Woodsy started out on Sheffield Dry Ski Slope as a teenager and has quickly taken himself to the top of his game. On the way, he has won FIS medals, finished 5th in slopestyle at the Winter Olympics in Sochi and has legions of fans across the world.
When Eliose caught up with Woodsy at the Méribel Planks Clothing store she didn’t waste the opportunity and got him to share his top tips on perfecting tricks in the park.
1. Look where you are going & let your eyes do the trick:
Wherever the eyes go the body follows, looking where you are going and spotting your landing is the most important thing when setting out to do a trick.
2. Finger guns:
Point your fingers out in front of you as if you are going to shoot something – this is where your hands should be.
3. Hold the box:
Imagine you are holding the corners of a box in front of you, this helps to keep your shoulders and body open.
4. Z legs:
Your legs need to be z-shaped, pushing your shins into the front of your boots.
5. Imagine you’re an apple:
When you throw an apple it doesn’t change its rotation mid-air. You should do the same, imagine you are an apple and continue your rotation.
6. If landing switch look back up the hill:
When landing backwards it is easy to be nervous and land at an angle, spot your landing then immediately look back up the hill to straighten out the landing so you are on both feet.
Quick Guide to Méribel Snow Parks
Meribel is home to one of the best Freestyle Snow Parks in Europe…DC Area 43.
DC Area 43 currently has something for everyone, with a mini-pipe, super-pipe, side hips, rails, boxes and kickers (jumps) for intermediate – advanced park skier/boarders. The main drop into the park has a choice of 4 courses, on the left beginner/intermediate boxes, next blue and red kickers and sectioned off on the right a pro-line set up with multiple features. This truly is a park for all standards.
In celebration of International Women’s Day this week, we researched some awesome female icons in the world of Winter Sports. These incredible women, dating back to the 1800’s, set the standards in all female mountain sports, ranging from; Mountain Climbing, Figure Skating, Alpine Ski Racing, Back Country Skiing and Freestyle.
In honour of International Women’s Day, here are 10 inspirational role models, giving Girl Power with an Alpine touch.
1. Marie Paradis and Henriette d’Angeville
Marie Paradis was the first female to climb the famous Mont Blanc in 1808, during this time Chamonix was still under the reign of the Kingdom of Sardinia. This history changing female, succeeded the climb alongside mountain guide Jacques Balmat. The quirky fact in this story was the fashion… Marie Paradis did the whole thing in a dress! Thirty years later, Henriette d’Angeville was the second woman in history to climb Mont Blanc in 1883.
2. Sonja Henie
In 1924, the Winter Olympics was launched, women were only allowed to compete in one category – Figure Skating. At the young age of just 11 years old, Sonja Henie of Norway, competed alongside 13 other female competitors. In the 1928 Winter Olympics, Sonja went on to win Gold and in total won 3 Gold Medals over her Olympic career. There was controversy at the time around the length of her skirt, shorter than other competitors due to her age and size it was frowned upon. However, it is believed that a shorter skirt allowed her to incorporate more movement into her routine, such as spins and jumps. As a result, this iconic moment took Figure Skating to a new level with new attire!
3. Christl Cranz
In 1936, the Winter Olympics was transformed with a new sport for females to take part in… Alpine Skiing: Alpine Combined (Slalom and Giant Slalom).
Christl Cranz of Germany was the first female to win a Gold Medal. This was the year for female competitors with over 500 women taking part. Christl Cranz then went on to win 13 World Championship titles.
4. Marielle Goitschel
This French female was originally born in Sainte-Maxine, however, moved to Val d’isere at a young age. The Goitschel family are well known for their talents in Alpine Ski racing, making it no surprise that Marielle became the second woman after Christl Cranz to win 11 World Championship medals in Alpine Ski Racing. To this day the Goitschel family are still based in the French Alps and have ski shops named after them in the resort of Val Thorens.
5. Janica Kostelic
Born in Croatia, Janica came from humble beginnings, during her European tour funding for accommodation was not available, so she and her family slept in a tent or their car during her competitions. Janica’s determination and drive to succeed landed her 4 Olympic Gold Medals. She is the only woman to have ever won 3 Gold Medals in one Winter Olympics (2002).
