Back even before my Top Ski days Pat Zimmer used to run an annual Top Ski Downhill. It was a fantastic event and almost all of Pat’s clients showed up and locals were allowed to make up the numbers.
Pat would rent the top half of the OK -and occasionally the bottom section- just after the World Cup’s opening event of the season. The course would be immaculately prepared and it was a weekend that everyone looked forward to. Imagine strapping on a helmet, a pair of 220cm downhill skis, a cat suit and then letting yourself go? It was thrilling to say the least and the party afterwards at Bananas was an event in itself!
After a couple of races I joined Top Ski and the weekend took on a totally different feel. All of a sudden I was coaching but more to the point I was becoming a little bit more afraid. The last thing I needed was to fall and hurt myself after six months off just when I was about to start earning again! Fortunately I managed to stay on my feet but there was the odd injury and I remember Clive B having quite a complicated leg break.
As time went on Pat eventually moved the wind-up party to the Savoyarde as the wind-up became a more formal affair. One thing for certain was that the Top Ski Downhill was a much anticipated and loved event, and will always remain a piece of Val D ‘Isere folklore. I remember an ESF instructor saying, “at this time of year everyone is dying for clients but that crazy Zimmer is trying to kill his!” But, boy it was fun!
Today’s photos are Pat and Zoe, a group of Dick’s staff and myself concentrating just before my second run. (Photos are now mixed in with Dick’s photos)
Stay tuned for a gallery of old Dick’s Tea-Bar photos tomorrow!
PS I had a lovely email from Paul Creasy who skied with me a million years ago. He was a chef at the Fiord at 17-year-of-age and still remembers our afternoon spent on the Verte in 1992. Thanks Paul, it was great to hear from you!