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Sochi r o F d a e H Team GB fo Insider In tes a d p U t r Reso ide u G d o o F Local

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winter 13/1

Issue 2

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Welcome to the second edition of the Cool Bus magazine! Its bigger and better than last year with more features and essential information to help you get the most out of your holiday. Feel free to take a copy with you. This summer saw us getting up at all sorts of adventures. Amongst other things we’ve biked the length of Britain, competed in gruelling ultra marathons and enjoyed epic multi day mountain bike trips across the Alps. Now attention turns to winter and as I type its snowing in Bourg with nearly a foot sitting on the ground outside. Not bad for mid-November! The media is full of talk about the coming winter being the coldest and snowiest in decades. We hope this rings true but if it could just snow in the evenings and not on transfer days that would be much appreciated! What’s new in Cool Bus land? Well the fleet remains the same size this season but we have splashed out on new headquarters in Bourg St. Maurice! With an office, garage, accommodation for a dozen drivers and parking for a dozen vans it pretty much has everything we need plus it’s right on the main road through Bourg. Look out for it if your passing through - its just opposite the football stadium. We have 20 returning drivers plus 15 experienced new recruits. Between them they can boast 150 winter seasons driving experience! We are also very pleased to welcome Sara to the team as our new airport rep. Here’s hoping you have an awesome holiday with tons of snow and some great memories to take back home. I know we say this every year but we think this is going to be the best season ever!


If you have any comments or feedback please e-mail us at: Remember that you can book your airport transfers all year round on our website:

What’s New?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Resort developments not to be missed

Better Never Stops. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Team GB’s brightest Sochi hopefuls

Ten Sochi Facts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 The most expensive games in history

Ask A Local . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Local tips and recommendations from Cool Bus

Eat Like A Savoyarde . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Cheese, cheese and more cheese Unmissable Events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Live music, street parties and competitions

Ortovox Zoom+. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 The supermodel of avalanche transceivers

Get Out Of The Tent! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Antarctic Adventurer Felicity Aston

ECSUS Eco Homes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Where your grand design starts

Sweet Protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

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The Brits. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

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Many thanks to the Office de Tourisme in Bourg St Maurice, Tignes, Val d’Isere, La Plagne & Les Arcs

Party like a champion in Tignes

High Definition It Yourself. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 POV action cameras compared

Ski with Olympian Ed Drake. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Top tips for new skiers

The Cool Bus is published by Origami Media Ltd on behalf of Cool Bus. Any correspondence and advertising enquiries should be directed to or visit All paper used in the printing of this magazine is obtained from sustained forestry. Please recycle this magazine when you are finished with it, or pass it on! Copyright - Origami Media Ltd - All material in this magazine is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved by Origami Media Ltd. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission of the publishers. While every effort is made to ensure all prices and data are correct at the time of publication, Cool Bus cannot be held responsible for editorial errors. Design and reprographics by Cuttin Edge Solutions Ltd /

The Retro Revolution. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Why we’re all wearing fluro

End to End Revisited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Over £10k raised for Cancer Research Cool Bus Loves. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 And you should to! Front cover image ©Andy Parant | Printed in the United Kingdom by The Magazine Printing Company ltd. 3

What’s new in... It’s ski in, ski out all the way with four resorts rolled into one

Paradiski Gravity A world first, this event celebrates high altitude slack-lining, or ‘highline’ as it’s also known. The slack line itself will be hung between two cable cars on the Vanoise Express, a stomach churning 380m above the ground. The world’s best high-liners Julien Millot and Tancrede Melet will negotiate their way along the rope. Let’s hope the amazing views don’t distract them! 10th Birthday Celebrations On 20th December 2003, skiers and snowboarders embarked for the first time on the Vanoise Express, the world’s biggest cable car. It’s opening marked the new link between La Plagne and Les Arcs, and the birth of the 425km Paradiski ski area. To celebrate, haute-couture designer Jean-Charles De Castelbajac has wrapped the Vanoise Express in a unique design for this winter. IMAGE CREDIT – Sebastien Boudot

Family Wellness at Arc 1950 The 1000m2 Deep Nature spa in Arc 1950 has created a new ‘family wellness’ package for this winter season, giving parents the opportunity to experience spa treatments while children are entertained in the swimming pool area.

One of the most fun resorts in the Alps! Shopping at 3000m When Catherine Bouvier’s husband Michel decided to refurbish his restaurant, Le Panoramic at the top of the Grande Motte Glacier at 3032m, she wasn’t content with picking out the interior designs and styling the finishing touches. Instead she built a shop selling unique decorative home furnishings, animal skins and traditional crafts. She even provides a shopping bag that works like a backpack so you can ski on with your purchases! The Toviere Cable Car After 27 years of loyal service, the Aeroski cable car connecting Tignes and Val d’Isere is no more. The Toviere Cable, on the site of the old lift, has replaced it and massive care and attention has been paid to its design and integration into the landscape. You’ll find sleek glass panels in the arrival station, which make the most of the stunning views from the top. DVA Training Zone Set up to encourage the use of avalanche transceivers in Tignes’ acres and acres of backcountry, the DVA Training Zone is free to use and includes eight permanently buried beacons. Members of the Tignes ski patrol demonstrate how to recover the beacons using your transceivers and encourage folk to learn and practice avalanche survival skills. IMAGE CREDIT – Andy Parant

Go Microlighting New for this winter, Tignes Air Experience is offering soaring flights above the peaks and pistes in their propeller powered microlights. Available for all ages, a 15 minute flight costs €70, or €90 with an accompanying video of your flight. Contact Tignes Air Experience for more information.

The glitz and glamour of chic skiing with raucous apres parties. Driving On Ice Drivers, choose your vehicle. Would you prefer to take the latest BMW, a go-kart or a piste basher for a 20-minute spin on the ice? At Val d’Isere Ice Driving the new circuit gives drivers the sensation of driving on ice, while private lessons, short courses and initiations with professional drivers are also available. You’ll find an ice-driving simulator, a cocktail bar and a Mongolian Yurt on the site too. Well-Being Zone If you consider a good massage to be a staple part of your Val d’Isere winter holiday, check out the new Pure Altitude treatments at the Aqua Leisure Complex. The fitness area has also been extended, there’s a yoga and aerobics room and two new jacuzzis. Aqua-biking and weekly kids sessions with a soft play area and a bouncy castle are also available. 4

Children’s Snow Garden The ESF have established a brand new kids snow garden from scratch at the heart of Val d’Isere’s beginner ski area. There’s also an authentic mountain hut right in the middle for snack time! A New Apres-Ski Perhaps conscious that not everyone heads straight to a bar for a round of Jager immediately after the lifts close, the resort has developed a host of new ways to speed down the slopes once the lifts have closed. Each week the Savonette nursery slope in the centre of the resort will be floodlit, giving you the chance to try yooner, airboard or snakeliss. A round of Jager might be required after!

