Skier & Snowboarder magazine - Spring 2023

Page 1

DAISY CUTTERS

An Austrian resort where cows decide when the ski season will end!

WORLD NEWS

Wild boars attack snowboarders

SKI TOURING

Going it alone in a Méribel mountain hut

RIDING SHOTGUN

SKI ODDITY

Be amazed by growing maze

SINGER GEORGE EZRA TO STAR AT TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN SPRING CONCERT IN ISCHGL

THE UK'S ORIGINAL FREE SKI AND SNOWBOARD MAGAZINE – BEWARE OF IMITATIONS! 2023
ISSUE SPRING
PLUS: RESORT REPORTS • EQUIPMENT ROUND-UP • SPECIAL OFFERS • HOLIDAY NEWS + MUCH MUCH MORE
booking.chamonix.com For best accommodation & lift pass rates and a friendly, professional service. IN POLE POSITION ! CHAMONIX

NEWS Record breakers

FRANCE Chamonix

FRANCE News

FRANCE Off grid in Méribel

AUSTRIA Flying visit

AUSTRIA

New challenges

AUSTRIA Cows take over

SWITZERLAND

New lift system

SWITZERLAND

Lighting up time

ITALY

Sunshine Valley

NORWAY Ski safari

RACING

British schoolgirls

HOLIDAY NEWS

New destinations

SALES & SERVICES

Award winners

UK SLOPE & CLUB NEWS Centres under threat

Editor FRANK BALDWIN

Deputy Editor

LISA EDGINTON

News Correspondent PATRICK THORNE

Equipment Editor

CHRIS EXALL

Editorial office

Swiss Editor MARK NICHOLLS

Design

LISA EDGINTON

Publisher MOUNTAIN MARKETING LTD

Printing WEBMART

15 Knowsley Way, Hildenborough, Kent TN11 9LG

Email: frank.baldwin@skierandsnowboarder.co.uk

Tel: 07768 670 158

Advertisement Manager SHARON MASLEN

Tel: 01892 677 742

Email: sharonm@spacemarketing.co.uk

Front Cover Photo: Skiwelt/Simon Beizaee. See features in the Austria section of the magazine, which starts on page 14.

The George Ezra image was sourced (and modified) through Creative Commons – creativecommons.org

Skier & Snowboarder magazine Editor Frank ‘Scoop’ Baldwin sandwiched between members of ‘The Brotherhood of Cheese’ in Pays de Gex

We know how much the French love their cheese, especially in ski resorts where you are guaranteed to find a fondue or raclette, etc, on most mountain restaurant menus.

But in Pays de Gex, the ski area which is just a stone’s throw across the border from Geneva Airport, the passion for dairy products has been taken to another level through the formation of ‘The Brotherhood of Cheese’.

When I met some members of this ancient organisation during a recent short ski break, they were dressed in special colourful robes. I feared I had wandered into some kind of secret society – however, it is anything but. The Brotherhood is more than happy to share details and samples of the blue-veined Bleu de Gex that is a speciality of the region and is historically famous for being Charles V’s favourite cheese.

Pays de Gex is not yet well known in the UK, but it should be. Its proximity to Geneva Airport makes the four resorts that make up the ski area an ideal destination for a low-cost short break. You can read more about the attractions in a future issue of the Skier & Snowboarder magazine.

The Brotherhood wasn’t my only brush with a group of passionate French people this season. In December I found myself as the only English football fan in a Les Deux Alpes bar/restaurant packed full of French people watching France defeat England 2-1 in the quarter final of the World Cup.

Although I was heavily outnumbered, the defeat was made easier to swallow by the fantastic tapas, cocktails, and hospitality served up by the two sisters who have created Chez Nous 2. You can read their story, and also about the new lifts in the resort, on page 8.

If you haven’t been skiing or snowboarding yet this season, or fancy another break in the spring, make sure you log on to the Holiday Offers page on the Skier & Snowboarder website – www.skierandsnowboarder.com

New deals are added regularly, and some holiday companies are already promoting discounts on early bookings for next season. Plus, you will find more news and features on the website.

Now, where did I put that cheese…?

&

accepts no responsibility for unsolicited features, images, products or any other materials supplied. © Skier & Snowboarder

(Snowsport Industries of Great Britain).

Baldwin
Skier
Snowboarder magazine 3 WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM CONTENTS While all reasonable care is taken to ensure the accuracy of information included in Skier & Snowboarder magazine, the publishers take no responsibility for the accuracy of statements made by contributors or advertisers. The publisher reserves the right to refuse, cancel, amend or suspend an advertisement or insert and no liability can be accepted for loss arising from non-publication or late publication of any advertisement or insert.
ISSN 0951 5941 Mountain Marketing Ltd.
3179885.
Frank ‘Scoop’
Publisher/Editor
&
Skier
Snowboarder magazine
magazine.
Co Reg:
A member of SIGB
4 - 5 6 - 7 8 - 10 12 - 13 14 - 15 16 - 17 18 - 19 20 - 21 22 - 23 24 26 - 27 28 - 29 30 - 31 32 34
Welcome

BACK ON TRACK

After a four-year wait, the funicular railway in the Cairngorm ski area above Aviemore in Scotland reopened on 26 January. The track was closed after structural problems were identified in the concrete supports.

Repair work finally began in spring 2021 and was expected to be completed for last season, but delays were caused by the pandemic and ‘global supply issues’.

Cairngorm Mountain Railway is Scotland’s only funicular and is the highest in the UK, reaching the Ptarmigan building at over 1,065m. For the full story, log on to the Skier & Snowboarder website at: www.skierandsnowboarder.com

FALSE ALARMS

The boffins at Apple are working on finding a solution after reports that skiers and snowboarders wearing the new iPhone 14 and Watch 8 were inadvertently swamping emergency services in America.

The technology in the Apple watches automatically calls emergency services if the wearer suddenly stops abruptly after moving at speed. This usually indicates a car crash, but the stop start motion of skiing and snowboarding was raising the same alarm.

Those on the slopes often did not hear the calls from handlers calling to check if there has been an accident, and the protocol following unanswered calls is to dispatch emergency

services to the last known location of the phone. More positively, Apple iPhones have been praised for helping rescue skiers trapped or injured in potentially life-threatening real emergencies when used manually to call emergency services and send location data.

UNDER ATTACK

Wildlife has been targeting skiers and snowboarders who have been invading what they see as their habitat.

A YouTube video of wild boar attacking snowboarders on-piste in the Japanese ski area of Ikenotaira Onsen has attracted thousands of views, and in Canada an aggressive owl has been dive bombing cross-country skiers and snowshoers in the Kamloops.

Several people have been attacked by the bird, resulting in minor injuries.

NUMBERS UP

With many skiers and snowboarder heading back to the slopes for the first time in three years because of Covid, the British travel trade body ABTA estimates that approximately 1.7 million Brits will take winter sports holidays b y the end of this season.

An ABTA spokesperson said: “ABTA Members have reported very strong demand for winter sports breaks, particularly at the busiest times of year, Christmas, New Year, February Half Term and Easter.”

WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM 4
NEWS & SKI ODDITY RELY ON US FOR YOUR SKI EQUIPEMENT! TO HIRE : www.precisionski-rent.com www.ski-republic.com www freeride fr TO BUY : www precisionski co uk We love the mountains! - Born & raisedOVER A 100 SHOPS IN MORE THAN 60 SKI RESORTS IN FRANCE

GRASS-TIS SKIING

The largest cannabis company in the American state of Michigan teamed up with a local ski area to provide free skiing and snowboarding during the season.

Anyone spending $50 with the Lume Cannabis Company were offered lift passes to ski or snowboard at Mount Bohemia for free between 3 and 8pm on Thursdays from 26 January to 2 March.

Bohemia was recently ranked the number three ski resort in North America in USA Today’s list of the 10 best ski resorts 2022.

BROKEN RECORD

A highly impressive achievement by an eight-year-old boy in becoming the youngest s kier in the world to take to the piste on all seven continents may never make it into the record books.

This is because the Guinness Book of Records says it no longer keeps records on young children.

More incredibly, Maddock Lipp, from Golden in Colorado, decided to take on the challenge to beat his older sister, Kiera, who made headlines in February 2022 for becoming the youngest person in the world to ski on all seven continents when she was 10 years of age.

Maddock, who has been skiing since he was two years old, made his first international ski trip to Italy in January 2019, and completed his worldwide feat when he skied in the Antarctic peninsula in December 2022 – despite Covid travel restrictions.

SKI ODDITY: Skiers and snowboarders visiting Copper Mountain in America are being invited to lose themselves in the mountains in a specially made snow maze. Located in the East Village at the Colorado resort, near the base of the Super Bee chairlift, the maze – which is free to enter – has doubled in size from the previous season and has been designed and built by Snice Carvings, a local business that builds snow and ice sculptures around the Rockies.

The last time Guinness recorded the record was in 2008, when it named Victoria R ae White as the youngest person to ski all seven continents when she was 10 years old.

SWEET AS SUGAR

The SkiStar group, which runs Scandinavia’s largest ski resorts, is installing a new attraction for the summer at their Sälen resort – a ski slope made from sugar cane.

It will cover an area of 7,000 sqm on the resort’s Anna slope, and will be served by the Kråkan lift.

“The artificial grass consists of biologically produced plastic from sugar cane,” a SkiStar spokesperson explained.

TORCHLIT TRIUMPH

Les Arcs has broken its own world record of 2,887 skiers simultaneously taking part in a torchlit descent, set in 2016, with a new figure of 3,593 skiers.

V isitors who were in the resort on Wednesday, 22 February who could ski to a basic standard without poles on a blue run were invited to make up the numbers during the record attempt, which took place in Arc 1800.

Be Happy Ski More This Winter Weekends – mid-weeks - weeks 02380 206 971 www.skiweekends.com Maximise your time on the slopes this winter! 8 Catered Chalets Avoriaz – Morzine - Courchevel 100+ Hotels in 40+ resorts 7 countries 2* family run to 5* luxury 5 NEWS & SKI ODDITY WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM FIND OUT WHAT’S NEW THIS SEASON ON THE SKIER AND SNOWBOARDER MAGAZINE WEBSITE AT: WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM KEEP UP TO DATE
A sign seen in Lake Louise, Canada

A night spent in splendid isolation

Petra Shepherd followed in the footsteps of historic celebrities when she visited a refuge on Chamonix’s Mer de Glace

The Mer de Glace (sea of ice), which at 7km long and 200m deep is the largest glacier in France, is also one of the biggest attractions in the Chamonix Valley. It was here, while staying at Refuge du Montenvers (1,903m) and located in front of the glacier, that I met leading glaciologist Luc Moreau, an expert on the delicate glacial ecosystem.

When he is not on, or under, a glacier, he teaches glaciology in high schools and universities and vividly brings to life the mysteries of these colossal giants and how highly sensitive they are to changes in the environment.

Luc talks with passion about the glacier and its variations over time, and all is revealed in his book ‘The Secrets of the Mer de Glace’.

The Refuge du Montenvers is a wonderfully atmospheric place to stay and learn more about the glacier while watching the sun go down over the surrounding mountain peaks. It also oozes character and history.

What do Charles Dickens, Napoleon, Lord Bryon, President Macron and Mary Shelley have in common? They have all stayed here, and each room is named after an illustrious guest.

I felt as though I was taking a journey into the past, experiencing the same accommodation (although now considerably more luxurious) and views as the greatest mountain climbers and adventurers and famous artists and writers. If only the walls could speak!

