Not so long ago, a sociological survey was conducted in France, which showed that the overwhelming majority of the French took their first steps on skis in the resort of La Plagne. In this extremely spacious ski area, there are indeed many gentle wide slopes, perfectly suitable for training, so it is not surprising that as many as six ski schools have settled here. In addition, the training slopes are clearly zoned and surrounded by secure fences for the peace of students. We talked with Thierry Delecluse, instructor of the main ski school at the resort and throughout France, ESF (French Alpine Ski School) – this network has 17,000 instructors in 250 representative offices throughout the country.
– Thierry, do you teach only children to ski?
No, in my twenty-five years in the profession I have gained enough experience with both adults and children.
– Who do you like to do with?
I like working with students when they enjoy the process, and this happens with adults and children. But in general, it is easier and more effective to work with children – they instantly grasp, easily follow me movements and, as a rule, are not afraid of anything. In adults, there are always so many questions; they have to figure everything out in their head – in general, adults can make their lives more difficult. By the way, I noticed that many Russian skiers have a very good technique, but there is a tangible fear of steep slopes. This is also from the head, I see that the equipment allows them to descend from such tracks without any problems.
– Do you have Russian-speaking instructors in your school?
La Plagne Center has four branches of the ESF School – Plagne Center, Plagne Villages, Plagnes 1800 and Plagne Soleil. About 180 instructors work in these departments, of which so far only one is Russian-speaking. But in general, we do not have language problems when working with children. We have a phrase book with important phrases like: “Are you cold?” or “You’re tired” and so on. Technique is always easier to show for yourself, children quickly understand what is required of them. As for communicating with each other, the children of the whole world do not experience any difficulties due to the difficulties of translation.
– At what age do you take children to school?
For the smallest, we have two groups – the initial Piou-Piou (“Chicken”) for kids from 3 years old and Ourson (“Little Bear”) for children from 5 years old. In each group, there are usually 6 to 12 people. And, if Last year, your child completed a course at Pi-Piu, the next year we recommend giving him one or two days back to the initial group so that he can adapt to the new dimensions of his body. You understand that between a three-year and a four-year-old a huge difference, which can sometimes reach ten centimeters of height. Your baby will not forget the technique with last year, it’s just that it should adapt to itself smoothly. During the passage of these two levels, the children will have to pass eight tests for the gradual mastering of skiing skills. Titurson.
– What, in your opinion, is the optimal age for putting a child on skis?
It seems to me that three years is a good time to start. Moreover, it is better to start with the instructor, and not with the parents, because, firstly, the children behave quite differently with mom and dad (we even advise parents not to be present during our lessons), and secondly, because that parents themselves immediately require rapid progress from children, and this is fundamentally wrong. At first it is important to play all this – walk in the boots of a robot, walk on skis, lie in the snow. Do not ask your child for Olympic records right away, let him have fun properly and get used to skiing on his feet. The advantage of our training slopes is that several of them are located directly next to the kindergarten or game room in a wooden house. Children who are tired or for some reason are not set to skate anymore can go with the tutor to play or draw – there is always an assistant instructor at the lesson who is ready to take the child to the toilet and calm the crying (so that the whole group is not caught up by the group). The garden at the station Plagne Center is equipped with a bedroom, so that there the smallest can sleep for an hour.