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ISSUE 34 | DECEMBER 2013

THE MOST READ THEUK'S UK'S MOST READ SKI MAG SKI&&SNOWBOARDING SNOWBOARDING MAG

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DECEMber 2013 | inthesnow.com

he 2013–14 ski season is upon us! As I write this in earlyNovember, you will see from our cover story, there has been big pre-season snowfalls in the Alps – I just hope it has continued while the magazine is in production and up to your reading this, it would be great to have a third good season in a row. Apart from the season starting for thousands of ski areas in Europe and North America, December is an exciting month as it is when those multimillion Euro spends over the summer come to fruition – new lifts are commissioned, and new mountain restaurants open. This month will see the connection between Lech and its neighbour Warth start operating, expanding the Arlberg ski region to 340km of piste; the new high-speed connection between Verbier and Bruson in Les 4 Vallées; as well as several others, not least the Arosa–Lenzerheide link in Switzerland, creating a ”new” 225km piste area, one of the country’s biggest. Dozens of new hotels and chalets are also opening for the first time in the coming days and weeks. If you have booked your ski holiday for this season already, remember to check the website or download the app from the resort you’re visiting sooner rather than later. Ever more of the big name resorts in the Alps and the Rockies are offering discounts when you book things like lift passes in advance online, sometimes offering quite substantial savings – always worth checking. If you haven’t made plans yet, rest assured there’s still plenty of time, with at least 5 months of the season ahead of us. And what a season: the Sochi Olympics in Russia is now only 2 months away, with some of our best hopes for a ski or board medal in years, the excitement looks set to keep building right into 2014. Enjoy!

Andy Parant

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Snowtastic Start PATRICK THORNE

ould it be three good winters in a row? No one wants to tempt fate, but the early signs are good. Resorts right across the skiing world have been reporting healthy snowfall for November. Some Austrian glacier ski areas, which have already been open 10 weeks since mid-September, have clocked up to 3m of snow – this before others have opened for the season! After up to 50cm of snow fell over one November weekend across the Alps, in many cases down to valley level, excitement quickly reached fever pitch on social media sites, as photo and video appeared. The glacier resorts that are already open have offered mid-autumn powder skiing, and those yet to open have seen pre-season bases building. “There was early snowfall even down to village level in Megève,” said Megève specialist operator Stanford Skiing (stanfordskiing.co.uk). “It's not usual at all to have so much snow this early in Megève and more is forecast, which should build up a great base. We can't wait for the start of the season!” Usually only Tignes is open in France throughout November, but Alpe d’Huez, Courchevel and La Clusaz all opened earlier than planned, giving Francophile skiers and boarders a bit more choice. In Scotland, the ski season had its earliest start for 5 years on 9 November, with the lifts running at Cairngorm after a week of cold temperatures and heavy snow.

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Publisher

DOMINIC KILLINGER dom@inthesnow.com Production Director

MATT NICHOLSON matt@inthesnow.com

“It is great to have enough snow to Crystal Ski’s (crystalski.co.uk) Product and ski on in November as it whets the Distribution Director Ian Davis, who points to appetite of our customers and creates a the company’s research into the connection real buzz of anticipation about the place,” between snowfall and sales, “Our research said CairnGorm Marketing Manager shows quite clearly that snowfall boosts Colin Kirkwood. online searches and consequently bookings.” Substantial pre-season snowfalls were also reported in the Dolomites and Pyrenees. Across the Atlantic a wave of snowstorms in the west allowed dozens of resorts to open before mid-November, with famous resorts including Aspen, Big White, and Whistler all opening up to 12 days earlier because, they said, of the great Most resorts open in early-December, but some early conditions. have been open since November or before, here are These permanent openings some suggestions. for the season followed a remarkable snowfall in Austria: Ischgl, Obergurgl, Sölden the northwest of the North Canada: Big White, Lake Louise, Whistler American continent in Finland: Levi, Pyha, Ruka September, when up to 61cm of France: Alpe d’Huez, Tignes, Val Thorens snow fell in a few days, leading Italy: Bormio, Cervinia, Passo Tonale resorts like Crystal Mountain in Switzerland: Engelberg, Saas-Fee, Zermatt Washington State to open for a USA: Aspen, Killington, Mammoth, Winter Park day to enjoy it before it thawed away again. Check out our Facebook feed or click on Snow at For the British ski industry inthesnow.com for the current situation. a good start to the season, along with the media currently reporting that we’re finally properly out of recession, could be the boost that’s needed for the tentative Of course, we may be tempting fate by return to growth, reported last season, to getting excited too soon and it could all gain hold and accelerate. stop –but let’s hope not. The old adage for the ski trade “it’s the Currently all the signs are looking good snow, stupid,” is echoed more politely by for an epic winter!

Editor

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PATRICK THORNE

MICHELLE SADLER

SALLY BARTLETT

ROCKET BASE

Reporters / Contributors

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Sam Thorne Olivia Parry-Jones Sally Brookes DAVID BLACK

JON WEST

patrick@inthesnow.com Contributing Writer

BEN CLATWORTHY ben@inthesnow.com Operations Director

DEBBIE GABRIEL debbie@inthesnow.com

Seasonaire Columnist

Lorna McGachie

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inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2013

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Coolski At La Plagne BRUSON/VERBIER

BEN CLATWORTHY

The main Verbier ski area is to be linked

a Plagne in the French Paradiski region, one of the world’s three largest ski regions, and which according to the annual International Report on Mountain Tourism receives more skier visits than any other resort on the planet, has launched a new Coolski pass for the coming winter. “The keynote for the new season is definitely “Made-to-Measure”. Our

to the Bruson ski area by a new gondola

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running from Le Châble to Les Mayens de Bruson. The 14-month project is planned to come to an end this month, December, with the opening of the gondola. The Bruson ski area has always been popular with those looking to escape from the crowds, and also bad weather thanks to fact 95% of the area lies below the tree line, making

Coolski Day Pass is a good example,” said Yann Clavillier, Director of La Plagne Public Relations, “Rather than paying for access to the entire resort, it’s designed to provide beginners with a more chilledout experience. Learners are given access to a safe, enclosed zone near their accommodation and a choice of routes at progressive levels.” “We’re also really proud of Plagne Access,” continued Clavillier, “It’s the only ski resort GPS-enabled App in France; it’s available in English and sends you

tailored information and advice before and during your trip, to help you have the best possible experience.” Visitors can enjoy a half-price toboggan pass for the first time this winter, when they buy a 6-day pass for La Plagne or Paradiski, starting from €257 (£215), representing a saving of €25 (£21). The toboggan pass is valid in Plagne Centre for the Colorado Park run, and the new, floodlit Arpette night run, which offers 2.9km of thrills over a 500m vertical drop.

for great skiing in low visibility. It used to take over 45 minutes to get to Bruson from pistes will become accessible to all.

Matthieu Vitr

Verbier, however, with the new lift the 44km

ST ANTON A new child-safe, six-seater chairlift replaces the old Tanzböden T-bar lift on Galzig in St Anton am Arlberg. The lift company has replaced the existing lift with a new, covered and detachable chairlift, which features a child safety system from Doppelmayr. The lift, with an automatic closing and opening system, and foot rest, guarantees the safe transport of every passenger. Up to five children – over 90cm in height – may be transported, with one accompanying adult. Sliding out from the chairlift is impossible thanks to the special construction. The 700m-long lift with 30 chairs, and all-weather protective hoods, can, at a maximum speed, transport up to 2000 persons per hour.

WHISTLER MOUNTAIN Whistler Mountain’s Harmony quad chairlift will be replaced with a new high-speed, detachable, six-pack chairlift for the 2013–14 season. Blackcomb Mountain will also see lift enhancement this winter, with a high-speed quad chairlift being built into a new area in the Crystal Zone, currently accessed by a fixed-grip triple chair. The new lift will be 1708m in length, with a vertical rise of 535m. Skier capacity will increase by 65% to 2400 skiers per hour.

Fourth Rock The Pistes – A Bit More British he fourth Rock the Pistes festival in the Portes du Soleil has been announced for the coming spring from 26–30 March 2014. The festival features concerts on the slopes around the huge ski area, which straddles the French–Swiss border, linking a dozen ski resorts with 650km of piste. All the concerts are free – you just need a lift pass to be able to ski or board to them. There’s also an Off the Pistes festival each evening, and a workshop for emerging talent. In previous events the acts have been mostly French, but a statement from the organisers for the 2014 event says, “We’re making room for UK groups, and, naturellement, plenty of big names from the French pop-rock scene.” The concerts will take place every day in a different resort: Avoriaz, ChamperyLes Crosets, Châtel, Morgins, Morzine-Les Gets. This year’s host resort is Les Gets. Acts so far announced include Horace Andy, the voice of Massive Attack and a first hint of the UK music accent promised for Rock the Pistes 2014, and London-based group The Skints, who produce a great blend of punk, reggae and dub rhythms.

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Arc’teryx UltraLightweight Hoody Arc’teryx has launched a new down range that’s not only super-warm, but also incredibly light. The Cerium is the lightest and warmest piece in the new down range, weighing in at just 275g for the men’s medium size. It can also be packed down to store in an integrated pouch, making it smaller than a bag of sugar. The streamlined, lightweight hoody, which has an RRP of £260, is filled with 850 white goose down, and is intended as a mid-layer in extreme backcountry conditions, or as a standalone piece in cool, dry conditions. The Cerium LT Hoody features strategic placement of synthetic and down insulation, with the Coreloft synthetic insulation placed along the hem, collar, sleeves and underarms— which will retain warmth in the areas prone to contact with moisture. The goose down lines the core and sleeves, where warmth is most needed.


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DECEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

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

Snow & 1.1bn Vertical Metres At Australian Resort DAVID BLACK

lthough the southern hemisphere is fast approaching summer, Perisher ski area in Australia’s New South Wales was once more transformed white. “We’ve had 20cm so far and it’s expected to continue into tomorrow! Can you believe it?” said a resort statement. “It’s nice to see Perisher covered in white again, it makes us think of next season already!” Perisher took the snowy news opportunity to announce some results on

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its Dashboard computer service, which has been coupled with lift passes sold to its visitors in 2013. In total, the programme revealed that participating Perisher guests skied and snowboarded over 1.1bn vertical metres during the 2013 winter season – equivalent to travelling 27.9 times around the world. “Perisher's Dashboard allows you to complete fun challenges to earn badges, track your personal milestones reached on the slopes, to compare and compete with your family and friends if you wish!” a resort statement explained.

SKI SCOTLAND STEVE McKENNA

Earliest Start For 5 Years To Scottish Ski Season airnGorm Mountain kicked off Scotland’s ski season with its earliest start for 5 years, on Saturday 9 November, after a week of low temperatures and snowstorms. It was only 170 days after the last day of the 2012–13 season on 19 May. “Although this is not the earliest we have opened in recent times – we started skiing on 1st November in 2008 – it is great to have enough snow to ski on in November as it whets the appetite of our customers and creates a real buzz of anticipation about the place,” said CairnGorm Marketing Manager Colin Kirkwood. The resort has undertaken significant

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maintenance of its skiing infrastructure during the summer, with 3km of new snow fencing, and a new larger TechnoAlpin TF10 snow cannon. Snowboarders can also look forward to the results of CairnGorm’s acquisition of a Pipe Magician from Corvatsch in Switzerland, which will enable the resort’s pisting team to cut quarter and half pipes, and shape other features, in the terrain park. The park is in its third year of sponsorship by Quiksilver Roxy, and it has been confirmed that the Vans Hi Standard series event, which made its Scottish debut at CairnGorm last season, will return on 5 April 2014.

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Crystal Laud Benefits Of Ski Holidays By Rail PATRICK THORNE

rystal Ski is promoting the benefits of going on one of their ski holiday packages by rail, rather than flying (crystalski.co.uk/travel-by-train). “Admittedly, a plane’s speed is faster, but on a train you can travel in comfort, your skis or snowboard [carriage] is free, and, if you travel on Friday night out and Saturday night back, you get eight days of skiing instead of six,” said a Crystal spokesperson. Skiing by rail offers the same prices as flight packages, but without all the restrictions when you fly, and on arrival in the Alps, the train stations are close to the French Alpine ski resorts, with most being under an hour’s drive away. So if you’re on the Eurostar overnight

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For stockists information call: 01572 770900 www.schoeffel.de

service, you could have a lift pass, ski hire sorted, and be up on the mountain skiing early on Saturday morning, say the company. Rail services also offer free carriage of skis and no baggage weight limit, and Crystal customers can upgrade to Standard premier for £40, which brings many benefits including complimentary drinks, a meal, roomy seats, and newspapers. Direct weekly Eurostar trains run to stations in France serving all resorts in Les 3 Vallées, Paradiski, Espace Killy, and Valmorel. Prices from £499pp (based on two sharing) for 8 days on the slopes, including rail travel on Eurostar, transfers, half-board accommodation at the 3 Hotel Curling in Tignes, departing on 3 January 2014.

The best kept secret of the 3 valleys

Take The Frozen Underground nyone who has sat on a Tube train in grim old London looking at the enticing ski holiday posters will most likely have dreamt themselves away to the pistes, now Anton Vamplew, a well-known British amateur astronomer whose CV includes Blue Peter and The Sky at Night, has made the dream easier with the creation of Frozen Underground maps, featuring ski resorts instead of Tube stops (frozenunderground.com). Bored of the Piccadilly and Northern Lines? Then why not hop onto the Alpine or Vin Chaud Lines instead. Or perhaps you could take the Innsbruck and City, or even the Black Run, and don’t forget to change at Verbier if you’re heading to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. But the design goes beyond a simple

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For further information visit

www.latania.com 180x130.indd 1

17/12/12 14:48:35

imaginary network, and has started to grow in lore and myth. Stations have their own history, and new lines get opened up, where Yetis roam and Marmots work as ski lift attendants. The maps also show the host towns of our own “frozen Olympics” – the Winter Games that take place every 4 years, and which are blatantly copied by the “real” Olympics. The cheek of some people! Frozen Underground maps are available in standard or bespoke designs. The Central Network Map is the main navigational hub, and comes in a choice of three sizes, printed on 249gsm pro gloss board, and mounted on 3mm aluminium composite panels. Other standard maps include Austria and France, and all are available to purchase online.


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inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2013

Ski Cool Offer A New Way To Learn Or Improve ki Cool (skicool.ch), a St Moritz-based ski school, has introduced the UPS system to teach everyone from complete beginners to advanced skiers. Designed to allow a more rapid progression for skiers at every level, the system was developed by Slovenian ski racer and coach Sandi Murovec, and allows beginners to reach parallel skiing on their first day by offering a progression of ski lengths, starting with small sizes and building up gradually. More advanced skiers can utilise the system to improve their skills, whilst even World Cup ski racers, like giant slalom World Champion and World Cup winner Tina Maze, regularly use the special short skis to train with.

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Ski With An Olympic Hopeful Tour operator Ski Weekends (skiweekends.com) is sponsoring Emily Sarsfield, Great Britain’s number one female ski cross competitor, who is hoping to compete at the Sochi Olympics. The company is offering the chance for holidaymakers to ski with Sarsfield in March in Les 3 Vallées, flying out on either the 27 March for a weekend, or the 31 March for a midweek break. The holiday will include 3 full days of expert coaching from Sarsfield, who is also a qualified ski instructor. Prices start from £755pp, and include chalet board accommodation in Reberty at the Chalet Anthony or Cleopatra, flights and transfers.

White Peak’s Lady €2m Makeover Bormio has spent €2m upgrading its 44-year-old cable car, which runs between Bormio 2000 and Cima Bianca. The lift, known as the White Peak’s Lady, is the only one at the famous Italian resort. It carries pedestrians, as well as skiers and boarders, all the way to the top of the slopes from where there is a breathtaking view of the Alps, and a cosy restaurant, Heaven 3000.

More Ski Holiday Choice For Solos Singles travel specialist Solos Holidays (soloholidays.co.uk) has added Sauze d’Oulx – part of the extensive Milky Way ski area, with access to over 400 km of piste – (7 nights from £1059pp); Serre Chevalier (7 nights from £1099pp); and the attractive glacier resort of Kaprun, with its lively après-ski scene (7 nights from £1159pp), to its 2013–14 programme. The company was awarded Best Singles Holiday Tour Operator for the third year running at the 2013 British Travel Awards last month.


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ZillertalTourismusGmbH and ANDRE SCHONHERR

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S T R O P S W O N S

E K A MYOU Y P P A H t *Now I

PATRICK THORNE

kiing is the perfect sport for your overall well-being, because when skiing in healthy mountain air all of your muscles are trained. It differs from many other sports that only put a strain on individual muscle groups. In addition, the atmosphere in the snowcovered mountain world influences your mood for the better, and this collective experience with like-minded enthusiasts is a further boost to your mental and spiritual well-being. Of course, anyone who has been on a ski holiday knows all that instinctively, but now it has been scientifically proven, by studies conducted by the University of Salzburg and the University of Innsbruck, both in Austria. What we might not realise is that our ski holiday not only brings benefits while we’re on the slopes, but also improves

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Chalets

our ”coordinative abilities” giving an increase in safety in our everyday life, and enhancing our quality of life in the longer term. This fact was confirmed by the University of Salzburg in an extensive study headed by Prof Dr Erich Müller, which found that Alpine skiing is also among the sports with a relatively low risk of injury but increases strength, speed and stamina. Both studies found that going up into the mountains, being closer to the warming sun, and getting away from the long shadows of cities, has positive effects on the psyche of a person of any age. Exercising in the oxygen-rich mountain air in bright sunlight is an ideal combination, stimulating the senses, strengthening muscles, and increasing the number of red blood cells, which promotes oxygen content Prof Dr Schobersberger, Director of the Institute for Sports, Alpine Medicine and Health Tourism in Innsbruck, found that

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tifica ’s Scien

l ly P ro v

the constant alternation between muscular exertion and relaxation in a day on the slopes was also good for you. This sustained cycle of action/inaction improves the metabolism, and has a positive effect on blood circulation. The muscle relaxation phases on the ski lift are vital to ensure optimal fitness gains. The Zillertal region in the Tirol has enthusiastically reported the findings of the studies, which it believes highlights the value of a holiday in one of their villages – leading to spiritual benefits as well as physical ones. “Sitting together sociably in the best restaurants in the Alps and relaxing on the large sun terraces with a view of the snow-covered peaks of numerous threethousand-metre mountains are balm for the soul,” said a statement from the region. Together with gaining vitality, targeted regeneration is also particularly important for those on holiday. “Swimming, relaxing … this is simply part

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of a successful stay. Targeted treatments from the standpoint of sports medicine are by all means useful,” said Prof Dr Schobersberger in an interview. Spa facilities, increasingly common inresort, are seen as just an added bonus to the benefits of a mountain sports holiday. Again, there’s the combination of activity and relaxation with the added availability of body treatments and relaxing massages. Spas provide atmospheric lighting effects and stimulating fragrances, which brings about a sense of tranquillity, replenishing your vitality and energy during your ski holiday, and hopefully back at home also. The studies conclude that ski holidays are the perfect combination of muscular exertion on the slopes, and muscle relaxation on the lifts. Furthermore, sleep is regenerative at altitude in the oxygen-rich mountain air. Or to make a long scientific report short – snow sports make you healthy, and happy.

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New SkiAquariaz Ticket For Avoriaz voriaz has announced it will offer a special lift pass from 29 March–6 April 2014. The 6-day SkiAquariaz ticket is priced at €156 for adults/€114 for children, around 35% less than the usual Portes du Soleil pass.

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The special ticket will allow holders to ski in the morning, then gain admission to the tropical swimming pool complex, Aquariaz, which opened in 2012, in the afternoon. Last season Avoriaz received 70,000 visitors to this new facility in the heart

of the resort, which offers a range of aquatic activities for all ages in tropical surroundings. Water is heated to 30°C, and the complex includes 1570 real plants, including 183 trees, totalling more than 260 species, which were all brought over from Cambodia.

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PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

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One of the world’s best known ski resorts, and a year-round mecca for mountain sports, Chamonix Mont Blanc is hard to beat. But it’s not all tough skiing, this classic mountain town and huge ski area has something for every taste.

CHAMONIX MONT BLANC TOURIST OFFICE

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Perhaps surprisingly, 50% of Chamonix Mont Blanc’s winter visitors don’t even ski, but simply enjoy the atmosphere of this vibrant Alpine town. The pedestrian centre offers a wide selection of attractive shops and boutiques, sunny street cafés – perfect for watching the world go by, and a vast gastronomic choice, including three Michelin-starred restaurants!

It’s no secret that the Chamonix valley is considered a mecca for freeriders, and it certainly attracts some of the world’s best skiers, although you’ll rarely meet them on a piste! But there’s plenty for all, and Balme and Les Houches offer wonderful family skiing and fun terrain parks, whilst Brevent–Flégère has a variety of southfacing intermediate slopes, and breathtaking panoramas.

As you’d expect from one of Europe’s top resorts, there are world-class events happening all season. Highlights include the Freeride World Tour (freerideworldtour.com), which rolls into town from 25 January 2014, where the world’s greatest freeriders show-off their skills on specially chosen near vertical ”slopes”; and for the latest in music and dance the Black Weekend (blackweekend.com) is back from 7–9 March 2014.

Easy To Reach

Loads To See & Do

Snow sure

Located within an hour of Geneva airport, with a regular shuttle service to the resort, Chamonix also has a train station in the town, and has easy road access via the European motorway network. Once you’re there, neighbouring Italy and Switzerland are within 30 minutes’ drive, which is why the Mont Blanc Unlimited lift pass also includes skiing in Verbier (Switzerland) and Courmayeur (Italy).

Chamonix’s excellent resort facilities include an ice skating rink, indoor climbing walls, swimming pools, a cinema with Englishspoken films, and several superb spas. You can ride the Montenvers cog railway up to the Mer de Glace (sea of ice); soar to the dizzy heights of 3842m in the Aiguille du Midi cable car; hike on prepared winter trails; or try your hand at dog sledding, skijoring (with horses), or paragliding. A free shuttle bus and train service runs around the valley.

Of Chamonix’s skiing 90% is located above 2000m, which makes it a very safe choice for early and late skiing. The highest area is the Grands Montets, 3300m, which offers exceptional conditions from December through to early-May.

To learn more about everything Chamonix Mont Blanc has to offer, simply visit chamonix.com


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DECEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

Ladies, Switch Your Skis To Match Your Outfit! ince its creation in 2007, Ski Republic has never stopped innovating to revolutionise the ski rental market. For 2013–14, in partnership with ski brand Coreupt, Ski Republic is launching a new range of colour coordinated skis, the ”Up & Down” range. “This woman’s ski available in six different colours: pink, baby blue, grey, black, chocolate and green,” said a statement on behalf of the company, “Ladies, this means you can match your skis to your outfit!” The skis are offered in Ski Republic’s Performance Plus range, with prices from €15 per day for a pack (skis + poles + boots + helmet). Ski Republic operate 60 stores, mostly in leading French resorts, but also in Pas de la Casa (Andorra), and new this winter, Verbier.

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Expertise and Advice Since 1965... Spectacular New Davos Hotel With its spectacular design, a brand new Hotel InterContinental Davos (intercontinental.com) opens its doors this month, and will become a landmark at the famous Swiss resort. The luxury hotel not only has a unique architecture when viewed from the outside, but is also in a peaceful location, with fantastic views when looking out from inside. The hotel has 216 rooms, 25 suites, three restaurants, conference facilities, as well as a health and fitness centre, and outdoor and indoor swimming pools.

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That end of the day conversation about who went where, who went fastest, and who did the hardest run, will no longer be a subject of debate in Jungfrau this winter. Everyone will know because the Jungfrau Winnercard allows skiers to create a personal record, with videos recorded, and badges earned for accomplishments on the slopes, such as distance skied or metres descended. On the slopes you can touch your Winnercard on the sensors at the Mürren, Grindelwald, and Wengen ski areas, and the journey down is tracked by cameras before being uploaded to your online profile.

New At Kitzbühel Kitzbühel in the Austrian Tirol has announced yet another big spend on a new hi-tech lift system for the coming winter, as part of its annual “tens of millions of Euros” spend. Taking its hourly uplift capacity through the 90,000 mark, the new €12m, ten-seater Wagstättbahn gondola, in the Jochberg sector, features the now obligatory heated seating. Kitzbühel now has 51 lifts, and 170km of piste, making it one of the largest cable car operators in Austria.


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See Your Way In Resort Coleman, a company with over 100-years’ experience in lighting, has introduced a new range of practical headtorches, including the ultra-bright CHT15 Headlamp perfect for finding your way around a ski resort hands-free in the dark. Weighing only 75g, and with an output of 150 lumens, this practical and versatile headtorch is constructed with high quality components, and features ultrabright and long-lasting CREE LED bulbs. Available from Go Outdoors at £30.

inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2013

St Anton Goes ”Country & Western” BEN CLATWORTHY

n an unusual twist, St Anton am Arlberg (stantonamarlberg. com) has decided to kick-off the 2013–14 winter season with an American country music festival, and new season ski testing. Under the title “Country meets Snow”, plaid shirts, cowboy boots, jeans and hats will be converging with skis, helmets and skiwear from 6–8 December. During the opening weekend,

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visitors can test the latest models of skis and boards at the base station of the Galzigbahn lifts – where up to 20 brands and manufacturers will be represented. “With the appropriate musical accompaniment, loud “Yeeehaaas” will be heard from the lips of many as they head down their first downhill of the season,” said a statement from the resort. Events begin on Friday evening with the Wicked Wildcats in concert at arlberg-well.com. Bands nominated for the Country Star

This winter, Jasper has a lot to celebrate. For starters, it’s Marmot Basin’s 50th anniversary and our Jasper in January Festival turns 25 years young. It’s like one big birthday celebration all season long! This is one party you won’t want to miss. Join us at jasper.travel/winter

Award 2013, including Rick Allen, Franz Lippert, Lewis Niderman and Band, Keana Rose, and Ben and Carmen Steneker, will be performing on Saturday from 11am to 3pm on the slopes at Galzig and at Gampen. Almost simultaneously, the “Iron-dance” will be danced as a line dance in the WM Hall down in the valley. The musical highpoint of the weekend will take place on Saturday evening with the Country Star Awards, as well as an appearance by Marco Gottardi and his Silver Band.

#MyJasper

This Swiss performer is already a celebrated country music star in Europe, and will be presenting the prizes in the evening.


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DECEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

Independent Surveyors Confirm SkiWelt Dimensions PATRICK THORNE

debate on whether the amount of piste kilometres claimed by ski areas is really true has had a new real world result, with Austria’s giant SkiWelt region employing an independent surveying company to prove that it really offers the 279km of piste it claims it does.

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The issue came to a head last year when ski resort journalist and cartographic expert Christoph Schrahe (ski-weltweit. de) used online digital mapping to compare leading ski areas’ claimed terrain sizes with a precise online measurement, he found most did not measure up. A resulting media furore in Austria and Switzerland (although the issue is worldwide) led to calls for

standardised measurements, when it was found that some ski areas were counting wide ski slopes three times, due to the different lines that could be taken on them, and earlier this year the Ziller valley announced it was reducing the size of its claimed terrain. The surveying company that the SkiWelt has employed, however, found that it has exactly measured its slope

length correctly. “Now we have it in black and white: SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser– Brixental really is Austria’s largest interconnected ski resort. Precisely 279 kilometres of slope has been calculated in the SkiWelt by an external surveying company. Leaving no doubt that no other ski region can offer more uninterrupted skiing pleasure,” said a statement from the area.

Chamonix Lift Upgrade Plan The Compagnie des Mont Blanc lift company, which runs several ski areas in the Chamonix valley, has announced proposals for major lift upgrades and improvements over the next 5 years (2014–19) as the first stage of a 40-year, €477m investment programme.The proposals, which need to be accepted by Chamonix’s mayor in December if they are to goahead, include plans for three gondolas, two chairlifts, and two new beginners areas.


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inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2013

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Altitude FESTIVAL Lines Up For 2014 BEN CLATWORTHY

he Altitude Comedy Festival (altitude festival. com) is back for its sixth incarnation in the spring. It takes place in Mayrhofen in the Austrian Tirol from 31 March–4 April 2014. Although “an arena filling headliner that cannot be announced yet” will perform (this year it was Eddie Izzard), a phenomenal line-up has been already publicised, including the return of John Bishop, star at

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this year’s event, as well as Tommy Tiernan, Terry Alderton, Nina Conti, and originals Andrew Maxwell and Marcus Brigstocke. “It’s not often you get to see an O2 filling act in a 100-capacity bar,” was the Evening Standard’s comment. Prices range from £155 for a festival pass for admission to all events; (from) £349 for a festival pass plus 4 or 5 accommodation; or £250 for the pass, a reserved table at all four gala shows, and the chance to meet acts performing at Altitude.

Early Signs Of Confusion Over Colorado Legalised Marijuana Law ith the ski season a little over a week old in Colorado, the first signs of ski area attitudes to the legalisation of personal marijuana law in the state are beginning to emerge. A report by CBS Denver said that several visitors to Arapahoe Basin had had their ski passes confiscated by ski patrol for “public use” of marijuana. The new law allows for personal use of a small amount of marijuana, but explicitly prohibits use in a public area – such as on the ski slopes. Resort communities across Colorado are currently deciding whether to allow licenced shops to sell marijuana in their towns. Some commentators are also noting that most Colorado ski areas are located on US Federal land, and possession, as

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well as consumption, of marijuana on Federal land is against US national law, and can result in a fine or jail sentence. However, there is also debate about where responsibility lies to police these new laws – the ski area operators, the state or the national authorities. There is also debate as to whether the new laws will help or hinder Colorado’s $1.5bn (£9.3bn) tourism industry.

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ronplatz ski area in the Dolomites has shown its commited to rail access to its 100km of slopes; with a

€25m spend on a new railway station. The station is perfectly connected to the ski slopes, with a gondola lift linking direct to the station platform, and a new 7.2km-long ski slope reported to have been created to allow ski in/out access to and from the slopes. “This ambitious project connects the slopes to the local railway network making getting to the slopes much more relaxed and scenic whilst also reducing traffic on the roads,” said a statement on behalf of the area. kronplatz.com


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DECEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

Jungfrau Announce Deep Purple Gig he Jungfrau region in Switzerland has announced rock legends Deep Purple, who were formed in 1967 and whose hits include Smoke on the Water, as the headline act of SnowpenAir, the country’s biggest winter music event, which is taking place from 5–6 April 2014. This event, 2000m above sea level in Kleine Scheidegg, can only be reached by a journey up the spectacular mountain railway, and from the venue there are spectacular views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. Tickets, now on sale, cost CHF110 (approx. £76), and the combi-ticket includes the return train ride from Interlaken Ost to Kleine Scheidegg (2nd class). Jungfrau Railways (jungfrau.ch) expect that approximately 9000 people will attend the concert and it will quickly sell out.

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New Combination Lift & Gondola A ”combination lift”, with eightseat gondola cabins and six-seat chairlifts, complete with pull-down weather protection hoods, will open this December on the slopes of Adelboden in Switzerland. The new lift will run from Geils to Hahnenmoosstrasse, rising 244 vertical metres over its 1386m length, taking just 6 minutes to reach Hahnenmoosstrasse. The lift travels at 5m/s, and the lift’s carrying capacity will be 2400 people per hour.

Park & Pipe Appoint Manager British Ski and Snowboard has appointed ex-Olympic half-pipe snowboarder Lesley McKenna as its new Park and Pipe Programme Manager. This new position has been announced with less than 4 months to go until the start of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.McKenna, who originates from Aviemore and grew up skiing in Scotland, became a member of the British Ski Team, taking the British National Giant Slalom champion title in 1994, before switching over to snowboarding aged 19. She continued on to become Scotland’s best known snowboarder and a triple Olympian.

Speed Day In Les Deux Alpes Les Deux Alpes (les2alpes.com) has announced a free-of-charge special ”speed day” for any expert skiers visiting in March (date TBC).“This is a unique occasion for skiers to try to break their speed records in a safe environment!” said a resort statement. Skiers will meet at 11am at the top of the Sautet chairlift, before trying to get to their maximum speed on La Fée run, which they can try three times. Pros and ski patrols will be there to give advice, and also talk about speed and safety in general.


