Avoriaz Freestyle Camp, April 2005 – Loved it !! 😈
Only been back just over two weeks now and the withdrawal symptoms are beginning to kick in. Met some great guys and had some amazing luck with the snow.
After having a sleepless night, a magical few twilight hours of sitting on an easyjet bargain skybucket, going absolutely fuck-all-anwhere and the joy of missing your transfer, I finally made it to the chalet at the base of the mountain and met the rest of the guys.
First thing that struck me was the lack of snow.. there was smattering round some of the chalets and it was fast receding up the into the woods behind our chalet without a care for the money we’d all spent getting here. I got a chance to chat to some late departees from the previous week’s camp and they said there was still loads of snow up on the mountain itself, so no real worries there..
The chalet was pretty well kitted out – with a PS2 (other chalet had an xbox – poo :(), too many boarding DVDs, tea on hand 24-7 and, with a chalet girl neatly gimped in the basement, three course meals (with wine) started that night and continued throughout the week, keeping the energy levels (and insulation) topped up :D.
The next morning was kinda bright – that’d probably be from the shitloads of snow that dumped during the night!! Straight out and up the mountain with our guide, then straight off-piste down a knee-deep powder run.
All the time I’d been thinking about this camp, I’d been worried that I’d turn up and be the shittest one there – and having never ridden powder before (excuses coming out now :)) and having my board set up with a middle stance, I just simply nose-dived straight into the powder and stayed there! 😀
In all seriousness, getting stuck in deep snow with your feet strapped to something that’s buried/wedged far beneath you is no joy whatsoever and I ended up wrestling, wriggling and commando crawling – literally nosing my way back to someone’s trail and the shallower snow there so I could try to get going again..
I came in last big time, but thankfully I wasn’t the only one, though.. Another of the guys was being a bit crap too (either that or he was just hanging back to laugh at the noob :D), but we got it done and spent the rest of the day riding off piste in shallower snow and making a damned sight better job of it!
Gotta say, though, that the next day I moved my bindings back and that made the world of difference.. A few of us went back to that powder run later and totally kicked it in the bollocks!
We all had to fill out forms, outlining our riding experience (I only had 14 days in total) and had to note down what tricks we wanted to nail before the end of the week.
I wrote down tons of stuff – nothing overly unrealistic (-ish) and although I came back without getting most of them down, I did gain a hell of a lot of practical knowledge when it came to binding placement and stance.
I also floated some nice 180s over a kicker (and destroyed myself with some filthy ones :)), rode rails and boxes, started to get butters and did a cliff drop (well – I rode off a 2ft drop over a rock)
The other thing that was really cool was the people. I really didn’t know what to expect when I arrived. I had nightmares of scores of kiddies, all daddy-funded and annoying as fuck, but I turned out to be around the upper-middle in the age-range and most of us seemed to have very similar music and film tastes..
Will be hitting Milton Keynes on a regular basis from now on, I think – and I’m hoping to hook up with a couple of the guys, Mark and Mike (who I ended up boarding with for the most part) and try to get a regular thing going.
I’d totally recommend that camp to anyone thinking of going.. Great staff – they were guides on the mountain who really knew the terrain, designated drivers to pick you up after a night out on the lash in town, the food was really good – with tea and a freshly baked cake waiting for you every day, great equipment (they had the next season burton boards and gear there to try out) and a very modest price tag.
Oh – and did I mention there were pros on hand to give tips and encourage your to try stuff?
Check out the rest of my snaps on flickr:
and if you want info on the camp, check it out at :