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DECEMBER 2012 | inthesnow.com
his time last year we were getting very, very nervous as the first few months of autumn 2011 were proving to be some of the warmest on record. Ski areas in Scandinavia that had planned to open in October were running a month late, and Austria's Ischgl spent €1m on snowmaking in order to be able to open on schedule. The concern that there weren't going to be any ski holidays, with the main season start only a few weeks away for British tour operators, made an appearance in the mainstream news. What a difference a year makes! By the start of November nearly 100 resorts were open in the Alps and the Rockies, and those Scandinavian ski areas had opened on schedule in 2012. Banff in Canada reported the earliest opening in its 80-year snow sports history, and the first week of November brought up to a metre of fresh snow in the Alps, bringing powder conditions to the glacier slopes already open. Of course, last winter it all turned out well in the end, in the Alps at least, with some of the biggest snowfalls ever recorded for resorts like Chamonix. And equally this winter, it could still all go wrong. In the few weeks between me writing this and you reading it, temperatures may have shot up and the snow stopped; but, touch wood, an increasing number of industry experts are saying that as snow bases head past the metre mark and up towards 2m at some resorts, and average temperatures continue to drop as the nights draw in, winter is now “locked in” – let's hope they're right. Many British tour operators are reporting strong bookings for 2012–13, buoyed in part by the best pound to Euro exchange rate for some years, as well as the good pre-season snow. There are lots of great pre-Christmas deals from tour operators and the resorts themselves, including free lift passes when you book selected accommodation direct at resorts like Davos. So when the snow's good, prices as low as they get, and crowds yet to arrive, why wait?
ALL ABOARD For Swiss Skiing BEN CLATWORTHY
ew figures for travel to the Alps have revealed the popularity of rail travel continues to increase. Eurostar (eurostar.com) has reported a 13% rise in ski passenger numbers (albeit partly accounted for by a rise in their provision of services), and new data from the Ski Club of Great Britain (skiclub.co.uk) confirms the train now accounts for 6% of winter sports travel. Eurostar carried 36,000 passengers to the Alps during the 2011–12 season, up by over 4000 on the previous year. Passenger numbers are set to increase further this winter as Eurostar has launched a new weekly Swiss ski train, which will carry passengers from London St Pancras and Ashford International to the heart of the Swiss Alps, with just a single simple change en-route. The new service, which runs every Saturday from 22 December until 13 April 2013, departs St Pancras at 6.57am and takes around 9 hours to reach its final destination, Brig. En-route the train calls at Lille – where passengers change to the TGV Lyria train via a simple walk across the platform – followed by Aigle (for Villars, Champéry and Gstaad), Martigny (for Verbier and Nendaz), Visp (for Zermatt), and finally Brig (for Saas-Fee). An inbound service also runs on Saturday’s throughout the season, departing Brig at 12.51pm and arriving in London at 9.06pm. Return fares on the new route start from £189 for second class, off-peak, whilst oneway tickets off peak start from £95. Train travel is often said to be the most
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relaxing way to reach the snow. “Our research shows ski customers are seeking a more civilised way to reach their resorts by travelling by high-speed rail from London to the heart of the Swiss Alps” said Nick Mercer, Commercial Director for Eurostar. “Our direct ski services to the French Alps have grown in popularity year on year and we expect this new service to the Swiss Alps to have similar appeal.” Previously travelling to Swiss resorts by train was a cumbersome process, with passengers having to transfer in Paris.
other train options that already exist.” The Swiss route launches in addition to the long established French ski train; a service that launched 15 years ago. The train calls at
Taking the train to the Alps is Train Times also the most environmentallyOutbound/Inbound friendly mode of transport. A return Eurostar journey to the London St Pancras Intnl: 6.57am / 9.06pm French Alps produces an average Ashford Intnl: 7.28am / 8.35pm of 25kg of carbon dioxide per Lille: 9.26am / 8.30pm person, whilst a short-haul flight Aigle: 3.47pm / 2.01pm to Western Europe emits 250kg Martigny: 4.13pm / 1.41pm per person. Visp: 4.57pm / 1.02pm Daniel Elkan, Co-Founder of Brig: 5.08pm / 12.51pm Snowcarbon, the independent website about how to travel Eurostar: eurostar.com to ski resorts by train, says: TGV Lyria: tgv-lyria.com “More and more skiers want RailEurope: raileurope.co.uk to avoid airports and have a Snowcarbon: snowcarbon.co.uk more relaxing, fun journey by train instead. This new service makes Switzerland even easier, and the scenery on the way is a treat. The Moûtiers, Aime-La-Plagne (outbound only) Snowcarbon journey planner makes it and Bourg-St-Maurice. The French train easier for skiers to check the best train runs from 22 December (day services) and schedules on any given date to each resort, 21 December (night services) until 13 April both with this new Swiss service and all the 2013, with return fares starting from £149.
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Méribel Méribel has upgraded two of its older lifts into faster, higher capacity lifts. One of these
inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2012
Ski Areas Raise Money For Super Storm Sandy Victims
projects has resulted in the total number of gondolas in the Méribel valley reducing – as it replaces two old gondola lifts – whilst the other is the conclusion of a 2-year project. The new Saulire Express 1 lift opens this month, following on from the installation of Saulire Express 2 in 2011: the new €20m lift will have an ascent time of 12 minutes, 8 minutes faster than the old lift, and can carry 2400 people per hour. Up at Mottaret, the Plattieres 1 and 2 gondolas will be replaced
ki areas in Vermont have been getting together to raise money for residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut impacted by super storm Sandy in a fundraising effort called ”Operation Mountains of Love”. “Our friends are going through something that Vermont knows all too well. When Irene hit us last year, New
York, New Jersey and Connecticut rallied to support Vermont – they had our backs. Now, it’s our turn to rally for them and we want them to know we have their backs as they do the difficult work of bouncing back” said Parker Riehle, President of the Vermont Ski Areas Association. As part of the initiative, Okemo Mountain Resort gave the first 1000 people who make a donation of at least $50 to the Red Cross on its opening
weekend a free lift ticket. “Many of our skiing and riding guests who are now being affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy were the first ones to donate and support Vermont after Hurricane Irene. Okemo is proud to support those in need now and we are hopeful to reach our goal of raising $50,000 for the victims of Sandy” said Okemo Mountain Resort VP and General Manager Bruce Schmidt.
by a new single lift, costing over €17m, with 10 passenger cabins. The 9-minute ascent is more than twice as fast as the old ride time, and capacity on the route increases to 2800 people per hour.
VALLE NEVADO One of Valle Nevado´s most emblematic projects, and one that will surely set a standard in the region, is now ready to begin
Resorts Gear Up For Facebook Battle
operating this summer. As part of the journey to become the first “Mountain Village” in the country, Valle Nevado is ready to launch the most important element, which will bring them one step closer to world-class service – its first gondola will start running in February 2013. The gondola will feature 70 cars, with space for six people in each, and will carry skiers and tourists from the 17th Curve Service Area in Gondola Plaza to the Bajo Zero Restaurant, which sits midmountain. This will create a fast and fun way to get to the centre of the mountain.
SAVOGNIN Although not completely new (there are already new ten-seat gondolas at Plan de Corones in Italy, and Kitzbühel in Austria), the first ten-seater in Switzerland is scheduled to open on 15 December. The Leitner-built lift has been installed at Savognin and connects Tigignas and Somtgant, replacing a nearly 30-year-old chairlift on the route.
Fancy A Co’liday? o’lidays is, apparently, the all new way to use social media to enjoy a joint holiday and save some money. The idea has been launched by French resort Les Menuires using Facebook as a way for people to hook-up and consider sharing driving, accommodation and skiing (Les 3 Vallées new 2012–13 pass offers substantial discounts when three people, who need not be related, buy the same pass for the same duration together). To sort your own Co’liday you log into colidays.com using your Facebook ID, and you are then able to place a free ad seeking people to share your ski holiday, or a part of it (the driving, the sleeping, the skiing …). “Skiing as a group is more fun and you can save money and make new friends by sharing accommodation, and with the driving cut your carbon footprint too” said Estelle Roy of Les Menuires Tourist Office.
With much of the marketing and communication efforts of top ski resorts around the world now focused on social networking, there’s a push on to add more fans on Facebook pages. Six areas have now have passed the 100,000 fans mark. Heavenly and Mammoth, both in California, have the most fans with 128,000 and 124,000 respectively. Vail is gaining ground with 122,000, and Whistler has 118,000. The two new resorts to pass 100,000 fans are Valle Nevado in Chile with over 105,000 fans, and Jackson Hole in Wyoming, one of the resorts adding fans the most quickly, with 101,000. In Europe, Megève in France continues in the top spot, with 90,000+ fans, and Vallnord, Andorra, is second with 88,000. There are some interesting anomalies for some of the leading resorts. For example, facebook. com/Chamonix is the personal page of a nurse christened Chamonix and based in Utah. The official Chamonix Facebook page (facebook.com/ ChamonixFrance) has only 3000 fans, while the unofficial fan site, facebook.com/ChamonixFans, has 33,000 friends.
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DECEMBER 2012 | inthesnow.com
m o u n t a i n h e a v e n heavenly skiing, at down to earth prices
2012 World Snowboard Day BEN CLATWORTHY
orld Snowboard Day is back for 2012 – just, it takes place on Sunday 30 December this year. In 2011, 167 events took place in 37 countries to celebrate all things snowboard Activities organised included snowboard lessons, equipment tests, demonstrations, the opportunity to meet pro riders, concerts and much more, in a festive and welcoming atmosphere all around the world.
Ambassador for the seventh edition of World Snowboard Day (world-snowboardday.com) will be Freeride World Champion Anne-Flore Marxer, who said “What I love the most about WSD is how it reunites thousands of people around the world for our shared passion! We all LOVE snowboarding and this is a great opportunity to celebrate our sport on this very special day! Enjoy the connection with people thousands of kilometers away, it’s not about where you are from, your gender, your age or your snwoboarding skills. It’s all about snowboarding and having fun!
high quality catered & self catered accommodation
First 5 Hotel For Méribel éribel in Les 3 Vallées is to get its first 5 hotel this winter. The resort is the latest French ski area to be able to boast a 5 hotel since the French system, which previously gave a maximum rating of 4, aligned itself with the international norm a few years ago. Méribel’s neighbour Courchevel boasts more 5 hotels than any other French destination besides Paris. Located in the centre of the resort (La Chaudanne), the new Le Kaila 5 hotel will include a gastro-restaurant, five luxury shops and a 500m2 spa. Le Kaila spa by
Nuxe will have a large aqua space with aqua bikes, hydro-massage seats, aqua circuits and geysers. The spa will exclusively use the French luxurious organic brand Nuxe. In addition, the Alpen Ruitor in the centre of Méribel-Mottaret has been completely renovated to create a cosy mountain atmosphere. The 4 hotel now has a spa with a steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi and two treatment rooms. It also includes a new lounge area, with a patisserie buffet and a new restaurant, La Table du Mottaret, with an open kitchen, and a bar with beautiful views of the mountains.
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inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2012
Cow Power For Killington Lift BEN CLATWORTHY
Choose from our range of ski chalets… whether it’s a high-end chalet close to the centre of Méribel, an authentic Savoyarde chalet in the village of Les Allues, or almost anything in between…the choice is yours!
illington in Vermont, USA, has joined Aspen, Colorado, in announcing it will have methanepowered lifts this winter. But the methane – which is used to power a turbine to generate electricity – comes from a different source. While Aspen is using gas trapped in old mine workings to cover all the resort’s power needs, Killington is buying in enough methane-generated green energy to cover the operating requirements of one of its gondolas, from a green energy company that makes methane from cow manure. Green Mountain Power mix the cow waste with wastewater from the dairy process, and leave it to brew for about 3 weeks before warming it to generate a lot
of methane. This, in turn, powers a turbine. ”Cow Power” is a popular initiative in Vermont as it not only has positive PR spinoffs for innovative green energy creation, but also highlight’s the state’s strong dairy industry (think Ben and Jerry’s). “Large customers like Killington Resort with significant demand can make important contributions to the continued development of this innovative renewable resource” said Mary Powell, President and CEO of Green Mountain Power. “Through their investment, they will help us continue to expand the GMP Cow Power program making this opportunity available to more Vermont dairy farms. These farms are the backbone of Vermont’s agricultural economy; therefore Killington is to be commended for its commitment to both renewable energy and Vermont farming.”
Free Ski and Snowboard Lessons For Under-18s his winter, guests staying at the Sporthotel Valsana (valsana.ch) in Arosa, Switzerland, can take advantage of the hotel’s four-night “Family*4” offer, which includes free group ski or snowboard lessons in the Arosa ski school for all children under 18-years-old. Younger guests will also be catered for, as the hotel’s kids club has a varied programme, with activities such as sledging, building snowmen and baking pizzas. Parents won’t be neglected either, as they will each be treated to a wonderful body massage in the spa. The Family*4 offer is valid from 9–21 December, 6–25 January, and
3 March–12 April 2013, with the possibility of arriving on Sundays or Mondays. Rates for this four-night half-board offer start at CHF734pp (£490), based on two adults sharing a double room. Two children up to the age of 6 years can share their parents’ room free of charge.
Bulgaria To Be World's Largest Ski Maker ulgaria may become the biggest ski manufacturer in the world next year if claims by local managers at Amer Sports are correct. Amer Sports is the largest sports equipment manufacturer in the winter sports sector, and owner of Salomon and Atomic among others. The company bought a factory at
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Chepelare close to Bansko in 2008, and has subsequently invested more than €30m in it. This winter, production at the plant reached 860,000 pairs of skis, next winter it hopes to break the one million pairs mark. But, as with most things in the ski industry, that depends to some extent on good early season snowfalls.
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Under 15s Ski Free Children up to the age of 15 years can go skiing free at SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental (skiwelt. at) in the Austrian Tyrol during family weeks before Christmas, from 8–21 December and from 16 March–7 April 2013. The only pre-condition is that one parent buys a ski pass valid for at least 3 days’ duration. The SkiWelt is home to more than half-adozen top resorts, including Söll, Ellmau and Westendorf.
inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2012
CairnGorm Adds STATEOF-THE-ART Snowmaking BEN CLATWORTHY
airnGorm Mountain (cairngormmountain.org) above Aviemore in Scotland has announced that it will have the capacity to make snow this winter, if nature’s own supply is insufficient and temperatures are low enough. Following the successful trial of a mobile snow gun, which was
loaned to them last season, the resort has arranged a 2-year lease (with an option to purchase) of four state-of-the-art snow guns from Italian manufacturer Techno Alpin. The mobile guns will be able to be used in a number of different locations around the mountain; in two or three places around the Ptarmigan tow, and in the vicinity of the top station; and in seven different locations
around the Zig-Zags and Gun Barrel area of Coire Cas. The snow guns were due to be delivered to the resort at the end of November. “Although last season was not the best we were able to take the opportunity to trial one of these guns in a number of areas of the hill and it performed extremely well, with the gun making snow for over 300 hours” said Operations Manager Colin Matthew.
