‘Nearly as good as the Olympics, but definitely more snow’ said Steve Redgrave, and he should know!





The Crystal Ski Fest 2013 held this year for the first time in La Plagne, France, from 16-23 March was another successful event organised by the UK’s no 1 ski operator, Crystal Ski. All guests were watered and fed at the ski-to-and-from-the-door Hotel Terra Nova located at the foot of a green slope close to the bars in Plagne Centre.

The week started with huge snow storm with over a metre falling over a 48 hour period, however, this presented no challenge to the coaches Alain Baxter and Lynn Sharp as well as the British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI) Gareth Roberts, Alex Leaf and John Gardiner.

As the week went on, the weather improved and the giant slalom on Thursday took place in sunny conditions on the Olympic Stade run in La Plagne Centre.

The race was the culmination of the participants’ seven days in the French ski resort which included professional coaching and video feedback. The competition involved not just an individual giant slalom speed race, a team relay but also a dual slalom competition was also held on the same slope. Après-ski events included a VIP party hosted by Sir Steve, the chance to ski against Britain’s most successful Olympian and fellow Olympic rower Ben Hunt-Davis, and ‘An Evening With …’ session where Steve, Ben and Alain did a special Q&A about their deep involvement in London 2012 and a preview to Sochi 2014.

In a sport where split-seconds count, or at least the participants hope they do, new techniques and equipment were tested to boost times. Apparently, and this could only be a rumour, one member of the team stripped down to his boxer shorts for the speed race in the hope that his slippery body would help him to gain speed. During the relay race, another Ski Fest’ler tried to shorten the course by skiing THROUGH the gates, but luckily wasn’t disqualified.

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