As purpose built ski resorts go, none come as varied or accessible as La Plagne

IMAGE CREDIT – Philippe Royer

The Black Sheep Igloo Experience At one of the largest igloo villages in France, Black Sheep offer a unique overnight experience including fireside pre-dinner drinks, a delicious fondue and wines made by their Grandmother. There’s an ice sculpture gallery and several bedrooms, in which you can stay overnight. Dinner in the igloo, including transport is €49 per person, an overnight stay including dinner is €99. Visit www.blacksheep-igloo. com for more information. A New Toboggan Run Longer, and easier to get to than the existing Colorado Park toboggan run in Plagne Centre, this new run on the Arpette is only open in the evening for floodlit nighttime sledging. It goes from the top of the Arpette chairlift and finishes 2.9km and 500 vertical metres later, just above Plagne-Bellecote. AquaFusion New for this winter at the Espace Paradisio aqua centre in Montchavin les Cochies and also at Plagne-Bellecote’s outdoor pool, AquaFusion is a series of underwater exercises involving aqua bikes, water weights and trampolines to improve muscle tone. Sessions last 45 minutes. Refurbishment at Plagne Centre Galleries The three-year, €9 million renovation project at the 3440 metre square shopping gallery in Plagne Centre is now complete, creating a new shopping gallery and links to the rest of the resort centre. La Plagne Access App A free smartphone app is now available to La Plagne holidaymakers. Thirty days before your arrival, the resort sends you text messages to help you prepare your arrival and offers useful advice on transport and directions. Once you’re in resort the app helps you geo-locate your accommodation, the Office de Tourisme, lift pass office and ski schools. Very handy indeed! 5

#better never stops

The glory and pride of London 2012 have yet to fade, and here we are in another Olympic season. For those of you who enjoy your competitive sports, winter pursuits and a bit of patriotism thrown in for good measure, the Sochi ’14 Winter Olympics are an opportunity to get behind Team GB once again. We caught up with six of Team GB’s brightest Sochi hopefuls during their pre-season training.


Emily Sarsfield

Ski Cross

Often considered the ultimate downhill race, ski cross gives Emily the biggest adrenaline rush. She was selected to ski for England at the age of 13, then swapped alpine skiing for ski cross in 2005. She hasn’t looked back since. “I’m an ambassador for the ‘Slide to Sochi’ campaign, which includes the ‘Go Ski Go Board’ initiative. It’s important that we use these winter games to inspire a new generation of winter sports athletes. For just £5 you can visit your local dry ski or indoor snow slope in the UK, which removes the financial barriers of learning to ski or snowboard.

I’ve been on the world cup circuit since 2006 and I’ve seen some amazing places and met some incredible people. I’m based in Meribel during the European winters, and although I do consider my skiing career to be my ‘job’, I’m very lucky to have the mountains as my office. Ski cross is a really popular spectator sport as it’s really easy to understand. Basically, four skiers line up, then race each other over a course that includes jumps, banked turns, rollers… anything can happen and more often than not, there’ll be thrills and spills all the way to the finish line. My preparations for Sochi have gone really well, getting back on snow after loads of gym training felt really good. I’ve never felt so strong and my focus is to stay this way to advance in the world rankings. My aim is to be in the top 16 when we reach Sochi, then it’s anyone’s game.” Follow Emily’s progress on Twitter @ EmSkiCross


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Jon Eley


Jon is a two time Olympian, a European gold medalist and a world record holder. The GB Short Track skating team heading to Sochi is stronger than ever, and Jon is one of our best Olympic hopefuls. “Speed skating is a very high energy sport. We’re racing head to head at huge speeds on a really narrow track and I have to stay on my toes, quite literally, to avoid falling. There can sometimes be a few falls and this adds to the excitement.

The Short Track skating team heading to Sochi 14 is the strongest I’ve ever been in. We’re hoping to create a legacy and encourage young people to take up the sport, and obviously we’d like to bring back quite a few medals too!”

My summer training programme started in April, much earlier than usual, giving me just one month off after last season. I’m training hard, we’ve taken a few trips to a training camp in Dresden, Germany as a team, and at the moment, everything is going to plan. I was part of the short track team at the Turin games in 2006 and in Vancouver in 2010, and I think my Olympic experiences have made a difference in the qualifying stages. During qualifying athletes are under so much pressure. Having been there twice before, I was able to hold my nerve and use my experience to encourage the rest of the team. Short Track skating is an Olympic sport not to be missed. Races are unpredictable and often come right down to the last corner. Everything can change in the last seconds of a race and things get pretty exciting!

Follow the GB Short Track team on Twitter - @GB_ShortTrack

Image copyright Martin Holtom


Jenny Jones Slopestyle

Jamie Nicholls Slopestyle

Miss Jones is undoubtedly our most experienced female snowboarder, and at the age of 33, she’s showing no signs of slowing down. With a bag of skills that’s bursting and a wicked personality to boot, you can expect to see a lot more of Jenny Jones even once the Games are said and done.

You could’ve predicted Jamie’s astounding success on a snowboard back when he was nine years old. In fact, many did. Now aged 20, Jamie is widely regarded as one of our best Olympic hopefuls and one of Yorkshire’s best exports. He’s also one of the nicest blokes in professional snowboarding.

“I’m just back from training on the glacier in Austria and I spent September in New Zealand, so the winter prep is going well. There are still loads of things I want to work on and I’m looking to make some big improvements to my riding before the Games arrive.

“I had an ACL injury at the end of last winter, which set me back a bit. I’ve been training really hard all summer and I’m right back on it now. I’m trying to think about the season as a whole, rather than just the Olympics. That said, I’m planning something pretty special for my Olympic run so I’m practicing all the time! And yes, of course it’s a secret!

Yes, there’s some controversy surrounding the Sochi Olympics but these things really don’t have an impact on me as an athlete. I focus on my snowboarding and that’s it.

I’m pretty gutted that there’ll be no European Winter X Games in Tignes this winter season. The comp was always an amazing place for British riders to showcase their talent and I’m hoping that I’ll get an invite to the Aspen X Games instead.

I’ve experienced loads and achieved loads in my career as a professional snowboarder, so I don’t really feel the pressure or the weight of any expectation from the Games. I’m looking at Sochi as my bonus round and I’m lucky to be fit and well to go.

My Olympic goal is to make the top 10, and if I get my dream run in, then I want to be in the top three. Consistency is key in my sport and I’ve got loads of tricks to learn between now and Sochi. I need to be nailing them over and over again before the Games to be in with a chance.

There’s some serious competition in the women's slopestyle discipline right now. Watch out for American Jamie Anderson, and also Spencer O’Brien – she’s really consistent. I’ve also spotted a girl called Kirsty Prior – you probably won’t have heard of her, but she’s likely to blast through the rankings this winter.

It’s going to be an incredible experience to be out in Russia, I really hope that the whole of the UK tunes in to get behind the team!”

Morzine has a special place in my heart, I really love the vibe in the resort. I spend a lot of time there, especially in Dotty’s Coffee! I also love the baby park, hiking a box with a load of seasonaires, or freeriding around the area. Look out for me this winter!”

Follow Jamie’s Sochi adventure on Twitter - @jamienichollsuk

Image copyright Vernon Deck

Follow Jenny on Twitter @jennyjonesnow


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Ellie Koyander

Freestyle Mogul Skier

Twenty-two year old Ellie doesn’t remember learning to ski, but her parents think she was probably around 1 year, 9 months old. Aged five she won her first medal after competing in a slalom competition and she’s been racing ever since. “I’ve already had a taste of the Olympic experience. I was the youngest female member of Team GB at the Vancouver games in 2010. I became the GB mogul skiing champion when I was 15 years old and I’m feeling really positive about my chances in Sochi. My pre-season training has gone brilliantly, I’ve been in the US and in OZ, working specifically on my speed. Mogul skiing is pretty explosive on the body so my training regime is varied but intense. Mogul skiing isn’t a funded discipline, so I work hard to raise enough money to remain a full time athlete. I’ve got loads of great sponsors who make my training and competing schedule possible, but I’m always on the look out for more! I’m hoping that Sochi 14 will help all winter athletes to raise the profile of their sport. I’m going to Sochi to win a gold medal. It’s pointless thinking any other way. I’ll have a lot of competition from the Americans and the Canadians, who I’ve been training with over the last few months.

Moguls intimidate lots of people; my advice would be to do a couple at a time, building up from the bottom of a slope. Stay relaxed, not defensive and you’ll be flowing through them in no time. Just go for it!”

