Well, winter has almost finished so it might not seem like the best time to start a brand new blog about winter sports and winter life. However the Alps and the Pyrenees have both had what seems like a winter's worth of snow in the space of a couple of weeks, and that's after a season of blue skies and sunshine. And when winter does finally come to a close here, it's only a couple of months until the southern hemisphere winter kicks off. You've got a wide choice of resorts and ski fields across Australasia and South America, the fun is never over.
So, since it's my first post I'd better introduce myself; I am a ski instructor based in Arinsal, Andorra for the (Northern hemisphere) winter and planning to head south to New Zealand for the other winter. I am reaching the end of my second season here (fourth as an instructor, sixth altogether). The nickname Swedish Jan was coined last year when a couple of instructors decided to see how many people they could convice I was from Sweden. For the record, I was born in Manchester, England. Anyone wanting to know more can check out my website at http://www.ianhuyton.com. I'll throw in a picture here so you can see what I look like in the oh so fetching ski school uniform...
Well enough about me, future posts will probably talk about ski instructing and the various qualifications, courses and organisations involved, travel around the world, my attempts to learn Spanish, global warming and its consequences for the ski industry, random rumours, the history of skiing and anything else I can think of. The way I see it a Blog site is just an outlet for all my musings - be prepared. For the rest of this post, I just want to say a little about where I am - the town of Arinsal.
Arinsal is one of the ski resorts in the Principality of Andorra - a small country perched in the Pyrenees on the border between France and Spain - population about 70 000, size - well it fits onto a single 1:25 000 scale map so its about 20 miles from one side to the other. The country is not part of the EU, so is an attractive duty free shopping destination for both the French and the Spanish. Tourism and banking are the main industries. The skiing is not huge in comparison to the Alps but is friendly and accessible. The Arinsal ski school makes a point of employing English speaking instructors (as well as speakers of French, Spanish, Catalan, Czech, Russian, Danish, Portugese, Hebrew, Dutch, Afrikaans etc.) and ensuring that people are taught in their own language. This is frequently not the case in local ski schools accross the Pyrenees and the Alps. Arinsal itself is the friendliest town I have ever lived in, and this is probably the reason so many people keep coming back year after year, either to holiday or to work. The town is small enough to feel homely but big enough to throw a damn good party. For me it ticks all the boxes as a great destination, and I know I'll be back next year. For more info about the town see our new website, http://www.arinsal-andorra.com and leave us a message in the forum ;-)