I was tucked up for the night in The Franz Liszt room. I had to smile when given my room – those who know both me and cockney rhyming slang will understand!

Inghams now offers an incredible night in the Refuge du Montenvers, which is reached by taking the Montenvers Railway to the top station. You’ll just need to bring along a backpack with a change of clothes and overnight essentials. Once the last train has departed back to Chamonix on the rack railway, there’s plenty of time to enjoy the tranquillity of the refuge with drinks by an open fire and a threecourse dinner.

The refuge, built in 1880, exudes old-fashioned charm and appears isolated from the rest of the world. It really is the ideal place for a one-night digital detox.

In the morning, after a buffet breakfast, I would

FRANCE 6 WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM
Chamonix offers a large choice of skiing and snowboarding Glaciologist Luc Moreau

recommend venturing to the nearby ice cave, or finding out more about the glacier at The Glaciorium.

A small cable car descends from the train station on to the Mer de Glace glacier from where you can enter a man-made ice grotto. Access is via 430 steps on both the outward and return walk from the top of the glacier gondola lift, so you need to be pretty fit. The Glaciorium, established in 2012, features an exhibition dedicated to glaciology with interactive and educational presentations all about glaciers, how they form and their history.

The big news is the construction of a new cable car (with a €25m budget) which will facilitate access on and off the glacier for visitors, alpinists and skiers arriving from the Vallée Blanche. It is scheduled to open in December, to be followed a year later by the opening of the Glaciorium Climate and Glacier Interpretation Centre.

Works on the Montenvers site began in spring 2022 with the removal of the panoramic terrace and restaurant, and will continue through to 2025. However, this winter the site remains open to visitors with the cog railway, the gondola and the ice grotto all accessible.

My accommodation for the rest of my visit was rather more state-of-the-art at the chic and comfortable Hotel Heliopic at the foot of the Aiguille du Midi cable car. In addition to the gastronomic Akashon restaurant – awarded a Bib Gourmand for the cuisine of its chef, Julien Binet – the hotel now has a new ‘cheesy’ restaurant. Open only for dinner and à la carte, the Frometon will exclusively offer cheese-based recipes. With a wonderful spa and large indoor swimming pool, the hotel has plenty to keep non skiers entertained as well.

This year sees the 120th anniversary of the Hameau Albert 1er. Built in 1903 and originally a railway inn, the small family pension has been transformed today into a hamlet in the heart of Chamonix with a 5* hotel boasting 37 rooms, suites and chalets, a gastronomic restaurant, country restaurant, and spa with an indoor and outdoor pool facing Mont Blanc.

Chamonix itself needs little introduction. With 90% of the terrain above 2,000m, the town has for many years attracted skiers looking for good snow with an efficient ski bus linking the five main ski areas and the nearby village of Les Houches.

Set against truly spectacular scenery at the foot of Mont Blanc, the choice of skiing ranges from cruisy blues and fun reds at Le Brévent, La Flégère and Le Tour to more challenging runs at Les Grands Montets.

Located in the village of Le Tour, at the northern end of the Chamonix Valley, a new gondola lift opened in December 2022 providing a muchimproved access to the Balme-Vallorcine ski area. The Balme ski area offers wide open gentle slopes, tree lined forest trails and an exceptional panorama of the Mont Blanc Massif.

Chamonix is also, of course, world famous for the Kandahar Alpine Ski World Cup, which this year took place on 4 February 2023 with the best skiers from around the globe competing in the slalom events.

In February 2024, the dates of the Kandahar will correspond with the centenary of the first Winter Olympic Games in Chamonix, held in 1924.

All the bedrooms at the Refuge du Montenvers are named after famous guests who have stayed there

This March has seen La Trace Des Grands. Launched in 2021, the ski mountaineering race in the Chamonix Mont-Blanc valley took place on the Grands Montets site on 4 and 5 March.

In April, The Chamonix Unlimited Festival, an important date in the winter agenda, brings together skiing and music with a line-up of artists from the electro scene all playing in small-scale open-air venues. The Chamonix Unlimited Festival will take place from 5-9 April.

TRAVEL FACTS

Inghams has seven nights at the 4* Hotel Heliopic from £1,388, including flights and transfers. Refuge de Montenvers

Inghams offers the Refuge de Montenvers as an overnight excursion (summer and winter) www.inghams.co.uk

For further information on Chamonix, go to: www.chamonix.com

WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM 7 FRANCE
The Montenvers Railway takes visitors to the refuge

Sharing is fun

Food lovers are spoilt for choice in Les Deux Alpes as the ski resort has more than 80 restaurants and more than 30 bars. Many of them offer similar menus of mountain food, but one eatery has found a way to stand out from the crowd.

Two years ago, sisters Sophie and Ophélie Couard decided to bring a taste of Spain to the French ski resort by opening a tapas bar and restaurant in the Place de Vénosc.

The duo grew up on the Landes Coast in the south-west of France and eventually both found themselves working in the hospitality industry. Sophie spent several years working in different restaurants in Alpe d’Huez and Les Deux Alpes,

while Ophélie was employed in luxury hotels around the world.

Sophie and Ophélie often talked about how they would prefer to settle somewhere, and although they had never worked together they started putting together a plan for their own restaurant about six years ago.

Sophie had already worked in another outlet in the pedestrianised square in the Place de Vénosc and loved the sunny location and the magnificent view of the Muzelle Mountain. So, when the chance came up to take over a vacant property two years ago, the sisters decided the time was right.

Sophie said: “One of the reasons we decided

New, faster Jandry Express for Les Deux Alpes & more

SATA, the lift company, has been managing the Les Deux Alpes lift system since December 2020 and has introduced a programme of improvements.

The Vallée Blanche area has been redesigned with the Vallée Blanche chairlift replaced by a Télémix, which take skiers to 2,100m. The Super Venosc gondola has also been updated.

There is a new green slope between Vallée Blanche and Le Pied Moutet, making this part of the ski area more accessible (2,100m to 1,600m).

The Diable chairlift has been replaced by a Télémix (86 six-seater chairs and 28 cabins for six people). It now takes five minutes 30 seconds to go from 1,655m to 2,410m, and it can take up to 3,000 people per hour.

The Front de Neige at the bottom of the slopes is being completely redesigned. Work started in 2021 and will be completed by 2024.

A new ski lift and a magic carpet were built in 2022 in the Viking area. By 2024, the Coolidge area will also have a new ski lift and a magic carpet.

A new ski lift and magic carpet will be opening in the Champamé area, too, which will allow easy links between Les 2 Alpes 1800 and the rest of the resort.

The Jandry Express, which takes skiers and snowboarders from the village to the glacier at 3,200m, is to be replaced by a new type of cable car by December 2024 which will take 15 minutes instead of the current 40-minute journey.

The Jandry Express, which was installed in 1985, will in future have seven pylons instead of 15. SATA says this will enable it to blend into the environment better.

* For more information go to: www.les2alpes.com/inter

to offer tapas is because our kitchen is one of the smallest in the resort. Therefore, we needed food that is fairly easy to produce but still tasty and appetising. Ophélie prepares the food and I serve the customers.

“Tapas is part of our origins and corresponds to our desire for conviviality and sharing, which are specific to the south-west area of France. It has been easier to bring tapas to the mountains than raclette to the ocean!”

Customers sit in a relaxed informal setting in the restaurant, which has not only become a popular choice for visitors but is also a hit with the locals in Les Deux Alpes, who use it as a regular meeting place to socialise and enjoy sharing platters from the attractive menu. The cocktail menu is equally impressive.

Plus, the sisters love to organise special events, such as Halloween for example, when customers are invited to dress for the occasion.

Sophie and Ophélie still like to get out skiing themselves when they can, especially when friends come to visit. Chez nous 2 is open from noon to midnight but is closed on Mondays, which allows the sisters to enjoy some time on the slopes.

They are always looking to add new choices to their menu, but what are the sisters’ favourites? Ophélie loves croquettes and sweet/savoury Camembert accompanied by a glass of south-west wine or a Spritz St Germain.

For Sophie, the choice is patatas bravas and squid accompanied by her favourite cocktail, a Bloody Mary. She says: “The secret to any good meal is to always finish with a Génépi and a large amount of laughter!”

Chez nous 2, Place de Vénosc, 38860 Les Deux Alpes, France

Tel: +33 4 76 79 07 34

E: commecheznous2@gmail.com

FRANCE 8 WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM
Sisters Sophie and Ophélie
CONTACTLESS CATERED & SELF-CATERED CHALETS FOR READERS OF SKIER & SNOWBOARDER, WE ARE OFFERING AN ADDITIONAL £500 DISCOUNT. GIVE US A CALL ON 0203 475 4756 TO BOOK ONE OF OUR STUNNING CHALETS. 0203 475 4756 WWW.SKIFRANCE-CLASSIC.CO.UK OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK

VAL THORENS

There is a new €40 million state-of-the-art sports, aquatic and convention centre – known as Le Board – in Val Thorens. It was christened Le Board because its shape resembles a snowboard. The the building offers a huge range of sports facilities, plus the roof space is also big enough to host outdoor concerts, corporate events and other parties.

SAMOËNS

This season there is another bonus for families with young children visiting Samoëns. Ski passes are free of charge for children under eight years of age – most resorts only offer this for those under five. There are also free passes for adults over 75 years old (as long as they have documentary proof).

APRÉS SKI

If you fancy a taste of the social side of skiing and snowboarding closer to home, pop along to one of a dozen pubs in the south of England where celebrity chef Raymond Blanc has launched apres-ski events in marquees decorated to conjure up an alpine atmosphere. Blanc’s White Brasserie company began the ‘White Nights’ at six of its Frenchaccented pubs last season and now this has doubled, with venues in London, Cambridge and Dorset. To find your nearest pub go to the Skier & Snowboarder website.

VAL D’ARLY

Whether you’re new to ski touring or seeking a new experience, a nocturnal randonnée outing when you are given instruction in the basics is a great introduction and a fun way to explore the mountains in the Espace Diamant group of resorts by night. An instructor will lead you to La Montagnette mountain restaurant for a traditional Savoyard meal followed by a ski down the green ‘la Belette’ slope under the moonlight. The cost is €42 per person.

MORZINE

Rather than walking the dog, how about walking the eagle? JacquesOlivier Travers has founded Les Aigles du Léman, a full aviary of fascinating birds of prey at the Pointe de Nyon restaurant in Morzine at 1,500m. Visitors can book sessions with the falconers and willing participants can hold the birds on their arms, feed them and walk down a snowy track with eagles flying overhead. Four flying shows are offered to all visitors free every day.

CLUB MED

Robots were part of the weird and wonderful entertainment on offer when Club Med opened its latest resort in Tignes Val Claret. The ‘all-Inclusive’ resort sits at the bottom of the Tichot lift and boasts a plethora of environmentallyfriendly features, plus the usual Club Med entertainment and value-for-money deals. Look out for our special feature on the new Club Med in a future issue of Skier & Snowboarder magazine and on the website.

FRANCE NEWS 10 WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM
MORE FRENCH NEWS AND FEATURES, GO TO THE SKIER & SNOWBOARDER MAGAZINE WEBSITE AT WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM KEEP UP TO DATE
FOR
Tailor made ski and adventure holidays The home of flexible ski holidays Call 01962 587777 www.flexiski.com Austria – Canada – France Italy - Norway - Switzerland We are here to guide you, inspire you, make it simple and to create a ski break to match your exact needs. Carefully chosen resorts and fantastic hand picked hotels to ensure you get the most from your holiday.