6. Julia Mancuso
World renowned American ski racer Julia Mancuso is a woman who never gives up, she is said to be one of the best female Alpine Ski Racers in the world. After 7 World Cup wins in Alpine Ski Racing, standing tall on the podium in 5 World Championships, winning 3 Olympic medals including GOLD in Giant Slalom in 2006, this lady knows how to win a ski race or two. Despite a hectic ski schedule she still finds time to enjoy surfing and paddling in Hawaii and is an ambassador for the High Fives Foundation supporting injured athletes.
7. Kelly Clark
This snowboarding role model has achieved the top of her game in Freestyle Snowboarding specialising in Half Pipe. She has had over 70 career wins – more than any Man or Woman. She is a 4 time Olympian and 3 time Medallist, wining Gold in the 2002 Winter Olympics Half Pipe. Kelly now focuses on her foundation, set up in 2010, her company motto is “Success starts with an opportunity to follow your dreams” and she is enabling young aspiring snowboarders to do just that.
8. Linsey Vonn
Possibly one of the most famous Female Alpine Skiers of this era, Lindsey Vonn is always making headlines. Vonn has just been granted the title of “most successful women’s skier of all time” by the Olympic organisation, after beating the World Record for 63 FIS World Cup victories which hasn’t been achieved since 1970’s by Austria’s Annemarie Moser-Pröll’s. Olympic Gold Medallist, and one of only 2 females to win the overall World Cup Championships, there really isn’t much this lady won’t do to succeed. She was awarded “Sports Woman of the year” at the Laureus World Sports Awards 2010 and despite her fair share of struggles due to injury has maintained her competitive drive and inspiring women.
9. Sarah Burke
This Canadian champion put Women’s Freestyle Skiing on the map. She campaigned for Freestyle Skiing to be in the 2014 Winter Olympics and succeeded in her cause. Four time Winter X Games Gold Medallist and World Championship skier in Half Pipe, Sarah Burke inspired thousands of women of all ages to follow their passion. Tragically Sarah Burke died during training in 2012. This devastating loss hit the Freestyle community hard, however, her legacy lives on inspiring females to take Freestyle skiing to another level. Lyndsey Dyer a creative film maker and famous Back Country skier dedicated her all female “Pretty Faces” ski film to Sarah Burke, this is a must see film for anyone who loves mountains, skiing and Girl Power.
10. Kelly Sildaru
The most recent female on our radar, Kelly Sildaru is a 14 year old Freestyle skier from Estonia. Competing in Slopestyle, Sildaru is the youngest female to win a Gold medal in the 2017 Aspen Winter X Games. If that wasn’t enough she then continued being the first female to win 2 prizes at the X Games landing a Silver medal in Big Air. This talented teenager is one to watch for future Winter Olympics.
These inspiring women have excelled in the sport they love, and have motivated us to go out and challenge ourselves on the piste. This week we are very proud to announce that out of the 11 Alpine Action female staff that participated in the “Sheride Sessions, Slope Style competition” in Meribel’s Elements Park, 8 won prizes! Congratulations ladies representing International Women’s Day and Alpine Action.
It’s a fact that we spend more time thinking about skiing or boarding than we actually spend on the snow doing it. Some of us are happy just dreaming of being on the mountain but occasionally we need a reminder of what we are missing. The other day we found ourselves sat on the sofa trawling the internet for ski movies to get us through the summer. We found some new, some old and some very boring movies to watch and after we had quenched our frozen water thirst we thought we would share what is out there with you so you could hydrate yourself.
Watching a snow movie reminds you how much fun you can have out it the mountains.
Below is a selection of ski and snowboard movies and TV shows that are available on the internet with subscription services like Netflix and Amazon, as well as free services such as Red Bull TV and YouTube.
Steep was filmed in 2007 and looks at the history of extreme skiing, it starts by looking back at the 1979’s when a skier called Bill Briggs who was a pioneer of Big Mountain Riding skied down the Teton Mountain in Jackson Hole. The history of the sport is told with the help of ski legend such as Shane McConkey, Chris Davenport and Ingrid Backstrom. The motto of the film and the people featured in it is “ski where the sport of skiing is still an adventure” and this is what the film is about too.
