This December, I headed over to Fiesch in Upper Valais, for a PluSport technical training course to teach skiing to people with learning disabilities.

The first days were spent revisiting the fundamentals of ski teaching, the key movements and the workings of ski equipment. We then employed teaching equipment to learn how to teach ‘differently’. According to their various learning limitations, adaptive athletes learn differently. For some, getting into the snowplough shape is too difficult and so we directly teach them to ski parallel using poles and arcs.

Next, we devised several lessons, from warm-up to the first beginner stages, to snowplough and then parallel turns. We incorporated lots of aids into our lessons, using images and stories, colours and adventures to increase the fun for our students and help them progress.

On the final 2 days, we were very lucky to be joined by Yanaelle and Enzo, our 2 apprentice skiers, both carriers of chromosome 21. The pair are experienced skiers, who have been skiing for several years at Ovronnaz with Nicole, our head instructor. We were each able to give them a 15-minute lesson that we had planned the previous day.

It was fantastic to discover the region with them and on the last day, we all set off together to explore the whole ski area and see the Aletsch Glacier, the biggest in the Alps.

For me, the course was so worth it: not only did I discover this beautiful mountain, but I also met some wonderful people that I would love to meet up with again in the future. I learnt a great deal about adaptive skiing and, to top it all, I completed my qualification with the compliments of Nicole. It was an unforgettable experience that I would highly recommend to anyone wanting to develop their adaptive ski teaching skills.

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