Inspiration for learning outside the classroom

Equity Blog - Items filtered by date: September 2015

Geography Case Study: Mount Etna, Sicily

Location: NE Sicily, Italy

More than 25% of Sicily’s population live on Etna’s slopes, with Catania city at its base.

The Volcano: Active, composite (stratovolcano), formed by the Eurasian plate subducting beneath the African. 3350m in height and growing.

Key characteristics: Regular violent explosions and lava flows. Multiple active chambers, several craters, 300+ vents – Etna erupts from both summit & side vents.

Local Economy: Rich volcanic soils make the land fertile for olive groves, vineyards, citrus fruits and orchards. Piano Provenzano ski resort is on Etna.

July 2001... One of Etna’s largest recorded eruptions to date. Magma caused the volcano to bulge, resulting in earthquakes, followed by Strombolianstyle eruptions with ash, lava and volcanic bombs. Eruptions lasted for 24 days.

Impacts: Holiday villas, roads & buildings damaged (SOCIAL); Local vegetation & habitats destroyed (ENVIRONMENTAL); Catania airport closed due to ash; Orange groves & vineyards destroyed; farmland covered in ash; chairlift at ski resort damaged; ash fell in Catania (ECONOMIC). No deaths.

Response: Evacuation; US army dropped concrete to stop lava flow; cancelled holidays damaged the tourist industry; mass clean-up operation in Catania & surroundings; £5.6m aid from Italian government (SHORT TERM). Improved monitoring systems; better emergency planning; tourism used to boost economy; tax breaks given to locals to assist rebuilding; raised awareness of Sicily as a tourist destination (LONG TERM).

Post-2001: Etna has erupted annually but is well monitored and actively managed.

  • Published in Ski

Chemmy’s Chairlift Chat

The long term forecast is for an incredibly snowy winter. Hard to believe with the warm temperatures that we have been having recently! But the El Nino weather system will bring huge snow (especially to the high peaks in the west coast America and Canada).

Which is exciting all British snow fans, especially our 4 Time Winter Olympian Ambassador here at Inspiring Learning, Chemmy Alcott.

Throughout the Winter Chemmy is going to blog for us. Now those of you who have met or know Chemmy, are well aware that she loves to talk - hardly surprising for someone who spends about 1 minute hurtling down pistes at around 80mph then chills out during a 10 minute chairlift ride! Chemmy herself admits that most of her inspiration comes when she is on transport - whether that be on the numerous planes, trains, car journeys, gondola, t-bar and chairlift that frequent her nomadic life. So we have aptly called her blogs - Chemmys Chairllift Chat.

 Hey first blog came to her last week when she was riding a chair in Hintertux whilst coaching for CDC Performance and she was chatting to the most ill prepared skier you have ever seen. So up first we have Chemmys Top Tips on how to prepare for Winter.


Top Tips to Get The MOST out of your Ski holiday

  1. START NOW!!

    One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they only start thinking about the ski holiday (which was booked months ago) when they are frantically trying to cram mounds of winter warmer clothes and ski and board kit into a far too small duffel!

    So yes you can be spontaneous and book a ski holiday for tomorrow - but unless you are a fitness fantastic the likelihood is that once you get on the slopes you will have a glorious first few runs before the legs start to burn and shake and the lactate builds and you just have to stop. The next morning you wake up feeling like a truck ran over your back and legs and you opt to have a day 2 rest day!!

    So why not add a little ski specific physical preparation to your daily schedule. Now i know we are all time precious but this can be shrunk to 20 minutes every other day. Firstly get on your bike! If you half your endurance between running and cycling then pre ski holiday opt for more biking. The pedal motion build up your VMO (inner knee muscle) and protects your knee (as much as possible)  from the likelihood of injury.

    Then hammer the core and gluts (stomach, back and bottom!). Everyone always sees skiing and snowboarding as lower body strength sport - and whilst that is correct they also require a huge amount of core. So yes do the wall sit challenge but also build in as much dynamic lateral core movements (eg russian twist, wood chopping) alongside the old faithfuls like the dreaded plank.


    Helmet -  check, back brace - check, Insurance - health, emergency and travel (I use Columbus Direct as they have great winter sports packages) - check. Dont take unnecessary risk - as with all sports and physical adventures be as prepared as possible before you go. Also if you want to go off piste then research guides who have local knowledge and supply all the extra kit (ABS pack, shovel, probe and transceiver) and more importantly can teach you how to use the kit!


    Getting excited about the skiing but slightly worried about the unknown? Well join one of the many UK ski communities (I am a Ski Club of GB member) to hear others share their stories, advice on everything from best piste, restaurants, bars, instructors, rental shops etc etc!


    If the last time you saw your skis or board was after a particularly mushy wet easter ski, the likelihood is they werent dried perfectly. So unzip that smelly ski bag and cast an eye over the rusty edges then give them some much needed TLC. This can be done yourself but if your iron is solely used for smoothing out wrinkles on your business shirts, you probably dont want to ruin it with some hot waxing! There are loads of ski shops in the UK that will do this for you and it means you dont have to waste your precious holiday time hunting somewhere in resort.


    If you are an avid skier who goes year in, year out to the same place then why not take a risk and find a new favourite spot. For me personally i always get asked where is the best place to ski - well i always say it isn't where you go, its who your with (try and plan ski trips with friends of similar ability) and how the conditions are.. Did you know the highest gondola in the world is the Gulmarg gondola in India??


    Snacking on the mountain can be an extra expense and time consuming. So take a camel back (Jack Wolfskin make a great one) add something isotonic and lots of water. Every chair lift ride or lift queue get into the habit of taking a sip and then every few hours nibble on some kind of protein and carb based snack (i love protein balls and honey stinger bars). Oh and dont forget to reapply the sunscreen! The sun up on the peaks is potent! (And if you want to be extra cool add some neon zinc lip salve!)

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