Meet the Team

BRINGING INDEPENDANT SKI INSTRUCTORS TOGETHER:
For the first time FREEFLO has joined forces with the school operator Activa4 to create a team of independent ski instructors. FREEFLO will provide top quality ski tuition in the famous ski resort of Tignes in France.  A small team of experienced, independent, French and English ski instructors has been choosen. This December the team will teach Shrewsbury Private School for girls. Each ski instructor has their own story and shares the same passion for the mountains and for skiing.
MEET THE TEAM OF SKI INSTRUCTORS
Meet Floss from FREEFLO
Hi my name is Floss, I have been ski teaching for 18 years in the Alps and worldwide. My passion for skiing all started when I was a chalet girl at 18 years old. I haven’t stopped since. Three years ago I created FREEFLO to share my passion and experience for the mountains. FREEFLO provides ski lessons, ski touring and women specific courses in Tignes, Val D’sere, La Grave and St Foy. This year I am excited as it will be my 21st year in the mountains. I am also excited about working with our team of instructors and sharing our great experience and passion for the mountains.

Floss from FREEFLOSKIFloss from FREEFLO

Meet JP McCarthy from Aim Snowsports
JP McCarthy has been teaching skiing since 2004, he has a wealth of experience gained teaching across the world in the UK, France, Switzerland, Austria and even Australia.  JP has a wide range and a depth of knowledge gained from various ski instruction systems including the British Association of snowsports instructors, the Irish Assoication of snowsport instructors, Swiss Snowsports, Snowsports England and Snowsports Scotland.  JP loves the variety in teaching all levels of skier and sharing his enthusiasm for enjoying the mountains.  He now runs his own ski school AIM Snowsports based in Les Arcs.

JP from Aim Snowsports

Meet Pierre from Pierskival
Pierre has a great passion for the mountains and has taught skiing worldwide for over 15 years. He holds the french equivalent to UK Mountain Leader and also guides groups in the summer in the French Alps. He teaches in all resorts of the Tarentaise Valley and in many different languages including English and Deutsch. He also has a great passion for skiing off piste and touring. On his spare days you will find him ski touring in the backcountry with his dog Domino.

Pierre from Pierskival

Meet Sian From Sianski
Sian is a BASI qualified Independent Ski Instructor based in Les Arcs and La Plagne. Having lived and skied in the french alps for the past 20 years her knowledge of the local area is extensive. Sian teaches all ages and all levels with emphasis on tailoring the lesson to your particular needs. She also runs regular Women’s courses throughout the winter. 

Sian from Sianski

Author: Jocelyn Cockle
Posted:
Categories: France, ski instruction, ski lessons, Tignes, Uncategorized, Val D'Isere

The Skiers Guide to Ski Touring the Refuge Frey, Bariloche, Argentina

THE SKIERS GUIDE TO SKI TOURING THE REFUGE FREY, BARILOCHE, ARGENTINA
My dream is becoming a reality. For four years I have been dreaming of leading and creating my own Patagonian adventure. One small part of this adventure includes skiing the granite couloirs and ski touring around the refuge Emilio Frey near Bariloche in Argentina. To have a successfull adventure it is so important to have the right information and make the right decisions.

Refugio Frey, Bariloche, Argentina

Refuge details:
Surrounded by granite towers Refuge Emilio Frey is on the shore of the Toncek lagoon at 1700 meters above sea level. The name is a tribute to the engineer Emilio Frey. The shelter itself is one of the most picturesque in the region. Its a true masterpiece of carved granite lintels, sills, edges and other details of high quality to ensure that the refuge blends into the landscape. The inside is lined with wood and its roof is made of tiles.  On the ground floor is a kitchen and a spacious dining room with a log burner for warmth.

How to make a reservation?
It is only possible to reserve a night in the refuge 3 days before on line as there is no telephone service in the refuge. For three nights in the refuge including food we paid around £25 per day. The refuge only takes US dollars ($) or Argentine Pesos (Ars). For more information you can visit the website  Refugio Frey.

How to access the refuge?
There are two ways to access the refuge in the summer and in the winter.
a) Skiing from the ski station Cerro Catedral: You can hike to the ridgeline Punta Princesa. Traverse west to a col and drop down a valley then ski tour up to the pointed ridgeline. The ski down from there will only take ten minutes to lake Toncek.  At the lake traverse along the plateau to Refugio Frey. Ski touring from Cerro Cathedral will take 4-6 hours.  Make sure you have a good weather window as its difficult to navigate. You will need to pay for a Cerro Catedral lift pass which is around £22 per day.

