Thoughts on a Postcard from Ushuaia

Becs Malthouse

Becs Malthouse

If you’ve been keeping an eye out on Facebook, you’ll have seen that the demo team have already been in Ushuaia for a few days now. During yesterday and today, the    rest of our delegation have arrived in time for the official opening. Here’s a quick reflection of the story so far.

The Journey

Getting to Ushuaia is no mean feat. There is a reason they are calling this the Interski at the end of the world, seriously, go and look it up on a map! Everyone made their way into Heathrow from various corners of the world. Jaz Bruce was just back from New Zealand and those of us in France left temperatures of over 30 degrees with bags full of fleeces and ski kit.

3 flights, 2 buses, not much sleep and 35 hours after leaving home, we were finally here. Eat, sleep and get sorted because next morning, 8am we are on the bus to the ski area, Cerro Castor.

The Training

So what have we been up to for the last 3 days? To be honest, this has been the most productive training time we have had since the team was selected, nearly 2 years ago.

It takes roughly 45 minutes by bus to the ski area. Boots on and off we go. First day we focus on the first demo, snakes. The hardest part of this one is the start where we have 4 vertical lines synchronising short turns. The leaders of each line need to take their timing from the front person which gets harder to do the further away you are. Then we experiment with different ways of making the split look clean and powerful into medium and long turns. What amazes me is that we know the demos so well now that we can try changing patterns, number or size of turn or even pace – all at the drop of a hat and still keep it together.

In the afternoon we change to demo 2, diamonds. We move away from the training slope and are allowed onto the demo slope for the first time. First impressions are, it’s steep! We get rid of the snowplough shape start we have been using and change to a skis across the hill, pivot and slide to set off. A few runs in the bag and we are settling in nicely. The toughest part of this demo is to keep sight of the lead skier that you are shadowing as there are other skiers in between you who are turning in the opposite direction. You need eyes in all directions. For me, on the left wing of the middle diamond, I’m watching Lynn while keeping tabs on James B in front of me and making sure I stay level with Rupert T who is the right hand wing man. I’m hoping that Jaz L doesn’t ski into the back of me but that’s his job, not for me to worry about. I do get splatted with the spray of Rupert’s skis which compromises vision as my goggles get covered in snow but, hey ho.

We try stretching the shapes wider across the hill and then longer down the hill while Coach Andi looks for what works best visually. You can’t make these decisions until you see how each demo fits on the demo slope, giving thought to the speed we can carry and the space we have. Wide doesn’t work ,so long and thin it is.

Day 2

Stuck in the cafe due to high winds but then we head outside to figure out how we are going to set up the finishes and stopping at the end of each demo. The holiday skiers are looking slightly perplexed but enjoying watching us all run round on the snow at the bottom of the slope! Finally at 12 noon we get on the hill and get back to it. More snakes, more diamonds. We may only have had half a day on skis but we are pretty tired by the end of it.

Day 3

Both evenings we have watched video of the training runs so day 3 we are fully charged. Still making changes but we are now adding elements that we can only manage because we are so comfortable with the moves. Finally we get onto the final demo; Tickle, Tickle, Bang, Bang. I’ll let you watch the video later to figure why it’s called that. This is the highest speed demo we have. It needs to be fast and slick to have the impact we want. Snakes has the shortest turns, diamonds has pretty full on medium radius but tickle is the killer. All these demos are about showing how BASI skiers ski fast, hard and sharp. We don’t go for the slow-speed, washy, short turns that are mostly used for synchro, that would be too easy.

The point of all this is to make people pay attention. Surprise them and turn heads. And we do.

BASI may be considered a lowland country but we believe in and achieve a high level of performance out there on the hill. Our job is to make people remember that BASI means business and we have something to say. By making the demo’s exciting, we draw people into our workshops and lectures. This creates the opportunity to network and open up the important conversations that need to be had.

Becs Malthouse

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