Siobhan, one of our senior staff, was delighted to have been selected as one of the lucky 23 outdoor instructors who travelled to the French Alps this January as part of the 2013

 CARVE Programme. The CARVE Programme, funded by the Leonardo Live Long Learning Programme, takes full-time instructors who are working in outdoor centres on a two-week work placement in France, where they work and live alongside their French counterparts and gain a valuable insight into the way adventure centres are run in France.

As part of the programme the instructors also get to learn a new skill and being that it is winter, and they were heading to the Alps, the choice was either Snowboarding or Skiing. Siobhan is also taking part in the Connemara Adventure Challenge on the 11th of May as one of our Gaelforce challengers.
Read how she got on below and how she used the experience to start her training.



This was a once in a lifetime experience, with an amazing adventure and learning thrown in for good luck!
It was also a great kick start to my training for Connemara Adventure Challenge- if not a slap in the face to make me realise how unfit I actually am!
The two weeks involved spending on average about 4 hours a day on the slopes and I discovered that I have muscles in places I didn’t know existed! I have been on snow boarding breaks before but they normally involved enjoying the snow for an hour a day with the Apres Ski being the main attraction!


The first couple of days I was flying, working on technique and bruising my body! And then the real workout started by the third day my legs were in bits! My calves muscles and thighs felt like they had been set on fire! Even my arms and shoulders hurt. I felt like an 80 year old women with narcolepsy – if I wasn’t on the slopes all I wanted to do was sleep!

The second week I ended up with a head cold and had to take a day off to recover. I ended up taking the week a bit easier and did shorter days on the slopes. This definitely helped as with my body hurting less my technique improved and I wasn’t messing up as much – which means less falls!

Even with all the aches and pains, having to take breaks to let my legs recover and the lovely bruises, it was an absolutely amazing experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone, but maybe build up some fitness before you head over. We even got to meet former President Mary Robinson on the way home!


So now I’m back to a very wet rainy Ireland, trying to keep myself motivated to get out there. The worst thing I find about exercising is actually starting, but you always feel much better afterwards! I’m heading to Zumba and body toning class tonight and then for a walk/jog tomorrow in the hail, rain or snow. Hope to get on the bike as well this weekend. It’s hard to make a training plan this week, as I’m worried that if I go outside I may blow away!


That’s all for now. If you do fancy a great value holiday to the snow, check out Action Outdoors.


Siobhan Bennet (Gaelforce Events co-ordinator)