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05

NOVEMber 2013 | inthesnow.com

. ORE AT .. LEARN M

t’s still only early autumn, but the first snows of 2013–14 have helped glacier resorts open in the Alps, making it hard not to get excited for the coming winter! As you’ll see from our cover story this issue about new black runs in the Alps, and if you’ve been following our news in each edition, you’ll know that there’s plenty to get excited about. I’ve counted no less than five ”new” ski regions for 2013–14, as a result of two resorts, often operating independently for 50 years or more in neighbouring valleys, finally scraping together the £10m or so required to build a state-of-the-art ski lift or two, and cut a few new runs, enabling them to become one. This winter you’ll be able to ski from Lech to Warth in the Austrian Arlberg, or from Flachau to St Johann in Salzburgerland, for the first time. The ski area at Arosa in Switzerland triples in size to 240km, thanks to a new connection to Lenzerheide; and ski areas in Italy and the USA are also connecting or, in the latter case, coming under jointownership. You may not have heard of them, but Big Sky and Moonlight Basin in Montana, now run by one company, can claim to be the biggest ski area in the USA. You don’t have to wait long now for the ski season to begin. Indeed by the time you’re reading this, the slopes of Tignes in France, Cervinia in Italy, and half a dozen glacier ski areas in Austria, should have joined the likes of Saas-Fee and Zermatt in Switzerland that are already open, and hopefully will be coated in fresh powder a foot deep for those lucky enough to be out there already. If temperatures have been low enough for snowmaking the first resorts in Scandinavia and the US Rockies may also have cranked up the lifts. Here’s to a spectacularly good 2013–14!

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FANCY A THRILL!? PATRICK THORNE

e hear a good deal about flashy new lifts and ever more snowmaking at the start of each winter, but what about new ski runs – the bit we’re supposed to be in the mountains to enjoy? The good news is that, although they get little publicity, new ski runs are still being created in the Alps each winter, and in Austria and Italy especially there are challenging steep new black runs opening, providing all new thrills at the resorts where they’re appearing. The Austrians, in particular, seem to like their black runs, and are coming up with ever more exciting names to describe the new designer pistes. Mayrhofen in the Tirol was one of the first in the modern era to unveil an all new black run some years ago with Harakiri, which plummets at 38°. But that just started a trend. This winter we’ll see the Black Mamba raise its snake-like head on the slopes of the Kitzsteinhorn above Kaprun. “The black piste 14 is a kilometre long and drops 290 vertical metres and is venomous like a mamba – perfect for all experts who love it steep!” proclaims the ski area. The run, which has a maximum gradient of 32°, starts at the valley station of Kristallbahn at 2265m and ends at Langwiedboden. It follows the arrival of the Black Scorpions, seven steep and challenging downhill runs in the Silvretta region, which have been grouped together to provide a collective target for good skiers.

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Publisher

DOMINIC KILLINGER dom@inthesnow.com Production Director

MATT NICHOLSON matt@inthesnow.com

The region is also plugging its to handle the increased skier traffic,” says 1.5km-long Diabolo slope on the Diego Clara of Dolomiti Superski in Italy, a Bewegungsberg Golm, which plunges at region where new runs are being added to gradients of up to 35°. its ski areas. “One of the most difficult prepared runs Indeed Italy, like Austria, has been busily in Austria and a real test of courage, even building new blacks, although it does not for hardened downhill skiers, it’s a run that demands total concentration and ultimately unleashes feelings of pure joy as one swings to a stop at the bottom,” says the resort. It doesn’t have quite such a scary name, but on the Stubai glacier the resort has also opened a new black, the centre’s steepest to date, the Fancy an exhilarating ski on a new slope? All Daunhill black ski run has a the resorts mentioned by Patrick are served by gradient up to 31°. The resort mainstream UK tour operators. built a new quad chairlift up to 3000m to access the 3.2kmMayrhofen mayrhofen.at/en long run, connecting at its base Stubai stubaier-gletscher.com/eng to the famous Wild n’Grubn Cervinia cervinia.it off-piste itinerary route, which Madonna di Campiglio campiglio.com winds back down to the valley for one glorious long descent. The reasons given for creating new terrain in the modern era are seem to be christening them with quite many, but include the fact that when new such intimidating titles. lifts are installed increasing uphill capacity Cervinia’s new 1.2km-long Gran Roc run on the mountain, the existing downhill (number 62) runs parallel to the popular slopes may get overloaded, so there are "slow ski" run (9b), while Madonna di comfort and potential safety issues. Some Campiglio has added the Pancugolo resorts have also identified a possible black piste, which begins with a steep niche market for challenge seekers, which pitch before merging with the Canalone a family-friendly reputation may not be Miramonti run, continuing right into the appealing to. historic centre of the village. Together “If there are new lifts, the extra lift the two runs form a single 1.7km-long capacity can mean the old slope gets descent, which has been approved for overcrowded, so they need another slope World Cup racing.

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www.rocketbase.co.uk © 2013 | Printed in the UK No part of this publication may be copied, photocopied or reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in anyway or means, either by recording or otherwise, without permission of the publishers in writing.

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inthesnow.com | NOVEMBER 2013

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VAL THORENS There will be a new high-speed, six-

BEN CLATWORTHY

passenger chairlift installed in Europe’s highest ski resort this season, replacing the old 3 Vallées 1 lift. The new chairlift will also be equipped with two gondola cabins – the lift is known as a “chondola” – which will be accessible by pedestrians. The decision to install two cabins is to meet demand from non-skiers wishing to visit La Folie Douce – Val Thorens’ flagship aprèsski venue. The lift will open at the beginning of the season. “3 Vallees 2”, which has been

nteresting research into flight pricing online by travel search site momondo.co.uk has found that, on average, the cheapest flight prices could be found when booking on average 59 days in advance of departure. The research was carried out using the site’s new Flight Insight tool, which analyses millions of prices on flight routes departing from the UK, to determine when it’s cheapest to fly.

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Momondo surveyed flight searches made so far in 2013, on the site’s 13 most popular flight routes out of London. Statistically, for these popular routes, Momondo found travellers can save anywhere between 18–51% on airline fares, or on average 38%, 59 days before departure. This percentage saving is compared with the most expensive day to book, which, 85% of the time, unsurprisingly, is on the actual day of departure! “Finding the cheapest price around 2 months in advance, was a uniform trend, despite the individuality of each route,

distance and flight time, including both domestic and international routes. All of the cheapest flight prices for these routes could be found, by booking between 54 and 66 days in advance of the date of departure,” said Julie Pedersen, company spokesperson, adding "… So travellers need not book 6 or 12 months in advance, to find the best airfares.” Along with date of booking, the cost of an airfare is strongly influenced by factors including the actual date of departure, time of day, season, airlines serving the route, and airports of departure and arrival.

non-detachable until now, is to be replaced with the “2 Lacs” chairlift mechanism and chairs. The “2 Lacs” lift will also be upgraded this season.

VAIL Vail's Mountaintop Express Lift is one of the most recognised and utilised chairlifts in North America, serving an important access route from Mid-Vail to the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin. The new sixpassenger chairlift will increase capacity by 33%, dramatically reducing queues, and building on the success of the newly-built, state-of-the-art Gondola One. Additionally, the Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships return from 3–8 March 2014 for the second year in Vail, after taking place on the east coast for 30 years. The event is the longest-running snowboarding competition in the world, attracting some of the world’s top snowboard competitors.

COURMAYEUR We always aim to report the news of new lifts early, and this one really is a date for your diary. Work on the New Helbronner cable car, which is due to open in 2015, is progressing well. The €100m (£84.5m) project to upgrade the cable car, which links Courmayeur to Pointe Helbronner, at 3500m on Mont Blanc, will see a hugely increased capacity, and a reduction in lift queues, which has been a problem for many years.

Europe's Highest Zip Wire Opening at Val Thorens al Thorens, the highest major ski resort in Europe, has announced plans to open the highest zip wire on the continent this winter. The breathtaking new activity will link Orelle (top of the chairlift Bouchet at 3230m) with Val Thorens (top of the Funitel de Thorens at 3000m), using a 1300m long zip line. Riders on the new thrill ride will descend up to 250m above the resort’s glacier. Riding the wire will provide, “A few minutes of pure exhilaration and the unique joy of gliding along a cable; giving you a bird’s eye view over the high mountains’ fabulous landscapes …” said a statement from the resort. The new wire adds to Val Thorens’ growing list of high adrenaline options besides ski and board, which already include the longest toboggan run in France, with 6km of track made up of banked turns and a variety of gradients over a 45-minute descent; mountain biking on snow over a 700m descent; and ice driving with another new option this winter of karting on the ice circuit.

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07

NOVEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

STEVEN MCKENNA / SKI SCOTLAND

m o u n t a i n h e a v e n heavenly skiing, at down to earth prices

ScotS Five Areas Pass Released DAVID BLACK

lift pass valid at all five Scottish ski areas all season, with no blackout dates, has been released by the promotional body Ski-Scotland. The pass can be used at CairnGorm, Glencoe, Glenshee, The Lecht, and Nevis Range ski areas. Only a limited number of tickets are available each year, and the pass costs £485 for an adult and £275 for a child aged

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5–17 years – under-5s do not need a pass. Applications for tickets – on a first-come, first-served basis – are made through the official website, ski-scotland.com. “Our All-Area Season Pass is much sought each year by our enthusiastic skiers and snowboarders as it entitles them to unlimited access to all mountain ski areas for the entire season and, with no need to queue, they can be on the snow and taking their first lift as soon as they arrive,” said Chair of Ski-Scotland, Heather Negus.

high quality catered & self catered accommodation

New 6am Start Ski Pass With Breakfast Included maller resorts across the Alps can now offer a 6-day lift pass for as little as half the price of their larger neighbours, and indeed for less than many Eastern European resorts that have built a reputation on being cheap and cheerful. La Bresse Hohneck, for example, the biggest ski area in north-eastern France (making it the closest to drive to from the UK) has only 450m of vertical, and a little over 20km of piste, but its 6-day lift pass is costs half that of bigger areas further south, at €124.70 for 6 days at low season. La Bresse claims to have the largest

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night skiing area in Europe (operational until 10pm on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays); and over 280 snowmaking cannons ensure that 70% of the 220 hectares of skiable terrain is covered. Interestingly, it makes use of its floodlighting not just at night, but offers a special pass, inclusive of breakfast, for people who want to get up and ski at 6am, or (slightly more expensive) 7.30am. Prices are from €17.90 for 5 hours from 6am, to €14.60 for 5½ hours skiing if you lie-in until 7.30am. A night skiing version, including an evening meal, is also available.

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08

inthesnow.com | NOVEMBER 2013

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Nearly Half Of Lift Tickets Sold In US Booked Online PATRICK THORNE

new "Skier and Ski Traveller Study" published in the USA examines how technology is impacting skiers, including their travel decisions, information sources, and how they use their mobile devices and smartphones. It may be a sign of things to come in Europe. The report says that better technology is changing consumer behaviour. Ski resorts have only started adding online-booking capabilities for lift tickets in the past few years, and it’s quickly gained traction. Among the report’s findings: nearly half (48%) of all lift tickets sold in the US are now booked online and through mobile channels, versus 36% at resort ticket offices; and lift tickets booked online are most likely to be booked through a resort website (57%), followed by a ski travel

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website (27%), such as Liftopia. More skiers are using technology to book ahead. Skiers have been quick to embrace online and advance purchase lift tickets for convenience and better deals: 50% of all lift tickets are purchased at least 1 week in advance for ski travellers, and nearly 44% of day skiers purchased at least the day before. Last season, the Liftopia platform booked about 1.2% of all North American skier visits. Consumers who buy in advance save the most. Advance purchase now spans months versus days or weeks. In the “olden days”, season ticket sales wouldn’t start until the autumn, but now consumers are purchasing lift tickets year-round to snag the best deals. Liftopia reports that, on average, customers saved 30% off ticket window prices when booking at least a week in advance.

Photos credit: Sebastien SECCHI - IMAGIE SA /// Dom DAHER /// EIDER©

Moving 2022 Football World Cup To Winter Will Be Bad For Skiing n an interview with the Associated Press, the International Ski Federation’s (FIS) President and International Olympic Committee member, Gian Franco Kasper, has said he is worried about plans to move the FIFA 2022 Football World Cup to winter to avoid the extreme heat in host nation Qatar, as the event would clash with the 2022 Winter Olympics. All three organisations involved, the FIS, FIFA and the IOC, are based within 241km of one another in Switzerland. FIFA is currently considering staging

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w w w . e i d e r. c o m

the 2022 World Cup at various dates between November 2021 and January 2022, but no decision has yet been made. A decision on where the 2022 Winter Olympics will be staged will be made in summer 2015. So far only Kazakhstan has submitted an official bid, but 10 other destinations may do so, nine of them in Europe. Kasper also said that he believes that international sports federations should respect one another, and that staging the Football World Cup in winter would commercially “kill” support for the Winter Olympics that year.


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With the launch of their new backcountry freestyle jacket, Norrøna went back to their roots in Narvik (the place, but also the name of the new jacket). This industrial area, surrounded by stunning nature, allows you to reach big mountains with great views, as well as enjoying playful urban riding.

when freestyle disciplines continue to grow in presence around the globe. The news was released in a statement on the ESPN website on 4 October. The US sports broadcaster launched the extreme sports event in 1995, and expanded it to six events around the world in 2014. These

included international X-Games events in Foz do Iguaçu, Munich and Barcelona. "We are proud to have run world-class competitions for both the athletes and spectators; however, the overall economics of these events do not provide a sustainable future path," ESPN said in the statement.

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11

Y R DIA RE

Ski & Snowboard Coaching in Western Canada

OF A

I A N O S A SE BY Lorna

McGachie

uring my season in Val Thorens, France, last winter, when I wasn’t seeking the most secluded offpiste routes, or covering my body with black bruises from slamming too hard off the smallest kickers in the freestyle park (planned, of course …), I spent many weekends in the professional working world (yuck) operating as an airport representative down in Geneva, Switzerland. Unfortunately, as many seasonaires and Alpine holidaymakers know, life in the mountains isn’t cheap. The price of meat is especially ludicrous, with chicken priced at an average of €14 per small pack (£12)! This devastated my two male housemates, Matt and Nick, who simply couldn’t live with the cheaper turkey alternative (which I personally thought tasted exactly the same), and spent most of their hard-earned wages fuelling their need for a slice of chicken luxury. For this reason, unless you’ve saved up tonnes of money beforehand, a job is a must.

D

Seasonaire

[see-zuhn-air]

One who works a seas on in the Alps in order to ski or board a lot

Shifts at the airport were long. All too often there’d be a 3.30am start to send weary holidaymakers, sporting sore thighs, off on their long journeys home. I was always kept amused at that ungodly hour by watching the many drunken skiers stumble out of the clubs desperately attempting to climb the icy hills back to their apartments. As funny as it was to watch, I too had my fair share of painful slips and falls whilst walking to work on those ice-covered roads. Cue lots of laughter from those witnessing such embarrassment – more often than not from those passengers I had to share a 3½-hours coach ride with. One thing I learnt when I worked in

an airport environment was that the UK REALLY can’t cope with any snow. One of the worst weekends we had last winter was when the UK was blighted by a bit of powder, meaning that British airports were closed leading to practically all flights running to the wrong times.

Improve your skills and technique like you never thought possible. Enjoy top class coaching in small well-matched groups. Experience the best Canada has to offer in British Columbia’s awesome powder resorts.

That day 90% of passengers missed their transfers, and fitting them all onto a later coach proved to be impossible. Add the fact that the journey times to the resorts were at least doubled, and bad weather conditions closed Geneva airport that evening too, it’s safe to say we were met by some extremely stressed faces. But working as a rep has its advantages too. When you live in a ski resort you exist in a little bubble shared with the same people you pass every single day. And because everyone knows each other the community aspect is amazing. This is brought home when you head down the mountain into the big wide world every weekend, and share your seasonaire exploits with complete strangers, it really allows you to see just how special living in a ski resort is. However, my second season coming up this winter, this time to Tignes, France, calls for a different adventure. Although I thoroughly enjoyed being a rep, I have thrown in my passenger manifests, and am now the new General Assistant for Tignes Angels – a Tignes-based property management/massage/childminding service. With job security and the cold nights drawing in, the countdown to December is now on!