‘Off grid’ in Méribel

As the snowflakes get fatter and the visibility gets worse, I slide my skis further forward, hoping that the mountain refuge I’m searching for will come into sight soon.

I’m alone in a remote mountain valley, sitting between the world famous ski areas of Méribel and Courchevel. There are thousands of skiers only a few minutes away as the Alpine chough flies, but from where I am you can’t see any lifts or pistes, or anyone at all.

Paradoxically, I’m visiting the world’s largest ski area, yet find myself completely alone. I’m part of a growing trend to ‘get away from it all’.

This post-pandemic era is still so new it’s not yet clear exactly how it has affected us as a society, especially within travel. It does increasingly seem that all that time cooped up at home, and on perpetual Zoom calls, has led to an increase in the number of travellers wanting to disconnect.

Johann Hari’s best-selling book ‘Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention’ highlighted how social media eats away at our concentration. And research by the website booking.com suggests that 55% of travellers would enjoy the challenge of spending holidays ‘off grid’ – a trip where you are without electricity, mains gas or water.

So, here am I, heading for the Refuge du Saut on the borders of the Plan de Tuéda National Park. In summer, it’s a popular trek from Méribel, via the Lac du Tuéda. There’s a wonderful sun terrace served by a restaurant that offers hungry hikers Savoyarde cheese platters and charcuterie. You can even stay overnight in dorms that can accommodate up to 25 people.

In winter, however, it’s a different affair. Like the marmottes that populate the valley through summer, the ‘guardien’ goes into hibernation. One section

FRANCE 12 WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM
Iain Martin finds out what it is like to get away from it all in the world’s largest ski area A ‘welcome’ sign at the refuge Solo tour: Iain skins along a riverbank

of the refuge remains open, just without the usual extras of catering, running water and electricity.

It’s taken me two hours so far. I’m only at 2,100m altitude – not considered high mountain, but high enough to test lungs used to being at sea level in Brighton. The climb from Méribel Mottaret was hard, the wet snow sticking to the bottom of the skins on my touring skis and slowing my progress.

In summer the trail is clearly marked, but in winter, with deep snow on the ground, I have to guess the route. Fortunately, at least one person has been to the refuge before me since the last snowfall. I follow the barely visible tracks of their snowshoes.

At one point I hesitate. I can hear something rumbling. Could there be a piste basher up here in this remote spot? Maybe it’s a plane flying low nearby? I stop and listen carefully. There it is, beneath my feet. The sound of water flowing. I realise there’s a river below the layer of frozen ice I’m standing on. I move on quickly and carefully.

As I pass a cliff face there’s relief as the refuge comes into sight. Ten minutes later I find a metal door marked with a sign that also acts as a warning: ‘Refuge non gardé’ (Refuge unmanned/unguarded). I flick the latch and it opens to reveal a dark corridor with bunk beds on either side. Cold, hardly cosy, but five-star compared to the thought of a night out in the worsening snowstorm.

The same booking.com survey said that more than half of people want to test their survival skills in back-to-basics adventures.

My first task is to make a fire. There is kindling and firewood, so I summon up my memories of Cub Scouts, get busy with the axe, and before long a glowing fire is raging in the wood burner.

Light is more of a challenge as there’s no electricity. I dig out my Petzl headtorch that I’ve used to run through the night in ultramarathons. The narrow beam is enough to light my way around the building.

There is a gas stove, so I make a cup of tea. Now what? There’s no phone signal. I read my book and realise I’m exhausted. I check my watch – it’s only 5.30pm but it feels like midnight. A couple of chapters later I tuck myself into bed, cocooned in a sleeping bag and liner, with four blankets piled up

on top of me like a toppled-over Michelin Man. Until I fall into a deep sleep, I lie and listen. There is nothing. That’s why I came.

Contact for the refuge:

Valérie Hertault – Refuge du Saut

Tel: 06 60 43 29 89

Email: refugedusaut@nordnet.fr

Or for more information, go to: www.meribel.net/apidae/refuge-du-saut

WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM 13 FRANCE
After lighting the fire, Iain settles in Supplies left by previous visitors Bunk bed accommodation only Getting away from it all at the Refuge du Saut

Flying visit

A reinstated morning flight from London City Airport makes a short break in Austria even more accessible. Mark Nicholls went for the skiing and returned with plenty of memories to treasure

It was cold as the horses trotted away from the small Advent Fair in the trees above Leogang. As they paused, steam swirled around these magnificent beasts, not unlike the smoky aura of an ancient locomotive slowing into a remote halt.

The whisps of snow as my companions and I rode up in the sleigh behind them had turned to large flakes. This was just what the folk of this SalzburgerLand community had ordered for the start of another ski season.

The snow in early December, supported by snowmaking machines, was enough to ensure most of the runs were open in the Skicircus region, and enabled the ski-in-ski-out hotels to live up to their claims.

When it’s snowing, you can’t beat the romance of a horse-drawn sleigh-ride along the Schwarzleo valley to the very local, but atmospheric, Christmas Market. It is located at one of SalzburgerLand’s oldest gold mines, with artisan stalls offering home-made goods, handicrafts and gifts. Traditional braziers roared away while we sipped glühwein against the backdrop of a light-laden Christmas tree.

As a bonus, the flurries on the outward journey

had turned into heavy falling flakes on the return, adding true romance to the sleigh-ride experience.

I’d joined a group that had set off from London City Airport early one Friday morning on BA’s reprised flight to Salzburg.

That meant, with the transfer to Leogang of just over an hour and a quick lunch, we were skiing on that same afternoon, dipping our toe into the Skicircus, which covers the ‘ski-area-with-the-longest name’ as the tourist board mantra goes – Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn.

Leogang has become a familiar destination for me in recent years. It’s a good location with an impressive selection of accommodation and has easy access to the ski area, with the 7.15am Friday morning departure adding to that.

Our introductory, find-our-feet, runs of the Friday afternoon set us up for a full day’s skiing on the Saturday, followed by relaxation in the expansive spa area of the Naturhotel Forsthofgut in Leogang, where I stayed. There was even time in the schedule for a few runs on the Sunday morning before heading back to the airport.

WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM 14 AUSTRIA
A witch’s hat is spellbinding Horse power and snow add to the romance of a sleigh ride

As part of the Ski Circus area, Leogang has access to the full range of runs from blues, reds and blacks to free-riding, with an ultra-modern lift system, gastro huts, tobogganing trails and wellness facilities within the local hotels. It also has snowparks, crosscountry skiing, snowshoeing and a natural ice rink.

The area – some 70km south-west of Salzburg – is so big that it strays over into the Tirol with Fieberbrunn, and there’s enough to keep even the most active of skiers happy for days. It covers 270km of piste, but with links into the area covered by the Ski Alpin Card (€368 for seven days, or €66 a day) it ultimately offers access to 408km of pistes, and with 121 lifts is one of Austria’s largest ski zones.

For those with more time, set a day aside for The Challenge, a seven-hour circuit within the Skicircus of 65km, 32 lifts, and a 12,400m altitude change.

What I like about the Skicircus are the mountain facilities – from large restaurants with Champagne menus through to the rustic huts where you can get a warming bowl of goulash soup and be on your way again.

The region has 60 cosy huts, some small and intimate, but all with a choice of cuisine that is alluring. For lunch, our group stopped by at Hendlfischerei for grilled chicken or fish with bread and salad. You can also enjoy the Champagne and oysters welcome for €21.50, if you feel inclined.

Despite the flown-in oysters, the wider Saalfelden-Leogang area has a fine reputation for food, much of it organically produced within a relatively close radius and served in restaurants, mountain huts and hotels.

For a memorable dining experience, Hut-Essen at Priesteregg delivers. You can cook your own meat on a heated iron ‘witch’s hat’ at the table and accompany your pork and beef with garlic bread, salad and jacket potatoes.

We also enjoyed dinner at the Forsthofgut, a magnificent hotel which manages to combine families and adult guests with ease.

In addition to breakfast, dinner, or an extensive tea (strudelTIME), all room rates include free

childcare, a nursery lift pass for children up to five years old, and free toboggan hire for use on the hotel’s toboggan run.

New visitors may be a little confused by all the area’s different names, such as the Skicircus of Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn, which covers three regions (Saalbach Hinterglemm, Saalfelden Leogang and Fieberbrunn), which then straddles the two states of Salzburgerland and Tirol.

So, keep it simple, think Skicircus and enjoy a huge ski area.

The early departure from London City Airport made this a convenient flying visit, and combined with the short transfer from Salzburg, you can be on the slopes before you know it.

If its weekend skiing you want, the Sunday return at present is into Gatwick, which does leave a little logistical tinkering on the transport front. But, of course, with such a vast and diverse ski area to explore, most guests will want to stay more than a couple of days.

TRAVEL FACTS

Flight: Mark Nicholls flew from London City Airport to Salzburg on British Airways CityFlyer BA8479, departing at 7.15am on a Friday. British Airways (www.ba.com) has launched twiceweekly flights from London City Airport to Salzburg Airport with prices from £59 one way in Euro Traveller (economy class) and £142 one way in Club Europe (business class). The service operates every Friday and Saturday until April 15. Accommodation: Naturhotel Forsthofgut offers double rooms from €550 per room per night based on two sharing ¾-board for five nights or more in March 2023 (i.e. €275 pp per night). Visit: www.forsthofgut.at/en or call +43 6583 8561 For more information: on Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn, visit: www.skicircus.saalbach.com and www.salzburgerLand.com

15 WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM AUSTRIA
Hotel Forsthofgut at night PHOTO: Skicircus/Lukas Pilz

Music to my ears

Have you ever shivered on a freezing chair lift swinging around in a blizzard, maybe wishing you had stayed in the bar with a warming glühwein? More often than not, the seats are also cold and uncomfortable.

You are spared this experience in the delightful Ski amadé area in Austria’s SalzburgerLand.

I was very impressed by the heated, plush, executive-style seats on the two new chairlifts in Alpendorf, where I was staying, but this was springtime, and with temperatures of 12°C and the sun shining down on me, I wondered whether it was time for them to switch off the heating, especially with energy bills soaring…

SalzburgerLand sits in mid-Austria at the shoulder of the arm that borders Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Alpendorf is a charming village at the eastern end of the Salzburger Sportwelt in the ‘JO’ ski area (St Johann in Salzburg).

Its lifts, along with the new Panorama Link between Flachau/Wagrain and Flacaswinkel/Keinarl, have helped to create Ski amadé, which makes up one of the biggest ski areas in Europe. It is now a network of 28 ski areas and towns offering 760km of ski runs.

Alpendorf is only an hour’s drive south from the airport in the stunning city of Salzburg. As the birthplace of the musician and composer Amadeus Mozart (Ski amadé is named after him), it is to be expected that there are references to the great man all over the neighbouring ski areas.

The new ‘Flying Mozart’ in Wagrain gets you up to the Grießenkar peak at 1,890m. Music is piped into the cable cars as you ‘fly’ up – shame it wasn’t a bit of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik or the famous and beautiful Queen of the Night aria from ‘The Magic Flute’. I think Ski amadé has missed a trick there!

All these excellent upgrades have enabled the area to produce a new challenge – the ’12 Peaks Trophy’. Each of the circa 2,000m Peaks has a photo station, and you follow the map to tick each one off with a picture. The 46km course includes 30 lifts and 21 pistes, four of which are black. These, however, can be avoided, making the circuit available to all.

I decided to take on the 12 Peaks challenge on the last day of my trip. I started early, hoping to make the most of the fantastic spring snow, but mother nature had other ideas and the rising temperature made the snow too slushy to complete the whole circuit.