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inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2013

Man Clocks Up 46K Runs Indoors A 57-year-old skier nicknamed “Downhill Dave” has completed an astonishing 46,008 ski runs, but has never seen snow outside of Manchester. Downhill Dave – real name Dave Knowles – is a taxi marshall at the nearby Trafford Centre, but spends much of his time on the piste at Manchester’s Chill Factore indoor snow centre, visiting most days. He skis so much he has, in fact, skied a massive 8282km – the same distance, as the crow flies, as flying from London to California, or skiing down Mt Everest 100 times. “I caught the bug after a skiing lesson at Chill Factore 3½ years ago and I’ve never looked back,” said Dave, who says he usually skis down the slope an average of 18 times per hour, and normally books 3-hour sessions. “I’ve never skied anywhere except Chill Factore, but I'd like to save up to go and try my hand at a ski resort one day soon.”

Ski Hosting Court Case Postponed BEN CLATWORTHY

he latest stage in a court case between British tour operator Le Ski and the École du Ski Français (ESF) has been postponed to next spring at the request of both parties. The court case surrounds the issue of ”ski hosting” or ”social skiing”, where a representative from the holiday company takes guests on familiarisation tours of the slopes, showing them good lunch spots and how to avoid queues. The ESF argues that this breaks French employment law on ski

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guiding, which requires a ”ski host” to have a certain level of ski teaching qualification to lead such social groups. Le Ski, supported by most British tour operators to France, argue that as its hosts do not instruct, teach, or train the guests, go on steep runs or go off-piste, this requirement does not apply. An initial local court case in the spring found in favour of the ESF who were awarded damages from Le Ski, in what is being seen as a test case for an issue that has flared up several times over the past 30 years. Le Ski has appealed the original decision, and on 6 November the

Court of Appeals in Chambery (France) agreed to defer the hearing, about social skiing being illegal, to mid-May 2014, at the joint request of the ESF and Le Ski. Both parties concur in considering that the European legal issues raised by the case are complex, and require careful examination. This highlights the importance of the decision the Court will take, and of the need to ensure the best possible preparation of such decision by all parties concerned. Social skiing in various forms is offered in many ski resorts around the world, without involving ski schools. It does not appear to

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he strange thing about doing a winter season is that often total strangers from all corners of the Earth will be thrust together in the smallest of apartments, where they’ll quickly earn the housemate label, and will remain as such for the entire time you spend in the Alps. French, Swedish, Australian, such a small place harbours a whole wealth of culture, which conveniently results in you having a place to crash wherever you travel to in the world! Whenever I travel to a ski resort I never feel as if I’m in a particular country, but

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Seasonaire

[see-zuhn-air]

One who works a season in the Alps in order to ski or board a lot Matt and Nick were your typical powder junkies, spending hours each evening scouring the piste map trying to find the best off-piste routes around Les 3 Vallées. Armed with a shovel, a set of radios, and an avalanche kit, they would head out into the most secluded parts of the mountain, to create the first tracks on the fresh, powdery snow, religiously filming their feats on the GoPro as they went along. Katy was more suited to the ground up, mogul-infested slopes, where most people find themselves performing unintended aerial tricks off (I should probably include myself in that statement). She had a knack for swerving round the ugly mounds; it was almost as if there wasn’t anything obstructing her. I always struggled to keep up, and to this day the site of a mogulcovered slope fills me with dread. As it is at any party held at a rundown, cramped venue, it’s the people who make the experience a good one. When I go to Tignes this time around I’ll be heading there alone, meaning that the seasonaires I’ll be living with are completely new. Let’s hope they like to wash up!

www.basi.org.uk Tignes Tourist Office

in a hinterland where the only common interest is a love of skiing. But as long as the snow is thick, everything else is just fine. My Val Thorens apartment was tiny. I’m talking no bigger than your average front room, but with a kitchen, bathroom, and a thin corridor for the bunk beds, it was liveable. There was absolutely no privacy whatsoever, and at night the living area transformed into a bedroom, where the fold-up beds squeezed into any available gap. The shower was particularly hot though, which in the midst of a freezing cold blizzard was the one luxury any of us would have asked for. Over the season I’d heard many different horror stories from seasonaire friends, of how their roommates refused to participate in any cleaning, never washed a single item of clothing, or would come in at a godforsaken hour every morning blind drunk. I was lucky enough to live with two close friends of mine, Matt and Nick, who

knew much better than to leave our place in a mess, and we were eventually joined by Katy and her dog Konny who, although new to us, became a great friend and an ideal ski companion.

Seek the Snowflake

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inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2013

Saas-Fee Fully Nuclear-Free Alliance in the Alps, a network of communities campaigning for the implementation of the Alpine Convention. In 1994, Saas-Fee became the first tourist destination in Switzerland to introduce a pay-per-sack rubbish scheme, and in 2003 Saas-Fee won the Winter Sport Diamond, an award presented by the Netherlands Ski Federation to the most sustainable ski resorts in the Alps. Saas-Fee is home to the first hotel in Switzerland, FerienArt Resort and Spa, to meet Minergie building energy standards, and a project designed to secure the future of agriculture in the Saas valley. It’s also focusing on promoting the use of regional products and the savings that will bring in transport costs and carbon emissions. Many of Saas-Fee’s chimneys have been fitted with particle filters, which significantly reduce the amount of

BEN CLATWORTHY

aas-Fee has announced that it has phased out its usage of nuclear energy, and for the past year the resort has covered all its energy needs with 100% NaturEnergie – clean hydroelectricity generated in the Valais. Hydroelectricity is used to power the resort’s ski facilities (including its snow cannons), as well as its hotels, restaurants, homes, and shops. “This represents yet another important element in Saas-Fee’s sustainability strategy, which it has pursued for several decades,” said a resort statement. Saas-Fee made the decision to remain car-free all the way back in 1951, and the resort was a founding member of the

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particulate matter in the air. Its aim is to become the first community in the world to be completely free of particulate matter. Saas-Fee has set itself the goal of reducing its 1990 levels of municipal carbon emissions by 30% by 2020, and by the same date increase the share of renewables in the energy mix from 10% to 20%, as well as cut total energy consumption – based on population figures and overnight stays in 2012 – by 10%. Saas-Fee will also be building a solar district-heating system, with underground storage as part of its project for the Aqua Allalin, a leisure centre and youth hostel complex. “The Saas-Fee community has always lived and breathed its green principles and was committed to promoting sustainability long before it became fashionable,” concluded the statement.

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inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2013

Ski Fest IS BACK PATRICK THORNE

he week-long Ski Fest event is back from 22–29 March 2014, a festival of skiing that’s perfect if you want a chance to socialise and make new friends, whilst skiing with likeminded people, gaining new skills, and pushing your ski boundaries. Alex Leaf from World Class Skiing will be running training days along with several instructors from the British Association of Snowsports Instructors (BASI), and participants can try their hand at racing, with specialist coaching from the highest internationally

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qualified ski teachers whilst gaining their invaluable knowledge, before entering into fun synchro championships, dual slaloms and team relays. To join in Ski Fest, prices start from £1299pp, based on two sharing, and include return flights from London Gatwick, transfers, 7-nights’ half-board at the 4 Hotel Cachette in Les Arcs 1600, France, as well as a 6-day Les Arcs lift pass, standard skis and boot hire, or ski carriage (Thomson Airways), all the coaching and fun competitions, an entertainment programme, plus the chance to test 2014–15 season Salomon and Atomic skis before (almost) anyone else (crystalski.co.uk).

Snow-Camp Raises £60,000 At 10th Anniversary Charity Ball outh charity SnowCamp celebrated its 10th Anniversary in style last week, along with 230 guests in the King George suite at The Brewery, London. Snow-Camp Patron and long-term supporter of the charity Graham Bell compered the evening, which was attended by a host of snow sports stars, ski industry partners, funders, corporate sponsors, and Snow-Camp’s friends and supporters from the past 10 years. The event raised £60,000 from the charity auction that took place on the night. Over the past 10 years Snow-Camp programmes have grown from supporting just 13 young people from South London in 2003, to over 3500 young people across London and beyond in 2013. The charity can take young people from beginners,

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Advanced Dancing For Skiers he largest provider of dance breaks worldwide, Club Dance Holidays (clubdanceholidays.co.uk), is offering a ”ski-jive” holiday in Austria this winter. The week, from 9–16 March 2014, will combine high-energy dance classes and evening parties with time on the slopes, and is based in the Tirolean resort of

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Niederau, part of the newly-connected Ski Juwel area, with 145km of piste. The dancing is suitable for those with some experience through to advanced dancers. The holiday is based at the 3 Hotel Staffler in Niederau, with prices from £590pp, including free daily guiding for intermediate skiers, all-inclusive pass to the 7-night event, flights and resort transfers.

Jenny Rutterford

right through to ski and snowboard instructors, and full-time apprentices, with a range of vocational qualifications, work experience, and employment opportunities along the way. Chemmy Alcott and Graham Bell both gave inspiring speeches about the importance of the charity in the snow sports world, and encouraged guests to support wherever they could.


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S R E N T R A P MY

T S R I FIME ON THE T

SNOW Sam Thorne

any of us have been here, we’re experienced skiers or boarders, we know we love it, but we’ve got a partner who has never skied before. We want to take them on a ski holiday, we hope they’ll love it too, but we’re worried they won’t. The answer? A learn-toski session at an indoor snow centre! I live in Scotland, which is lucky to have its own ski areas of course, but for year-round snow where my partner and I are based in Edinburgh, the easiest and cheapest answer is the Snow Factor indoor snow centre in Glasgow. The centre’s website quotes: “When it comes to skiing, there’s a difference between what you think it’s going to be like, what it’s really like, and what you tell your friends it was like.” This could not be a more accurate description of my partner’s first experience of a lesson. Having never been skiing before, she expected nothing more than to fall over

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a lot trying to get the hang of some also relearning a few of the fundamental battered old rental equipment. details of skiing myself. But from the The lesson moment we covered were handed, everything what happily from that first turned out to experience be, very wellof standing maintained gear, nervously on Snow Factor offers a wide range of lessons for our instructor two skis, to beginners to experts, priced from £29 (adults) and £25 (children) for a 90-minute lesson. Try (a friendly chap making that skiing and boarding sessions are available to by the name of first turn down decide which you prefer for £30. You can ”learn Stuart) quickly the beginner to ski in a day” for £159. Private lessons, and made sure she slope. A few special classes in technique such as freestyle, are also available. For winter opening times go to the was correctly more of these website: snowfactor.com. kitted up, and lessons and the showed her how visitor is ready If you live in England the Go Ski Go Board it all worked. to purchase a campaign, initiated by Snowsport England, offers beginner taster sessions at indoor snow centres On hitting lift pass and put south of the border: goskigoboard.org.uk. the gentle their newlybeginner’s acquired skills slope, the class to use. started by looking at a few manoeuvres Within half an hour my partner was to direct ourselves and adjust our speed, confident enough to start attempting to and I was surprised to find that I was turn, and before the end of the session she

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had gone from having never been on skis before to performing successful turns and stops – a keen new skier was born! When the time came to return our rentals we were discussing plans for more lessons, and perhaps a ski trip to Aviemore over the winter season. For a reasonable price a couple could go to a few weekly or monthly visits, and be a confident skier within the space of a few months. From there they can start planning holidays in the snow, confident that they’ve got the skill set to enjoy their trip. Overall, it was a hugely enjoyable experience for both of us, and my initial fears that my partner might be one of those odd people who might not enjoy snow sports (not that I ever had any real doubts) were laid to rest. The whole experience was, in fact, summed up for us by a reassuring shout from a young platoon of primary school kids, battling each other to get on the lift as we shyly shuffled onto the snow, “Skiing’s easy pal!”

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28

PATRICK THORNE

bit like global warming, the state of skiing is a subject that may, but probably doesn’t, keep you awake at night: are the number of people who ski gradually going up, staying the same, or coming down? If it is coming down, should we be worried that winter sports are in decline? It sounds like a bad thing, and potentially means that, with less money in the pot, ski areas become unsustainable and shut down; on the other hand, however, you could argue in the medium term it means less congested slopes, and lower prices as resorts battle for market share. The consensus for several decades has been that the number of people skiing in Europe and North America is ”mature” or ”static”, with the numbers giving up on snow sports slowly replaced by new blood, but no real growth and, in fact, a gradual decline.

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If you want growth you need to head to China. Laurent Vanat is a gentleman who keeps track of skier numbers around the world, and publishes the excellent annual International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism, which is free to download from his site vanat.ch. “Unfortunately, we have no European annual statistics of skiers that would enable us to confirm the assumptions, but there are hard facts that give us clues, and the clues show a declining number of skiers,” says Vanat, who says more research is needed. “For example skier visits in Switzerland are down – although it’s not known if the decline is because there are less skiers or there’s a stable number but they’re skiing less often. There’s also an ageing in Europe and of the baby-boomer generation, which has been identified as the major supplier of skiers in the US, and the trend is the same here.” The signs are not good closer to

home either: the number of children going school skiing trips is at a 22-season low after many years of decline, dropping to 115,700 last season, according to an annual report from Crystal, the lowest since the 1990–91 ski season when 110,000 school children were travelling. This is ascribed to pressures from competing holiday types and on parental incomes. Of course, more children may be skiing in family groups than 22 years ago. So, along with lots of wringing of skimitted hands, what’s to be done? Well, the little research that has been done seems to indicate that people are put off skiing not because they don’t want to ski, but because they find the idea too expensive, too complicated, and (looking silly falling over) too humiliating. So if we do want more people to go skiing, the answer seems to be make it more affordable, less complicated, and less psychologically damaging!

You Can Ski! The Portes du Soleil, a giant ski region straddling the French-Swiss border and linking the slopes of more than a dozen individual resorts, has put a lot of thought into developing a programme to get more people skiing. “We came up with the idea of a beginner pack exclusively for adults, because there are less and less skiers. Schools seem to organise fewer ski trips, so there are less children that have the opportunity to learn to ski, and hence more adults that have never skied before,” said the spokeswoman for the region, Cosima Page. The scheme promises participants they’ll learn to ski safely, on a dedicated piste away from the busy areas with a qualified instructor, amongst other adults learning to ski. Everything is booked through the ski school with 3- or 6-day options; the price includes lift pass and a voucher for equipment hire. In the first lesson poles aren’t use to maximise


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simplicity, and by the sixth day the instructor takes new skiers on an easy ski tour of the Portes du Soleil to show them how much they have learned. “It definitely generates holidays, and people come back the following year to improve,” says Page.

Ski For Free The UK’s largest tour operator Crystal, which reports that about 5% of its clients each season are new to winter sports, has been running a scheme to get first-time ski or snowboarders started by offering free tuition, equipment hire and lift pass, at 11 resorts in seven countries during low season weeks (weeks commencing 4 and 11 January, and the 15 and 22 March 2014) for several years now. The price for a family of four (two adults, two children) of first-time skiers is from £1155 – less than £290 each – including flights, transfers, half-board, lift passes,

lessons, and equipment hire for the autumn, which aims to deliver high week. About 350 holidays are offered value, straightforward, all-inclusive and the deal always sells out. lessons at England’s indoor snow “We’ve got strong evidence that skiers centres and dry slopes for first-timers. have stayed On a global away due scale the to financial International constraints Ski Federation’s rather than World Snow Day, falling out of each January love with the for the past sport. Skiers three seasons, are pricehas encouraged sensitive,” resorts around More Information said Ian the world to Davis, organise events crystalski.co.uk Product and deals to goskigoboard.org.uk Director at encourage more portesdusoleil.com Crystal Ski. people to try world-snow-day.com “There is a skiing. It has real focus been a huge across the success, with industry on attracting new or lapsed many hundreds of resorts taking part, skiers to the market.” and participant numbers in the hundreds Snowsport England has launched of thousands. Among the highlights at a ”Go Ski Go Board” promotion this the last event were 99 Norwegian ski

areas running their lifts for free, and closer to home, at Cairngorm free skiing lessons were offered. The contribution of indoor snow centres, of which there are now more than 50 in 25 countries, should not be under-estimated. The research organisation Snow365.com estimated that more than 30m people worldwide have learned to ski on indoor snow over the past two decades, so it’s no surprise that many leading resorts and tour operators advertise heavily in them, and in some cases employ staff and even pay for the construction of them. The Snow Centre at Hemel Hempstead alone entertains the children of around 250 local schools on its slopes each year. Will all this stop the rot? It remains to be seen, and winter sports may to a certain extent be at the mercy of longterm trends on demographics, wealth and climate. In the meantime, it has to be admitted that there’s nothing better than finding yourself at the top of a fresh empty slope.