Deeper – Further – Higher
This trilogy of snowboarding films starring Jeremy Jones isn’t all about tricks and montages, it truly is about the adventure of free-riding and searching for the ultimate line in some of the worlds most extreme places. Jones and his crew don’t just rely on heli drops they believe that mountaineering is part of the experience of big mountain riding. These films follow Jeremy and the team who film him as they go deeper into the back country. These aren’t films about goofy snowboard dudes these are documentary’s about pioneers and explores who respect their environment who just happen to have the best way of getting down a snowy mountain.
I went to the Cinema to watch this when it came out and spent the time scoffing at the unrealistic depiction of chalet staff, later on I reflected on this thought and realised that being realistic would have made a pretty boring film. The movie is loosely based on the story of Olympic Bronze Medallist Jenny Jones and her life as a seaonnaire. While the actual ski and snowboarding content is limited, in an odd way, you might find this film inspires you to get back on the snow or even apply for a job as a chalet host.
Also on Netfilx is My Side of the sky a TV docudrama about Windells Academy a school for snowboarders.
Going Downhill Fast
If you are a fan of science movies that you were shown in school in the 90’s and made in the 80’s then this is the ski movie for you and it is also Amazons only ski offering. The documentary talks about going fast on skis and has interviews with experts who talk about snow in terms of penetrating particles and freezing points. Watch this if you want to learn something, not if you want arty shots of powder runs and big air. Going Downhill fast
Red Bull TV
Art Of Flight
If I owned a company that made too much money, I like to think that, like Red Bull, I would just keep ploughing the money into doing cool stuff to promote my company! Despite the fact that The Art Of Flight is a feature length advert, but then aren’t most ski films, this is one of the best and possibly the most beautiful winter sports film ever made. The film starring Travis Rice documents what its like to challenge yourself in a dangerous environment and challenges what you may think about riders who put are searching constantly and pushing the boundaries.
Red Bull TV has plenty to keep any winter sport fan entertained for hours with shows such as Keep Your Tips Up a documentary about a group of riders making a movie, a film about Lindsay Vonn’s comeback and one about Mike Shaw a pro skier who was told he may never walk again.
There are 4 of these movies that have been since 1983, originally a promo video for Les Arcs these films have turned into a cult classic. This isn’t your usual ski movie and don’t let what I am about to tell you put you off. Firstly there is a plot that revolves around the snowboard legend Régis Rolland on his swallow tail board as he is chased around the mountain by evil mono skiers trying to capture the secret of skiing. The music is incredible the stunts amazing and the ski outfits are some of the best you will ever see. Still not convinced.. I have put the first instalment below. Trust me you will be hooked.
Also on YouTube is the movie a Few Words which is a documentary by Quicksilver about one of the worlds most accomplished skier, Candide Thovex. One reviewer describe its as “A great overview of the life of this incredible skier…. great cinematography as well as music and the skiing out of this world 10/10; this is one ski film worth buying and keeping.”. Which obviously you don’t have to as they have uploaded it to Youtube. It is a high quality movie that will make you consider the possibilities of what is possible with a pair of skis, before you realise that remembering which pocket you put your lift pass in is hard enough.
This is the week that Meribel hits the big time – Not that we arn’t saying that Meribel isn’t a big time resort. it frequently appears in top 10 ski resort list and if it doesent one of its sister resorts in the Three Valleys does. Anyhow as I was saying, this is the week that the Alpine World Cup comes to Meribel. Not only that it is this this seasons final.
When is it on?
It starts on Wednesday the 18th of March but there is practising going on from the 16th. Highlights will be the Downhill starting at 9.30 on Wednesday the 18th and the Slalom over the weekend. Take a look at the full scheduled below.
Who is racing?
If you follow Alpine racing avidly then you will recognise all of the names as these are the top 25 point scorers from this winter season. It is the Female 25 that has the big recognisable names in Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso and Tina Maze.
Is it on Ski sunday?
Sadly Ski Sunday has ended for the winter. We did hope that there would be a Meribel special due to Meribel being such a hot spot for British skiers and snowboarders. My twitter stalking suggests that the presenters arn’t in resort either.
How can I watch it?