I did, however, bag six peaks from Gernkogel to Grießenkar, and

it whetted the appetite to come back one day to conquer all 12.

As well as the 12 Peaks, there is also ‘The Challenge – ski your limit’ starting from the Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn area. Billed as one of the most demanding ski circuits in Europe, it includes 65km of slopes, 32 lifts and a 12,400 range of altitude. Strong skiers are expected to complete it in seven hours, excluding a lunch break.

Another experience just waiting to be tackled. Watch this space…

The innovation and use of technology in Ski

Challenge yourself on the 12 Peaks

WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM 16 AUSTRIA
Two new challenges for skiers and snowboarders are among the many reasons to visit Ski amadé and the Salzburger Sportwelt, says Hils Everitt
Salzburger Sportwelt provides great springtime skiing and snowboarding

amadé is impressive. Around €30 million has been spent upgrading the lift system, with improvements such as the digital sign at the entry of the ‘Flying Mozart’ lifts that informs skiers which cable cars still have spare places, so singles and doubles can jump aboard, which helps to prevent long queues.

During my trip I skied with Manfred Pümpel, a guide from Skischule Alpendorf. The man is hilarious and brilliant. A former downhill racer and freestyle skier who has made a big impression over the years, Manfred’s biggest compliment came from the Polish Ski Team, who said he was ‘the best instructor and the best skier’ they had come across!

The Skischule Alpendorf guiding team includes the equally marvellous Elfi Gruber. It’s worth seeking them out to guide you if you are staying in Alpendorf as they really will add to your experience on the slopes.

My stay in the village was also enhanced by The Oberforsthof 4* hotel, which even has its own lamas for après ski entertainment.

Mozart is, of course, famous for his music, but it is another famous name and modern-day hero from the world of skiing who is helping to promote Flachau, another resort in Ski amadé. The village is the home of the great Austrian racer Herman Maier, aka ‘The Herminator’. His name appears frequently, and he even talks to you in the ski lifts over the PA telling you about the area. The Maier family runs

AUSTRIA NEWS

KÜHTAI: A new 204-metre wind-and-weatherproof magic carpet, believed to be the longest in Austria, has replaced the previous baby lift in Kühtai, the country’s highest ski village at 2,020m above sea level. Its 45-minute transfer from Innsbruck Airport makes the ski area an ideal destination for those with young families or people looking for a short break location.

ST ANTON: The ‘New Orleans meets Snow’ festival takes place between 30 March and 2 April 2023, when Blues, Dixie, Funk and Soul music will be performed in various locations around St Anton. From 11am, guests can listen to performances in hotels and bars as well as at the Galzig, Gampen and Rendl.

TRAVEL FACTS

Hils Everitt visited St Johann in Salzburg, Austria, as a guest of the SalzburgerLand Tourist Office www.salzburgerLand.com and the St Johann in Salzburg Tourist office www.josalzburg.com

She stayed at the Hotel Oberforsthof: www.oberforsthof.at

Other activities:

Family Activities, for more details visit: www.josalzburg.com

Ladies week – 18-25 March 2023 – (open to all genders; buy one lift pass and the second is free of charge): www.skiamade.com

Via Culinaria Oberforsthof Alm and Hotel Oberforsthof feature on the meat eaters’ culinary pathway: www.salzburgerland.com

one of the ski schools and a Racing Academy, as well as Crazy Teens courses for teenagers.

Salzburger Sportwelt is a stunning area offering an abundance of beautiful pistes snaking through the trees. There are still masses of skiing and snowboarding opportunities in the springtime, but earlier in the season, when it’s colder, you can make

full use of those executive heated seats on the chairlifts. You may even bump into The Herminator! And if you want something more demanding, make sure you attempt the 12 Peak Trophy or ‘The Challenge’. I’m definitely going back to tick these ‘must-dos’ off my ski list and take advantage of that extensive off piste.

KITZBÜHEL : The Grand Tirolia, part of the homage luxury hotels collection, reopened its doors this season after an 18-month renovation period. The hotel offers Grand Alps Spa facilities complete with state-of-the-art fitness equipment, indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs and a range of saunas. Guests can choose from several restaurants and bars. A three-night minimum stay package starts from £960/€1,095 for two people (£480pp)

OBERGURGL: The Ötztal area is aiming to attract businesses and corporate bodies through its new Gurgl Carat, a convention and event centre which is architecturally modelled on a diamond and is designed to host all manner of events, from congresses, conferences and workshops to concerts and regional events. The Gurgl Carat is located in the centre of Obergurgl.

ISCHGL: Multi-instrumentalist Eros Ramazzotti (below) will be the star of Ischgl’s ‘Top of the Mountain Closing Concert’ on 30 April 2023. The concert starts at 1pm and admission is included in valid ski passes at a special rate. Ischgl’s Spring Blanc event will also be providing memorable moments on the slopes until the last day of the winter season with a colourful programme full of culinary delights and music. All information at www.ischgl.com

17 WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM AUSTRIA
Make friends with the lamas at the Hotel Oberforsthof Ski amadé, which makes up one of the biggest ski areas in Europe PHOTO: St Johann

…and on that farm he had some cows…

Colin Nicholson discovers why you can’t ski in one of Austria’s biggest areas beyond Easter

It had been way below freezing even in the valley, but we had glorious Austrian sunshine to warm us up – as well as a 69km to 84km tour. We were in SkiWelt, an area so big it has marked out clockwise and anti-clockwise circuits that allow you to visit all nine of its villages.

My partner and I had made it to après-hotspot Söll and Scheffau and were heading slowly to Ellmau and Going. Slowly, because to us many

of the blue pistes seemed more like reds. So we christened them purple. And when we tried to reach the furthest village of this tree-lined area, with its lovely views of the Wilder Kaiser mountains, it became clear we might miss lunch at the revolving restaurant above Hopfgarten. It was a case of Going, Going… gone!

But there was another thing missing. Where were the Brits? When we were there in the first week of the school Christmas holidays, nearly all of the 83 lifts and 250kmor-so of linked pistes were open. But there was scarcely a British skier to be seen. They may be missing a trick because, with a number of late season deals, SkiWelt is a great area for the school holidays.

Just don’t go after Easter, because that’s when the piste machines clear away the snow.

Yes, you read that right. The resort has a spoken agreement with

farmers that after Easter Monday it will help turn pistes back to pastures for cows to graze on.

I had been vaguely aware of the cows as we skied down to Westendorf at the other end of the area on what was definitely a crimson piste. There I smelt the cows happily chewing away on fresh hay in barns.

But as spring approaches the cows and their owners get itchy feet. And what the farmers say goes here, because almost all of the pistes – rather than being owned by the forestry commission or national parks – are on land rented from farmers.

Generally, the farmers are happy with this set up. Many run the 80-plus restaurants in SkiWelt, giving them a chance to serve their own produce, while others drive piste bashers or work as lift attendants during the winter.

One is Gerhard Margreiter. As well as being a lift attendant at the Choralmbahn, he is also Chairman of the largest mountain pasture cooperative in the area. I asked him: “Why spoil the fun and why not let us ski after Easter?”

“In April the grass is much fresher,” he told me unapologetically, “and that’s best for the overall health of the cows, as well as the milk, cheese, butter and beef we produce.

“If you spread out the snow it melts a lot faster, and that’s especially important with artificial snow, as it lasts longer and is a lot harder.”

SkiWelt has won several awards for

WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM 18 AUSTRIA
Colin Nicholson with Gerhard Margreiter (left) in front of his farm, which is next to the Choralmbahn lift he operates during the winter

environmental sustainability, including in its snowmaking. It pioneered the measuring of snow depth with GPS systems mounted on groomers, so they don’t make snow unnecessarily.

As a result, even without snowfall, 120km of pistes can be readied for skiing within three days. Unlike at higher altitudes, where it may take a metre of snow to cover protruding rocks and where the snow is more likely to blow away, here it might take just 20cm to create a piste over a meadow.

Even rain is no bad thing, as it creates an icy base for the piste. So, when the weather did turn warm in early January, the vast majority of the pistes remained open – despite SkiWelt’s relatively low altitude – while higher parts of the Alps were left struggling.

Gerhard says approvingly: “With the GPS system it’s a lot better – not too much snow, not too little.”

SkiWelt is big, but should you want even more slopes, the area has introduced a joint lift pass with Kitzbühel, although the areas are not linked… yet. If they are, this would be a contender for the world’s biggest ski resort.

Farmers initially opposed a new lift from the bottom of SkiWelt’s KiWest gondola up Kitzbühel’s Pengelstein mountain. This, some locals say, was because they were weren’t guaranteed a restaurant there. So, for the time being, you have a four-minute bus ride from KiWest to the Pengelsteinbahn gondola to get to the resort where

Dave Ryding won Britain’s first World Cup skiing gold medal in 2022.

Kitzbühel is less compact than SkiWelt, though on a nice day it has more impressive views. And there is now a marked 88km ‘KitzSkiWelt’ circuit covering 17,000 vertical metres that you can follow between the two. As with the SkiWelt tours, you don’t need to take the same lift twice, but a word of warning to anyone attempting such circuits in full. Not only should you forget about lunch, but if the lift attendant says it’s one minute past four, he will send you walking back up the mountain to find a way down – at least that’s what happened to us at the Filzboden lift.

Gerhard restored my faith in lifties. However, even he had a tough message for those of us wanting to ski to the bitter end: “The season already lasts from midDecember to mid-April. Four months! That should be enough for anyone.”

TRAVEL FACTS

Colin travelled as a guest of SkiWelt (www.skiwelt.at), which can be reached from Innsbruck airport as well as Salzburg and Munich, with train and bus connections at www.oebb.at, and taxi transfers at tirol-taxi. at. Rail travel to Austria is possible with the Eurostar and NightJet sleeper changing at Brussels, Cologne and Kufstein.

From 18 March to 10 April, an adult six-day ski pass costs €280.50 at the time of writing, and any number of under-15s (born 2007 or later) go free if travelling with a parent who skis for at least three days. An adult day pass to include the greater KitzSki area costs €62. For more on Austria, see: www.austria.info

19 WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM ECO-FRIENDLY
SkiWelt pioneered measuring snow depths with GPS systems mounted on groomers, so they don’t make any more snow than necessary PHOTO: Skiwelt/Simon Beizae PHOTO: SkiWelt/Wilderkaiser-Brixental

Fast track to the ‘Top of Europe’

Visitors to Grindelwald can now get high above the Jungfrau ski area in record time thanks to a futuristic new lift system. Lisa Young went for a ride…

In January 1891, an Englishman named Gerald Fox was the first person to introduce skis to Grindelwald (although they were not the first skis seen in Switzerland).

Fox brought his skis from Norway, where he had learnt how to use them. The story goes that he put his skis on in his Grindelwald hotel room and skied out of the lobby entrance and on to the snow using a single long pole.

Grindelwald is now a famous Swiss ski resort nestled under the towering north face of the Eiger, Mönch and the Jungfrau mountains, but there have been a few changes since Gerald Fox set off on his skis.

The resort has been busy over the last few years transforming itself into a £396 million state-of-theart year-round mountain destination.

Grindelwald’s V-Cableway project took 10 years to plan and two years to construct, and the result is a global phenomenon.

20 SWITZERLAND WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM
A view from the top!
The lift-connected ski areas of Wengen and Grindelwald cover 160km of pistes

The V-Cableway has high-speed gondolas whizzing up and down the mountainside and it’s here you can access the new Eiger Express and Grindelwald-Männlichen gondola cableway.

