Aviemore Skiing Competition with Graham Bell – 14 Dec 2010
To celebrate the recent opening of our new Rohan shop in Aviemore in the Cairngorm National Park, we ran a competition to win a skiing lesson with former five-time Olympic downhill skier and Ski Sunday presenter, Graham Bell. As a child, Graham used to ski in Scotland every weekend during the winter, but he hadn’t been back up there for a couple of seasons, so he said our trip was nice chance for him to return to the place where he learnt to ski and have an easy run out before he starts filming again in the New Year.
The skiing lesson took place on Tuesday 14th December in the Cairngorm Mountains. The team, led by Graham, included our two competition winners, Sheena Lawson and Scott Walker, Paul Fallows from Aviemore School of Snow Sports, Rohan Retail Director, Ian Palmer and I. We had been keeping our fingers crossed that the severe wintery weather would allow us to get up to Aviemore safely, let alone take part in the actual lesson. So we were pleased to be en route to the slopes on Tuesday morning, all looking forward to plenty of snow after the heavy downfall the week before. Sheena revealed: “I had mixed emotions when I was told that I had won the Rohan Competition – a lesson with the famous Olympian, Graham Bell. I was delighted but very nervous as it would not only be the first run of the season for me, I also had new skis.”
From the Base station car park at 635m (2083ft) above sea level, we rode the UK’s highest funicular railway for the 2km journey to Ptarmigan top station where the lesson would begin. It sits at 1097m (3598ft) which is just below the summit of Britain’s 6th highest mountain, Cairn Gorm at 1245m (4084ft).
Our ski passes were aptly named ‘misty ’ and the weather conditions were a bit hazy but snow cover was good. We did manage to see the spectacular views of the Scottish mountain landscape later in the day, albeit very briefly! Sheena and Scott were both good intermediate level skiers so it meant their time could be spent just enjoying skiing with an Olympian and taking on board the tips and advice Graham gave them. “I felt at ease as soon as I met Graham and if he had any reservations about hitting the slopes with a 60-year-old woman he kept them carefully hidden!” Sheena said.
Time flies when you’re having fun and the morning definitely went quickly. We all stopped for a hot chocolate at the UK’s highest restaurant before heading out for the final run of the day, safe in the knowledge that the runs were clear enough to utilise the new found knowledge and added confidence. But by the end the day the weather had drawn in and Graham summed it up well. “Just had a day skiing in Aviemore! Great snow, but horizontal rain and sleet. I’ve got a Scottish sun tan now!” he tweeted later that day.
Our drive back to Aviemore took us past the beautiful Loch Morlich at the foot of Cairn Gorm. In spring you can be skiing at the top of the mountain in the morning then sitting by the lake in the afternoon having a BBQ! In his youth Graham revealed he had also spent many weekends here with his family.
After a coffee and chat in the hotel we headed for a look around the new Rohan shop in Aviemore before we all headed off. It was an excellent day and in good company, I would definitely recommend skiing in the UK. Sheena added: “I had a superb day. I have taken on board the tips that Graham gave me and hope to improve my technique this season. Many thanks, Graham – it was a privilege to ski with you.”
Scott Walker added “Like most partisans of the snow I enjoy watching Graham at ‘work’ as he hops from mountain to mountain with sidekick Ed Leigh. But for someone who grew up watching the Bell brothers compete as Britain’s only representatives in the downhill, I know him first and foremost as a world class competitor in his sport, so to find myself snaking down the humble slopes of Aviemore behind the younger of the two was quite a surreal experience. Aside from the inevitable Highland whiteout which, without success, did it’s best to force us home; the lesson was great fun, a great opportunity, and one that I’m delighted to have had the chance to do. There were even a few handy tips that were forthcoming – he didn’t take them too well!”
With special thanks to;
Graham Bell, for his great company and skiing tips which inspired everyone. The great help and patience from Nicola and Paul at Aviemore School of Snow Sports and our gracious winners Sheena and Scott, not forgetting Joanne who unfortunately couldn’t make the day.
Andy, Rohan Marketing Team
Graham talked to Rohantime in April 2010 about his favourite walk and his thoughts on the dreaded ‘Elves of Safety’…
Andy’s Kit Lit:
Rohan Mens Pinnacle Jacket – Altitude Blue (worn skiing)
Rohan buff – Moonlight blue stripe (worn skiing)
Rohan Superfine Merino T SS – Green (worn skiing)
Rohan Silver Fleece Zip – Black (worn skiing)
Rohan Weather System Gloves Control – Black (worn skiing)
Rohan Mens Nightfall Jacket – Graphite (worn afterwards)
Rohan Inner flame Vest – Black – (worn afterwards)
Find all Andy’s Kit List at Rohan.co.uk