As ski and snowboard instructors working in the Northern Hemisphere, my mates and I agree that joining a high-quality summer ski camp is one of the best ways to improve your skiing.
Of course, going and working in one of those ski resorts in the Southern Hemisphere is definitely a great way, but joining these ski racing camps? Is something different?
Usually, most top-level ski and snowboard trainers are very busy during the winter. Teaching, organizing ski school, skiing, snowboarding… Plus these trainers are very likely to stay and work in different ski resorts, making it even more difficult to book a lesson from them.
But this is not the case of summer ski camp, because only a few ski resorts are open, all these top-level trainers are gathered together so that you can learn from the very best trainers.
The atmosphere, the instructor, the classmates will bring your spirit, skill, and knowledge to the next level.
Today we were lucky enough to grab Stefano Calin from Ski Zenit for a quick chat about their summer and autumn ski camp, so you can get to understand the best off-season ski and snowboard training.
Q1: Who will join your summer ski camp?
Stefano: Ski Zenit is a Swiss ski camp enterprise devoted to ski race training for athletes of all ages, levels, and nationalities. In our Summer camps, we have athletes from over 30 countries.
In the last years, because of COVID, there have been many more Swiss athletes and closer European countries, but we also have many athletes from the USA, Canada, China, Japan, Corea, Russia, etc.
These athletes are good-level skiers experienced in ski racing or would like to learn how to ski race.
Q2. Is there any age restriction for joining your camp?
Stefano: In the Summer months, our younger athletes are about 8 years old, and the ages we have the biggest volume would be from 12-16 years old.
We also offer ski race training for adults, and some of our athletes will be representing their countries in the next Winter Olympics in China.
Q3. I am not really into ski racing. Can I still be able to benefit from your ski camp?
Stefano: We have athletes that don’t want to be competitive racers, and they are just keen on improving their skiing technique, but there has to be a minimum level so they can benefit from training in the glacier since there are no beginner slopes.
Q4. Do you also offer snowboarding training camps/ racing camps?
Stefano: We currently don’t provide snowboarding camps, but if there is a group that would like to join, we can offer this for a pre-built group.
Q5. Any difference between summer camp and autumn camp? In your opinion, which one is more suitable?
Stefano: In Autumn, the days are shorter, but the time on skis is longer. So we do fewer activities in the afternoon, and we spend more time on skis.
Both options are good, it depends on the athlete’s goals and the free time they have. Summer and Autumn are both great periods to visit Saas-Fee. Committed racers should do training blocks in both periods.
Q6. What level is suitable for joining? You’ve mentioned all levels, but who can benefit from your camp the most?
Stefano: To be able to join, skiers must be confident parallel skiers. There are no beginner slopes in the glacier of Saas-Fee, and the people skiing are high level.
Q7. What can I learn from the camp, other than skiing techniques?
Stefano: There are many things you can learn from the camp, for example:
- You will learn to take care of your equipment, sharping the edges, waxing the skis, and choosing the most suitable way of preparing the ski for your level
- We have a sports psychologist that helps you with mental training
- You will learn about yoga and its benefits, also as an injury-preventing tool
- Physical training is a key part of our camps. You will get fitter and learn about good practices to get stronger
- There are video analysis sessions to help you learn more about skiing techniques
Q8. Is FIS ski equipment necessary for joining the camp?
FIS equipment is not necessary, ski racing equipment is necessary. We have a list of needed equipment to join the camps we offer.
Q9. What’s the difference between your ski camp and the ski camp in the Southern Hemisphere?
The pros of skiing in the Summer in Switzerland is the possibility of cultural visits nearby, an international atmosphere with ski racers of many nationalities, and the long days so athletes can do many more activities in the afternoon since the days are really long.
Many of the best skiers in The World come to Saas-Fee for training in the Summer because the ski racing conditions are excellent, and they can take advantage of these long days. Skiing in New Zealand is also great, but the days are shorter, and you don’t have the extra possibility of visiting historic European cities.
Q10. What about accommodation?
We help athletes with the accommodation. We have a hotel where we run our camps, but if the athletes want to stay in apartments with the family or better hotels, we also offer this service for them.
Aspen: That’s all my questions. Thank you very much for taking the time to join this interview. I wish your ski camp great success.
A better skier gets to enjoy the mountain more, and if you are good enough to enjoy, all the tree runs, moguls, off-piste, powders are your playground.
But then we are always too busy to go for training because it’s just so much we need to do. We want to enjoy the fresh powder more than practicing our turns and skills on powder days.
Or perhaps, we need to ski with friends, enjoying some time with our folks in the bars and pubs. And for sure, as an instructor, we need to teach as well. So it leaves us little time for training.
Summer ski camp is great because you get to be really focused Summer ski camp is great because you get to be really focused on ski training, not to mention those world-class trainers you get to meet. Ski Zenit is definitely one of the very best camps you can find on Earth!
Here are the contact details of Ski Zenit: