A light-reflecting stone that brings a hint of shimmer to the Winter months, February’s birthstone is cool mint amethyst, promoting calm, serenity and peace of mind. One person who knows all about the importance of mindset is professional snowboarder Jenny Jones, who just so happens to have an Olympic medal under her belt. This year sees Jenny host a series of unique workshops that pass on her training techniques for both body and mind, built on the belief that the way you think and feel are key to sporting performance. With workshops taking place in the hidden gem of Sainte Foy, this month we take a closer look at this snow-covered sanctuary.
Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise, or Sainte Foy for short, is a relaxed and low-key resort huddled in the Tarentaise valley. Dotted with charming traditional wood and stone chalets, Sainte Foy’s quaint village feel is reflected in its peaceful, tree-lined slopes. It may have a modest 4 chairlifts and just 35km of pistes, but don’t let the numbers fool you – the blissfully quiet slopes mean that you can really make the most of the mountain, opening up a whole new world of skiing and snowboarding opportunities.
Away from the buzzing après-ski of some of the larger resorts, it’s the perfect place to soak in the surroundings and focus on your technique. However, you need not travel far for a break from the slopes, with a selection of bars and restaurants offering steaming hot chocolates, hearty soups and warming local aperitifs. There are also plenty of off-piste opportunities in the way of dogsledding, ice driving or simply winding down with a massage at one of the local spas.
Guests of Jenny’s workshop will stay in the gorgeous White Fox apartment, spacious, chalet-style lodgings in the heart of Sainte Foy. With a sunny patio and a roaring log fire, it’s the perfect spot to take in the breathtaking views of the valley and cosying up after a long day on the slopes. Just a stone’s throw away from the nearest stairlift, you can be back on-piste at a moments notice.
Q+A WITH JENNY JONES
Q: How closely linked has your mindset been to your success as a snowboarder?
A: I think there has been a huge link in all areas of my snowboarding, in freestyle, backcountry riding and in competition. How you mentally approach a new trick or a steep off piste mountain descent can greatly affect the outcome. In some areas I have naturally found I enjoy the challenges and at other times I have struggled, for example dealing with fear after injury.
I also found it really helpful to understand what motivates me and why as this in turn helps with goal setting. If your approach to something is mentally or physically inline then it is more likely to have positive results.
Q: Do you practice mindful techniques in other areas of your life?
A: I think I really use visualisation techniques I have learnt for snowboarding with surfing although I also think surfing lends itself to calming the mind and giving you focus as its usually beautiful surroundings, ocean settings and your away from all the distraction of technology.
Q: What inspired you to start hosting snowboarding workshops?
A: I wanted to create a unique snowboarding week, giving people the opportunity to experience the same expert coaches, sports psychologists and yoga instructors that elite athletes work with. Giving insight into how I have approached my snowboarding and experiencing the mountains as a whole. Hopefully people come away from the week not only a technically better snowboarder but with an understanding of how you can improve your riding off snow and how this mindset can be taken into all aspects of your life.
Q: Why Sainte Foy?
A: The mountains of Sainte Foy are beautiful, the resort has a wonderful laid-back feel to it and people quietly and contently get on with enjoying the mountains. There is ample terrain, a good variety of runs and some really fun off-piste. There are some cracking après ski spots too!
Q: Which piece or gemstone is your favourite from the Wanderlust Life collection?
A: Aquamarine - i've got the signature fine cord necklace & love it!
The Snowboard & Mindset workshop takes place from 3rd-10th March. To book your spot or for more information, check out Jenny’s website here.