What a site, 50cm of snow on the Valley floor. Trnovo ob Soči, is at 350m above sea level, in the middle of the Julian Alps, and occasionally there is considerable snow, and this year was no exception. The ski season for the Eastern end of the Alps was one of the best on record. I had some days on the hill, but this Winter has been on the main part a non-winter sport year, shame shame. But plans for 2009/10 Winter are in flow, and it looks like the whole Winter, Satu and I will be on the hill, yahoooooo
With all that snow abundent in the Juliann Alps, this Spring in Slovenia was always going to be ace, and there was no disappointments. Early on in March, I needed to get a wood burner to fire up the house, and dry the paddling gear after the river. So true to form, I brought a beauty, that can heat 100 square metres, look at her raw…
The best of Spring, a fire to dry the gear, and afternoon beer in the sun
As times are always a changing, and my small business is moving along quite nicely, it was time to start the search for more staff, so we but together a week for the young and talented to step up to the plate and show us what they can offer. In the group are some of the stars of tomorrow for white water kayaking plus a few looking to expand their scope as paddlers and future contributors to the shape of the sport. As you may know, we have a strong employment record, Gene17’s staff are the best of the crop in any generation, not only great paddlers, but excellent river guides and kayak coaches, plus and this is the big plus, wonderful people who very much enjoy to share the river and paddling with other paddlers. We got the lads to work hard all week, running coaching sessions, developing their technique, and undertaking various workshops. This Summer we’re have Nick Horwood debuting in Norway, Lowri Davies in Slovenia and Will King assisting Deb Pinniger in the French Alps fro the Summer.
The month of trips went well in Slovenia, and the high water brought greater challenges for the team, especially as we ran a range of courses at the same time. Still it was a good Spring in Soča. For Christmas I brought my wife a mountain bike, and she got to enjoy the pleasures of off roading with two wheels. These days it appears that every paddler is buying a mountain bike, especially those from the UK and Ireland, as the Winter season can be unreliable for rain, and there is little in the way of paddling in the Summer. Here is a shot of my new bike, I ordered, its a free ride beauty with a longer stance for my longer arms, plus she’s quite light for the park…..
At some point in April, I completed a 4 year project, yes I hear you, it took 4 years to finish Genotype 2, my new instructional DVD. The content of the DVD focuses on concepts and themes for coaching white water kayaking fundamental core skills. The range of shots took a while to gather, especially as you never really want paddlers to play act the weaker part. Plus the ideas although well developed through Gene17’s programmes, to actually get them down on a video format, took while a lot of realisation of ideas. Still its a beauty and I am very happy with the out put. Interestingly enough several coaches were in the first batch to be sent out. Here is the front cover, and sample chapters on YouTube:
Towards the end of April, Satu and I went to Italy for a sprint race in Tagliamento somewhere in the Friuli Dominates, in the image below, snow was still on the valley floor. At Birrificio Artigianale “Foglie d’Erba” in Forni di Sopra, they brew their own beer, see Mountain Beer. Now for Italy this is a very good thing indeed, as Italy has excellent wine, but on the beer front, its a poor show, but this beer is excellent. Oh, at the races, Satu won a range of smoked meats, which for a vegetarian as she is means I get the bounty, she can race again…..
After 6 weeks in Soča, we had a few appointments in England, a musical in London’s West End, a day in Bath watching the Rugby, an out School Reunion (can you guest which one I am!!), Sunday lunch with my Sister, a Dartmoor trip, a Wedding Anniversary in Croyde, to Humberside to visit my Nan, a Rutland Wedding and another Sunday Dinner, but this time in Norfolk, it was a crowed 10 days in England.
Early on Bank Holiday Monday morning we set sail to Valsesia, and a massive snow pack awaits………