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inthesnow.com | NOVEMBER 2013

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BEN CLATWORTHY

he latest stage of the on-going dispute between many of the leading British ski tour operators to France and French authorities is emerging, as tour operators announce their plans for 2013–14. The dispute – which had been quietly rumbling on for decades – came to a head last season when French authorities, with the support of the École du Ski Français, charged tour operator Le Ski with employing a ”ski guide” without acceptable ski guiding qualifications.

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In France

Tour operators say their ”hosts” are not guiding in the usually accepted sense of the word, but providing mountain orientation tours to new arrivals, as are often offered as a free service in many resorts around the world (Davos in Switzerland is introducing their own free service this winter). Tour operators who offer the service to their clients, say the service they provide is ”ski hosting” or ”social skiing” in which their staff, who are not paid as guides, show their clients around the local slopes as an orientation tour, without instructing or going onto steeper slopes.

However, technically, French authorities argue that ”ski guiding” without full French qualifications breaks French law, a claim now being tested in the courts. The leading tour operator, Crystal, has decided that for 2013–14, while the issue is now moving through the French legal system, rather than offering social skiing at some resorts, their reps will be on hand at major lifts at the start of the day to assist Crystal Ski customers. At around 11 top resorts, including Avoriaz, La Plagne and Val Thorens, they are working with one of the most respected ski schools in France, Evolution 2, rather than

employing their own staff, to provide free hosting to clients. ”This doesn’t break any law therefore no compromise is necessary, nor does social skiing, that’s what we’re trying to convey at the court case,” said a company spokesperson commenting on the new ”meet and greet” service. Regarding the new ski hosting arrangement, Hervé Favre, Founder of Evolution 2 commented, “The main aim is to assist skiers and snowboarders to discover the ski area in a fun and safe way giving them some tips along the way if needed. We are delighted that we can show our expertise and guide

Crystal Ski customers through our beautiful mountains.” The next court session, which follows an initial hearing in the spring which found against Le Ski, has been announced for earlyNovember in Chambéry. Le Ski will be supported by Alpine Elements, Crystal Ski, Inghams, Mark Warner, Neilson, Ski Esprit, Ski Olympic, Ski Total, Skiworld, Thomson Ski. The ski hosting issue is believed to be only a problem in France. The TUI group, which runs Crystal Ski and Thomson Ski, say they offer guided “social skiing” in over 90 resorts, not in France.


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14 InTheSnow.com

Marmot Basin Marmot Basin opened in 1964, with a single T-bar, but has very much come into its own in the last decade. Since 2003, the area, open from November to May, has expanded terrain, added two major lifts, more than doubled snowmaking, and upgraded both lodges. As well as sensational snow, the views from the slopes are simply stunning too (skimarmot.com).

Patrick Thorne heads up the stunning Icefields Parkway to Alberta, and the famous ski town of Jasper, home to Marmot Basin ski area, which, like Patrick, celebrates its big 5-0 this season.

JASPER LIFE IN PICS The Maligne Canyon Ice Walk

Imagine a game of capture the flag with snowballs, and you’ve got the Canadian Rockies Snow Battle at Jasper (canadianrockiessnowbattle. ca). It may have originated in Japan as Yukigassen, but this sport is purely Canadian. And Jasper will host the Canadian National Championships for the next 5 years.

Walking among nature's icy sculptures, along the floor of a frozen canyon, which in summer overflows with churning water rushing between its sheer limestone walls, and is now decorated with 30m-high ice waterfalls, is deemed a "Canadian Signature Experience” (by CTC). Named for its mysterious and haunting environment, Maligne Canyon is the deepest in the Jasper National Park. (maligneadventures.com).

Brewery Tours A lively, friendly, nightlife is the norm at Jasper, and a visit to The Jasper Brewing Co (jasperbrewingco.ca) for a tour, or just to sample the menu, is a must during your stay. Established in the spring of 2005, this was Canada’s first National Park Brewery. From the early experiences in the drinks industry they felt there was a large demand for a “local” brew, and the popularity of this brew pub has proved them right many times over!

Jasper In January Festival The Canadian Rockies’ hottest winter festival celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2014, with popular events such as the Mountain Park Lodges’ Chili Cook Off!, the Street Party, Walk of Lights, the ever popular firework show, and a Polar Bear Dip! Perfect for fun-seekers of all ages. Visit jinj.ca for more.

Snow shoeing & Dog Sledding To really enjoy the natural splendour of Jasper’s National Park you can’t beat getting out there the traditional way, towed in a sled behind a dog team, or even more silently crunching through the snow in snowshoes. Both options give you a much higher chance of coming face-to-face with some of the region’s winter wildlife. (sundogtours.com).

Night Skies Of Jasper

Jeff Bartlet

Jeff Bartlet

Canadian Rockies Snow Battle!

Jasper nightlife is nothing less than unique – we’re talking about the nightlife of the stars! Officially recognised by The Royal Astronomical Society as a Dark Sky Preserve, Jasper National Park is proud to offer some of the world’s very best starlight viewing; a true stargazer’s playground. All you need to do is look up!

To learn more about everything Jasper has to offer, simply visit jasper.travel/winter


15

NOVEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

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Flexiski Adds Engelberg DAVID BLACK

lexiski (flexiski.com), which specialises in flexible ski holidays to Europe and North America, with personalised itineraries from a ski weekend to a mid-week break or longer, has added the Swiss resort of Engelberg to its 2013–14 programme. Among Engelberg’s many attractions are a good snow record (lying up to 6m deep last winter), glacier skiing accessed

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by the ice flyer chairlift, two separate ski areas, and extensive off-piste skiing. The historic town is steeped in history and dominated by an attractive 12th century Benedictine monastery. “The short transfer from Zurich makes Engelberg the perfect addition to our programme especially for ski weekends. The two 3 hotels we feature, the Bellevue Terminus and Hoheneck provide excellent value particularly for larger corporate groups and parties of friends,” said Flexiski’s Sales Manager Dawn Adams.

Britain’s Top Alpine Skiers Engaged To Be Married

ritain’s number one female and number one male downhill skiers have announced they are engaged to be married. Dougie Crawford popped the question to Chemmy Alcott who said “Yes!” “I’m so happy to be committing to a lifetime of love, laughs and craziness with

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my soulmate. In my personal life he has been a rock who has made me happier than I knew possible,” said Alcott. “In my career he is a constant support and inspiration to me to fulfil my potential on the slopes. And in true Dougie style, the engagement was perfect – involving a high-speed boat ride (slight exaggeration on my part!), romance, blood and tears – and to cap it all off we took a leap of faith with a cliff jump!” Crawford’s reaction was, “I'm so excited to be marrying my best friend. We have had the most amazing 4 years together, and she makes me smile and laugh every day as well as inspiring me to work hard and be the best I can be. I'm also really relieved that the proposal is over with ... there was a lot of stress and lying to keep it a secret!”

Les 4 Vallées Extend Youth Discount To Age 24 es 4 Vallées will offer a 15% discount on lift tickets for those up to 24-years-old, which previously applied to teenagers aged 14–19 years, for the 2013–14 ski season. This means a 6-day 4 Vallées pass will cost CHF302 (£207) instead of the adult price of CHF355 (£244). Children aged 7–14 years pay half the adult price, CHF178(£122), and those aged

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6 years and under are free. There is also a family discount of about 10% when a family of at least three people ski together, at least one of whom must be an adult (aged over 25 years) or senior, and at least one a child or single young adult aged under 25 years. To be eligible passes must be purchased at the same time for the same duration; although not all need to buy the full 4 Vallées Pass or sector within, these can be different.

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Ski Sarajevo PATRICK THORNE

new tour operator has launched, offering ski holidays to the 1984 Winter Olympic resort of Sarajevo in Bosnia. The slopes of Bosnia’s second highest mountain, Jahorina, offers around 25km of piste for all ability levels, and Ski Sarajevo offer holidays in a dedicated ski lodge, which plays host to evening DJ sets and exclusive parties. “It’s perfect for young independent travellers looking for an awesome escape that blends plenty of partying

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and powder,” said a company statement. The British company is offering 5- and 7-day trips to the slopes from £269pp in February 2014; the price includes airport bus transfers, 5 days’ accommodation, breakfasts and lunches, plus the services of a tour manager, but excludes flights. An additional £100 event pass buys a 5-day ski lift pass, entrance to all Ski Sarajevo parties on and off the mountain, participation in the Winter Games Festival, and walking tours of Sarajevo and Mostar with local Bosnian guides. Flights start from £164 return this February via skyscanner.net (ski-sarajevo.com).

Snowmaking Is Good For The Environment? hile there have long been disputes between environmental groups and ski resorts as to whether or not snowmaking harms the environment, there have been few attempts to suggest the artificial manufacture of snow can actually help the environment. However, a study by the Institute for Ecological Research, financed by Lech Ski Lifts, has found that an even covering of snow in early autumn provides protection for the meadows, helping them produce a wide variety of flowering plant species in summer. The phytosociological study found that making snow early in the season

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does not create any damage to flora and fauna. The vegetation had already died away at an earlier time than the snow was produced (i.e. the beginning of October). Depending on the altitude of the ski resort, snowfall can also occur naturally and even ground frosts can be the order of the day.

Hypnotherapy For Skiers On CD ny nervous skier or boarder may be able to overcome their fears through self-hypnosis, and Psychotherapist Sharon Shinwell has created a CD and MP3 download Hypnosis for Nervous Skiers, which aims to do just that, available through Amazon and selfhypnosisuk.com. “A part of my work is helping people overcome their fears and phobia’s and

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N I A T N U O M N E V A E H BEN CLATWORTHY

nTheSnow’s Ben Clatworthy talks to Nick Williams about their new chalet, their 10th anniversary, and where to ski this season.

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Nick, it must be an exciting time for the company with the opening of your new flagship chalet? NW: Yes, our new property Chalet Emilie in Courchevel Le Praz will become our flagship chalet when it opens this December. It’s the sister property to Chalet Jardin D’Angele, and has been built by the same owners. There always has been a plan to build a second property, and we’ve had a huge input into the whole project. Instead of being given a chalet to run, we’ve actually been able to work on the scheme from the beginning, and everything is designed for use as a catered chalet. We’ve worked with the architects, builders and suppliers to ensure the design and finished product is exactly what we need, and perfect for our guests. We like to think it’s affordable luxury, so it has been built to a very high standard, but stillreasonable , which is not always the case in Courchevel. Le Praz is linked to Les 3 Vallées, so you get all the benefits of the world’s largest ski area,

without an extortionate price tag. The chalet sleeps 8–10 people, with prices starting from £10,000 per week. It’s rather a sharp contrast from your early days in La Plagne Montalbert, with just a handful of self-catered apartments? NW: It is different to the early days for sure. Coincidentally, we celebrate our 10th anniversary this year, as does Paradiski – the ski area that La Plagne is a part of. We started with ten self-catering apartments, but even then we wanted to do things differently. We had staff on hand in the resort, to make sure linen was already in the chalet when guests arrived, and to deal with other little details. It was still self-catering, but without the hassle that can come with it. Ten years later we have 15 catered chalets, and around 40 self-catered apartments, all of which we operate and run ourselves. We use all our own trusted staff – from the UK office team, to those in-resort – who look after our guests needs, but also work directly with our property owners. But you’ve retained your identity, and still offer the affordable self-catered alongside the fully catered, more expensive, chalets? NW: We don’t just concentrate our business

on the top-end of the ski market – we like to think that we offer something for most budgets and requirements. We know people who opt for self-catering don’t always do so simply because of the cost, but because they want privacy and flexibility – from mealtimes to eating in resort restaurants. In the catered chalets we have a number of options too. We have our classic catered chalets, which offer good service and tasty food, then premium chalets, with hot tubs and a choice of five wines at dinner, right through to our flagship property. Although you and your wife founded the company, is it still the pair of you who do most of the roles – from bookings to queries and resort visits? NW: We do now have 35 members of staff, including a new Operations Manager, Carolyn. She has worked with us for the past 5 years, starting as a chalet host, then moving to the UK office, and now taking on the new role. We look to work with people we know and trust, and Carolyn exemplifies this value. However, my wife and I are still very hands-on. Often you will talk to one of us on the phone, and we can help advise the best property and resort for your needs. Last season we had a 99.5% satisfaction rate, and we have a high percentage of repeat

bookings each season – helped in part by our generous loyalty scheme. Being a smaller operator, how do you protect the customers’ money? NW: Right from the early days we decided that we ought to seek to protect our customers’ money in the best way. We’re now fully ABTOT bonded, which means that money is always completely safe, even if paid months in advance of the holiday. There are many companies who ask for money to be paid into their bank account, and offer no protection. It’s always been important to us to offer this security, and we pride ourselves on this, especially in times when the general economy is volatile, as we’ve seen in recent seasons. And finally, where will we see you on the slopes this winter? NW: For our New Year family holiday we’ll be staying in one of our new apartments in Courchevel Le Praz, skiing with our staff, and looking after our guests. But also this season we’ll be visiting Grimentz in Switzerland to try the new cable car link to Zinal, but also to ski the famous off-piste. But, to be honest, we will visit every resort we offer, to see our staff, and check our guests are being looked after to the highest standard.


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NOVEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

Paradiski Celebrates 10th Anniversary PITT WEBB

his winter Paradiski – the French ski region that encompasses the skiing of Les Arcs, La Plagne and Peissey Vallandry – celebrates 10 years since the spectacular Vanoise Express double-decker cable car connected the area, one of the world’s largest. Since the lift started running on 20 December 2003 some 5m people have made the crossing. Among the planned celebrations, two of the world’s best tightrope walkers plan to walk across a high wire strung between the two cable cars, 380m above the valley floor, on 16 December, and the French haute-couture designer Jean-Claude DeCastelbajac will cover the two cable cars in a “unique creation” yet to be revealed. The Paradiski region is currently running an offer of 10% off all lift passes purchased online before 31 October.

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Expertise and Advice Since 1965... 183,971 Coffees Served In Cafes Baqueira-Beret in Spain has described winter 2012–13 as ”record breaking” and ”historic”. The Pyrenean resort received a record to 14.56m of snow, much greater than the previous 11.15m record from winter 2008–09. “The centre saw skiing like never before with thicknesses up to 4.5 metres of snow on the piste throughout most of the winter,” said a resort statement. Among the more unusual stats, Baqueira-Beret reports 183,971 coffees were served in its cafes.

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The decade-long conflict between environmental campaigners and Bulgaria’s Bansko ski area has seen the Bulgarian Supreme Court decree that new lift construction was illegal. The lifts were replacements of older lifts, and are bigger and longer than their predecessors, and built on National Park land in contravention of permits and agreements, according to the panel of five judges. The latest ruling is one of many that have swung pro- and anti-Bansko expansion into the National Park, which at one point led UNESCO to say they might withdraw the park’s World Heritage Site status (they later decided not to) and went up to European Commission level.

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Cauterets in the French Pyrenees, which broke records last winter for the most snowfall on the continent, celebrates its 50th ski season this winter. There will be events all season, and a massive firework display on 14 February 2014. There is also a new blue run, following a €1.2m investment (approx. £1m), the biggest spend in the region for the 2013–14 ski season.


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Brit Takes Australia New Zealand Cup GS Title BEN CLATWORTHY

harlie Guest, one of Great Britain's most promising Alpine ski racers, has taken the Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC) giant slalom (GS) title. The final race of the series, on Saturday 21 September, was cancelled due to bad weather after the first run, when Guest, already leading the series overall, was leading. The second was re-arranged for Sunday 22 September,

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but heavy rain and fog meant the race could not go ahead then either, meaning Guest was crowned as ANC GS overall title winner, taking the ANC yellow bib. "I am so happy to have won the yellow bib for the ANC GS overall title,” said Guest, “Having start bib 31 in the Europa Cup will be a massive advantage. I have made good improvements with GS this summer, so hopefully I can keep this going throughout the European season." teambss.org.uk

New Ischgl Lift Opens Up Fresh New Freeride Terrain schgl, in the Austrian Tirol, has announced the details of its new €18.5m (approx. £15.6m) cable car, which is nearing completion ready for the upcoming ski season. The new lift will open up an area of freeride skiing on slopes that can accumulate deep snow slopes, and were previously virtually untouched, accessed from the Piz Val Gronda peak at 2812m. In the past, these powderfields were accessed only by the most dedicated skiers and boarders who were towed up by snowcat. A pisted red run from the top station will allow skiers and boarders who prefer to stay on the slopes to enjoy the stunning views of the Fimbatal valley and peaks, including the Fluchthorn, Wildspitze and Hohe Riffler. The Piz Val Gronda (PVG) lift is 2400m

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long, and will whisk passengers up to the peak in about 5½ minutes from its base at Vesiltal. “This new area will enhance Ischgl’s status on the freeriding scene and present skiers and snowboarders with an exciting new challenge,” said Andreas Steibl, Paznaun-Ischgl Tourist Director. “The new lift is the first expansion to the ski resort of Ischgl since 1989 and has been in the planning for 28 years.”

