Skiing is an integral part of our academic calendar at La Côte International School Aubonne. Located very conveniently between the Jura Mountains and the Swiss Alps, we are blessed with the most spectacular landscapes right at our doorstep. Naturally, we take advantage of our proximity to some fantastic ski resorts on several occasions throughout the year so that our students can enjoy Switzerland's national sport and develop a lasting love for physical activity. And some of our students even take it a step further...
With Switzerland offering the most magnificent opportunities to engage in many different sports, some of our students don't only enjoy being active through the many sports offered at LCIS. Several of our students are heavily involved in skiing, rowing, figure skating and other sports outside of school, often competing on an elite level. We are committed to enabling these students who pursue elite sporting achievement to tailor their curricular programme, thus maintaining their academic success whilst achieving their elite sporting goals.
LCIS Year 6 student Eole, for instance, has a passion for alpine skiing, which he started at four years old. Since the age of 7, he has been skiing competitively.
At this age, ski races are split into two disciplines: Slalom and Giant Slalom. Giant Slalom is a longer, faster race with wider gates set farther apart and a longer course than in Slalom. For racers between 7 and 10 years old, Slalom consists of short gates of about 50cm (also known as 'carrots') against which the racers cannot hurt themselves.
By the age of 10/11, racers are introduced to proper slalom gates (150cm above ground), which require protective gear for the face and legs because the racer is expected to hit the gates at every turn. In later years, two additional disciplines are added: "super G", a faster and longer version of Giant Slalom, which racers are introduced to at the age of 14; and "downhill", an even longer and faster course, which is only allowed from the age of 16 because of the high speed that skiers can achieve. Some racers decide not to compete in downhill because of its risks.
Eole was skiing with a Ski Club called 'Thyon-Giron 4 Vallées' in the Thyon-Veysonnaz area for the first three years. Then, he was selected to join the CRP called 'Ski-Team Herens Nendaz', whose mission is to train the next generation of racers in the 'Val d'Hérens and Nendaz' region. Naturally, Eole is proud to be included in such a distinguished team. It has trained some of the best skiers in Switzerland, such as Loic Meillard. He is currently number 10 in the 2022 World Cup standings.
Ski camps are organized several times during the summer on the glaciers of Saas-Fee and Zermatt starting in July. Therefore, by the start of the official ski season in December, athletes have accumulated up to 30 training days. Each weekend from December until April, training takes place in Thyon, Veysonnaz, or Nendaz. In Valais, training also takes place on Wednesday afternoons, and to compensate for these sessions he cannot attend due to being at school, Eole works out during the week to strengthen and stretch his muscles. Additionally, he swims with the Rolle JA swimming team and participates in swimming competitions when his skiing schedule permits. Ski Valais' various CRPs compete in about 10-15 races throughout the Valais each year, culminating in the selection of skiers for the Ski Valais Team.
Eole tells us: "As with other sports, ski racing requires passion, dedication, determination, and resilience. There are races where you do well and others where you don't. It is really important to learn how to be a good winner and how to lose, but the most important thing is to have fun! Finally, given the time and dedication it requires, you need to be diligent and organized to ensure you keep up with life and schoolwork. The support and encouragement I receive from LCIS is really important to my school and skiing success!