Within the ski resort are two ski areas: Grindelwald-Wengen, served by the new Eiger Express V-Cableway and terminal building; and Grindelwald-First, with a gondola direct from the village. The combined lift-connected ski areas of Wengen and Grindelwald cover 160km of pistes, with lifts reaching up to an altitude of 2,500m.

The new 26-seater, tri-cable, Eiger Express is already considered one of the world’s most advanced lifts. It took me only 15 minutes to get from the terminal building to Eigergletscher station at the top of the resort, where stunning groomed runs criss-cross the famous Jungfrau ski area.

I skied down from Eigergletscher to the terminal building, which has a drop of 1,300m in altitude, and then hopped on to the Eiger Express and was back at the top of Eigergletscher within 15 minutes… no long queues.

The 10-person aerial gondola to Männlichen also starts at the V-Cableway and terminal building and takes 18 minutes to reach the top of the lift. It used to take 35 minutes to get there!

The ultra-modern terminal building is the epicentre and acts as a mothership from where everything arrives or departs, including trains, buses, cable cars, gondolas, skiers, boarders, pedestrians, and pets. It’s all part of reducing the number of vehicles coming into town.

The brilliantly planned terminal building houses a multitude of shops, bars, bistros, a vast car park with lots of EV charging docks, an Intersport shop for all things ski related and ski rental, ski lockers, and a supermarket. Not forgetting an essential Swiss chocolate shop and Swiss watch shop!

The terminal also generates enough renewable energy to heat parts of the town via a central transformer.

The Grindelwald Platinum Lounge can be found in the terminal building, where members can enjoy a glass of Champagne and then board the exclusive VIP gondola of the Eiger Express and travel in style to the top of the resort.

It costs CHF12,000 per person for a yearly membership, and that includes parking and EV charging, ski lockers with a concierge service, ski passes, lounge access any time (full breakfast for example), all drinks, (soft and alcohol), après ski, and access to a seven-seater VIP gondola that you can book for a specific time.

Every January, World Cup racers come to Grindelwald to race in front of crowds of up to 30,000 people as they hurtle along the Lauberhorn World Cup downhill course, one of the most demanding on the race circuit.

I skied sections of Wengen’s infamous Lauberhorn, but no one paid attention to my efforts – though it was fun to fantasise being in the race, if only for a few seconds.

The Grindelwald ski area is home to Europe’s highest railway station, the Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe at 3,454m. The journey from the terminal to Jungfraujoch (3,454m above sea level) takes just 45 minutes, and that includes the cogwheel train journey that carries passengers on a kaleidoscopic journey through the tunnel. The spectacular journey is 9km long, seven of which pass through the tunnel.

At the top you are treated to spectacular views on to the Aletsch glacier, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the longest glacier in the Alps. There’s 365 days of guaranteed snow and ice up there. From the viewing platform, the views on to the glacier are mind-blowing. Lunch at the Crystal restaurant is recommended, not only for the views, but the food is exceptionally good.

I wonder what Gerald Fox would make of the resort today? Back then it would have taken him 15 minutes to go just a few feet compared to the new 15-minute ride to reach the top of the resort.

TRAVEL FACTS

Lisa Young stayed at the 4* Sunstar Hotel, opposite the First gondola station. The Sunstar is in a convenient location within a short walk to the town centre and has impressive facilities. The spa includes a large indoor pool and sauna. There’s a bus stop opposite the hotel with buses going to and from the terminal building and ski lifts. Rates from £1,775 per person for seven nights half-board, including flights and airport transfers with Inghams (based on double occupancy). www.inghams.co.uk.

Ski Pass Prices 2022/2023: Adult from 20 years old, 6 days (CHF38) £330; Children aged 6-15, 6 days (CHF183) £156; Young people aged 16-19 (CHF247) £210; Seniors from 62 years (CHF347) £296; Adult day pass: (CHF75) £64

Ski/Board rentals: www.rentnetwork.ch SWISS fly from London City, London Heathrow, Gatwick (seasonal), Manchester, Birmingham, and Edinburgh Airports to Zurich Airport. Prices start from £105 one way.

Trains from Zurich Airport to Grindelwald can be booked through Swiss Railways: www.swissrailways.com Prices from CHF38.80 one way (2nd class, advance fare).

For more on Jungfrau Railways/Jungfrau Ski Region T: +41 33 828 72 33

Email: info@jungfrau.ch

www.jungfrau.ch

21 SWITZERLAND
WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM
The Eiger Express is considered one of the world’s most advanced lifts PHOTOS: Lisa Young

Aim for the stars

Lisa Young took a break from skiing in Crans Montana to enjoy the town’s annual Etoile Bella Lui Festival

Combined, Crans and Montana – two iconic neighbouring mountain towns located high above Switzerland’s Upper Rhone Valley at 1,500 metres – create one of the largest winter sports destinations in the Swiss canton of Valais.

The resort is built on a high plateau and is surrounded by four of the Alpine Four-Thousanders, which are the magnificent mountains that tower to 4,000m and higher – Mont Blanc (4,808.73m), Weisshorn (4,540m), Matterhorn (4,478m) and Dent Blanche (4,357m).

The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) compiled a list of the 82 official Alpine Four-Thousanders, and 48 of these iconic peaks are in Switzerland!

I was in Crans-Montana to ski the deep early season snow – my first trip since the Covid-19 pandemic started. The trip coincided with the Etoile Bella Lui Festival, a Christmas festival set in the grounds of the Jack Nicklaus golf course in Crans, with light installations depicting legendary local stories and characters.

I was in luck. The pistes were covered in fresh, deep, unploughed snow. It was up to my thighs in places. I was grinning from ear to ear because I was free to ski again after being in lockdown for so long.

Lunch was at the on-piste Chetzeron Hotel, and to get there I took the gondola to Cry d’Er and then skied a short distance to the hotel – a spectacularly chic and modern piece of revised eco-friendly architecture (it was once a lift station) housing 16 elegantly designed guest rooms with oak-lined interiors and a slick restaurant and lounge area worthy of a Bond film cameo.

This place is all about the views and there are four large terraces to enjoy them from, plus every window boasts stunning mountain vistas.

All the restaurant’s ingredients are sourced from the Valais region. Their wine list is exceptional, and they use the ‘Coravin’ system of wine pouring, which allows guests to try just a glass of exceptional wine without pulling the cork and drinking the whole bottle.

The evening was crisp and clear and brought with it below-freezing temperatures and a chance to walk the snow-covered streets of Montana, where cheerful crowds were gathering for the town’s Etoile Bella Lui Festival. Its lantern path, which highlights

the story of The Shepherd and the Bella Lui Star, was all set up.

The streets of Crans are lined with exquisitely designed shops oozing expensive, luxury goods. There are art galleries, exclusive watch shops, international designer clothes boutiques, youth-maintaining cosmetics shops, and just about every other kind of top-end brand enticing onlookers with their window displays. Some people were stopping to dream, while others were checking the opening hours for their next shopping spree!

The 2km-long lantern-lit winter wonderland path wound its way between Lake Etang Long and Lake

22 SWITZERLAND WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM
A spectacular Ferris wheel lights up the night sky PHOTO: Lisa Young

Moubra through snow-covered woods on the Jack Nicklaus golf course.

Creative lighting installations every few feet depicted the shepherd and star story, which has been handed down from generation to generation over the decades, inspiring young and old alike.

It is said that one night in December, on the mountainside above Crans-Montana, a shepherd who had nothing except his animals and the nighttime stars for company set out to look for a lost ewe called Blanche.

After hours of struggling and braving the snow, the freezing wind and the dark night, he was dazzled

SWITZERLAND

TRAVEL FACTS

Useful websites:

Crans-Montana: www.crans-montana.ch/en

Bella Lui festival: www.etoilebellalui.ch

Hotel Olympic: www.hotelolympic.ch

Swiss Ski School Crans-Montana: www.esscrans-montana.ch/en

ALAIA Chalet Action sports centre: www.alaia.ch

Ski rental: Stöckli Swiss Ski Crans-Montana from Swissrent Barzettes

SWISS International Airlines: www.swiss.com (for bookings, travel information and SWISS products & services)

Recommended restaurants:

Le Mayen: www.mayen.ch

Cry d’Er restaurant: www.cryder.ch/en

Zero Dix: www.zerodix.ch/fr

Chef’s table at the Bella Lui Festival: www.etoilebellalui.ch

Hotel Chetzeron: www.chetzeron.ch

Mosaic: www.en.mosaic2016.ch

SWISS TRAVEL SYSTEM:

Experience Switzerland by train, bus and boat using a Swiss Travel Pass, which also includes: Rides on premium panoramic trains; the use of public transport in more than 90 towns and cities; a 50% price reduction on most mountain excursions; and free admission to more than 500 museums.

by a bright light. A strange fairy figure (Bella Lui, the star he confided in every morning) had been looking out for him when he was lost and led him to his ewe, Blanche. Today, locals believe that stars are watching over them and so they celebrate the stars by lighting lanterns.

The rest of the festival takes place in the heart of Crans, with a huge Ferris wheel at its centre. Tickets can be purchased to enter the village, where guests can sample some of the delicious food and wine created by some of Crans-Montana’s top chefs and vintners. Other local brews are also sold, as well as mulled wine, fresh ciders, hot chocolate and other warming drinks.

I enjoyed a few chilly rotations on the Ferris wheel. From the top I was treated to twinkling night views across Crans-Montana.

I stayed at the three-star Hotel Olympic in Montana, located very close to the outdoor Ycoor Ice Centre (offering skating, curling and ice hockey).

The hotel is well-known for Le Mayen, a restaurant that serves large portions of classic Swiss mountain food such as rösti and fondue, and which has a large selection of exceptional wine from the region.

Their Amadeus Bar is a popular, lively and reasonably priced après-ski venue. It’s especially convenient if you stay at Hotel Olympic, as there’s no need to pay for a taxi or traipse through snow late at night to reach your bed.

The hotel is within walking distance of the lifts, which carry skiers and boarders to the resort’s 140kms of ski area.

The following day I explored the Alaïa Chalet action sports centre, where fearless kids demonstrated their skateboarding tricks in the state-of-the-art indoor park. People of all levels (and ages) can go there to practise their skills on skis, snowboards, BMXs, skateboards and rollerblades. Huge trampolines and giant airbags provide a soft landing for perfecting somersaults and jumps. And there are summer and winter camps for youngsters from the age of 10 and up.

Crans-Montana is known for drawing in the A-list après-ski crowd, but there is something for everyone and for all budgets.

In my book, it certainly wins the top prize for the most stunning scenery in the Alps!

Specially designed lamps are a feature of the festival

23
PHOTO: Lisa Young
WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM
PHOTO: Robert Stewart

Springtime in Sunshine Valley

Rob Rees found great skiing and snowboarding combined with excellent cuisine, all at affordable prices, when he visited the Brenta Dolomites

Over the years I’ve been to all four corners of the towering Northern Dolomites – S ëlva Val Gardena, Cortina, Latemar, Val di Fassa, Alleghe. But for the true cognoscenti, there’s an equally delightful yet much more Italian version –the Brenta Dolomites – further to the south-west towards Lake Garda in Trentino. These peaks are centred around Val di Sole and the charming resort of Madonna di Campiglio.

The Brenta Dolomites summits, such as Tosa, Brenta, Peller, Sasso Rosso and Spinale, encompass rustic mountain charm and à la carte fine dining. Madonna di Campiglio represents some of the best anywhere in the Alps, but you can access the grandeur more affordably by staying in Val di Sole.