Private Mountain In Arosa www.basi.org.uk

nyone lucky enough to be staying in the Tschuggen Grand Hotel in Arosa at the end of November can enjoy the chance of having the resort’s slopes to

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themselves, as the hotel once again offers a “Private Mountain” experience exclusively to its guests on Friday 29 November, the day before the resort officially opens. As Arosa is due to be connected to neighbouring Lenzerheide with a new cable car, and chairlifts a few weeks later, tripling its ski slopes to 225km, this will be the last chance to enjoy Arosa’s original ski area in its unexpanded state! Half-board packages, including skiing and access to the hotel’s spectacular Bergoase spa, are from £654pp for 3 nights, or £485pp for 2 nights.


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NOVEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

First Non-Glacier Ski Area Opens for 2013–14 Season, Briefly hile high-altitude ski areas in Colorado were snowmaking by late-September, aiming to open in October for the 2013–14 season, and a dozen glacier resorts have already opened for the season in the Alps, Crystal Mountain in Washington, opened for 3 hours on 1 October, following heavy weekend snowfalls that brought around 60cm of snow to the slopes. Fiftythree skiers bought $15 (£9) lift tickets to ride the one open lift for 3 hours, including a maths teacher who took one of his two designated ”personal days” per year, once he’d told his class what they needed to do for the day, according to a Seattle Times report. Crystal is no stranger to out-of-season-openings, as it typically has one of the longest ski seasons in the US, remaining open right through the spring. But this was a oneoff, and warm weather melted that early cover so the official opening will still be this November.

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Off-Piste Adventure Weeks Le Ski (leski.com) and New Generation have teamed up to offer a special week celebrating the amazing off-piste for which Val d’Isère is renowned. Targeting aspiring skiers, the all-inclusive package holiday includes a week in one of Le Ski’s Val d’Isère chalets, chalet board, flights, transfers, a 6-day Espace Killy ski pass, and New Generation’s off-piste instruction, plus hire of an avalanche safety pack for 3 days during the week. The week commences Sunday 19 January 2014 and prices start at £1199pp.

Two Lifts For Flaine Flaine will be replacing two lifts for the coming winter. The Diamant Noir chairlift will be upgraded to a higher capacity, more comfortable lift, and the Petit Balacha lift is also to be replaced at the start of the redevelopment of that sector of this French resort. The other news from the slopes is the creation of a new snow play area, “The Forest”, with some serious black modules, which is to be located off the red run Diable.

2014 Olympic Slopestyle Course The International Ski Federation has released details about the design of the slopestyle course to be used by the current World Champion, Britain’s James “Woodsy” Woods, and other members of Team GB. Ski and snowboard slopestyle will be introduced for the first time as an Olympic event at Sochi. The 635m course at Rosa Khutor features three jumps, which get progressively bigger, enabling the athletes to build momentum and execute their biggest and best jumps at the bottom of the course.


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s m e G o d a Color orthy atw l C n e B y B

BEN CLATWORTHY

olorado may be home to some of the best known ski resorts in the world – Aspen, Vail, and Breckenridge – but venture off the I-70, and the ski capital of the world offers far more than just big name stations. Known locally as the “gem resorts”, these smaller, less commercialised, resorts offer an experience like no other. But the only way to travel is by car: so buckle-up. On arrival in Denver I headed “out west” on the I-70 to Grand Junction (the last major town before you reach Utah), from where it’s just 30 minutes’ drive into the hills to the resort of Powderhorn.

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Powderhorn Here the red rocky landscape better resembles that of Utah, and from the resort – perched on the world’s highest flat-top mountain, Grand Mesa – the views of the

vast “high desert” and the dusty peaks on the horizon are sensational. With just four lifts it’s easy to imagine one could exhaust the trails pretty quickly (and indeed you do if you ski around like a downhiller), but the gems aren’t about highly-charged racing. Skiing here dates back to the 1930s, when a rope tow, powered by an old truck (which needed a new battery every day), serviced the two runs. Today things are a little more advanced, but the character remains unchanged. The tree skiing remains the big draw, and when it snows, there’s no better place to head than Mad Dog Glade – but you best be early. For intermediates, Bill’s Run remains ever popular, as does Sven’s Bend for those looking for more of a challenge.

Sunlight Sunlight’s rental shop resembles a mix of my grandfather’s garage and a student house: there are tools of every shape and size

hanging from the walls, clutter all over the workbenches, and countless Pepsi cups (in a size you can only find in the US!) strewn about the place. Outside a man in a yeti suit greets me, and hurtling down the slope above is a bikini-clad church group (really!). Only in America. Located 16km south of Glenwood Springs, Sunlight first opened in 1966, with a handful of trails and one chairlift. Today there are three lifts, but bizarrely, only two are drawn on the trail map. “It was an error on the last proof,” the resort’s PR Manager tells me. Since they printed 12,000, I guess they’ll be using them for a while to come. Given its size there is a surprising amount of terrain to be had, from beginner slopes to cruisers, and even some steep chutes and serious tree skiing. I can honestly say I’d never before visited such a relaxed resort. It’s friendly, unpretentious and eclectic. It’s, therefore, a relief that when Vail Resorts once tried

to buy Sunlight to turn it into a private resort, the owners said “No.”

Ski Cooper If you’re looking for serious cat skiing, Cooper is the place. With over 97km2 of (seriously high) terrain, cat skiing is the main operation – but it comes with a price tag, and a pretty hefty one at that: $275 (£172) for a day tour. But what a day you’re in for! And it still won’t leave half the dent heliskiing does in your wallet. With three skiable bowls – and the prospect of 12 descents – you’re sure to find fresh tracks, even once the snow clouds have long since gone. Back within bounds (a substantially smaller area, at just 1.6km2), the terrain is best suited to families and those just starting out on skis. For those wanting more of a challenge, there are black mogul runs, and some fun tree skiing. With a day pass rate of just $46 (£29) the resort offers some of the most affordable


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Ben Clatworthy was a guest of Colorado Ski Country (coloradoski. com). He flew with British Airways (ba.com) who operate a daily, direct service to Denver.

skiing in the state (if you ditch the cat), and thanks to its close proximity to Vail and Copper Mountain (it is sandwiched between the two), Cooper makes for a great day trip – especially during peak weeks when the queues here will be substantially smaller.

Arapahoe Basin Having spent the night at nearby Keystone (famed for its night skiing), I was a little reluctant to ski another small resort when I could have happily spent the day where I’d slept. How wrong I would have been: it took me approximately three turns to fall in love with A-Basin – as it’s locally known. And that was before I’d discovered they have a trail named “S*** for Brains”. With 60% expert terrain and 30% intermediate, A-Basin is certainly a resort geared to those looking for a challenge. I spent the day skiing with Patrick O’Sullivan, the Risk Manager at the resort. He’s been in the job 25 years and knows the

mountain better than anyone. At the end of the day he takes me to see “the steep gullies”, which lie at the back of the mountain. Currently out of bounds, O’Sullivan tells me the resort has plans to open the area, and install a new lift. The day was drawing to a close, and we headed back inbounds to our last run – Gauthier. It’s the longest of the double-black runs, and follows the boundary of the ski area. What awaited was a 39° pitch, all the way back to the base. The lifts were closed, and by now the car park resembled a Los Angeles beach, with barbeques and people toasting their day on the hill with a cool Coors. A-Basin is certainly the daddy of the gem resorts.

Loveland The second oldest ski resort in Colorado, Loveland opened in 1937 with one lift: a rope tow powered by a Model T engine. Then last season – when the resort celebrated its 75th

anniversary – it launched free cat skiing on The Ridge, an area previously only accessible after a 30 minutes hike. As far as I’m aware, Loveland is one of only two resorts that offer cat skiing for free – the other, Copper Mountain’s access to Tucker Mountain. Bizarrely, last season, they weren’t publicising it, so it came as a great surprise when my guide suggested “a little cat skiing, maybe?” just before lunch. The ride may only be about 12 minutes – similar to that at Copper – but opens up the top of an area the locals call North View.

Eldora I hate fancy dress, so you can imagine my excitement when this popped up on my Twitter feed the evening before I was due to ski at Eldora: “Pull out the Day-Glo and aviators for our annual RETRO SKI DAY tomorrow!” As the closest ski resort to both Denver and Boulder, weekend city skiers largely frequent

the resort, and thus things can get busy. But that shouldn’t put you off, especially as the resort boasts nine lifts. The terrain is varied, with forest trails only, which makes for interesting descents and tree skiing. There are some pretty steep sections as well – both onand off-piste – which are used as the training ground for the University of Colorado. And the fancy dress: well, I ended up looking like Elton John. Of course a road trip like mine isn’t going to suit everyone, and involves some pretty serious driving – over 1600km – but in truth there is no need. I’ve skied loftier, “greater” resorts, but in skiing the gem resorts, I found stations that had an overwhelming charm, in large part because of their small size. The resorts may be underrated, but only by those who haven’t taken time to find them. What’s more, the majority of the resorts lie well within day trip distance of the big name resorts. Surely it makes sense to explore a little after you’ve flown all that way?


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inthesnow.com | NOVEMBER 2013

CHRIS SKONE-ROBERTS

MENEGHELLO / LIVIGNO

Branson Kite Surfing World Record RaiseS £60K For Snow-Camp

Free Low Season Lift Passes

BEN CLATWORTHY

Italian resort Livigno (livigno. eu) is offering a free lift pass to guests visiting at the start and end of the season, so long as they stay in a participating hotel for a least 4 nights or in an apartment for 7 nights.The deal runs at the beginning of the season from 1–20 December, and at the end from 5 April–1 May 2014. The resort is keen to point out that it has a good snowfall record, with high altitude ski slopes, 80% of which have snowmaking.

ast month Sir Richard Branson, not one to stay on the sidelines, decided it was time to set another world record. He was in the water with 317 other kite surfers at the Virgin Kitesurfing Armada as they attempted, successfully, to break the world record for the ”Largest Parade of Kitesurfers” ever assembled.

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The event was created and hosted by Snow-Camp (snowcamp.org.uk), a UK charity working with young people through the medium of snow sports. Craig Glenday, Editorin-Chief and official adjudicator from the Guinness World Records witnessed the event where participants were required to complete a 1.6km (1 mile) course in order to break the record. “I’m passionate about kite surfing and I think this was

a fantastic and fun event in support of some great causes,” said 63-year-old Sir Richard, the oldest man to kite surf across the Channel. Each participant paid a £20 entry fee and raised at least £100, with monies raised going to three fantastic charities: Virgin Unite, Snow-Camp and the RNLI. “We have raised about £60,000, which is an incredible platform to build on over the next 5 years. This allows us to offer the

unique combination of skiing, snowboarding and life-skills programmes to support inner-city young people,” said Dan Charlish, Director of Snow-Camp.

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NOVEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

New French Decree Makes It Compulsory To Advise On Transportation CO2 Emissions PATRICK THORNE

new law in France will make it compulsory for all transportation providers to inform their clients about the quantity of CO2 produced during transportation. So far, only the Sybelles lift company (sybelles.com) is known to be actively publishing a figure for its skiers and boarders on how much CO2 they are likely to

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produce, depending on the length of their stay. Specialist French ski tour operator Peak Retreats (peakretreats.co.uk) has spoken to the Sybelles lift company about their policy, and were told that as a chairlift is considered a means of transportation, they felt it was right to publish the figures in line with the new law. It told Peak Retreats that the method of calculation is based on three criteria. Firstly, electricity

consumption in the whole ski area over the past 3 years; secondly, the number of ski days sold in the past 3 years; and thirdly, the CO2 emissions from electricity generation. The final result gives you the CO2 emission for a ski day of 8 hours, and is valid for 3 years. It is unclear yet whether other ski areas will voluntarily or compulsorily follow suit, and whether the new French law is in line with a new pan-European

EU Industrial Emission Directive (IED) on similar lines, which is due to come into force on 5 November. It is also unclear whether resorts that claim their energy is 100% renewable will be able to claim zero-CO2 emissions. It may be that CO2 emission figures will ultimately leadto gradings system, enabling comparison between ski areas, which may improve their usefulness to the layperson, but this is not being proposed at the moment.

Newly “Greened” Lake Annecy Chalet The Chalet Refuge Vé la Marie à Noré (telemarkcafe.com) in the Lake Annecy ski resorts region is offering eco-friendly skiers and boarders the chance to spend a night or a weekend in harmony with nature. Located on a 2.8-hectare site in Manigod, this chalet, which dates back to 1810, has been completely renovated in keeping with its original style. The only difference is that it’s now selfsufficient powered 100% by solar energy. The chalet is accessed by foot or snowshoe in 20–40 minutes.


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E h T i Sk Sellaronda

PATRICK THORNE

ki areas come in all shapes and sizes and each has its own allure, yet few can compete with one very special, very different ski region in Italy – the Sellaronda – which you ski in South Tyrol. It may not be a name you have heard of. You’ll perhaps be familiar with some of the great Italian ski resorts famous for their competitive slopes, such as Val Gardena; or perhaps resorts famous for their accessible gourmet cuisine, such as Alta Badia. You will almost certainly have heard of the mighty Dolomites, one of the world’s most visually spectacular mountain ranges, which since 2009 has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Well, the Sellaronda is a skiable circuit that links all these great assets together. A network of modern high-speed lifts, running through the South Tyrol, and groomed runs encircle the vast Sella Massif, some 5km across, in a loop that totals around 40km, of which you ski about two-thirds, and ride the lifts for the remaining third. In fact, although it is rarely promoted as such, the Sellaronda’s circuit acts like the hub of a giant wheel, with ski

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valleys like Alta Badia and Val Gardena radiating off it. This means ultimately that you can ski much, much more on interconnected runs; some estimate as much as 500km of piste are connected making it the world top two for size. The whole area is covered by the Dolomiti Superski pass making all the connections seamless. The entire route is also covered by one of the world’s most comprehensive and effective snow-making systems, which means snow cover isn’t normally an issue from the very start to the very end of the season. But the main attraction focus, the main achievement sought by skiers or boarders based in one of the resorts on the Sellaronda, is to ski the circuit – a task that usually takes about 5 hours for an average skier enjoying themselves, rather than going at breakneck speed. That would hardly be in the spirit of the thing when you are skiing through such spectacular scenery, with the massive precipices of pink granite towering thousands of metres above you, it’s important to spend time enjoying that awe-inspiring scenery, and of course

despite his reputation as one of the country’s greatest skiers, takes that lunch stop very seriously. “The most important decision of the day is the lunch stop, as the region prides itself in having some of the best mountain restaurants in the Alps. The Alta Badia valley, which includes the towns of Colfosco and Corvara, has outh Tyrol, Scott Dunn and developed a network of MichelinSalomon have teamed up to offer starred restaurants, which offer you the chance to experience fabulous food on the mountain,” the best of skiing in the Italian says Bell. “A favourite stop is the Dolomites this winter. One lucky winner Ütia Jimmy, homemade grappa will receive two return flights from London is a specialty of the house, but to Innsbruck, 7 nights’ accommodation at remember to you still have the the Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano (including long descent of the Dantercepies breakfasts and transfers), two Dolomiti gondola to ski. Heading back to Superski passes, as well as a £1000 voucher Selva in the other direction is to spend on Salomon gear. the Rifugio Emilio Comici, run Enter online at suedtirol.info/win by the family of an old ski racing friend of mine, a larger than life character, Ivan Marzola. His family have been bringing fresh fish from their farm in Grado on the stopping half-way round for a relaxed Adriatic coast to the refuge at 2154m lunch at one of the many affordable, since they opened in 1955.” high-quality, mountain restaurants When Bell talks about ”directions” that are dotted around the route. around the Sellaronda he alludes to One famous fan of Sellaronda is former the main options of clockwise or British Olympic skier, and current Ski anticlockwise. You do, of course, need to Sunday presenter Graham Bell, who, take different lifts depending on which

Win A Ski Holiday For 2 In South Tyrol

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27 InTheSnow.com

ellaronda Südtirol Map – Transfer B – large

Read the latest from South Tyrol in a new online magazine, Dolomighty, which you can access via suedtirol.info/Dolomighty

Bus transfer Innsbruck – South Tyrol Bus transfer Bergamo – Verona – South Tyrol 2 Munich

