Saturday, 21 January 2017

Learning a new skill - Ski Hok

We were given the opportunity today to try a new way of getting around on the snow - Ski Hok or as it is also known Randonnée Nordique.  First Tracks Ski Coaching based in the Three Valleys are about to add Ski Hok to their portfolio and were looking for guinea pigs to give it a go.

The experience started well with the news that you don't need to wear Ski boots, normal walking boot or apres ski boots are used. The equipment consists of skis which are short and wide. The ski has a partial climbing skin on the base which makes climbing easy, and you are assisted by poles which are slightly shorter than the usual ski pole. Similar to cross country skiing the heel is free allowing you to progress uphill at a reasonable speed and with a more fluid movement than wearing snow racquets.

The equipment

The best terrain for Ski Hok is untouched snow as opposed to prepared pistes. It is essentially a way of getting around back country areas. We had a great area to practice in at Courchevel 1650, the sun was shining, what could possibly go wrong?

Very pleasant on the way up

In all fairness to this activity I will declare that I have a very low threshold for risk and despite being a competent skier now, it took me many years to get there. The descending part of Ski Hok was too hard for me - I would need to start on a very shallow slope and progress over time. Having fallen more times than I have done over many seasons of alpine skiing I decided that going up was the only part I was ready for. Everyone else succeeded in descending various slopes with varying success.

Time for (French) Tea with our Instructor François

Now doesn't that look peaceful?
 Despite my failure I loved this activity and can see how useful this equipment would be to explore areas away from the pistes. I would definitely take some lessons to master the going down part and will watch with interest how this activity takes off in The Three Valleys area. If you are interested in finding out more contact