Monday, 22 August 2016

Stelvio Summer Report

The first training camp of the BSA's summer program was on the Stelvio glacier in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy.  The Passo del Stelvio is the second highest paved pass in the Alps and is a very popular pass for tourists and cyclists alike with the border of Switzerland a mere 200m away.
However we were not there for the driving, instead we were more interested in the cable car station across the road and the glacier it lead to.

The journey started differently for everyone involved. With coaches coming in from Canada and London, and athletes coming from France, Italy and the UK, many miles were covered to coordinate the logistics of setting up camp. By the time the team were all together we opted to stay lower in altitude at the BSA's English Champs base (the National Park hotel) in Isolaccia.  This gave us all time to acclimatise, organise the kit, goal set for the camp and recover from the travel.

A couple of days in and we moved base up to the Pass itself moving into the Pirovano hotel at 2757m.  This eliminated the 48 daily hairpins on the drive up the north side of the pass and focused the athletes for their high performance camp.  It was a small team, 10 athletes in total, 2 coaches, 60 gates and a training lane all to ourselves. The snow cover was brilliant, mainly due to the wintry weather conditions that we were experiencing at the start of the camp, and the turn-around was exceptionally quick. It was also quiet and easy to get some of the more interesting training areas to ski within. Stelvio has 3 main training lifts, with flat to steep terrain, speed lanes and lanes filled with rollers.

The team had a number of days on the slalom skis first working on the goals we had agreed through panelled slalom courses.  These were very effective sessions building on some foundations that set the athletes up for the rest of the camp.  Days on the hill are quite short at this time of year so the early afternoons were spent eating from the Italian buffet to refuel and resting before the afternoon dryland session.  At that altitude it was really easy to get the heart rate up so we tended to opt for intense but short sessions training a variety of types of fitness without over-tiring.  The gym and the swimming pool in the hotel helped us out a lot.  Each evening started with video analysis and a team meeting before eating a 4-course dinner.  The athletes could slot in tuning their skis wherever suited them best and early nights were had by all.

In following this daily routine, before we knew it we were over halfway through our 10 training days and decided to take a day off the skis to recover for the final push of Giant Slalom skiing.   We took the athletes down out of altitude for the day and drove over to the tax free town of Livigno for some active recovery activities.  The final GS stint whizzed past by training a series of gradients, sets and by adjusting to new equipment for many.  The coaches were really happy with the success of the camp, the focus of the athletes and changes that were made.  Many of the athletes travelled back home and a handful went back to the new BSA base (Hotel Miage) in Aosta for some R&R before the Cervinia summer camp started a couple of days later.  For a taster of what happened there, check out the video in the post below.....

Friday, 12 August 2016

Summer Training

Cervinia:  Our first video from Brad. 
More summer reports, stills, and new website to follow shortly: exciting times.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Norwich Slalom Camp 29 August to 02 September

We are taking bookings for our popular dry slope camp at the end of the summer break. Good training, races, fun and prizes.

Cervinia also booking July and Oct, and Chile for FIS group only.

BSA Calendar Page

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Brad Morgan joins Coaching Staff

Welcome back to Bradley Morgan, our newest full-time coach, joining us this summer. Brad is a superb athlete with a sub-50 FIS point profile across three Alpine disciplines and a recent career in professional road cycling, some of us already know him as an inspirational mentor and a true enthusiast. We couldn’t be more pleased.

Coach Brad is "looking forward to getting stuck into everything and turning these whippersnappers into rippersnappers!"

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Pre Season Training & Hotel Miage open Day

BSA Summer Training Camps
To register with BSA for 2016/2017 and for all pertinent information including fees and flights and booking form for the Summer and October snow camps, please download the registration/pre-season form from the website. (See website summer camps, download page, applications etc)
High Alpine training with top international coaches including Conrad Pridy, Natalia Pruska and Lynn Mill. Fitness guru Steve Cooper will join us for Cervinia as will Britain’s top male racers of the modern era: slalom wizard Alain Baxter and speed demon Martin Bell. Our Canadian coaches will support the team in Chile. What a line up! (Kit transport available at £50 per head for gear delivered to Malcolm in London by Wednesday 5 July. Kit can be stored in Aosta between camps.)