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Mountago.com Revamped Mountago.com, a kind of TripAdvisor for skiers, has a new look for 2013–14, and now features reviews for more than 250 mountain resorts worldwide. The new look site is soon to be followed by an App version. “The site allows skiers to spend more time doing what they want to do in the mountains, rather than searching for it when they get there – whether it’s finding the perfect holiday destination, identifying the right ski school or grabbing a drink after a long day,” said founder Chris Purcell.

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inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2013

Six Cities Bid For 2022 Winter Olympics BEN CLATWORTHY

ith 2 months to go to the Sochi Olympics, six cities are already looking 8 years ahead, and have confirmed they’re bidding to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Scandinavian capitals Oslo and Stockholm will go head to head, along with Eastern European options, Krakow in Poland, Kazakhstan's Almaty, and Ukraine's Lviv. There are no US candidates, the

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sixth biggest is from 2008 Summer Games host Beijing, which is home to a dozen small urban ski areas, and plans to include a more mountainous neighbouring ski region as part of its bid. Almaty previously bid for 2014, and Stockholm, like Beijing, is a former Summer Olympics host. With the last Games in 2010 staged in British Columbia, Canada, the next in Sochi, Russia, on the European/Asian border, and the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, it would seem a

return to a more westerly European location for 2022 might favour the Scandinavian bids, although it’s early days. Oslo, which hosted the 1952 Games and still holds the record for attendance, says it will use existing infrastructure, and spend only around €3bn (£2.5bn), around 6% of the estimated cost of the Sochi Olympics. The last western European Games were in Torino, Italy, in 2006. Although there were various suggestions of bids from ski regions

in the Alps and Pyrenees, none made it to the final bidding process, usually as local referendums resulted in the local population voting against bidding for the Games. Munich was the last such city to pull out after the population voted against its bid.

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Grey Mountain Opens At Red Mountain PATRICK THORNE

nternationally, the little-known ski area of Red Mountain in Canada is about to unveil one of North America’s biggest ski area expansions this winter, with the opening of its new Grey Mountain terrain, which will be accessed by a new fixed-grip Poma quad chairlift. The Grey Mountain expansion at this British Columbian resort makes Red the eighth largest ski area in Canada, and, for comparison, the 18th largest in the USA out of approximately 500 resorts. “Grey Mountain, with 360-degree skiing off the top, marks one of the single largest expansions of an existing resort in North America in four decades. It places Red Mountain Resort firmly in the scale of

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resorts such as Breckenridge, Colorado, or Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in terms of skiable acreage. Grey Mountain adds 997 acres to Red bringing the total skiable acres to 2,787. This puts the "local legend" hill in the Top 20 of all North American resorts in terms of terrain scale,” said Fran Richards, Red Mountain’s Vice President of Marketing. "History shows that resort terrain expansions entice new, passionate visitors," she continued, "We expect a significant increase in lift ticket sales as a direct result of this new, lift-accessed terrain – and that obviously spells good news for the local and regional economy. Red is already here and already a huge draw for the region. We want to grow, but only in a sustainable, organic way that respects the experience – a ski experience that

we all love and that is harder to find these days." Red mountain should now become more appealing to international travellers, and holidays from the UK are currently offered by Frontier Travel (frontier-ski.co.uk). "Destination skiers have unique needs," explained CEO Howard Katkov. "They come for the powder and fall-line vertical, absolutely, but they also need coffee in the morning, groceries to fill up that condo fridge, rental cars, gas, beds to sleep in and a few beers après-ski! They need entertainment, fine sushi and maybe a nice bottle of wine to take back to their room. This ultimately means more jobs in the Rossland area, a more robust and diverse local economy, and more of the word-of-mouth that put Red on the map in the first place."

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KI S

V e c l o D La PATRICK THORNE

frequently voiced criticism of ski areas today is that even the most famous are all rather samey. There’s a headlong rush for the latest heated, people-gobbling, windproofed, high-speed lifts; any potentially challenging little bends on the pistes have been mechanically ironed out; mountain restaurants have been expanded to ensure everyone can sit down, and made cafeteria-style so you don’t have to wait for service; and evermore luxury accommodation options jostle for space at the base of the lifts. That is perhaps a bit too damning of the modern skiing world, but having visited so many ski resorts that were much like every other, including some very famous names, it’s perhaps why a family visit to Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Italian Dolomites last Easter was such a very special experience.

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Cortina d’Ampezzo feels different. Of course, it has its fair share of smooth pistes and fast lifts, and indeed plenty of luxurious accommodation (truly luxurious in its case, alongside all other categories), but it has something more. Do we call it ”pedigree” or ”character”, or simply ”class”? Probably all three, as well as many more superlatives. Cortina is quite simply a timeless, classic resort, oozing with ski heritage; and one where you can walk up the pedestrianised central street, Corso Italia, passing designer shops, and enticing cafes and restaurants, with glimpses of spectacular Dolomite scenery beyond – it’s the kind of place where you just feel happy to be. This is, of course, one of Italy and the world’s most famous ski resorts. Classic Bond movies were filmed here, the Winter Olympics has been staged here, even the American motor industry giant Ford named a car after it. This is skiing “la dolce vita” – the sweet life!

The Three Remarkable Ski Areas Of Cortina The feeling of happiness continues on the slopes. Cortina offers an eclectic choice of three ski sectors, each with its own unique character and qualities – a far more diverse selection than you would normally expect The largest area, Tofana, accessed by a cable car next to the town’s large indoor sports centre, has a great mix of terrain, including some great long cruisers, and trails selected for the 1956 Olympics and used today for the annual World Cup downhill races. You can follow the Olympia ski tour, which includes the Olympia run. Across the resort, the interlinked FaloriaCristallo-Mietres sector, accessed by a cable car from the other end of town, is almost as large. With lifts stretching up to 2930m above sea level, providing access to snow-sure massive descents, including the Vitelli piste, which hosted the

Olympic giant slalom. Mietres, which is separate to Faloria-Cristallo, has very easy runs, and is a great choice for families with children and for beginners. The third area, Lagazuoi–5 Torri, is a very different experience, almost unique in the skiing world. A 20-minute bus ride takes you away from everyone to near-empty slopes in (if it’s possible!) still more stunning scenery. The skiing here is sublime on wide, open slopes, and an unusual cable car (the door opens vertically) whisks you to the top of Lagazuoi. From here (where it is worth taking in the 360° views, and stopping for lunch at the excellent mountain refuge) is one of the world’s great runs; the 8.5km-long ”Hidden Valley” descends through a mountain wilderness past frozen ice falls. At the bottom you can take a bus or shared taxi back, or go on, with a remarkable horse-towed drag lift, to reach Alta Badia and the famous Sellaronda circuit. It really is a very special ski experience that anyone intermediate


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standard or above can enjoy. There are plans to connect this sector to Tofana by chairlift», which would make it possible, with the aid of those horses, to ski from Cortina town as far as the Fassa valley, Alta Badia or Val Gardena, linking nearly 600km of pistes. All are included on the Dolomiti Superski pass.

Where To Stay If you’re travelling independently, and your pockets are deep enough, THE hotel to stay in when you visit Cortina is the elegant and magnificent Cristallo Spa, which has been welcoming the great and the good from around the world for the past 100 years. Located in secluded private grounds, but right on the edge of town, the Cristallo manages to pull off that difficult trick, which separates the truly great from those that wish or pretend to be so, where its staff are friendly but also efficient and

professional, London Gatwick to its public areas, Innsbruck, and resort rooms and transfers. Regional suites all have flights are also available Cortina Events & Information understated for an additional elegance, and the supplement, and you European Cup Snowboardcross Carnival quality of service can pre-book your lift 27 February–4 March 2014 21–23 December is second to pass, ski hire, and ski snowboardclubcortina.com cortina.dolomiti.org none. school classes if you If you prefer wish through Inghams. FIS Cross-Country World Cup Audi Gold Cup Cortina Winter Polo 3 January 2014 17–23 February 2014 to have your Another option pologoldcup.org fis-ski.com Cortina holiday is the characterful perfectly Sporting Hotel Villa Audi FIS Ski World Cup Ladies Carrera Freeride Challenge packaged from Blu (villablu.it), which 3–5 April 2014 18–19 January 2014 the UK, Inghams is pleasantly located www.cortinaclassic.com freeridepuntanera.com (inghams.co.uk) in its own parkland, 37th Dobbiaco-Cortina Race More information, special offers, offer a range a short walk from the 8–9 February 2014 and winter packages available at of flight- and resort centre via a dobbiacocortina.org cortina.dolomiti.org. transfer-inclusive path along the route accommodation of the former railway options, line. Family-run by including the excellent 4 Chalet Hotel the lifts, but there’s a complimentary friendly but efficient staff, this is a real Parc Victoria, a Cortina icon since 1892, minibus service too. You can stay on a traditional Italian gem, which offers and superbly located right on the central catered basis, with prices starting from regular private shuttle services to the Corso Italia. It’s only 6 minutes’ walk from £599pp, including return flights from cable car stations.


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Insurance Company Warn Of Potential £40K Costs PATRICK THORNE

ravel insurance specialist Columbus Direct has warned winter sports holidaymakers that if they’re uninsured, and unlucky on their ski holiday, they could face bills of up to £10,000 in Europe, and £40,000 in North America, and in Europe the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) may not be much help. Columbus Direct (columbusdirect.com) warns:  Anyone relying on the free EHIC for cover may be disappointed if their ski resort has a private clinic that won’t accept it. It is unlikely to cover the cost of emergency rescue from the piste either, if you’re unlucky enough to need that.  The biggest potential cost on any ski

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Charming, Authentic French Village

holiday is the cost of medical treatment if required – it’s best to get a policy with a specific winter sports section, which covers medical and other expenses, such as lost lift pass, ski equipment, and missed ski school classes.  There’s a growing number of winter sports holiday activities offered by resorts that may not be covered by insurance, even winter sports insurance, so it’s important to check first. Skiing off-piste, in the terrain park, heli-skiing, snowmobiling, or even iceskating or tubing may not be covered. If in doubt, always check with your insurer first.  The après-ski is almost as important as time on the slopes, but most policies exclude claims arising when people are under the influence of alcohol.

New Bulgarian Mega Ski Resort ulgarian media is reporting that the leading French chain Accor, which operates 3500 hotels on five continents, is planning to spend €550m on a new ski resort in Bulgaria. The project, planning for which is said to be ”at an early stage” (although €1m is already invested on planning to date), would see the creation of the new ski area, with 155km of piste making it by far the largest in Eastern Europe, built near to the existing ski area of Borovets in the Rila mountains. The "Destination Rila" project would be a completely new development, and offer year-round leisure facilities, including an aqua centre, and a golf

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course, among 80 other activity options for visitors. There will be a range of accommodation options from 2 to 5, and the facility would aim to attract around 200,000 guests per year. No formal plans have been submitted and no target opening date has been announced as yet.

Ski Pioneer Celebrates Centenary harles Elliott, who helped start the Colorado ski industry in the 1930s and established Wolf Creek ski area in the state, celebrated his 100th birthday on the slopes of his beloved ski area last month. Wolf Creek was one of the first areas in the world to open for the 2013–14

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season in October, and Elliott has skied there or at another ski area every year since 1934 – apart from the 5 years he served in the US Air Force during WWII. Elliott was cheered on by 150 friends on his birthday, and was made an honorary member of the US ski team who were training at Wolf Creek.


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WHO Th

DADDY Monarch Flights Season Start Dates Friday 13 December Leeds Bradford to Munich

PATRICK THORNE

here are big ski areas, and then there are huge ski areas, so vast that you could never ski all of their pistes in a week, let alone tackle the freeride possibilities. Some claim so much piste that laid end to end it’s the equivalent of skiing from Land’s End to John O’Groats, although downhill, obviously; others offer you the chance to ski across international borders from country to country. But which is the biggest, and how do you get there? Well first we must consider what IS a giant ski area? The answer may seem obvious, but when you start to compare the contenders, there are different criteria at play. Those that claim the very biggest in terms of kilometres of piste on a single lift pass, such as Italy’s Dolomiti Superski (1200km of piste) or Austria’s Salzburg Superski Card (2550km of runs), are made up of lots of separate ski areas you need to drive to or take a shuttle bus between, rather than areas like

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Saturday 14 December Leeds Bradford to Grenoble London Gatwick to Friedrichshafen and Grenoble Luton to Munich Manchester to Friedrichshafen, Munich and Verona

Espace Killy, Klosters (306km, which links but a few bus trips Tignes and Val are needed to ski it d’Isère, where all). And the Portes Sunday 15 December you can ski all du Soleil, which Manchester to Innsbruck 300km without claims ”biggest needing to take in the world” Year-round your skis off sometimes, with London Gatwick to Barcelona, for ski areas in Andorra and the Spanish (except perhaps 650km of nearly Pyrenees to ride up in a linked piste drops Manchester to Venice gondola). to number ten in Of course, our table as the For more information, latest deals, and this might largest single sector to book visit monarch.co.uk/ski be slightly is only 287km. academic, But still, for the as plenty of sake of ruling the individual sectors within Dolomiti out computer-based amalgamations of Superski are so huge themselves that neighbouring, but not actually linked, you can ski all day (sometimes all week) resorts, our top ten list will include only without needing to get a bus anywhere, those areas that are linked by lifts and runs. whereas the giant linked areas are so So here it is. huge you couldn’t ski them all, whether you needed to take a bus halfway or not. Les 3 Vallèes With this in mind, you can rule out France, 600km those areas that are almost lift-linked, More or less undisputed in the top spot such as Kitzbuhel and the SkiWelt (two for three decades, despite reporting a new vast areas a very short bus ride apart, piste or two every season it’s never grown together 449km, the Skiwelt being the its total beyond 600km. Around a dozen 11th biggest in its own right), and Davos

base villages are connected – best known Courchevel, Méribel, and Val Thorens. Nearest Monarch destination airport: Grenoble, 2 hours 15 minutes. les3vallees.com

Sellaronda Italy, 500km A controversial listing, as the Sellaronda does not officially exist as a ski region, but this giant chunk of the Dolomiti Superski region, including the Badia, Fassa and Gardena valleys, has been measured once or twice in its history and the total piste kilometres has been noted. Nearest Monarch destination airports: Verona and Innsbruck, both 2 hours. dolomitisuperski.com

Paradiski France, 425km The 10-year-old connection between Les Arcs, La Plagne and Peisey Vallandry is the youngest in our top ten. The link-up is made possible by the spectacular double-decker Vanoise Express cable car, which straddles the


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DADDY Val Gardena

valley between the two main regions. Nearest Monarch destination airport: Grenoble, 2 hours. paradiski.com

Les 4 Vallées Switzerland, 412km Wholly in Switzerland, and home to the famed resort of Verbier, this is the largest truly linked area, andwith a maximum skiable vertical, when conditions are right, of 2500m, one of the biggest in the world. The descent involves negotiating a 15km trail. Nearest Monarch destination airport: Grenoble, 3 hours 4vallees.ch

Milky Way France–Italy, 400km The Milky Way (known as La Voie Lactée in France, and Via Lattea in Italy) represents Italy's largest liftlinked ski area, and is one of the few cross-border ski areas in the world. It encompasses the main venues for the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics, which

includes Sestrière, San Sicario, and Sauze d'Oulx, as well as Montgenèvre on the French side. Nearest Monarch destination airport: Grenoble: 1 hour 45 minutes vialattea.it

Matterhorn Ski Paradise Italy–Switzerland, 360km Europe’s highest lifts, year-round skiing, the list of superlatives goes on for this spectacular ski area, with the world’s second biggest lift-served vertical, which is overlooked by the magnificent Matterhorn. Nearest Monarch destination airports: Verona or Grenoble, both 3 hrs 30 mins. zermatt.ch; cervinia.it

