With French ski lifts in a position to operate again and Les 2 Alpes set to be the first ski resort in France to offer ski and snowboard access to ski lifts in 2020 when it reopens at the end of this month, the time was right to catch up with him. with Simon Edwards, head of the European Ski School, who has been teaching for more than three decades on the resort’s glacier, the largest summer ski area in Europe.
ITS> When did you start the European ski school?
I> At first we were just a summer ski company operating under the name SKI 3000. We specialized in transporting Italian customers across the border for summer ski lessons. and summer activities.
From 1993 we saw the opportunity to run a more British ski school in Les 2 Alpes, we have therefore opened to the general public all year round under our new name European Ski & Snowboard School. I feel privileged to have been able to teach skiing in summer and winter for over 30 years. And now I am extremely proud to pass on the management of the family ski school to my sons Lawrence and Simon Edwards who have skied all their lives in both summer and winter in Les Deux Alpes.
ITS> You grew up in England, so how did your passion for skiing come about?
I> As a child, I was very lucky to ski with my parents. On our first ski trip, dad drove our family of 5 in a mini-minor to Austria.
From this experience and then from school ski trips financed in part by myself with paper tours, Saturday jobs, picking potatoes, picking turkeys at Christmas, etc., my passion for skiing had started. When your passion is so strong for something you find ways to achieve your ambitions and later after working in ski shops, on ski lifts, on security patrols and after extensive training I became fully qualified to teach skiing in Europe.
This process was not easy as I was not born on skis, but it has helped me understand the learning process that skiers go through and which I believe has significantly improved my teaching skills. My passion led me to open a ski school and give us lessons while offering young ski instructors the opportunity to train for qualifications and then teach under the aegis and in the philosophy of the school. European ski resort.
ITS> What do you like in Les 2 Alpes in summer?
I> We all love the summer ski season, the perfectly manicured gradients of the glacier, the warm weather, the views, then changing into shorts and tee shirts to enjoy a salad lunch by the pool and then enjoy of the many summer activities available in the resort and the surrounding area.
ITS> Can you tell us about summer skiing in Les 2 Alpes?
I> Compared to winter, skiing conditions in summer are generally much warmer and the large open area and gradual gradients of the glacier provide an excellent playground for all levels of skiers wishing to focus on technique and improve their skills. skills.
The nature of the snow and the machine’s grooming in the summer provide excellent compact snow for early morning and late morning runners, the softening conditions are ideal for beginners and intermediates.
Being able to ski or snowboard the groomed slopes or use the world famous snowpark between 3200m and 3600m is quite amazing during the summer months.
ITS> Who are your customers?
I> Our clients in the summer come from a wide range of countries around the world and include all levels of skiers or snowboarders. We have clients who come for in-house running training camps, Freestyle or snowboarding or mountain biking camps. We also offer traditional ski or snowboard lessons for families and individuals on a daily or weekly basis. Our clients come because they want to combine a ski vacation and a summer vacation into one.
ITS> What are your favorite spots on the glacier?
I> My favorite place on the glacier is 3600m – the teaching at the top of the ski lifts (Dôme de la Lauze), is spectacular. I also love the steeper red run that goes straight down the 3600m glacier (Les Cines / Signal 2) to the bottom of the Signal bleu at 2900m.
The Belvédère des Ecrins, just above the Snowpark, allows you to take breathtaking steps into the abyss above the Vallon de la Selle. Standing above a drop of 1000 m gives you a unique view of the mountains. The Ice Cave of the Ice Cave is not to be missed either. The ice sculptures are beautiful, but what I really love is the chance to see the inside of the glacier and touch the thousands of years old ice.
(Image credit: Monica Dalmasso)
ITS> Do you need special equipment to ski in the summer?
I> No, normal ski equipment is all you need. Make sure you take enough warm clothes for the snow, even if you may be basking in a heat wave at lower elevations.
To make the most of the terrain and ensure you stay safe, we recommend that you take an instructor, especially if you are unfamiliar with glacier skiing.
Any activity over 3000m can be more tiring than at resort level, so you might feel a bit more breathless when skiing or surfing.