This ‘Sunshine Valley’ is linked by four modern cable cars, two from Folgarida, one from Daolasa, and one from Marilleva.

Val di Sole is perfect for pre-Easter skiing. Stay at the Rifugio Chalet Fiat, located near the top station of the Spinale gondola lift, and through its picture windows you can view the awe-inspiring Brenta Dolomites.

Rifugio Boch is another gem worth pre-booking.

Located at the middle station of the Grostè gondola lift at 2,000m, it has a lively, youthful atmosphere and a beautiful terrace with huge fur rugs if you want to enjoy a late lunch outside, or a very early Campari or Aperol aperitivo.

Also on the same area lift pass you have the resorts of Pejo and Passo Tonale. So there is absolutely no chance you’ll get bored in a week with a total of 300km of skiing served by more than 100 modern lifts.

Getting to ‘Sunshine Valley’ is straightforward. Best take the train or fly directly to Verona, the main airport to the south of Trentino. Then it’s just a two-and-ahalf-hour drive, mostly by motorway, all the way to Commezzadura, right into the heart of Val di Sole.

I stayed at Sasso Rosso, a simple family-run 3* hotel with great Italian breakfasts and proper homespun Italian three-course dinners half-board. There’s a hotel ski bus on tap or you can walk the 500m to the lift station.

Passo Tonale, Pejo and Monte Bondone, next to the regional capital Trento – which is also worth a visit – offer additional ski adventures.

But the jewel in the crown is undoubtedly

Madonna di Campiglio. It has a chic, well-heeled, predominantly Italian clientele. The early evening aperitivo atmosphere is upbeat and vibrant in the relaxed, traffic-free centre.

Madonna has hosted multiple World Cup slalom races and was one of the 15 original resorts to host a World Cup race in the competition’s first season back in 1967. You can ski on the 3-Tré race piste yourself, but classy Madonna also offers mainly wellgroomed skiing, fun cruising terrain and tree-skiing.

Quirky Pejo, back up Val di Sole towards Passo Tonale, offers an additional 20km of skiing, with a lung-busting 5km descent down from 3,000m to the gondola base. A perfect ‘day hill’ where you’re pretty much guaranteed empty pistes.

The Brenta Dolomites offer classic skiing for those who prefer endless long cruisers through the trees.

There’s so much to explore between the different sectors of the adjoining linked ski areas. At the end of the season, you can ski and snowboard hard until the afternoon and then relax over a meal of delicious gourmet food. It’s millionaire’s skiing on a pauper’s budget.

* For more information, go to: www.trentino.com

So many ways to wind down in Livigno

Skiers and snowboarders are well catered for in Livigno as it offers them 115km of slopes, including 12 blacks, 37 reds and 29 blues.

These are all served by an efficient lift system of six gondolas, 12 ski lifts and 14 chair lifts. And for those who want to get the most from their day it’s possible to be on the slopes as early as 7am.

However, the resort has so much more to offer.

For example, you can go snow shoeing on marked trails without the need of a guide, during which you will discover breathtaking views.

If you prefer a more relaxed approach to the end of your day, visit the wellness centre where you’ll find saunas, hot tubs and other ways to wind down while children can enjoy themselves in the slide and fun area.

Alternatively, take a digital dip in the ocean with a VR snorkelling experience at Aquagranda.

To finish the day, dining at a high-altitude mountain hut is always a special experience, and these can be reached by snowmobile or snowcat in the evening.

* For more information, visit: www.livigno.eu

24 ITALY
WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM
SkiAndorraHolidays.com LivignoSkiHolidays.com www.LivignoSkiHolidays.com Call: 0808 1782 628 www.SkiAndorraHolidays.com Call: 0808 238 7542 PAS DE LA CASA ARINSAL SOLDEU EL TARTER ACCOMMODATION • AIRPORT TRANSFERS LIFT PASSES • SKI HIRE • SKI SCHOOLS • • • LIVIGNO (ITALY) Discount code SKIBOARD22 Discount code SKIBOARD22 PRICES FROM 395€ PER PERSON HALF TERM SPECIALS BOOK ANDORRA

Fjord Focus

Rob Rees goes on an offbeat ski safari to the mystical Artic Circle of northern Norway

Despite being the birthplace of modern skiing, Scandinavia is often overlooked as a destination for skiers and snowboarders looking for Alpine terrain – but the Norwegian regions around Bergen, Lofoten and Narvik are making big infrastructure investments and offering a broad range of winter activities for all standards of winter holidaymaker.

Norway’s countrywide passion for snowsports makes it a good all-round winter holiday destination until well into April. With a ski heritage that dates back more than 4,000 years, they’ve won more gold medals in the Winter Olympics than any other nation.

Generally uncrowded and unintimidating, the slopes are ideal for beginners and intermediates, while the fjords, fjells, dalen and frozen lakes create the most magical of backdrops.

My week-long adventure took in Myrkdalen, Voss and Narvik, way up inside the Arctic Circle.

Myrkdalen, the largest ski resort in the fjord region, opened in 2003 after a businessman spotted

that this quiet valley was situated on a geological and meteorological ley line, piling up an average of 5.2m of snow every winter.

The 375-bed, 4* Myrkdalen hotel opened in 2013 and has elevated the resort beyond the friendly Bergen weekender crowd whose wood-fired cabins line the mountainside from the village.

While 80% of the pistes are aimed at novices and intermediates, beyond them is limitless back country, with cliffs, couloirs and well-spaced trees.

It is snow-sure from December to May. On the most heaven-sent April day, my companion and I did not queue once and had all 22 runs, which are served by nine modern fast lifts, to ourselves.

Voss bills itself as the largest ski resort in western Norway and an extreme sports capital based on the many summer X-Games it has hosted. Voss Resort has 11 lifts and 24 slopes, including an international giant slalom run and a super-G run.

Go straight to the slopes from the station if you have just arrived from Bergen on one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. You jump straight

26 NORWAY WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM
Narvik by night, as seen from the quirky Camp 291 self-catering accommodation Myrkdalen is the largest ski resort in the fjord region of Norway

into the gondola from the platform and scale Mount Hanguren in under nine minutes.

If you’re staying at the chic Scandic Voss hotel, stumble out of bed for the ultimate ski-in ski-out. That’s assuming you’ve not overindulged in the wine cellar across the road at the Park Hotel Vossevangen the night before!

The wine cellar and the 335-page wine list have won multiple awards. There are 43,000 bottles and over 5,600 different labels.

However, for me Narvik is the ‘must visit’ resort of northern Norway. It is surrounded by majestic mountains and deep fjords and looks out towards the legendary Lofoten Islands.

Narvik, one of the northernmost towns in the entire world, sits 135 miles inside the Arctic Circle. Ski days are long, with 18 hours of daylight in late April. Snow conditions can be variable as it takes a few hours to soften, so go earlier in the season if you want dreamy powder. Otherwise, lunch well and ski later into the afternoon in April.

It should be on every skier and snowboarder’s bucket list. If you time your visit correctly, from October to March, you’ll even witness the Northern Lights. It’s perfect for off-piste adventures with the one of the largest vertical drops in Scandinavia.

Although not a large ski area, the unique location of Narvikfjellet is coupled with a modern Porschedesigned cabin gondola, 20km of pistes and a skiable vertical of over 800m. Endless freeride can be accessed by the iconic TV tower and – a short walk further up the mountain – from the summit of 1,272m Tredjetoppen.

We stayed at the quirky new Camp 291 Narvik – nine self-catering luxury shipping container-type cabins overlooking the port. The cabins are set on a hill right by the Narvikfjellet ski runs. They are glass on three of four walls with a huge window in the ceiling of the master bedroom. You feel like you’re sleeping under the stars.

Narvik was a hugely significant and strategic port in World War II. It was established in the early 1900s as an all-year, ice-free harbour for iron ore from the mines in Kiruna and Swedish Lapland because the eastern Gulf of Bothnia froze over. Some 20 million tonnes of iron ore are still transported by train from these mines today.

The Battle of Narvik in April 1940 was more fierce that Pearl Harbour with more ships destroyed – 62 ships in the first 62 days. The battle is all superbly

illustrated in the town’s excellent War Museum. Before you fly back south to Oslo, make time to visit the Polar Park in Bardu, on the edge of Rohkunborri National Park. In 2008 they began socialising wolves with human contact. Before the newborn wolves even open their eyes, the staff nurse them. They are still fundamentally wild but they trust the handlers. The wolves live in a 30,000-square-metre protected enclosure.

A lodge, accessed via a concealed tunnel, allows you to enter the enclosure without disturbing the wolves.

Surrounded by the wolves, you can sit and commune with them, all overseen by the trusted handlers. There are lynx, brown bears, wolverines and snow foxes if the wolves simply won’t play ball.

One question that kept nagging me all week is why are half of the houses in Norway painted red? The colour the owners chose depended mostly on the family’s financial situation, geographic location and their profession.

The red was the cheapest to produce, created by mixing ochre with cod liver oil or other vegetable oils or animal oils. It predominates in the poorer farming lands or coastal fishing regions.

White was the most luxurious colour, requiring rarer expensive mineral zinc to manufacture. If you painted the house white, you were showing neighbours that you were wealthy. Nothing like keeping up with the Johanssons, eh?

Norway is a premium ski destination that you should visit at least once in your life. The locals are genuinely welcoming and the skiing and landscapes will stay in your memory for a long time.

String together a few resorts in a week, either with a road trip or by train, and make time for some unforgettable trips such as the Arctic train into Sweden’s Lapland.

There is something for everyone.

For more resort information, go to: www.norwayhomeofskiing.com

To plan your own Norwegian train or road trip, Ski Safari specialises in tailor-made itineraries: www.skisafari.com

T: 01273 257278

27 NORWAY
WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM
Skiers and snowboarders visiting Narvik can enjoy fantastic views of the historic port Voss bills itself as the biggest ski resort in western Norway

Ski Club members go back in time for centenary celebrations in Mürren

As part of a series of events to celebrate the centenary of The Ladies’ Ski Club, members and guests were invited to take part in a fun costumed slalom race in Mürren, Switzerland. The race was held on 23 January 2023, the 100th anniversary, to the day, of the founding of the club.

The slalom race was a light-hearted way to celebrate the club’s centenary. The course was set up in the main meeting area of the resort and timings were kept the old-fashioned way by waving a flag each time a racer left the starting gate. Over the course of an hour or so, 26 club members made their way down the course, some taking it slowly, others going for the win. Countries represented included the UK, Switzerland, Norway, USA and Canada.

Although the race was for fun, there was one unbreakable rule. To take part in the race all entrants had to be dressed in 1920s outfits to commemorate the club’s 100 years as well as the original founders and members.

The winner, Emma Hinde, was presented with a bottle of Champagne, and there was a special prize medal awarded for best dressed competitor.

After the race, participants and visitors gathered at the Bellevue Hotel outside bar, and then in the evening a celebratory reception was held in the lobby of the Alpin Palace Hotel, which was built in 1872.

During her speech, The Ladies’ Ski club President, Ingrid Christophersen, gave a brief history of the club along with its goals and what it stands for. Rachel Arkin, the Director of the

History of The Ladies’ Ski Club

The Ladies’ Ski Club claims to be the oldest women’s alpine ski club in the world, founded in Mürren on 23 January 1923 by the leading female ski racers of the time. It was headed by Mabel Lunn, assisted by her husband, Albert Lunn, the alpine skiing pioneer. Today the club has around 300 members.