Follow Ellie’s progress on Twitter @elliekoyander

Gregor Ewan

Wheelchair Curler The sport of curling can become quite addictive – you’ve been warned! We chatted to Gregor Ewan about how he got into the sport and why you should tune in to watch the GB Paralympic Curling Team on their mission for medals. “When I found out I’d made the curling team to head to Sochi I was really happy. I’d only been curling for 1 ½ years when I went through the qualifying stages for the 2010 games, and I didn’t have enough experience back then. It made me much more determined! In the down season I train for 25 hours a week, but this changes to over 30 hours including lots of gym work in advance

of the new season starting. It’s hard work but it’s rewarding and when I stop enjoying it, I’ll stop doing it. The Team GB Paralympic Curling Team has an excellent chance of returning from Sochi with a medal. We were unbeaten at the Denmark International this year and we’re all much better curlers as a result. I use a bog standard NHS wheelchair when I compete on the ice – it has no modifications whatsoever, which often surprises people. Curling is a very tactical sport so if you’re into your strategy games like chess, you will get hooked.”

Follow ParalympicsGB on Twitter - @ParalympicsGB 10

Mike Hay

Chef de Mission Team GB in Sochi will be made up of over 55 athletes in addition to 80 support staff and one man holds the whole thing together. Mike Hay is a former international curler and in his role as Chef de Mission, it’s his job to make sure Team GB deliver their best possible performance at the Games. “In the run up to the Games I’ve lead the planning and organisation of the team and I’m the primary point of contact for the organising committee. I’ve built up the support team to include physios, doctors and other experts to support our winter athletes.

Compared to the summer games, it’s more difficult to make predictions on Team GB’s success in Sochi. We’ll be focusing on keeping the athletes that have podium potential fit and healthy, especially in the field of the more extreme sports. We've got real medal chances in maybe four or five disciplines, I’ll be making sure that the pressure and distractions of the Games don’t hinder our potential.”

A number of previous roles have prepared me for the job of Chef de Mission in Sochi. I’ve been a coach and performance director, and head of sport engagement for the BOA (British Olympic Association), so I’ve been to all the major games. I have a calming influence, which should come in useful seeing as 50% of our athletes will have their first Olympic experience in Sochi.

10 Things you need to know about 1.

The Games take place between 7th and 23rd February, while the Paralympic Winter Games start on 7th March until 16th March, 2014.


There are two ‘zones’ for the games in Sochi – one on the coast of the Black Sea, and the other 50km away in the high Caucasus Mountains.


Sochi will be the warmest city ever to host the Winter Olympics. Temperatures on the Black Sea coast are expected to be about 10°C at the time of the games.


Athletes will compete for 98 sets of medals in 15 different winter sports disciplines, an increase from the 86 medal sets up for grabs at Vancouver 2010.


The gold medals presented in seven winter Olympic disciplines on 15th February 2014 will include fragments of the meteor that struck the Russian town of Chelyabinsk exactly one year ago to the day.


Sochi has built 11 new sports venues, a new international airport terminal, new local power plants, roads, bridges, railway lines and tunnels. They’re considered the most expensive games in history, costing $50 billion to stage. By comparison, Canada spent less than $2 billion on the Vancouver games and London 2012 cost $19 billion.


The Sochi Olympic torch will travel by cars, planes, horses and reindeer sledges for 123 days over more than 40,000km with 90% of Russia’s population getting a chance to see the torch.


Three animal athletes and two fairy children are the official mascots of the Sochi Olympic and Paralympic games.


Sochi 14 isn’t without controversy, mainly of a political nature. The Russian government’s stance on homosexuality has called for the Games to be boycotted by gay rights activists, while Russia’s human rights history has also raised questions over its suitability to host the Olympic movement.

10. The cheapest tickets for the opening ceremony are £116, while the most expensive are £967. The cheapest tickets for events are either £10 for the biathlon, ski jumping and snowboarding events for example, or £20 for ice hockey, figure skating, short track skating and curling competitions.

Sochi is 2 hours ahead of France, and 3 hours ahead of GMT, which means popular events such as short track speed skating usually start at around 12noon (French time), alpine skiing at 9am and freestyle skiing and snowboarding events are staggered throughout the 11 day.

Who, what, when, where, why… Between them, the Cool Bus team have a combined total of 150 winter seasons living and working in the Tarentaise. You can read all the guide books, websites and blogs you like, but there’s no better source of local recommendations than your friendly Cool Bus driver.

For a tasty breakfast… The Petit Danois in Val d’Isere is a popular haunt. They do a full English for €12.50, a half English, a veggie English and bacon and eggs on toast too. It’s the perfect hangover cure and it’s sure to set you up for the day! To beat the half term lift queues… Make for Ste.Foy or La Rosiere. These two characterful resorts aren’t exactly off the beaten track, but the holiday hoards seem to collect in the more popular spots. We recommend exploring the whole area and if you’re feeling flush, Heli Skiing is undoubtedly the best way to beat the queues. One resort activity you must try is… Speed riding, though it’s not for the faint hearted! Over at their school in Les Arcs Arnaud and Jerome teach good skiers to fly under a speed riding wing or canopy (like a mini parachute) in a controlled learning zone that’s free of obstacles, strong winds and other skiers! Visit for more details or give Arnaud a call on +33 (0) 6 19 51 39 34. It’s the ultimate buzz if you’re into your adrenalin sports! The one unmissable area event each winter is… The Brits! That is, now that the European Winter X Games in Tignes are no more. We’re not sure if this is a one year break because of the Olympics, or something more, but we’re lucky to host the best showcase of up and coming British ski and snowboard talent, alongside a pretty excellent musical accompaniment in Tignes this winter. See page 23 for more details. The cheapest pints I’ve found are at… BKM in Arc 1800 during happy hour. There’s nothing better than kicking back on their outdoor sofas after a hard day on the hill. They regularly have live DJs during après sessions and later into the evening too.

If you’re in a big group and you want to try something different… Get the lads at Retro Rentals to kit you out in a gloriously colourful stylish onesie for the most conspicuous day you’ve ever had on the piste. They were responsible for the Made in Chelsea retro ski day in Verbier last year (as seen on TV, they’ll kill us for sharing that with you…) and what’s good enough for the posh folk is good enough for us! Check out www. for more information and to book online. For a fancy restaurant dinner… Head to Restaurant Clin d’Oeil in Tignes Le Lac, but be prepared and book in advance! It’s difficult to find a restaurant experience that beats this anywhere in the Alps – it’s an intimate restaurant that feels more like Paris than Tignes and the food is incredible! The most forgotten item of kit is usually… Gloves. We can’t tell you how many people jump into our vans, full of preholiday excitement, then realise their trusty ski gloves are still at home. We like to think it’s a sign. They may be trusty but they’re probably old and you should definitely replace them from Tip Top snowboard shop in Bourg St Maurice. For takeaway food with a difference head to… Tignes Cuisine for awesome dishes from India, Thailand, China and Malaysia – it really is a taste of the far east and we’ve not found a better curry anywhere in the Alps. They also offer free delivery to anywhere in Tignes too! The weirdest thing you’ll find in the local supermarket is… Marc de Savoir. It’s a clear, 40%+ spirit that apparently IS for human consumption but we wouldn’t recommend it. Stick to the Genepi!

Flying is better than driving to resort because… When it snows, the local roads can be treacherous and you really don’t need a car to get around in a ski resort! It’ll only sit in a carpark somewhere feeling cold and lonely. The drive from the UK can take hours and hours, which isn’t so much fun when you’re on your way home. Plus, your driver would miss you. Apres is always banging at… Bar Mont Blanc in Peisey-Vallandry – this place is legendary! You’ll find friendly staff, a great sun terrace, good food, regular DJ slots from the likes of DJ Moneyshot and Glitch and it’s right next door to the most fun piste in Les Acrs! The perfect ski holiday souvenir is… A Funi beanie. It should be impossible to leave your ski resort without one. Mind, if you’re reading this article online before heading out on holidays you’ve got the upper hand as you can order one from www.funiwear. com! Local lass Jemma is behind the headwear brand sweeping across the Alps and real life grannies knit them for her, which we think is super cool.