Sunset at Refuge Frey, Bariloche, Argentina

b) The main walkers route from Cerro Catedral.
Difficulty:
 Medium to Hard depending on snow conditions and how much weight you are carrying in your packs.
Distance : 10 km
Elevation : 700m +\-
Running time : from 4 to 6 hours but the lady from Club Andino will tell you that you can do it in two hours!
Access mode : Cerro Catedral line bus 55 from Bariloche. The bus journey will cost under a pound.  You have to buy a SUBE card which you can buy in the newsagents, no cash accepted on the bus. The bus normally goes every hour and you need to get to the bus stop early to get a seat.

Maps: 
Totally different to the IGN map in France.  Finding a good backcountry map to navigate from is difficult and hard to find. We used the PIXMAP Bariloche y Angostura 1:125. NB: Don’t be fooled by the distance.

Weather Forecasts:
The most reliable weather forecasts we have used have been Snow Forecast and Windyty App

What are the granite spires?
The spires of the refuge are granite and granodiorite towers are intrusive igneous rocks that have slowly cooled deep underground in magma chambers called plutons. This slow cooling process allows easily visible crystals to form. Both rocks are the product of the melting of continental rocks near subduction zones.

Follow us and our adventures on the #theskiersjourney inPatagonia.

The team on #theskiersjourney, Patagonia 2018

Creating, Leading and Sharing Mountain Adventures with FREEFLO

Keep up to date with the FREEFLO Patagonia Ski and Climb Adventure 2018 and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Blog. FREEFLO specialises in progressive on and off piste ski instruction, backcountry ski touring and women specific ski courses. We offer personal British ski instruction for skiers of all abilities. Our primary objective is helping competent skiers to improve their technique on and off piste and in the backcountry. Our intuitive coach-approach will help you to progress, have fun and enjoy the full freedom of the mountains in a safe and confident manner. Step into your next adventure and email: [email protected] or visit www.freefloski.com 

Author: Jocelyn Cockle
Posted:
Categories: adventure, british female instructor, maps, patagonia, Uncategorized

The Arcteryx Norvan VT trail shoe is the number one choice for Patagonia.

The Arcteryx Norvan trail and approach shoe is the number one choice for Patagonia.
As soon as I put this trail shoe on I wasn’t disappointed. Tested in the French Alps on running trails, snow and climbing crags. I decided that this shoe would be my number one choice of footwear for the FREEFLO Patagonia Ski and Climb Adventure 2018. It would be the shoe that I could run in, scramble in and an approach shoe to refuges and climbing crags. Intelligently designed and created it will be the connection between trail running and alpinism.
With the combination of a Vibram heel and a sticky rubber compound of the Idrogrip the Norvan VT delivers excellent grip on all terrain. With the adjustable 360° support system can you switch from running mode to a scrambling mode very easily. The fixed adaptive Fit Technology wraps around your foot and keeps your foot dry and free of debris. 
The Norvan VT is a shoe that gives you confidence and support over technical terrain.
Keep up to date with the FREEFLO Patagonia Ski and Climb Adventure 2018 and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Blog.
FREEFLO specialises in progressive on and off piste ski instruction, backcountry ski touring and women specific ski courses. We offer personal British ski instruction for skiers of all abilities, though our sweet spot is helping competent skiers to improve their technique on and off piste and in the backcountry. Our intuitive coach-approach will help you to progress, have fun and enjoy the full freedom of the mountains in a safe and confident manner. Step into your next adventure and email: [email protected] or visit www.freefloski.com

Author: Jocelyn Cockle
Posted:
Categories: adventure, France, Ski guiding and teaching

Climbing: How I came back to climbing after a 14 year break 

Climbing: How I came back to climbing after a 14 year break 

Every climber or good athlete will have a fall, an injury and hurdles to overcome. The more you want to achieve and to get to a higher level you have to put the time, money and training in.

In 2002 I was running a ski school in Switzerland and on our weekends off I would go ice climbing with friends. I was still learning. It was a chain of bad decisions, wrong equipment and the ‘Halo Effect’ that resulted me in falling. That particular morning I woke up tired and hangover. I had left my proper boots in a different place to where I had woken up. My ice axes I had to borrow and weren’t the same model, weight or make. We had hiked close to an hour through some woodland before we arrived at the ice waterfall that we wanted to climb. I can’t remember the fine details as its all distant memory that I wanted to forget and to delete . All that I remember was that I was struggling and feeling weak. There was water running under the ice and my gut feeling was that I shouldn’t be there. It wasn’t long before my right crampon went into my left calve and broke the skin as I felt my blood pouring out of my leg. I was hanging off three points of contact, then two.  Then my right arm and ice axe didn’t hold and I started to fall. I can’t remember how far I fell. The first gear pinged out of the ice then the second. The third bit of gear held and I slammed over an ice shelf. My left ankle folded over and I was very pleased to have stopped. After some time and effort I was then belayed down and I hobbled back to the car. We got back to camp. I was fortunate as my injuries were slight. I had a compressed vertebra, stretched ankle ligaments in my left ankle and few stitches in my left calf.

