Paralympic Winter Games
9-18 March

Hooked on crochet: Going off piste in Veysonnaz

What do skiers get up to when a day of World Cup racing is cancelled? 17 Jan 2018
a man and a woman crocheting

Crochet is the name of the game for Yohann Taberlet and Marie Bochet

ⒸLuc Percival
By Luc Percival

Photographer Luc Percival goes off piste to find out what the world’s best Alpine skiers do to fill the time away from the slopes following the cancellation of today’s slalom races at the Veysonnaz World Cup.....

Another day in Veysonnaz and another day's racing cancelled! High winds, driving snow and poor visibility aren't conducive to any kind of racing and certainly not for the slalom races of the World Para Alpine Skiing World Cup! What to do?

As a photographer there is always something for me to do. Yesterday I caught up with all my picture admin and cleaned my camera equipment. That's all well and good, but what happens when you find yourself with another day 'off-the-hill?' There must be a story out there for me! What do skiers do on these impromptu days off?

At breakfast I bumped into Marie Bochet and a conversation about the weather quickly turned to me asking what she and the rest of the team would be doing for the remainder of the day. Her reply was “do you want to come and learn to crochet?”

Had I heard her correctly??? I asked her if I'd understood – crochet?? “Yes! Why don't you come over to the apartment this afternoon and we'll show you.”

As I entered the living room of their flat I saw Yohann Taberlet and Marie Bochet sat there crocheting woolly hats!

On the kitchen table there was a multi-coloured assortment of hats and beanies. “What's this all about?” I asked.

Initially, to pass the time during long drives between competitions, members of the French Paralympic Ski team learned to crochet, thanks to Marie.

It was simply a means by which to while away the time when sat in the minibus for hours on end. Yohann told me that an eight hour journey would only feel like three hours as he concentrated on counting his stitches! With many ski competitions to go to they have made quite a few 'bonnets.' So many that Yohann's wife called time on having any more as she couldn't possibly wear all of them!

It was time to find another purpose for their wooly creations.

One afternoon in Tignes, stuck in a cafe because of poor weather, they got to thinking about how their hats could be put to good use. Their initial thoughts of creating a charitable business were quickly put aside as it would be too onerous on so many levels, but they were on to something with an idea to sell the hats to raise money for charity.

And so they created a Facebook page “Ski & Cro” through which they would propose their creations. Buyers send a cheque, in the name of the charity they would like the money to go to, and a toasty warm hat is sent them. Perfect!!

With the entire team hooked on crocheting there's more to come. Travelling to the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in March they're going to keep up their crocheting and these special hats will be put up for auction to the highest bidders with all the money going to charity.

Want to know more? Take a look their Facebook page.