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Cheese and Wine. Eat like a Savoyard

by Jemma Harrison

Food in the Savoie is traditionally very simple. And thank God. If it weren’t, then Octavia - your 17 year old chalet host - would struggle. It’s not possible to drink a skinful at après and then nip back to prepare a delicate, refined three course meal for twelve. Trust me, as a former chalet girl myself, I can safely say that typical Alpine fare such as Tartiflette is a chef’s best friend. Simple, hearty, impressive, tasty and above all, cheesy. You’d think this famous dish would have been handed down through generations, as it’s on every Savoyard menu in every town. But in fact, Tartiflette was invented in the 1980’s as a way to promote the region’s cheese. The fact that it has a great side-role of being a quick one-pot wonder, sacred to all chalet staff across France, is a happy coincidence. Tartiflette is a heavy, (and always welcome) dish of bacon, potato, onions, cream and Reblochon cheese, which can be prepared in minutes and shoved in the oven. All in all the best thing to happen to Alpine cuisine in decades. Cheese plays a huge part in any Savoyard diet, with Reblochon being it’s biggest dairy export. Over 17 million kilograms are produced every year. To put that in context, that’s the same weight as 218 packed airplanes. Another cheese fact for you: the name Reblochon comes from the French verb “reblocher” which means “to milk the cow again”. Farmers would hold back a portion of their yield to fool the milk tax-inspectors, and then once they’d gone, the rest of the cow’s udders would be emptied. This produced a creamier milk, which farmers would then make in to delicious cheese for themselves. Who knew tax fraud could be so beneficial? But Reblochon is not the only cheese champion of the Savoie and a trip to this part of France is not complete without sampling Tomme de Savoie and the wonderful Beaufort. Every mountain deli will have huge selections. Eaten picnic-style at the top of a mountain, with a heap of cornichon, fresh baguette and a slice of meat terrine, and you’ve probably got the best meal of the week right there. It’s certainly what the farmers would have done long before any ski lifts were built. Food was locally produced and easy to store due to the harsh winters. Cured meats


and sausage and anything comforting, hearty, warming and rich was rolled out in the colder months. But time moves on, and you’d be wrong to think those are the only adjectives used to describe modern Savoie food. Skiing attracts money and with that come the upper class restaurants. Dishes are elegant, refined and fresh. Fish from the local lakes and rivers, wild herbs and fruit are all used by the many top chefs who have settled here. Michelin Star restaurants such as Le 1947 in Courchevel or L’Oxalys in Val Thorens are leading the charge with their delicate (slightly expensive) menus. Wine lists are packed with fine local wines and digestifs, and the Savoie has a lot to offer on the alcohol front. Most restaurants will make their own local digestif called Génépi - a kind of green, herby vodka that sneaks up on you. Be warned. If you’re in to white wine then this is the place for you, with 70% of the local grapes going towards whites such as Apremonte or Chignin. Both are perfect for cutting through the post-fondue cheese-sweats and go exceptionally with Raclette and Tartiflette. For reds; Gamay is the most prolific grape, and you won’t be able to avoid the madness of the “Nouveau Beaujolais” from a little town near Lyon. Released towards the end of November in a marketing frenzy, this light red is probably not one you’ll be swirling, sniffing, quoffing and spitting - but rather swigging with the locals from plastic glasses at any village gathering. Without any aging or tannins for headaches, it’s a bit like alcoholic grape juice. Best served chilled, especially at that lunchtime picnic on the top of a mountain, and it goes well with hangovers. Again, it’s another Savoyard blessing for chalet girls.

E�y Tartifle�e Recipe

fr� a f�mр ch�et g� Serves 4-5

1kg peeled and finely sliced potatoes 1 whole Reblochon 200g smoked bacon lardons (although I prefer allumettes, which are leaner and go crispier) 2 medium onions, finely sliced 250g creme fraiche 100ml milk knob of butter pepper (optional: crushed garlic, thyme sprigs, handful of other cheese such as Parmesan or Gruyère) • Preheat the oven to 185ºC (165°C for fan-assisted) • Cook the lardons in a very big frying pan for 5 mins until almost crispy - no need to add extra fat or oil • Add the onions (and garlic and thyme if using) to soften but not brown • Whilst the onion are softening, boil the potatoes in a separate pan for 5 minutes to soften them slightly. There’s nothing worse than hard potatoes in a tartiflette. Drain. • Add the milk and creme fraiche to the frying pan, and stir in the potatoes. Allow to simmer for 5-6 minutes. The potatoes should be just covered. Add more milk if not. • If adding extra cheese, stir this in now. • Butter an oven proof dish. Pour in the potato mix. • Slice the Reblochon fairly thinly, and cover the dish. Press down in to the milky mixture. • In to the oven for approx. 30 mins or until potatoes are soft. If the Reblochon looks like it might be burning, cover with a lid or foil. Tartiflette is superb served with a crisp, fresh green salad. And lots of wine. Vegetarian? Try my own recipe for tomatiflette! Substitute the bacon lardons for sundried tomatoes. Just as salty and rich. In fact, almost as good as the traditional dish. Variations You’ll find loads of different types of “flettes”, most notably croziflette which substitutes the potatoes for Savoyard crozets - tiny buckwheat pasta squares. There’s a Nordic version substituting smoked salmon for the bacon and onions. And I’ve not even started on tartiflette pizza or pasta which is a carbo-overload in my book. Just enjoy the creamy cheesiness

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Unmissable Events December 13th - 22nd Dec 58th Criterium de la Premiere Neige The Val d’Isere ski area opens on 30th November, but it’s the Criterium that really marks the start of the winter season. The resort hosts the skiing World Championships over two long weekends, including the men’s downhill ski race during the first weekend and the women’s competition the following weekend. 14th - 21st Dec European Film Festival Les Arcs hosts the fifth annual European Film Festival for both professional and amateur filmmakers from across the continent. This year with a focus on Yugoslavian countries, there’ll be screenings in various locations across the resort and below in the town of Bourg Saint Maurice. Check out for more details. 16th Dec Paradiski Gravity Julien Millot and Tancrede Melet, two of the worlds best high altitude slack-liners, complete a ‘highline’ rope suspended 380m above the ground between the Vanoise Express cable cars, in celebration of the Paradiski’s 10 year anniversary. This has never been done before and is sure to draw a huge crowd! 23rd - 29th Dec An Enchanted Christmas Val d’Isere is transformed into a fairytale Christmas wonderland with lights, decorations and concerts in the centre of the resort each evening. There’ll also be open-air street performers, torch lit descents and the eagerly anticipated arrival of Father Christmas himself, with his merry band of elves. 31st Dec Fire Mix Party Tignes welcomes the start of 2014 with a bang each and every year, hosting a free electro party with DJ Joachim Garraud. He’s worked with David Guetta, Coldplay, David Bowie, Kylie and Moby and you’ll find the party right in the centre of the resort.

January 11th - 18th Jan Red Bull Linecatcher The world’s best backcountry skiers gather in Les Arcs for this annual event. Competitors take turns to freeride their way through the off-piste, styling things up with tricks, cliff drops and lines the whole way down.


21st - 23rd Jan 21st Classicaval Festival Classical music artists descend on Val d’Isere and they have done ever since the first event in 1993. Set in the heart of the village in the historic Baroque church of Saint Bernard de Menthon, lovers of classical music will enjoy compositions and performances by classical French composers.

February 21st Jan - 1st Feb Ice Climbing World Cup The ice tower in Champagny en Vanoise hosts the best international climbers for the third of six world cup stages. More than 100 athletes from 25 countries will compete in the ‘speed’ and ‘difficulty’ categories.