The goal of the club is: “To encourage and support British female snowsports competitors and build fellowship among

women who just love to ski.”

The club continues to thrive, and honours its considerable legacy to competitive snowsports by raising funds to support elite British female athletes each year. All of the UK’s current top female racers, including our para athletes and many of the top freestyle athletes, are members of The Ladies’ Ski Club.

If you are interested in joining the club, more details can be found at: www.ladiesskiclub.org

Mürren Tourist Office, also spoke, thanking the club for the support it gives to the town.

The following day a brunch was held in the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant located at the very top of the Schilthorn, at 2,970m.

The building is also famous for being used as villain Blofeld’s lair in the 1969 James Bond film  On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Screens are placed around the restaurant showing clips from the movie.

From the restaurant and viewing platform there is a stunning 360° vista stretching for miles. It’s the best place to get a view of the three local mountains – the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

To finish off the centenary celebrations in Mürren, a drinks and dinner event was held in the Hotel Eiger.

Ladies’
28 RACING WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM
Emma Hinde on her way to posting a winning time through the old-style slalom flags Some LSC members dressed in old-style ski outfits

Flaine hosts British Schoolgirls Races

Two competitors battle it out during the races

The British Schoolgirls’ Races (30-31 Jan 2023) returned to Flaine after a three-year absence for its 62nd event.

The competition, organised by The Ladies’ Ski Club, attracted 143 girls from 26 schools, who competed over two days in excellent conditions in front of a large crowd of spectators, including teachers, parents and coaches. There was a guest appearance by former British Racer and Olympian Chemmy Alcott, too.

There were four new schools taking part –Portsmouth Grammar School, St Albans High School, Stafford Grammar School and Epsom College, with many other schools making a return.

The number of experienced competitors was matched by those who were attending to learn new skills, build confidence, and enjoy being part of a fun and inclusive event.

Day one saw racers tackle a Giant Slalom. The overall winner of the GS was Emily Turner from Wellington College, with Amelia Pietrzak from New Hall School in second place and Matilde Nola from Aiglon College in third position.

The Best School was Wellington College, with

Racing Briefs

HISTORY MAKER: British snowboarder Mia Brookes, aged 16, made history in Bakuriani, Georgia, when she became Britain’s youngest ever Freestyle World Champion in Freestyle Snowboard Slopestyle.

Aiglon College in second place and New Hall School in third. The Best New Team was Stafford Grammar.

Following the conclusion of the GS, the Team Parallel Slalom was staged. After the opening rounds, the final saw Wellington College and Surbiton High School compete.

With the first two skiers (out of three) from both teams crossing the line within centimetres of each other, it was the final skier from Surbiton High School who crossed the line first to secure victory.

On day two, the Slalom saw many of the schoolgirls taking part for the first time. After two runs it was Emily Turner from Wellington College who again was the fastest skier on the course, taking overall victory from Scarlett Winter from Reeds School, who finished in second place, and Amelia Pietrzak from New Hall School in third.

The best school was Wellington College. New Hall School took second place and Aiglon College came third.

Anne Taylor, organiser of the races, said: “We couldn’t have asked for better conditions for this year’s British Schoolgirls’ Races. The piste was in perfect condition and the sun was shining. We want to thank all the schools and parents for again making the event what it is, and also to our partners and volunteers for helping everything run smoothly.

“This is my last year heading up the event, and it has been a pleasure to see so many girls enjoy themselves and flourish over the years.”

The British Schoolgirls’ Races was supported by Powderhound, Nimrod Capital, Beyond-X, Rock & Ruddle, Ski Bartlett and Erna Low. * Full overall results and age group results can be found at: www.britishschoolgirlsraces.co.uk

She also made more history, when during one of her runs, she landed the first CAB 1440 double grab in a women’s snowboarding competition. The incredible move scored her 91.38, which was good enough to win her the World Championship title.

WORLD CUP: A year to the day from his victory at the Kitzbühel Slalom World Cup, British racer Dave Ryding was back on the podium after a blistering second run performance saw him rise from 16th to second place.

MATTHIAS MAYER: Austrian ski racer Matthias Mayer announced his retirement, with immediate effect, before he was due to race in a Super G at Bormio to the huge surprise of everyone. He had even drawn his bib number, ‘6’, but then did not race.

X GAMES: Members of the British Freeski and Freestyle Snowboard teams returned from the 2023 X Games in Aspen, Colorado, with three medals. Kirsty Muir took bronze in Big Air and Slopestyle, while Zoe Atkin won gold in Superpipe.

MIKAELA SHIFFRIN: Team Oakley athlete Mikaela Shiffrin (pictured above) now holds the title of Most Female World Cup wins of all time with 83 medals after winning the Giant Slalom at Kronplatz’s Ski World Cup in January.

PARA ALPINE: British success at the Para Alpine World Championships in Espot, Spain, saw Neil Simpson and Rob Poth return home with gold, silver and bronze medals, while Menna Fitzpatrick and Katie Guest added silver and bronze to their own medal tally. Medals came in Super-G, Slalom and Giant Slalom.

EYOF: Team GB Snowboarder Charlie Lane won slopestyle gold at the Friuli Venezia Giulia 2023 Winter European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF). This made him Team GB’s first double medallist at a Winter EYOF in 24 years, after he landed silver in the big air.

* For more details on these race stories and other racing news, go to the Racing section on the Skier & Snowboarder magazine website at: www.skierandsnowboarder.com

29 RACING WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM
Parallel Slalom winners, Surbiton High School

EUROPE NEWS

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA:

Iglu Ski is now offering ski trips to the 1984 Winter Olympics venue of the Dinaric Alps, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia appeals mostly to beginners and intermediate skiers, with lots of blue runs, speedy lifts, and everything in close proximity.

RUKA :

The terrain in Ruka, Finland, is expanding with four new runs served by Finland’s first eight-person high-speed chairlift, the Masto Express. The lift will also be the fastest in Finland and will replace two existing drag lifts. The four new slopes will improve connections to the slopes of Vuosseli and Kelo. In addition, another run named Snow Valley (Tykkylaakso in Finnish) is planned for the area.

ISCHGL:

Further to our Austria News item on page 17, G eorge Ezra will be performing at the Top of the Mountain Spring Concert in Ischgl. This opens the Spring Blanc event series, which brings a colourful programme full of culinary delights. Ezra will make his Ischgl debut at the open-air concert on 30 March 2023, which starts at 1pm at the Idalp at 2,320m.

ZILLERTAL:

Austria’s Zillertal Arena ski region has announced that anyone who hits the slopes in traditional Tyrolean dress in the final week of the season can get a four-day lift pass for the price of a three-day pass. To qualify, skiers and snowboarders need to wear either traditional lederhosen or a dirndl dress during the week from 10 April.

VERBIER:

Foodies have even more choice in the Swiss resort following the opening of two new restaurants. The hotel W Verbier will be home to the U-YAMA sushi bar, open Tuesday to Saturday from 7pm to 11pm, and W Kitchen will become Bo!, open every day from 7pm to 11pm. Eat-Hola has returned with a revamped Spanish-inspired tapas menu and new design – again open from 7pm to 11pm.

NEXT SEASON:

This season may still be going strong, but several ski and snowboard holiday specialists have already started promoting early season offers for 2023/24. To see the latest, go to the Holiday Offers section on the Skier & Snowboarder website at: www.skierandsnowboarder.com

WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM 30 HOLIDAY NEWS
Knowledgeable accommodation experts on Verbier and Elsewhere 01502 471960 Let us help you find your ski holiday www.mountainbeds.com Solo Skiers Call 0289 446 2211 Friendshiptravel.com FT280 Skier & Snowboarder image_FNL.qxp_Layo dada2350 PR Pure ad 88x110 Sept22 FINAL OLAW.indd 1
WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM KEEP UP TO DATE
MORE DETAILS ON THESE STORIES AND OTHER HOLIDAY NEWS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE SKIER & SNOWBOARDER WEBSITE, ALONG WITH UPDATES ON SPECIAL OFFERS FOR THIS SEASON AT:

AMERICA NEWS

VAIL:

As part of its 60th anniversary celebrations, Vail Mountain has teamed up with photographer Gray Malin to launch another series of images inspired by the Vail lifestyle in the 1960s. The Gray Malin in Vail series captures six decades of experiences and alpine lifestyle in Vail Mountain’s anniversary season.

TELLURIDE:

A new replacement Chair 9, The Plunge Express, has opened which takes skiers and snowboarders up to the start of runs near Giuseppe’s Restaurant at 3,623m. The new Doppelmayr lift is a high-speed detachable quad and the journey time of under seven minutes is about half that of the former chair.

STEAMBOAT:

In its 60th anniversary year, the Colorado resort is undergoing a $200m renovation which will see modernisation on the mountain and in the resort’s base area. The new Wild Blue Gondola has become the longest gondola in North America and the fastest 10-person gondola in the USA.

CANADA NEWS

REVELSTOKE:

Skiers and snowboarders are invited to celebrate the end of the season on 16 April 2023 during one last après session in the Rockford Plaza with the DJ/ production duo SkiiTour. The event, which starts at 4pm, is free and the BC resort is encouraging people to wear their fanciest retro ski attire.

WHISTLER:

With an increasing number of people returning to the slopes after Covid, more skiers and snowboarders are taking advantage of the new Creekside Gondola in Whistler, BC, which was completed at the end of last year. The original gondola was installed in 1966 and it has now been replaced by high-speed 10-person cabins.

LAKE LOUISE:

New features have been added to the four snow parks in Alberta’s Lake Louise this season. Between them they now have 51 features, including jumps, boxes and rails. The parks are Triple Bridge (intermediate to advanced), Elbow (beginner to intermediate), Boulevard (advanced to expert), and Boulevard Large Line (expert).

WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM 31
CHALET HOLIDAYS IN LA TANIA BOOK NOW self catered chalets with hot tubs, all ensuite and next to the piste Contact us: +33631129981 info@ski-dazzle.com www.ski-dazzle.com 01875 320157 www.skihame.co.uk For fantastic catered chalet holidays in La Tania and Meribel Every resort in the French alps, We bring it. Breakfast. Dinner. Craft Beer. Fine Wines. We bring it. No cooking or supermarkets, because We bring it. So you have more ski time, to er, Bring it! www.hu.ski deliver We deliver You Ski, You Ski, SKIER & SNOWBOARDER GUIDE
PHOTO: Orélie B/Avoriaz Tourisme

Shop talk

Ski and snowboard specialist retailers were given a preview into the products on offer to skiers and snowboarders for the 23/24 season at the annual Slide and Outdoor Trade Show (OTS), organised by the Snowsports Industries of Great Britain (SIGB) in Telford during January. Overall visitor attendance was up 12.3% this year, which reflected increased interest in the show from traditional snowsports buyers and new representatives from the outdoor sector.

The show featured hardware, fashion, all the latest gizmos and equipment. Plus, visitors were invited to judge which products impressed them with awards announced during the SIGB AGM. The awards were spread across six different categories, including an ‘Eco Award’ for brands that showed particular environmentally friendly credentials. The Eco Award was judged by Protect Our Winters UK (POW UK) – protectourwinters.uk More information: www.slideotswinter.co.uk

The Snowsport Hardware Category Award went to the Lange – Shadow 130 MV GW boot. This is the industry’s first power-assisted ski boot, giving assisted performance and suspension – two technologies working together using a suspension blade and dual pivot. There’s no shell distortion, no blocking, consistent flex, greater rebound, assisted power drive and leverage, superior snow contact, more effective vibration dampening, lighter weight, and a better fit.

