Salomon, Dainese. Mountain safety equipment from Ortovox, Aloe up and Ski Mojo, for anyone with knee issues

Laura Donaldson Méribel



Flier for SKAMPS

Skamps ski camps based in France, Scotland and Crans Montana, Switzerland. Snowfall in Europe has been good, plenty of jumps are well-maintained in the terrain parks.

The Ski and Snowboard Show in London

Bormio 2010
David Poisson of France during the Audi FIS Alpine ski World Cup Men’s Downhill in December in Bormio, Italy.

The Alta Valtellina ski area includes Bormio, Livigno also Santa Caterina Valfurva and Cima Piaza. San Colombano allows access to 225km of downhill slopes along with 80km of cross-country ski trails. Over 6o lifts operate between 1225 metres and 3012 metres with a vertical drop of 1787 metres

The snow park close to the Stella Alpina slope at Bormio 2000 contains a super-pipe
Alta Valtellina web-site

Michael Walchhofer [AUT] took first place on the most difficult of the Men’s World Cup downhill circuit in December 2010.

2010 was his last competition at Bormio since it was his final year of competing World Cup. He won his third title there, closely followed by 0.8 second by Silvan Zurgriggen of Switzerland who shares the same great great grandfather as the former World Champion alpine racer, Pirmin Zurbriggen from the 80s.

Pirmin Zurbriggen won the overall World Cup title 4 times and an Olympic gold medal in Calgary in 1998.

He also won 9 World Championships medals, 4 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze.

Scotland snow

While people are having travel nightmares why not head to the mountains?
photo: Nevis range Steven McKenna

Christmas week snow 2009
photo: ciste bowl, cairngorm -6C mainly dry freezing at all levels keeps snow

Christmas day 2009 was another fine, very cold day with moderate winds, winds strengthen on Boxing day, blowing snow. Blizzard conditions will follow before a thawing of snow.

All runs were complete at Glenshee with good cover of groomed packed powder snow. Some areas saw higher traffic and were scraped and icy.

Best areas of skiing at Nevis Range on the upper mountain where good cover of snow was on a hard base, there were some icy areas.


Cairngorm fresh snow was on a hard base where runs were pisted, polished and icy patches.

Avalanche hazard was considerable due to unstable wind slab accumulations, certain aspects above 900m. Cross loading affected other aspects which overlay a weak surface hoar layer.

First time ski instructing in Europe

Arriving in a ski resort for a first season can sometimes feel a bit strange.

Alpine life has all the same ups and downs as life living in a city, it can be affected by the people who are out on holiday, it can be affected by every day pressures.

There tend to be more sunny days than grey days but bad weather days affect lessons in a negative way. Bad weather days can be hard work since everyone would not prefer to be outside.

Powder days are the best kind of days and going to bed early before those days is important.

Fresh Tracks in Verbier are worth finding

When creating a good environment for learning, talk to more experienced instructors – it’s always a good idea. Find the good pistes for teaching and definitely find, or know about, the ones to avoid. Also, some mountain restaurants can be more helpful towards you, and your groups, than others.

Heading out to après ski is less of a mainstay in the American resorts than it is in Europe. It was invented in Europe, after all… where there are more Brits taking it seriously. Big nights out lead to small days on the mountain :/

It’s a great feeling when you can do something you love, which makes you happy, and helps you to lead a healthy way of life. Have fun and stay safe.

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