BASI British International Ski Teacher L4 ISTD // Mountain Leader MTA EnglishFrench
TEL: +33 (0)630 111109   //   SIRET NO: 803 597 210 00035

Freefloski Featured in the Ultimate List of Best Ski Schools in France

Ridestore Magazine Press Realease, 29th November 2019.
Jocelyn Cockle (Floss) of Freefloski in Tignes has been featured as one of the best ski schools in Tignes by Ridestore Magazine. Ridestore complied a mega ulitmate list of the best ski schools in France for the 2019/20 season, after all, the countdown is on to many of us ski and snowboard lovers, hitting the slopes! The team at Ridestore thought it was time someone put together a list of all the ski schools in the best and busiest resorts in France to make life a little easier for those that are frantically googling.

Ski Touring Tignes
Ski Touring Tignes

This list was created to try and take a little bit of stress out of selecting the right ski school for you. It doesn’t matter wether you are a first time skier, an intermediate looking to get rid of bad habits or a season rider who loved to learn the latest tricks and tips, its vital to find the right fit for you. Brits have been supporting French ski schools both big and small, always looking for the right tutiton that offers value for money and quality and experienced instructors; Just like Floss!

This ultimate list of the best schools rewards the schools who put their best foot (or ski boot) forward at all times to ensure first time and novice skiers and snowboarders, well riders of all levels have a fantastic experience on and off the slopes. The right ski school experience can make or break a trip after all and our annual (or if your lucky, bi-annual) ski trip is sacred and maxuimising your time is essential.

” Searching for a ski school, particularly in France where there are so many in each resort, can be a little stressful, only adding to the to-do-list further when booking a mountain adventure. Then if you want to advance your skills, in off-piste, touring or more specific niches, finding the right fit ski scholl wise, can be a challenge. Therefore, Freefloski was an outstanding candidiate for such specialised training in Tignes and was rightfully included in our ultimate list. I will have to message Floss when I am next in Tignes! “ stated Angelica Skykes from Ridgestore Magazine.

“There are lots of things to consider when booking a ski holiday, and choosing the right ski school is one that always proves challenging. Therefore, with this list we wanted to make the booking process taht bit easier, so you cna get on with the planning the rest of your trip” continued Angelica Sykes

Jocelyn Cockle, Director of Freefloski stated ” Its a competitive landscape in Tignes for ski schools, with plenty of instructors and schools offering the service but Ridestore Magazine gave us a honourable mention as providing something unique. We are able to give our clients the best possible touring and backcounty ski experience with passion at the forefront. Ensuring a relaxed and easygoing enviornment in which to your skills, push your spirits nad techique to the next level.”

FREEFLO Ski Touring Ski Courses in Tignes, Val D'Isere and St Foy
FREEFLO Ski Touring Ski Courses in Tignes, Val D’Isere and St Foy

To read the full entry about Freeflo Ski School, please visit Ridestore Magazine

Ski Touring Decision Making-Tignes 20th Nov 2019

The Preparation:
Always a good day ski touring in the mountains takes some sort of preparation. The night before I checked three weather forecasts one included my favourite snow-forecast.com. I decided that the conditions for ski touring were good for two days. In the morning I reaccessed the forecast. I packed my bag with enough food and equipment that gave me optionality, as I wasn’t certain how long we would be touring for. The plan of attack was to start touring up a piste called Palafour from Tignes Le Lac. The slope is south-east facing and we could stay warm in the sun. We would then decide where to go on route. We had no other concrete plans to arrive at a summit or to achieve a particular route.

On Route:
I decided to break trail off-piste as there were workers on the piste half way up.  Once we arrived at Chardonnet Bowl, we could really start seeing the mountain and reading the signs. Routes in Chardonnet bowl had been skied and two skiers were skiing down and not making it look easy. The wind affected certain summits and cols.  There was one group of 6 or 7 skiers or splitboarders going up a route called Grapillion Des Merles. The snowpack looked thin, the snow was uneven, there were sasturgi and plumes of snow. The group still decided to go up even if the route wasn’t inviting?

