Floss Cockle of FREEFLOSKI Moves Online
We've been following how the ski and snowboard industry is reacting to the global COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns. This winter is undoubtedly a little different, yet there are innovative operators out there adaptingto the current climate.
We decided to catch up with Floss from FREEFLOSKI. An adventure brand after our own heart. Floss is one of the leading BASI ski instructors and has built a beautiful life for herself out in the Tarentaise Valley, France.
During the winter she has transitioned her ski teaching and guiding practiseto Zoom and has been building up an impressive library of Vlogs on the FREEFLOSKI YouTube channel for growing following of avid skiers and snowboarders.
Hi Floss, so how long have you been in the Savoie? What brought you there?
I have been here working in the Tarentaise Valley for eight years now. I first came here as I wanted a change from the southern alps and I wanted a longer ski season. I found that winter is never long enough to ski.
How long have you run FREEFLO? How did it come about?
FREEFLOSKI is now five years old. I have a real passion for freeriding and the freedom of the mountains; hence FREE. FLO is short for Floss, which is a nickname my grandma gave me, and also it’s about the flow element in skiing. Put them together and you have FREEFLO. It was my mountain bestie, Richard, that came up with the name.
What’s the most rewarding part about running FREEFLO?
There are so many rewarding parts of FREEFLO. I love my job and the satisfaction I receive when a skier has improved or had the best ski experience. On the business side of things, I love the freedom of Freefloski: I can meet clients anywhere in the resort at a time that suits all of us.
You run some pretty incredible trips across Europe, can you tell us a bit more about those?
This winter I have had to change my plan and be more flexible. I have decided to stay closer to home and work more freestyle and FREEFLO. Penciled in I have two weeks of women off-piste clinics in Tignes at the end of January. I also hope to be running some ski touring and all-mountain courses out of the Auberge sur la Montagne in Sainte Foy Tarentaise in February and March.
I am really happy living in the Tarentaise Valley in the French Alps - as I get to work and share my love for the mountains in Les Arcs, Sainte Foy, Tignes, Val D’Isère and La Rosière. They are great resorts and are just on my doorstep! I am so lucky, as I have a near 2000m off-piste route that I can finish going through my village right up to my back door. I love it!! I live next to a farm, in a small hamlet, where there are more resident goats than people.
What are your top essential kit tips?
I always wear my FLOA backcountry base layers: I never leave home without them! It is so very important to have top quality kit when you are working in the mountains all day.
For the on and off-piste skier and tourer, I am going to share one of my biggest secrets. I never leave home without my Gore-tex over mittens (shell). They are so small, and I carry them in my pocket and when it’s windy, wet or snowing I put them on, over my gloves, and they keep my hands warm and dry. They are such a winner!
Off-piste and touring I always carry a rescue shelter, a satellite phone and Celox powder. This powder is amazing and will stop any major bleed in minutes. I took a double dosage with me when I ski toured Patagonia as, sometimes, we were a day away from any rescue or hospital.
Do you have any advice for anyone suffering from injuries and eager to get back on the snow?
It wasn’t just in the early years! Last February, after a year of rehab, I came back from five fractures in three different bones – none of them due to any fault of my own.
TIPS: It’s so important to listen to your body when rehabbing. Always get a second medical opinion if you can. Research on the topic as much as you can. Be kind to yourself. Don’t forget to work on the brain and vision. Visualise yourself where you want to be and work an achievable plan on how to get there. It takes longer for the brain to recover. For me, this list is endless! I have so much advice I think I need to write a blog.
Determination, grit, patience, plan and believe. You can do it! I have done it so many times.
Do you have any simple exercises or tips for anyone heading to the mountains, even for a one week holiday?
I think the biggest mistake we all make is that we think we need to be unbelievably fit. We don’t – but whatever exercise you can do before your holiday helps. The earlier you start your pre-ski exercise program the better. Choose a sport that you enjoy; it’s then easier to do and you have more chance of doing it! Think of increasing and getting better 1% every day. Keep a record of what you do, it’ll help you to see the progression which, in turn, will help to keep you motivated.
COVID has thrown a pretty big spanner in the works for everyone. How have you adapted your offering at FREEFLO for this winter?
Tragically, COVID-19 has affected me and my family more than most. We lost our lovely, fit, 73 year old dad to it on the first wave. Dad you will be in our hearts forever!
After the loss of my dad, and in these difficult times, I wanted a purpose, a goal, and a distraction. I wanted to engage and to reach out to more skiers in a different way: to share the same passion, to give value and to share my experience. That’s why I relaunched the FREEFLOSKI YouTube channel last month. I have committed to my audience to upload a video every Sunday through the winter. My goal is to make every video 1% better through editing, lighting, audio, content and filming. It's a real challenge. I want it to be THE skier's channel.
I am over the moon, as the channel has reached 180 subscribers to date. It’s just amazing! I love reading and answering the comments on the videos too. The other day I had comments from a skier that had skied nearly 60 years. If you are reading this and have already watched and subscribed to the channel – thank you. Thank you too, in advance, to all the readers who are thinking of subscribing.
Following the tragic loss of my Dad, this winter (fingers crossed), in his memory, I am running Plateau to Summit Ski Adventures. This is when you can ski, have fun and make a difference. I will be ski coaching, with others, and will be raising funds for one of my dad’s charities, Prostate Cancer UK. You can see more information in the news section on my website. I am so looking forward to raising as much money as I can to help others.
In response to the pandemic, I am offering online ski coaching. It's so simple and easy. You send me a video of yourself skiing. I then edit it with comments and instruction on what you need to work on and how to improve your skiing. This goes back to you, and I follow it up with a Zoom call and an individual action plan.
The Zoom coaching sounds awesome. What kind of people would benefit from this style of coaching?
I have been teaching and leading for 24 years. Online coaching makes my expertise so much more accessible and gives clients real consistency in their ski coaching. It also means that they can access my coaching at any time of the year and can ski in different resorts - always having the same coach.
Anyone can start today! All you need is a video of yourself skiing. When the UK snow domes and outdoor ski-centres are open, just visit there and get some video taken.
On and off-piste skiers of different abilities and ages can benefit from online coaching. It’s a quick and effective option, which is moving with the times and is a response to the pandemic. I always teach with video on the slopes and have found it to be very successful. I find that it really helps with the understanding and visualisation – which is why it is so effective.
You can get in touch with Floss at freefloski.com
With an insatiable thirst for travel, Nick Baines is a journalist based on the UK’s south coast. With more than 20 years experience in snow sports, he’s contributed features to publications all over the world.