“Equipped with four of them, and with the right weather conditions, we will be able to undertake some serious snowmaking in different parts of the mountain, whether it be creating a base, topping up natural cover or restoring thinly covered and scoured areas. It should increase the number of days on which we are able to offer snowsports and improve the customer experience overall.”
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Gone f a Lo or ve S ki x
Three New Blue Runs In The Dolomites olomiti Superski, the giant ski area with 1200km of piste groomed by 320 snowcats, has announced there will be new terrain to ski, in some of its many valleys this winter.
In Cortina d’Ampezzo a new blue slope, “Lorenzi”, on the descent to Valdaora, will start at 2043m and descend to 1690m and have a total length of 1334m over a 353m vertical. A new 4.5km-long slope, also blue, named “Campo” will open in
Gone are the days of putting badly-fitting, poorly-performing goggles in your pocket just in case the snow came. More lens options, adjustable fits, improved vision, and even inbuilt digital displays make goggles an essential piece of equipment. The biggest recent trend has been oversized lenses, such as the top-selling Dragon APX or APXs, which increase peripheral vision. Rather than the feeling of staring down a tunnel, the field of vision is much wider, increasing safety. Salomon entered the goggle market last season, with a specific focus on models that increase the field of vision, especially in the vertical axis. This wasn’t the only feature Salomon brought to market last year, they also introduced a self-adjusting frame that remains flexible where it sits on the cheekbones. Going even further is the Fit System Technology of two discreetly located tabs. Changing weather conditions can demand different types of lenses, and it’s now common for brands to offer different options, either as an additional item or included with the goggle pack, such as the premium Oakley Airbrake products and all the Dragon range. Super-useful for anyone who skis in goggles all the time. Maybe the most exciting of all is the use of MOD Live Heads-Up Display that links to a GPS system, providing speed, distance, navigation, and the ability to track friends amongst other features. This just clicks into a Recon Ready goggle like the Scot Nav R-2. A few sentences will never do this exciting new product justice, so either seek it out at your nearest Ellis Brigham store, or visit the Recon Instruments website (reconinstruments.com). Got a question for the Ellis Brigham team? Then email it to marketing@ellis-brigham. com, tweet it to @ellisbrigham, or post on Facebook, and if your question is featured next month you could win a £100 Ellis Brigham gift voucher.
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The Future Of Goggles Is Now
Val Thorens (France), January 2012
the ski area Val Comelico (Padola), with a 785m vertical. A third new blue will open at Valle Isarco. The “Luckner-Schwandt” slope in the Jochtal area, will be 1277m long, have an average width of 36m and descend 288 vertical metres.
Compete Against Sir Steve BEN CLATWORTHY
ave you ever wanted to compete against one of the greatest Olympian's ever? You may not have a chance in a boat, but five times gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave will be joining Britain's greatest slalom skier, and our only downhill skiing Olympic medal winner, Alain Baxter, at this season's Crystal Ski Fest 2013 held from 16–23 March. Fresh from Britain's string of rowing medal victories at the Olympics, and playing a key part in the opening ceremony, Sir Steve will host ”An evening with” event to talk about the London Olympics and his next projects on the horizon. But the evercompetitive sportsman, together with fellow rowing Olympic medallist Ben
Hunt-Davis, will be staying for the whole week's events, which include ski training, racing and fun activities. Redgrave said: “This week is all about fun and it can be as competitive as you want it to be. It’s all about improving your skiing. Everyone will have an opportunity to relax, have fun and participate in some fantastic skiing and après-ski, culminating in a great VIP party with loads of great prizes at the end of the week.” Slalom champion Baxter, who in 2002 was the first British skier to win an Olympic medal at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, will be at Crystal Ski Fest to advise and teach not just how to ski gates, but how to ski gates fast. This year’s event will be held in the high altitude resort of La Plagne, part of the Paradiski area in France, with over 425km of groomed runs. The ski
area offers extensive and varied pistes, excellent off-piste, guaranteed snow, tree-lined runs, and skiing above the clouds. The accommodation and most of the après-ski events will be in the 4 Hotel Terra Nova, with ski in/ out access, a panoramic restaurant with views of the surrounding mountains, cosy bar and lounge, free Wi-Fi, sauna and fitness room. It is also an excellent family hotel with a crèche and kids club, as well as high quality, friendly service. The price of £995 includes flights from Gatwick (regional departures from all other major airports available at a supplement), transfers, seven nights half-board accommodation, local lift pass, ski and boot hire or carriage, 4 days of ski tuition and race training, video feedback, fun races and special evening events.
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Lift Pass Price Drop At Åre Åre Duved is the collective name for a number of inter linked ski areas running for kilometres above the resorts Åre and Duved and satellite developments in Sweden, together they’re Scandinavia’s most visited ski destination. This winter Skistar (skistar.com), the company which owns the ski area, is turning its focus on Duved, which it describes as “a largely unexploited ski gem”. Duved has an extensive network of uncrowded, mainly blue and red pistes, and Skistar has lowered the price of ski passes exclusively for the Duved/Tegefjäll area this winter – making Duved the ideal base for those skiers who want to pay less, and don’t mind skiing a more limited area than the full Åre area. A 6-day pass was SEK1550 (£145) last winter, but is only SEK1350 (£126) for 2012–13.
inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2012
Greenpeace Calls For Cuts In PFCs In Skiwear BEN CLATWORTHY
reenpeace has released a report condemning the widespread use of PFCs (perfluorinated compounds) in the outdoor sports industry. The campaigning environmental charity carried out detailed scientific tests on more than a dozen leading brands and found all contained PFCs, including some claiming environmental credentials, and some containing more than ten times as much as others. PFCs are used to give water repellency to outdoor equipment; but Greenpeace reports that the chemicals have also been linked to a range of health problems including cancer, compromised
immune systems, and reduced fertility. These issues are particularly acute at the point of manufacture, normally in China or elsewhere in the Far East; but as PFCs never fully break down in the environment, they can build up in the food chain and can then be found where the garments are purchased in Europe and North America too. The report is being welcomed by companies that have made an effort not to use PFCs in their products, including Nikwax that produces water-repellent aftercare for boots and clothing. Nick Brown, Founder and CEO of Nikwax said: “More than ten years ago when I was offered PFCs to put in my aftercare products for the first time, I looked carefully at the issues and decided
– no way! It’s my responsibility to make a safety judgement on behalf of my customers and the environment, and for me PFCs were an unacceptable risk. We’ve worked hard ever since to develop high performance alternatives, and raise the issue to consumers and the industry.” In Europe, aftercare products full of PFC chemicals are on the shelves in many outdoor shops. These are sprayed or washed into clothing in people’s homes, where cross contamination of air and household surfaces is likely. Once washed down the drain, PFCs are not effectively removed at wastewater treatment plants, and so are polluting European waters as well as those in the Far East. Most of the toxicological research
done so far has been focused on the PFCs most commonly used in the past, so called “C8” PFCs. The health risks associated with other members of the perfluorinated family are still relatively unknown, but many chemical manufacturers are now pushing slightly shorter “C6” PFCs as ”safe alternatives”. Greenpeace does not support this move. “The health effects of some PFCs have been more studied than others, but that doesn’t mean that those we know less about are safe. Our assessment is that the whole PFC family share characteristics which are likely to cause harm, and therefore should be avoided wherever possible. The Greenpeace report makes the same assertion very clearly.” Brown concluded.
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Accessing North American Quality Made Easy PATRICK THORNE
kiing in North America is something most of us aspire to, but we may be put off by the long flights, and the cost to reach the well-known resorts of the Rockies or British Columbia. Step forward Tremblant, Quebec, a resort that’s owned by the same company that manages Whistler. It offers the same high standards and state-of-the-art design, but has the advantage of being much closer to the UK, just over a 6.5-hour flight away, with an easy 90-minutes transfer from Montreal airport. Canada’s Tremblant has been voted the best resort in Eastern North America by the predominantly US-based readership of Ski magazine for 12 years in a row, above more than 100 choices in East Coast USA. Why so popular? Well, Tremblant simply has everything you need in a ski resort, but not only that, it makes it simple to access AND it is designed so that everything is a pleasure to do. Firstly, unlike most North American ski areas, there’s no need to worry about a rental car, the short bus ride takes you to your spacious and comfortable slopeside condo or hotel, the latter from top brands such as Westin and Fairmont, among others.
Although the resort is one of the longest established in North America, the modern village development is perfectly integrated with the old and the traditional colourful Quebecoisstyle houses, which line the cobbled streets, and are home to numerous enticing boutiques, cafes and bistros that are very easy on the eye. Some of the resort’s excellent restaurants are located in genuine buildings dating from the 1930s or earlier, which were dismantled and rebuilt here. It’s worth noting that Tremblant, and indeed all of Quebec, has a different attitude to life to the rest of North America. Although all tastes are catered for, great French food is the norm at establishments like the elegant Quintessence Hotel, with its superb restaurant and wine cellar. Indeed, ironically, you can often get better French food here in Canada than you might in an altitude resort in the French Alps. The resort’s designers thought of everything, so that the traffic-free street layouts maximise scenic vistas, and all the facilities you need are steps away from your hotel or condo – including slopeside equipment rental shops, and easy access tofast chair and gondola lifts. Tremblant’s 265-hectare ski area is not huge, but most Brits will be happy
Visit Tremblant with Inghams 4 Hotel Ermitage du Lac A sophisticated boutique hotel. Was £909pp, now £809pp on selected dates in March, including return flights from London Heathrow, transfers and seven nights’ B&B accommodation, based on four sharing.
5 Hotel Fairmont Tremblant Luxury accommodation and excellent service. Was £919pp, now £864pp on selected dates in January, including return flights from London Heathrow, transfers and seven nights’ accommodation based on four sharing.
4 Marriott Residence Inn and Apartments Newly-renovated suites. Was £875pp, now £805pp on selected dates in March, including return flights from London
Heathrow, transfers and seven nights’ B&B accommodation based on four sharing.
Go to Inghams.co.uk/tremblant or call 01483 79 11 11.
here for at least a week, with more the 90 runs to explore, the longest at 6km. Mixed-ability groups can find runs for all standards with excellent terrain parks for freestyle skiers and boarders, and first-class beginner slopes with easy to use carpet lifts for getting back up the slopes effortlessly. The varied terrain includes pretty tree-lined runs and popular gladed skiing areas – open hillsides with light tree cover to ski around. But easy access, great accommodation, excellent ski slopes, and appealing shops and authentic restaurants are not enough for Tremblant to have maintained its popularity top spot for so long! Another key part of the resort’s success is the après-ski entertainment. The resort’s operators always ensure there’s a vibrant buzz to the slopeside squares and streets from mid-afternoon onwards, with live acts performing free concerts. There are also some great après-ski facilities, including a new casino and the wonderful La Source Aquaclub – an indoor-outdoor adventure pool and spa complex.
160 separate elements combine to make the ultimate skiing jacket. 161, if you include the skier.
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AOSTA VALLEY LIFE IN Aosta Valley
Take To The Skies
Located in northwestern Italy, bordering France and Switzerland, the Aosta Valley is home to the highest peaks in the Alps, as well as some of the most spectacular views. Marvel at the Matterhorn or Mont Blanc while cruising around the pistes.
Heli-skiing is one of the best ways to experience the thrill of off-piste skiing. Hop in a chopper, and they’ll drop you somewhere remote, then it’s up to you – take it slow, or power down to the bottom of the mountain. Gressoney, Pila and La Thuile are great places to heli-ski, but remember to always take a guide.
There is no better way to relax after a day on the slopes than a spa trip. The public spa at Pré-Saint-Didier has indoor and outdoor facilities, including hydro-massage pools and saunas, whilst the equally stylish Terme di Saint-Vincent (en.termedisaintvincent.it), near Aosta, is the ideal place to relax.
If you’re looking to take your little ones to the snow then Aosta has it all. All the resorts have ski schools, whilst La Thuile offers free childcare, and Courmayeur is not only pedestrianised, but the closest resort to the UK if you’re looking to drive.
If you’re looking for high mileage skiing the head to the Monterosa Ski Area, made up of five resorts, including Gressoney and Champoluc. Gressoney has the only bordercross and is also a haven for cross-country skiers. The area won ‘Best Upcoming Ski Area’ at the World Snow Awards 2012.
Enjoy the late season snow, guaranteed in many resorts thanks to the high altitude, and enjoy the events and après-ski that comes with spring snow. Ski Solutions also host their Make A Wish charity ski challenge in Champoluc during March (skisolutions.com).
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We provide responsible tourism, working and developing close relationships with the community; we pass on our warm, friendly and hospitable relations directly to our clients who then enjoy a richer, more traditional experience. We do not import our own reps, ski instructors or guides. Everything we offer is via local people at local prices so you enjoy an authentic time in the mountains.
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MONTEROSA SKI REGION
No trip to the Aosta Valley is complete without sampling the foods of the valley. Fontina cheese is produced from the milk of local cattle, whilst polenta (ground maize), brossa (a kind of cream), and goulash are also traditional dishes.
SKI SCHOOL FREERIDE HELISKIING SKI TOURING
The Aosta Valley is home to some of the best Alpine views in the mountains. Ski beneath the Matterhorn in Cervina (or head over to Zermatt), or at the foot of Mont Blanc in Courmayeur. From there you can catch the bus to ski in the world-famous Chamonix.
COURMAYEUR GRESSONEY CHAMPOLUC ALAGNA
ENJOY Local Cuisine
A VALLEY AOST SKI REGION
Marvel At The View
Ben Clatworthy heads to Italy’s smallest region the Aosta Valley, but with over 800km of pistes, finds there’s a lot to discover.
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DECEMBER 2012 | inthesnow.com
hadn’t been happy to leave my warm bed in the UK at the crack of dawn, but by 2pm things were looking up. I’d enjoyed a relaxing mountain lunch, and was dancing along with 3000 other partygoers on top of a mountain in the giant Portes du Soleil ski area that straddles the French/Swiss border. Welcome to the Rock the Pistes festival.
