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November issue 12. £2.20

skate

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snow

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surf


AN EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER. TOP 5 BOARDING DESTINATIONS Snowboarding has been around since the 1920s, when people would tie plywood or wooden planks from barrels to their feet using clotheslines and horse reins in order to steer themselves down hills. Modern snowboarding began in 1965 when Sherman Poppen, an engineer in Muskegon, Michigan, invented a toy for his daughter by fastening two skis together and attaching a rope to one end so she would have some control as she stood on the board and glided downhill. Dubbed the “snurfer” (combining snow and surfer), the toy proved so popular among his daughter’s friends that Poppen licensed the idea to a manufacturer that sold about a million snurfers over the next decade. And, in 1966 alone over half a million snurfers were sold.

In the early 1970s, Poppen organized snurfing competitions at a Michigan ski resort that attracted enthusiasts from all over the country. One of those early pioneers was Tom Sims, a devotee of skateboarding (a sport born in the 1950s when kids attached roller skate wheels to small boards that they steered by shifting their weight). As an eighth grader in Haddonfield, New Jersey, in the 1960s, Sims crafted a snowboard in his school shop class by gluing carpet to the top of a piece of wood and attaching aluminum sheeting to the bottom. He produced commercial snowboards in the mid 70s. During this same time, Dimitrije Milovich—an American surfing enthusiast who had also enjoyed sliding down snowy hills on cafeteria trays during his college years in upstate New York—constructed a snowboard called “Winterstick,”

inspired by the design and feel of a surfboard. Articles about his invention in such mainstream magazines as Newsweek helped publicize the young sport.sold. Also during this same period, in 1977, Jake Burton Carpenter, a Vermont native who had enjoyed snurfing since the age of 14, impressed the crowd at a Michigan snurfing competition with bindings he had designed to secure his feet to the board. That same year, he founded Burton Snowboards in Londonderry, Vermont.


TRAVEL

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Whistler consistently tops the podium in “best ever” polls because it never stops progressing. Its funparks are the best in the business, its pistes are always corduroy in the mornings, its freeriding terrain is easily accessible and - due to the proximity of the Pacific often blessed with powder. New for this year is the Peak-To-Peak

gondola (due to open at the beginning of December), which will directly link Whistler and Blackcomb mountains for the first time and further increase the scope of the place. And for 2009, expect the forwardthinking park shapers to be experimenting with their snowshaping toys in readiness for the 2010 Olympics.

ALTITUDE - 653-675m Highest lift: 2,284m Pistes: 40/110/50 beginner/intermediate/advanced Closest airport: Vancouver Airport, 120km

WHISTLER, CANADA

Neilson (neilson.co.uk, 0845 0703460) has seven nights’ accommodation at the Holiday Inn Sunspree, Whistler from £1,018 in December including scheduled Air Canada flights from Heathrow and all transfers.

PARTY Garfunkels and The Boot are the two biggest snowboardhangouts in town.


TRAVEL

ABOUT Take the train to Bourg and you’re at the end of the line. As a town it’s not the prettiest in the Alps, but its access to Les Arcs (via a funicular train that runs every 20 minutes between 7:30am and 7:20pm) is superb, and the resort is one of the most snowboard-friendly in France, featuring several funparks and

world-class terrain. The Vanoise Express is scheduled to re-open in time for Christmas 2008, completing the Paradiski link with La Plagne and Peisey-Vallandry and further broadening Bourg’s reach for snowboarders.

ALTITUDE - 850m - 2,000m Highest lift: 3,250m Pistes: 144/66/29 beginner/intermediate/advanced Closest airport: Geneva, 135km

Eurostar (08705 186186 or +44 (0)12336 17575 from abroad) runs direct trains from St Pancras to Bourg starting December 20 through to April 18. Choose between leaving London on the Friday evening or Saturday morning, and returning from Bourg either Saturday morning or evening. Take both evening trains and you could get eight days on the slopes instead of the usual six using flights.

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PARTY The Central Bar and the Absolut nightclub in Bourg are very snowboard friendly.

les arcs, france


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TRAVEL

ABOUT At first sight Chamonix’s appeal is difficult to fathom. Its funpark is below par against nearby resorts such as Morzine, its lift system is wholly inadequate during peak holiday periods, and you’ll have to get up very early if you want to ride powder between the pistes. And yet it is still the number one destination for UK snowboarders because

the town likes to party hard and the mountains above are the most picturesque in the world. A good day in Chamonix beats everywhere else by miles. Other resorts simply can’t compete with the majestic Aiguille du Midi or the serene Vallée Blanche.

ALTITUDE - 1,035m Highest lift: 3,842m Pistes: 41/25/13 beginner/intermediate/advanced Closest airport: Geneva, 88km

Chamonix, france

Thomson (0871 231 5612) have seven nights’ self-catered accommodation throughout January 2009 at the Chamois Blanc Apartments in Chamonix town centre for £339 per person including return flights from Stansted and all transfers.

PARTY Chamonix town centre is awash with fantastic bars, but some après ski at the Cafe Terrace is hard to beat.


ABOUT

TRAVEL PARTY

Mammoth Mountain is where the best riders set themselves up for the season. And what a season - lifts usually open at the end of October and close in early June. There’s cheap accommodation, three worldclass parks and two fullymaintained superpipes. Olympic gold medalist and eight-time X Games gold medalist Shaun White has a season pass at Mammoth, which says it all really ...

Virgin Holidays (0871 222 5825) are offering seven nights at the Alpenhof Lodge in Mammoth for £1,416 for two people (£708 each) for the week starting February 7 2009. Price includes Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow to LA and a four-door economy car hire for seven days although an additional cost of around £16 per day will be required for car insurance and fuel surcharges - full details online.

Whiskey Creek is the biggest, and most happening bar in town.

ALTITUDE - 1,035m Highest lift: 3,842m Pistes: 41/25/13 beginner/intermediate/advanced Closest airport: Geneva, 88km

Mammoth mountain, california

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TRAVEL PARTY

Island Lake Lodge is certainly the most famous North American cat-snowboarding destination thanks to the endorsement of legendary snowboarder Craig Kelly. It’s certainly expensive - a week is around C$4,000 (£2,156) - but most riders holiday in nearby Fernie and take a two-day excursion to the ‘Lodge.

Ski Direct (0844 5533501) have the Stamford Inn in Fernie from £499 per person based on two sharing. Price includes return flights from Gatwick to Calgary and all transfers based on the second week in January. Island Lake Lodge can be booked through their website islandlakeresorts.com

In Fernie, The Pub is a nononsense local hangout.

ALTITUDE - 1,035m Highest lift: 3,842m Pistes: 41/25/13 beginner/intermediate/advanced Closest airport: Geneva, 88km

island lake lodge, canada


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