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Thought for the weekend . . . 'Safety with Progression'

Silver Swan’s thought for the weekend, is, again about ‘Safety on the Slopes’!

We are sorry to be a bore but with casualties happening out in Sochi at the Winter Olympics and some bad news about a colleague of Silver Swans caught in an avalanche earlier this week, we wanted to make sure you are all safe.

Silver Swan took the opportunity to speak with Director of top ski school in Val d’Isere ‘Progression Ski’s’ Ken Smith on his advice to all our Silver Swanner’s out there:

1. We know that safety on the slopes is important but this season we seem to be hearing about more accidents than ever before. Is this because of the press and increased social media or is it because there are more accidents happening?

Of course people have far greater access to information now through various forms of media but I think it has been blown out of all proportions this season. Each season varies and we did see a few more fatalities off piste in December and early January but not so many since then. We all love the mountains but we all have to be careful whether on or off piste and take appropriate measures but let’s not get carried away like some of the journalist have. I am certainly not aware of there being a general increase in accidents.

2. What would be your top advice for any seasonnaires/ holiday makers on staying safe on the piste?

Staying safe on the piste is about skiing and riding within your capabilities. Of course many of us want to push it a bit but within reason so that we are in control and not putting ourselves and others at risk. Also be aware of people around you. I see far more collisions on the slopes than I used to mainly due to people being oblivious to their surroundings or playing up to the camera!

3. How about off piste? Would you recommend it this year? Especially with the high avalanche warnings we have been seeing  . . . .

There are plenty of safe places to ski off piste this season but maybe stick to lower gradients and areas that are well skied throughout the season to date. Best of all ski with a professional instructor or guides and use appropriate off piste equipment.

 4. Michael Schumacher's accident has increased publicity in the French Alps this season, do you think this has bought a negative effect to enjoying yourself on the hill?

It was a terrible accident but I think that once people are out on the hill that is the last thing on their minds. As the true story comes out about what happened we realise that Schumacher’s accident was incredibly unlucky. Accidents happen every day to all sorts of people in all sorts of environments so I don’t think people should get to worried about safety in snow sports on the basis of this one terrible accident.

5. You have been skiing for many years and know the mountain well, have you had any nasty accidents? And could these have been avoided?

Touch wood not too many bad ones. I broke both my wrists when I was about 15 when my friends egged me on to do a big jump. I folded under peer pressure and went so big I landed on the road beyond the landing area. Don’t listen to your friends!

6. Do you have any final advice for our readers out there?

Just go and enjoy yourself and don’t be afraid to ask advice from professionals on the hill. We won’t bite.

Thank you to Ken Smith at Progression ski for your very honest and open interview.

SO – good news Silver Swanners – you can still ski, have a good time, just make sure you are safe and sensible, don’t buckle to peer pressure and where possible make sure you are with a professional.

If you are in Val d’Isere, contact Ken for pricing and availability for ski and board lessons and mountain guides.

00 44 (0)208 123 3001 - year round

0033 (0)6 21 93 93 80 - In resort during the season

You can also follow the Progression Blog here for lots of up to date info throughout the season!

If you are in other resorts and want Silver Swans recommendations on the best ski schools to use, contact us at

Happy weekend Skiing!!!!

SilverSwan · 1468 days ago
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Thought for the weekend . . . 'Safety with Progression'