Rock The Pistes Festival is free (although access is on skis only, and, therefore, a lift pass is required) and takes place 20–24 March 2013. The host resort for the 2013 festival is Avoriaz. Rock the Pistes: rockthepistes.com Châtel: chatel.com Avoriaz: avoriaz.com
Inaugurated in 2011, this free festival was originally named the Festival des Concerts Sauvages (Go Wild Outdoors Festival). The festival was unique in one special way: the location of each concert remained secret until just a few hours before, at which time you would receive a text message telling you where to ski to. In 2012 things changed, most notably the name, and the organisers did away with the texting. I thought they might have shot themselves in the foot – suddenly the fun
of the chase had gone and the name was English, unlike most of the acts. On that first afternoon I was rocking out to Louis Bertignac (a French Rod Hull look-alike). The Portes du Soleil (translated as “gateway to the sun”) is vast – one of the biggest interconnected ski areas in the world – and spans from Mont Blanc to the shores of Lake Geneva, linking 13 ski resorts. The area is popular with British skiers, particularly the resorts of Morzine and Avoriaz, thanks in good part to its proximity to Geneva airport, just an hour away. In fact, my plane left the UK at 6am and I was on snow, skiing, at 10.30am (taking into consideration the time difference) – undoubtedly a new record for me. As the afternoon concert on the mountain was winding down, another was firing up in Châtel, the host resort of the festival, and where I’d chosen to base myself for the weekend. A stage had been erected in the car park, and a small crowd were bobbing along to a local act. The resort itself is traditionally French, with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Although relatively small in comparison with some of its bigger name neighbours (namely Morzine and Avoriaz), there are plenty of bars and restaurants. Another day, another concert; and once the lifts opened it was off to the next location, this time to bob along to the French songwriter, Mani. You might not have heard of him, although he’s pretty big on the continent – his hit “Bang Bang” was top ten across the Alps. In fact, it wasn’t just his music that had some members of
he T oleil In S Portes u D
my group excited. I’m told he’s fiendishly good-looking, and it seems women swoon over his manly composure and jiggy hips. Concert over, it was skis on, and off to the next performance. One characteristic of Rock the Pistes is the relaxed atmosphere – you can dance, stand, sit, sunbathe, (or even picnic) during the concerts. The lunchtime performance from Gerald de Palmas (yes, he was French) offered us the perfect opportunity to bask in the sun and munch on delicious local charcuterie. There was just time to squeeze in some more skiing before the sun slipped behind the jagged Dents du Midi, and another day of music came to an end. Back at base, we headed to Bel’Alp Hotel (hotelbelalp.com) for dinner, which from the façade looks like a traditional mountain hotel, but is hiding a modern and intricately designed restaurant. The food was exceptional – all five courses – washed down with delicious Savoyard wines. One last day, and one final concert. This time Shaka Ponk, an electric-rock band, who, unlike Mani,
haven’t quite made it yet, although, still very French. However, their stellar beatbox concert certainly had the crowd singing and jumping along. Frankly, it’s hard to find complain when the sun’s shining, the mountains are alive and everyone’s enjoying themselves – it seems like a winning formula to me. The popularity of mountain festivals continues to increase, and this season somewhere in the Alps there’s at least one for every genre of music. The Portes du Soleil has chosen rock (although individual resorts also have niche concerts – Jazz for Avoriaz or Basscamp sessions in Morzine). But, don’t let that conjure up images of rowdy skiers drinking too much. The Rock the Pistes festival is good fun, but ideal for the whole family. There are big name international bands, up-andcoming acts, and even some British artists: I’d honestly say it has to be one of the best festivals I’ve attended – even if I hadn’t heard of the French acts before I skied to go and see them.
DECEMBER 2012 | inthesnow.com
EarlyBird's Get To Ski At Sunrise In Lenzerheide enzerheide (lenzerheide.com), in the Swiss canton of Graubünden, is taking the concept of ”First Tracks”, where you get to be one of a select few out on the slopes before everyone else gets up, to a new (earlier) level. With the EarlyBird offer, you're guaranteed to be first on the still-untouched slopes, with a 6.30am start on selected Sundays from January to March; this will offer the chance to experience the exceptional atmosphere of a winter sunrise. When normal operation begins for everyone else, you can retire to the Alp Stätz mountain restaurant for a breakfast buffet. The special sessions are offered every Sunday from 3 February–17 March 2013. Tickets cost from CHF59 (£39) for adults, for a ski pass valid up to 8.30am including breakfast, or CHF99 (£66) for a full-day pass, discounted child tickets are also available.
However You Prefer_A4_ITS_Dec12.pdf
However You Prefer To Ski... New Hampshire Change Ski Pass The White Mountains of New Hampshire, 2 hours north of Boston, are home to some of the closest US ski resorts to the UK. The ski areas are also close to one another, and you can access five mountains on a single ski pass. This season there’s a change in the line-up of the five areas included, with perennial favourites Loon, Waterville Valley and Cannon mountains joined by Bretton Woods, with over 100 runs overlooking the region’s highest peak of Mt Washington, and Cranmore Mountain in bustling North Conway with its tax-free outlet mall.
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The US resort of Smugglers' Notch in Vermont (smuggs.com) is launching a new twice-weekly program for women only this winter. Special clinics will focus on the mechanics of how the female body moves on snow in order to enhance skills. Female instructors will lead participants in “light-hearted and fun” learning sessions. This clinic, held from 10.15am–2.00pm, is for all levels and includes lunch.
Lindsey Vonn’s Request Rejected The International Ski Federation (FIS) Council has rejected a request by top women’s ski racer Lindsey Vonn to be allowed to race in the men’s competition, stating this would be contrary to FIS rules. “The Council … confirmed that one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other and exceptions will not be made to the FIS Rules, … she is welcome to submit a request to the Organising Committee and jury to be a forerunner” said an FIS statement.
inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2012
Allais Dies BEN CLATWORTHY
he great French skier Emile Allais has died at the age of 100. Allais, whose home resort was Megève in France, celebrated his 100th birthday in the resort on 25 February, and died in hospital on 17 October. Emile Allais is one of the most important people in the development of the global ski industry; some would say THE most important. As France’s first great ski champion, Allais won silver in downhill and combined races at the fifth Alpine Skiing World Championships staged in Mürren in 1935, and then bronze at the first ever Olympic downhill ski race staged at the Garmisch Winter Olympics in 1936, before winning
all three Alpine ski races at the 1937 Alpine Skiing World Championships in Chamonix. He won more silvers and golds at the 1938 Alpine Skiing World Championships in Engelberg. But, Emile Allais’ contribution to world skiing continued for more than 70 years after his racing career ended. During the following seven decades, Allais is credited with advances in ski equipment and skiwear design, inventing the “French ski method”, and being a pioneer of ski instruction and mechanical slope maintenance. He also helped to develop many of the best-known ski resorts in France (including Courchevel, Flaine and La Plagne) and around the world, including Squaw Valley and Sun Valley in the US, La Parva and Portillo in Chile, and Sierra Nevada in Spain.
GoPro Launch Hero3 oPro (gopro.com), manufacturer of those cool Hero cams that clip on helmets (and anywhere else you’d like) to shoot action footage of your time on the slopes, has released a new version of the cool gizmo in a variety of models, ranging from the £199.99 entrylevel White model, to the sexy HERO3: Black edition weighing in at £359.99. The Wi-Fi enabled HERO3: Black Edition is the most advanced GoPro, ever. No expense was spared during its development the company says, resulting in a GoPro that is 30% smaller, 25% lighter, and yet twice as
powerful as previous models. The new camera is wearable and gear-mountable, waterproof to 60m, capable of capturing ultra-wide-angle HD video and 12MP photos, at a rate of 30 photos per second. It features GoPro App compatibility, and includes a Wi-Fi remote (normally a separate accessory at extra cost).
Winter Sessions In Chamonix et in the crisp white mountains of ChamonixMont-Blanc, Winter Sessions Weekender (30–31 March 2013; wintersessions.net) is a snow-fuelled, 3-day music, art and snow sports festival. The event mixes live gigs, DJs and death-defying mountain sports demonstrations, like wing suit skydiving over the partying crowds below.
When the day's antics are over, nightly parties take over eight venues and stages along the Chamonix valley, including underground clubs turned into ice-rinks, funky cocktail bars and a wild mix of sounds and styles. Skiweekends.com is offering stays during the festival, which include return flights and transfers, and a free bus pass to get guests to the slopes and music quickly, from £418pp for the 2Hotel Des Lacs on a B&B basis.
Valais Tourism / Christian Perret
Swiss Resort Damaged By Fire he little Swiss resort of Champex-Lac, which has 25km of piste and is close to the 4 Valleys, is recovering from serious fire damage, which will mean the resort’s two chairlifts, Breya 1 and Breya 2,
night skiing, and other activities. For families, children will be able to stay all day in the snow garden and take group lessons, and the ski school will look after children even when parents head-off to enjoy skiing at a neighbouring resort.
will be closed this winter. Initiatives planned to ensure that Champex-Lac remains appealing in winter include reduced lift pass rates for using the remaining drag lifts, a free shuttle bus service, which will drive skiers to surrounding resorts, a new snow park,
s we went to press with this issue of InTheSnow in midNovember, things were looking rather good for the start of winter 2012–13. All of the resorts that had planned to open in October and November in Scandinavia, the Alps and North America have all done so. Indeed, quite a few big names – Bormio, Breckenridge, Heavenly, Verbier, Whistler, have actually opened early. There have been big snowfalls in the Alps and the Rockies – over 1m in single storms reported by Snowbird in Utah, and in Saas-Fee in Switzerland on the other side of the Atlantic. FIS World Cup races have gone ahead as planned at Sölden in the Austrian Alps, and at Levi in Finland, and the races at Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada are taking place as we go to press, where winter is now fully ”locked in”. So hopefully things will still be looking good by the time you’re reading this. Although currently, the jury is still out for the Pyrenees, Eastern Europe and Scotland. It’s a far cry from this time a year ago when no non-glacier resort had opened, FIS races in Scandinavia were being cancelled, and Ischgl in Austriahad to spend more than €1m on snowmaking in the week up to opening in order to do so on time. But then the heavens opened and a snowy deluge began bringing record December and January snowfalls to resorts in the Alps, including Chamonix in France. So where’s looking good for December snow sports? Although Austria’s glacier ski areas continue to offer some of the best conditions, their non-glacier ski areas have been opening, most with good snow conditions following the falls at the start of November. The Hintertux glacier had the biggest ski area open anywhere in the world in midNovember, with 58km of runs open, 15 lifts operating, and a 1150m skiable vertical, and snow depths up to 105cm. In France, Tignes has been open since early October, and Val Thorens joined it in the last week of November. The other French resorts are now opening en masse, and most have at least 60cm of snow lying above 2000m, so are looking good for the start of winter. In Italy, Cervinia had 1.4m of snow lying as we went to press, and Bormio and Passo Tonale are among the country’s other early openers. Most resorts in Dolomiti Superski are open from 1 December.
© Chip Kalback / Seb Viardot
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inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2012
Avoriaz Targets Youngsters BEN CLATWORTHY
nspired by a programme to rejuvenate snowboarding in America using a teaching method adapted to young children, Burton snowboards and an Avoriaz child-learning institution – Annie Famose’s “Village des Enfants” – have joined forces to launch a first for Europe with this original initiative. From 15 December in the centre of Avoriaz, at the very heart of the Village des Enfants’ giant learning area, Burton opens “Riglet Park” – a snowy play zone designed to introduce children from 3-years-old to snowboarding. The concept saw significant success in major American resorts last winter; and the focus of the park is a raised
platform with ramps for children to slide down. The platform is equipped with a “stay-steady” area to give children their first taste of balancing. Riglet Park is designed for riding small gradients, mini rails, pyramids, and mini half-pipes so that children can develop their reflexes, and find their balance on turns and steeper terrain. On the snow, children are equipped with specialised Burton equipment, featuring a retractable strap attached to the snowboard, which allows the instructor to guide the child easily. This makes for rapid progress through the various modules. This new concept strikes a chord with everything that Annie Famose has been doing for 35 years: making sure children have fun while they learn in a 5-hectare snow garden.
Save Money This Xmas – Go Skiing nline ski holiday travel agency SNO (sno.co.uk) is reporting that with the average cost of Christmas at home estimated at £784pp (and the average Xmas weight-gain equally hefty), we’d all be much better off getting fit and saving money by going skiing. SNO say they can offer half-board Christmas week’s in Arinsal, Andorra, for under £350, or a self-catering
apartment in Soldeu for under £240pp, both including flights and transfers. Even a catered chalet holiday in Verbier, Switzerland, can come in at under £600. Of course, if you want to really save on that Christmas week average by going skiing, you need to avoid all Christmas expenses at home before and after your trip too – bah humbug! sno.co.uk/skiholidays/christmas-ski-holidays
Sleeping Bag Tech In Jacket ne of the challenges in Alpine activities is avoiding overheating during intense activities, and cooling down while resting. Swiss skiwear manufacturer Mammut’s (mammut.ch) solution is to use the company’s expertise in its highly successful synthetic sleeping bag range, to develop Ajungilak XTi Climate 2-phase technology specifically for clothing. This new technology, found in the Maranguan jacket for men and Misuan jacket for women, is designed to transport excess moisture and heat away from the body during
high levels of activity, while still keeping you warm during rest periods. These highly breathable, wind- and water-resistant (20,000mm water column) jackets are incredibly lightweight (630g), with an impressive warmth to weight ratio. SRP is £250.