Arlberg Austria, 340km A new entry in the world top ten for 2013–14; thanks to the new Arlberg Jet gondola lift connecting Lech to neighbouring Warth and Schrocken, the Arlberg’s status as a ”fully lift-linked” area is tenuous (and to be fair, it doesn’t really

claim it), as the only way to ski between St Anton and Lech is on an extreme offpiste route from Valluga, suited to expert skiers only who must be accompanied by a certified local guide. Nearest Monarch destination airports: Friedrichshafen, 1 hour 45 minutes; Munich, 2 hours 30 minutes skiarlberg.com

Les Sybelles France, 310km Les Sybelles, in the Maurienne Valley, has rapidly expanded to offer today more than 350km of runs, with ten resorts on the ticket, of which six are lift-linked, including the best known internationally St Jean d'Arves, St Sorlin d'Arves, Le Corbier, and La Toussuire, in by far the largest sector (310km). Nearest Monarch destination airport: Grenoble, 2 hours les-sybelles.com

Espace Killy France, 300km Many regard Espace Killy as one of

the best ski areas in Europe, and some regard it as definitively THE best. The 300km trails include seemingly endless snowy motorways for intermediates to cruise around on, while experts will find more to entertain here than almost anywhere else on the continent, both on and off the groomed slopes. Nearest Monarch destination airport: Grenoble, 2 hours 45 minutes tignes.com

Portes du Soleil France–Switzerland 650km (largest linked sector 287km) The Portes du Soleil straddles the border between France and Switzerland, and links a dozen ski resorts. It may not quite be fully lift-linked, but it takes in 24 mountain areas and 50 summits, and you can ski for 40km or so without needing to take a bus. It’s situated halfway between Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc, between the banks of the lake and the ruggedness and high summits of these mythical mountains. Nearest Monarch destination airport: Grenoble, 2 hours. portesdusoleil.com


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Wide Angle Adrien Coirier Freerider

Stay Safe Off-Piste PATRICK THORNE

f you’re serious about having fun and staying safe in the mountains this winter, and enjoy heading away from the marked ski runs, then you can choose to spend 3 days with renowned snow and avalanche expert, Henry Schniewind in Val d’Isère, France, this winter. For the very first time, Schniewind, who is a well-known advocate of avalanche safety at talks throughout the UK (henrysavalanchetalk.com), is offering his programme throughout the winter season every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, in the real mountain environment. He aims to consolidate the theoretical knowledge he shares in his talks, into practical understanding on the slopes (). “Skiing off-piste is fun and more and more people are venturing into

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the backcountry to enjoy powder snow conditions,” says Schniewind. ”Riding safe means understanding the conditions and making decisions that can keep you safe, then knowing what to do if the worst does happen.” Three days with Schniewind costs €490pp (£410), and includes guiding, and instruction in ski technique and avalanche safety management. The course is open to intermediate skiers who can ski a steep red run, and traverse in deep snow conditions, through to advanced off-piste skiers. Guests receive a certificate of International Standards of Off-Piste Excellence (ISOPE), which is equivalent to an Alpine/off-piste version of the Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 (AST 1), or the American Avalanche Association (AAA) Level 1: Avalanche Fundamentals – with lots of additional skiing time.

Powderama Ski School Chooses Chamonix’s Best Runs imon Halliwell, a qualified BASI Level 4 with full French Equivalence, who has been living and instructing in Chamonix for over 10 years, and runs the Powderama ski school, has released a list of recommended local ski runs for skiers wanting to develop and enhance their abilities, whilst exploring the Chamonix valley in safety. And not all the recommended runs are tough (although most are), “Arve is an excellent blue for doing rotations for confidence building or a fast blast,” says Halliwell. There’s easy access from the top of the Autannes

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

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four-man chair, or a slightly shorter run fed from the Arve drag lift. Powderama (powderama.com) offers small group clinics at £80pp, private lessons from £170 for 3 hours, and 5-day courses at £470. Courses and clinics include video feedback, weather permitting, and in most cases transport to and from the slopes.

Aspen Employees Cut Car Trips mployees of Aspen Snowmass ski resort in Colorado, USA, made an estimated 33,000 fewer single car trips last winter, in one of many efforts by the ski area to reduce its impact on the environment. The ski resort operator organises a

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Commuter Raffle to help encourage ”commuting creatively”, with prizes of Apple gift cards up to the value of $200 (£124). Aspen Skiing Company employees who ride the bus, walk, bike, or car/van pool, at least three times a week are eligible to participate in the monthly prize draw.


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NOVEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

Freeride World Tour Announces DATES DAVID BLACK

he organisers of the 2013–14 Freeride World Tour (FWT) have confirmed that this season’s series will again be supported by sponsors The North Face and Swatch, and will have six stops as last season, but will start a little earlier. The Tour will start at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Canada, (18 December), and then cross the Atlantic to Courmayeur, Italy (18 January 2014), and Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France (25 January 2014). From there, the tour will continue in Europe at Fieberbrunn PillerseeTal, Austria (1 February 2014), before

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returning to North America at Kirkwood Mountain Resort (1 March 2014). Each stop has a 5–8 day weather window, designed to provide optimal competition conditions. After the Kirkwood stop an athlete cut will be made, determining which riders will advance to the Swatch Xtreme Verbier (22 March 2014) and compete to be the new FWT Champions. In addition to top-tier FWT competitions, nearly 50 Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) events ranging from one to five stars will take place around the world, providing opportunities for talent to develop and emerge. The first FWQs already took place in the southern hemisphere in the summer.

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Cheese Rolling On Indoor Snow In Manchester ne of Britain’s most eccentric pastimes took an unexpected twist last month, as daredevils took part in the world’s first Winter Cheese Rolling Championships on indoor snow at Chill Factore in Manchester. A British tradition since the 15th century, which draws thousands to the village of Stilton, Chester, and the infamous Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire every year, its latest evolution saw hoards of adrenaline junkies throw themselves down a 180m indoor ski slope, in the hope of catching the 8lb (3.6kg) wheel of Cheshire cheese. Unlike any other tournament witnessed before, this was the first time that the great British sport has ever been performed on snow. With the wheel reaching speeds of up to 64km/h, contestants chased the cheese on skis or

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snowboards and grappled down the piste, in order to secure the title of the world’s first Winter Cheese Rolling Champion. Skiers, snowboarders, and cheese fans alike, risked life and limb to compete in the inaugural tournament, which organisers, rather optimistically, hope might one day become an official Winter Olympic sport. After tussling with fellow competitors, David Chapman (33) from Blackpool was crowned Champion, and secured his name in British cheese rolling history. Along with the title, Chapman also took home the illustrious trophy, which tradition dictates is the wheel of Cheshire cheese used during the competition. Commentating on his heroic title, Chapman said; “It feels awesome to have won. I’ve raced my mates plenty of times down the slopes before, but never after a wheel of cheese!”

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Learn To Cook Whilst You Ski BEN CLATWORTHY

ne of the world’s great hotels is offering cookery courses to guests who ski in the Kitzbühel Alps this winter. The Relais & Châteaux Hotel Rosengarten in Kirchberg (rosengarten-taxacher.com), located closer to the slopes, is the brainchild of top Austrian chef Simon Taxacher. On 24 October this year, his restaurant was awarded 4 toques and 19 points by the 2014 Gault Millau guide, catapulting

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him to the top of Austria’s culinary elite. The hotel’s top floor cooking studio and school, with glorious views, is a must for any budding Masterchefs. The cookery course takes place between 10am and 3pm, including a welcome drink, and five-course lunch at the cookery school, accompanied by corresponding wines. A 3-night stay starts from €619pp (£518), including a 1-day taster cookery course, which this season will take place on 15 December, 12 January, 9 February, 15 June, 6 July, 10 August, and 7 September.

Yak Wool Tops Merino Wool?

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t’s the age-old question, is yak’s wool better than merino wool when it comes to creating thermal underwear for snow sports? Deemed so, by a British company called Kora (kora. net), it has developed the first technical base layer using yak wool. “With a soft-handle, technical qualities and an ethical harvesting process, kora™ has managed to produce performance base-layer clothing from Yak-wool and, in tests, this has surpassed its merino equivalents,” said a company statement. It’s a popular misconception that yak’s wool is coarse, but in fact it’s yak’s hair that is, not

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the wool, which is the inner layer of fine wool that the animal grows each year to insulate against the cold and is very soft. They’ve been using it in the Himalayas for at least 10,000 years. Kora has developed a unique fabric for active use called Hima-Layer. Extremely soft, the wool is sourced directly from remote nomadic communities in the Himalayas via the KeGaWa Herders’ Co-operative. In company tests Kora Hima-Layer fabric was 40% warmer than merino wool weight for weight, it wicked as efficiently as merino, and was 17% better at transporting water vapour through it than merino. In addition, the Hima-Layer

fabric is very breathable, having 66% greater air permeability than merino, and Kora’s 230gsm base layer is warmer, lighter, and more breathable than a merino 260gsm equivalent. Kora’s tops and leggings are priced at £95–105 per item, and are available in a range of colours for men and women.

Season Starts Early In Pyrenees pain’s Baqueira Beret opened a week earlier than planned for its 2013–14 ski season, on Saturday 23 November. The resort, one of the country’s largest, extended its season last spring because of a huge snow base after record accumulations, and before its early opening had had up to 80cm of snowfall in 4 days, including 30cm in

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one 24-hour period alone. As we went to press conditions were looking good across the Pyrenees.


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DECEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

WIN

AT Y A T S Y R U X A LU

L E THOT R O P S R E IA R SING T S U A IN A P S & WORTH £1800 in this luxury stay at the traditional Singer Sporthotel and Spa. We have teamed up with this family-run hotel to offer one lucky reader an exclusive hotel break to the value of £1800. The Singer Sporthotel and Spa is steeped in history, set in one of the most beautiful places in the Alps, Berwang, Tirol. It opened its doors in 1928 it is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year. This Relais & Chateaux hotel is set in an enviable position, at an altitude of 1300m, on the Berwang sunny plateau in the Tirolean Zugspitz Arena. It is now run by the current generation of the Singer family, who continue to ensure the hotel maintains its characteristics and personal interaction

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All you need to do is answer this simple question. What year did the original Singer Hotel open for business? • • •

1938 1952 1928

with its guests. The Singer Spa is one of its focal points, and significantly adds to the hotel's allure to its guests, specialising in treatments that use the local herbs, minerals and aromas. At Singer Sporthotel and Spa you will enjoy absolute tranquillity in the heart of an unspoiled mountain village, where every guest is made to feel at home. Its philosophy is to focus on luxury: in its fine dining, and its spacious rooms, offering every possible creature comfort. *Terms and conditions apply. Votes cast after the closing date will not be counted. One entry with the correct answer will be picked at random to win the competition. Incomplete entries will not be counted. By entering the competition you agree to receiving mailings from, or on behalf of InTheSnow Ltd, however your email will not be sold or passed to third parties.

Closing Date: 17 January 2014

One entry per person.

Poivre Blanc Open First UK Boutique The first Poivre Blanc boutique in the UK is now open in Chelmsford, in Essex. The standalone shop opened its doors in November, and works in partnership with the long established winter sports specialist Ski Plus. All products are available on the Ski Plus website (skiplusonline.co.uk); further information about the Poivre Blanc brand can be found at poivre-blanc.com.

Comedy Evenings In Brides Les Bains Ski Weekends (skiweekends.com) is set to get a whole lot funnier this season, with the introduction of comedy nights at the Club Hotel Verseau in Brides les Bains. These special evenings on the chef’s night off are scheduled for the 28 January, 18 February, 4 March and 8 April 2014, with Canadian Phil Nichol and New Zealander Carey Marx performing on the first of these nights. Tickets start from £25, and include a curry and drink. Prices for 6 days skiing with coach travel start from £339pp on half-board.


42

e Th

S R E WOND OF BEN CLATWORTHY

ir, What's the purpose of your stay in BC?" the Canadian immigration officer asked me in a stern tone when I touched down in Vancouver last April. "Snow!" I responded, beaming from ear to ear. His response was clear, and simple: "You're too late." I didn't argue – they let me in anyway – yet I knew he was wrong. My excitement was clearly palpable, and why wouldn’t it be? If everything went to plan en-route I could get a quick ski in on the slopes of Whistler, before the lifts shutdown for the day. What an antidote to the rather harsh jetlag incurred whilst travelling to the other side of the world. Rated number one in North America for not only skiing, but also, golf and mountain biking, Whistler is a perennial favourite on the list of the world’s top ski

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resorts. And it’s not surprising. With two mountains (both dormant volcanoes), Whistler and Blackcomb – linked by the Peak 2 Peak gondola – the resort offers a staggering 3307 hectares of terrain, plenty of which offers a challenge for advanced skiers. I was in town for the World Ski and Snowboard Festival, a 10-day, winter sports, arts and musical extravaganza, hosted by the resort at the end of the season in April. It's a pretty big affair, and the events attract a crowd from the world over – rather like the resort itself. Previously known as Tellus – the main sponsor, who pulled out at the end of 2012 – the Festival not only showcases the best of local talent, on- and off-piste, but also top international riders, artists, photographers, and filmmakers. The headline events – the 72-hour filmmaker showdown, and

the photographer showdown – sellout within hours of tickets going on sale, and the rest of the Festival remains ever-popular year-on-year. The rules for the 72-hour showdown are strict. The participating filmmakers have – you guessed it – 72 hours to script, film, edit, and produce a 3–5-minute film, all within 100km of Whistler. The results were spectacular. A showcase of local talent is an understatement; the films were entertaining, fun, and meticulously produced given the huge time restraint. There were no such restraints on the photography entrants. Here the five finalists had to create a 9-minute slideshow of photos, all set to music. Averaging 4 seconds a shot, that’s 135 photographs from their entire lifetime portfolio of work. We travelled the world in a matter of hours, gawking at the breathtaking views, dramatic sunsets,

lofty peaks, and vast oceans. But it wasn’t all nature, or – as the American’s put it – “powder porn”. We gasped at shots of skateboarders flying over city car parks, and mountain bikers above great precipices. Away from the Festival I was keen to try the newly-launched “Ski with an Olympian” programme, whereby visitors can book to ski with one of Whistler’s (many) current, or former Olympic skiers. Founded by ski cross athlete Julia Murray and her partner, Davey Barr, the programme launched last season, and will return this year with a roster of seven skiers and four snowboarders. I joined Murray and a group on the slopes to ski one of the Wonder Routes, which are a series of routes, allowing you to best explore the vast terrain. Naturally we chose the “Gold Medal” route, and spent the morning ripping up the

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43 InTheSnow.com

R E L T S corduroy pistes. “It’s a great way to show people Whistler,” Murray, who hails from the resort, tells me. “The programme has been really popular since we launched it, and I’m really hoping it becomes more mainstream in the coming years.” A series of injuries has forced Murray to retire from professional competition, so she now focuses her time on the programme, and other entrepreneurial ventures, including developing her own cereal. She clearly loves to ski, but more importantly share “her mountain” with her clients. And it is more “her” mountain than many can claim. The daughter of Canadian Alpine ski legend Dave Murray, we finished our day skiing the 2010 Winter Olympic downhill course, named after the late skier. I got to the bottom, stopping abruptly to avoid calamity, turned to Murray, both

of us beaming smiles. “I never get bored of that run,” she tells me, “whatever the weather.” It was pouring with rain by now, but there was no dampening our sprits, we’d spent the day crisscrossing the mountain, and moreover exploring the areas best loved by the locals. If you’re an expert skier few North American resorts can rival the varied and extensive terrain Whistler offers. But, if you’re just starting out, or a little unsteady on your feet, the steeper than average trails, combined with the unpredictable weather – including the mega snowfalls (and rain) – might be somewhat of a put-off. My introduction to the world of Whistler may have been brief, and a little late in the season, but I certainly managed to capture a flavour of the world-renowned resort. I think I need to go back – in January next time!

Ben Clatworthy was a guest of British Columbia, Tourism Whistler, and Tourism Vancouver. He flew with Air Canada (aircanada.com) who operates a daily, nonstop, service to Vancouver, with prices from £695 including taxes.

visit wssf.com. The Ski with an Olympian programme runs all season (subject to athlete availability), with a full day private lesson (for up to five people) priced at $899 (£525). See whistlerblackcomb.com.

World Ski and Snowboard Festival takes place 11–20 April 2014, and for more information, including tickets,

Ben stayed at The Fairmont Chateau (fairmont.com), which has doubles from £120 per night, room only.