How I conquered fear:
Fourteen years later in 2016, I was approaching a mile stone in birthday years. I wanted to overcome my fear for climbing. I needed to get use to exposure once again. So I started back on the climbing wall. I remember my first 10m climbing pitch on the inside climbing wall. I was so scared. Saturated with fear and re living the fall in 2002 I then completed all the Via Ferrata’s in Val D’Isere and some different ones in the Tarentaise Valley.   It wasn’t until I completely scared myself on the route of the Aguille De Franchet in the Sassiere Plateaux that I overcame my bad fall. I was confronting fear dead on.

Route Mon Ami Janot in Rodellar, Spain

Now today climbing means so much more to me. I enjoy the intensity and the problem solving on the rock. Like skiing I enjoy being in the zone when climbing and not thinking about anything else. It is a sport that I look forward to doing in the summer. Its not about the highest grade to climb. Its about having a good day at the crag or multi pitch with my dog and friends and enjoying the real outdoors.

Route Dents Du Loup, La Cluse in France

 

Author: Jocelyn Cockle
Posted:
Categories: Uncategorized

Val D’Isere re-opens 3rd June 2018 for spring skiing

Winter 2017/18 still continues….spring skiing and ski touring in Val D’Isere and Tignes 
This winter the snowfall across the French Alps has been phenomenal.  Locals of Tignes have said that it has been the best winter for snowfall in twenty years.  Out of the my twenty winter seasons it has been one of my biggest snowfall seasons by far. With all the snow Val D’Isère has announced that it will re-open some winter lifts for spring skiing on 3rd June 2018.  This will be the first time in 82 years that some of the winter pistes above the resort will re-open in summer. The pistes are planning to re open for summer skiing between 7am-12pm.  The lifts that plan to be open is the Furnival and the Marmottes chairlift in Val D’Isere.
 
The lifts have now closed in Tignes and there still is enough snow to ski tour up to the glacier from Val Claret.  All refuge huts are open till the middle to end of May. The guardian of the refuge du Palet believes that there will still be enough snow on the ground till June. 
Refuge Du Palet, Tignes March 2018
Last Thursday 17th I ski toured 5.5km up and around the Col Des Ves in Tignes with Clare and Dave and skied off piste back into Val Claret in Tignes. I was still amazed at how deep the snowpack was and the snow was still in great condition for May.
17th May Ski touring around the Col De Ves Tignes
 
FREEFLO SKI specialises in on and off piste ski instruction, ski touring and ski courses in the Tarentaise Valley. See more at www.freefloski.com.
Keep up to date with all year around adventure and follow us on Instagram.

 

Author: Jocelyn Cockle
Posted:
Categories: backcountry, basi, british female instructor, France, ski courses, Ski guiding and teaching, ski instruction, ski lessons, ski touring, skicourses, Tignes, Uncategorized, Val D'Isere, Vanoise National Park

Ski Touring – Womens FREEFLO Introduction Tignes

Sefie at the Col De LaTourne
Sefie at the Col De LaTourne

For the third year running I have just finished leading the FREEFLO Womens Introduction to ski touring Course in Tignes and Val D’Isere. I love and enjoy running this two day adventure as it allows me to pass on skills and twenty years of winter mountain experience to people that have never experienced ski touring in the backcountry before. I have just had an amazing time with four special people.

Day one ski touring

On the first morning we met up in Planks Coffee Shop which is relaxing place to start any course whilst drinking good coffee. I spent the first forty minutes getting to know everyone and to find to each persons expectations and goals for the course. I then discussed the weather, the snow conditions and current situation of the snowpack and taught everyone where to find this valuable information. We then checked our gear and kit list and made sure we carried everything we needed. I gave a rough outline of a plan for the two days before heading outside on the piste for a skills session. I then taught everyone essential ski touring skills. This included how to put skins on and off, how to change their bindings and boots to uphill and down hill mode, different turns, route selection etc:

Breaking trail back to Tignes
Breaking trail back to Tignes

To gauge ski ability and to brush on technique before heading into the backcountry we skied a small section of off piste . The snow was great and as soon as the clouds broke and the blue skies arrived I took the opportunity and lead the group into the wilderness of the backcountry. Virgin untracked snow as far as the eye could see was our view as we crossed the Col De Palet. No one was around as skiers were skiing fresh powder in the resort. It was perfect timing as we made our own tracks in the powder as a group of five. Once we had arrived at the lake we tucked into a well deserved snack and drink. After ski touring for fifty five minutes we then arrive to the refuge de palet and enjoyed tucking into a three course meal.

