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The Downhill Only Club

The Director’s Office, Imperial Hotel,
London WC1H 0DG

Month: February 2017

Bumps Lift fighting for survival we need to use it !

Once again the bumps lift is struggling to survive. This is not the first time that the Bumps Lift has had financial problems, you can read the full story in Swiss German here.  Basically the lift needs about 90,000 uses a year to stay in the black. Currently it’s getting around fifty to sixty thousand which is not enough.

The English gave the Bumps area its name, it’s a great beginners practice area that can stay operating in all but the worst weathers, as such it’s vital to the ski school who use it a lot, but very few others do so,  please if you are passing by, don’t carry on straight down to Wengen, but take at least one trip up the drag lift and help keep this valuable lift going, better yet take 2 or 3 trips up and have your friends and family do the same, if not then within the next 5 years we are likely to loose the Bumps lift which would be a great loss for beginners and intermediates alike.

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It would, in the author’s opinion, be a great shame if the Bumps Lift were forced to close. As the oldest existing lift in the area, that has run without change since 1967 the Bumps Lift is somewhat of an institution. If you have the time or the weather is bad and the visibility dreadful, take advantage of the tree protected area and mixed terrain.

Because if you don’t in a few years time you may no longer be able to do so.

Bumps Lift

The Polytechnic race, fine weather, fine company, soft snow and grippy piste

The Polytechnic, Junior Polytechnic and Snoggin’s Cups, under the Gillian Davies cup umbrella. They were all competed for on Thursday 16th February, under a glorious sun on a magnificent piste. Many people thanked me for the weather and the conditions: I must be honest though, I have nothing to do with it!


The Course Picture
The Course

Polytechnic Overview

The Polytechnic race went very smoothly, and a re-visiting long term member was delighted to step in and win. Congratulations Edward what a time, 50.72. Well done to all our winners: Toby F (Gillian Davies & Racers Cups 51.46), Catherine (Fastest Female Gillian Davies Cup 52.86), Toby H (Snoggin’s Cup 57.42), Bella (Junior Polytechnic 62.96). Some impressive times were also set by other competitors: David H, 56.45 and Petra F, 76.30. Both showing the only failure is not trying! How good were our winning racers times? Christian the Ski Instructor with Eagles set a time of 48.50 and I set a time of 58.09.

The Polytechnic race went very smoothly, and a re-visiting long term member was delighted to step in and win. Congratulations Edward what a time, 50.72. Well done to all our winners: Toby F (Gillian Davies & Racers Cups 51.46), Catherine (Fastest Female Gillian Davies Cup 52.86), Toby H (Snoggin’s Cup 57.42), Bella (Junior Polytechnic 62.96). Some impressive times were also set by other competitors: David H, 56.45 and Petra F, 76.30. Both showing the only failure is not trying! How good were our winning racers times? Christian the Ski Instructor with Eagles set a time of 48.50 and I set a time of 58.09.

A Glorious Week

Until Friday the weather was amazing. Astonishingly hot for this time of year. However we still managed to revel in some lovely soft north facing snow and whizz around on magnificent piste.

I was pleased that several Coggin & Eagle parents joined in with the leading groups. A sign of success of our 1630 to 1730 office hour. Also the value of having the ski leaders meeting at the Coggin and Eagle morning gathering point. We will be doing this again next week (18/02 through to 22/02). I would still like to see more of them / you racing in 2018!

A group of 4 intrepid skiers went off with the wonder guide Hano, <a href=”http://www.swissalpineguides.ch/english/Freeride/default.html”>http://www.swissalpineguides.ch/english/Freeride/default.html</a>. They journeyed to Murren and then via an exciting traverse entered the Sudtal and skied all the way to Lauterbrunnen. They all returned with very wide smiles across their face.

On Wednesday we had a whale of a day in Murren. We did all the tourist things, including the new Birg Thrill Walk. It was thrilling; you walk down and around the cliff below the Birg cable car station. You do this on a metal grate attached to the cliff face. For those that that is not enough there is a cable balance and a tube to crawl through – both still over the abyss below

A wee video from the walk

Families are welcome and early starts are possible!

Families have always been welcome! However, recently we were wondering if 6pm to 7pm was a very useful time for families. We thought not. So for this half term we are going to have double office hour. I will be around for one of them and someone else such as the Ski Leading Assistant will be there for the other.

The first will be from 1630 until 1730. This hour will be primarily for families to register for Coggins, Eagles and races. As well as an opportunity to play some games and watch some skiing. We need people to volunteer as well, just to assist with tidyness and pouring drinks. Don’t forget the Club is not a bar with stock – so you need to bring in what ever it is you would like to drink, apple juice, club soda, rivella etc. There is a wee sheet in the club you can put your name on for volunteering.