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inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2013

Carezza Ski Kids Snow Park

WALK THE WALK RUNNING Arctic Marathon AS Cancer FUNDRAISER Kids Snowpark In Carezza Italy’s first ”learning” snowpark just for children has recently opened in Carezza, South Tirol. A special and varied course has been developed so young skiers and snowboarders can experience terrain park features, whilst their parents can rest assured that everything has been built especially for children, and to the highest standards of safety. The snowpark also runs a kindergarten area, complete with mini snow hills and a conveyor lift so under-3s can get used to the snow, and if the weather turns bad there’s a special heated lounge for warming up and indoor play.

BEN CLATWORTHY

kiing for 42km across an astonishingly beautiful Arctic landscape is not the usual way to raise money for good causes, but it's the latest exciting challenge offered by cancer charity Walk the Walk. The charity is best

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known for its bra-clad moonlit marathons through London and Edinburgh – the Moon Walks – which so far have raised nearly £90m for breast cancer research. But this challenge is different. Following a backcountry ski trail through the stunning wilderness of the Abisko National Park in Swedish Lapland, the trip will be tough,

but rewarding, as well as offering life-changing experiences, and a chance to see the Arctic wilderness without other tourists. Although most appealing to experienced skiers, Walk the Walk will support the less experienced who will ski in small groups of eight or fewer, accompanied by supportive park

Socks Lifetime Guarantee A new brand (to the UK) of ski socks, which unconditionally guarantee a free replacement pair if you ever manage to wear them out, has been launched. Darn Tough socks are made by an American company, manufactured in a mill in Vermont by the Cabot family using 100% fine gauge Merino wool. The Cabots, now in their third generation in business, set themselves the challenge of making the best ski socks in the world – now you can put this to the test. The socks retail at around £20.99 from independent retailers (stockist details can be obtained by calling 01404 821811).

Lux Packages For Horse Lovers On Offer In St Moritz his winter season, as every ski season, St Moritz will play host to some of the world’s most prestigious sporting events. The Polo World Cup on Snow takes place from 30 January–4 February 2014 in the famous Swiss resort, and the 5 Carlton Hotel St Moritz is offering 3 nights’ accommodation in a suite on a half-board basis, including grandstand tickets for the 2-day event, a fullbody massage at the Carlton Spa, and dinner

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at the Romanoff restaurant. Prices start from CHF1710pp (approx. £1162). On the following three weekends, White Turf, a series of breathtaking horse races that has taken place on this frozen lake for 105 years, will be staged on 9, 16 and 23 February 2014. The Carlton has a similar 3-night half-board package in a suite, prices from CHF1732pp (approx. £1177), including a day’s ski pass, a massage, and dinner at the hotel’s restaurant.

rangers. The event, which runs from 27 February–4 March 2014, will include 2 days of trekking, and 3 nights in snug mountain lodges looking out for the Northern Lights. The trek ends with 2 nights in the famous Ice Hotel, plus a husky-sled ride to the airport. walkthewalk.org/ Challenges/TheArcticMarathon

These Boots Were Made For Walking Canadian brand Sorel has been busy proving you can step out in style on the snow, and still maintain good grip and warm dry feet with its latest range of boots. These include the Conquest Carly boot (pictured), as worn by Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. Sorel, established in 1962, is famed for their warmth, thanks to a Thinsulate insulation layer, removable Thermoplus Xtreme inner boot and frost plugs, lightweight Polarlite shell, and outsole traction systems. The boots are available from retailers and online at surfdome.com.

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! P L E H

Y R O T S I NH A I R T S U A ' S E L T EA B E H T G N I R E V UNCO

BEN CLATWORTHY

ll ski resorts want to brand themselves as a family destination: and why wouldn’t they? It’s a huge market with lots of money to spend. But in reality not all resorts are suitable: take Val d’Isère (I’ll never forget a holiday from my childhood when my parents dragged me there, dumped me with the École Ski Français and left me to face the moguls), it’s far better suited to freeriders than young families, yet of course their website still features whole sections aimed at attracting families. So it’s a rare treat to find a ski resort that says it’s good for families, and crucially, actually is. But what makes a good family ski area? Well a decent proportion of green and blue slopes, convenience, a good (Englishspeaking) ski school, and fast lifts, are all key ingredients. That said, I am talking about families with young children, or beginners, not powder hounds looking for a backcountry adventure. Last winter I found myself in the Austrian resort of Obertauern, in the Salzburgerland region of the country. The resort, situated at the top of the Tauern pass, lacks the traditional Alpine charm that many Austrian resorts exude in abundance, however, saying that, the modern chalet-style architecture is stylish. The resort also lacks a “centre”, with

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the majority of the accommodation situated adjacent to the main road. The resort sprung to life in the 1950s, and to this day remains a winter only destination, virtually shutting down once the lifts close at the end of the long season, in early-May. Sitting at an altitude of 1740m, the resort is higher than many of its Austrian counterparts, with most of the skiing above the treeline, although there are some wooded runs at the lower echelons of the resort. It is possible to ski a full circle of the village (maximising time on the slopes as opposed to lifts), following the two-tier Tauern Runde route: high for good skiers, low for intermediates. Most of the circuit consists of intermediate terrain, however, for beginner skiers there are a number of dedicated areas near to the village, but also a higher-altitude beginners’ slope at the top of the Schaidberg chairlift. The highly recommended Skischule Frau Holl (skischule-frauholle.at) has a kindergarten area for children making their first turns on skis, with lessons priced from €55 (£46); the school also offers adult courses for both beginner and more advanced skiers, with lessons starting €52 (£43). Those looking for more of a challenge should make tracks for the blacks at the top of the Gamsleiten, or, in fact, any of the black-graded slopes, which

offer genuine the film shoot line steepness. the walls of his bar. Ben Clatworthy was a guest of the Those looking He talks fondly of Obertauern tourist office (obertauern. to impress his time with the com), the Salzburg tourist board should give the band, recalling: (salzburgerland.com), Crystal Ski speed trap a go. “We didn’t know (crystalski.co.uk), and the 4 Hotel Your challenge: who they were. All Marietta (marietta.at). 100km/h. we knew was they But it’s the were British, and Crystal Ski (crystalski.co.uk) offers a resort’s claim to they wanted people week’s half-board accommodation at fame that caught who could speak the 3 Hotel Wisenegg in Obertauern my attention English.” from £649pp, based on two sharing, whilst visiting But it wasn’t all including flights from London Gatwick last season. The hard work. “We had to Salzburg, and transfers. Beatles filmed a great time with the snow-bike the band, and one scenes of their night it was a crew movie Help! here in the spring of 1965, members’ birthday, and late in evening drawn by the long snow-sure season. By the boys got out their instruments and chance, the inventor of the snow-bike lives started playing in the Hotel Marietta lobby.” in Obertauern, and it was his friend who Rumour has it guests in the hotel quickly first led to the resort’s relationship with the congregated in the reception complaining band, over dinner one evening. about the noise. In fact, that impromptu Later I would meet hotelier Gerhard performance would be the first, and last Krings, who, then in his 20s, played the time the band played in Austria. body-double for George Harrison in the In 2015 the resort will celebrate 50 years film. “The Beatles couldn’t ski, so their since the filming of Help! and the resort's management asked for four ski instructors Director, Mario Siedler, tells me it’s going to to act as body doubles in the film,” he tells be quite a winter, with a season of events me when I visit the now infamous Beatles planned. But, will the remaining Beatles Bar, in his 4 Hotel Seekarhaus. Over the return to the snow? Only time will tell, I years Krings has built up a vast collection suppose: but they might just need “help” of Beatles memorabilia, and photos from with their skiing.

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BEN CLATWORTHY

éribel: party town, little Britain, and overcrowded. The middle valley of the three, that together become Les 3 Vallées, is a resort with a reputation that has suffered in the past. Méribel benefited when the Russians invaded Courchevel, with the Brit holidaymakers switching valley in their swarms – but it was already packed during the peak weeks. Now it’s jam-packed. The answer, however, is not to eschew the resort we love, but instead opt to stay in nearby Méribel village, an outpost to the main resort, and worlds apart from the hustle and bustle found in the centre of town. From here two chairlifts link to the world’s largest ski area, allowing you to head onwards to Courchevel, Les Menuires and Val Thorens, or down to Méribel’s centre. The skiing is impressive (it always has been), thanks to the 600km of slopes that make up the area, 150km of which are found in the Méribel valley. There is plenty of intermediate terrain to be had, whilst those looking for a challenge should head to the newly-opened Couloir Tournier, below the Saulire Express lift. The resort – in a similar way to nearby Val Thorens – has undergone a recent regeneration, with a handful of major lifts seeing upgrades, new slopes, and new on-mountain restaurants. And the investment is clearly paying off: the resort has won the bid to host the 2015 Alpine World Championships.

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But food? “That’s Courchevel’s crown cake confirmed that I was in for a treat. is it not?” Such was the question posed A big one. to me just a few weeks ago by the editor Already cooking away in the (tiny) kitchen of a national newspaper’s travel section. was Lucy Wigglesworth, our chef, who And on paper, at just 23 has the answer is worked in a yes – Courchevel Michelin-starred boasts the most restaurant, and Michelin-starred has the skill and restaurants dedication of (seven share someone well 11 stars) of any beyond her years. resort – although What followed it’s not home for the next three to Fish&Pips, a nights was an British ski outfit eclectic mix of specialising in all mouth-watering things culinary. culinary delights. Not only do they From the possibly have the amuse-bouche coolest company right through name in the Alps to dessert, – so-called after Wiggleworth Ben Clatworthy travelled with Fish&Pips (fishandpips.co.uk) who has Holly Fisher and showed how 7 nights in Méribel from £608pp halfPhilippa Hartley, cooking is board, excluding flights. British Airways the company’s definitely (ba.com) flies from London Heathrow Directors – but both an art to Geneva from £121 return. Slide they also serve and a science Candy (slidecandy.com) offer ski/board, up scrumptious – serving up boot and helmet hire from €121 (£102). food in their nine five courses chalets. Six can be of delectable Méribel: meribel.net found in Méribel, cuisine each Les 3 Vallées: les3vallees.com the other three evening. Chalets in the equally and intricate popular resort of details are not Val d’Isère. often found The thought of spending three nights together, but what Fish&Pips prove is in foodie heaven excited me greatly, and when you take enough time to find the arriving to the most inviting chocolate best chefs, the results are first-rate – even

LUCY WIGGLESWORTH

G N I V LI E I D O O F IN N E V A HE if you only have a domestic kitchen. If you can stomach lunch (given the delights awaiting you on your return), the area is home to some delightful – albeit pricey – on-mountain eateries. The Coeur de Cristal (lecoeurdecristal.com) is one of the more upmarket, swish, restaurants in the valley, serving a mix of traditional Alpine food, as well as the predictable slopeside staples – burgers, spaghetti bolognaise and steak. Last season’s expansion of La Folie Douce empire to the slopes of Méribel saw the opening of La Fruitière restaurant (lafoliedouce.com/meribel), alongside the notorious terrace après-ski bar. Serving everything from steak tartare to local cheeses – with an emphasis on organic produce – the restaurant is one to visit, but be aware it will leave a dent in your wallet. My nights of total indulgence and gluttony flew by, complemented by the homely, yet sophisticated feel of the chalet. Méribel village offers something so different to the usual Méribel experience. It’s a small place – there is a small shop and one bar – but that’s what makes it special. Méribel is bustling, always busy, and (in my opinion) far from relaxing, whereas, by contrast, the village is a tranquil escape from the melee. Nor can I fault my time with Fish&Pips – the food, hospitality, and chalets are all top-notch. Yes, they are far from the glitziest buildings in the Alps, but that’s not what it’s about – here, the food is what people come for. And keep coming back for, time and time again.


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DECEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

More Employees To Wear Helmets In Whistler PATRICK THORNE

orkSafeBC, an official body in the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC), ”… dedicated to promoting workplace health and safety for the workers and employers of this province”, has said that all employees working outdoors on the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb must wear helmets, although so far the ruling does not extend to other BC resorts. For the past 3 years Whistler Blackcomb had required helmet use for snow school

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staff, and recommended helmets for all guests on skis or snowboards, but the resort believed wearing helmets remained a personal choice for guests and non-teaching staff. The new ruling means lift operators, ski patrol, and any employees working on the slopes to wear helmets. Some staff questioned the move, but others welcomed it saying lift operators were at risk from overhead snow and ice falling, or being skied into. A CBC report found that last year Whistler's healthcare centre dealt with about 800 head injuries from skiers.

Monty Goes Skiing! new picture book carefully created to help introduce skiing and winter holidays to young children (and maybe even their parents) has been published. The book is the brainchild of Richard Liddle, a parent and a qualified British Association of Snowsport Instructor, and in it we follow Monty and his new friend Mortimer, who are on their first ski holiday. The fun-packed adventure develops as the characters begin on the road to achieving a basic snowplough, the ”initial goal” for any ski pupil around the world. A simple award system is also featured, to help to understand the sort of structure that any learner will follow

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Love Your Tablet? Download us today on both iPad & Android

in any ski school. Will Mortimer get his first Marmot Ski Award?! Monty Goes Skiing! is available via montythemarmot.co.uk, and in shops.

World’s Longest Gondola Under Construction

eitner is building an 8.8kmlong gondola, to link the city of Bursa to the ski slopes of Uludağ, Turkey’s leading and longest established ski resort. The new three-stage lift will have 45

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support towers, and a climb of 1400 vertical metres, starting at 395m above sea level and rising to 1800m, covering a distance of nearly 9km, which Leitner believe will make it the longest gondola ropeway in the world. The Uludağ mountains are a popular destination area year-round for the population of Bursa, Turkey’s fourth largest city, and only 140km from Istanbul. The new gondola, with 174 eight-person cabins, and a transport capacity of 1500 people per hour, will replace a 50-year-old 4500m long ropeway.

Search for 'InTheSnow' on Apple Newsstand for iPad or iPhone, or Google Play on your Android device.


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InTheSnow.com

Jon (AKA WESTY) AT ALTITUDE

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).

Bump skiing Some basic principles he sight of an icy mogul field is enough to have most skiers running for their vin chauds. When skied correctly, bumps can be exhilarating and addictive, opening up vast new terrain. This month Jon gives you the tips and hints needed to master those moguls.

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1. PICK YOUR THROUGH LINE

2. STEER WITH YOUR LEGS

Finding your way through a mogul field can be a daunting task. There are a number of lines that can be skied. The most direct route is known as the zip line, skiing the troughs between bumps in the fall line. To picture the zip line, imagine the path water would take flowing down the mountain. You can also ski a rounder line making short turns on the shoulders of the bumps, or a high line turning on the tops of the peaks.

Developing quick feet is a key skill to skiing bumps in control. Try to keep your hips quiet and facing down the fall line, while you steer your skis independently beneath them, it is much faster than turning your whole body. Adopting a narrow stance and working both skis in unison will also help.

Top tip: Always look a few bumps ahead, it will give you vital time to prepare and adjust.

Top tip: To practice steering using just your legs, hold your poles out in front of you with the tips up, and use them to frame a reference point downhill. Now, ski down the piste making short turns, while keeping the point in-frame. You will need to keep your hips still to achieve this.

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his month we answer common questions about skiing with your children.

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3. BE DYNAMIC Being able to flex and extend your legs at the correct time will keep your skis in contact with the snow, and help you stay in balance. As you approach a bump, actively suck your knees up towards your chest. At the transition of the turn, you should be fully flexed. Keep your back upright to allow you a greater range of movement and prevent back injury. As you enter the fall line get your ski tips down early, and extend your legs on the back of the bump to maintain snow contact. Top tip: Start by traversing across the bumps, trying to keep your skis in contact with the snow and your head level.

4. IT’S ALL ABOUT TIMING No two moguls are the same, and you will need to continuously vary the speed and amount of absorption and steering effort. Time your leg extensions to follow the length of the troughs, similarly don’t oversteer, or twist your skis too quickly. If you match the flow of your movements with the ups and downs of the terrain the ride will be a lot smoother. Top tip: Having a good pole plant will develop a solid rhythm in the bumps, and help keep your body from dropping back. Keep your arms in front of you, and pole plant on the tops of the bumps.