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ski the same route at once. “Over the years I have been lucky enough to stay in many places along the route of the Sellaronda, although my most regular stop is Selva in Val Gardena, home of the World Cup downhill race notorious for the legendary Camel Bumps (a challenging 70m jump for the pro-ski racers),” says Bell, who also highlights the fact that the Sellaronda’s route can be modified to suit your personal preferences. “The Saslong race piste is not actually part of the Sellaronda, but can be easily added to spice up the day, as can a detour back down to Selva from the top of the Ciampinoi mountain.” “It is possible to ski the whole route of the Sellaronda in both directions in a single day, but that defeats the purpose, which is stop and admire the stunning views on the way round. Massive craggy peaks of sheer rock dominate the skyline, rising seemingly impossibly from lower gentle foothills, the Dolomite mountain range is like nothing else in the Alps,” concludes Bell. “Just be careful you do not get a stiff neck from gazing upward too much when riding the chairlifts!” 42.indd

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way round you go, as while you ski down in one direction you ride up in the other. This can sometimes affect which restaurants you ski past, Ütia Jimmy is, for example, most easily accessed on the anticlockwise route. “The clockwise route, signposted orange, is generally considered quicker with more challenging slopes, but the green anticlockwise route, offers some stunning views and is often quieter,” advises Bell. “Part of the charm of the region is the mix of languages and cultures, Südtirol was part of Austria up until WW1 so German is spoken widely still in the region, however the old mountain language of Ladin is still used mostly by the locals. Signposts in the region are big, with three names for each town, Selva is also called Wolkenstein or Sëlva, Ortisei/St Ulrich or Urtijëi, and Val Gardena/Gröden, in Ladin Gherdëina.” The good thing is that as it’s a circuit you can base yourself anywhere on the Sellaronda, and start and finish in the same place. Because people are starting from different villages on the route each morning, and because you don’t have to set off at crack of dawn to make the circuit and all the lift connections to get back, there are not the usual bottlenecks experienced on some other famous runs, with everyone trying to

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hether you want to book a package with a tour operator or book independently, South Tyrol is easy to reach from the UK. You can reach there from a number of airports in Northern Italy: Verona, MilanBergamo, Milan, Venice, Treviso, as well as Innsbruck in Austria. Innsbruck and Verona are the closest. Flights are with Monarch, Easyjet, Ryanair and British Airways. It is very easy to reach South Tyrol by hire car from the airports, or as an alternative you can take advantage of the coach transfers that run regularly from several airports in Northern Italy and Innsbruck. suedtirol.info/transfers

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inthesnow.com | NOVEMBER 2013

New Tour Op For THOSE SEEKING Snow-Sure Holidays BEN CLATWORTHY

new independent tour operator, offering tailor-made ski holidays and short breaks to some of the finest hotels in the Alps, has launched. Snow-Wise (snowwise.com) was founded by Fraser Wilkin (Managing Director of weathertoski.co.uk), who brings

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with him 20 years of ski industry experience, both in tour operation and as a specialist ski journalist. Wilkin is joined by industry stalwart Richard Visick, who takes on the role of Operations Director. Between them, the pair have visited every hotel in the programme, and have strong personal relationships with most of the owners. “Although Snow-Wise makes

no bones about operating at the upper end of the market, it does not offer luxury for luxury’s sake,” says Wilkin. “Each hotel must have something exceptional to offer – it might be the food, it might be the facilities, it might be the service. In many cases, it is all three.” Snow-Wise aims to offer a range of resorts – not just the biggest names (such as Val d’Isère, Verbier and Zermatt) – but also a number

Ski With An Olympian Program

of lesser-known destinations that offer something different. Snow-Wise will be the first UK tour operator to feature WarthSchröcken in the Austrian Vorarlberg. Not only does WarthSchröcken boast the highest average snowfall of any ski resort in the Alps, it will also (as of December) link to world-famous Lech, offering 190km of snow-sure slopes and huge off-piste potential.

Snoworks Expands To La Tania

The Monster Ski Challenge Returns

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fter a year hiatus, the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Trust’s Monster

Ski challenge returns (mstrust. org.uk/monsterski), and will be taking place in Chamonix next March. Monster Ski is being

held from 16–20 March 2014 to raise funds for the charity that trains specialist nurses, and provides information for people living with, multiple sclerosis. For each of the 3 days of the challenge, participants will attempt to ski 30,000 vertical feet – that’s the equivalent of the height of Mount Everest every day! This will be the MS Trust’s sixth Monster Ski challenge,

Whistler Blackcomb will be continuing its “Ski with an Olympian” programme for the forthcoming winter season. It’s Whistler Blackcomb Snow School’s most elite product, and offers guests the opportunity to hear stories, get tips, and spend time on the mountain with an Olympic athlete. This exclusive program includes a full day of skiing or snowboarding, with capacity capped at five people per group. Participating Olympians will be selected on availability.

but the first in Chamonix, and the charity is looking for 25 skiers and snowboarders to take part. If you would like to get involved, and are capable of confidently skiing on at least a red run, you can register now for £150, plus a pledge to raise £1500 in sponsorship. Included in the price are flights and transfers, B&B accommodation, lift pass and ski guides.

Snoworks has added new programmes to the resort of La TaniaZ. La Tania is situated within the world’s largest ski area, Les 3 Vallées, with access directly into the Courchevel and Méribel Vallée ski system. Snoworks (snoworks. co.uk) is offering a variety of courses in La Tania for this coming winter season, including: first-time beginners; all-terrain; off-piste; and backcountry. The beginners programme is a new course for this winter and runs over 5 days, starting 26 January 2014.

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inthesnow.com | NOVEMBER 2013

ONE RESORT – TWO VILLAGES The largest resort in Haute-Maurienne Vanoise, Val Cenis is located close to the Italian border at 1450m. Two villages, Lanslevillard and Lanslebourg, have been combined to make the resort of Val Cenis. Thankfully, the villages have retained their charm and traditional ambience, and visitors can expect a genuinely warm welcome from the locals who run the resort themselves. You’ll regularly find markets flanking the high street selling local specialties, whilst the bars and restaurants in the resort have a relaxed atmosphere.

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STUNNING SCENERY

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The lower-altitude slopes are pretty and treelined, whilst the higher pistes offer wide, open terrain. The resort sits on the border of the Vanoise National Park – located between the Maurienne and Tarentaise valleys – offering unrivalled views from the higher slopes. Established in 1963 to protect the Alpine ibex, the Park was later combined with the Gran Paradiso National Park in Italy, creating the largest protected area in Western Europe.

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125KM SNOW-SURE SLOPES Thanks to the recent development of a link between Val Cenis and Termignon – another nearby village – the area now boasts 125km of skiing on one lift pass. The area is great for experts seeking off-piste skiing, whilst there are also intermediate runs all over the area – some of which run from top to bottom of the mountain, with a staggering 1400m vertical drop. There are multiple green runs, including a superb, lengthy one from Col du Mont Cenis right down to the valley.

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GREAT FOR FAMILIES Excellent nursery slopes and beginners areas make the resort ideal for those with young children. What’s more, the majority of the accommodation in Lanslevillard is within close proximity to the lifts and the beginner slopes. Many families opt to stay in Les Champs – between the two main villages – where there are several apartments at the foot of the slopes, and a few very close to the ski school.

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4-star luxury apartments with private pool & spa

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• Doorstep skiing • A quiet alternative to bustling Les Arcs • Direct access to the Paradiski area

Val Cenis is a great choice if you are looking for good value ski resort. A small beer costs around €2.50 (approx. £2.10), whilst it’s easy to find bottles of wine for around €10 (approx. £8.50). The variety of shops and supermarkets mean those selfcatering will find all they require.

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BEN CLATWORTHY

call 0844 576 0173 ABTA No.W5537 *Conditions apply

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Peak Retreats (peakretreats.co.uk) offers a choice of six residences in Val Cenis. Seven nights’ self-catering is from £149pp, based on four sharing a two bedroom apartment, including return Eurotunnel crossing with free FlexiPlus upgrade. A 6-day lift pass costs around £143 for an adult, £115 for a child.


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NOVEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

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Spectacular New LIFT for Stubai PATRICK THORNE

giant gondola lift for the Stubai ski area near Innsbruck in Austria is under construction. The Leitner built lift will ascend nearly 1150 vertical metres over its two-stage, 4km+ length, travelling at a high speed of 7m/s.

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Each giant cabin will have floor-toceiling glass, and seating for more than 20 people, as well as additional standing space giving a capacity of 3000 people per hour. Stubai is one of Austria’s eight glacier ski areas and is open now, its season usually runs from September to June for snow sports. The new lift is due to open on 31 October 2015.

ORGANISING A GROUP SKI HOLIDAY? NOW IT’S EASY! 1) Invite your friends to chose which dates, resorts, type of catering & accommodation they prefer! 2) We shortlist holidays for your group from 100s of apartments, catered chalets, tour operators and hotels 3) BOOK DIRECT! Group Holiday sorted - easy!

Baggage Fee Free Rail Travel To The Alps With Eurostar urostar (eurostar.com) has published its 2013–14 timetables to the French and Swiss Alps. First launched last winter, Eurostar’s new service to the Swiss Alps transports skiers and snowboarders from St Pancras International and Ashford International to the heart of the Swiss Valais region, accessing resorts like Verbier, Zermatt and Saas-Fee, with a change to TGV Lyria. This year return fares start from £179, with no supplements for taking equipment, and the route will run over five peak weeks during the 2013–14 ski season, including Christmas, New Year and February half-term.

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Win a Free Holiday on line... www.AltitudeHolidays.com

Eurostar’s direct day and night services to the French ski towns of Moûtiers, Aime-La-Plagne and Bourg St Maurice start from £149, and ski services will run weekly from 20 December until 12 April 2014. Eurostar runs a Friday overnight service, which arrives in the French Alps early on a Saturday morning, and a return leg departing late on a Saturday evening – perfect for winter sports enthusiasts looking to maximise their time on the slopes. The destination stations offer easy access to a variety of top ski resorts, including Les Arcs, Courchevel, Tignes, Val d'Isère, Méribel Vallée, and many more.

*5% discount on selected dates/routes, terms & conditions apply

Connecting you to ski resorts across the French and Swiss Alps Secure online booking at www.mountaindropoffs.com Major Indoor Snow Centre Planned For London Exclusive In the Snow Promo Code* ITSM14 n indoor snow centre is to be built near the 2012 London Olympic site in Stratford to the east of the city. The indoor snow centre, which has a price tag of £200m, is to be funded by the Westfield shopping centre, and will be built on a piece of derelict land adjacent to the mall. The centre will have five slopes, the longest at 300m, substantially longer than the existing longest slope in the UK that is 180m long. There will be toboggan runs, a terrain park, ice rink, and off-slope facilities, including shops, restaurants, and a hotel. The slope will be the UK’s seventh,

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Geneva Airport to Val d’Isere and Tignes

meaning Britain will equal the Netherlands www.mountaindropoffs.com in having the most indoor snow centres in

country. UK : +44 (0) 207 043oneIt4874 is hoped the centre will open by 2015,73 and that it will attract up to 3m FR : +33 (0) 450 47 17 visitors per year.

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inthesnow.com | NOVEMBER 2013

Austria Friendly, Bulgaria Not? PATRICK THORNE

report by the Swiss-based, non-profit World Economic Forum, which holds a high profile gathering of movers and shakers in Davos each January, attempts to rate 140 countries worldwide on their overall ”friendliness” to visitors. The report found Iceland was the world’s friendliest destination for tourists, with New Zealand second, Morocco third, Macedonia fourth, and Austria fifth. Other ski nations scoring highly, although not in the overall top ten, included Canada, the US and Dubai. In terms of least favourite – the former home to the world’s highest ski slope at Chacaltaya, Bolivia, in South America topped (or ”bottomed”?) the table, with 2014 Winter Olympic host Russia said

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to be the third least welcoming, and Bulgaria ninth least. Also making the unpopularity ratings were Venezuela, Kuwait, Latvia, Iran, Pakistan the Slovak Republic and Mongolia. All except Kuwait offer some skiing. The findings were based on a survey carried out mostly through 2012, and the resulting Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013 aims to "measure the extent to which a country and society are open to tourism and foreign visitors”. The forum say the data used to generate the table was sourced from the World Economic Forum's Executive Opinion Survey and data from private sources, as well as organisations including International Air Transport Association, the World Bank/International Finance Corporation, WHO, UNESCO, and others.

Sunnegga Funicular Revamped ermatt’s old Sunnegga Funicular, which made its final run on 21 April after more than 32 years in operation, has been replaced by a swish new train. The new set of carriages have replaced the old train, which had operated since 28 November 1980, and have a new selfservice loading option for luggage, and boasts ”almost silent” operation. The four old carriages, weighing 9 tonnes, were shunted out of the tunnel, and lifted by crane onto a special load-carrying unit, to be taken back down to the valley for disposal in a

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highly complex technical operation. The new train is at least the third mode of uplift on the route, which was preceded before the 1980s by an old chairlift, where users were provided with woollen blankets.

Saas-Fee Youth Hostel With Spa Access

new generation youth hostel is under construction in the car-free Swiss resort of Saas-Fee. The new hostel with 168 beds will open

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in summer 2014 at the entrance to the village, right next to the PostAuto bus stop. Better than your average hostel, its unique architectural design, and direct access to the new spa and gym facilities in the new Aqua Allalin leisure centre, should quickly make it a popular choice to stay. The resort’s old Bielen leisure centre has been popular for decades, but is now undergoing a makeover and will open as the new Aqua Allalin in summer 2014.


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NOVEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

Two Italian Ski Areas Linked By New Lifts & Runs hree new chairlifts will this season connect the Italian ski areas of Folgaria and Fiorentini, to create a joint ski area with 100km of piste. The small ski area at Fiorentini was reported not to have operated for some years, so the new connection should breathe new life into the area. The new chairlifts are all quads and result in the new 1.9km-long Pioverna red (intermediate) standard piste, and two blue (easy) runs – the 2.4km-long Costa d’Agra (Val delle Lanze) and the 1km-long Termental. The new lifts and runs are not the end of Folgaria’s redevelopment, a new gondola is planned next winter too (folgariski.com).

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New Chamonix Glass Balcony One of the fruits of the ongoing renovation and redevelopment work at the top station of the Aiguille du Midi cable car is set to be revealed this summer, and will be accessible to skiers next winter. A new 2.5m glass balcony will be an added attraction for those with stomachs strong enough to step out over a 1200m precipice. Inaugurated in 1955, the Aiguille du Midi cable car, amongst the highest in the world, enables visitors to ride to 3800m – or nearly a 3km vertical above Chamonix, in less than 30 minutes. compagniedumontblanc.fr

Ski Area For Sale On "Gumtree" A small French ski area is up for sale on the French equivalent of Gumtree. The resort, in the Auvergne region, boasts four drag lifts, a 170m vertical, ski rental shop with 500 sets of skis, and a piste groomer, and is up for sale for €550k (approx. £466k). When asked by journalists why the ski area has been listed in an online classifieds site, its owner, Marc Trancart, said “Why not?”, and noted that people sold hotels and campsites on the site, so he could not see the difference. Trancart said he had already had several interested parties contact him as a result of the ad.

Free Childcare For French Spa Méribel Vallée is offering a new service this winter – Garde’n Spa. Working with École du Ski Français, the resort is offering free childcare at the Piou-Piou daycare nursery, located in the Olympic sports complex, between 5.30pm and 8pm, while parents enjoy a little pampering at the spa in the Olympic Park. Treatments on offer at Garde’n Spa include a duo-touch massage for two.


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PATRICK THORNE

t’s all very well finding low-cost flights to the Alps with Monarch, but if you want to watch how many Euros you’re spending once you land, it’s well worth planning ahead to ensure that you get the best value. That often means trying to travel to places fewer people are wanting to, and travelling on dates that fewer people are trying to book, but if you’re able to do that you can also reap other benefits besides lower prices – empty slopes, no lift queues, and untracked powder as examples! But there are other ways to save too.