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vailresorts.com snow.com Patrick Thorne travelled to Colorado with Ski Independence (ski-i.com) who offer holidays to Vail, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek and Keystone. Low season prices to Breckenridge start from £1225pp for seven nights staying at the Double Tree by Hilton, including breakfast, shared transfers and flights from London with Delta Airlines. Ski Independence is also offering up to £500pp off bookings at Ptarmigan, their catered chalet in Vail. Seven nights now start at £1099pp on a chalet board basis, including flights and transfers.
ki resort empires tend to come and go over the years, particularly in North America. Companies like the American Skiing Company, Booth Creek and Intrawest have all started from small beginnings to operate ten or more of the continent’s biggest areas, before losing popularity and shrinking back down, in some cases disappearing altogether, sometimes in little more than a decade. Vail has been one of the biggest names in American and, indeed, world skiing for five decades now, and in that time its parent company, Vail Resorts, has grown to become “the leading mountain resort operator in the United States”. But, Vail Resorts’ expansion has been more measured and has none of the
”boom and bust” feel of those other corporate giants. For many years Vail just operated Vail in Colorado, and then it built luxurious Beaver Creek and acquired neighbours Breckenridge and Keystone. Most recently it has moved into California and added three more resorts to its holding – Heavenly Mountain Resort, Northstar, and, last winter, Kirkwood, all of which are around Lake Tahoe. Vail presents a powerful united front across its seven resorts, in recent years particularly unified by the company’s Epic Mix programme, which it has invested in heavily and promoted relentlessly to drive the biggest social media fan base in the ski industry. Epic Mix connects the hi-tech electronic lift passes of skiers and boarders visiting any of Vail’s resorts with social media
channels, in a myriad of cutting-edge initiatives, which now makes the once innovative idea of tracking your progress around the mountain seem positively passé. But from the websites it can be difficult to get a grasp of the true scale and variety of Vail’s ski resorts, and how very different each is from the others. So it was that I went on the road in Colorado last spring to visit the company’s four original resorts and find out for myself. First stop was Breckenridge, the most popular US resort for British skiers for many years and it’s easy to see why. The resort’s heart is an old mining town, oozing period character (there are some 400 registered historic buildings), and chock-full of the kind of quirky bars, shops and restaurants most
of us prefer – housed within those original wooden mining town facades. Between the centre and the slopes there are the more usual modern hotel and condo complexes, so the skier is positioned between the après-ski and the skiing; the latter of which is worldclass, spread over several mountains, which are among the highest (and, thus, snow-sure) in the world. Indeed, the world’s highest chairlift is here. One day on it was time to depart. The second stop was Keystone, in some ways the antithesis of Breckenridge being only four decades old and entirely modern. Marketed as a family resort, although also boasting the largest night-skiing operation in western North America, Keystone is perhaps the hardest of the four to get a marketing angle on – it’s not as big as Vail, not as
posh as Beaver Creek (my next stop), and lacks the history of Breckenridge. I arrived preparing to be underwhelmed. But I liked Keystone. It was a very short walk from the vast parking lot to the fast gondola up the slopes, through a village designed by Intrawest, the company behind Whistler. The resort was fairly bland, but very functional, as so many purpose-built ski areas are on either side of the Atlantic, but the skiing was the revelation. Unlike most ski centres, Keystone’s skiing doesn’t spread out around the resort village, but keeps going back, further and further away from the resort until you feel rather pleasantly remote. You can even jump into the back of a snowcat for a few dollars, in which you’ll be transported 10 minutes across the snow to untracked powder on the ski area
boundary, from where there’s a glorious descent down through the trees back to the furthest lift base. I would have liked more time to explore the town of Breckenridge, and more time on the slopes of Keystone, but there were 2 days and two resorts left to see; so next up was Beaver Creek, the gated community – the very concept of which is for some the antithesis of the free spirit of snow sports. But for many others, the fact that Conde Nast Traveler has ranked Beaver Creek one of the top three ski resorts in North America, and that the resort has won the Best Overall Customer Service Award from the US National Ski Association for 5 years in a row are the important issues. Yes, everything about Beaver Creek is about quality, from the gourmet
restaurants, designer boutiques, arts centre and luxury hotels at its base, to the beautifully-manicured ski slopes, which include arguably North America’s best known downhill run, the Birds of Prey piste, which will again host racing when Vail and Beaver Creek repeat their staging of the World Alpine Skiing Championships in 2015. And so, finally, to Vail itself, where it all began. The resort’s meteoric success is such that it now stretches for miles, its resort base comprising a growing list of mid- to high-end properties sandwiched between the I-70 interstate motorway and the ski slopes – the largest single mountain ski area in the US. Vail’s popularity speaks for itself, but for me the ski area was the eye-opener. The scale was not something those of us who have enjoyed the high quality
ski experience common across North American resorts expect. Here there is not only that quality, but also the expanse felt at the larger resorts of the Alps – you just ski on and on. Blue Ski Basin is a particularly enjoyable and unusual option. Quite simply, from the top you can ski in pretty much any direction and you’ll most likely find yourself alone heading down. Then after a long descent, you are funnelled back towards the base of the lifts back out, and your fellow skiers and boarders begin emerging around you like magic. Unfortunately I had just 1 day in Vail, as I did in each of the other three, but it was the resort out of the four where I would have liked to spend a week or longer investigating it all. It was also the place where it all became clear just why Vail Resorts has become the success it is.
PIC CREDITS: Chad Schmidt / Leisa Gibson / JACK AFFLECK
inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2012
Monarch Offer Free Ski & Board Carriage PATRICK THORNE
kis and snowboards can be carried free of charge on Monarch Airlines’ new routes to key ski regions for winter 2012–13, for passengers booking before 31 December. Monarch’s new routes to Grenoble in France, Innsbruck in Austria, and Friedrichshafen and Munich airports in Germany are all famed for their excellent links to resorts covering the Western, Central and Northern Alps, as well as the Eastern Alps in France, Switzerland, Bavaria and Austria. With other airlines charging as much as £120 return for ski carriage alone on some of these routes, there are quite substantial savings to be made.
As well as free ski carriage, saving £39.98 on Monarch’s own standard ski carriage cost, there are a variety of other offers and add-ons available on a new ski website monarch.co.uk/ski, together with a host of information, resort guides and regular blogs by number one British woman skier Chemmy Alcott, Brand Ambassador for Monarch Ski. “The introduction of our first scheduled ski programme comes in response to customer demand” said Kevin George, Managing Director of Monarch Airlines. “More and more people are booking all elements of their ski holidays separately now, and at Monarch we can provide them with the facilities to book scheduled flights and enhance their overall holiday experience with our vast range of addons and optional choices.”
Fully Interchangable Ski Rentals ki Republic (ski-republic. com), which offers ski rental (including skis, boots, poles and helmet) from €10pp per day in over 40 shops in French ski resorts, is launching a new service for 2012–13. ”Snowlib” allows skiers and boarders to change their equipment at any time, in any Ski Republic shop in resort. For example, switching all mountain skis used in the morning to park gear in the afternoon. The service is free as long as the skis or boards are in the same range.
You can also store your gear overnight in a Ski Republic shop, and move between resorts on the same rental at no extra cost.
Post Office Survey Finds Prices Lower Across the Board he now annual Post Office Travel Money Report has found that sterling has strengthened against all European currencies this year. In terms of best value, the lowestpriced resort in the Report – produced in conjunction with Crystal Ski – is Bansko in Bulgaria, where sterling buys 7.5% more Bulgarian lev than last winter. Meanwhile, skiers travelling to the Eurozone will get 6.6% more for their
money, and those visiting Swiss resorts will be 4.6% better off – an improvement on last year when a plunging pound bought 9.1% fewer Swiss francs than in 2010. “Skiers have become ever more value conscious over the past few seasons and in the last couple of weeks we've seen an increase of over 20% in bookings for destinations such as Bulgaria, Slovenia and Austria where there is tremendous value for money" said Simon Cross, Managing Director of Crystal Ski.
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St Anton Tourist Office
ly into Germany to get to the Alps? It’s madness! Well, perhaps not. If you’re weary of the check-in scrums, queues, traffic congestion, over-crowded eateries, and inadequate facilities of Alpine airports like Salzburg and Geneva on changeover day, then you’d be wise to follow the smart skiers' example and opt for a little German efficiency. Friedrichshafen airport (officially Bodensee Airport Friedrichshafen, but everyone just calls it Friedrichshafen) lies on Germany’s southern border, strategically positioned just above the line dividing Austria and Switzerland some 25km away. With Monarch Airlines (monarch.co.uk/ski) offering low-cost services from London Gatwick and Manchester, Friedrichshafen is a quick and easy route to the top resorts
of the Austrian, Swiss (and if you fancy a change German!) Alps. Apart from its proximity to the slopes, it’s also a very well-managed airport, but still small enough to be on a human scale, making passing through it much more pleasant than the ski holiday norm. Currently, the airport is in the final stages of a global industry contest to identify the best airports worldwide. Friedrichshafen has been shortlisted in the world top five for an airport of its size (less than 4m passengers per year) from 421 airports considered, and may yet win the top spot.
Big Ski Resorts, Short Transfers Many of the best known ski resorts in world skiing are only a 90 minute – 2 hour transfer away by fast motorway connections, and Friedrichshafen also offers faster connections to slightly more distant resorts than any other airport can.
Austria St Anton (90 minutes) Legendary for its spectacular powder ski slopes, and equally its hedonistic nightlife scene, fewer people are aware that St Anton also holds a key status as a key pioneering resort in Alpine skiing. Marketed as "the cradle of Alpine skiing", as one of the first ski clubs in the Alps it was established in 1901. Appropriately St Anton hosted the World Alpine Skiing Championships a century later in 2001. This is a resort of contrasts; the timeless, peaceful village centre contrasts with the buzzing nightlife (although at the same time, the two seem to complement one another); the prepared trails cover in excess of 280km of marked runs in the Arlberg, and then an incredible 180km more of unpisted routes for experienced skiers to explore. All this makes St Anton a magnet for serious winter sports enthusiasts of all
ages the world over, in the same special way as Chamonix in France, and the US resorts of Crested Butte in Colorado and Jackson Hole in Wyoming. There’s evermore accommodation choice in St Anton too. Last season the brand new MOOSER Hotel opened, this winter sees the opening of the 4 Anthony’s Life & Style Hotel (www. anthonys.at) located in St Anton’s pedestrian zone. You can also, of course, easily reach neighbouring Arlberg resorts like Lech-Zürs, famous for its own great skiing, fantastic gourmet food and wonderful shopping.
Ischgl (2 hours) Ischgl is a large, but traditional, Tyrolean village below one of Austria's greatest and highest ski areas, crossing the border to be linked with Samnaun, making a unique Austro-Swiss ski area. Now one of the largest ski areas in the
Monarch: monarch.co.uk/ski Friedrichshafen Airport: fly-away.de/en/ Austrian Ski Shuttle: ski-express-stanton.com Swiss Ski Shuttle: graubuenden-express.com Arosa: arosa.ch Davos-Klosters: davosklosters.ch Ischgl: ischgl.com St Anton: stantonamarlberg.com
Alps, it has an enviable snow record, and a reputation for its big music concerts, free to lift pass holders, at the start of the season in late-November and at the end in early-May. Superstar performers have included Kylie, Rihanna, Pink, Bob Dylan and Elton John on an increasingly long list. The 200km ski region is one of the largest in Austria (at least partially), and with a vertical approaching 1400m up to 2872m it is much higher and bigger than some of the country's other big name ski areas like Kitzbühel. With 90% of the ski area above 2000m, this makes the area particularly snow-sure.
neighbouring Klosters, Europe's highest town is annual host to world leaders in staging the World Economic Forum. Another important pioneer in winter sports, Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, skied from Davos to Arosa in the late 19th century, and the world's first T-bar lift was installed at Davos in 1934. This season, as last, Davos is a particularly good choice before Christmas, as along with its snowsure slopes, anyone who books direct from a long list of participating accommodation, will receive a lift pass completely free of charge!
Arosa (2 hours)
Davos (2 hours) Davos is the largest and most successful of the first breed of classic ski resorts. Along with a huge, snow-sure and glacier-capped ski area linked to
A classic high-altitude resort of the type that only exists in Switzerland, Arosa is famous for its views over the local peaks and its well laid-out lift system. The local ski club was founded in 1903, making it one of the world's
oldest, and the ski school began in 1933. Developing from a destination for health-giving holidays in the last century into one of the pioneering winter sports meccas before the era of modern skiing, Arosa has managed to turn itself into a winter sports destination with the facilities modern tourists want, but at the same time it has continued to capitalise on the stunning natural beauty that surrounds it, an ever more valuable asset. And this winter the children of guests in Arosa can learn to ski free, thanks to the resort’s "Ski School inclusive" initiative. Any child born in or after 1995 (so around age 17 years or younger), and staying at least two nights in one of the 70 participating hotels and self-catering properties, can get free ski school lessons! Monarch Ski (monarch.co.uk/ski) offers regular flights to Friedrichshafen from London Gatwick and Manchester with low prices and added special
offers and benefits, the latest of which are always online.
All Aboard The Ski Shuttle If you’re not on a package and prefer not to self-drive, there’s a number of excellent ski shuttle services connecting with your Monarch flight, and then running direct from the airport to your hotel in dozens of Austrian, German and Swiss ski resorts. For Swiss resorts take the Graubunden Express to big names like Arosa, DavosKlosters, Flims/Laax, Lenzerheide and St Moritz, or for Austria hop on the Ski Express St Anton, which despite its name goes to many more resorts too, including Galtür, Ischgl, Lech-Zürs, Serfaus/Fiss/Ladis, Sölden or St Anton – again among dozens of choices. Prices vary depending on destination – a single to St Anton is €48pp (about £39) for example, €84 (about £67) return.
inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2012
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Fancy winning this year’s award-winning ultimate all mountain freeride set-up? Lange XT130 ski boots and a pair of Dynastar Cham 97 skis, totalling over £1000! Lange and Dynastar are the choice of many professional athletes, including British racer Dave Ryding – who achieved his first World Cup FIS points in Levi, Finland this month. To celebrate the launch of the all New Dynastar Cham freeride series skis and New Lange XT performance hikeable freeride boots, we’re bringing you the ultimate freeride set-up giving you a performance ski and boot that allows you to get off the beaten track and explore the powder. The Dynastar range of skis have been designed and built in the Chamonix valley since 1963, and they have now developed the all new Dynastar Cham 97 ski developed to cope with the demands of varying terrain and snow conditions focusing on performance and manageability. Combine this with the Lange XT range of freeride touring boots, which offer performance fit and touring walk features, and you have powerful downhill performance with the freedom of movement for the uphill. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is answer the following two questions: 1. Which British racer has just caused a media frenzy in Levi, Finland? 2. For how long have Dynastar been designing skis? Then email your name, address, and your answers to email@example.com by Thursday 31 January 2013.* *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. One entry per person.
Resorts include: Samoëns for Flaine, Les Gets for Avoriaz, Vaujany for Alpe d’Huez, Peisey for Les Arcs, St Martin de Belleville for Méribel & La Tania for Courchevel
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DECEMBER 2012 | inthesnow.com
Ski Childcare Specialist Add More Resort Choice erinannies (merinannies.com), who has been providing professional childcare at Chamonix, Courchevel, Megève, Méribel, Samoëns and St Anton for the last 10 years, is expanding their service this winter to cover Morillon in the French Grand Massif ski region and Ischgl in Austria. Merinannies employs qualified and experienced nannies with a caring and loving manner, first-aid qualifications, and who are CRB and reference checked. Children aged from 4 months to 14-yearsold are accepted on either a full- or part-time basis during daytime or evening hours to suit requirements. “Your kids will enjoy their time with us and welcome you with a huge smile on their face when you return” says Founder and Managing Director of Merinannies, Katia Koumantou. “We have proven that with the right staff in the right resorts, we continue to attract back parents and children year after year.”
