Wimbledon Clinics

Wimbledon Clinics

Off-Piste and Personal…with Chris Madoc-Jones, Editor, Ski Club GB.

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What do you spend your time doing?

My current role is Digital Content Editor for the Ski Club GB website, which I’ve been doing for just over two years.

Most days start with a trawl through the various social media channels: I’m looking at snow reports, events, resort information and videos – anything that I can share to inform people as best I can. The rest of the day is all about writing content. Fact-based articles are definitely useful, but it’s good to include some slightly wackier stuff from time to time. Recently we ran a piece which tracked the progress of several female free-skiers to their present day. Some are now retired, some are still in the sport, some now manage other athletes around the world – one hadn’t been on skis for five years after a serious accident, despite being champion skier.

How reactive do you have to be?

Winter is the busiest time for us – if an event crops up last minute, I tend to drop everything and focus on getting that content up on the website. News stories in particular have to be posted as quickly as humanly possible. For example, we recently covered a court case about a French ski instructor who was teaching without the official qualifications. I had around half an hour to turn that around. The summer is less busy, fortunately: so there’s more time to research and be creative.

How did you get into skiing?

I’ve skied since I was four years old, but I got into ski racing properly when I was at Durham University, where I was studying geography. I fell into the university ski club and basically caught the bug. One of my first tasks was to organise a university ski trip for 1,500 people to Tienes in France… I think we took over the whole resort! When I graduated I was leaning towards a job in the ski industry, and I came across Ski Club GB. I started at the bottom doing the snow report, and gradually worked my way up to where I am now. 

How much skiing do you get to do as part of the job?

Last year I got lucky and managed two ski holidays of my own, in addition to four work trips: to Austria, France, Switzerland and a Norweigen glacier – we were skiing there in the middle of July! Sometimes to get the best stories for the website, you simply have to get out there. The ski trips aren’t standard, but they’re the best part by far.

What’s your most memorable experience on the mountain?

Skiing in the Ben Nevis range in Scotland with the Ski Club GB film editor last year. It was March and we drove up in the rain, but arrived to bright blue sky and fresh snow. We skied the most incredible run with all the ski patrol and local skiing heroes, and ended up in a pub at the end of the day with a pint of ale and a pie. It was so different from any other ski trip I’d experienced – all snow-capped mountains and green valleys – and the best part was that it was in the UK. It’s amazing to have this sort of stuff on our doorstep, and most people don’t even know about it. It’s great to be able to tell that story.

Any experiences you’d rather forget?

Snapping my thumb in Switzerland – it’s the most common injuries for skiers; the doctor that I saw over there said that he sees one per day. I took one day off skiing and then skied the rest of the holiday in a fairly hefty cast that went half-way up my wrist.  It still doesn’t look right, even though I did it about four seasons ago. Thoughin comparison, my father did his ACL in two years on a completely innocuous slope – so I feel quite lucky in comparison. Fingers crossed I’ll continue being lucky!

Top safety tip on the mountain?

  1. Don’t listen to music – it’s a pet hate of mine as you just can’t hear what’s going on.

  2. Slow down a bit. Early on in the season, the snow is bumpier and icier – and if you fall off the side you won’t land in a nice thick pile of snow like you would a few months in.

  3. Obey what the resort officials are telling you to do – they know the resort better than you do, so listen to what they have to say. If a run is closed, the chances are it’s closed for good reason!

  4. Make sure you have the right insurance. The cover that comes with your bank, for example, probably isn’t sufficient if you’re skiing off piste, and if the ski resort if only partially open, then your insurance might not be valid. Taking out an adequate policy should only set you back £30 per week – and to put it into perspective, should you need to be helicopter-ed off the mountain in the event of an injury, you’ve looking at tens of thousands of pounds. Either way, it’s just not worth the risk.

 

You can find out more about ski club on their website here: www.skiclub.co.uk