As a fifty-something mum of boys who learned to ski in her forties, a lot of my time on the mountains is spent way out of my comfort zone, playing catch-up with the now grown up boys who can’t quite wrap their heads around why mum is making such a performance of an activity that is essentially just “standing up”.

Imagine my disappointment when my bestie of too long to count announced that she’d decided to hang up her ski poles for good. 

Then, out of nowhere, I was copied into an email from the British Alpine Ski School confirming 2 days’ ski lessons for both of us! I double-checked and it was no clerical error. She’d latched onto a throwaway comment about what a great reputation the instructors at BASS have for looking after nervous skiers and decided to give it one last try. What can I say? We’ve been friends a long time! 

I tried not to get too optimistic about potential outcomes; it was 5 years since she’d last stepped into a pair of ski boots. There was a lot riding on the success of these lessons for me though. Instructor, Tom, met us on the mountain for our first lesson in snowy, slightly windy conditions and was immediately reassuring. We wouldn’t be tackling anything we weren’t comfortable with. He knew all about us from the information the booking office had shared with him (not sure why we were so surprised by that?). “This is supposed to be fun, you know,” he said. 

It was like a little light had gone on in my friend’s head. It was ok to just ski the runs we enjoy! The first 2-hour lesson flew past. Tom’s teaching was very intuitive. No gimmicks, no confusing technicalities, just a couple of straight-forward principles we could apply, whatever the conditions or the difficulty of the piste. Simple. And, yes, he did use the words, “Basically, it is just standing up”! We repeated the same few runs until we weren’t thinking about the piste at all, just focusing on applying the underpinning principles he wanted us to master. Honestly, the experience was transformative. 

The next day, the sun was out and the air sparkled with diamond dust. The bestie surprised me by requesting a little tour over to Les Gets and Tom was happy to oblige. He chatted, coached, knew virtually everyone on the mountain and told us where to get the best lunch. 

BASS is a small, English-speaking outfit of a few instructors who all share the same bespoke teaching philosophy. They’ve been in the Morzine- Les Gets area for more than 20 years and place great importance on playing their part in the local community. It’s obvious to these guys it’s always personal; you’ll never be one section of a snake of nameless pupils all learning the same thing (whether or not that meets your needs).

I’m delighted to report that I’ve got my ski buddy back again, on the condition that we return for an annual BASS ski lesson in Morzine. You know what? I’m delighted to oblige! 

Instructor Tom, Bobby and the Bestie

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