Panorama at 50 Panorama Mountain Village (panoramaresort.com) in British Columbia, Canada, turns 50 this winter and will be celebrating with themed events. "We feel it's important to pay homage to the resort's founders and the rich ski culture that has made Panorama Mountain Village what it is today" said Rick Jensen, President and CEO of Panorama. For the second year in a row, the mountain has received a major makeover, with the trail crew expanding and reclaiming further terrain in the autumn over more than 113 hectares of terrain in Taynton Bowl, Extreme Dream Zone and the popular Sun Bowl.
Fog-Free Goggles When you get hot during snow sports, your lenses fog up, but a new range of anti-fog cloths, from German lens manufacturer Rodenstock (rodenstock.co.uk), aim to provide a quick solution. The Rodenstock FogFree has the premium coating Solitaire Protect Plus and is simple to use – just breathe on each lens, wipe with the FogFree cloth for about 10 seconds, and pop the cloth back into its resealable cover. Each can be used 20 times and the fog-free effect starts immediately.
Ski Free In SaasFee This January
For your nearest retailer go to www.ultrasporteu.com *TEXT MESSAGES charged at your normal NETWORK rate
Saas-Fee in Switzerland is offering free lift passes for anyone who books accommodation direct at selected hotels during January 2013. Several dozen hotels in most categories are taking part in the promotion, which runs from 5–26 January. Each offers free 3 or 6-day lift passes, depending on the length of your stay (four or seven nights). For participating hotels and prices go to saas-fee. ch, then choose Accommodation > Deals > Winter deals > January offer – Skipass included.
inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2012
”Powder Shuttle” Links Val d’Isère and Courchevel PATRICK THORNE
owder White (powderwhite.com) is offering skiers the chance to ski both the world-class terrains of Val d’Isère and Courchevel in just 1 week. Guests can begin the week in Val d’Isère, at the heart of the Espace Killy and its 300km of pistes, or in Courchevel Moriond, linked to
* Valid until 30 Nov 2012
the massive Trois Vallées area with its 600km of terrain, from Saturday to Tuesday. On Tuesday evening Powder White’s newly-launched “Powder Shuttle” will transfer to the other resort for the remainder of the week. These Skifaris are based at Chalet Hokkaido in Val d’Isère, and Savoyardestyle Chalet Nid d’Aigle in Courchevel. Prices start from £549pp per week (including inter-resort transfers).
Find Your Lost Ski
new electronic gizmo called Resqski (resqski. com) promises to solve that nightmare faced by powder skiers – what happens when you lose your ski and it disappears under the soft, fluffy snow. Somewhere. The revolutionary electronic ski finder (RRP £98) aims to be the answer as it can locate skis buried up to a metre deep in the snow, and up to 30m from wherever you come to rest! Using radio frequency, Resqski connects a credit-card-sized handheld transceiver with waterproof and shockproof (and removable) homing tags attached to each ski, and leads you to the lost ski using flashing lights and sonic beeps. The lights move from red to green, and the beeps get ever louder and more frequent as you get closer to the ski.
French Alps and Pyrenees Be spoilt for choice this winter! Lagrange offer ski accommodation in over 80 resorts throughout the French Alps and Pyrenees, from big name domains to Alpine villages, from self-catered apartments and chalets to hotels.
“The idea was born out of my own experience” says Chris Chadwick, Creator of Resqski, “Skiing off-piste near Veysonnaz in Switzerland, I make a careless turn that catapulted me 10 metres below my skis. I quickly found one but it took me 45 minutes of hard digging to find the other.” Two days later skiing in Zermatt with a ski instructor, Chadwick was told that the instructor had lost three skis in the past few seasons – with a good pair of off-piste skis now costing up to £700! “The thought occurred that there must be a better solution for powder hounds. The idea for Resqski was born!”
Family Christmas Savings At Tignes sprit Ski (espritski.com) has cut the cost of a week in Chalet Corniche in Tignes, France, to £625pp (was £979pp) for the week commencing 23 December. This price is based on a family of four (two adults and two children under 12-years-old) at £2500 (was up to £3916). The price includes a festive Christmas dinner, with no washing-up required, plus return flights from Southampton– Geneva (other flights available), transfers, 3 days free ski hosting, free Wi-Fi, free babysitting, and seven nights’ catered
March in La Plagne, ski in/ski out from £208/pp/wk 020 7371 6111 I www.lagrange-holidays.co.uk
photo credits : A. Périer
chalet hotel accommodation, with a buffet breakfast, afternoon tea, children’s high tea, and four-course dinners with complimentary wine. Esprit Classic Child Care is available from £199 for a week of exclusive Esprit ski lessons.
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Ever Tried Paret?
inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2012
Best Winter To See The Northern Lights BEN CLATWORTHY
Manigod (manigod.com), a small ski area close to La Clusaz and Le Grand Bornand in the Lake Annecy Ski Resorts area (lakeannecyskiresorts.com), has opened the world’s only dedicated piste for ”paret” – a traditional simple wooden sledge developed in the village, which children originally used for getting to/from school more than a century ago. The 300m-long piste is available for use free-of-charge, with seven gates to test your steering skills.
his winter will, apparently, be one of the best for years to witness the Northern Lights, according to NASA and others, and a number of tour operators are offering winter adventure holidays where you can at least up your chances of seeing this amazing phenomena. Ski Safari (skisafari.com) has several options, including the option
to add a break in Yukon to a trip to Whistler. Located next to Alaska in North West Canada, Yukon is one of the best sites in the world to witness this natural phenomenon. A ten-night holiday starts from £1999pp, based on seven nights in a Deluxe Queen Studio at the 4 Summit Lodge, Whistler, on a room only basis, with scheduled flights and transfers, plus flights to Whitehorse for three nights at the Northern Tales lodge. The Northern Lights add-on to Yukon
“...it should be compulsory on the slopes!”
viewing package is also included. Or you can ski in Colorado but enjoy a city break in Reykjavik, Iceland, en-route. Along with its unique scenery of geysers, volcanoes, mighty waterfalls, glaciers, and boiling mud pools, Iceland is another well-placed spot to see the Northern Lights. Fly from London Heathrow, Manchester or Glasgow, and take advantage of the free stopover in Reykjavik, making financial sense too as it is the cheaper flight option
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to Denver, and locally prices in Reykjavik are at an all-time low. A ten-night city and ski holiday to Copper Mountain, with a three-night stopover in Reykjavik (including Northern Lights and Blue Lagoon excursion) starts from £1345pp. Price includes accommodation in a standard room in Copper Mountain and the Hotel Fron in Reykjavik, with flights to Denver and resort transfers. Six-day lift passes start from £192.
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DECEMBER 2012 | inthesnow.com
LOW BUDGET ALL INCLUSIVE TRIPS TO THE FRENCH ALPS SOME GREAT OFFERS: Alto Adige Marketing
Fantastic Easter deals 23th – 30th March, 2013 – Val d’Isere – La Plagne From – Les Arcs – Serre Chevalier and many more...
Three New Pistes For Madonna di Campiglio PATRICK THORNE
adonna di Campiglio in Italy is creating three new ski runs and installing a new quad chairlift this winter. The resort only completed a longplanned lift and piste connection to neighbouring Pinzolo a few seasons ago, but is now continuing its expansion with the new runs. Most significant will be the new Pancugolo ski run, which features a steep initial descent, before levelling out
a little as it joins the famous Canalone Miramonti slope, which ends right in the centre of the village. Together the Pancugolo and Miramonti routes form a single 1700m-long piste, which has been approved for Super G World Cup racing, and on the 18 December Canalone Miramonti will once again host a World Cup qualifier night Special Slalom race after a 7-year break. The other two new ski runs being completed in the 5 Laghi area are called Nambino and Raccordo Pancugolo.
Off Piste Ski/Snowboard Action Outd oors is Low Budget All-inclusiv e Ski and S n o wboard Holidays to the French Alps: Accommod ation All Meals Evening En tertainmen t Ski/Snowb oard & Boo t Hire Lift Pass Instruction or Guiding Always inc luded in the price!
Val Thorens; February, March & April Val Thorens has a huge amount of From accessible Off Piste with a wide variety of terrain.
Utterly Ridiculous Student Price Any week of the 2012/13 season to: – Val Thorens – Les Deux Alpes – Flaine
*Only available with a valid student card
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130x180_Advertx2_Layout 1 27/11/2012 17:18 Page 1
Weekly coach service from the UK to the French Alps Carrying heavy ski equipment is never much fun and with airline charges rocketing, we offer a cost effective hasslefree alternative. We transport your ski and snowboard equipment from home to resort ready for your arrival, allowing you to travel light and enjoy the journey.
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Biggest PATRICK THORNE
he Dolomiti Superski ski region in Italy is the world's largest fully-flexible and interchangeable lift pass covering around 1200km of trails and more than 450 lifts, above more than 50 Italian villages and a dozen neighbouring valleys. Skiers and boarders can feel that they can ski forever from one cosy village to another, always with the spectacular pink granite cliff formations of the Dolomites towering dramatically above. This remarkable ski region, which was a pioneer of electronic lift passes way back in the 1970s, has been number one for more than 30 years. Recently other areas have tried to beat it for size by adding more little areas together on one ticket, but none have managed to offer the flexibility of the Italian original. All of the major individual ski areas
in South Tyrol are included in the ski region, so the Dolomiti Superski pass is valid at each and all of them – you don’t need to buy another pass if you want to ski a different area every day. Although not all of the 1200km of trails are fully interlinked by pistes and lifts, much of it is, and the region includes the Sellaronda, a 26km circuit of lifts and pistes around the giant Sella Massif. This is fun to do on a day trip, but as ski areas like Val Gardena (Gröden) and Alta Badia are linked too, it also forms the hub of a giant wheel of ski valleys. There’s no official measure as to what distance the entire linked terrain covers but some estimates put it at over 500km – which would make it the world’s second largest linked area.
South Tyrol Italy’s most northerly region, South Tyrol (also known as the Südtirol), home
to Dolomiti Superski is also one of its most enticing for winter sports fans. The region, located midway between Verona and Innsbruck, is home to world-famous resorts like Val Gardena, as well as dozens of other important ski areas that deserve to be better known to British skiers and boarders. Only 2% of the people on the slopes here each winter hail from Britain, but they’re easy to reach with the major ski tour operators or independently. Largely undiscovered choices include the gourmet mecca of Alta Badia, already ”found” by Tom Cruise and George Clooney, which is home to a host of Michelin-starred chefs, or Kronplatz (Plan de Corones), with its hi-tech network of gondola lifts serving some of the toughest terrain in Italy, as well as less demanding terrain. Wine is another regional strength, with 27 of the region’s wines being awarded the Tre Bicchieri (Three Glasses), a prestigious Italian wine award.
The region has a varied landscape ranging from Alpine meadows and mountains to Mediterranean palm trees and Cyprus trees, with the Dolomites above now registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This destination is also interesting because of its history as a cultural and geographic melting pot. There are three official languages spoken in the region; 68% of the population speak German, 28% Italian and 4% Ladin, a Rhaeto– Romanic language. That’s why most places in the region have at least two names to choose from. Although rich in culture and natural beauty, South Tyrol is also one of the most innovative regions in Italy. Over the past 5 years there have been more than 40 new hotel or spa openings, with a particular growth in stylish and design-led hotels. You’ll also find more hi-tech websites, Android and iPhone apps, and last, but not least, South Tyrol is leading Italy’s efforts on slope safety and environmental protection.
041 e Se l on e in ... at
Dolomiti Super Première At the start of this winter, from 1 December–22 December, you can receive a free day’s skiing for every 3 days you pay for. So a 4-day lift pass for the price of 3 days, or an 8-day lift pass for the price of 6 days. There are also discounts on ski school and rental of ski equipment. To receive the savings you need to book accommodation direct with any participating hotel at DolomitiSuperski.com and a voucher will be provided.
Dolomiti Super KIDS From 16 March to the end of season 2013. Children aged under 8 years (born after 01/12/2004) are not charged for accommodation or ski pass, and children under 12-yearsold (born after 01/12/2000) will be charged half price only for accommodation and ski pass, with special prices for ski courses and for rental of ski equipment. The offer is valid for one parent per one child (for a maximum of two children) for a minimum 7-day stay. Children must share the room with their parents, and each parent must buy a ski pass for their child to get a free or discounted one. Free/ discounted passes will be made available with a voucher from any participating hotel when you book direct at DolomitiSuperski.com.
New For 2012–13 It’s been snowing heavily in the Dolomites already, and accumulations of 50cm had been reported as early as Halloween, which bodes well for this coming winter. For those who already know Dolomiti Superski, as well as those who’d like to, there are new lifts, new ski runs and many other improvements this winter. In Kronplatz there’s a new 1.3km-long blue slope – “Lorenzi” – on the descent to Valdaora (Olang), while the Alta Badia ski region has a comfortable new eightpassenger gondola, “Boé”, which can gobble up to 3000 people per hour. At Val Gardena the “Falk” slope at Piz Setëur has been widened, and snowmaking extended and modernised in the Col Raiser area, at Plan de Gralba and in the Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm) areas too. In the Alta Pusteria (Hochpustertal) there’s a new red run, which is nearly 4.5km long. The new “Campo” slope in the Val Comelico (Padola) ski area descends an impressive 785 vertical metres.
Dolomiti Super SUN From 16 March to the end of season 2013. Get a free day’s skiing (7 days for price of 6 days, or 6 days for price of 5 days) with a voucher from any participating hotel when you book direct at DolomitiSuperski.com. The offer is not valid in conjunction with the promotion “Dolomiti Super Kids”.
WEB LINKS www.suedtirol.info www.dolomitisuperski.com www.suedtirol.info/dolomighty
e or m
inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2012
Be Sure To Always Check Your Bag Weight Before Check-In ith evermore costly, and expensive, costs for baggage on airlines, of both the traditional and ”no frills” variety, it’s vital for your finances to know what awaits at check-in, with different rules on hand baggage, suitcase and ski weight – all with associated costs likely to be far higher than your own airline ticket. Research by Amadeus reports that the total revenue airlines receive from "extras", such as baggage charges, is expected to rise by 44% this year. The new lightweight (106g) Baggage Scale is the invention of chartered engineer Greg Marshall, who became so frustrated at the discrepancy between the travel scales reading taken before leaving home, and the dreaded airport check-in counter, that he decided to take matters into his own hands and design one himself that’s battery-free, much more accurate than cheap dial scales, and more cost-effective than expensive digital scales. The Baggage Scale costs £12.99 via thebaggagescale.com.