We decided to continue upon the piste to the snow park on Grattalu after discussing what we saw and how we felt. Our aim was to ski tour gentle and it was our second ski tour of the season. Two other ski tourers were happy to chat and to share some of their knowledge. They had told us that their friends had ski toured up Grapillion a few days ago and they found that the snow was dangerous, thin with lots of rocks. That news reinforced the decision that we made earlier not to follow the group. They also told us that they saw avalanche activity on west facing slopes and to be aware of the weak layers in the snowpack. We thanked them for their news and headed to the Col Du Palet taking on board what we knew and what we could see.

Knowing the routes into the col and knowing what I knew about the terrain, I decided to keep low and take a new flat touring line into the col to avoid rocks. Above we could see a man skiing on the ridgeline struggling with the lack of snow. So we kept our eyes on him and made sure we weren’t underneath him.

Col Du Palet 20th November

Reading the mountain for the ski down:
Once we arrived at the Col Du Palet we could read the mountain and the evidence of where was the best powder route down. We looked on to the back of Chardonnet bowl and notice a slab avalanche on the west face on route to diamond couloir. At lower altitude the fresh snow had been cross loaded to north-east slopes and gullies. With this info and what we could see, we then decided to handrail clockwise to a north-east gullie and enjoyed making fresh powder turns on a gentle slope.

Ski Touring out:
Enjoying the fresh powder by ourselves, we soon arrived at lake Grattalu.  I had noticed that the lake hadn’t been frozen so it was best to stop before continuing any further. We then choose the easiest and most efficient route to get back to the col.  Once we reached the col, temperatures had risen and we were tired. To be on the safe side of caution, as I was coming back from a ski collision. We decided to take our own skinning track back onto the piste and headed home.  Another great day in the mountains. We were very happy with our decisions, we found the best snow, was safe and had a great day skiing powder with no one around.

I will be delivering mountain respect workshops throughout the winter. If you are interested please get in touch:  www.freefloski.com 

Happy Skiing 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ski and Snowboard Touring Technique Tips

5 Ski and Snowboard Touring Technique Tips, courtesy off FREEFLO SKI

The volume of riders heading into the backcountry have dramatically increased over the last decade. Today a large number of riders are heading for the backcountry in search for fresh tracks and the ultimate adventure.  Many of them are inexperienced when it is comes to skinning uphill. To boost your touring skills here are 5 Ski and Snowboard Touring Techniques from us  Freeflo ski who are based in the French Alps.

Katie, Pat, Naomi and Kerry exploring the backcountry of Tignes on the FREEFLO Womens Touring Course

by Jocelyn Cockle (Floss) 

Ski touring in the backcountry is my biggest and favourite winter sport and passion with or without clients. I just love being in the wilderness away from the hustle and bustle of the ski resort or everyday stresses and life.  Moving efficiently uphill and safely in the mountains is a highly mastered skill set which is often overlooked. Here are 5 uphill tips to improve your uphill performance.

  1. Manage your clothing
    It is important to control your temperature through your clothing if you want to be efficient. Depending on the weather, length, and type of tour I will take off clothing layers at the very start. Keep to thin and breathable layers. Designed for adventure I highly recommend high performance base layers from Floã sports.  If you know it will be windy at the top I will keep a windproof layer close to hand around my waist or on top of my rucksack. It is important to keep to a consistent pace that you are not sweating and can hold for a long period of time.
  2. Keep your head up and stay alert
    Keeping your head up keeps your upper body upright.  Having your body upright keeps you looking ahead and more efficient. Looking and taking the correct uphill track will save time and energy.
  3. Line
    You save more energy and time if you use an existing gentle uphill track only if it takes you to the same destination through safe terrain.
  4. Keep your skis or board on the snow
    One of the most common mistakes that skiers and snowboarders make is that they lift their feet whilst moving forwards. Keeping your feet on the snow and slide your equipment on the surface takes less energy and is a faster technique.