In the Software Category, judges were impressed by the Rab Mythic G Jacket and its ‘next level’ warmth for minimum weight, its 1000FP RDS down filling and the visible heat reflective TILT lining.

Osprey Europe’s Soelden 32 backpack took the Outdoor Hardware Category. The packs, now constructed from bluesign ® approved fabrics, are equipped with snowspecific features, including a snow-shedding contoured foam back panel, ski and snowshoe carry options, back panel access, and an avalanche safety kit pocket.

* Look for a local ski and snowboard store in your area in the Skier & Snowboarder guide in the magazine and on the Skier & Snowboarder website

www.skierandsnowboarder.com

The Eco Award went to Rossignol for its Essential Recyclable Ski. The ski is produced using a ‘simple philosophy’ and the fewest possible materials. The graphic design process uses no solvents or water, and the ski is produced using renewable energy.

The Accessories Category was won by Superfeet’s Winter Comfort Insoles. These are billed to ‘deliver responsive support that keeps its shape through every turn’. They feature medial and lateral support, which translates to a secure fit and feel on both sides of the foot. Comfort foam with a thermal top cover is designed to provide long-lasting warmth, cushioning and support.

Aphex’s STYX customised ski goggle package took the winner’s award in the Fresh Brand Category. Described as ‘an eco-friendly package’, it includes a choice of frame, lens and strap. The designers have gone for longevity, so individual parts can be replaced. As with all Aphex goggles, 65% of flexible plastic is bio-based; 100% of its hard plastic is recycled; and 100% of the strap fabric is made of recycled bottles.

WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM 32
SALES & SERVICES

CUMBRIA

HAMPSHIRE

LANCASHIRE

LINCOLNSHIRE

Anything Technical Ltd

Sand Aire House, New Road, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4AY

Tel: 01539 734701

Email: info@skiequipmentuk.co.uk

Web: www.skiequipmentuk.co.uk

Ski boot fitting and ski/board servicing experts. Ski boot spare parts specialists. Technician training courses.

ESSEX

Skee Tex

The Old Mill, Battlebridge, Essex, SS11 8TR

Tel: 01268 768282

Email: info@skee-tex.co.uk

Web: www.skee-tex.co.uk

Specialist snowsports shop, established over 70 years.

Experienced boot fitters, full service workshop. Main dealers for Dahu, Salomon, Rossignol, Head, Armada, Picture, Hestra, Scott, Olang to name a few.

Snowtogs 429/431 Millbrook Road, Southampton, SO15 0HX Tel: 02380 773925

Email: info@snowtogs.co.uk

Web: www.skishops.co.uk

Snow Togs Southampton. One of the oldest family run ski shops in the country.. established in 1969. Well known for our custom ski boot fi@ng with boots from the worlds best brands. We have a full ski workshop on site providing servicing and binding fi@ng. We also stock a massive range of helmets and goggles and loads of other essenBal accessories. NEW for 2021.. we now have an onsite booking system for custom boot fi@ng appointments. Please see our website www.skishops.co.uk

Snow Togs Southampton. One of the oldest family run ski shops in the country.. established in 1969. Well known for our custom ski boot fitting with boots from the worlds best brands. We have a full ski workshop on site providing servicing and binding fitting. We also stock a massive range of helmets and goggles and loads of other essential accessories. NEW for 2021.. we now have an onsite booking system for custom boot fitting appointments. Please see our website for more details.

KENT

Captains Cabin

Sevenoaks

113/115 St Johns Hill, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 3PE Tel: 01732 464463

Email: sales@theski-shop.co.uk

Web: www.theski-shop.co.uk

Fantastic choice of ski clothing and equipment. All major brands stocked. Professional boot fitting service, hire and workshop repair.

Rivington Alpine

The Old Methodist Church Market Street, Adlington, Chorley, Lancashire, PR7 4HE Tel: 01257 483999

Email: sales@rivingtonalpine.co.uk

Web: www.rivingtonalpine.co.uk

Specialist ski boot fitting, modification and footbed manufacture. All major brands stocked and all levels of skier welcome. Free parking outside. Call for an appointment.

LEICESTERSHIRE

Love & Piste

Alberts Barn, 33 Costock Rd, East Leake, Loughborough, LE12 6LY Tel: 01509 853944

Email: sales@loveandpiste.co.uk Web: www.loveandpiste.co.uk

Independent Local Skiwear

Specialist for 20 years `catering for the whole family; clothing, helmets, goggles, sunglasses & luggage. Brands inc; BUFF, CMP, Coolcasc, CRAFT, FIVE Seasons, Hestra, Killtec, Manbi, Oakley, Protest, Reusch, Rossignol, Salice, Snokart, Steiner, Uvex, Weedo. Shop online or in our East Leake store where we have an inhouse Coffee Shop and large free parking area. Follow us on Instagram @ loveandpisteand Facebook.

SKEE-TEX

Tallington Lakes

Pro Shop

Barholm Road, Tallington, Stamford, Lincolnshire, PE9 4RJ

Tel: 01778 347000

Email: sales@tallingtonlakesproshop.com

Web: www.tallingtonlakesproshop.com

Est 1975. An independent ski and snowboard retailer, with years of experience, including custom ski boot fitting service. Large selection of quality clothing and hardware from quality brands. On-site dry ski slope and equipment servicing workshop. Free delivery with online orders over £100.

LONDON Finches Emporium

25-27 Perry Vale, Forest Hill, London, SE23 2NE Tel: 0208 699 6768 Web: www.finchesemporium.com

Finches Emporium is a family run business established since 1947. Our main departments are ski, snowboard, cycle and skateboard with everything you might need for your sport as well as experienced workshops in each discipline.

LONDON Profeet Ski Boot Lab

867-869 Fulham Road, London, SW6 5HP Tel: 020 7736 0046

Email: info@profeet.co.uk

Web: www.profeet.co.uk/skiing

Profeet are ski boot specialists – extensive selection for all foot shapes and skiing abilities. The latest, alpine, freeride and touring models. By appointment custom fitting with custom ski insoles, custom liners and boot heaters. Comprehensive comfort guarantee.

SUFFOLK

SCOTLAND

Banks of Perth

29 St John Street, Perth, PH1 5SH

Tel: 01738 624928

Email: enquiries@banksofperth.co.uk

Web: www.banksofperth.co.uk

Large range of equipment plus junior and adult ski clothing. Specialists in boot fitting and custom insoles.

WORCESTERSHIRE

Active Snowsports

Suffolk Ski Centre, Bourne Hill, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP2 8NQ

Tel: 01473 487 474

Email: info@activesnowsports.com

Web: www.activesnowsports.com

Custom boot fitting, service and repair, skis, snowboards, boots,clothing and much more.

OOSC Clothing

Whittington Hall, Whittington Lane, Whittington, Worcestershire, WR5 2ZX

Email: hello@oosc-clothing.com

Web: w ww.oosc-clothing.com

OOSC bring fun and colour back to the mountains, in an eco-friendly, sustainable way. Epic designs fused with recycled and technical fabrics provide a contemporary alternative ski and snowboard attire.

33 ON THE WEB WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM DIRECTORY 33
WWW.SKEE-TEX.CO.UK EST 1952
Expert Boot Fitting Service & Full Workshop. Battlesbridge Essex SS11 8TR 01268 768282

Calls for Hillend upgrades to be shelved

A multi-million-pound upgrade for Hillend ski slope, part of the Midlothian Snowsports Centre (formerly the Hillend Ski Centre) near Edinburgh, should be shelved amid the current financial crisis, says a local council member.

Councillor Peter Smaill, Conservative group leader at Midlothian Council, said it was the wrong

time to be making the investment, which he said now stood at £33 million.

Initially, the council agreed £13.8 million in capital funding for the ambitious ‘Destination Hillend’, which would see the redevelopment of the ski centre, home to the longest dry ski slope in the UK and second longest dry slope in Europe.

It included a promise to create the highest zip wire in the UK and create an activity dome, hotel accommodation, a glamping site for wigwams, plus shopping and food retail areas.

Despite rising costs, the council announced plans to go ahead with the new junction, access road and car park that are key to the development following the December meeting. A planning application for the new centre will be lodged this spring.

Scottish ski centre closure fears

Polmonthill dry ski slope near Falkirk in Scotland is under threat of closure as the local council says it can no longer afford to run it.

Used by around 300 people per week, the centre has a 100m main slope and a small nursery slope.

More than 2,000 people have already signed a petition against the proposed closure, with many warning it would mean skiing and snowboarding would become unaffordable for local people.

This is the latest in a long list of dry ski slopes in Britian to be faced with closure. Scotland’s only indoor snow centre, Snow Factor at Braehead near Glasgow, closed in the autumn, the Bracknell ski centre has gone, but two other threatened slopes, Exeter and Gosling Sports Park in Welwyn Garden City, appear to have been reprieved for now.

Sheffield suffers another setback

Plans to reopen Sheffield Ski Village have suffered a further setback. Once Europe’s largest dry ski centre, it was damaged by arson attacks in 2012. Sheffield City Council had been in discussion with developer Extreme Leisure, which planned a £25 million ski resort, since 2017, but eventually the plans came to nothing.

New proposals by a New Zealand-based company to create a world-first ‘Gravity Park’ with sledging and zip wires have now also been dropped, with the company reportedly opting for a location in Swansea instead.

Future plans

Loch Insh Outdoor Centre in the Cairngorm National Park, Scotland, is appealing for help to raise £55,000 to replace its ageing artificial slope. See the full story on the Skier & Snowboarder website

* For more UK Slope & Club News, go to the special section on the Skier & Snowboarder magazine website at: www.skierandsnowboarder.com

34 UK SLOPE & CLUB NEWS WWW.SKIERANDSNOWBOARDER.COM GLENSHEE SKICENTRE CAIRNWELL,BRAEMAR, ABERDEENSHIRE AB35 5XU 22 Lifts& Runstosuitall levelsofskiersandboarders andcaféopendur gsummerJune/September
01339741320 (dial1forsnowreport)Fax: 01339741665 E-mail: info@ski-glenshee.co.uk Website:www.ski-glenshee.co.uk FACILITIES INCLUDE: equipment Hire, Snowsports School, Shop & 3 Mountain Cafés. Opening times are 8.30am - 5pm (7 days a week during season) Chairlift and café open during summer June/September 36 Glenshee Ski Centre
TelNo:
Members of the Glenshee ski patrol were recently among those being honoured worldwide during an International Ski Patrol Day. The background to the first anniversary of this event and the work carried out by the ski patrol are explained in a special feature on the Skier & Snowboarder magazine website. Visit www.skierandsnowboarder.com – where you will find the article on the UK Slope & Club page.

SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

National Snow Week is a week celebrating everything the UK snowsports scene has to offer. Kicking off with the third edition of The National Snow Show at the NEC, Birmingham on 14-15th Oct 2023, the week will play host to mini events across the country for brands, associations, resorts and destinations and will culminate in our newly launched London Snow Show at the ExCeL on 21-22nd October.

FEATURES & CONTENT:

Snow Stage

Snow Skills Cabin

Après Pavilion

Alpine Bar

BOX OFFICE OPEN SOON

Indoor Slope

Snowboard

Rodeo

Brand Village

Millie Knight Eve Muirhead
More to be announced
Chemmy Alcott Scott Penman
Scan the QR code and sign up to the newsletter for the latest updates:

MORZINE MOMENTS

WWW.MORZINE-AVORIAZ.COM
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.