With the help of ski guru, Pat Zimmer, there’s a chance to overhaul your skiing before you go on your main holiday this winter. The on- and off-piste courses run from the very first day of the season, so if you’re staying a week you’ll arrive on November 28 and take an early lift up the mountain the following morning.
Pat’s a former French racer who’s been guiding pupils around the slopes of Val d’Isere for many years. He actually founded the first independent ski school in France, concentrating on the international market.
Of course, you’ll want to know about the virus safety situation and how it will affect your holiday. The good news is that because Val d’Isere had a successful summer ski season on the glacier in June and July, the resort has tried and tested the necessary precautions. They assure us these won’t create lift queues or lead to any reduction in ski terrain. Yes, you’ll be required to wear a mask on lifts and in socially-distanced lift queues, but otherwise, the skiing itself shouldn’t be affected.
With the current quarantine conditions, the biggest question still has to be: can we actually travel to the French Alps? This is a question of economics, not just health. Millions of jobs in the mountains and elsewhere depend on the continuation of the ski industry and resorts are already geared up and Covid-ready. Incidentally, there wasn’t a single case of the virus reported in Val d’Isere before the slopes and the hotels closed in March.
The courses are intensive, but fun, both on-piste and off-piste. Numbers are limited to six or seven per group, divided according to skill and experience.You need to be able to ski linked parallel turns on a blue run, and at least attempt the same down a red run.