We have a 4-year-old who we are keen to take skiing. Can we put her into classes? As a general rule most ski schools are happy to accommodate children from 3 years upwards. She will be put in a group with children of her own age. Always ask for an instructor who can speak fluent English, and has a lot of experience in teaching young children. Should we buy our children's ski gear or rent in-resort? If you are going on one or two family holidays a year it is more economical to rent

equipment in-resort. Besides being more convenient, you will have access to the latest skis, and they will be freshly waxed and edged. If your child skis regularly as part of a club in the UK, then consider investing in skis and boots; but bear in mind that children can outgrow their equipment in one to two seasons. Should we teach our children to ski, or should we put them into classes? By putting your child into classes you will maximise the amount of learning and fun your child will have skiing. The instructor will have a lot of experience in teaching children, and have access to dedicated children’s areas and specialist equipment. If you would like to ski with your child,

a private lesson where you accompany the instructor is a good compromise. If you would like to teach your child yourself, a great way to get them started is at a snowdome in the UK before your holiday. Does it matter where our kids learn to ski? Absolutely! Some resorts are more child-friendly than others. Things to look for are resorts with a good selection of nursery slopes, and child-friendly lifts like magic carpets, button lifts and rope tows. Also consider the distance from your accommodation to the lifts/ ski school, or whether the resort has a free shuttle bus. You will be carrying your children's ski gear as well as your own!


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inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2013

An Easier Way Down At Kimberley BEN CLATWORTHY

estled in the majestic Selkirk and Rocky mountains of southeastern British Columbia (BC), Kimberley (skikimberley.com), one of the world’s best designed ski areas, will be better still this winter, with a new route down to the resort base for novice skiers and boarders. The crew at Kimberley created the additional beginner trail down to the lower mountain from the top of the

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Northstar chair. Beginners can now avoid the lower mountain headwall, which is the steepest pitch on the Main Run, by taking this much easier new ski run named the Alpine Slide, which takes you down the designated green run. Kimberley’s consistent snow conditions, abundant sunshine (the most in BC), wilderness skiing, and Rocky Mountain views, has made it a family favourite. Kimberley features long fall line runs, groomed wide-open cruisers, bumps, and gladed terrain, with over 405 hectares of terrain.

Avengers Assemble On Burton Kids Clothing urton, who teamed up with the creators of Star Wars a few years ago to create a range of children’s boards and clothing featuring the famous characters (a snowboard helmet designed like the top of R2D2 being particularly memorable), is doing the same again for 2013–14, this time with Marvel superheroes. The limited edition boys Marvel jacket (£155) and trousers (£120) each feature an exclusive one-of-a-kind print of Marvel’s Avengers assemble, featuring bold, iconic illustrations of Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Hawkeye. “Loaded with more tech than Iron Man’s armour, the new Marvel jacket boasts many of Burton’s highend outerwear technologies, including Dryride weatherproofing, and strategically placed Thermacore insulation for super-powered warmth and waterproofing. Aspiring Avengers will also love the jacket’s hidden facemask, removable waist gaiter, and extra waterproof welded seams,” said a company statement. As with the Star Wars kit, the clothing was already sold out online when it was announced, but you may be able to get it in a shop if you’re quick.

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Wireless Gondolas At Dolomiti s it seems we need internet connections wherever we are these days, Dolomiti Superski has announced that four of the gondolas in its huge lift network have been retro-fitted with wireless connectivity, so that you can whip off your ski mitts and get online as soon as you get in the cabin, without needing to worry about roaming charges or slow connection speeds. The Alpen gondola at Kronplatz, and

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Tel : +33 632 192 962

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1 - WAY, PER PERSON PRICE FOR A PRIVATE TRANSFER IN A GROUP OF 8, TRAVELLING MIDWEEK

the Danterceppies lifts at Val Gardena are among those now offering free wireless connectivity.


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big on t u b y n compa er 20 yearS l l a m S for ov e c i v r Se e rdabl o f f a in ing offer Ski chaletS ed cater diSki area ra the pa ly £259 n o m fro priceS per perSon ed cater

New Slopes At Newmilns PATRICK THORNE

n this era of indoor snow centres it can be easy to forget that many of Britain’s longer established dry slopes are still thriving. Newmilns Snow and Sports Complex (NSASC), for example, has just opened a £1m redevelopment built by Barr Construction, creating two brand new slopes to cater for beginners to more advanced skiers. The new slope is 100m long and 32m wide, and there’s a tabletop jump for freestylers. NSASC was already a popular attraction

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in the local community, with many Ayrshire primary schools visiting the complex before renovation began, and bookings have already been coming through thick and fast for the newlyimproved venue. “After spending a lot of time raising the necessary funds for this redevelopment, it is extremely heartening to see the ski slopes up and running and attracting such a strong interest,” said Bobby Pollock, Chairman of NSASC. “Barr Construction has worked tirelessly to meet our specialist requirements and the centre is now fully equipped to keep up with growing demand.

skihiver.co.uk

co.uk . r e v i Skih @ S e l Sa 4160 4 4 1 8 020

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs At Snowboxx S

such as mountain yoga and retro Olympics. Snowboxx 2013 saw phenomenal success, with all tickets selling out in just 10 weeks. First and second release tickets are sold out, but third release tickets are still available from £219.99 including hotel, lift pass, and festival entry pass.

Photo: Jack Affleck /Vail Resorts

nowboxx (snowboxx. com), marketed as Europe’s most reasonably priced winter music festival, has announced a multitude of exciting artists for its second annual event in Andorra from 23–30 March 2014. Electronic acts confirmed include Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, and Radio 1’s Monki and Snakehips. Snowboxx will be a hub of activity with two main stages and five huge après-ski terrace parties, hosted by some of the UK's biggest club brands, while over 30 events across the resort's clubs will invite guests to party the night away, and offer activities

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Get Ski Fit Online On Demand new live online ski fitness class has been launched by a company called Instructor Live. The idea is that each class is broadcast over the internet so you can join in wherever you are. If the time it happens live doesn’t fit in with your schedule, you can also access it at any time via an on demand feature. Classes are led by Nadya Fairweather who is a keen skier and a professional fitness trainer. She devised this system so that participants can get fit and ready for skiing.

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VAL D’ISERE ACCOMMODATION SPECIALIST Instructor Live offers free membership for the first month, although registration is required, then it’s a £5.99 monthly fee. To access the class visit instructorlive.com/ class/2956.

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InTheSnow.com

52

HESTRA MEN’S LEATHER + LADIES DEERSKIN GLOVES £60–£65 Don’t get cold walking around the resort this winter with these supersoft his and hers leather gloves. If the forecasts are correct and we get the harshest winter in years, these will come in very useful!

SIDAS HEATED FOOTBED £199

These super thin heating elements attach to the toe area of your existing footbeds, and run off a rechargeable battery. They’re so thin you won’t realise they’re in your boots, apart from the fact you’ll have super warm feet from now on.

FISCHER VIRON 10 COMFORT FIT VACUUM BOOTS £269

A new version of the great fitting vacuum mouldable shell ski boots, brought down in price and ability level to the masses. These boots allow the individual adjustment of the shell and the liner to your foot utilising a simple heat-moulded fitting procedure. The result: a sporty and comfortable customised fit.

FIT TO SKI BY CARL PETERSEN £20 No more third day legs. Get Fit To Ski and make sure your fitness doesn’t let you down at the top of that epic run! This book is designed for all levels of skier, whether you’re a beginner or a racer. Contains easy to

ROSSIGNOL SOUL 7 SKIS INC. AXIAL BINDING £595

follow step-by-step exercises, ”how to”

One of the most versatile freeride skis you’ll find for this

information, injury prevention, rehab

winter. The combination of the new lightweight honeycomb

exercises, mental preparation,

construction in the tip, and its redesigned shape, allows the

and much more. Designed by

ski to float easily in the off-piste, but still remains stable when

renowned ski coach Carl

you increase the speed. These skis will help you manoeuvre

Petersen.

through varying terrain in a fun, agile way. Whether you’re seeking out the powder, hitting some kickers, or just cruising around the mountain, these are a great one-ski quiver.


SLYTECH 2ND SKIN XT VEST £199 The new Slytech XT material dissipates 20% more impact than the original model, making this one of the most comfortable and safest back protectors on the market. Flexible memory foam softens with the warmth of your back and goes rigid on impact. If you’ve not been keen on back protectors before, try this one on and you may be pleasantly surprised.

SPYDER POSH FAUX-FUR JACKET £649

Put this on and you’ll feel like a million dollars. Cut and styled in just the right way to flatter most shapes and sizes. With its attention to detail, this jacket will definitely attract some attention and make you stand out in the crowd. The ultimate feel-good jacket.

BAWBAGS UNDERWEAR £9.99 Something every skier should own and if you don’t, why not? With designs like ”Guns and Bananas”, ”Ants”, and ”Monkeys”, you can imagine what the designs are like! And don’t forget a percentage of the profits go back into skiing, so get your ”baws” into a pair of these now. They’re also available for ladies,

BLACK CROWS FURTIS POLE £89

and they make

How can a pole make you stand out in the crowd? Well

great Christmas

with its super fat composite shaft, its ribbed handle,

presents.

and the attention to detail in these poles, they’ll be a hot topic of conversation. Especially when the slogan

SCOTT LCG GOGGLE £150 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.

The easy to use slider system pops the lens out for quick onthe-hill changes, catering for any weather you encounter. Scott’s also include its Fit system around the nose, allowing you to customise the nosepiece for added comfort. With its great field of vision, quick lens change technology, and Scott Fit system, the LCG should be your goggle of choice.

on the pole reads, “Stick It In” and on the basket reads, “your shaft is so long”! The ribbed handle makes it easier to grip part way down the poles for hiking, and is also warmer on your hands. Black Crows has even thought of the fine details like unscrewing the pole strap, and using the handle as an on slope bottle opener, what a party trick!


54

dynastar 74 pro ski InTheSnow.com

£665

Born from race technology, the all-new Chrome 74 Pro c

power with accessible carving performance for advance

versatile turns. The subtle Early Rise tip rocker eases turn

camber through the rest of the ski delivers explosive pow for confident hard snow performance.

SUMMIT XPOSE GOGGLES £69.95

These super sleek Xpose goggles from Summit, are

FORCEFIELD BOOM SHORTS £89.99

unquestionably one of the coolest new products on the

The Boom Shorts, from Forcefield, combine the best

market. Their minimalist design makes lens changes easy,

features and protection from the Action and Board Shorts

whilst also reducing the weight of the product. The frame

ranges, creating flexible, comfortable, and high shock-

also boasts a venting system to prevent the goggles from

absorbing shorts ideal for the mountain or park. The shorts

fogging in snowy conditions. Another feature is a double

are fitted with CE approved Forcefield armour at

head strap with silicon, to ensure it remains stuck to your

the hips, thighs and coccyx, which is all

helmet. summitworldwide.eu

removable to allow the shorts to be machine-washed. ellis-brigham.com

MISFIT SHINE £99.95

New from Misfit, the Shine is a wireless, physical activity tracker, which can be worn anywhere on the body to track physical activity through the day. The Shine recognises different sporting activities, and uses sensors to tell users how much they’ve moved. By simply tapping the Shine – which is the size of a 50p piece – users can see progress, or visualise it on the iPhone app.

FISCHER SOMA RANGER 12 VACUUM £550 This top of the range Freeride boot uses the Fischer Vacu-Plast material, offering an unmatchable fit thanks to the vacuum moulding, and a Vibram sole for outstanding grip. The boot also features a shock absorber to aid soft landings, and a hinged liner for easier hiking.


combines race-level

ed to expert skiers making

n initiation while classic

wer, stability and edge grip

NORTHWAVE DECADE BOOT £199 The Northwave Decade is one of the most versatile

BERN WATTS HELMET £80

all-mountain snowboard boots on the market. The 540-degree heel hold system locks you to the ski, giving enhanced heel support, whilst the Double

With a combination of classic brim style, venting,

Crossbow sole provides a mix of power and

slick satin finish and superior Thin Shell EPS foam for

transmission. The TF3 liner protects you

high-impact situations, not only does the Watts look

against the elements, ensuring there are

great, it performs great too! Providing maximum

no more cold feet.

comfort, without sacrificing impact protection.

FISCHER SOMA HYBRID W 8+ VACUUM £400

This versatile ladies boot with a Hike, Ride and Lock mode provides the user comfort when walking, and at the flick of a lever, a variety of performance levels. The full thermoformable liner and a warm fur lining compliment one another to guarantee warmth and comfort. The fullymouldable shell guarantees the best fit for all-round comfort and performance.

OAKLEY AIRBRAKE SNOW GOGGLE £200

A performance snow goggle with an interchangeable lens design that helps you adapt to the

Oakley Switchlock makes lens changing

BUCKSHOT SPEAKER £39.95

fast and easy, and two lens colors are

This small, super portable, rugged Bluetooth speaker

included with each goggle so

gives out a mighty sound for such a small device!

you’ll be ready for a range

Packed with features, including a bike mount, and

of conditions right

shock-resistant body, the speaker also boasts a built-in

from the get-go.

microphone, allowing you to make and receive hands-

environment with the best vision possible.

free calls from anywhere. outdoortechnology.com

www.3vt.co.uk | 01323 351964


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inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2013

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IN THE ALPS AND BEYOND

Vanoise Express Gets A Makeover Scan the code to find out more

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aradiski (the French ski area comprising Les Arcs/ Peisey-Vallandry and la Plagne) has unveiled an artistic makeover of its iconic Vanoise Express double-decker cable car in celebration of its 10 years in operation. The fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac was commissioned to decorate the cable car cabins, giving him carte blanche for his design, which was unveiled

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this week at the 10-year anniversary party at the Musée Grévin, Paris. The designer described his work with the following translated phrases, “Go dreaming on a wire. The wonder of a white dawn. Reincarnate as a bird on a branch. At the heart of the subtle valleys. Dance, beauty, magical nature. Flying from one side to the other. A sensual cable car. Cool, space-powder snow. Invite the angel to fly.” The lift will re-open for use from 21 December 2013.

Helly Hansen Launch Its Most Advanced Skiwear Yet candinavian-based Helly Hansen (hellyhansen. com), the outdoor clothing manufacturer with 136 years of history, has announced what it says is its most advanced skiwear yet, integrating its award-winning H2FLOW technology. H2FLOW combines an insulation layer, an airflow venting system, and a protective, waterproof breathable barrier, enabling adventurers to regulate their body temperature in a wider variety of conditions and climates. This season, Helly Hansen has extended its H2FLOW construction into multiple midlayers, sportswear, parkas and technical ski jacket designs. The flagship Thrym jacket for men, and the women’s Sunrise jacket (both RRP £650) are anatomically body mapped to offer the best optimisation of the H2FLOW technology. Both jackets feature goose-down-insulated pods to provide strategic warmth.

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The pods are angled upward to funnel warm air up the spinal cavity and out of the back collar. The design promotes continuous air movement and temperature regulation. The company has also added H2FLOW to many of its other items of skiwear. Helly Hansen is the official uniform partner for more than 60 ski resorts and mountain guiding operations, and has outfitted more than 33,000 mountain professionals.

*£18 on a Bed and Breakfast basis. All inclusive options also available.

www.skipower.co.uk

The Last New Runs For Valmorel? almorel, an especially family-friendly resort in the French Alps, is installing a new chairlift for this coming winter, and as a result will add two new runs. Speaking about the new quad chairlift, a resort spokesperson told InTheSnow, “It is a new route and probably the last new lift route created in the Grand

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SP Farandole3.indd 1

13/09/2013 13:32

Domaine.” The Grand Domaine connects the slopes of Valmorel with neighbour Saint François Longchamp. Together the combined area has 150km of runs. The two new slopes down from the new quad are a blue named Shogun, and a red named Samouraï. The new lift, called Soleil Rouge, is scheduled to open around Christmas.


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DECEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

Book Your Train From Your Own Village To The Alps PATRICK THORNE

or the first time, rail passengers can book from any UK railway station to thousands of European destinations in just one transaction. Now you can book from your local town or village right through to the ski village in the Alps, seeing the total trip and the total price in one go. It has been a dream of rail travellers to be able to do this for decades, and now

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rail booking specialist Loco2.com has made it a reality. The company has already combined the booking systems of the French and German national rail operators (SNCF and Deutsche Bahn) to offer a huge choice of European rail tickets. Launched in 2012, Loco2 – which means “low CO2”, as well as representing a new approach to rail booking – was founded by a small team of passionate train travellers, led by brother and sister Jamie and Kate Andrews.