If you are in resort you can get a great view if the race climax down at the Chaudanne in the centre of Meribel of try and get a spot along side the race course. Or if you are at home in the UK then the event will be streamed live here http://livetv.sx/en/competitions/?c_407.
What else is on?
Lots! Every day there is a concert or ceremony to watch. Also you are in the 3 Valleys so go skiing in the worlds biggest and best ski area! There is also some pretty decent Apres Ski to enjouy, with most bars having some Alpine World Cup theme going on. And if that is not enough why not try and compleate our Alpine World Cup bingo card.
Many things in life get abandoned, such as ski gloves on piste markers, Chat magazine in your chalet accommodation or that 4th apres Jager bomb that you never wanted in the first place. One thing that we never thought might get abandoned is a ski resort. Maybe because we only visit working ski resorts, the main reason for this is because we go to a ski resort for the ski lifts. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t derelict ski resorts out there. These resorts have closed due to climate change, finance or technological advancement. Here are few ski resorts that have been abandoned.
These days the buzz word for Olympic games is “Legacy”. This probably wasn’t on the minds of the 1984 Winter Olympic hosts. Nore was it on the mind of Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean who won gold in the figure skating. Today the olympic infrastructure exists as a collection of derelict sites, overgrown and graffitied.
Not quite a ski resort, this is the Azuma ski lodge near Fukushima in Japan. The lodge has been abandoned long before the nuclear incident in 2010.
Climate change was the factor that contributed to the closure of the Chacaltaya Ski Resort. At one point in its history it was the highest ski resort in the world. Sadly the retreat of the glacier overtime forced the resort to be abandoned.
France has some of the best ski resorts in the world, with a thriving industry at work so it comes as a mild shock to find an abandoned resort a bit closer to home. This is the abandoned ski project of Saint-Honoré 1500, which due to financial problems the developers were forced to put down tools and abandon the build in 1993. It could have been the next Meribel Mottaret.
The Rainbow Basin ski resort was open for 11 years, when in 1991, due to money problems it had to close. Owner Jack Pickett blamed the weather saying about the lack of snowfall that “It wouldn’t cooperate”. People still visit it today for Scooby Doo type thrills.
Fortunately the resort of Meribel in the 3 Valleys is still going strong, full or great chalets like ours. To book a ski hoiliday to a non-abandond ski resort go to www.alpineaction.co.uk
Jenny Jones has been a hero of ours way before she went “mainstream”, when she sold-out and won a bronze Winter Olympic medal in the slope style competition at the Sochi 2014 winter games. Before then she was an underground name, uttered by snowboarders who had a board for the park and a board for the backcountry. For years Jones has been winning Gold medals at the winter X-Games, which was the highest possible level of competition. But still no one had hear of her, maybe they were getting confused or scared off by her namesakes…
Jenny Jones – Green Party Politician
I am not sure if Baroness Jenny Jones, Green party member and Deputy Mayor of London has ever been snowboarding, we have never seen her in Meribel. I would guess that she might find the concept of a ski holiday disagrees with her strong environmental political and ethical beliefs. Right now I would guess that snowboarder Jenny Jones is now more famous, the Baroness has never been of Johnathan Ross. Maybe they could make a TV show where the Jenny Jones’ swap jobs?
Jenny Jones – Labour Party Politician
Another politician and this is one you probably won’t have heard of unless you lived in the Wolverhampton South West constituency. Maybe snowboarder Jenny has missed her calling? Maybe she is destined to become an MP or even PM? Maybe she could start small scale, Jenny Jones for Mayor of Meribel?
Jenny Jones – American TV
Ever heard of her? No, we haven’t either. She was a rock and roll drummer, stand up and finally chat show host. As far as we can tell she had a chat show that was similar to reading Chat or Take a Break magazine. She is probably still more famous than our Jenny is in America.
Jenny Jones – Canadian Curler
There is a rumour that when our Jenny Jones turned up in Sochi she was given a welcome feast of pancakes and Maple syrup and told to report to the Ice Cube arena. It got worse when Jenny from Canada turned up at the top of the slope style park in some slippy slippers and brush. Fortunately this all got resolved, much to the disappointment of Team GB’s Eve Muirhead, who knew how rubbish snowboarder Jenny Jones is at curling.