Our races next week are many faceted. With something for all members of families. They will all be on Thursday 16th February 2017. There are the Coggins and Eagles races, these will start at about 0930 for course inspection and then their 2 runs. Then from 11:00 the course will be available for the Gillian Davies Cup and Polytechnic Cup racers to have their inspection. The second round of racing will hopefully start around 11:15. This will be two runs too! Prize giving for everyone will be at around 17:00 in the Club.


Ski Show Wengen 2017 Picture
Ski Show Wengen 2017

Waiting Picture
Waiting

The Snow show is on at 9pm at the Nursery slope area at the back of the ice rink. A really fun look at the development of skiing. A show case of all that the ski school offers for families, from beginners to big airs!

The Andy Capp Charger

Early in the week I me the Barlow family. During our conversation I discovered it was their friend who had started the Andy Capp Charger. The race has always been what ever ‘madcap’ idea someone has come up with. The challenge this year was to use the Lauberhorn Photo point. Next ski through the Lauberhorn start hut round the gates and on to the bottom of the Wixi chairlift. Up the lift, photo point again, repeat to a third photo point. Competition to have the same time between photo 1 and 2 as there is between photo 2 and 3.

Sadly the weather on the day was abysmal. Visibility was about one nano meter! Only one charger turned up to attempt the challenge; but attempt it she did. Her time difference; zero. Well done to Carol West our most definitely worthy Andy Capp Charger!

Preparing in the Start Bar Picture
Preparing in the Start Bar

AndyCapp Charger 2017 Picture
AndyCapp Charger 2017

There were two other particularly significant things. The first was the arrival of lots of snow.

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Up To Our Necks

The day before our Andy Capp Charger had been up to her chesticles and it was just light enough for her to keep moving. Only just though.

Then on Thursday we had another early start, up on the 0754 train in time for the Lauberhorn chair to open at 0830. They had it running and let us on at 0825, woo hoo! The mountain was empty. The piste was perfect. The company was entertaining. Here are two short films. One from the camera held in front of me as I skied down the Lauberhorn red. The other of Simon, to prove to many he does ski when he is here. I’d like to stress the ‘retro’ theme was chosen by Simon

https://youtu.be/E_1HzIP1wechttps://youtu.be/49L2LwdNmxg

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McMillan week, fast courses, bumpy courses happy winners and motivated novices.

A successful McMillan race week. We had a lot of club members in the village as is usually the case at this time of year. 40 of us enjoyed a night in the Schneebar-Figeller, a huge thank you to Karl Napflin for treating us so well. Sadly the weather meant we could not run our parallel slalom.However we had a lot of fun playing people bingo with chocolate bites and a champagne prize.

The Tourist Cup:

This was on Wednesday the same day as the final races of the British School Boys. I had decided earlier in the season that for the McMillan week race we cold try running our GS straight after the British School Boys. This meant our course was much more complicated than a normal course. It had more than one banana gate and a generally more difficult to follow route. As 140 school boys had skied through the course there was a very distinct rut line to follow / survive. Some of the racers more used to courses on freshly groomed slopes thought it an odd decision. Mr Morris, on his first ever time through a start hut and first time skiing round gates found himself delighted to improve by 4 seconds on run 2 and promptly entered the McMillan Downhill the following day!

 


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The McMillan Downhill:

The less than normal snow fall this winter and warmer weather in the preceding days of the race meant our normal start line and first field was unsuitable for racing. However, from the end of the first field we had a beautifully groomed, rolling race piste. That word race added anxiety because it was very fast. I mean the piste was hard but grippy. The faster you go the more grippy it gets. Our start consisted of 25, including 3 great nephews of the late Flying Officer McMillan whom the race was started in honour of. One of the nephews even won the Novice Cup. The race went smoothly although it was said that the winner was only just in control as he crossed the line. A huge well done to all the brave competitors.

Not from this year, but here is a view of the race from a few years ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUjNQXXVpYY

The prize giving went very well and it was especially fun to welcome Mr Rolf Wegmuller of the Tourist Office as new Honorary member of the Downhill Only Club. As he was present he was also able to present the Tourist Cup to the winner Mr Jamie Verden-Anderson. A very well done Jamie, a fantastic ski gave a time similar to that of the fastest times set by the school boys

Finally more than 40 of us enjoyed a magnificent celebration meal at the Bellevue Hotel. The meal was superb and many of us went off for a few after dinner cocktails in place such as the Wengener Hof, The Tannar Bar and the Sun Star hotel.

Next we have the Andy Capp:

This coming week our race will be on Wednesday. If you are around come and register when we are enjoying drinks at the Falken Hotel on Tuesday (7/2/17). Expect a challenge with a difference, involving gates, timing and photography. Details are on the registration sheet.

News:

Apres ski at the club for half term! For Monday to Friday on the weeks starting 13th February and 20th February I am hoping to find and organise enough volunteers to man our bar and open the Club room from 1630 until 1730. During that time we can enjoy a little apres, people can register for coggins and arrange skiing for the following day.

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