March 28th Feb - 2nd Mar Yoga & Well Being Festival Thirty-five individual yoga and relaxation courses take place across Val d’Isere and the resort becomes home to English speaking teachers and yoga experts from around the world. There’ll also be a music concert, a market and pop-up café offering bio and organic products. 22nd - 29th Mar European Snow Pride You shouldn’t consider Tignes’ annual gay week as an exclusive event. The community welcomes everyone and you’ll find DJ nights, a pool party, terrace après parties, and much much more.

April 29th Mar - 5th April The Brits Back in Tignes for its second year, The Brits is a brilliant combination of serious freestyle ski and snowboard competitions, at which British athletes compete, and a big musical shindig on the snow. Find out more on page 23. 12th Apr - 4th May Hot Ice To celebrate the arrival of spring in the mountains, Val d’Isere hosts the Hot Ice Festival, which incorporates afternoon and evening entertainment in bars, on terraces and on the pistes too. It’s well worth planning a spring ski break!

Made in New Zealand from the finest, premium quality 100% polypropylene yarn, Wild Stripes thermals come in a range of bright colours – in fact, they’re so lovely, you won’t want to keep them hidden under your ski wear! “People often see their base layers as ‘dedicated ski holiday clothing’ but after the recent chilly winters in the UK, many of our wearers don their Wild Stripes for dog walking, horse riding, and even the snowy journey to work!”




“Wild Stripes Base Layers don’t retain moisture, so you won’t get cold or damp – their wicking properties keep the clamminess away from your skin. Our thermals are soft and lightweight, and they wash and dry very easily too!”



It’s no secret that layering is the key to a comfortable winter holiday. Bulk up your layers during a cold snap, de-robe when the sun comes out. Layering is most effective when your base layer works with you, something Claire Templar knows all about. Successive holidays spent kayaking in New Zealand inspired Claire to start her own brand of thermals and Wild Stripes Base Layers were born.


It’s what’s on the inside that counts


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At the end of their usable life, Claire wants you to send your worn out thermals back to her. No, she doesn’t have a stinky thermal fetish – she recycles them all! Wild Stripes Base Layers are available to buy at, prices start from £29.99 for an adult’s long john.

Massage age in thee comfort com off your y ur cha chalet let Whether you wish to re-energise tired muscles with a dynamic sports massage or indulge in a luxurious hot stone treatment, Massage Me has a treatment to suit your needs. Treatments available from 40€. Credit cards accepted. 8am - 8pm. 7 days a week Group discounts - 15% OFF when you book 3 consecutive hours Gift vouchers are available for that perfect present. Visit our website for more informatin and our new treatment menu

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Get out of the

You’d most likely dreamt of the roaring log fire, smoldering glass of vin chaud and tasty dinner while on the slopes today. Your muscles might be aching from head to toe, it’s nothing a quick dip in the chalet hot tub won’t fix. Your bruises might span everything from your skiers thumb to your pride, all will feel infinitely soothed after a warm night’s sleep under a cozy duvet. And for those of us that, upon wakening on the second morning of a ski holiday, wail ‘it hurts too much, I can’t get up!’ Antarctic adventurer Felicity Aston has five words for you.

Get out of the Tent! 18

tent… By Amie Postings

And to take her advice one step further…

‘You are infinitely braver and more resilient than you imagine’ These are the final words of Felicity’s book Alone in Antarctica, an inspiring, gripping and at times terrifying account of one woman’s lone journey across a continent. On 24th November 2011 Felicity was dropped by airplane on the Ross Ice Shelf, a 1744-kilometer journey on skis ahead of her. Only two people had crossed Antarctica alone and 34-year-old Felicity hoped to become the third.

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The pilot carrying you out to the Ross Ice Shelf called you a ‘true rock star’ to voluntarily spend time in such harsh conditions. What were you feeling during your journey to the starting point? “Nothing like a rock star! I needed an escape route and I was looking for any reasonable excuse not to get off the plane. I was wracked with self-doubt and felt physically sick. I’d had the same feelings many years earler, when I was about to start an expedition across Greenland. I remember looking for ways that I could badly sprain my ankle, in order to bow out gracefully”. Perseverance kept Felicity’s plan in place and her account of the journey is brutally honest and humbling. Few could image the psychological impact that being alone on the ice would have. “It would be perfectly justifiable, I reasoned with myself, to return to Union Glacier and explain that after seeing what I’d be facing, I’d realised I wasn’t up for it’. The mental battle seemed more demanding than the physical one. Is this how you remember it now? “Absolutely. My ability to cross a continent alone was more in my head than in my body. Feats of endurance are based on mental attitude and self-discipline. I knew I needed to be strict with myself and to be organised. This involved little things like drying out my boots properly, redressing blisters… everything helps your frame of mind in those conditions”. During Felicity’s 59 days in Antarctica she was bolstered by a rather unexpected and unseen source – Twitter. The expeditions Twitter account (@felicity_aston) was designed for one-way communication and Felicity tweeted daily using an SMS satellite phone. Simple updates such as ‘alone’ turned into more positive updates, such as ‘another awesome day skiing past a parade of beautiful mountains beneath crazy clouds’. You couldn’t interact with your rapidly growing Twitter tribe while out on the ice,


but did your updates help your frame of mind? “Reporting my progress on Twitter had a big impact. The Antarctic landscape makes you feel like you’ve left reality, like I’d dropped off the map. Twitter updates became my psychological crutch, confirming that I was still on the planet and my existence had been registered. It’s a far cry from the old days when expeditions weren’t heard of until they returned!” The preparations for Felicity’s expedition were lengthy and thorough. Supported by a number of generous sponsors, she was able to select the best available and most trusted equipment. Another important preparation was psychological. Human beings are social creatures, we’re not designed to be alone for extended periods, especially not in such harsh and dangerous environments. The ‘Resilient Thinking’ theory clearly had an impact on your mental processes during the journey. Are you able to translate them to everyday life now the journey is over? “I learnt that when I’m feeling high emotion – annoyance, sadness, frustration for example – it’s important to stop and analyse what’s happening. I try to look objectively at my emotions and ask myself ‘why am I feeling like this?’ It’s often easy to find the root cause and this does help in everyday life. But then again, sometimes, a good cry is necessary!” If you were to witness a friend, relative or indeed a complete stranger yelling ‘shut up’ in the direction of an irritating noise, you wouldn’t necessarily question their sanity. If they begin to talk to the sun, or see small men with bald heads and triangular bodies riding on the backs of dinosaurs, you might begin to worry. You had quite a few hallucinatory experiences during your journey. How did you reassure yourself that you hadn’t gone mad? “Dr Pack told me, ‘as long as on some level, you know what you’re seeing is not real, you’re ok’ and so I trusted him! I knew that if the point

came, when I was unable to tell the difference between reality and fantasy, I had a problem. So I had a few good conversations with myself to check and these became my safety net”. Felicity’s accounts of extreme temperatures, mountain ranges and sastrugi (naturally created ice formations) are at the same time terrifying and breathtaking. It’s a tug of war that continues throughout the journey and matches Felicity’s own inner wrangling. “I came to view Antarctica as a testing ground that would allow me to understand my potential and my vulnerabilities” Felicity recounts, around the half way point. Now that you’ve achieved your goal, does this mean that you’ve yet to discover your limitations? “I’ve discovered that I can keep pushing my body and my mind, and the human race is proof that humans can tolerate a fair bit. Wars and personal traumas test the resolve far more than expeditions. Do I want to push myself to the brink of insanity? No, absolutely not. I have the choice, many do not”. Alone In Antarctica is a story of perseverance. Felicity’s experience forces the question – how much could we all achieve with a bit more perseverance? “… remember that it is vital to celebrate daily successes – even those as marginal as getting out of the tent…”

Alone In Antarctica by Felicity Aston, with a foreword by Joanna Lumley is published by Summersdale Publishers Ltd and is available to buy on Amazon.