Nearly 500 New Snow Guns Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont, USA, has made another significant investment in new snow-making equipment, adding nearly 500 new snow guns for the coming 2012–13 season. The new snow guns include 325 new HKD tower guns, 150 new energy-efficient land guns, and 16 new Super Pole Cat fan guns. The new installation also incorporates 11km of new snowmaking pipe. “These improvements will literally set a new standard for snow surface preparation and management on Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak” said a resort statement.
Sun Peaks Ready For Expansion Sun Peaks (sunpeaksresort.com) is looking to further expand its terrain. It is already the second largest ski area in British Columbia, Canada, behind North America’s biggest, Whistler Blackcomb, with 124 runs and almost 1619 hectares of skiable terrain. Work is beginning on the resort’s Gils and West Morrisey regions (highlighted on the 2012–13 trail map as “coming soon”), which will be the next two areas planned for additional ski terrain. Planning and layout for new trails and potential lifts inside these regions is reported to have begun.
New Ski Area For Utah? Plans for a new US ski resort in Utah appear to be moving forward after the local planning commission gave the go-ahead for the ski area's land-use permit, rejecting opponents appeals. The Cherry Peak Ski Area would include four ski lifts, a ski lodge, terrain park, tubing hill and zip wire, on a site covering just over 80 hectares. It would be able to accommodate up to 1000 skiers and boarders per day.
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DECEMBER 2012 | inthesnow.com
British Alpine Speed Team Raffle To Aid Funding ritish ski team mates Dougie Crawford and TJ Baldwin, two of Britain’s top ranking Alpine skiers, are running a raffle to help pay their costs after funding was cut, and British Ski and Snowboard opted to fund only slalom. Baldwin and Crawford have to pay for their own coach, as well as their own travel, lift passes and accommodation. With the Olympic qualification period beginning for Sochi 2014, the raffle will help pay for the pair to join the US Ski Team to train, before competing in North America, then coming back to Europe for World Cup races and the Schladming World Championships in February 2013. Raffle tickets are priced at £10, with a top prize of an all-inclusive week skiing for two in Banff from Canadian Affair. Enter at dougiecrawford.com/raffle-2/. The draw will take place on 22 December.
Ski Apartments Website Launched A new website booking service has launched, aiming to cater to skiers and boarders looking for great value accommodation in the Alps. Skiapartments.co.uk has thousands of apartments to choose from, across 80 resorts – from the latest luxury apartments to great value studios in lesser-known resorts, and all backed with a Best Price Guarantee from Erna Low, the long established ski holiday tour operator behind the new venture. “We are looking forward helping people find the best ski apartments for their needs so we’ve also selected our ‘Top Fives’ for Luxury, Best Value, Family Friendly and Most Popular apartments” said Jane Bolton, Managing Director. The ”Best Value” selection includes the Club Alpina (Champagny en Vanoise, France), rated 5/5 by TripAdvisor reviewers, available from £236 per week – that’s the apartment price, not per person!
Davos Park Getting Bigger The Jatz Park on the Jakobshorn at Davos-Klosters (davosklosters. ch), one of several at the ski area, will be “bigger and more attractive” this winter says the famous Swiss resort. There will now be four lines for boarders and freestyle skiers, at a snow-sure 2300m (complete with snowmaking), including lines for beginners, intermediates and pros, as well as a jibline. These will include more than 20 elements, such as kickers and rails, on perfectly prepared terrain, with the lift next to the runs the same length as the park. Thanks to its altitude the Jatz Park can offer an early start and late end to the season.
Smoke-Free Skiing In Colorado A Colorado resort says it will ban smoking from its slopes this winter. Although the majority of ski areas in Western Europe and North America now operate smoke-free buildings, only a handful have taken the further step of banning smoking outdoors too. For Eldora Mountain in Colorado, which is celebrating its 50th season, smoking is to be banned in lift queues, on lifts and within 5m of ticket desks.
inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2012
Snowboxx: The New Snow and Music Festival For Andorra PATRICK THORNE
new opportunity to ski or snowboard all day and dance all night is on offer in Andorra this winter. The Snowboxx Ski Festival (snowboxx. com) – dubbed “Ibiza on Ice” – will hit the slopes of Arinsal from 22–28 March 2013. Snowboxx, which promises ”Big air and big beats”, is the
creation of Mainstage Travel – a young company formed by two Manchester graduates Aden Levin and Rob Tominey, fresh from the success of their summer holiday scheme – Magaluf Takeover. “Arinsal is a hedonist’s winter paradise, thanks to its ski runs, awesome nightlife and bars which takes advantage of Andorra’s duty-free status to sell spirits and beer at rock bottom prices” said a
Peisey-Vallandry, Les Arcs L’Orée des Cimes
statement from the organisers. A week of unforgettable events to complement the action is promised, including torch-lit night-time skiing to the sounds of a DJ set pumping out from an open-air mountain terrace, a Snowboxx-only night at the 1500-venue Surf nightclub, pub crawls and barbeques, and more music during the day. Prices start at £199.99 including a 5-day VallNord lift pass, 3
accommodation, and a wristband granting free entry to all events thrown in. Flights and transfers can be arranged separately. “If someone had offered us this type of holiday when we’d just graduated, we would have snapped their hands off” said Tominey. “It’s been done before but we know that we can do it a lot, lot better because we know instinctively what the demographic we cater for want.”
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DECEMBER 2012 | inthesnow.com
OFF-PISTE SKI ADVENTURES
IN THE ALPS AND BEYOND
Business Up At London Ski Show BEN CLATWORTHY
reliminary attendance figures from organisers VOS Media has revealed a 12% growth in visitors across the 5 days of the London Ski and Snowboard Show to 34,672, reversing a 2-year decline in attendance, despite tough market conditions for niche consumer events. The structure of the show changed for 2012 to encourage greater participation and interaction, which the organisers
claim led to a 400% increase in family attendance. During the show more than 600 new participants were introduced to the sport through the free ski and snowboard lessons provided by the Warren Smith Ski Academy. VOS Media has confirmed that the 2013 show will also be held at Earls Court 2 in the same week as the 2012 show, 30 Octoberâ€“3 November. This means that the show will take place during the school half-term holiday, with plans to increase opportunities for interactivity further.
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A true French ski resort • A charming and traditional village in the Alps • Boasting 150km of slopes with 1st class conditions • Easy access with airports, motorways and train stations close by
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Kasabian To Headline Snowbombing 2013 PATRICK THORNE
asabian has been confirmed as the headline act for the Snowbombing festival (snowbombing.com) next April in Mayrhofen, Austria. The indie rockers will be joined on the bill by Example, Katy B, Disclosure, Rudimental, Foreign Beggars, Ms Dynamite and P Money. Kasabian will perform as the main act at the climax of the 6-day festival, which runs from 1–6 April 2013 and will also perform a second gig up on the mountain top. “One of the world’s best live bands playing in a small Austrian village is
what Snowbombing is all about" said Snowbombing Founder Gareth Cooper. Electro-pop superstar Example will headline the party in the forest, now firmly established as a main stage festival act. “I don't just come to Snowbombing on the day of the gig. I come for the week. Still the best party of the year for me – unrivalled location. I’ve got the added excitement of playing the forest this year!” said the star. Snowbombing is Europe’s largest snow and music festival, and attracts 5000 to its street party, one of the biggest events on a long list that encompasses 14 venues, five mountain stages and four igloo raves. Prices start from £319 for accommodation and all the entertainment.
.ski Web DOMAIN Announced Paris-based company called Starting Dot has announced it has applied to be the official registry of .ski (Dot Ski). “The Starting Dot mission is to bring new online opportunities to ski sports communities, participants, business owners and brands through a dedicated top level
– Well known as the ultimate Snowboard and Freestyle hotel
domain name extension that ends with the .ski extension. (e.g. alpine.ski)” said a company statement. The value of a dedicated .ski (dot-ski. com) top level domain space for the ski sports community is underpinned by support from a growing number of official endorsements. These include, SNTF – Ski Areas of France (an association composed by over 230 French mountain operators), the General Counsel of Savoy, the resort of Tignes, and Olympic gold medallist Antoine Deneriaz.
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Mix Mountain For La Plagne a Plagne is set to host a showcase of international DJs from 28 January– 1 February 2013. Mix Mountain will feature internationallyrenowned French house and electro DJs, who’ll take to the decks to bang out the tunes and create a party atmosphere in the heart of the mountains. Everyday there will be DJs mixing on the slopes and a BBQ sizzling away, then the party moves to Montalbert (montalbert. for-system.com) in the evening, with a mega party on the final day (1 February).
The line-up so far includes Mathieu Bouthier, who has performed in front of 100,000 people at Fete de la musique in Paris, and Greg Seronne whose had DJing residencies at Ministry of Sound in London and SPACE in Ibiza. Accommodation deals start from €340 (€85pp).
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Years in planning: 11 Investment: €13.5m Piste: 145km Lifts: 47 Mountain restaurants: 24 Snow parks: 3 Highest point: 2128m 6-day adult pass: €197* *Children free to age 5, half-price to age 15
ew pistes in the Alps are a fairly rare thing these days. Decades ago resorts just kept getting bigger, but for 20 years now most resorts have concentrated on improving their lifts, their grooming, and expanding snowmaking on their existing runs. So it’s a rare treat this winter – and indeed the biggest news in the whole skiing world for 2012–13 – that two long established, quintessentially beautiful ski villages in the Austrian Tirol have (after merely a decade’s planning!) taken the leap and linked their ski areas to create a bigger, better area between them. They’ve called it Ski Jewel.
The two villages – or we should say valleys – were already long-standing British favourites in their own right. On the one side Alpbach, and its neighbouring hamlets in the wider Alpbachtal – on the other the Wildschönau, where the villages of Auffach, Oberau and Niderau are still the better-known names to Brits, despite the efforts of the Wildschönau tourist board, and they are the village names you’ll see listed in the brochures of companies like Crystal and Inghams (Auffach is new for Inghams this year). Both resorts have strong reputations for all the right reasons: picturesque scenery, traditional architecture, friendly but efficient hospitality, good, mid-sized ski areas, locally sourced and prepared hearty meals, and all wrapped up in good value packages. They ticked all the boxes
individually except that in this day and age the separate ski areas were just not big enough to match the modern-day reputation of the resorts themselves. Whether or not we are likely to ski hundreds of kilometres of piste, that’s a stat we look for these days when we make our bookings, and so way back in 2001 the great and the good of the Alpbachtal and Wildschönau drew up their plans to join together and create a merged ski area, which would put them in the top ten of Tirol’s, nearly 100, ski areas by size, with 145km of piste for all standards, even including 17km of safe off-piste routes. It’s not all about more for experts either; the new area will include 55km of piste suited to novices. The plan has taken 11 years of careful planning and permissionseeking to become reality.
“Together we have a chance to survive” said Peter Hausberger, Managing Director of the Bergbahnen Alpbachtal. Ludwig Schäffer, Managing Director of the Bergbahnen Wildschönau also commented, “For the Wildschönau and the Alpbachtal to have a future they both need to offer a modern and sustainable ski area and a natural experience.” But equally, both resorts were very conscious that in joining their ski slopes they did not want to lose the values and assets for which they are most loved by their regular visitors – characteristics that are also becoming evermore important as that era of constant ski area expansion slows. Increasingly, when people plan their holiday they make
049 e Se l on e in ... at
Seven nights at the 4 Hotel Auffacherhof in Auffach from £693pp, half-board, including flights and resort transfers.
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Seven nights at the 3 Guesthouse Andreas in Alpbach, from £406pp, half-board, including flights and resort transfers.
Alpbachtal & Wildschönau
Both Alpbachtal and Wildschönau offer special Ski Jewel packages when you book direct, including seven nights’ accommodation in a 3 hotel or guest house with halfboard, 6-day Ski Jewel lift pass including ski bus, and either a Wildschönau Guest and Bonus Card or Alpbachtal Seenland Card, both of which give free and reduced cost services for the length of your stay. Prices from €547pp, excluding travel. For more information visit: www.skijuwel.at www.alpbachtal.at www.wildschoenau.com
finding a real community with a relaxing atmosphere as much a priority as a giant ski area – perhaps after too many experiences of over-crowded airports, traffic chaos, and then city-like ski centres lacking character or scenic value. The resorts did not want to lose their reputation for value either; so despite the increased size of the area and the new comfortable gondola lifts that make the connection possible, it has pegged prices at the lower-end for a ski area of its size, being one of the few areas now charging less than €200 for a 6-day adult lift pass. Children don’t pay for a ticket at all until age 6-years-old, and then halfprice right through to age 15, when teen discounts become available. “Our ski pass prices are well below those of neighbouring ski areas” says Schäffer.
The Connections The connections that have linked Alpbachtal’s skiing to that of Wildschönau make use of the existing Poeglbahn cable car from Inneralpbach, and a new eight-person cable car to the Schatzberg on the Wildschönau side – creating Ski Jewel. The new gondola will lead to below the Pechalm, where a middle station has been built, and will then continue on to the top station on the Schatzberg. A new 2kmlong connecting piste has been created from the Schatzberg to the middle station. The new connection has cost the two communities €13.5m, with the hope that it will drive future investments within the hotel industry and infrastructure improvements. But not too much.
“We’re hoping for a long-term rise in number of overnight stays” said Adolf Mauracher, Chairman of the Alpbachtal Seenland tourist board.
Opening Party The final go-ahead for the construction of the new eight-seater gondola was only given in June, but the lift is now complete and ready to open. The first day to ride the lifts that connect Alpbach and Wildschönau will be 14 December, and both resorts are throwing a season-opening party over the weekend from 14–16 December. It’s your chance to be the first to make the connection! Along with the thrill of skiing or
boarding the new region, the event will include free ski testing, daily events, and a party marquee at the Schatzberg lift in Auffach for après-ski fun. All-inclusive packages can be booked direct, including a range of accommodation choices, lift pass, party marquee access and a free drink, ski bus pass, ski testing and other discounts and deals, from only €100pp for two nights B&B in a room with shower/WC in a small pension, to €290 for four nights half-board in a 4 hotel in Wildschönau (wildschoenau.com). Very similar packages are available if you prefer to stay in Alpbach, where the après-ski event tent is to be located in the Pöglbahn car park in Inneralpbach (go to the Accommodation > Top Offers section at alpbachtal.at).
e or m
Dentex Leads To Success On Snow TJ Baldwin is a testament that learning on dentex can lead to triumphs on the snow. He started lessons when he was 6-yearsold, and didn’t race on snow until the age of 10. After just meeting the criteria for the GB children’s team, he started training seriously and never looked back. Since then he’s gone on to achieve 20 giant slalom points, when he reaches 18 he will be in the top 100 world ranking. When asked what drives him, Baldwin simply states “I love it, I just love everything about skiing.”