    Pat and Kerry skinning out of refuge de Palet, Tignes on the FREEFLO Womens Touring Course 2019
  5. Position in the Line
    As a rule the first person in the group in an existing uphill track or making a new uphill track will exert more energy when compared to the last person in the group. I am constantly assessing individuals energy and will change the order of the group when ski touring.

          Most importantly be safe and enjoy the mountains 

 

FREEFLO specializes 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.

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 

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.

 

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

Ski Touring North Face of the Pramecou, Tignes

Route: Val Claret Tignes/Pointe De Pramecou/Val Claret
Off Piste skiing between: 3054m to 2107m NE/NW
Max Gradient: 48 degrees
Uphill: 3hrs 12 mins
Total Route time from Val Claret: 5hrs
Skiers Level:Advanced off piste
Ski Touring Level: Intermediate
Start: Bottom of Lanches Chairlift
Finish: At bottom Tichot chairlift
Map needed: 3633ET
Grade: 2.1
Exposure: E2

I just love Spring time. Its warmer, the snow pack is more stable and I have more time to go on adventures. Last year touring up and skiing down the 48 degree North Face of the Pramecou on the 9th May 2016 with adventurer and good friend Squash Falconer was one of my vivd memories of 2015/16. From that day onwards we came up with the idea of running backcountry adventures together to inspire, to teach and to motivate people to adventure into the back country. With one of the largest winter store retailers Snow & Rock behind us, in a few days time I am looking forward joining up with Squash and to leading the Snow and Rock Back Country 5 day Backcountry Adventure in Tignes and Val D’Isere.

Fresh Ski tracks on the North Face of the Pramecou
Fresh Ski tracks on the North Face of the Pramecou
Celebrating the fresh powder tracks on a 48 degree North Face
Celebrating the fresh powder tracks on a 48 degree North Face
Ski touring up to the Pointe De Pramecou
Ski touring up to the Pointe De Pramecou

FREEFLO specializes 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.

What are Skins?

The History and info about Skins:

Often when I am talking to clients about ski touring which involves going uphill I am confronted with their puzzled and confused face and the question of HOW? The answer is that we put skins on and go uphill which makes the client even more confused then before.

By most accounts skis and skins have been around for thousands of years. For a long time skiing was called ‘skilaufren’ (ski walking). The term for ski riding and downhill skiing wasn’t born until the 1920’s and 30’s. With technology advancing so much during the first world war and the postwar revitalisation programs in Austria and Germany led to the first Gondolas which along with ski lifts changed the face of skiing forever and was then called ‘skifahren’ ski riding.

Before lift-assisted skiing, the masses earned their turns by attaching skins to their skis for traction. At the time mammal skins were used and the cheaper option some people strapped fur twigs under their skis. The seal skin was a popular material because it fulfilled two contradictory purposes, gliding properties to go forward and to provide as much traction as possible to stop you from gliding backwards.

Skins contain three parts: 

  • The Plush
  • The Backing
  • The Attachment

The Plush:

In these modern times in Europe we often use mohair (goat hair) daily due to tradition where as synthetic skins are used more worldwide. Synthetic skins will last longer compared to natural fibre skins. You can have a combination of both. However, mohair skins have better gliding properties in colder snow compared to the nylon skins which last longer and are better in warmer conditions.

The Backing:

The Backing is what the Plush adheres to on one side and the adhesive to on the other which is generally made of nylon. Over there last couple of year recent technology has produced vacum base skins which don’t use adhesive.

The Attachments:

For a long time a leather strap around the skis was used to secure the skins onto the skis which caused a lot of problems on the traverse. The Swiss Army come over this problem by drilling holes in the skis and bolting the skins onto the base of the ski. Nowadays we have more elaborated tail and tip attachments which secure the skins.

Step into your next adventure and experience ski touring and the backcountry: www.freefloski.com

P1020189

Freeflo png
www.freefloski.com