What a month February was! Jam packed with Olympic action. How will March be able to match it? In previous years we could have consoled ourselves with the arrival of the Winter X-Games in Val d’Isere, sadly this is not going ahead this year. But don’t be glum if you are heading to Méribel or La Tania this month there is still a lot to look forward to and that is on top of excellent snow conditions.
3rd of March – La Tania – Peroni Tour, The Ski Lodge
Part of a trip to the Alps is the drinking of lager. Even the most hardened Ale drinker will be forced to drink fizzy amber nectar, mainly Amstel or Kronenbourg, both of which aren’t very French. I remember as seasonnaire I would splash out on a Stella, as a treat. So it is with much joy that we can get Peroni in The Ski Lodge. Even better it will be an extended happy hour too. Get there now!
4th of March – Meribel – Afternoon Party
If you didn’t get enough of that Peroni feeling in La Tania the day before then head to the Café del Mott in Méribel Motteret for another Peroni fuelled party. Expect a BBQ, Peroni and DJs. If anyone from Peroni is reading this and wanted to thank us for the number of times that we have mentioned Peroni in this article, please feel free to post some to our office!
Shrove Tuesday or as it is often known as, “test you chalet host cooking skills day”. That’s right expect your hosts to be flipping away and serving up a tasty pancake with various fillings. If they do fail to provide you with one then be sure to pop into a local Crêperi.
7th March – Sochi/Channel 4 – Paralympic Winter Games
The 2014 Paralympic Winter Olympics start today. That is providing we aren’t all at war with Russia or everyone has decided to boycott the games. If all that doesn’t happen then you should be able gorge yourself on more televised snow sports, unless you have to work or are out on the slopes of the Three Valleys carving it up.
18th March to 24th March – Méribel – French Alpine Ski Championships
If you enjoy the racing bit on Ski Sunday and the Downhill skiing part of the Olympics then take some time to go and watch this. France’s best racers will be competing to be “Le Best”. You can expect free mulled wine, exciting racing and commentary in French.
20th March to 22nd March – Courchevel – Film Festival
If you like films then this could be the event for you. 5 different films will be screened and you can go and watch them for free. To find out what the films are go to the official website. If you do go please email us your reviews.
24th March – Méribel – Poetry Week
According to Latania.co.uk, there is a Poetry week on in Méribel. We have not been able to find any evidence to support this. However we are very taken with this idea, please contact us if you have any more info. In the meantime here is our entry.
Méribel, full of snow
Méribel, full of chalets
Méribel l, I want to go
If I could ski, I would choose you
Méribel, full of fun
Méribel, full of skiers
Méribel, have you been
If you ski, you should go
March 30th – Méribel – The British Alpine Ski Championships
This goes on for a week. More details can be found here. And more details will be in next month’s What’s on in Méribel and La Tania
The Winter Olympics is over. All we have now is memories and YouTube clips to remind us of the happy times. And the thought of our next holiday to Meribel, where I can pretend to be Bode Miller, when in fact I am not even a Vanessa Mae, to keep us going. Oh and of course this top 5 list of our favourite people from Sochi 2014…
The woman who took a bronze medal by being very sensible in a reckless sport. In the finals of the slope style she saw that everyone else in the completion was going big, but not landing everything. So she went a little less big than everyone else and put in a perfect run. She then waited, and waited and waited. She was rewarded with a Bronze Medal, which she very much deserves.
I have to be honest I have never been the biggest Graham Bell fan. I don’t think I understood him. When presenting he always comes across as a bit steely and seriouse. During this winter Olympics the BBC ran some segments about when he used to compete, these films helped me understand him better as a person. To compeat in downhill you need to be arrogant, determined, competitive and ruthless. I think it may be me, I always want him to be someone else on TV and he isn’t. What these games have shown is that he is incredibly knowledgeable and reliable as ski expert and that is what he is. He isn’t a personality as such he is a professional and very good he is too.
Ok so I have a bit of a crush on Eve. Despite thinking she was called Gwen for 5 days, but let’s not tell her that. It takes guts to ski fast, it takes bravery to jump high and it takes nerves of steel to throw yourself down an icy chute. But in these self-conscious times that we live in, it takes all of those traits and more to decide, at the age of 16, to become a curler. Possibly the least trendy sport of the Olympics, if not the world. But Eve overcome all those internal conflicts to become a Bronze medallist and sex symbol at 23.