What Is Nordic SKIING? ordic skiing is a broader term for all those skiing sports that allow the skier a free heel (as opposed to the fixed down heel that Alpine skiers prefer), and encompasses many disciplines such as telemark, cross country, ski jumping, and biathlon. Some telemark skiers claim the
free heel gives a skier a balletic and graceful quality, as they bend their knees to sweep through the snow. However, if you’re more a runner than a jumper then cross country skiing could be for you, as at high level it requires the explosive strength of a sprinter combined with the steady stamina of a long distance runner. So if you’ve been
inspired by the recent sporting triumphs of Jessica Ennis and Mo Farrah then it could be the perfect Nordic discipline for you! However, the Chairwoman of the British Nordic Ski Committee, Glennis Dore, says you don’t have to be a hardcore athlete to participate in cross country: “I started roller skiing just because I wanted to do some fun
exercise outdoors, I’m purely a recreational Cross Country skier!’ There are an increasing number of indoor snowdomes now providing Nordic skiing equipment and lessons in England. To find a club near you and read more about Nordic sports visit the Snowsport England website (snowsportengland.org).
Successful Fundraiser Ingie Christophersen hosted ”Music Meets Friends of Skiing” at Bentley House on 12–13 October to raise funds for the British Children’s Team. A champagne reception was followed by a gala concert and buffet supper. The entertainment was by Lazlo Poth, piano, Georgina Kellen, soprano, Anja Bereiter, violin, and Stefan Holmström, baritone, a superb mix from Bach to Freddie Mercury. Wonderful!
29 December 2012 Telemark Festival Obertilliach 5 January 2013 British Telemark Championships Venue to be confirmed
Cheap, Fun and Easy Skiing and Boarding!
Annual General Meeting Sunday 14 October was hopefully a leisurely end to the weekend for many, but for those invested in English skiing there was no rest. The AGM for Snowsport England took place at the Snowsport England head office. A result of the meeting was the appointment of two new directors to the Snowsport England board. Ex-Olympic high jumper Geoff Parsons was elected an Independent Director, whilst previous Chairman of the Central England Ski Association Bryan Thomas was appointed Finance Director.
nowsport England has launched an exciting new programme to raise awareness of skiing and snowboarding in the UK as an allinclusive, cheap, fun and beneficial activity for all. GO SKI GO BOARD is part of Snowsport England’s “Sportivate” initiative, aimed at encouraging more people to take part in sport on a regular basis by providing 6-week-long community programmes. The programmes target four focus groups: the “Get” skiing and boarding drive, which offers beginner sessions; the “Go” ski or board programme, for those who want to improve on existing
skills and improve their confidence on the slopes; the “Just” ski or board sessions, aimed at those who just want to participate and have fun in a group; and the “Try” skiing and boarding drive, which introduces skiers and riders to the various disciplines, such as alpine racing and freestyle skiing or snowboarding, for all those potential competitors! Whatever your aim, from learning the basics to preparing for snow, this programme is a low budget opportunity to participate in a sport that we are sure you will find is so much more than just good exercise! For more information go to snowsportengland.org.uk/goskigoboard.
27–29 JanUARY 2013 British Schoolboys' International Races Meiringen, Switzerland 27–29 JanUARY 2013 British Schoolgirls Races Flaine, France 17–22 FEBRUARY 2013 ENGLISH ALPINE CHAMPIONSHIPS Bormio, Italy Snowsport England Staff Tim Fawke CEO Julia Parker Operations Manager Kirsty Nicol Administrator Jan Doyle Development Officer, North Susie Moore Development Officer, South Ian Poynton Development Officer, Central Ian Findlay Talent Development Officer
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Jon (AKA WESTY) AT ALTITUDE
Jon is one of the few instructors in the world to hold the top qualifications from France, Switzerland and Britain. He can teach on- and off-piste skiing throughout the Alps, and as Ski School Director, Jon helps manage the ski and snowboard school, the instructor training gap programs, the Verbier freeride camps, and also the winter and summer kids camps. altitude-verbier.com; +41 277 716 006
alance is probably the most important skill in skiing. If you had no balance you wouldn’t get far! However, good balance doesn’t just allow you to remain upright; it sets you up to get the most from other skiing skills, such as edge or pressure control, and also puts you in a position to best recover when things don’t go as planned. With great balance you can begin to push yourself in new directions, secure in the knowledge that you can recover or fall safely.
Fore/aft balance is all about how you distribute your weight front to back along the base of your feet. Ideally you want an even distribution – not too much weight on your toes or on your heels. With this position you will be most in control of your skis and also prepared for variations in the snow or hill. A simple exercise you can do is to try hopping both skis off the ground when traversing across the hill. If you are balanced correctly the entire ski will lift evenly off the ground. If not, keep practising it!
With modern skis, the outside ski (that is the one furthest from the centre of the turn) is the ski that is doing all the work. Thus, it is important you keep your weight on this ski, otherwise it won’t grip and you won’t get performance. To achieve this you have to put a small bend in your body just above your hips – best illustrated by the picture! To practice your lateral balance, try lifting your inside ski during a turn – small lifts at first, then larger and larger until you can ski a whole turn on the outside ski.
Learning Through Fun Key To Recovery
Much of balance in sports comes from your core (the muscles around your spine, lower back and abs). By tightening your core you give yourself a strong and stable platform to work with. Having a strong core also makes it easier to pull your body back into position when you get thrown or bumped out of place. Aside from working on your core before you go skiing, you can use this when you get on the hill. Before you start, squeeze your abs tight and hold them then set off, this will help to keep your body strong and in position.
The ultimate test of balance is moguls. Interestingly, it is the area of skiing where many of the rules have to be ignored. Rather than staying centred on your fore/aft plane of balance, you should constantly adjust your weight forwards and backwards, push and pulling your feet about beneath you. If you want to generally improve your balance and recovery then get into the bumps and keep practising, just staying upright is fantastic training. Have fun!
We all learn more when we’re having fun and enjoying the process of learning. Of course, what is fun for an adult and what is fun for a child can be utterly different. For many adults learning a new skill or improving at a sport is fun in its own right. However for children, with lower attention spans and a need for more stimulating activities, skiing alone may not be enough to keep them entertained. So what can we do to make skiing fun for children, and help them learn and improve while enjoying themselves? First, before we can even begin your child must be safe and feel safe. If someone
is scared or too far out their comfort zone, they will focus only on getting down the slope, without learning or enjoying the experience. Make sure when you’re skiing with your child that it is on terrain which is suitable for their level; ensure your child is warm and dry; take regular hot choc or food breaks and perhaps even avoid bad weather days altogether. Next, think goofy! When instructing we constantly think of ways to make any exercise more engaging for the children. Just adding a theme and linking movements to that theme can turn a standard drill into a little adventure. A great example is getting the children to suggest different animals, then together think
of actions on skis that could represent these animals (short turns for snakes, jumps for kangaroos, etc.). The fun part is to descend the run while shouting out animals and making noises. Without even knowing it the children are now learning and practising a whole bunch of skills such as agility, adaptability, balance, etc. Try it out – you’ll be amazed at how much you enjoy it too! Lastly, if you are putting your child into ski school, it is a good idea to look for one that provides fun as a means to learning. Ask friends, search the internet, and speak to staff in resort to find a ski school that will provide a fun experience that will get the most out of their time. Good luck and have fun!
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inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2012
New Resort Choice For Teenage Skiers From PGL hildren’s activity holiday company PGL (pgl.co.uk) has a new location for its February half-term ski and snowboard holidays for unaccompanied teenagers (aged 13–17 years). It’s the Austrian resort of Villach in the purpose-built youth-hotel Egger, where facilities include disco and a table tennis room. It is ideally placed to access the Gerlitzen ski area, with 46km of wellgroomed pistes. “Our February half-term holiday is perfect for teenagers whose family can’t, or don’t want to ski, and for kids with no opportunity to go on a school trip” said PGL’s Holiday Manager Steve Hougham. This PGL holiday departs on 16 February 2013, with supervised overnight coach travel, seven nights’ full board, 6 days kit hire, lift pass, 5 hours ski or snowboard tuition daily, winter sports and travel insurance, and a full programme of evening entertainment. Prices start at £889 per child, for London or Dover departures, with supplements for Birmingham and Manchester departures.
Morzine’s Week For Women Commencing 28 January 2013, Morzine is organising a week of activities just for women, with the opportunity to be pampered, relax and fully recharge. Activities include Zen workshops with yoga, t’ai chi, Qigong, stretching and reflexology, as well as beauty workshops. For the most active, there are snowshoe hikes and Nordic walking – along with skiing of course. Get the girls together with VIP SKI (vip-chalets.com), which is offering the Dakota Lodge (sleeps 12) for £1019pp on chalet board, with return flights and resort transfers.
New Gladed Runs At Stoneham
Let the train take the strain. MySwitzerland.com A flat-rate return ticket allowing one-day transfers from point of entry to any destination in Switzerland and back. Only available in the UK. And children under 16 travel for free. Contact the Switzerland Travel Centre on MySwitzerland.com/rail or call us on: 020 7420 4900.
Travel from Swiss airports to ski resorts and return with the Swiss Transfer Ticket. Buy now: adult 2nd class £ 85, 1st class £ 140 (price increase for bookings made after 1 January 2013)
With the development of two new gladed ski runs this winter, Stoneham ski area near Quebec, Canada, has increased its trails count to 41, including ten glades for different skill levels. La Biche (the French word for “doe”) is a new intermediate trail in the Family Zone, a neighbour to three other recent similar glades for all – La Caribou, La Wapiti and L’Orignal. For the more advanced L’Urubu is a new glade classified as a double-black diamond.
Head To Zermatt Many larger tour operators don’t begin operating until midDecember, so with hundreds of ski areas already open at the end of November skiers who don’t want to wait, but don’t want to make independent travel plans, can have limited options. With Europe’s highest ski runs, Zermatt in Switzerland is one of two ski areas that endeavour to open every day of the year. Carrier (carrier.co.uk) is offering seven nights at the elegant Grand Hotel Zermatterhof from £1195pp based on two people sharing on a B&B basis. 205_12d_06_ins_inthesnow.indd 1
DECEMBER 2012 | inthesnow.com
Arnie Wilson Best In Snow and Show rnie Wilson (arniewilson.com), Editor of the Ski Club of Great Britain’s Ski + Board magazine, and long-time contributor to national newspapers and TV on all things snow sports, was presented with the Polar Bear Award for ”outstanding contribution to snowsports” at the 2012 World Snow Awards in London. The prestigious celebrations were hosted by actor, comedian and keen snowboarder Marcus Brigstocke, and the awards were judged by an 18-strong panel of ski and snowboard experts, and by public vote. Arnie Wilson’s many achievements include skiing all 37 states with ski slopes in the US, and in 1994 skiing every day for a year following the snow around the world, a feat recognised by the Guinness Book of Records. To date Wilson has skied around 700 resorts worldwide. “I hope this becomes an annual fixture in the snowsports calendar as it's important to celebrate excellence in an industry which is so full of energy and promise” said Marcus Brigstocke.
“A rad winter festival - proper riding and proper parties, and we mean proper!” Whitelines
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Win A Trip To Breckenridge The North American resort of Breckenridge in Colorado will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its annual Ullr Fest in January 2013, a week-long party honouring the Norse god of snow. Ahead of the celebrations the organisers have launched a photo contest on Facebook, where you can win a five night trip (airfare included, based on the average air ticket cost) to Ullr Fest 2013. Visit apps.facebook. com/contestshq/contests/302033 for details. Ullr Fest includes the notorious Main Street parade.
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23RD – 30TH MARCH 2013, TIGNES, FRANCE
EUROPEʼS WEEKLONG WINTER FESTIVAL WWW.THE-BRITS.COM
Anyone hoping to book a First Choice Ski holiday this winter will be disappointed. A consequence of the decision by First Choice to make all of its holidays, summer and winter, all-inclusive is that the brand’s owners, the UK’s leading ski tour operator TUI, has decided to drop its ski programme altogether. “To offer all-inclusive holidays in a few suitable ski resorts is not a problem, however, to offer all-inclusive ski holidays in all ski resorts we feature, is just a bit too ambitious. So we’ve migrated all First Choice properties into the Crystal and Thomson Ski brands and sadly we have to let go of First Choice Ski” said company spokesperson, Marion Telsnig.
Cable Car Cabins The main Courmayeur “Gigante” cable cars have undergone a facelift. Brand new cabins have been installed boasting sleek and elegant lines. The original 34-year-old cabins are being reused rather than scrapped though, and will now experience a more grounded life on Italian soil in the snow park. In addition, two new connecting pistes have been created linking Val Veny to the Chercrouit Pass.
Forcefield Pro Shirt £189.99
Atomic Livefit Women’s SKI BOOT From £199
A ski boot that shapes to fit your foot … the ultimate in
The Forcefield Pro Shirt is the ultimate all action shirt,
comfort, what more could you want! The soft Livefit panels
with high spec CE approved armour located at the elbows,
allow the boot to sit more comfortably around the wider parts
shoulders and chest, and a complete built-in CE Level 2 back protector, which is flexible, breathable, and has Repeat
of your feet, making sure you can ski in comfort all day long.
Performance Technology (RPT) ensuring protection is given even after multiple impacts.
Rottefella NTN Freedom Telemark Binding £300
The new NTN Freedom binding is a lighter weight NTN telemark binding, complete with backcountry touring mode. NTN safety release bindings have revolutionised telemark skiing and are now taking over from the traditional 75mm style bindings, giving you a more powerful and reactive edge-to-edge feel.
Falke Ski Socks £19.99
Got a great pair of custom ski boots? Want to improve the fit even further? Comfortable, warm, great fitting, and padding where you need it for all day comfort and performance.
Black Crows CAMOX £550 Chamonix-born Black Crows skis are built for quality and performance, and founded on an authentic passion for skiing. The award-winning Camox is a great all mountain ski. The longer rockered tip and 97mm width underfoot will help you float in deep snow, but still grips and carves on-piste. The Camox will attack and enjoy everything you throw at it.