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Buy Your Lift Pass Early It’s likely that your 6-day lift pass will cost as much, if not more than your Monarch flights, but just like airlines, ski resorts are increasingly pricing their

lift tickets in a similar manner. Ski resorts rarely get full in the same way that a plane does (thankfully!), but increasingly resorts are offering low-season discounts on lift passes – particularly in France and Italy, and sometimes at Austrian and Swiss resorts too. An increasing number are also offering discounts if you buy in advance online, sometimes a fixed 10% off, other times there are ”flash sales” when prices drop for a brief period. So the advice is to go straight to the resort’s website as soon as you know you’re going there, as prices will almost always be lower online now, than if you wait and buy in resort.

accommodation deals that include sometimes free, or more often discounted lift tickets when you book your accommodation through them, usually when you book early. Although deals come and go, as we went to press, for example, Alpe d’Huez in France (flying to Grenoble, just 90 minutes away, with Monarch) was offering a week’s stay in a four person self-catering apartment for just €1 (85p)when four people each buy a lift pass, priced at €238.50pp (£202). This offer was valid for a stay in the week commencing 4–11 January or the 18–25 January 2014.

Rent Equipment Before You Fly Accommodation & Lift Pass Deals Ski resort websites, and sometimes accommodation-only tour operators based in the UK, often offer

If you don’t have your own equipment, and therefore are unable to take advantage of Monarch’s current offer of free ski carriage, it’s worth renting your ski equipment online before you arrive.

This saves time in resort – although, of course, be careful that the rental shop is convenient for the slopes and where you’re staying. Deals come and go, but it is invariably dramatically better if rentals are pre-purchased online. Typically, Skiset (skiset.co.uk) offer up to 40% off in-resort prices; Intersport (intersportrent-france.co.uk) and Ski-Rental (ski-rental.co.uk) up to 50% off. Ski Republic (ski-republic.com/en) has built a reputation on a rent-one-get-one-free offer, good news if there are two, four, or any even number of you travelling. Of course, however big those discounts seem it all depends on the starting price, so it’s worth spending a little while typing your details into multiple sites to find out what really is best for you.

Travel Outside Peak Season Just as Monarch tickets cost less if you book early and aim for lower season


35 InTheSnow.com

E AT ... R O M N LEAR

The start and end of the ski season is almost always better value than the main season, and high altitude regions like the Austrian Arlberg, where resorts like Lech and St Anton are only a few hours’ drive from Monarch destination airports such as Friedrichshafen and Munich, offer snow-sure conditions. The Arlberg’s ”Wedel weeks” before 20 December, and after 22 March 2014, represent savings of 15% – or some €25 (£21) on a 6-day lift pass.

Families Save In Spring Sunshine Right across the Alps and Dolomites resorts offer family savings from midMarch onwards. This can often mean, among other things, that children get free lift passes, and sometimes also free or heavily discounted accommodation, rentals and tuition, when a family books into a ski resort together.

The giant Dolomiti Superski region in Italy, for example, served by Monarch flights to Verona, is offering free skiing holidays for children aged under 8 years, with their “SkiSpecial for Kids“ promotion, available for breaks between 15 March and the 21 April 2014. Children born after 30 November 2005 receive their ski pass and accommodation free on purchase of a ski pass by a related adult for the same period. Youngsters aged under 12 years (born after 30 November 2001) are charged half price for their holiday. All children can have discounted ski lessons and reduced price equipment rental. Many other ski resorts have similar family-friendly promotions around this same period, you just need to search their sites.

For more information, latest deals and to book visit monarch.co.uk/ski.

Monarch Flights Season Start Dates Friday 13 December • Leeds Bradford to Munich Saturday 14 December • Leeds Bradford to Grenoble • Gatwick to Friedrichshafen /Grenoble • Luton to Munich • Manchester to Friedrichshafen, Munich and Verona Sunday 15 December • Manchester to Innsbruck Year-round • London Gatwick to Barcelona, for ski areas in Andorra and Spanish Pyrenean resorts like Baqueira-Beret – open from late-November • Manchester to Venice, for the famous resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo – so snowsure it re-opened in the summer as there was still so much powder

WWW.WISTHALER.COM AND DOLOMITI_SUPERKI

dates, similarly costs in resort are less if you travel in the weeks before Christmas or after Easter. You may also find prices for accommodation and lift passes fall on certain dates between Christmas and Easter too, if you are careful where you book. For example, the top resorts like Courchevel and Kitzbühel are busy with Russian guests celebrating the Orthodox New Year during the first few weeks of January, but for smaller resorts this is low season and prices drop. Most resorts offer lower prices in the final two weeks of January. Prices in many resorts across the Alps are higher again in the main season from early-February to mid-March, but you may find better deals if you avoid the main school holiday periods, which in France run from 15 February–15 March this winter season. School holidays aren’t so busy in other countries, so if you are not tied to France, or to those dates, shop around!


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inthesnow.com | NOVEMBER 2013

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till comparatively little known to the British, Serre Chevalier Vallée (serrechevalier.com) is one of the largest ski areas in the Alps, with 250km of lift-linked piste above 13 villages, which stretch for 15km along the Guisane valley to Briançon, France’s highest Alpine town and UNESCO site. New for the 2013–14 season is the Serre-Ratier gondola. The first section of the cable car dated back to 1941 and has now been replaced by a next generation panoramic gondola, with eight seats in each cabin providing views of the surrounding scenery.

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£65

The resort has a special deal for people booking direct on selected low-season dates this winter. Book 7 nights’ self-catering from €199pp (£169), which includes a 6-day lift pass, valued at €227 (£193), while children aged 6–11 years can benefit from the same deal from €173pp (£147), and seniors aged 65–74 years from €186pp (£158). The deal is available pre-Christmas week, most of January 2014, and from the start of March 2014 to the end of the season. A 7-night/6-day lift pass deal for families of four (2 adults + 2 children), covering Christmas or February half-term 2014, is also available, priced at €1301 (£1104).

Crystal Add Norway & Free Wi-Fi rystal Ski, the UK’s largest ski holiday tour operator, has added Norway as a new destination for 2013– 14, among their choice of 132 ski resorts in 13 countries on three continents with flights from 21 UK airports. Norwegian options include: Geilo, a traditional “chocolate-box” village at the heart of Norway’s winterland region, with 40 pistes to suit mainly intermediate and beginner skiers; Hemsedal, renowned as the biggest ski area in Norway with an excellent snow record, a huge diversity of terrain, slopeside lodging, and good children’s nursery slopes; and smaller Beitostølen in the Jotunheimen National Park, with an English-speaking ski school, and gentle, confidence-building

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slopes for families, beginners and low intermediates. There’s also free wi-fi throughout all 80 chalets across Europe, and the return of Crystal’s free first-time ski or board packages, offered in 11 resorts during selected weeks in January and March, which include tuition, equipment hire, and lift pass for the week, with prices from £1155 for a family of four.

La Plagne Announces Projects For 2014–17 a Plagne has released its news for 2013–14 … and for the following three seasons. The main news on the slopes this winter is the ”reprofiling” of the Arnica blue run to make it more suitable for beginners, and several lifts have been improved and upgraded the resort says with the objective of increasing comfort, capacity, speed,

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and reducing the number of pylons to enhance the environment. The giant French resort has also announced planned lift improvements over the following three seasons, including a new gondola at Plagne Montalbert for 2014–15, replacement of the Bellecote chairlift des Colosses for 2015–16, and replacement of the glacier gondola for 2017–18.


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NOVEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

Two Famous Swiss Ski Areas Lift-Linked For Coming Season DAVID BLACK

long-planned lift link between the two famous Swiss resorts of Arosa and Lenzerheide will create one of the largest ski areas in Switzerland and the Alps next winter. The new area, linking the two resorts that have operated separate ski areas for many decades (it’s

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75 years since the first lift was installed at Arosa), will have 225km of runs, 70km on the Arosa side and 155km on the Lenzerheide side. The connection is to be made by one giant cable-car, capable of carrying 151 people, and two high-speed, six-seater chairlifts. The new cable car links Hörnli to Urdenfürggli over 1694m and takes only 3 minutes 12 seconds to make the connection.

Mayrhofen’s Total Piste Length Now 20% Shorter Than Before Ski mojo Luara 180hx130w

he famous Tirolean resort of Mayrhofen in Austria has issued new lengths for its ski area’s slopes for the 2013–14 ski season, and they’re about 20% less than they were before. The total length drops from 159km to 133km, with blue slopes down from 45 to 41km, reds from 94 to 63km, although blacks have increased from 20 to 29km. Piste length for the Zillertal valley area pass has also dropped substantially from 671 to 478km.

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Mayrhofen’s lift company say the new measurements have been, “Determined in accordance with recommendations by the Austrian Cable Car Association,” adding, “The Zillertal cable-car and lift companies welcome the initiative to adopt a Europe-wide standardised, transparent method for the measuring of slope lengths. Accordingly, we have, in keeping with the recommendations issued by the Austrian Cable Car Association on 28th May 2013, evaluated and re-calculated our data by measuring the actual length of the pistes (slope distance). This has resulted in a decrease in the kilometres of skiing slopes in the Zillertal Valley since, in the past, there were no standardised regulations and therefore traverses, combinations of various downhill runs and the multiple use of extra-wide slopes were also included in the calculation.”

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all season long

Photo: Olympic Mogul Skier Laura Donaldson with her ski-mojo

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JACKSON HOLE MOUINTAIN RESORT

said the public recognition reflected the success of Jackson Hole’s management in translating the resort’s global reputation into a wider appeal, and then delivering a quality of service people appreciate. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort threw a civic party to celebrate its win.

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Enjoy Spring Skiing...

Jackson Hole Tops US SKI Magazine Survey ackson Hole in Wyoming has topped a poll of readers of SKI Magazine in the USA, which has 145,000 subscribers, of whom a comparatively high proportion, 10,000, responded to a request to rate resorts in 20 categories. Given its long-term reputation as a ”niche” and ”extreme skiing” resort, Jackson Hole’s top spot is unusual, with more ”mainstream” resorts like Deer Valley in Utah, Whistler in BC, and Vail in Colorado past winners. SKI Magazine’s Editor, Greg Ditrinco,

10/10/13

T E SECRE H T R E V DISCO G THOUSANDS KEEPIN G LONGER SKIIN

Tel: 05603 458846 info@ski-mojo.com www.ski-mojo.com


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Do The Matterhorn In Under 3 Hours Those who have moaned about how long it takes to get from the bottom to the top of the world’s second biggest lift-served vertical, up to the Klein Matterhorn above Zermatt in Switzerland, should feel fairly awe-inspired by the achievements of Spanish mountain runner Kalian Jornet, who ran and climbed up the Matterhorn, and got back down, in under 3 hours, smashing the old speed record. Jornet’s completed the 17.48km route in 2 hours 52 minutes and 2 seconds, breaking the 1995 record by 22 minutes.

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inthesnow.com | NOVEMBER 2013

THREE DAY CELEBRATION Party Planned For Arlberg Link-Up BEN CLATWORTHY

he resort of WarthSchröcken will host 3 days of celebrations from 6–8 December to mark the new Auenfeldjet lift connection, linking the area to Lech in Arlberg, a connection reputedly dreamt of for 41 years and due to open on Friday 6 December. Live music from popular German band Die Atzen, along with support acts, DJs, and

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fireworks will create a party atmosphere, which combines festival fun with the chance to be one of the first skiers or snowboarders to experience this newly-connected area. “We are delighted to finally link up with Lech-Zürs to offer our visitors a large choice of slopes that complement our own ski area,” said Angela Schwarzmann, Director of the Warth-Schröcken tourist office. “We have already been busy taking enquiries

about our new connection and because we offer fantastic value for money, combined with what’s now a world-class ski area, we believe that will appeal to both families and individuals who like to get the most from their skiing.” Martina Brenner, Hotel Manager of the 4 Lechtalerhof in Warth, is also excited by the new connection, which will mean 190km of linked ski runs on the Lech side of the Arlberg area, and 340km in the full Arlberg

region, including bus-linked St Anton. She added, “We are already getting busy, and working with a UK tour operator like Snow-Wise (snow-wise.com) means we will attract more British skiers which is fantastic.”

SKILIFTE LECH

11.10.13 09:35


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NOVEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

More Colorado Towns Legalise Recreational Drugs PATRICK THORNE

elluride is the latest Colorado ski resort to officially approve the growing and sale of cannabis for “recreational use”. The ease of acquiring marijuana, the legal sale of which was passed by a wide margin in the state’s Amendment 64, will vary from resort to resort this winter as different town councils take different approaches (the law permits a local decision to be made on how to approach the issue). In Telluride it seems the drug

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will be relatively easy to acquire, but in parts of Summit County (including some of the world’s highest resorts, such as Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Keystone) the local authorities have sought to limit the number of retailers licensed to sell the drug to just a few, or banned sales completely. Aspen plans to allow four ”medical dispensaries” of marijuana to become retail sellers on 1 January 2014, and has several more planning applications being considered. Crested Butte and Silverton are also reported to be

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planning to allow retail sales. Breckenridge, the most popular US destination for British skiers, has come down against liberalisation however, and has banned any retailers selling the drug. The only shop there that currently dispenses cannabis, the ”Breckenridge Cannabis Club”, will not have its lease renewed. Vail and Steamboat have also banned recreational sales, but the latter says they may review the policy in the future depending on how the state-wide position develops. According to Amendment 64, passed in November 2012, adults

aged 21 years or older can grow up to three immature, and three mature cannabis plants privately in a locked space, legally possess all cannabis from the plants they grow (as long as it stays where it was grown), legally possess up to 1oz (28g) of cannabis while travelling, and give as a gift up to 1oz to another citizen aged 21 years or older. Consumption is permitted in a manner similar to alcohol, with equivalent offences proscribed for driving, although there’s no known policy on skiing or boarding while high.

New Six-Pack For Hintertux A new six-seater chairlift will be in place on the Hintertux glacier this winter. The new Lämmerbichl chair replaces an old double chair, and will feature modern comforts such as heated seats and pulldown weather protection hoods. It is the latest in a long line of major lift upgrades at Austria’s only yearround ski area. The lift is scheduled to open in December, but if you’d prefer to ski Hintertux before then, you can any day you like. The centre currently reports a healthy 2.5m of snow, with 22km of runs open.

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inthesnow.com | NOVEMBER 2013

Alpine Answers JACK DEMPSEY

No one knows ski holidays like us! Colorado’s Season Is Go PATRICK THORNE

olorado’s 2013–14 ski season is underway, as Arapahoe Basin became the first resort in North America to open, on 13 October. Arapahoe Basin’s opening marked the official start of the ski season in the “skiing state”. Several resorts in Colorado have taken advantage of cold nighttime temperatures and ideal humidity conditions over the past few weeks. Arapahoe Basin and Loveland Ski Area began making snow on Friday 20 September, and have made snow or received natural snow most days since then. New snowmaking equipment upgrades, ideal snowmaking

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conditions, and recent natural snowfall have added to Arapahoe Basin’s base accumulation, resulting in the resort’s current packed powder conditions. The race to host opening day is one of the highlights of the ski season, a title often held by Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin or Loveland [see our feature on p22]. Both resorts are perched atop the Continental Divide giving them higher elevations, earlier frosts and colder temperatures. Colorado Ski Country CEO Melanie Mills said: “Seeing skiers and snowboarders taking their first turns of the season is one of the highlights of the year. Since the first high country snowstorms several weeks ago, we’ve seen the enthusiasm in skiers and snowboarders building towards this day.”

Pyrenean Ski Clinics Launched ames Dealtry, the owner of luxury ski lodge L’Ancienne Poste (ancienneposteavajan. com), located in the village of Avajan in the French Pyrenees, is launching ski clinics for the 2013–14 season. Dealtry is a fully-qualified ski instructor and ski race instructor, and was the first ever non-French national to be employed by the École du Ski Français, working in Val d’Isère for 15 seasons, before purchasing and renovating L’Ancienne Poste in 2006. Dealtry said: “I’ve noticed that there are a growing number of (predominantly) middle-aged men who are deciding to return to skiing after several years away from the sport, and

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At Alpine Answers we use over twenty years of holiday planning experience to offer the ultimate chalet and hotel collection across the world’s best ski resorts.

need a thorough ski MOT to restore confidence and regain technique.” The course – which is suitable for all ages and abilities – costs from €499pp (£423), based on group sizes from 4–8 people, and includes 3 nights’ halfboard (including four-course dinner each evening), personal tuition from Dealtry, full video analysis, and a debrief once back at the lodge.

