Dynastar News

Does race training help your skiing?

For the last two winters I have spent the majority of my ski days touring or seeking out the powder in Chamonix. And as much as I love it, I have felt my general ski technique going backwards. Or at best I have hit that plateau that everyone talks about!

Several people have mentioned the benefits of race training as a way to improve your all round skiing skills, so after deliberating with the idea for a while, I decided to swap by Cham 97s for a pair of Dynastar Course Pro GS skis and give it a go.

Autumn seemed the natural time to spend five days on the piste, so on the last week of November I signed up for a ‘Race Carve’ course on the glacier in Tignes with Snoworks, a UK company run by experienced ski instructor Phil Smith and Winter Olympian Emma Carrick-Anderson.

With some apprehension I met my group on the expansive terrace at the top of the Tignes funicular, at just over 3000m. Tignes in November is a very different experience to the rest of the winter season. The early trains are packed with racers of all ages and their coaches eager to get to the slopes to perfect their skills, and for these five days we were in exactly the same boat. 

As the group gazed up at the glacier littered with race gates, we were greeted by ex GB ski-racer, now instructor, Euan Gardiner who put our minds at rest about the week ahead of us. I had imagined being in a group of serious ski racers, but actually I found that the group consisted of people very much like me – passionate skiers who wanted to improve and had heard that rumour about race training making you a better skier!

Each of the five days of the training took a similar pattern – warm up drills first thing, examining the GS course than Euan had set for us, then having a go at skiing the gates combined with some free skiing. Skiing gates is actually pretty hard, and it took some time to get used to being back on piste and thinking about carving. After day one I didn’t feel I had progressed, but come day two and three, things started to click. Euan impressed on us the importance of the your outside foot (90% of your weight should be on the outside foot in a carved turn), turning above the gates and the position of your body and your hands (which tended to end up all over the place).

In autumn the ski days are comparatively short (we would normally head off the mountain about 2.30 or 3pm), but when you are in ‘training’ this length of time is just about right. It also meant we have lots of time for off-snow activities. As part of the Snoworks course we were able to join in circuits and basketball twice in the week in the new sports centre in Tignes, and ‘Le Lagon’ swimming pool was free to use as part of your lift pass – perfect for tired ski legs. One evening we also had a video feedback session which was invaluable in seeing what you were actually doing wrong (and right in some rare cases).

Although I have dreams of being able to ski like a pro racer, and for one week I felt like I lived like one, training everyday. But the reality is a five-day course won’t make that happen. What it did do for me, however, was to give me a real purpose and get my head back into using the skis and thinking about my timing and body position. Moreover, having a competitive element as part of the course made it fun and challenging.

I would recommend race training. It is perfect for getting back to basics and it has definitely set me up for the season ahead. I might even try and find a gate or two this winter… 

Text by Betony Garner

Introducing Betony Garner

Betony Garner, British skier based in Chamonix.

Loves: Fun ski adventures with friends, powder, touring and skiing with the girls! 


Betony has been based in Chamonix since January 2013 and lives and breathes skiing. When she is not working she loves heading out into the hills for adventure. She is passionate about the mountains and sharing that passion with others. She loves nothing more than a full day adventure - ideally off piste or a big ski tour which gets the heart rate up. Away from skiing Betony loves trail running, cycling, mountain biking, chatting and food! Especially a mountain coffee with a pain au chocolate...

Skis on: Dynastar Cham Woman 97 or 107 

The journey…of my skis

I love skiing. I love that sensation of speeding down a perfectly groomed piste hearing the edges cutting into the snow or riding powder and the feeling of the skis gently gliding through the snow. But do we ever think about how two planks of wood (well kind of) let us experience these sensations? I know until quite recently I took the engineering that goes into a ski for granted, but after visiting the Dynastar factory in the Chamonix Valley, I got a real insight into how much work and precision goes into making a set of skis.

As I walked into Dynastar HQ, where the entrance is scattered with skis from the last 50 years, I spotted the skis I have had my eye on – the Cham Woman 97 freeride ski. The perfect ski for the powdery winter we are all hoping for. But how is this beautiful looking ski actually made?  

With white coats and safety glasses we entered the factory and I got to witness the journey of ‘my skis’. Over one year, the Dynastar factory produces around 300,000 skis per year and employs 118 people over the summer months. It is huge, bustling and quite mind blowing with hundreds and hundreds of skis everywhere you look, all in different stages of their journeys.

So where do you start? Well seemingly with big rolls of polythylene. The first stage is to cut out the shape of the ski from the polythene (which will be the base of the ski), the same is also done in wood for traditional skis (normally a wood mix using poplar, ash and cedar) or a steel sheet for foam injected skis. It is almost impossible to get one length of wood that is good enough, so two pieces of wood are joined together to make the ski. Quite mind blowing to think this humble basis of a ski allows us to have so much fun.

Whilst this is going on the top sheet is being prepared. Again cut into the correct shape, the top sheet then gets sprayed with ink as many times as is needed to paint on the graphics. Watching ‘my ski’ it was sprayed at least three times with different shades of blue. Then once all the elements of the ski are ready, a big compressor is used to essentially squash down all the pieces and glue them together. And this is also where the injected skis get, well, injected!

From bits and pieces to a fully formed ski the final part the journey is the ‘finishing line’ - my skis get tidied up, waxed, vacuum packed and put on a trolley. And this is all done by machines, but under the watchful eyes of the operatives, many of them who work on the ski hills in the winter. It was really apparent how much passion there was in the Dynastar factory, with a big emphasis on quality control and getting each pair of skis spot on.

The biggest thing I took away from watching the journey of my ski was how much work is involved in making a ski and how many parts there is to the process. I often hear people asking why skis are so expensive. Well after seeing them made I would suggest they really are not expensive, in fact they great value.

And just remember how happy they make you feel when you are ripping it up on the slopes – or in the powder. Now we just need some snow…

Girls to the top update

Girls to the Top are two french mountainers who went meet sportswomen in Asia.

After their trip to India, they just revealed us in exclusivity the teaser about their experience in China where they meet chenese girls who are climbing.

The full movie about their expedition will be released during the Mountain Film festival in Grenoble, France, the 12th of November 2014.

Girls to the top

Girls to the top are two French mountaineers who went to Asia, seeking unknown spots. From China to Nepal, through India, they went meet women who are skiing, mountaineering and climbing. In those countries where the feminine practice of those sports is not common, and even not well received, they met those girls who, despite all opposition, will keep going higher. Let's watch the teaser of their next video.

Aurélien Ducroz is a documentary

Riders in this news :  Aurélien DUCROZ

Aurélien Ducroz will appear on Eurosport Television channel, the film is about a week that he spent with Bixente Lizarazu: A Former French football team player who won the 1998 worldcup. The documentary will be broadcasted next Saturday at 16:30pm.

The last episode of Cham’Lines is on line, you can watch it there: http://www.zapiks.fr/cham-lines-episode-8-glacier.html

In this episode which ends the season, Aurélien picked up Léo Slemett and Christophe Henry, helped by a Chamonix’s guide to discover the “Glacier rond”.

The next season will begin fall 2014!!!