Pocket Puck £9
Kombi Radiator Heated Gloves £199
A quick wipe-on instant wax.
Why suffer from cold hands when you can have a battery-heated
Just apply the liquid Teflon wax
pair of toasty warm gloves? These are one of the best purchases you
and ski – no waiting for it to dry and
can make if you suffer from bad circulation, Raynaud’s, or just after a little
no polishing. Works in all snow conditions.
bit of comfort on those cold mountain days.
Scott Off-Grid Goggle From £110 Fed-up of putting your goggles on and then talking like Darth Vader? Scott has come up with a great way of adapting the nosepiece on their Off-Grid goggle. Not everyone's faces are the same shape, so create your own customised nose and face fit with Scott’s patent pendingFit System, which involves just the turn of a screw.
Scarpa TX Pro Telemark Boot £480
With the ever-growing trend to take up telemark skiing, the newer NTN-style boots offer a more responsive telemark performance compared with the older styles. And don’t forget off-piste, the TX range also has a ski tour walk mode allowing you to venture off the beaten track! Available in men’s and women’s models.
Hestra Leather Balm £6 The ultimate present for your leather gloves! Look after your leather gloves, and they'll not only last for years, but they'll also keep your hands warm and waterproof. Hestra leather balm conditions the leather, prolongs the life of your gloves, and keeps them supple and waterproof ... make sure you use this every year.
Salice Fishbowl Goggle £70
Atomic Cloud Eight Women’s Skis £389
Designed by the iconic Italian company Salice, this new
Designed by a team of women skiers who know exactly
With over 40 years of history, Ski Bartlett are one of
goggle is a must-have for the coming season. The spherical
what you want from a ski. Easy turning and forgiving,
the UK's most popular independent specialist ski
thermoformed lens increases the field of vision and also
but with performance, edge grip and stability. And, of
shops. With a massive range of products, they can
reduces distortion. The lens is coated to reduce fogging.
course, they look amazing!
guarantee you the right kit and the best prices.
Hinged strap brackets improve helmet compatibility.
0 Visit skibartlett.com to see more
inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2012
Freedom to move
TRADITIONAL & PEACEFUL The traditional Savoyard resort of Aussois characterises an Alpine French village with its narrow alleyways and quaintly lit buildings. For its size, amenities are plentiful, with a host of shops (including a patisserie and a delicatessen) and restaurants. The village turned its attentions to tourism in 1960 and 9 years later a municipal was founded, responsible for managing the ski area. Today, the resort is burgeoning with ten lifts, 55km of pistes, and a ski area reaching 2750m. During the summer, cattle graze on the slopes and the village returns to its rural roots.
VALUE FOR MONEY Smaller resorts are ordinarily cheaper than their larger counterparts, but many offer surprisingly extensive skiing. A 6-day adult lift pass costs €130 (£109), whilst for children the pass is €109 (£92). In-resort (and on-mountain) food and drink is far more affordable than one may expect. A coffee typically costs €1.20 (£1.00), whilst a small beer will set you back just €3 (£2.50).
A YEAR-ROUND VILLAGE If you happen to visit a ski resort during the hiatus between seasons many resemble a ghost town: no life, no people and no amenities. Aussois is a year-round working village, so once the snow melts, life continues. The population is small, just 653, but the resort has over 5000 beds to offer.
NON-SKI HAVEN If skiing isn’t your forte, or you’re looking for alternative winter activities, Aussois is a non-ski haven. Choose between snow tubing, paragliding, sledging, ice climbing, high wire, via ferrata, or indoor climbing. Alternatively, if you’re looking to unwind, the spa in the residence "Le Clos d'Aussois" offers a range of treatments.
EASY ACCESS Driving distance from Calais to Aussois is 938km (approx. 8h25). The nearest airport is Chambery (106km; 1h15), served by British Airways (ba.com), Jet2 (jet2.com) and Flybe (flybe.com). EasyJet (easyjet.com) fly to Grenoble (140km; 1.5h), as do Monarch (monarch.co.uk). The resort can also be reached within 2h from Geneva, Lyon or Turin. The nearest train station, Modane, is 7km away, with a shuttle running from the train station to the resort.
Peak Retreats (peakretreats.co.uk), the French Alps specialist, has accommodation in the resort, with prices starting from £70pp per week. This price includes a return Eurotunnel crossing for one car and passengers, with free FlexiPlus upgrade.
DECEMBER 2012 | inthesnow.com
Groups Of Three To Get Les 3 Vallées Discounts BEN CLATWORTHY
new lift pass has been announced this season for the world’s largest ski area, Les 3 Vallées in France. The ”Tribu” pass allows three friends buying a 6-day lift pass for the full 3 Vallées, or one of its sectors, a discount when they buy their passes together. Previously discounted rates have generally only been available for larger groups or families who can prove their relationship and include children, but a spokesperson for one of the area’s tourist offices says that for Tribu they can “just be friends”. The new ticket has been launched as Les 3 Vallées has announced a price rise for a 6-day adult pass, from just
over €244 (£197)last winter to €260 (£210) this winter, a jump of more than 6%, making the pass one of Europe’s most expensive. However, those who can buy a Tribu ticket will see the cost go back down by just over 6% to €245 (£198), as it costs €735 (£594)for three people. Lower prices are available on both regular and Tribu passes in the period up to Christmas. The Tribu ticket also means that groups of three or more skiers skiing in one sector can pay almost €60 (£48)per week less now than the headline 3 Vallées pass price. For example, a Tribu ticket for the Les Menuires/St Martin is €564 (£455) for three people, or €188 (£152) each for three or more –one of the lowest prices in Europe for a week’s skiing in a top resort.
Mountain Drop-Offs Makes Getting Around The Alps Easy! irport transfer specialist Mountain Drop-Offs is making travel plans easier with a host of new services this winter, including shared transfers to Val d’Isère and Tignes, and live online late availability. If you are travelling by train then you can also hop into Chamonix from the new Eurostar Swiss service, with Mountain Drop-Offs picking you up from Martigny. Prices start from €40pp (minimum of three passengers). “We’d recognised some time ago that there was an ongoing gap in the market for sensibly priced shared transfers to the Tarentaise” said Simon Hills, Mountain Drop-Offs’ Managing Director. “So, we’re very excited to be launching this new shared service. For those of you who find yourselves making last-minute plans – or are studying the snow and waiting – the
company’s website has a new live function so you’ll have the ability to check late seat availability from Geneva airport. “Likewise, we know that when our customers have no choice but to make last minute travel plans, one of the hardest parts of pulling their journey together can be tying in a timely transfer. I believe that our new live late availability capacity within our website is just the kind of service people want” Hills added.
inthesnow.com | DECEMBER 2012
Off-Piste In The Dolomites With A World Champion BEN CLATWORTHY
he Rosa Alpina (rosalpina. it) hotel in Alta Badia, in the stunning Italian Dolomites, is offering its guests the opportunity to enjoy a half day of skiing under the expert guidance of former snowboarding world champion Ivo Rudiferia, along with a half day of offpiste skiing with an alpine guide. Guests at the family-run 5 hotel can book a four-night stay, which includes daily breakfast, and a three-course
GET YOU R SU B S CR I P TION AT
dinner for two people every evening in the hotel’s Wine Bar & Grill restaurant. This four-night package starts from €1585pp (£1269) based on two adults sharing, and is available from 27 January–3 February, 24 February– 14 March, 17–23 March 2013. The package also includes a relaxing Sport & Fitness massage, as well as an Arnica Body Wrap, 2-day Dolomiti Superski ski pass, and access to the Rosa Alpina’s facilities including the spa, swimming pool, sauna, steam bath and fitness centre.
£1000 Ski Jacket On Sale he re-launched ski brand Killy has created a £1000 ski jacket for men at the topend of their range. The new ”Zeus” jacket, which is available only in black, has a number of hi-tech features that are the reason for the hefty price tag, including what the company describes as ”an intelligent heating system”, which is ”powered by reaction rather than electricity”. The jacket features a lining made from Schoeller PCM (Phase Change Materials) technology and the lining contains microcapsules that are set at a specific temperature range. The idea is that when the body or outside
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If you want to explore new mountains with no accommodation costs, why not swap your property with likeminded home owners in other ski resorts around the world? Visit the Snow Swappers website to start planning your next adventure.
By arranging a home swap, you can experience a new resort and likewise, your swap partner will enjoy a holiday in your home resort.
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temperature rises, the PCM liquefies within its capsule, thereby storing the heat and keeping you comfortable. When the temperature falls again, the PCM solidifies and releases the stored heat. This ability to turn the heat on or off makes the Zeus one of the first self-regulating ski jackets on the market. The jacket is only available in the UK from Ellis Brigham.
OFFER ENDS SOON
VAL D’ISERE ACCOMMODATION SPECIALIST 100 Chalet Holidays | 100 Self Catered Apartments | 30 Hotels Fully Bonded | Very Experienced | Here To Help
0845 021 0222 | simplyvaldisere.com
DECEMBER 2012 | inthesnow.com
THE OMNIA Zermatt
HOTEL L’Hélios Méribel
chalet de la Cloche VAL D'ISERE
The Hotel Alex is perfectly situated in the centre of Zermatt just off on a hidden back street, giving you the busyness 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 have created a wonderful chalet described by Harpers Bazaar as a “haven of sensual indulgence”. It is one of Condé Nast Traveller top 10 chalets in the Alps.
+41 (0)27 966 7171 | email@example.com | www.the-omnia.com |
+44 (0)20 3432 8446 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.ski-base.com |
holiday whistler ACCOMMODATIONS
THE CAMBRIAN ADELBODEN
Four star Hotel L’Hélios is located just 500m from Méribel centre in a superb ski-in/out location. L'Hélios is a luxurious base from which to explore Les 3 Vallées, largest ski area in the world. Hotel L’Hélios combines elegance and stylish interiors, excellent views and spa facilities in the Carita Spa.
Holiday Whistler Accommodations, skiing holidays à la carte, offers an extended range of chalets, apartments and condos to suit every taste and budget. Beautiful log homes just feet from the piste, spacious and luxurious chalets on the golf course, sumptuous apartments right in the village, expansive views of the mountains, private hot tubs on your deck or nestled in the trees.
Stunning mountain views in every direction, The Cambrian offers the kind of location that desk huggers the world over spend their days dreaming about. Located in the leading resort of Adelboden in the Bernese Oberland, the hotel provides authentic local colour, cosmopolitan comfort and inspiring cuisine backed up by superb service.
+33 (0)479 242 242 | email@example.com | www.lhelios.com |
+44 (0)20 7060 9360 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.holidaywhistler.com |
+41 (0)33 673 8383 | email@example.com | www.thecambrianadelboden.com |
CHALETS 1066 LES GETS
mont cervin palace Zermatt
MATTERHORN FOCUS Zermatt
Something to suite all budgets from economy to luxury. For all self-catered chalets, a range of optional services are offered enabling you to have the freedom of your own chalet or apartment, yet also having access to many "hotel" type services. For our catered accommodation – we have the same chalet host as last year who had outstanding reviews.
One of the great hotels of the Alps, with more than 150 years of simple warm hospitality. The original hotel, which opened in 1852 is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World Association. The 5 Mont Cervin Palace offers 150 charming rooms and suites. Throughout summer 2012 the hotel has undertaken major renovation works.
Here you can enjoy privacy, outstanding design and a unique stay in 30 individual rooms. Situated in the most fantastic position with unrivalled views of the Matterhorn, the modern, elegant architecture blends in beautifully, elegantly, and somewhat obtrusively, but perfectly into the mountain around.
+44 (0)207 183 5082 | sue@ chalets1066.com | www.chalets1066.com |
+41 (0)27 966 8888 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.montcervinpalace.com |
+41 (0)27 966 24 24 | email@example.com | www.matterhorn-focus.ch |
nTheSnow’s Ben Clatworthy spent 10 minutes with Pascal August, Founder of new travel company Move Mountains (movemountainstravel.com), to talk winter plans, travel, and their “Man Friday” service.
Pascal, what was it that made you decide to establish Move Mountains? PA: The primary reasons were that both my wife and I thought there was scope for a tour operator that would be a port of call for clients, and play an active role in helping them to design their ideal holiday. We are interested in spending time working on each holiday itinerary, and also delivering top quality service for our guests. We found that whenever we were tying to go on holiday we weren’t getting the answers from the sales people, and so
we decided there was room in the market for a specialised top level operator, for whom service would be key, and where time would be really spent listening to the client to find the best possible holiday they could aspire to. You’re working with your wife, is it your first project together? PA: It is our first project together, however, Hannah and I met whilst working for another tour operator within the ski industry; but yes, it’s the first time we’ve worked for ourselves together. The job is labour-intensive and juggling family life is a challenge, but we’re rising to it, and I would say we’re enjoying it and feel as if we’re alive. Where are your key winter destinations? PA: We have focused the programme on the high-end, well known resorts, such as Les 3 Vallées and Espace Killy in France,
St Anton and Lech in Austria, and Verbier in Switzerland. We also have a whole category we call “Far from the madding crowd” where we offer the smaller name resorts. For example, a person might have skied the majority of the top name resorts and is looking to rediscover skiing. We look to offer an authentic experience, and smaller hotels and chalets where things are a little quieter – that’s where the concept for this category came from. Tell us about your “Man Friday” service? PA: Our “Man Friday” service is designed to allow guests to fine-tune their holiday, both before and after they book. It saves them trawling through guidebooks, and even if we don’t have the answer, we will take the time to find and sort out what they want, for example, booking a table in a restaurant. We want to always try to give a little bit extra to the client such as finding out
where the best heli-skiing is; or where the best powder can be found. It’s a concierge service, but a friendlier one. What was it that sparked your interest in travel? PA: My parents were both expatriates, my mother lived in the Belgium Congo and my father was in Nigeria. I grew up in Africa and then the Far East, as my parents continually moved around with work. This ultimately sparked my love for travel from day one. I’ve always had travel in my blood, and then I ended up in the ski industry. I was working in London, and then the 1993 recession came along. The company I was working for went into receivership, and so I decided to go and do a season in the Alps. And that’s that, I never really left; and thanks to being able to speak French, I ended up working for Ski World as their contractor and legalities person for Europe.
OMNI-HEAT. SHOCKINGLY WARM. AMAZINGLY BREATHABLE. INCREDIBLY PHOTOGENIC. ®
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Published on Nov 29, 2012
Published on Nov 29, 2012
The ski season is underway in the Alps and the snow is falling fast. In the December issue, Ben Clatworthy reports on the new Swiss ski trai...