Discover Southern Europe, Issue 10, December 2019

Page 54

FRANCE  |   WINTER SPORTS SPECIAL

Sporting safety on the slopes To buy a product from Cairn Sport is to buy a piece of advanced sports technology – and a part of French history, too. Created in Lyon in 1938 by Albert Baudet and his dressmaker wife, the company started as a forward-thinking glove manufacturer, eventually becoming Cairn Sport in 1994. “We have inherited historic French expertise,” explains Canonico Folco, Cairn deputy general director. “Some big brands see these products as simple accessories, but we add real value.” Today, the brand offers modern equipment for outdoor sports such as skiing and mountain biking, including helmets, goggles, sunglasses and gloves, and clothing such as dorsal back protectors. Priced competitively given their technical attention to detail, Cairn prides itself on making equipment that not only protects the wearer, but is also well-fitting, comfortable and innovative. For example, one flagship magnetic goggle design allows users to change between six different lenses in seconds, making it adaptable to all kinds of weather, terrain, faces and styles. “People know that a Cairn product is going to fit well

and respond to their needs,” explains Folco. While proud of its French roots, the brand also has a deep understanding of its international customers and wider trends. For example, in recent years, mountain sports fans have increasingly started to prioritise protective gear, seeing it as an essential piece of kit. “People are realising how important it is to protect those vital body parts, their head and back” explains Folco. “Southern

The magic of the mountains As a ski resort, the picturesque Courchevel in the French Alps is synonymous with luxury winter holidays, and, as part of the Les Trois Vallées – with its 600 kilometres of modern, connected pistes – is home to one of the world’s largest ski stations. But while this prestige may be Courchevel’s key strength, an unfamiliar visitor planning their first trip could easily feel as daunted as a beginner at the top of a black slope. Therein lies the beauty of companies such as Ski Optima, which take care of everything from start to finish, and in style, too. Ski Optima is a private ski school and much more besides. Founded by director Christophe Serres, it has 25 years of experience helping clients to enjoy the mountains in luxury, offering guests tailored packages including everything from airport limousine transfer, equipment hire and lift passes, to

exclusive chalet accommodation, including coveted ‘ski in, ski out’ locations. “We see our clients as VIPs,” explains Serres. “We take care of everything, without them having to worry about the details. They trust us.” Whether you ski, snowboard, go cross country or even heli ski, private instructors

TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: CAIRN SPORT

Europe used to be behind Northern European and Nordic countries in terms of protective equipment, but now we are seeing a real catch-up everywhere.” Cairn’s mission is to help its customers stay safe and on track, true to its namesake – those tall piles of stones leading the way along mountain paths. “We are their guide,” says Folco. “Protecting them as they explore.” cairn-sport.com Facebook: CairnOfficiel Instagram: @cairn_officiel YouTube: Cairn Sport

TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: SKI OPTIMA

will customise your tour by time, interests and skill level, guided by the company’s mantra: ‘Skills, Security, Success’. And when the sun goes down, apres-ski is far from an afterthought: Ski Optima’s vast local network allows it to secure the best restaurant reservations, and offer tips on where to shop, drink, or go clubbing. “The area of Les Trois Vallées is so large that you can stay here for a week and never do the same piste twice!” says Serres. “I’ve worked all over the world, but Courchevel is unique. The infrastructure, the snow... Every morning you can ski out on a perfect magic carpet, and dream that you’re in paradise.” Booking at Ski Optima is arranged directly through director Christophe Serres, on +33 609 20 67 69 or christophe@skioptima.com.

www.skioptima.com Facebook: skioptima 54  |  Issue 10  |  December 2019