Redesigned Ice Driving Circuit For 2013

Call us 020 7801 1080 Visit us www.alpineanswers.co.uk

he resort of Val d’Isère has redesigned the ice driving circuit, which will open in December 2013. The improved circuit will be open to thrillseekers and adrenaline junkies who wish to test their skill on the ice. Not only will the new ice circuit offer an exhilarating experience, the

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school will offer special ice driving courses, internships, and debuts with professional drivers. Guests can choose to go behind the wheel and experience ice driving in the latest BMW; or try ice karting, snow grooming, husky tours, and the new driving simulator. Learn more at valdisere-ice-driving.com


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NOVEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

Surf The Snow Then Surf The Waves With New Packages our operator Scott Dunn is creating a new collection of 2-week packages this winter, which include a week in a top North American ski resort, and then a week in a luxury beach resort. Current options include Whistler and Hawaii, or Colorado and Mexico’s Riviera Maya or The Bahamas. A 12-night itinerary begins with 6 nights in Whistler, before heading back to Vancouver to catch an onward flight to Maui, Hawaii, to enjoy the sublime surf and spectacular landscape of waterfalls swathed in vegetation of every colour. Packages start from £3865pp, including international and internal flights, transfers, and accommodation split between the Four Seasons Whistler and Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea.

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Independent Traveller Service Andorra has changed a lot in the past 10 years, whilst it is still value for money for après-ski and lodging, most facilities on and off the mountains have been upgraded, in some cases from ”budget” to ”world class”. British company Andorra Resorts (andorraresorts. com) is on hand to provide the kind of service for independent travellers that you find in many top resorts in the Alps. The company, which has great knowledge of the resorts, is offering transfers, lodging options, lift passes, and other bespoke assistance in Andorra.

New Heights In Fundraising Staff at CairnGorm Mountain in Scotland set themselves a high target this year, when they set out to raise £1 for every foot in height of CairnGorm (4084ft) in aid of Maggie’s Highland cancer care. In the event they went over the top and raised £4205. Events included a 24-hour tennis-a-thon at Rothiemurchus Tennis Club, participation in the Monster Bike and Hike, and a raffle. Customer services staff member John Cleworth raised £3000 of this total single-handedly by selling raffle tickets to passengers on the funicular.

Quad Chairlift For Mont-Sainte-Anne Mont-Sainte-Anne in Quebec, Canada, installed a new detachable chair in the summer ready for this winter. The Doppelmayr quad has been manufactured locally in StJérôme, Quebec, and will replace a triple chairlift that currently serves the area. The new lift will cut the ride time in half, and serve more skiable terrain. It will follow an enhanced route in order to provide access to the entire mountain, not only the expert area.


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inthesnow.com | NOVEMBER 2013

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Barcelona Pull Out Of 2022 Olympic Bid Barcelona was attempting to be the first city to hold both summer and Winter Olympics, but a local newspaper has reported that the city plans to drop its bid. The on-snow events would have been held in ski resorts in the Spanish Pyrenees, and the rest in the city. As we were going to press an announcement was expected from Mayor Xavier Trias concerning the bid. The city was only expected to have a slim chance of winning the Games. The claim is as yet unconfirmed.

Escape To The Backcountry BEN CLATWORTHY

hanks to the popularity of their 6-week, off-piste, career break course, Nonstop (nonstopsnow.com) has launched an additional backcountry focused coaching programme, which enables keen skiers and snowboarders to enjoy a week’s introduction to ski touring or split boarding. Based in Fernie, British Columbia, the course is designed

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to help people escape the usual hustle and bustle of a week in a busy resort – giving participants the opportunity to leave the chairlifts behind, and venture into the wilderness of the backcountry. The camp is one of the best ways to explore the mountains, and ski deep, untracked powder for a whole week. Rupert Taylor, the company Founder said: "With the advent of wider skis, skiing deep powder has become open to all, and the next step is taking those

skills onto the quiet, untracked slopes of the backcountry. This new camp provides the perfect introduction to seeing the mountains in a brilliant new way." Clients will be provided with new Dynastar touring skis or a Rome split board, as well as the necessary skills required to explore the backcountry. There will be 4 days of expert tuition, 3 of which take place in the backcountry. In addition, Nonstop also provide guests with the opportunity to spend a day cat-

skiing, making this the ideal way to spend a week skiing or snowboarding in the ultimate mountain playground. The package includes guiding and instruction, touring equipment hire, lift pass for Fernie Alpine Resort, and an optional day of cat skiing. Off the mountain, Nonstop provides 7 nights’ accommodation, with breakfast, three evening meals, and transfers. Prices start at £1295, and the camp runs from 22 February–1 March 2014.

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NOVEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

50 Years Of Dry Skiing PATRICK THORNE

he 5 October 2013 was an auspicious day in British skiing, as it marked 50 years since the first permanent dry ski slope in the country was installed, at Barton Hall, Torquay, and it’s still being used today. The first of more than 120 such slopes to open in Britain, of which around half remain, with many hundreds more subsequently opening around the world, the Torquay slope is operated by the Torquay Alpine Ski Club, now one

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of the oldest in the country. Over the years dry slopes have made a huge contribution to the British love affair with winter sports, and hundreds of thousands, perhaps over a million British people have learnt to ski on these slopes over the past 50 years. Most of the current British ski team started out on dry slopes. The idea for the Torquay slope was conceived by a group of local enthusiasts, aided by the Central Council for Physical Recreation (CCPR), who persuaded Fred Pontin (later Sir Fred) to set up the slope at his Barton Hall

holiday camp in Torquay. There was a grand opening ceremony at the slope, which included demonstrations of skiing by members of the British Ski Team and European ski instructors from the Swiss resort of Champéry. The Torquay Alpine Ski Club (skitorquay.co.uk) celebrated the anniversary with a dinner at the Grand Hotel, Torquay, with Olympic and World Cup ski racer Chemmy Alcott and Olympic ski jumper “Eddie the Eagle” Edwards as guests of honour. “The opening of the first permanent dry ski slope in 1963 was

a major milestone in British Skiing and marks the first time that skiing became widely accessible,” said Tim Fawke, CEO of Snowsport England. “Since then hundreds of thousands of people have learnt to ski on these types of slope and it all started with the Torquay slope and the club that operates it. The heart of our sport in the UK is based around clubs, and it's great to know that this club is still going strong after 50 years." The slope still uses the original design of matting (known as Dendix), which was designed in Great Britain and is manufactured in Chepstow, Wales.

UK Ski Travel Returns To Growth Figures published by the UK’s largest tour operator, Crystal, show that last season saw a small overall increase in ski holidays taken by Brits, after four successive seasons of decline following the economic crash. The overall ski market increased by 1% last winter. The overall number of skiers rose by 5000 year-on-year, increasing the number travelling abroad to 899,700 in 2012–13, the first increase in numbers since the peak in 2007–08.


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en.portesdusoleil.com Crystal Ski (crystalski.co.uk) offers a week’s stay, including flights and transfers, from £352pp (based on four sharing) at the 3 Le Douchka Apartments in Avoriaz. The lead-in price for a week’s stay at the 4 L’Amara Apartments is from £578pp (based on four sharing), and for a week’s stay half-board, the price is from £462 at the Hotel Les Lans in Les Prodains.

PATRICK THORNE

here’s been a bit of a ski media storm recently about the size of ski areas claimed by resorts. A German cartographer and journalist, Christoph Schrahe, has used modern satellite mapping to check the true size of ski areas, compared with their marketing claims. In most cases they didn’t stack up, and the Portes du Soleil (translation: doors of the sun), which is one of several that claims to be the world’s largest, with its supposed 650km of piste, was one of those found to be exaggerating their figures by Mr Schrahe. Yet I have skied there half a dozen times over the past 25 years, and even when making a fortnight-long stay, I have never felt I have even begun to get my head around just how vast a ski domain this is. Set off from any one of the dozen ski resorts that make up the Portes du Soleil, which straddles the French-Swiss border, and you can ski on all day from resort to resort, and still not reach all of the extremities before you need to turn back in order to make all the necessary lift connections. You don’t have to be a great skier or boarder to make these long treks either, much can be accomplished on easy green and blue runs if you wish, more

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challenging options are available if you prefer; and the growing number of comfy high-speed chairlifts, gondolas and funitels make the uphill less taxing than it once was too. It just makes me realise that however worked up ski statisticians may get, once a ski area has reached a certain critical mass in terms of size, where you can’t physically ski it all during your average ski week, does size really matter? That’s not to say accurate, standardised measurements wouldn’t be a great thing, just that when we look at the big numbers it would be good if we could have some concept of what they mean in terms of what we can physically ski. Whatever your personal belief on ski area measurements, the practical realities of the sheer scale of the Portes du Soleil (whatever that might truly be) are fairly breathtaking, and result in one of my favourite things about the region – the chance to go on a daily ”ski safari” from one resort to the next, often switching from the Eurozone to the Swiss land of cheese and chocolate during the same day (actually the cheese is pretty good on the French side too), without needing to hike or take a bus. Some of these excursions can be fairly epic, and an early start after advanced planning is advisable to ensure you get all the way there and back in the same day.

There are many variants, but the locals reckon that the longest trip possible starts on the far side of Les Gets on Mont Chery, from where you ski over to Morzine, then onto Avoriaz and into Switzerland, passing the villages of Les Crosets and Champéry via the Grand Paradis pistes (some of the best skiing of the day on a glorious 7km descent). Then on via Champoussin and Morgins and back into France at Super Châtel, and finally onto La Chapelle d’Abondance, the ninth resort on your itinerary. “Unfortunately you have to take off your skis a couple of times and walk for 5 minutes to make connections in a few places (although there are buses if you prefer). It takes all day, so you need to leave with the first lift at 8.45am. And if you want to make the connection back, you have to take a sandwich as you won’t have time to stop for lunch!” says Cosima Page who promotes the region. There’s a great choice of villages in which to base yourself too. Unusually for France however, there is only one purpose-built altitude resort, and that manages to look very stylish thanks to its wood-clad facades and nonconformist , rather than rectangular, architectural design. On the Swiss side the main resort is historic Champéry, easy to reach by

rail from Geneva airport, and on the French side there are large traditional resorts like Morzine, Châtel and Les Gets, each famous in its own right, the latter with a particular niche as a family-friendly destination. But there’s also unique Avoriaz, that sole purpose-built resort, which lies 1800m up at the heart of the Portes du Soleil and has been one of the world’s truly remarkable ski resorts ever since it opened more than 40 years ago. The only car-free resort in France, it has grown from a rather desolate destination to a vibrant resort that, with the absence of traffic and snow not streets between buildings, has something of the feel of a moon base – but one with gourmet restaurants, lively bars, and, after a €200m spend (£168m), new attractions too. These include Aquariaz – a remarkable indoor tropical swimming dome complex added last winter in the heart of the resort – as well as state-of-theart lifts and whole new districts, most notably the 5 Amara development, which brings a whole new luxury feel to the resort too, complete with its gourmet restaurants and spa. So, however many kilometres of piste there may be, for resort choice, for ambience, and for having more ski runs than you can possibly cope with, the Portes du Soleil is hard to beat.


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i k S o T n k Whe o o B o T n he &W 4 1 – 3 1 20 BEN CLATWORTHY

our operators are, of course, always telling us to “book early to get the best deals”, or sometimes, more accurately, “book early to ensure the holiday you want is still available”. But they don’t often go into a great deal of explanation as to why you should book early. So it’s always interesting to get some insider tips, and InTheSnow talked to Xavier Schouller, boss of frequent award-winning operators Peak Retreats and Ski Collection, which between them represent most French resorts, about how winter 2013–14 looks to be shaping up in terms of bookings.

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Here’s what Schouller told us, and although the advice applies particularly to French ski trips, much of it is equally valid for travel to other countries. Christmas: Changeover day is midweek (Saturday 21). This is good news as it avoids Christmas and New Year changeover days falling at the weekends, which can mean tour operators have to do 8- or 6-day trips to avoid flying then. Christmas week has, generally, been quieter than it once was in recent seasons, and currently there are lots of good deals. New Year: Although it’s a good changeover day again (Saturday 28) New Year, traditionally the busiest and most expensive week of the season, looks likely to be

booked up quickly, so if you want to go then, best book now. “The New Year week sold out quite quickly last season, and again this season being a holiday week for most other European countries too we expect availability to disappear pretty quickly,” says Schouller. February half-term: In February French holidays run for 4 weeks from 15 February (Paris area is the first week) to 15 March. British holidays are concentrated in one week, the same one as the Parisians. “Sadly UK half term will be back to one single week in 2014 after being spread over two weeks this year so there will be a lot of pressure on availability and we can’t recommend enough for clients to book early,” says Schouller.

Easter: It’s a later Easter, but the school holidays are coming before it and booking is already well underway. “With Easter holidays in early April we are seeing good demand for that month already and both weeks (beginning 5th and 12th April) are proving popular on the back of last years’ excellent conditions,” says Schouller. “Once again the UK holidays start at the

same time as the Belgians, whilst the French and German holidays start on the 12th.” Overall: Schouller reports business up on last season, and expects further growth this winter with the market buoyed by the good snow conditions last season, which left skiers hungry for more and going home to tell their friends.

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NOVEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

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New Lifts & Cable Car Create New Austrian-Linked Area PATRICK THORNE

ustria’s St Johann in Pongau is installing two new sixseater chairlifts this winter, to replace older lifts on a crucial link in their local ski circuit. The new lifts will also help deal with the increased capacity expected to be required by the installation of a spectacular new cable car, the G Link, which is linking ski areas on two sides of the valley above St Johann’s neighbour, Wagrain, also opening this December.

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Altogether more than €50m (approx. £42m) is being invested. This means 120km of slopes, already all included on the ski Amade pass will be connected by lifts and piste, and it will be possible to ski from St Johann via Wagrain all the way to Flachau. The new chairlifts at St Johann will replace the 25-year-old Panorama Lifts I and II. The new lifts will be state-of-theart high-speed detachable chairs, with conveyor loading, automatic locking child safety bars, heated seats, and pull-down weather protection hoods.

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Book Celebrates 60 Years Since Everest ”Conquered” beautiful and remarkable book Everest, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first successful ascent of the world’s highest peak (8848m) in 1953, has been published by Ammonite Press, in association with the Royal Geographical Society (RGS). The lavish photographic record of the historic ascent, by Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, also includes photographs from many earlier expeditions where adventurers tried to scale the peak before 1953. Everest contains over 400 intimate photographs handpicked by the Society’s collections team, the largest collection of images ever printed in an official publication produced by the RGS on the subject. The images of the intrepid explorers are in stark contrast to the

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overwhelming might of the world’s highest peak, something that is highlighted beautifully on each page of Everest.

”New” Ski Area To Feature Slovenia’s Longest Run he former Kobla ski area in Slovenia, one of three used by skiers staying in the famous Slovenian ski resort of Bohinj, as well as in the nearby tourist area of Bled, no longer exists according to Bled Tourist Office. However, a ”new” ski area is under

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construction on the site, which will have 100m more vertical (at 1050m), served by a fast new gondola with ten-seater cabins, and connect to another smaller ski area, Soriska Planina, on the other side of the mountain, to create the country’s largest ski area, with 47km of pistes, including an FIS-approved World Cup downhill slope.

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Jon is one of a handful of instructors working in the Alps to hold the top qualifications from France, Switzerland and Britain. In his role as Ski School Director, Jon is on hand to manage the different parts of the Altitude company portfolio, including the ski and snowboard school, the instructor training programs, and the off-piste courses (+41 277 716 006).

ast winter Jon wrote about powder skiing in Verbier, this month we have mixed things up and decided to look at piste skiing. Whether you are powering through the variable snow, or hitting the groomed runs, the following tips should all apply.

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2. Amp up the angle

Feel for your outside edge by shifting your weight to the outside ski, roll your ankle inwards and stay sensitive to when the ski edge grips, creating a strong platform to support you through the turn. Modern skis have the most sidecut (shape) directly underfoot, so adjust your fore/aft stance to balance over the middle of the ski. To practise edging, start by traversing, then mid-traverse roll your ankle and get the skis to bite. Move onto making single J-shaped carved turns. Challenge yourself by lifting your inside ski.

As you approach the fall line (the line downhill) you can build pressure on your skis by moving your body further inside the turn and away from your skis; creating this pressure and achieving these edge angles will also help you to tighten your turn. Roll your knees and move your hip inside. Make sure that you stay balanced against the outside ski, flex slightly at the hips and level your shoulders to allow this. Drag your inside pole to help you build an awareness of how far you are inside a turn. Play around with angles and see how far inside you can go without falling over.