BSA Norwich Slalom Camp
29 August to 2 September 2016
Always popular induction camp at the UK’s best maintained dry slope. Booking form available at website summer camps

Hotel Miage Open Day
You are invited to a BSA open day at the Hotel Miage on Saturday 6 August. Cervinia summer camp trainees stopping over at the hotel will join BSA staff and visiting parents along with local ski clubs and dignitaries for an early evening cocktail and pizza party. We hope lots of BSA folk can attend. Invitation to follow on the BSA blog and facebook page.

Winter Season
Our winter base will be open from 03 December 2016 to 15 April 2017 with ski training and tutorial support available throughout the winter term. Many thanks to Brendan McCormick who hands over the tutorial reins to Penny McLennan after ten years of excellent service.
Our main training hills will be in Pila and Crevacol. Both resorts offer easy access from Aosta and snow-sure training pistes over 2000 metres.

Pila is one of the world’s most popular destinations for international ski racing. In 2016, from 6 January to 6 April the resort hosted 31 FIS Alpine events across all disciplines. Crevacol is a little-known gem, a quiet ski hill close to the Grand Saint Bernard tunnel, with FIS homologation in all disciplines except Downhill. Anyone who is new to the Aosta valley is in for a treat. Great snow, great pistes, and great restaurants at affordable prices.

Parents, for accommodation at our races or throughout the season, try or contact  Further information, including BSA 2017 fees can be see here:
If you would like to discuss your racer's progress and any aspect of their programme, fitness conditioning or equipment, please don’t hesitate to call.
Best wishes,
Malcolm Erskine BSA programme director  + 44 (0) 7970 495533
British Ski Academy team

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

ASC and ISSC dates: BSA Aosta

Official announcements and programme details to follow through the usual channels.
Anglo Scottish Cup, 3/4/5 January 2017, Crevacol (ITA)
British Interschools, 20/21 March 2017, Pila (ITA)
Also in Pila, these non-seeded races as follow:
BISS/ISA champs 21/22 February 2017
British Schools Winter Games -01-08 April, 2017
Dear All

Here's a diary note from BSA on British seeding races for next season. Programme details will shortly be logged with our umbrella organisations SSE, BSS, the TD Forum, and other interested parties.

Anglo Scottish Cup, 3/4/5 January 2017, Crevacol (ITA)

The Anglo Scottish will be held in Crevacol, a quiet spot close to the Grand Saint Bernard tunnel. There are lots of hotels from Aosta centre up to the ski hill. Visiting teams and families will need to arrange personal transport. With skiing up to 2400 metres it's a relief to have the run of snow-sure race pistes this early in the winter season.

British Interschools, 20/21 March 2017, Pila (ITA)

The Interschools will take place in Pila. Visitors can lodge in resort or choose to stay in the valley and ride the gondola from Aosta centre. Since Pila will be hosting international races on 18/19 March, weekend gate training in resort will be limited. However, as an alternative we can offer full pre-Interschools gate training all weekend in the nearby resort of Crevacol. New visitors to the Aosta valley are in for a treat. Wonderful ski hills and great restaurants at affordable prices.

Further on local services/ accommodation

Carole Thorburn: I can organise accommodation, ski passes, insurance, transfers etc at both Crevacol, and Pila. I've been doing it for years!! just email me: carole@pila or check out my website.

Message from Phil Brown, Impulse and BISS Racing : for accommodation for the interschools, contact

Thursday, 5 May 2016


Dear Ski Families and Ski Friends,

The British Ski Academy is moving to Italy.

