I’m a competent skier and over the past 30 years my experience has included heli-skiing, participating in Martin Bell race camps and teaching novices with disabilities. My devotion and love of the real thing is such that I have always viewed concepts and ‘gimmicks’ such as SkiPlex negatively. So when I pulled up in the SkiPlex car park, ready for a one-to-one with a SkiPlex instructor a few weeks ago on a wet and dreary evening, mixed thoughts were filling my brain.
My instructor Oli Strong, was confident from the offset that he and SkiPlex can help skiers of ALL abilities. Okay I thought, Prove me wrong! Now is probably the time to explain that the Skiplex is a revolving carpet that can be adjusted through speed and gradient.
Monsieur Strong suggested we commence our session with a slow moving Blue run. I slipped on my own well footed ski boots (although Skiplex have boots available) and clipped myself into the burred edge skis that Oli had ready for me. I stepped out onto the carpet, and the adverse feelings I was harbouring moments before were soon forgotten.
I found myself gripping the bar at the bottom of the carpet for a good few minutes. Even highly experienced skiers will need to rely on the bar initially, whilst you allow yourself to feel the carpet sliding and revolving beneath you with ease, the complete opposite to when on snow, where you are the only thing moving.
I estimate that I spent the first 15-20 minutes mainly on my rear end. It was much more difficult to keep my balance than I initially anticipated, and I had to work hard to stay on my skis, even with Oli’s excellent and attentive instruction.
I’m a typical skier and use my edges to turn in the snow. The Skiplex surface requires skis edges to be burred, so it’s useless trying to use your edges in this instance. You need to keep the base of your skis flat, using step turns and deploying turns through the hips. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!?
By the end of the session, I’d progressed to a steep red run, somewhat exhilarated and massively out of breath! A few more of these sessions, and I’ll be fighting fit to hit the slopes in a few weeks, ready to carve up the snow again.
Thanks to Oli, I’ve totally reversed my opinion. Skiplex offers a fabulous opportunity for beginners to get some practice on skis, and for intermediate and advanced skiers to strengthen legs and knees before gliding through the powder. Therefore no need to waste the first few days of your holiday as you get used to skiing again.
A big thumbs up from us. Thanks Skiplex. We’ll be back!!!