Don't Miss Out 6 Issues Direct To Your Door For Just The Cost Of Postage Just £4.99 at...

Gourmet Holidays To The Alps eak Retreats (peakretreats. co.uk), the specialist for ski holidays in traditional mountain resorts in the French Alps, is offering the chance to combine skiing with wine tasting and gastronomic dining, on its exclusive newlylaunched week-long gourmet holidays in the very pretty village of Samoëns. Ski during the day on the huge Grand Massif ski domain, before enjoying aprèsski in Samoëns, with tastings of wines and liqueurs with regional experts, as well as tasting of Savoie cheeses. There’s also a torch-lit walk for dinner at a top mountainside restaurant, and the week is rounded off on a sweet note, with a chance to learn the art of creating a gourmet

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dessert with one of France’s top patisseries. The 7-night holidays are available on three weeks in January, and three more in March, and cost from £828pp for half-board at the 3 family-owned Hotel Neige et Roc, the price includes the tasting workshops, and also return Eurotunnel crossings.

New App Offers Mapping Offline

new free app, which includes a sports computer, recommended routes, range of mapping, and shows your location on the mountain with GPS,

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has been launched and can be used in ski resorts without needing to go online. “With the ViewRanger App you can download all the mapping you need before you leave home. Then – after disabling data roaming to avoid charges – you can still use the GPS facility to show your location on a map that has all the roads and other features marked on, not just the pistes and lifts,” says Ben Howard, a keen downhill skier who joined the company after coming back from a winter break where he got lost on the mountains, and wish he’d had ViewRanger then himself. Free open ski mapping is available for all the Alpine regions, as well as North America and Canada.

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Action Outdoors offers All Inclusive Ski and Snowboard Holidays to the French Alps: Accommodation All Meals Lift Pass

The Kitzbüheler Alps is a mountain range surrounding the famous resort of Kitzbühel, mostly located in the Tirol province, with a onethird extending into the Salzburg province too. Take it to the limit with the “Kitzbüheler Alpen AllStarCard”, which gives skiers and boarders unlimited access to more than 1000km of slopes in the big name ski areas, including St Johann, Kitzbühel, SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental, Ski Juwel Alpbachtal–Wildschönau, Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang, and Zell am See–Kaprun. A 6-day adult pass starts from €241 (£205).

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LOCATION, LOCATION The Kitzbüheler Alps couldn’t be better placed for easy access from Innsbruck, Munich and Salzburg airports. British Airways, Easyjet, Monarch and Jet2 are amongst the airlines serving these airports, from where the resorts can be reached within 1–1½ hours. For added convenience the Kitzbüheler Alps airport shuttle offers affordable, fixed price transfers from just €33pp one-way (£28). And if you do hire a car, you don’t have to worry about negotiating high Alpine passes, or tight mountain roads, to get to the resorts around the Kitzbüheler Alps.

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PURPOSE-BUILT? NOT HERE Villages such as Westendorf and St Johann have developed from farming communities into fully-established ski resorts, without losing sight of their mountain heritage. These resorts honestly do exude Alpine charm, and offer warm hospitality to visitors – from the traditional welcome received when entering an old ski hut, to the friendly smiles around the village centres.

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SPOILT FOR CHOICE It’s a good job the one size fits all approach doesn’t work, given that every ski resort in the Kitzbüheler Alps has its own individual appeal, and offers something different. Immaculately groomed tree-lined slopes await in one of the five most well-known resorts: Westendorf, a safe bet for families; Hopfgarten, unspoiled with affordable pensions and B&Bs; Brixen, which scores on location, with lifts going up both sides of the valley; St Johann, a paradise for beginners; and Kirchberg, located on Kitzbühel’s doorstep. kitzalps.com

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BEN CLATWORTHY


59

DECEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com

PATRICK THORNE

historic casino on the shores of Lake Tahoe, located between Northstar and Heavenly ski resorts, is set to re-open next year, following a multimillion dollar refurbishment. During its prime, from 1960–63, the Cal Neva, which was gambling state Nevada’s first casino, and was formerly owned by Frank Sinatra, became one of the most famous resorts in the country,

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drawing fellow Rat Packers Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr, as well as stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio. Cal Neva will be upgraded in an effort to revive the property, said Robert Radovan, Co-Owner of CriswellRadovan, which acquired the Cal Neva in April, “Our goal is to bring it back to its former glory and to make it what it was like in Sinatra’s day.” The resort is scheduled to re-open on 12 December 2014, which would have been Sinatra's 99th birthday.

Winter Universiade In Trentino

- 8299-8300 - 11-2013 - Photos : Fotolia, GettyImages.

Sinatra’s Lake Tahoe Casino To Re-Open For 2014

The best gateways to the french alps www.chambery-airport.com

www.grenoble-airport.com

8299-8300 AEROPORT AP CT 210x297.indd 2

ith the Sochi Olympics only a few months away, the 26th Winter Universiade (WU), billed as the greatest university sporting event ever held in the famous Italian ski province of Trentino, will run from 11–21 December. A torch relay to the event was started by Pope Francis at the Vatican last month. Over 3000 participants from around 60 countries will take part in the carbonneutral Games, with athletes competing in wintry locations around Trento, including the ski resorts of Monte Bondone, the Fassa and Fiemme valleys. It is the first time Trentino has played host to the biannual university games, but many of the world’s top athletes already choose Trentino as their training base.

12/11/13 11:54

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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 Universiade is an amazing opportunity to launch Italy’s nomination as seat of the 2024 Olympic Games," said Sergio Anesi, Trentino WU’s Organising Commitee President. universiadetrentino.org

D Safety, Quality, Enjoyment & Learning

Luggage Delivery Co Now Covering All The Alps

ki carriage specialist Piste of Mind (pisteofmind.com) has announced an expansion of its operation, which enables skiers throughout the UK to have their ski equipment independently transported to ski resorts, so that it now covers all resorts throughout the Alps.

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“Skiers who are frustrated by the escalating ‘in hold’ costs on many airlines, along with the sheer hassle of transporting ski equipment to resorts are the biggest fans of our established ski carriage offering,” Leah Vesti-Sekula, a founding Director of Piste of Mind. How does it work? Skis, boards and boots are collected efficiently from home before departure, and are transported to your ski accommodation anywhere in the Alps before you arrive. Prices match airline hold charges, and you travel safe in the knowledge that your equipment is being cared for and transported by ski experts, as opposed to airport baggage handlers.

AV. DE LA MUZELLE 102  38860  LES DEUX ALPES  FRANCE

0033 476 79 74 55 info@europeanskischool.eu


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inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2013

SWEETSPOT SKI TRAINER THE KEY TO GREAT SKIING!

DYNAMIC, CENTRED BALANCE IS THE KEY TO GREAT TURNS. CHALLENGING, QUICK AND FUN TO USE FOR ALL ABILITIES, AND PROVEN TO TRANSFORM SKIING PERFORMANCE

4 sizes in each pack

Ex-British Pros Teach Children BEN CLATWORTHY

everal leading names in British sport have teamed up to create a new travel company, Super Skills Experiences, which offers children the chance to learn a skill on holiday with a star of the sport. Super Skills (superskillsexperiences. com) is the brainchild of rugby legends Austin Healey and Will Greenwood, in partnership with Ed Rusling (CEO), who was thrilled to find them coaching his son while on holiday in Sardinia.

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“IT ACTIVATES YOUR BODY AND MUSCLES IN A WAY THAT NO OTHER SKI SIMULATOR TOUCHES. QUITE SIMPLY, IF YOU USE THIS YOUR SKIING WILL IMPROVE”!

The company’s holidays cover a range of experiences, from escorted trips to watching the Six Nations in Rome, to active cricket, rugby, multi-sport breaks, and skiing. All of its programmes are run by well-known sportsmen and women, with a strong emphasis on fun. This season the company’s holidays include a ski trip to Sainte Foy in France with downhill racing legend Konrad Bartelski, from 26–30 January 2014. “These trips are perfect for parents looking to unwind while their kids burn off energy in the company of their sporting heroes,” said a company statement.

Gavin Kerr Hunter. Director, SnowPerformance

RRP £45.00 www.skia.com

Sled Buddies nyone wanting more than just a plastic sledge for the kids from the filling station this winter will want a new Penguin or Polar Bear Sled Buddy. Using a lightweight foam construction, the sleds weigh just 500g and are only 90cm long, meaning even little ones (aged 6 years and over) can carry them back up the hill, time and time again. Out with the plastic, in with the foam, as the soft, yet durable core offers a more comfortable and insulated ride, with sturdy handles to aid steering, stability and portability. The patented Arctic Groove Technology (AGT) means that the grooved base allows quicker water displacement, for greater straight line speed and turning control. Most importantly, the 3D animal

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nestled in the trees. 

+44 (0)20 7060 9360 info@holidaywhistler.com www.holidaywhistler.com

graphics stand out from the crowd with their eye-catching design, and with the bright yellow, high-visibility bottom, there’s no chance of it getting lost in the snow. The sleds are available from retailers including ATBShop (atbshop.co.uk), priced from £24.99 each.

Car Hire Tips For The Ski Season car hire comparison site has published some useful advice for anyone planning to rent a car on a ski trip. “As the laws regarding compulsory winter tyres and kits vary between countries, travellers should organise snow chains and winter tyres to be safe. It’s important to note that snow chains do not need to be fitted, but having them in the vehicle, in case of extreme weather, is recommended,” said Andy Hemmington of comparecarhire.co.uk.

A

“For travellers planning ski trips during peak season, the high demand for 4x4 vehicles and winter packages for cars means you must book early where possible, and pre-book the extras you need such as snow chains. You can’t rely on these being available at the desk on collection of the vehicle.” Winter tyres are compulsory in winter in Austria, Germany, and Sweden, and recommended but not mandatory in Canada, USA, Switzerland, and France. In Italy, chains must be carried in some areas.


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DECEMBER 2013 | inthesnow.com



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 |



Résidence du Mont-Blanc 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 | contact@chamonix-vacances.com |

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



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 |

PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

THE OMNIA Zermatt


PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

62

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© Julien Gaidet

@inthesnowmag

MANU GAIDET & LA ROSIÈRE

nTheSnow’s Ben Clatworthy spent 10 minutes with Manu Gaidet, former three-time Freeride World Tour (FWT) Champion, turned ski designer and heli-ski instructor, to talk freeriding and La Rosière.

I

Manu, you climbed Mont Blanc at 13, and then just 6 years later qualified as a high-mountain guide, and all this before you’d even done a freeride competition – you’ve obviously always been looking for an adrenaline rush? MG: Of course I love an adrenaline rush! But first and foremost I have a passion for the mountain, and all kinds of mountain activities. I enjoy all the mountain sports, including climbing, mountain biking, and then, of course, the winter sports as well: Alpine skiing, freeride, and a lot more. It’s very impressive winning the FWT three-times – do you miss competing? MG: Of course it wasn’t easy to stop competing. But year after year, the FWT organisers were shortening the faces and making them far less extreme. The competitions became further from what I really liked – big mountain riding – so I decided it was time to stop competing. And now home is La Rosière? What is it that led you to build a chalet in the resort? MG: I spend around 8 months a year in

La Rosière now, but the rest of the time I’m still travelling for skiing. I’m fortunate that I’ve had the chance to see most of the mountains in the world, but every time I come back to La Rosière, I am so impressed with the staggering view! La Rosière is very “central” – it’s well connected with Italy, and in the middle of some of the most important ski resorts in the Alps. Plus it’s in the top three resorts for snowfall in France. Now that makes it a brilliant place! What is your favourite aspect of the resort? MG: I really like the fact that La Rosière expanded slowly. The resort has retained its Alpine feel, and the resort is very pretty with a lot of individual chalets, and it feels like a truly authentic village. Most hotels, residences and chalets are within walking distance of the main lift. It’s really convenient, and the resort is ideally geared to families and children with lots of activities to try. That’s why we can proudly say it has ”Famille Plus” approval. The locals here are very friendly and love the village, so it’s a pleasure to spend time with them. And skiing: what is your favourite place to ski in the resort? Do you often ski to Italy for lunch? MG: I love spending time with my friends on La Rosière side to ski gently, otherwise I love to go ski touring, or ski to La Thuile in Italy for the “Valdostaine” specialties at lunch. It’s possible to ski to Italy, experience the Italian cuisine and lifestyle,

and then in 1 hour be back in France! It’s really something special. Espace San Bernardo’s 160km of pistes offer something for everything, with 32 intermediate classified slopes, three snowparks, and three specially marked nursery areas – there really is terrain to suit everyone. There’s also some great off-piste, either on a heli-skiing trip, which is allowed in Italy, or by skiing in the backcountry. What do you think the future holds for La Rosière? MG: La Rosière is a rather understated resort: it is located in a protected area, and still in development. Coupled with the resorts intimacy, both in the way visitors are welcomed and in the resort’s size, I think La Rosière will continue to blossom in the coming years, yet I don’t think it will lose its soul.

And finally, what is the best-kept secret about La Rosière? MG: La Rosière has a lot of potential; the village is located at an altitude of 1850m, which is good for the snow. Not many people realise you can actually ski up to 2650m, and a heliski drop-off is at over 3000m. Even with the great snow, at the same time the resort is sunny, south-facing with spectacular views. And the really exceptional thing is that the forecast can be the complete opposite for France and Italy – so you can choose the best! That’s a very rare flexibility to have in the mountains. Ski Collection (skicollection.co.uk) has a range of 4 residences in La Rosière, with some including both private pool and on-site spa. Prices start from £104pp for 7 nights' self-catering, based on five sharing an apartment. Self-drive packages are also available.

© Julien Gaidet

BEN CLATWORTHY


020 3051 2276 Lines open 9am-7pm | 9am-5pm w/ends sales@alpineelements.co.uk

Ski Holidays, Catered Chalets, Hotels & Apartments

La Plagne: Jan 12

Val d’isere: Dec 15 Was

Was

£754

Now

£454

£424

Flights, Hotel, Catering

Flights, Hotel, Catering

Meribel: Dec 22

Tignes: Jan 19

Was

Was

£849

Now

Now

£685

£535

£595

Flights, Chalet, Catering, Pass

Flights, Hotel, Catering

Meribel: Jan 26

Morzine: Mar 23

Was

Was

£749

Now

Now

£685

Flights, Chalet, Catering, Pass

Flights, Hotel, Catering

Offers 4Free Passes available for all dates March & April! 4Buy 1 Get 1 Free Ski / Board Hire! 4Groups 6+ save an extra £50 to £125 a head! 4Children travel Half Price!

www.alpineelements.co.uk | sales@alpineelements.co.uk

Photo: Chamonix TO

ski WEEkENDs Morzine: 3 Nts

Meribel: 3 Nts

Jan 2013, Now

£349 £457

*

Was

Jan 2013, Now

Chamonix: 4 Nts

£285 £428 Was

*

Feb 2013, Now

020 3627 1824 * Deals include Rtn Flights, Transfers, Hotel

accom, Breakfast, afternoon tea, 3 course caterin

g, bed linen, towels, hosts.

Les Gets: 3 Nts

£319 £529 Was

Free Liftpass

£580

£599

Free Liftpass

£645

Now

*

Mar 2013, Now

£305 £466 Was

sales@igoski.co.uk

*


The Swiss standards you expect. The airfare you don’t. Our quality and service standards are about as high as our mountains. But that doesn’t mean our prices are high too. Enjoy the best way to y to the Alps with free ski and snowboard transport and all-inclusive airfares 160 ights per week from Heathrow, London City and now new also Gatwick.

To the Alps from return

£124 SWISS.COM

Price quoted per person including airport taxes and surcharges departing from London to Geneva. Price is correct at time of print and subject to change and exchange rate variations. Availability is limited. For some payment methods a charge of £ 4.50 may apply. Ski equipment transportation: 1 pair of ski boots, 1 pair of ski sticks, 1 pair of skis OR 1 snowboard, 1 pair of snowboard boots are free of charge and in addition to standard baggage allowance. Free transport only on SWISS operated ights and with Economy Flex Fares to Geneva.


InTheSnow Issue 34 - December 2013