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For a growing number of people, the Alpine dream doesn’t start and end with a ski holiday. Your weekly winter fix may be just as likely as Kevin McCloud to inspire a mountain building project. If you’ve been sitting on such a project for a little while, thinking it’d be too complicated or too expensive to bring to life, let us introduce you to Steven Downs.

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“At ECSUS Design we use a highly insulated and cost effective method of constructing quality homes in the Alps” Steven explains. SIPS (structurally insulated panels to you and I) are designed and prefabricated off-site, and they’re also an exceptionally quick way to build a thermally efficient home. “Our houses can be built in days using timber frame panels that are so well insulated, in some cases they can eliminate heating bills altogether”. Clients go to Steven with a variety of objectives. Some want a fully managed project, others are after a self build solution. As an architect, Steven matches the needs, capabilities and budgets of his clients, with their dream Alpine home. Here’s just one example from down the road in Samoens, where even at -10 degrees last winter, the very happy owner used almost no heating whatsoever. ECSUS Design is the design partner of CLIX Construction Systems the exclusive delivery partner for Kingspan TEK building systems in France. For more information visit and 21

Stay Safe, Use Protection As we may have mentioned more than once, your Cool Bus driving team have been skiing, snowboarding, hiking, dropping and cruising for many a winter season, both in the Tarentaise and in even more exotic snowy locations. We’ve all got our tales of injuries, avalanches and worse and we know what we’re talking about when it comes to safety equipment. Since 2000 Sweet Protection have been developing helmets, protection equipment and technical clothing from their mountain base in the Norwegian mountains. We’re massive fans of their kit, here are our favourites from their new winter range.

The Trooper

The Bearsuit Back Protector Ergonomically designed for a perfect fit, The Bearsuit is both soft and comfortable, yet durable and high performing. It’s made with a special shock absorbing foam and reinforced stretch material in the impact zones to protect your back when needed. There’s a fully adjustable chest strap and a comfortable fit that allows full freedom of movement. Available in S, M, L and XL


The Rambler Injection molded, rubber toughened and with an ABS shell, The Rambler is super impact resistant and provides exceptional durability and protection performance. Sweet Protection’s very own Impact Shield Technology is included, along with direct ventilation, a ‘coolmax’ liner, micro fur and fitpads. Available in S/M, M/L and L/XL, and in white, black, coral, liquor green and bird blue.

This helmet turns things up a serious notch. Its advanced construction is so strong, it’ll endure the heaviest of tumbles. There’s Impact Shield Technology and an EPS liner too. The Trooper has been designed and developed for serious backcountry charging or for freestyle maneuvers. Available in S/M, M/L and L/XL, and in white, black, maroon red, sassy green and bird blue.

The Return of The It’s one of the oldest winter music festivals, which pre-Tignes, took place in Laxx. Last winter the party capital of the Alps hosted The Brits for the first time, so brace yourselves Tignes folk. The Brits are back.

For those not in the know, The Brits is actually two festivals rolled into one. There’s the musical side of things, which in the past has included massive acts such as Chase & Status, Ben Howard, DJ Yoda and Pendulum. You can only imagine how amazing they must have sounded in the middle of the mountains. And then there’s the slightly more serious side to proceedings. In addition to major musical heavyweights, The Brits welcomes the UK’s best skiers and snowboarders to compete for one of the highest honours in the British winter sports calendar – the British Freeski and Snowboard Championships. As they say themselves, ‘we’ve been crowning champions since 1989’. The best way to book your Brits festival package is through specialist tour operator Wasteland, who have accommodation packages available from £290. Locals and season workers can buy tickets for the headline night at the Panoramic Restaurant for €15, but be warned – only a limited number of tickets are available! You can pick yours up on Tuesday and Wednesday during the festival between 4pm and 6pm from the Brits Office, and once they’re gone, they’re gone! You’ll find the full musical lineup, updates, special offers and more at 23

Traditionally the term ‘High Definition’ was always associated with multimillion-dollar Hollywood blockbusters and David Attenborough’s breathtaking documentaries. Then in 2008 the winter sports world was blown away with the release of the snowboard epic ‘That’s it, That’s all’. I remember standing, slacked jawed the first time I watched it, thinking ‘how can it be THAT HD’ By Rob Purver Jump forward another few years to 2010 and the release of the GoPro HERO HD point-of-view (POV) action camera. It was the first High Definition wide-angle camera you could drop, soak and shove in your pocket, making it the obvious weapon of choice for the budget winter sports videographer. Now, just a few years down the line, you can’t go more than a few minutes without seeing a helmet or chest mounted GoPro on the mountain. But what’s changed since the original HD HERO and are there any real alternatives?

GoPro HERO 3+ Black Edition HD The latest edition of the HERO is at the cutting edge of the ‘action camera’ breed. Smaller, lighter, faster and more powerful than its predecessors, it has a resolution up to 1440p, meaning you can crop footage without loosing any quality. When set to 720p you get a super slo-mo worthy 120 frames per second (FPS). The range topping Black Edition is even capable of shooting in 4k or ULTRA HD! Which although impressive, is relatively useless for winter sports in only being able to shoot at 15FPS. This means that any high-speed action would appear beautiful, but jerky. Another nice feature of the GoPro HERO3+ is the quality of photos (12 megapixel) and with several different modes such as timed, burst, time-lapse and continuous you have no excuse for missing the action. Together with GoPro’s huge range of accessories you’ve got yourself a very versatile and powerful camera. The Alternatives? There are literally hundreds of GoPro-a-like copycats out there but one that seems to be making waves is Sony’s contribution to the POV market. Sony HDR-AS15 Action Cam Even though the name would suggest otherwise, this is Sony’s first soirée into the POV world. Having clearly taken their lead from the hugely successful GoPro, Sony have produced the HDRAS15 or ‘Action Cam’. With its slightly elongated design the action cam is visually very different to the GoPro. Its slimline design means that forehead and especially chest mounting would be slightly awkward but the Action Cam would mount very snugly to the side of a helmet, a place where the GoPro would normally stick out well into harms way. Whilst not matching the same near cinema quality or super-slow-motion of the GoPro, Sony have given the Action Cam a perfectly respectable resolution of 1080p 30FPS, and it does redeem itself with a healthy 12 megapixel photo option. Both the GoPro and the Action Cam have built-in WIFI, meaning you can remotely control start/stop and get instant playback through a compatible smartphone. The main plus point of the Action Cam is its price. Coming in at around €290, Sony’s offering undercuts the GoPro Hero 3 Black by almost €160. Not only that, the accessories are significantly cheaper. The Action Cam is a great quality, well made and relatively inexpensive alternative to the GoPro.


There is another slightly unconventional way of going HD. In fact you may already have it in your pocket right now! The Hitcase Pro. The world’s first shockproof, waterproof, mountable iPhone case. For just over €100 you can get all you need to convert your iPhone (4, 4s, 5, 5s) into an all singing, all dancing wide-angle POV camera. Yes I know it sounds a little ridiculous, it does look slightly peculiar and it is still quite expensive, but it is actually a viable option for your POV alpine sports video needs. The current iPhone 5s is easily capable of matching the Action Cam on video resolution and FPS, and with the PRO addition of the Hitcase you get a built in wide-angle lens that bumps your iPhone’s normal frame up to a full 170 degree GoPro equivalent wide-angle. The full range of mounts you expect from a POV camera are available and reasonably priced. The system allows you to quickly remove the phone from the mount if you need to do phone stuff. Another neat feature is the free App from Hitcase that will overlay telemetry data such as altitude, speed, direction and G-force over your video. The Hitcase has two main advantages over the GoPro and the Sony. You get to use the iPhone’s beautiful retina display to view what you're filming in real time and of course it’s already your phone; you’ve already bought it, you know how to work it. You don’t have to remember another charger, there’s no messing around with memory cards and when you’ve had enough of the wide angle you can easily remove the case and take a nice normal picture of the sunset. A trick neither the GoPro nor the Sony can pull off with their permanent wide angled lenses.




