Sunday, 9 November 2014

Scary but Exciting Changes

A lot is going on at the moment with some major decisions. Fiona is in the process of handing over to the new BASP business manager Jess Higton.  Jess is lovely girl and highly competent and its great to see a business built up over 23 years get handed over to someone with a real zest for life and the ski business who can take it forward.  After all that life has thrown at her Fiona needs a rest and for my part I think she deserves a long break from any work, and just enjoys her gardening and plants, skiing and biking.
A lot more biking tea and scones to come
I have also handed in my notice at JSMTC. This wasn't planned as its only a couple of years to my retiral date, but senior management adopted a new accounts package called MJDI and decided to make it a mandatory training requirement as part of the job. As there was only one course back in July they booked me on it without asking while I was on leave. As I had made commitment's that week I couldn't go. That opened a whole bag of worms and things became, to say the least, intimidating.  This was very disappointing as in general I have found the MOD a good employer and I have had great managers. In particular Nick and Scotty when Fiona was going through treatment were great friends and support. They moved on and things change. Sadly I cannot - so I resigned and will be finishing on the 19th December. I am more than sure from legal advice received that I could have gone to tribunal over this, but our family has had too many knocks to take that kind of stress.
16 good years with true mountain professionals. Its a shame the managers and civil service get in the way
Every cloud has a silver lining - we hope!  For 4 years now we as a family have been building up the bike hire, spares and repairs from our rather large garden shed (which will soon be expanding). This was initially just to help contribute to the children's living expenses at Uni but has really taken off thanks to the support and goodwill of other local business's sending me custom.  Also for a few years I have been selling avalanche safety equipment from the quality brands BCA and Ortovox as well as the best ski's on the planet Dynafit and Movement as part of the plan for full retirement.
Val d Isere. Scottish contingent with Modane PHGM. Fiona 2nd from left
Some 4 years ago I left GMRT after attending an avalanche where 3 folk were buried and killed. This was the 3rd multiple burial and having dug out perhaps 17+ people dead from avalanches and easily double that injured I thought it was time I did something more positive and started to give lectures on avalanche avoidance and safety. It always struck me that as a rescue service we received a lot of money in donations but yet little was done in prevention.  The loss of our cycling friend Chris Bell in an avalanche 2 years ago and a well known skier at Glencoe only reinforced my belief that more could be done. 
Tracker DTS 1 and 2 at the Glencoe Park with legend Hamish MacInnes
Anatom had already donated a training system and Andy Meldrum at Glencoe Mountain gave us some ground as a training park. This season I am pleased to say that Ed Daynes and the Clachaig Inn mountain safety lecture series has funded a brand new training system for the hill which will allow us to hand the older but workable system to Glenshee ski area.  This means that mountaineers and skiers have access to on snow training parks at 3 of the 5 ski areas. These parks are not just transceiver training areas. There is an opportunity for ski patrol to pop over and chat about the avalanche risk and safety, as well as give advice and for folk to simulate realistic scenarios including effective digging and first aid. For folk wanting more joined up training on a formal basis Glencoe Mountain have been great supporters of my Avalanche 101 courses where through the course of a day we cover these topics. 
Good decisions. Epic conditions and great skiing while staying safe
Leading on from the above life change, these courses and the equipment sales are now about to be my winter job as well as helping out the ski patrol. So it seems that I am about to be a self employed ski and avalanche trainer and kit salesman, and bike shop mechanic and manager.  Why would folk come to me over anyone else for kit or training?  I guess I have been at the sharp end of the shovel having been dug out and dug out plenty, and raced bikes most of my life and have 3 biking kids. I have a few "bona fides" in professional memberships and qualifications but I guess all I have that's of real value is a bit of insight into tragedy, and a permanent state of exhaustion while trying to race folk a third of my age, but if that's enough then I am your man and I appreciate your business.
Talking Avalanche with the Canadians lubricated by an Edradour Malt

Davy Gunn Crankitupgear Glencoe will be giving a lecture on 24th Feb
at Clachaig Inn as part of the Mammut sponsored winter safety series. 



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