Jayne Mairs, Jan Rebiro, Jane Dance and Jon Dance all met and became friends years ago, when the lived in Vienna. They started coming on ski holidays to Courchevel 1650, and haven’t skied anywhere since. Always the big group of them and their families, year after year.
Just this week, Jayne and Jane were out for a cross-country ski, and mentioned to their instructor Tom Speakman, that they had skied with New Gen for many years. After they got chatting, it turns out they skied with one of our founders, Tom Saxlund, during our very first winter in 1998. And since then, have not skied with another ski school.
So we sat down with the group of them for a coffee and a chat, and reminisced about the years…
20 years of skiing with New Gen
How did you first find out about New Generation?
“It must have been 1998, we were staying in a Le Ski chalet in Courchevel 1650. And one night, two chaps (one who happened to be Tom Saxlund) came knocking on the door said that they’d started this new ski school in the area. And were we interested in ski lessons? And we said, yes!
Our children at that point were from age 8 to 14 and they knew how to ski, but never had many proper lessons. But we didn’t want them to just follow someone around, but they needed to be taught properly and told their bad habits.”
What are some of your memories of the lessons?
“The very first lesson, the whole group of us was together, and I remember we started by going down a slope with the instructors watching us. They would send some people to the right, others to the left as we came down. The terrified to one side, and the not so terrified to the other.
Once technique they used was to go down the mountain holding a tray. But the girls needed more motivation, and wanted to know what was on the tray. The instructor asked, ‘what do you want on the tray?’ And the girls said gin! So they had to ski down with gin on their tray. And it was a great way to remember and learn – you’ve got to save the gin.
I’ve had lessons over the years because of fear, and to build my confidence. We had a break while the kids were at university, and then when we went back to skiing, I had lessons. And I was on fire that year, I went down a mogul field and came down reds like they were nothing.”
Why have you come back year and year again?
“The groups tended to be small, and at that point (1998) the other lessons were mainly in French or very broken English, and our kids just didn’t want to go. The big thing for teaching children is someone who speaks your own language.
New Gen were not only were always very friendly and nice, but they had some interesting ways of teaching. They would video tape us, going back a long time, when no one else was doing it. They put us on blades so you had to improve your balance without poles. That was interesting!
We’ve always been impressed with the quality of the instruction. You really appreciate that high quality teaching because one size does not fit all, and the adaptability has been appreciated. And that’s why we stuck – because right from the start they’ve been friendly, adaptable, really good, and found ways to help us. And had a bit of personality, that’s really important.”
What lessons have you had this week?
“Our two daughters-in-law are taking a clinic this week, and they think it’s the best thing ever. Because they’ve had the three sessions of the clinic, Monday, Wednesday and then another on Friday, they’ve had more time to move onto different aspects of their skiing. It’s really sorted out their bad habits that they’ve got into, and they’re both so much more confident.
We (Jayne and Jan) both took a cross-country lesson.”
Will we see you guys again?
“Next year we’re (Jan and Jon) going to do the clinic. And maybe not next year, but the year after that you’ll certainly have a new pupil who will be very, very tiny, because my son’s just had a baby! It will be the third generation, New Generation.”
Thank you so much to Jayne, Jane, Jan & Jon for taking the time to sit down with us and share your stories. If it weren’t for people like you, we wouldn’t be here today. We look forward to skiing with you again in the future and hope to be teaching the third generation in your group very soon!
– Team New Gen