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24 March 2010

Sir Steve Redgrave leads the way in Sestriere

The Ski Club's Lizzie Crookenden travelled to Sestriere to compete in the Crystal Ski Fest alongside Sir Steve Redgrave and Ben Hunt-Davis

Ski Fest
Sir Steve Redgrave explains the rules
Crystal Ski Fest
Final preparations before the GS
Mathew Prior, MD of Crystal
Ski, tries out a sit ski
Ski Fest
The prize giving ceremony
Ski Fest
Benjy from DSUK's development squad

The 6th Crystal Ski Fest took place in Sestiere from the 14-21st March. What a week it was with not much time to stop and think as before you knew it the next event was taking place.

The event is joined by Olympians Sir Steve Redgrave and Ben Hunt-Davis who despite skiing not being their first sports are still as driven as if they were rowing in Sydney. In their eyes the only acceptable result is a win! Unfortunately for Steve his daughter Natalie beat him for the first time in the Giant Slalom.

The Crystal Ski Fest is a unique event which anyone of an intermediate level or above can take part in but unfortunately for the boarders out there you have to be a skier. Each day has a competitive element to it with either the Relay, Speed test, Dual Slalom or Giant Slalom race taking place.

However once these are completed yet more activities are available as throughout the week BASI trainers are on hand providing clinics along with members of the British Ski Academy offering race tips. Alongside the technique advice Olympian Davee Mercer of Salomon was there with a collection of 2010/11 skis for clients to test along with an evening session explaining the latest developments.

What really makes the event unique though is the close link with DSUK. Members of their Development Squad James, Benjy and Jade were at the event all week taking part in all events. Unfortunately for Jade an accident in training put paid to her wiping the floor with the rest of us but James and Benjy were there to take home a variety of prizes at the end of the week.

I took the opportunity to have a go in a sit ski with Sally Lee Duffy of The Snow Institute who put me through my paces. By the end of it I had just about managed to make two linked turns, had only one crash and also experienced how hard it is to push myself back up the hill using the mini poles known as riggers.

Many at the event have been going for a number of years and return to beat their previous race position. For others it was their first trip including Ski Club member Adrian, who was there with his family it was a chance to pick up some new technique tips and to get rid of old habits.

The week ends with the prize giving with not just the winners walking away with a variety of prizes. There were awards for the worst ski suit, the client who got lost, the biggest crash on the race course and the most improved skier of the week. To make the most of the week you really do have to get involved in the activities on offer.

The 7th Crystal Ski Fest will take place in Sestriere on 13-20 March 2011 with participants staying in the Hotel du Col as this year.

Related websites
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