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InTheSnow.com

Jon (AKA WESTY) AT ALTITUDE

PISTE SKIING SOME BASIC PRINCIPLES

1. Edge the ski


3. SMOOTH MOVEMENTS

4. Forwards & onwards...

We need to make smooth, controlled movements to manage this pressure and to keep the skis gripping and on track. Gently increase the flex in your ankle, knees, and hips, and as it comes to completion, begin to smoothly transfer your weight to your new downhill ski. Try to find an icy piste to practise on, you'll have to be very smooth to keep your skis from sliding underneath you! Practise exaggerating the range of movement in your knee ankle and hip joints by skiing bumpy terrain. To really challenge yourself try to make long round turns in the bumps.

Carving really is a test of your balance and agility. It is important to understand that you must constantly adjust your position to stay in balance. At the transition of a new turn project your body and hips forward and across your skis to get you into the best position to use your skis effectively. Imagine diving through a window in the fall line. Be careful not to project your body upwards, you will lose pressure on your skis and the edges wont grip. Have fun! Check out Jon and his team of great instructors @ www.altitude-verbier.com

Get The Right Kit The best place to start is to make sure that your child is warm and dry, and has equipment that works for them. Small children lose heat a lot quicker than adults, so it is essential to make sure they always have enough layers, and don't forget their extremities need special attention. Don't Talk Too Much Children love to learn by seeing and doing. Try to limit any technical chat, use lots of games, but most importantly keep them moving. Children love the sensation of skiing and can often pick something up by just copying someone. So if you want to teach your child how to stop sharply, show them a hockey stop and just

ask them to see if they can do one, you will be surprised! Take Lots Of Breaks Children can’t focus for the same duration as adults, and their smaller bodies fatigue much quicker as well. All this quickly adds up to a disinterested child. Take regular breaks throughout the day to keep your child motivated. Children dehydrate much quicker at altitude, so the breaks also offer a valuable opportunity for them to warm up and take on board some fluid. Jumps & Speed Traps Children love the terrain parks found at most resorts. Often they have smaller jumps that are suitable for little ones. Some resorts have slalom and ski cross course

for children. Being timed adds a competitive element that most children seem to love. The speed traps are another great thing to do with your child. Get Them Some Lessons A qualified instructor will have a wealth of experience in how to keep children interested, while progressing their skiing abilities in a safe and fun environment. Group lessons can also offer an opportunity for your child to have fun with other children of the same age and ability. Some ski schools like Altitude have dedicated private areas for children who are just learning to ski, and will have lots of specialist equipment to make sure each child has the best time possible.


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inthesnow.com | NOVEMBER 2013

Smarter Helmets PATRICK THORNE

clever idea from Shred helmets incorporates what they call ICEdot technology (icedot. org). When you buy the helmet you register the owner’s details (emergency contacts, allergies, medical conditions) at a central point, and are given a unique PIN stored on the helmet. If you, or a child or loved one, wearing the helmet is ever injured, a first responder can text a central number and instantly access your personal data. Shred’s Mega Brain Bucket helmet (shredoptics.com) also features Slytech 2nd Skin foam technology, this EVAbased foam features the only advanced and intelligent shock absorber on the market, which adapts to the strength

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of impact and increases protection proportionally. “I can’t speak highly enough about the upgrades to the Half Brain” stays ski racer Ted “Shred” Ligety. “Engineers consulted us riders through every step in the production and the end result is the best helmet on the market for skiers and snowboarders.”

The Biggest US Ski Area Is In The US Is In Montana wnership changes at a Montana ski area, with the operators of a neighbouring ski area taking control, means that the two linked centres, soon to be under joint ownership, can claim to offer the biggest single ski area in the US. Moonlight Basin ski area is being purchased from a subsidiary of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc, by financiers CrossHarbor Capital Partners LLC and resort operator Boyne Resorts, who jointly operate neighbouring Big Sky. The companies say they plan to seamlessly combine the ski operations of the two areas to create a ski resort of more than 2307 hectares of skiable terrain, with 1326m of vertical, 23 chairlifts, and 10 surface lifts, branding it “truly the Biggest Skiing in America”. “Successfully unifying these

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operations will help promote economic stability and growth across the region and to all of Big Sky, and will ensure Moonlight Basin's long-term and sustainable success,” said a company statement, which continued, “Additional development within Big Sky, Moonlight Basin, and Spanish Peaks will now share a common vision and leadership. The future development of these special and unique properties will continue to follow the path of stewardship and environmental sensitivity.”


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NOVEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

Dutch Clean UP THE Mountains DAVID BLACK

he Dutch-based Respect the Mountains environmental NGO set new records for its efforts to clean up the mountains of Europe and raise awareness, removing litter left on the slopes at its fifth annual Envirotrek Clean Up Series (respectthemountains.com). Getting together teams of volunteers in

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five countries, including the UK, Respect the Mountains removed 2630kg of waste in total, which included 335 garbage bags, scrap metals, car tyres and car doors. One hundred people took part in the original Envirotrek in 2009, and the event has grown year-on-year, with more than 500 taking part in 2013. Unfortunately, the longer-established clean-up of Scottish mountain slopes organised by the Ski Club of Great Britain did not happen in 2013.

Nickelback To Open Ischgl’s Season schgl, the Austrian Tirolean resort that has built a reputation for having top global superstars perform at the start and end of its season, has announced that rock band Nickelback, who boast five Grammy nominations and over 50m album sales, will be opening the resort’s ski season on 30 November. The concert by the Canadian rock

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quartet will be free to all with a valid ski pass. Thousands of spectators will be able to watch their ”Greatest Hits Show” at 6pm, and sing along to tunes such as How You Remind Me, Lullaby and

When We Stand Together. The band follow stars such as Elton John, Katy Perry and Rihanna, who have previously performed on the Top of the Mountain opening stage.

Freeze Festival Goes Large reeze, promoted as “the UK’s biggest winter sports festival,” is back for 2013, with a longer festival, a new venue, and a later date in the year. Freeze 2013 (freezefestival.com) will take place over 5 days from 27 November–1 December at Clapham Common in London, with 30,000 people expected to attend. The extended event, back for its sixth year, will provide the opportunity for skiers and boarders to compete for a £14,000 prize purse, and enjoy 5 days of “après-ski

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madness.” Bavarian Haus, Metro Lodge, Ibiza Rocks the Snow Bar, and Krazy Kangaroo will all be there for the après. Visitors can enjoy authentic alpine food stalls, parties in après-ski bars, an alpine shopping village, and a ski and snowboard cinema showing ski movie premieres, along with the worldclass winter sports competitions, and performances by top music acts (TBC). A ticket is priced at £8 for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Sunday tickets, with Saturday tickets, when the main events are staged, starting at £32.

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inthesnow.com | NOVEMBER 2013

Ski Independence Adds Revelstoke BEN CLATWORTHY

ki Independence (ski-i. com) has announced it’s offering ski packages to Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia, in its new winter 2013–14 programme. Now in its sixth season of operation, Revelstoke offers the greatest lift-served vertical of any North American resort with 1263 hectares of lift-served skiable terrain. Heli-skiing is also available as SelkirkTangiers Heli Skiing fly right out of the quaint town of ”Revy”.

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Ski Independence offer a 7-nights package, including 2 full days of heliskiing (10 drops in total), staying at the 3 Sandman Hotel, with return flights from London Gatwick to Calgary on Air Transat (free ski carriage), and compact car hire. Price is based on two people sharing a standard room. Early-season bookings (up to 18 January 2014) for the Powder Adventure, and 2-day packages, include unlimited vertical – as much skiing as you can handle in a day.

Ski Resort Pays US Government To Speed Up Border Controls he Associated Press has reported that a US ski resort is to pay the US government to increase staff at international border crossings into the US, so that their customers do not face long delays. Jay Peak in Northern Vermont reports that 55% of its clientele cross the border from Canada, as although they have local ski hills north of the border, Jay’s vertical is bigger. The donation by Jay Peak to the US Department of Homeland Security to pay for staff at weekends is part of a pilot programme taking place at several US overland border posts at both the Canadian and Mexican

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borders, as well as at Miami airport. Bill Stenger, President of Jay Peak, told the Associated Press that he didn’t think the resort should have to pay, but was willing to in order to minimise inconvenience for Canadian skiers. He said that borders should be safe but welcoming, and that he did not think long delays were welcoming.

Davos Klosters Invent Social Skiing he leading Swiss resort Davos Klosters (davos.ch/ klosters.ch) has decided to offer free social skiing to its guests this winter. The idea, already popular in many countries around the world, and particularly in North America, is for locals to show people around the slopes. All ”insiders” are local people or from the tourism sector. The service, to be

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known as ”Davos Klosters Insiders” will be available to guests in participating hotels free of charge. “Besides the usual introduction to the mountains and ski pistes, guests also receive special tips and advice on the best, most attractive and most interesting downhill runs and of course on the mountain restaurants with the most spectacular views and sun terraces,” said a resort spokesperson.


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NOVEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

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s ' d n a l er z t i w ? S ey l l a v … n e long d for hid not But BEN CLATWORTHY

hange happens slowly in Alpine Switzerland, so it came as a great surprise when I heard not one, but two new linked ski areas will open this season. It will be the first time in 25 years that two resorts have linked, so for it to happen twice in one season is unheard of. A new chairlift will link the resorts of Arosa and Lenzerheide in Graubünden, whilst a rather bigger construction project will see the resorts of Grimentz and Zinal in the Val d’Anniviers valley become one. As an obsessive skier, I booked myself a trip to 1000-year-old Grimentz, to see how the new link is going to impact not only the skiing, but also the resort. It was in the 1930s that the first holiday home popped up in Grimentz. Its owner was a passionate hiker, who’d walked all over the

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Alps looking for the perfect location to build. He decided the Val d’Anniviers was the most beautiful of all the valleys. He chose a spot for his chalet – at the time 1km from the village – that allowed the best views of the Weisshorn and the Bernese Oberland, but also the most sunshine. Needless to say the locals thought him mad. And first impressions show that little has really changed to Grimentz in the intervening years. The only real difference is that today chalets flank the mountainside, however, the village itself remains virtually untouched, with merely a handful of shops, restaurants and bars (plus one solitary “nightclub”) clustered among the narrow streets. On the mountain, wide and perfectlygroomed pistes greeted me; and what felt like only me. The slopes were virtually deserted, and I’m told they so often are. The

29 December 2012 complained of the was a record day unsightly pylon for skier numbers that sits atop the in Grimentz, and opposite side even then only of valley. And, Ben Clatworthy travelled with Rental 4700 people were naturally, there’ll Prestige (rentalprestige.com) based on the slopes (to be more tourists. in Grimentz. A week’s serviced selfcatering at Chalet St Clair costs from put it in context, But small resorts CHF3815 (£2616) for eight sharing. larger Swiss resorts need to link and record four times that expand to survive – number). Super Saint-Bernard However, things are went bankrupt in 2009 – likely to change in December to compete with bigger name when the giant new cable car opens destinations. its doors for the first time. Spanning 3.6km, For winter tourists, however, the lift is and costing €26.8m (£22.7m) to construct, undoubtedly beneficial. Between them the the two new cabins will be capable of resorts offer 105km of piste skiing, as well as transporting 825 passengers per hour. some truly fantastic off-piste and freeride But with change, come concerns, and routes. The area may not currently top the some locals fear the connection will alter chart in terms of skier numbers – but get the soul of the village, whilst others have your skates on: it’s destined for greatness.


InTheSnow.com

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MAMMUT ROCKER BACKPACK + AIRBAG £104 + £339

A smartly designed ski touring backpack, whether you use it with the removable avalanche airbag or not. One great feature with the R.A.S. is you can utilise it in different sized backpacks. Off the side of the piste one day, and an overnight hut tour the next. Remove the R.A.S. and you have a great bag for other activities.

PLUM YAK BINDING £579 Machined from solid high-tech materials, the Yak is one of the lightest high performance tech bindings on the market. With its wider base plate and integrated brake the Yak works brilliantly with the trend to go for wider off-piste skis, whilst still being lightweight for touring.

SCARPA FREEDOM SL BOOT £479

Made to perform on both the up and the downhill. The Freedom could be described as a cross between the award-winning lightweight Maestrale touring boot, and a performance downhill boot. Utilising similar technology to the Maestrale, it provides the biggest range of movement for walking, and is light despite its beefy appearance. This boot will steer the biggest of skis in the deepest of powder.

LINE POLLARD PAINTBRUSH POLE £59 Adjustable in length from 105–130cm, this makes for a great multi-use pole – whether you’re riding the park and need a shorter freestyle jib pole, or utilising it longer for those freeride powder days. Perhaps you just can’t decide which length you’d prefer! And how can you not fall in love with the amazing painted pole graphic, and unusually painted baskets?

K2 SUPERSTITIOUS WOMEN’S SKI £529

A high performance, women specific, all-mountain ski that you’ll fall in love with. Whether you’re looking for stability at high speed, or float in the off-piste, the Superstitious will manoeuvre through anything you throw at it. Not content just with high-speed performance, this great women’s ski will cruise along quite happily on those chilled-out afternoons.


ZAINI HATS £20.99 Zaini was launched in 2010 to bring something new to the world of beanies (zaini.com). Bright, baggy and affordable hats – the perfect skiing accessory and Christmas present. There are designs for all ages and tastes, and they have been supported by some of the industry’s best known names, including Alain Baxter, Chemmy Alcott, Ben Kilner and Graham Bell, all of whom have been spotted out and about in their Zaini’s!

AIRHOLE MATTERHORN AIRTUBE £24.95

A snuggly warm facemask/neckwarmer with retro-tastic graphics. The integrated breathing ”airhole” stops your goggles misting for those hot and steamy moments!

FULL TILT RUMOUR BOOT £279

The cult following for the Full Tilt boot is as popular as ever for many reasons … after all why wouldn’t you want a super comfortable and extremely warm sheepskin-style lined intuition liner, which fully heat molds to the shape of your foot? And don’t forget the super smooth flex, combined with the performance it directs to the ski. This boot has been legendary for years, and still remains so.

DRAGON NFX GOGGLE £125

The new NFX model from Dragon incorporates a large frameless lens giving you a highly expanded field of vision. Super cool looking it even comes with a spare bad visibility lens, giving you fast interchangeability with its frameless

BLACK CROWS CORVUS SKIS £599 Perfect in all conditions, weather and terrain, this is one of our favourites for this winter. We were not sure that last year’s Corvus skis could be improved, but a few little tweaks and adjustments has made the 2014 version even better.

technology. Less is definitely more.

SOLE CD THIN FOOTBEDS £49 Ski boots should fit like gloves for good performance,

Visit skibartlett.com to see more With over 40 years of history, Ski Bartlett is one of the UK's most popular independent specialist ski shops. With a massive range of products, they can guarantee you the right kit and the best prices.

but this is tough on your feet as the pressure on your arches can cause plantar fascia strain. Orthopaedic SOLE footbeds (yoursole.co.uk) counteract this pressure by providing arch support to keep feet in a natural position. Even better, the new SOLE CD Thin footbeds have a Thinsulate insulation layer for additional warmth.


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inthesnow.com | NOVEMBER 2013

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Méribel Vallée Chalet Re-born PATRICK THORNE

eriski (meriski.co.uk), the specialist in luxury, catered chalets in the French ski resort of Méribel Vallée for more than 25 years, has added one of the finest lodges in the area to its collection for the new snow sports season. Mont Tremblant, which sits in its own grounds minutes from the centre of Méribel Vallée, has just received a major renovation, which has doubled the size of the original chalet to offer superb new lodgings for 12 guests in six ensuite bedrooms, including a king-size master suite that occupies the whole of the first floor. The chalet also has one of the only private outdoor-heated swimming pools available in Méribel Vallée in winter, along with a hot tub, cinema

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Small New Hampshire Ski Area Closed 40 Years Set To Reopen

small ski area in New Hampshire, by the aptlynamed little town of Littleton, is to be reopened some 40 years after it last operated.

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room, bar, playroom, ski room, garage, and many other luxury and technological features. Bathrooms feature L’Occitane toiletries. The chalet is available for exclusive hire from €19,800 per week (£16,770), and is one of eight run by the company, which provides very high-quality service and catering, and operates its own luxury chauffeur service, crèche, and private nanny service.

A group of volunteers has secured a 3-year lease for the 13 hectares of ski slopes on Mount Eustis for a reported $1 per year, and plan to run the hill on a voluntary basis. This revived US ski area will have two runs with tree skiing in-between, served by a 400m-long second-hand rope tow, reported to be currently being restored as part of their studies by children at the local Littleton High School. The local Home Depot store is donating a building to be used as a base lodge. The original ski centre opened in December 1939, Mount Eustis aims to reopen on 1 January 2014.