€129.00 + iPhone

Video Resolution

1080p/60,48,30,24fps, 720p/120,60fps, 1440p/48,30,24fps, 4K/15fps, 2.7k/30fps, 960p/100,48fps, WVGA/240fps

1080p/60,30fps, 720p/30fps, VGA/30fps

1080p/30fps, 720p/120fps

Photo Resolution

12 megapixels

12 megapixels

8 megapixels

Dimensions (mm)

42 x 60 x 30

82 x 47 x 25

141 x 79 x 16

73 (without battery/casing)

(without battery or casing)

111 + iPhone (112)


MicroSD, M2

iPhone internal

Waterproof (m)




Image Stabilisation




Battery Life (minutes)




Smart Phone Support

iOS, android (wifi remote - start/stop/viewing)

iOS, android (wifi remote - start/stop/viewing)

iOS (telemetry overlay)


Tripod, headband, adhesive, handlebar, chest, rollcage, suction, wrist, grip

Tripod, headband, adhesive, handlebar, chest, dog harness

Tripod, headband, adhesive, handlebar, chest, rollcage, suction

Remote (included), LCD screen, water float, skeleton casing

Remote, handheld grip with 6.1cm LCD screen, water float

Lens cap

Weight (g) Memory


*estimate based on battery length for video calling


Ed Drake shares his top tips for new skiers British Olympian Alpine Skier Ed Drake practises regularly at The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead whenever he’s in the UK. Whilst there’s nothing better than being out in the Alps, the year round snow and perfectly groomed 160m slope at The Snow Centre, just north of London is a convenient alternative for Ed when he’s not able to train in the mountains. Ed, who was introduced to skiing before he started school, is keen to encourage others to take up the sport. Here are his top tips for learning to ski: • First and foremost, if you’ve never skied before, get in some lessons before you go – ideally on real snow. Alternatively, pre-book your lessons for when you arrive in resort. It makes such a big difference to your confidence when you have mastered the basics in stopping and turning. • Build up your fitness and stamina before you leave. Cardio training will help ensure you don’t run out of steam throughout the day, whilst squats and lunges will help build lower body strength. Don’t forget the importance of flexibility – make sure you stretch out regularly! • Dress adequately for the snow. It’s so important to make sure you stay warm and dry, especially if you’re new to snowsports. Go for lots of layers, ideally a thermal layer next to your skin and make sure your outer layer is waterproof (especially the bottom half). Sunglasses or goggles and good quality gloves are essential. Whilst it’s not always top of the fashionista list, don’t leave for the slopes without a helmet! • Make sure your boots are comfortable. If you’re a first-time skier the chances are you’ll be renting your boots but it’s worth making sure they fit well. You should be able to move your toes but your feet shouldn’t slip around inside the boot. Keep them as tight as is comfortable around your legs but not too tight across your feet, otherwise they’ll restrict the blood flow and you’ll get cold toes. If you’re reading this in resort, and you’re experiencing these very problems with your boots, take them back to the rental shop and ask for some advice. • Get familiar with moving your skis. It sounds obvious but if you turn your foot to the right your ski will turn to the right. Try picking up one foot at time and turning to the right and left so you become familiar with how it feels and which muscles to use. Remember skiing under control means making regular turns, shifting your weight from one foot to the other. • Make sure your stance is right. Lean backwards and you’ll lose control as skis are designed to turn when your weight is balanced in the middle. For greater stability keep your feet about shoulder width apart, toes pointing slightly inwards, heels apart. This is the snow plough position and it will help you move under control until you feel more comfortable about sliding down a mountain on two planks! • Look where you want to go, choose a route and decide where you will make your next turn. If you look at the snow just in front of you the chances are that this is where you’ll end up! If you take Ed’s advice and book lessons before your holiday, The Snow Centre at Hemel Hempstead has the most highly qualified instructors outside of the Alps. With the closest real snow to the centre of London, they offer a range of private and group lessons for all levels from complete beginners and children’s sessions right through to top performance coaching for competent skiers. They are currently offering a 10% discount on advertised prices for group ski and snowboard lessons and a 30% discount on their beginners ‘adult only’ social lessons. There are also lots of different packages and lesson options 26

so you can find the best fit for you. Rusty Refresher sessions include a guided practice session with feedback on areas of progression and the beginners ‘Learn to Ski or Snowboard in a Day’ will take you from absolute beginner to making controlled turns down the slope. For those of you who want to maintain the skills you’re developing during your holiday, remember it takes 10,000 repetitions of a technical skill to make the performance last! The more practise you can fit in, the better your skills on the snow will be so you’ll feel much more confident on your next snowsports holiday. If you’re able to spend some time improving your technique on real snow in between your mountain holidays you really will see the benefit next time you ski. Hitting the slopes confidently will help you get more enjoyment out of your holiday as well as being able to tackle more challenging runs and safer off-piste experiences. Contact The Snow Centre on +44 (0) 845 258 9000 or visit for more info and bookings.

Onesies are the biggest fashion statement around, a blank canvas for a feast of sartorial salaciousness. Think of them as the power suits of the ski slopes. Yes, they would look more at home with an eighties fro and a mouthful of Hubba Bubba, but don’t they just light up those slopes? Who wants to be the dandy in black when you could be sporting a luminous one-piece? As it happens, there’s a whole host of benefits available to the onesie wearer. The one-piece isn’t just de rigeur for the style-savvy man or woman gracing the slopes. Its advantages in the area of comfort and warmth make it appeal to a whole range of skiers and snowboarders across the spectrum. It’s comfortable, warm and well-sealed against snow. Of course, it would be a travesty to make a beeline for 80s ski styling while ignoring the other decades and their offerings which might appease the style-obsessed skier. Throughout the last century there have been some super rad developments in the world of ski sartorial. Why not channel a little early 20thc glamour and astound the crowds in a floor length woollen skirt constructed from thick woven wool? Or choose a pair of colourful 1950s ski leggings, complete with stirrups! Whatever decade it hails from, retro dressing serves to soften some of the difficulties faced by the fashion conscious man or woman. After all, one of the worst things about getting dressed on a ski holiday is that you don’t get any choice about what to wear. Not only does skiwear have to be practical (and practicality is, as we all know, the downfall of the snappy dresser) it also has to be wearable, year after Gore-Tex infused year. At the end of the day, who during these times of austerity can afford to invest in entirely new kit for use on only one or two weeks of the year? Enter Kyle Dickinson and his band of Retro Revolutionaries. They emerge over the nearest snow-covered summit clad in neons chanting “Give us the 80s and give it us now!” Kyle and his friends champion the fashions of the days when Britain had an economy almost as explosive as the newly invented boom box, happier times when a supermodel could fill out a bikini and fondue was a dinner party favourite. They’ve set up Retro Rentals, hiring out secondhand 80s onesies to couples, families and groups looking to hit the slopes in wicked-cool kit. They even dressed the kids from Made in Chelsea for their knees-up in Verbier last year. The Retro Rentals mission is to paint the life of the modern skier with a little more colour and a whole lot of fun.