Jamaican Bob Egg
It must be tough being in the Jamaican bobsleigh team. Not only do you have the obvious issues associated with training for winter sports on a tropical island to contend with. You also have a hit cult comedy movie following you around like a celebrity sex tape. There are two ways to deal with it, one ignore it and hope it goes away, which it won’t as it will always be dragged up at every moment by the popular press. Or two, you can tackle it head on with a dose of good humour. Which is exactly what Marvin Dixon did when he kissed his lucky egg.
We enjoyed the curling. One thing that helped me enjoy it more was the commentary by Steve Cram a man with only two weeks more curling watching experience than you or I. Steve was a silver medallist in the 1984 Olympics. His discipline was running and the medal was in 1500m. Since then he has become a commentator for Athletics. Then one day he was asked if he fancied going to the winter Olympics on Vancouver and the rest is history. Steve deserves a gold medal for this year’s commentating. Not only has it been very good, He, unlike us, didn’t have the opportunity of flicking over and not watching the curling.
Since it started I have watched the Winter Olympics non-stop. This has meant that I have been exposed to a lot of Curling. The reason for this is that it has two strong teams from Great Britain in it, therefore the BBC have made the decision to show every second of it. Had I been born in Norway I would be watching a lot of Cross Country. Even worse, if I had been born in Canadian I would be watching a lot more Ice Hockey.
The BBC have been keen to convince us that we #lovecurling, and for a while I did or maybe I do #confused. I started to question my dedication to the sport. During the many ski seasons I have done I have never thought, “It would be great to do some Curling”. On every holiday to Meribel that I have ever been on, I don’t think I have ever looked at the Olympic torch and thought, “maybe I won’t ski today, let’s try curling”. And the only chance I have ever really had to Curl was at the London Ski Show, but I turned the offer down. Saying all that the other day I did search for online Curling games.
I have still spent a lot of time watching it, I have found myself supporting Eve Muirhead and her team. I have cheered, winced and felt their pain. But then it occurred to me… Do I #lovecurling or is it because it is always on? In the same way that I know characters names and their relationships in Eastenders, because my partner watches it and I end up watching with her. If I never saw ‘Enders again my life would remain the same.
Maybe the BBC should try some less catchy but more accurate hashtags #watchingcurlingasnothingbetterison, #lovecurlingbecausetheBBCtellmeto, #lovecurlingbutjustwaitingforsomeskiingtostart.
Will I watch curling once the Games are over? Probably not, but that is the point of the Olympics, to stir interest in the unusual. Will I watch the Curling in 4 years’ time? Absolutely. #lovecurlingfortwoweeksoruntillGBgetsknockedout.
How did I watch Woodsy place 5th in the Men’s Ski Slopestyle? Interesting that you should ask. Some days you can’t be chained to your desk or your TV. Today was a day that I had to be out doing something. I resigned myself to the fact that I had to enjoy the spectacle via the written word and occasional news update on the radio.
I was happy to discover that James “Woodsy” Woods had qualified to the finals. But like everyone, including himself, I had doubts on how well he would do in the final. This is considering that he has injury’s that would make me reconsider leaving the chalet for gentle green and a hot chocolate.
These doubts didn’t deter me from wanting to cheer him on as there was a big chance he could do it, against all the odds. The final started at 9.30am. I was ready to start checking my phone and live feed constantly for an hour from that point on. It was at this point I heard that noise that spells disaster, the noise that signals a panic in every person, the noise that suggest you should be more prepared. Blib Blib. Low battery.
I assumed that I was destined to watch the competition through multiple TVs in the window of a Curry’s in the worst English winter in living memory. Then I remembered my mate who worked on a market stall selling shabby chic, just around the corner.
It was in a small town market that I found myself, watching Woodsy compete, on a iPhone surrounded by a bunch of baffled farmers. We ooohhhed and ahhhhed to the point that people must have assumed we were watching fireworks displays on you tube.
Anyway, 5th is pretty good and like Ms Summerhaze he has plenty more opportunities to come back and take gold. Providing they don’t take away his funding.