Our new base will be the Hotel Miage in Ponte Suaz, Aosta, at the foot of the Pila ski hill and close to the gondola station and motorway. This is a flagship location with outstanding training facilities and race pistes up to 2400 metres at the nearest resorts of Pila and Crevacol.

We love Les Houches and will maintain a foothold for a possible return. But rather than sit out a legal dispute with the French sports ministry, which concerns who we employ to coach our athletes, the decision had to be made to secure a new base of operations. The solution is Aosta, a beautiful and ancient city with great access to Turin and Milan airports.

Many thanks to regional minister Aurelio Marguerettaz and colleagues, and to the ski lift company and regional associations, for welcoming the BSA and our coaching team to the Aosta valley. Details of the BSA 2017 programme and race schedule will be published later this month.

What happened in France?
For twenty years the British Ski Academy has brought British youngsters to the Chamonix valley for Alpine race training and competition. The village of Les Houches has come to be considered a home from home by generations of British ski racers. Lasting memories and friendships have been forged.

In recent years, officers of the French ministry of sports have taken an adverse position towards our coaching activities in France. This despite our safety record, sporting success, excellent local relations, and an accord with representatives of the BSS to ring-fence and protect British ski racing interests. Last autumn, tribunal charges were brought against me on the basis of the BSA's employment of two (allegedly) unqualified coaches, both of whom, please note, had formerly been coach to their respective countries' national ski teams. On March 4th, in a draconian turn of events, the deputy prefect of Haute Savoie kicked the BSA out of the country by means of an administrative closure enforced by the PGHM (Pelotons de Gendarmerie de Haute Montagne), a military force charged with police duties. The cited reasons included our employment of a coach the ministry declared was unqualified to ski with children, but who in fact is highly respected within the sport and who coached the GB team at this year's world children's Alpine ski championships.

Although letters of support have been forthcoming from the British and International ski federations and from the Les Houches ski lift company and local ESF, so far we have had an unhappy time of it with French officialdom. Our legal challenge against closure was deemed non-urgent by the judge in Grenoble. When we gathered with other clubs and academies for the British Alpine ski championships in Tignes, a team of PGHM gendarmes arrived from Chamonix and spent three days interrogating coaches and parents. As for the outcome of my tribunal, faced with a request from the state prosecutor for a fine of 1500 euros, the judge in Bonneville spent three months deliberating and imposed a fine of 3000 euros. Ouch!
Our experience with the sports ministry and PGHM tallies with that of the Ski Club of Great Britain, a venerable institution that has encouraged British recreational and competitive skiing since its inception in 1903. In a statement this morning, the Ski Club's CEO used the words "misguided and inappropriate" to describe the French position. Hear, hear. Let's wish them success in their appeals to the criminal supreme court in Paris and with the European Commission.
The BSA's activities have taken place for many years in a quiet corner of the French Alps where the extra commerce was appreciated and where until now we have been made to feel welcome. As matters stand, the Etoile des Neiges will function next winter as a regular hotel for the public. Our legal appeals continue and if the BSA closure is lifted before next season this will afford us a refuge on the French side of Mont Blanc. For now, however, we are obliged to pack up our bags and say "au revoir" to the BSA's many friends in France. 

Benvenuti in Italia. Aosta here we come!

Best wishes to all,

Malcolm Erskine
British Ski Academy director

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Summer Camp Dates 2016

Our Calendar dates through the summer as follow.   We still have details to arrange so we are not taking bookings yet but these dates are diary safe.  
Glacier Camp 1, For FIS and U16 athletes
Stelvio, 11 to 23 July 
Glacier Camp 2, Open to all BSA-registered racers
Cervinia  24 July to 07 August
Chile, Open to FIS and U16 athletes
Option 1, 14 Aug to 04 Sep
Option 2, 14 Aug to 18 Sep

Dry slope slalom camp, Open to all racers
Norfolk, UK, 28 Aug to 2 Sep

October Camp, Open to all BSA-registered racers
Cervinia 09 Oct to 30 Oct - any dates between.

 Fees and details to follow