Check for all your onsie requirements this winter

Don’t fancy taking on the head-to-toe retro thing? We hear ya! Though onesies are quite the thing for the more adventurous dresser, there is a range of options for incorporating a nod to the retro revolution into more conservative ski style. Try adopting a fabulous oversized 80s jumper into your repertoire for Christmas dressing - all the pout without too much clout. Or seek out a slim 80s sweatband to put the retro cherry on an otherwise modern cake. Alternatively, simply don a pair of aviators and get to work on your handlebar moustache. Of course Kyle and his merry band are the one stop shop if you’re keen to don a onesie for a day. But what if your retro aspirations are of a longer term bent? Charity shops in both England and France are famously onesie-rich and there are some pretty sweet retro separates to be picked up as well. Head to vintage stores such as Oxfam Originals for insane accessories and the all-important Christmas jumper. Beware of imposters though; you wouldn’t want to find that your supposedly vintage robin red-breast sweater was actually churned out by Topshop in 2008. Beyond the many website offerings at the altar of retro and vintage ski sartorial, eBay is an unmissable stop for everything old-style. The best stuff comes from the States so leave adequate delivery time. After all, who wants to cruise the slopes in the knowledge that their nan back home has adopted the leather-wrap sunnies that arrived just too late?

The one piece ski suit, perfect for the modern family - as seen on Made in Chelsea Things to watch while wearing a onesie: 1. Beware of increased visibility whilst attempting potentially embarrassing manoeuvres. 2. Avoid spontaneous combustion of highly synthetic materials by always lighting your cigarette in close proximity to snow. 3. Anticipate toilet trips in advance of necessity to sidestep chilling accidents.


As regular passengers may remember from the last issue of the Cool Bus magazine, Cool Bus boss Rob and his merry band of eight were planning over 1500km in the saddle, cycling between John OʼGroats and Lands End in just nine days. They raised over £10,000 for Cancer Research UK, and in Robʼs own words… it was a piece of cake.

“Remember May 2013? The coldest May since 1996. Rainfall well above average with ʻwettest sinceʼ records set in many regions of the UK. “

This was the month that we wisely chose to ride from John O’Groats to Lands End in aid of Cancer Research UK. This caper was originally given the rather grand title of “End to End Challenge” but soon became dubbed (only slightly tongue in cheek) “The Crapiest Holiday Ever”. Here follows a brief account of the highs and lows: 8th May John O’Groats to Bonar Bridge - 105 miles

Blue skies, fresh legs, a good tail wind and incredible sea views. A blistering pace is set on our first morning. We fly west along the coastal road before turning South into rolling hills and lochs. A pub lunch and even the brutal headwind over exposed moorland that follows cannot dampen the high spirits. This is what it’s all about! 9th May Bonar Bridge to Fort William - 102 miles

Another beautiful clear morning starts with a tough but stunning climb out of Bonar. More rolling hills and epic scenery before pulling onto the banks of Loch Ness. Late lunch at Fort Augustus. A few near misses with passing trucks en-route to Fort William. Amazing food and perhaps too many pints at the Ben Nevis Inn. 10th May Fort William to Glasgow - 115 miles

Fry up at Wetherspoons followed by a cold but enjoyable climb up spectacular Glencoe. Things start to go downhill after lunch. Long trudge through heavy rain to Callandar.

Half hour stop to drip on the floor of a cafe then more wet riding and surprisingly steep climbs before eventually arriving at our hotel in a grey, wet, industrial looking area of Glasgow around 8pm. Spend half an hour walking in circles trying to find somewhere to eat. Settle on a Dominos takeaway. 11th May Glasgow to Carlisle - 103 miles

Wake to pouring rain. Motivation understandably low so it’s well past 9am before we set off. Trudge through suburbs of Glasgow, which seem to go on and on. Three punctures all mended in the rain. Get cold very quickly each time we stop. Progress slow. Eventually out into the country again and onto faster roads. Pub lunch followed by one more puncture and then suddenly the pace is back up as we are guided in the last 15 miles by good friend Andy Parrini in his van. 12th May Carlisle to Haydock - 121 miles

The longest day of the trip. Starts well with a good pace set by the fresh legs of friend Graham Langhorne and then the tough but fun climb over Shap summit followed by the long descent all the way to Kendal. Then the weather turns. Heavy rain. A very depressing lunch spent dripping in a Sainsbury’s cafe, then out again to get wet while plodding through endless towns and suburbs all the way to Haydock. Never has a Travel Lodge looked so welcoming! 13th May Haydock to Shrewsbury - 83 miles

Shortest day of the whole trip! Smash out the bulk of the distance in the morning. Then cruise in through the rolling hills to Shrewsbury (hometown to many of the team members). Party in our honour at the TrailHead bike shop with beers and massage! One team member, Donny, leaves us due to commitments to be replaced by another, Rich “Fresh Legs” Cunny. 14th May Shrewsbury to Bristol - 116 miles

Wettest day of a very wet trip!. One month’s worth of rain falls over the area we cycle through in one afternoon! The roads are literally flowing. More depressing pitstops at Sainsbury’s and Shell garages. Cross the Severn with gale force cross winds. Group leader Tim is on the brink of hypothermia by the time we arrive at our hotel around 8pm. 15th May Bristol to Okehampton - 109 miles

After much faffing around we hit the hills South of Bristol. Very pleasant countryside


revisited and weather but ultimately we are moving very slowly. Lunch at Cheddar Gorge where we realise we have over 80 miles to go! What looked like a nice shortcut turns into a neverending series of steep climbs. Finally arrive, speechless and dizzy with exhaustion, in total darkness with only one bike light between us at 10pm! Take-away curries are swiftly ordered and consumed.

slapping, hugging and champagne quaffing. Piece of cake!

16th May Okehampton to Lands End - 109 miles

Next years fundraiser will be easier on the legs but equally rough on the backside! 3000kms in two weeks across India in an autorickshaw! Check the Cool Bus website for more info and to donate!

Man-down! Rich Beard complains of feeling sick and then proves it graphically outside the entrance to Okehampton Little Chef. The consequences of eating a late night curry whilst lying down clearly apparent. Rich joins the support team and we soldier on.

Massive thanks to the support team - Lauren Little, Karen Brennan and Daniel King of Podium Catering, The TrailHead and Orange bikes. And of course all the friends, family and customers that kindly contributed to help us raise over £10,000 for Cancer Research UK.

Cornwall is hilly! We narrowly escape a hailstorm in Okehampton before being greeted with snow over Bodmin Moor. The last hours pass in a blur - Truro, Redruth, Cambourne and then it finally seems achievable. The last sting in the tail is a 20% climb out of Penzance, then its rolling hills and sunshine all the way to the finish line. Smiles all round as it ends in similar conditions to the start. We hit the finish line euphorically as a group followed by much back

safety first

Design and colour probably aren’t at the top of your specification list when buying a new avalanche transceiver. Yet Ortovox have added some serious shelf appeal to their new Zoom+ model. Described as ‘design meets function’, the Zoom+ has loads of excellent features, its ‘ocean blue’ colour being one of them. Ortovox are all about intuitive usability and the Zoom+ doesn’t disappoint. The large LED display leaves nothing to chance and the patented smart antenna technology senses your body position if you’re caught in an avalanche, switching to an antenna

with the most range if it thinks you’ve been buried. The Zoom+ also has a Recco reflector to assist in detection by professional mountain rescue. Its range is 40m and the Zoom+ also detects and displays the location of multiple avalanche victims. Weighing in at 200g the Zoom+ is highly portable, it’s waterproof and will transmit for 250 hours using one AA battery. RRP £179.99 Visit for further details 29

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Kieran Nikula - Planks Pro Team





SnowPark - Tignes Labo Shop - Bourg St Maurice Tip Top - Bourg St Maurice

Intersport - La Plagne Côté Piste - Arc 1800 Equilibres - Arc 2000


Cool Bus Magazine Winter 14  

Issue Two of The Cool Bus Magazine, read by holiday makers on their way to the Tarentaise resorts of Val d'Isere, La Plagne, Les Arcs and Ti...

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