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NOVEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

Winter Universiade In Trentino, Italy DAVID BLACK

he Winter Universiade in Trentino, Italy, will welcome over 3000 participants from 59 countries this December, with athletes competing in ski resorts around Trento and the surrounding valleys. Venues include Trento and Monte Bondone, along with the Fassa and Fiemme valleys (universiadetrentino.org). Italy has hosted the Winter Universiade four times, most recently in Turin in 2007, but this is the first time in Trentino, where the event will run from 11–21 December.

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These multi-disciplinary youth games will feature competitions in Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping, biathlon, snowboarding and freestyle, as well as various ice skating and curling competitions. Many of the world’s top athletes already choose Trentino as their training base. The Val di Fassa is the headquarters of the Italian Alpine ski team, while Andalo and Paganella welcome the Norwegian Alpine ski team, with Svindal moving into the base vacated by the US ski team, including Bode Miller and Ted Ligety.

The best kept secret of the 3 valleys

Grimentz & Zinal Connected By Cable Car new cable car with two 125-person gondolas will create a link between the ski areas of Grimentz and Zinal, in the Val d'Anniviers valley in Switzerland. The ”new” area will have a combined total of 120km of piste, and will open in November. The 3522m-long

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cable car will be able to transport up to 825 people per hour. Val d'Anniviers (sierre-anniviers.ch) already operates a joint lift pass for its five ski areas, which also include Chandolin, St Luc and Vercorin, together offering 220km of piste, with lifts and pistes between 1341m and 3026m.

For further information visit

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17/12/12 14:48:35


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inthesnow.com | NOVEMBER 2013

n o i t c e nn o C & a New n i t r o C k n i To L onda R a l l e S BEN CLATWORTHY

ne of the world’s largest ski areas is to get bigger, with one of the world’s longest ski-lift-assisted on-piste runs – this will be made possible by adding new lifts. The new lifts will connect Cortina d’Ampezzo to the Sellaronda circuit, creating a ski area almost as big as Les 3 Vallées. Kind of. But a date for their installation is yet to be confirmed, and 2013–14 now looks unlikely. Residents of the chic Italian resort voted last spring to build the chairlifts required to link the main Tofana ski area, with 47km of piste above the famous ski town, to a separate, out-of-town sector of its ski domain, the Lagazuoi–5 Torri area, which has another 29km of piste. Currently, the link is only possible with a short 10-minute bus ride between the two areas. From the top of Lagazuoi, one of the world’s great ski runs, the 8.5km-long ”Hidden Valley” descent runs down towards Alta Badia and the Sellaronda. Even more unique, the final connection between the end of the Hidden Valley run and the Sellaronda/Alta Badia is by means of a horse-pulled drag lift costing €2pp (£1.70) per ride. The Sellaronda is a 38km circuit,

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comprised of 13km of vertical lift and 25km of piste, around the vast Sella Massif, which can be completed by good skiers in a few hours. Valleys radiate off it such as Badia, Fassa and Gardena. Some official estimates published over the years suggest that the total amount of liftlinked terrain adds up to around 500km, so this new connection could take that total to around 580km – albeit a one-way connection from Cortina d’Ampezzo (there’s no return lift for the Hidden Valley run, you need to take a bus or taxi back).

There is, however, no suggestion that the region is trying to rival Les 3 Vallées, indeed the 500km claim for the Sellaronda connections is rarely published – apparently, partly, because the region prefers to concentrate on promoting the more impressive 1200km of pistes within the wider Dolomiti Superski region, and partly because the resorts within the Sellaronda are in different Italian regions, with no joint promotional budget. So far there is also no firm construction date for the new lifts to connect Tofana and Lagazuoi–5 Torri either, the initial go-ahead has been given by the ”Regole” –the main ancient families from the region – but there are other stages to pass, a Cortina d’Ampezzo spokesperson confirmed.


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NOVEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

HOTEL LES LANCHERS CHAMONIX

Ski Safari To “Undiscovered” Canadian Resorts PATRICK THORNE

lthough a dozen or so ski areas in Western Canada are well-known worldwide, there are dozens more ”gems” in Alberta and British Columbia (BC), with two in particular standing out due to recent expansion and upgrading programmes. In June this year, Red Mountain was granted permission to add a further 403 hectares on Grey Mountain, increasing the total lift-serviced area to 1128 hectares, which will be ready

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With 19 comfortable bedrooms and a charming bistro restaurant, this hotel is one of the most convivial addresses in Chamonix with the added bonus of being near a cable car accessing the main ski area.

for 2013–14. Whitewater, also in BC’s Kootenay Rockies, has a reputation for huge snowfalls, and a significant percentage of advanced terrain (88%) in its 486 hectares. Tour operator Ski Safari (skisafari.com) has introduced a new 10-night safari to these two destinations for 2013–14. The safari includes accommodation, flights, and hire of an SUV from £1599pp, based on four adults sharing a two-bedroom condo at Red Robs, Red Mountain, and two hotel rooms at the Prestige Lakeside Resort, Nelson.

The en-suite rooms have great views of Mont-Blanc or l’Aiguille des Drus with a selection of twins, doubles and two-bedroomed suites for families or groups of friends. The restaurant serves traditional french and local savoyard



specialities with an excellent value wine list personally chosen by the proprietor. A selection of international beers and cocktails is available in the lounge bar fitted with 3 screens for worldwide sports and news programmes. Ideally located very close to the Flegere cable car for easy access to the mountains and a choice of ski rental shops nearby providing discounts for hotel guests, Les Lanchers is the perfect place for your Chamonix ski holiday.

+ 33 (0) 450 534 719 hotel-lanchers-chamonix.com

Tailor-made Ski & Snowboarding Holidays to the USA & Canada

ove over Google Glass, Les 3 Vallées is producing a special 3 Vallées edition of SCOTT ski goggles, which will show ski area data in your goggle screen. The goggles work by using Bluetooth to connect them to Les 3 Vallées app (via your smartphone). You can then view your realtime performance statistics (speed, vertical drop, altitude) as you ski along. You’ll also receive live information about

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the ski resort, including a range of alerts in real-time (weather forecasts, run and ski lift opening times). In order to work, the goggles are equipped with Canadian HUD (Head Up Display), and use Recon firmware that is pre-loaded with Les 3 Vallées app when you buy the goggles; so, apparently, they’re ready to work straightaway with no fiddling around to be done. engage. reconinstruments.com

Photo: Jack Affleck /Vail Resorts

Hi-tech 3 Vallées Goggles

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OFF-PISTE SKI ADVENTURES

IN THE ALPS AND BEYOND

British Alpine Champs Return To Méribel Vallée PATRICK THORNE

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he Delancey British Alpine Championships, the most significant date on the British Alpine ski racing calendar, will return to Méribel Vallée in France for the 11th year, from 30 March–11 April 2014, less than a month after the conclusion of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Supported by Delancey for the fourth year, the Senior and Junior Championships take place from 30 March–7 April, followed by the Under-16 and Under-14 Championships from 8 April–11 April. The Championships attract the very best of British skiing talent, as well as – in the Senior competition – some

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of the best World Cup skiers. All races are open to FIS-registered national and international athletes, and will include a big contingent from the British Combined Services. Dave Edwards, CEO of governing body British Ski and Snowboard, said: “The continued support of Delancey as the major sponsor of British Alpine Skiing and of the British Alpine Championships reiterates their commitment to British sport. Méribel Vallée will host the Alpine World Cup in 2015; however, the British Championships has struggled in past years thanks to poor snow, and warm temperatures at the end of the season. The race finish area at 1450m is particularly low for a Championship that occurs during the Easter holiday period.

New Ski Famille Family Chalet amily skiing specialist Ski Famille (skifamille.co.uk) has expanded into the Paradiski region from their main bases in Les Gets and Les Menuires, with a new 20-bed catered chalet, with inclusive childcare in Plagne 1800. There is accommodation for up to five families, largely in family suites. All rooms are en-suite (bathrooms have been renovated for this winter), and there is a large playroom that is the base for Ski Famille’s inclusive childcare. “Adding a chalet to our programme so close to the season is a little nerve wracking, but when I visited Chalet

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Nicole in September I knew families would love both the property and the location,” said Ski Famille’s Managing Director, Chris Thompson. Catered-chalet packages at Ski Famille’s Chalet Nicole in Plagne 1800 start from £795 per adult and £715 per child, including 5 days of childcare, and airport transfers.

Europe’s Highest 5 Hotel Ready To Open he Koh-i-Noor is the name of the 105.6 carat diamond set in the Queen of England’s crown, and it’s now also the name of Val Thorens’ new hotel (hotel-kohinor. com). In Persian, the name translates as “mountain of light”, summing up this hotel’s unusual architecture. Situated on the mountainside, and built largely from glass facades, the Koh-I Nor will be

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Ski Blade and Short Ski Specialist

bathed in light come sunset. A vast south-facing, open-air terrace overlooks Val Thorens’ mountainous bowl, whilst the Prestige Spa offers Valmont treatments and beauty products. The restaurant will delight gourmet diners, with dishes prepared by Yoann Conte, the two Michelin-starred chef. The hotel becomes the resort’s second 5 hotel, following the opening of the Altapura in 2011.


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OCTOBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

THE OMNIA Zermatt

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chalet de la Cloche  VAL D'ISÈRE

The Omnia is perfectly situated in the centre of Zermatt just off on a hidden back street, giving you the bustle of beautiful Zermatt right on your doorstep, but the peace and quiet you would expect from an escape to the mountains. The warm and friendly welcome is simply hard to beat.

Chalet de la Cloche is in the heart of Les Brevieres, Espace Killy, considered to be one of the greatest ski areas in the world. The Ski-Base team has created a wonderful chalet described by Harpers Bazaar as a “haven of sensual indulgence”. It is one of Condé Nast Traveller's top ten chalets in the Alps.

+41 (0)27 966 7171 | info@the-omnia.com | the-omnia.com |

+44 (0)20 3432 8446 | info@ski-base.com | ski-base.com |

HOTEL Avenue Lodge  VAL D'ISÈRE

HOTEL FIREFLY ZERMATT

The luxurious Hotel Avenue Lodge is a superb base in one the world’s great ski areas, the exceptional Espace Killy. You’ll feel welcome from the minute you arrive with valet parking and the concierge service taking care of your luggage. The Hotel Avenue Lodge’s entire team is at your service to make your holiday in our resort an unforgettable stay.

The Hotel Firefly is the first address in Zermatt for travellers who expect luxury and lifestyle of the highest level. In the midst of the breathtaking scenery of the famous glacier ski area, the hotel is only 3 minutes from the Klein Matterhorn cable car and from the centre of Zermatt. Each suite is individual, spacious and luxuriously furnished.

Chalet Fourmiliere in Morzine is a boutique, owner-run, catered ski chalet, which is quickly gaining a reputation as a gastro-chalet. When you stay here your every need will be accommodated and no request is too small for the wonderful hosts and their staff, whose sole intention is to ensure you feel at home in their splendid abode. 

+41 (0)27 967 7676 | firefly-zermatt.com

+33 (0)45 075 4625 | info@chaletfourmiliere.com | chaletfourmiliere.com |

+33 (0)47 900 6767 | contact@hotelavenuelodge.com | hotelavenuelodge.com |

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Résidence & Spa Vallorcine CHAMONIX Mont-Blanc

Chalet Zibeleine La Plagne 1800

Set in the heart of the Chamonix Mont-Blanc valley, in the French Alps, the Résidence & Spa Vallorcine Mont-Blanc offers a cosy atmosphere and a warm welcome. Surrounded by mountains and forests, this newly-opened 5 residence is an ideal place for relaxing and exploring the Mont Blanc region.

Chalet Zibeleine nestles in the trees above La Plagne 1800. The chalet is only a few minutes' walk from the centre of the village where you will find the local bars and restaurants. Another bonus is that just above the chalet on the main road you have a free bus stop (about 20m away). Sleeps eight people and is ideal for small groups.

+33 (0)45 054 7520 | chamonix-vacances.com | residence@vallorcine-mont-blanc.com |

+41 (0)151 625 1921 | info@mountainheaven.co.uk | mountainheaven.co.uk |

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Chalet Fourmiliere  Morzine

 Hôtel l'Héliopic CHAMONIX Mont-Blanc

Located in the Mont-Blanc valley, in the centre of Chamonix, the 4 L'Héliopic Hotel Sweet and Spa is set at the foot of Aiguille du Midi lift. If you come as a couple, family or group for a special event, our 4hotel will take care of your well-being. Whatever the season, on an exceptional setting in the heart of Chamonix, our hotel offers a new level of comfort.

+ 33 (0)45 054 5556 | reservation@heliopic.com | heliopic-hotel-spa.com |


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THE AUSTRIAN TIROL

PATRICK THORNE

ello Tirol and welcome! You must be getting on a bit now, hope you don’t mind us asking, but how old are you? AT: Well I think I’m looking pretty good for 730-years-old! I was previously called the “Land in the Mountains", and it wasn’t until the end of the 12th century that things changed when just four families were competing with each other for domination – the Ultens, Eppans, Andechs and Tirols. By 1284, it was Count Albert of Tirol who prevailed and unified the Land in the Mountains. Over the years I’ve gone through quite a few changes, from coming under the rule of the Habsburg Empire, to Innsbruck enjoying its glory days and, most recently, South Tyrol passing to the Italians after WWI.

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Let’s get this straight where exactly are Tirol’s borders now? AT: To cut a long story short, I cover the majority of western Austria, from St Johann in the east to St Anton in the west. I’ve got Germany’s Bavaria to the north, Italy’s South Tyrol to the south, and my sister Salzburgerland to the east, which means I couldn’t be in a better position for Innsbruck, Munich and Salzburg airports. There’s often confusion around St Anton am Arlberg, which is one of my most famous resorts that also borders the province of Vorarlberg, home to the well-known resorts of Lech and Zürs. Often people mistake Lech as being part of Tirol, or even Vorarlberg as

being part of the Tirol region! I don’t mind, of course. But to clarify I’ve put together this interactive map so you can see where all my top resorts are located: visittirol.co.uk/map. Why choose resorts in the Austria Tirol over France or Switzerland? AT: Now this is an easy question for me to answer. Of course, I am biased, but where else can you find genuine, hearty hospitality blended with true mountain charm that has been nurtured for centuries? The pistes are well-groomed and maintained ready for first tracks in the morning, then add to the mix high-quality accommodation at affordable prices and you are onto a winner! And whilst I am blowing my own (Alpine) horn, Tirol has some of the best après-ski in the Alps! Ah yes the après-ski … I’ve heard many Austrians proclaim they invented aprèsski, so why use a French word? AT: Apparently the phrase was coined by the French around the time of the Chamonix Winter Olympics in 1924, from where shortly afterwards it started to travel eastwards. St Anton was the first resort to adopt the expression and, thus, became the birthplace for Austrian après-ski as we know it. Linguistically I got my own back with the multisyllabic word Gemütlichkeit, which can be used in English and is best used to describe the cheerful welcome you’ll receive in my region. And you can’t get great après-ski without a good dose of Gemütlichkeit! As times and lifestyles have changed, après-ski has adapted and can be used to describe everything

from dancing on the table in ski boots, to sipping cocktails beside a roaring log fire, as well as the vast array of non-ski activities offered, which are all part of the après-ski scene. Is Tirol best suited for beginners or experts? AT: You know me I try to make everybody happy, so I’ve made sure there is a resort to suit all. There are wonderful beginner slopes in St Johann and Seefeld, intermediates will thrive on the slopes of the SkiWelt in the Wilder Kaiser region, whilst advanced skiers won’t be disappointed by the off-piste in Kitzbühel or St Anton. Families succeed on the slopes of Alpbach or Obergurgl, whilst groups enjoy the social scene in Mayrhofen or Söll, and boarders love the parks in Sölden and Westendorf.

Are there any ski in/out resorts in Tirol? AT: Just because I don’t have any purposebuilt resorts, and our resorts have grown-up from mountain villages, it doesn’t mean we don’t have any ski in/out resorts. You only have to look at the high-altitude resorts of Obergurgl and Kühtai to see how convenient doorstep skiing can be, and if you choose the right hotel in Ischgl or Kitzbühel then you can almost ski into the hotel’s lobby! Thanks for being interviewed, and just one more thing … if Tirol could go skiing anywhere else in the world where would you go? AT: Why would I go anywhere else? I have it all here in the Heart of the Alps! For the latest winter offers from the Austrian Tirol go to visittirol.co.uk/offers


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InTheSnow Issue 33 - Nov 2013