by Lucy Aspden, online ski editor
Summer has finally arrived in the UK and Europe as a heatwave causes the mercury to soar – but keen skiers who find themselves yearning for colder climes need not worry.
The Warren Smith Ski Academy has been offering courses at the UK’s indoor snow centres from April to June for the past 10 years – this year the Academy has extended its offering into July and August for the first time, due to popular demand.
Skiers keen not to let their technique go rusty over the summer months can attend the Academy’s classic all mountain, specific moguls or carving workshops throughout July and August at Chill Factore in Manchester and the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead.
There are indoor snow centres and dry ski slopes scattered across the UK and Smith is keen to promote how useful they can be for skiers during the summer months ahead of the winter season.
“I’ve been using indoor real snow venues since 1994 and I cannot recommend them enough,” Warren Smith says.
“You get the chance to work on your technique, test out your ski equipment, home in on a specific element of your technique that might have been bugging you during your winter break, or carefully return to skiing if you’ve had an injury.
“Most importantly, heading to an indoor slope bridges the long gap between winter seasons and keeps you ski fit, using many of the muscles that only ache on ski holidays.”
Snowsport England, the national governing body responsible for increasing participation in skiing and snowboarding, recently partnered with the UK’s indoor and dry ski slopes for National Schools Snowsports week – a campaign that encouraged schoolchildren encouraged to take up skiing to help their wellbeing.
Designed to help skiers progress their technique and warm up for the winter the one-day courses with the Academy last six hours and follow the format of Smith’s tried-and-tested coaching method. The three main areas the instructors focus on, through drills and exercises, are ankle flex, how far a person’s ankle allows them to flex forward, lateral control, the ability to maintain a consistently symmetrical body position, and leg steering, the ability to steer the legs independently from the hips. The course also includes video analysis and biomechanical exercises off the snow.
The extended date line is a first for the Academy, which usually switches its focus from the UK indoor slopes to its five-day summer courses on the snow-sure glacier in Cervinia and Zermatt in July. This year the two will be running in conjunction.
The indoor courses start at Chill Factore on July 7 and run until August 31, when the final session will take place at the Snow Centre.
The Academy made another addition to its summer offering this year with the launch of a new partnership with Harley Street rehabilitation clinic, Isokinetic.
The new service aims to prevent skiers from hurting themselves on the slopes through preparation off the snow and a combination of Warren’s biomechanics studies with neuroscience and sports physiology, provided by Isokinetic’s expert team. The partnership with the Academy is a step away from the clinic’s traditional rehab services toward what Smith is calling “prehab".
For those who really feel like there’s no substitute for fresh air and mountain scenery, a number of ski schools run courses in the Alps over the summer, including the Warren Smith Ski Academy, usually in resorts with high-altitude glaciers – another opportunity to hone skills before the next trip to the slopes and escape the sweltering summer heat.