Day two ski touring

The next morning was clear and no one was in sight. We took full advantage and skied the powder on the north facing slopes to lake Grattalu and then broke tracks uphill making our way through the valley of La Tourne. The valley La Tourne is one of my favourite ski touring itineraries. Its gentle and has breathtaking views especially when come out of the Col de Tourne and overlooking Tignes. It was an amazing two day adventure with great company and one that I will never forget.

This is what the team thought

“I love skiing, but getting a introduction to the awe inspiring backcountry of Tignes, gave me a new level of appreciation of why we ski. Nature is even more beautiful, impressive and so much more powerful than us out there beyond the ski area boundaries. Still, we can be part of it and enjoy it if we work together, breaking track, reading the snow conditions and finally huddling together in front of a fire in the cosy Col du Palet refuge. A truly unforgettable introduction to touring.” Leizel Cloke

Leizel enjoying the uphill of ski touring
Leizel enjoying the uphill of ski touring

“Such an adventure to be pushed safely right out of my comfort zone, experiencing an enemies depth of powder surrounded with such stunning scenery and Flo providing us with a photographic life time memory to share..thanks FREEFLO..amazing amazing.” Sally Coates

Sally skiing the powder
Sally skiing the powder

“The two day tour exceeded all my expectations from the glorious weather, the bouncy snow and the sunny scenery to the delicious refuge dinner and the comfy beds. It was a magical couple of days and Flossie inspired confidence by creating a safe and fun learning environment for all of us touring rookies…I am so please I booked it was my best two days of the week.” Amy Cardale

Amy having fun in the powder
Amy having fun in the powder

FREEFLO specialises in progressive on and off piste ski instruction, backcountry ski touring and women specific ski courses. We offer personal British ski lessons for skiers of all abilities, though our sweet spot is helping competent skiers to improve their technique on and off piste and in the backcountry. Our intuitive coach-approach will help you to progress, have fun and enjoy the full freedom of the mountains in a safe and confident manner.

Step into your next adventure and email: [email protected] or visit www.freefloski.com

Author: Jocelyn Cockle
Posted:
Categories: activities, backcountry, british female instructor, off piste, ski courses, ski instruction, ski lessons, ski touring, Tignes, Val D'Isere

Off Piste Skiing Val D’Isere: Table D’Oreintation

Mountain Respect Snow Awareness Courses and Workshops in Tignes

The Rocher de Bellevarde rises to 2817m and the summit of its 1000m high face overlooks Val D’Isere. Through the  breathtaking off piste skiing lines between the rocky spurs of the summit  lies the couloir Table D’Oreintation and l’Antenna.  The Table D’Oreintation is commonly known as the Table and it is a classic off piste route in Val D’Isere that should not be missed.

The Table is one of my favourite routes to guide and to coach in because of its variation and also for its accessibility. If you get the snow conditions right you can start the decent in a wide couloir which opens into a bowl of untracked powder. After the bowl you can then decided to continue left into the trees and end up at the bottom of the cable car lift. The second exit option is handrail to the right and work your way back onto the piste of the famous World Cup downhill run Le Face.

Off Piste skiing between: 2690m-2209 m NE
Max Gradient: 44 degrees
Uphill: 25 to 40 mins boot hike dependant on conditions
Skiers Level: Strong Intermediate/Advanced off piste
Start: From the top of Olympique
Finish: At bottom of Val or the
Lift pass needed: Espace Killy
Map needed: 3633ET
Grade: 2:2
Exposure: E2

Table D’Oreintation Val D’Isere

FREEFLO specialises in progressive on and off piste ski instruction, backcountry ski touring and women specific ski courses. We offer personal British ski lessons for skiers of all abilities, though our sweet spot is helping competent skiers to improve their technique on and off piste and in the backcountry. Our intuitive coach-approach will help you to progress, have fun and enjoy the full freedom of the mountains in a safe and confident manner.

