January 2019 – Return to New Generation

Having spent a week with Alessandro Cambon and his New Generation ski school in Villars-Sur-Ollon, Switzerland as part of my required 35 hours of snowsports school shadowing I was invited back for a week of training. My NHS commitments meant that I could only join them for two days of the week long training but I was keen to go back having enjoyed my previous time with them so much. Also, I had my Alpine Level 1 technical resit booked for 2nd March and needed to get as much training beforehand as I could in order to be sure of passing.

Villars-Sur-Ollon (Villars for short) sits on a sunny south facing plateau with stunning views over the Rhone Valley to Dents du Midi. The skiing is extensive and varied making it the perfect choice for families or groups of mixed skiing ability. New Generation Ski and Snowboard School, Villars, headed by Alessandro Cambon offers adult group ski lessons, children’s group ski lessons and private lessons. The instructors employed at New Generation, Villars are all English.

My arrival at Aigle in the Rhone Valley was greeted by heavy snow. As the bus climbed its way up the road to the plateau the road started to disappear and by the time I had reached the village of Chesiѐre where I was staying the road had completely disappeared.

I stayed at Chalet La Griotte. Owned by Rita, a Norwegian lady, she rents out rooms to people wishing to stay and you get full use of the house including the kitchen. If you want breakfast providing there is a fee. I loved the sign in the kitchen which read ‘if you want breakfast in bed sleep in the kitchen’. A stop for the free ski bus was right outside the front door making it easy to get up to Villars in the mornings.

Swiss Honesty

Heavy snowfall meant there was off-piste skiing to be had. I have only skied off-piste once before and don’t really like it but it was a good opportunity to practice. Alessandro paired me with Mark, one of his instructors, and Mike, a teacher from Aiglon College. After having taken a head first dive into the soft off-piste snow I found I was missing my phone which had been located in my inside top pocket which closes with Velcro. My phone will only let people I know ring it so finding it meant phoning my mum in the UK who then phoned my mobile phone while we all stood around listening for it ringing in the snow. Silence !! Ah…! Oh … !

When my mum rang my phone it was answered by a man with a foreign voice who simply said ‘It is found’. All I needed to do now was in a foreign ski resort find a man with a foreign voice who had my phone. Hmmmm ….

Now there is a system in Villars for lost property. Anything and everything that is found gets taken to SOS Bretaye. Sure enough, when regrouping after lunch Alessandro informed me my phone had been found. It had been taken to SOS Bretaye, who then phoned Mike, who then told Alessandro, who then told me. Off I went across the snow to collect it.


Alessandro focused my training on getting my short turns improved for my technical resit and had me looping up and down two of the lifts. There was no point making it easy for me, I was there to learn and improve so we used some of the steepest terrain. If I could ski short turns on steep terrain then I could ski them on easy terrain. After each run he gave me feedback. Each piece of feedback and coaching point I would put in place on the following run. I knew when I had got the task right because Alessandro would give me a smile and a thumbs up when I went over to him. After one of my runs my feedback was a big smile and the words ‘die … die … die’. Alessandro says this when he is excited. I knew from my feedback that I had finally got my short turns correct. 

Over the two days with Alessandro we worked on my control of speed, corridor width, rhythm and flow, edge change and simultaneous roll from edge to edge. I made good progress. Just to be certain of me passing my technical resit he also gave my long turns a quick check over. I was nicely set up for my time with BASI trainer Will Roberts who would be giving me further training and coaching. Alessandro had also set me up with Will in a very different way. Knowing I was single, Alessandro decided to play matchmaker and sent Will a message asking him if he was single too. I have visions of the message reading ‘Hi Will, got Rosemary here, wants to know if you are single’. Great … thanks for that Alessandro ! 

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