Step into your next adventure and email: [email protected] or visit www.freefloski.com

For more ideas for adventures and activities in France visit: Active Azur 

Author: Jocelyn Cockle
Posted:
Categories: backcountry, off piste courses, offpiste skiing, Ski guiding and teaching, ski instruction, ski lessons, ski touring, Tignes, Val D'Isere

Powder Paradise: Off-Piste Tree Skiing Sainte Foy

Yesterday in Sainte Foy was a ‘un jour de blanc’ a white day with low visibility.  I woke up with the lowest expectations and had one of the best off-piste powder days of the ski season in Sainte Foy. I was having fun,  ski guiding and teaching in Sainte Foy in the trees.  We were skiing fresh tracks all day and jumping off pillows of snow and putting our skiing to the test. The snowpack is so deep this winter that you can ski confidently off-piste without bottoming out or hitting rocks and tree stumps.

This month we have had the heaviest snowfall in one month since 1981. Its been a once in a generation snowfall winter. I am now on my 20th winter season and its a winter that I will never forget.

We started off the TSD Marquise chairlift on a big open face then headed into the trees off the run Toboggan and kept to the fall line. Skiing across the walkers path keeping right of the river as we kept in the trees then headed left and took the next path back into St Foy. It was amazing, no one was around and fresh deep snow lied untracked in between the trees. The next few runs we took different routes close and under the TS Arpettaz chairlift working on line and precision following each other and filming. It was training for endurance and so much fun. Our ski cool down before heading to apres was then carving in low visability and soft conditions from the top of the Marquise chairlift all the way down to the start of the station non stop. What a great day and an amazing powder paradise.

Improve your skiing and have a great adventure with FREEFLO.

FREEFLO specialises in progressive on and off piste ski instruction, backcountry ski touring and women specific ski courses. We offer personal British ski instruction for skiers of all abilities, though our sweet spot is helping competent skiers to improve their technique on and off piste and in the backcountry. Our intuitive coach-approach will help you to progress, have fun and enjoy the full freedom of the mountains in a safe and confident manner. Step into your next adventure and email: [email protected] or visit www.freefloski.com

 

 

Author: Jocelyn Cockle
Posted:
Categories: Uncategorized

Tignes Video Snow Report 17th January 2018

Once in a generation snowfall: 

Bringing you a weekly video snow report for Tignes. This season has been described as once in a generation snowfall that hit the alps. This is my 20th winter working and teaching in the Alps and I have never seen a winter like it. We now have such an amazing snow base and cover for the rest of the ski season.

FREEFLO specialises in progressive on and off piste ski instruction, backcountry ski touring and women specific ski courses. We offer personal British ski instruction for skiers of all abilities, though our sweet spot is helping competent skiers to improve their technique on and off piste and in the backcountry. Our intuitive coach-approach will help you to progress, have fun and enjoy the full freedom of the mountains in a safe and confident manner. Step into your next adventure and email: [email protected] or visit www.freefloski.com

Author: Jocelyn Cockle
Posted:
Categories: Uncategorized

Snow Report Tignes, 15th Dec 2017

An amazing start to the winter. 
It has been an amazing and extraordinary week of fresh snow in Tignes. Out of the 19 seasons that I have completed; it has probably been one of the best starts to the season for snowfall that I have seen in a long time.
Last Sunday and Monday we received nearly a metre of snow in two snowfalls with in 48hrs.The amount of snow falling in a short time with the snow level at 900m brought some disruption in resort. The opening of ski lifts were delayed as the pistes were being secured. Roads have been shut for a short time to ensure safety. People have been working around the clock clearing snow to keep footpaths, roads and entrances clear and open.
Powder skiing, Tignes
Off Piste Skiing Tignes
Wednesday brought more settled weather and everyone was enjoying the sunshine and the 100% visibility. Pistes were soft and in excellent condition. The avalanche rating increased to a four out of five for danger due to the large loading of new snow. However, if you knew where to go and skied flatter safer slopes you could ski fresh powder. The powder off piste on south facing slopes was light and heroic.  With a great base of snow underneath you could ski more confidently as you wouldn’t hit the base.
On Thursday a new weather front came in bringing poor visibility and wind with speeds up to 100kmh. This has moved a lot of snow around and has altered our snowpack. Skiing off piste on the windward slopes are difficult to ski with a crusty layer and the lee slopes are loaded with fresh snow but are more dangerous.
Today we have been excited to receive another 30cm of fresh light snow on upper slopes as the wind dropped overnight. There is more good news as we are expecting another 20cm of snow tonight which will help build the snowpack even further and will give us a better snow base and piste conditions throughout the winter.

Author: Jocelyn Cockle
Posted:
Categories: Uncategorized