APR 17 BENEATH THE SURFACE + HOME SWEET HOME + AN ARCTIC WONDERLAND
extRaoRdiNaRy sKiiNg MomeNts ending the season on a high
Photo: Andy Parant/ Val Thorens
THE INSI DE EDGE
Stunning pictures of skiing in extreme conditions and the stories of how they were captured
BENEATH THE SURFACE
Brits celebrate breaking world records and Vail Resorts makes a new purchase, while selfie safety is encouraged
Harriet Johnston uncovers the wilderness of Val Thorens and discovers the secrets of Val d’Arly
Spring skiing? Now is the perfect time to take stock of your kit and snap up the trends for next season
SKI CLUB NEWS
A bursary helps children learn to ski, the app launches for Android users and thousands join the Facebook groups
Colin Nicholson weaves a tale of romance and fairytales in Finland — a Disneyland destination for adults
If you can’t ditch the phone, we review the apps and wearable technology which will you give a buzz
WEB AND VIDEO
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
The Ski Club digital team go to the trade show Slide to reveal the innovations in ski gear and all the latest online news
Ever wanted to live in a luxury Alpine chalet or a romantic icy igloo? Ben Clatworthy gave it a shot in Austria
Catch the best of the spring snow in these resorts — or enjoy the events on offer in the mountains
Photo: Monica Dalmasso/Tignes
Photo: Melody Sky
Photo: Yllas. FI
Prayers to the snow gods have been answered in abundance, bringing the best conditions we’ve seen all season with buckets of fresh powder falling across resorts worldwide. And there is still plenty of skiing to be had, although if you are looking for holidays which may be slightly out of the ordinary, then you’ve come to the right place. In this final Ski+board of the season, you’ll find ways to enjoying quirky activities in Val Thorens, totally unique ways to stay in Mayrhofen and even a different kind of destination, with a guide to skiing in Lapland. All other Ski+boards from this season are also available on issuu for your viewing pleasure.
Harriet Johnston Ski+board Online Issue Editor
The cover shows the zipwire at Val Thorens — to read how the ride feels, head to page 18
EDITOR Harriet Johnston EDITOR AT LARGE Colin Nicholson ART DIRECTOR Amanda Barks MEDIA SALES Madison Bell madisonbell.com 020 7389 0859 OVERSEAS MEDIA SALES Martina Diez-Routh email@example.com +44 (0) 7508 382 781
Editor Harriet Johnston after a rather cold dip under the ice (page 18)
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All material is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the prior written permission of the publisher. All prices are correct at time of publication. Opinions expressed in Ski+board are not necessarily those of the Ski Club of Great Britain, nor does the publisher accept responsibility for advertising content.
LOCATION Changbaishan, Changbai Mountain Range, China PHOTOGRAPHER
Jeremy Bernard The organisers of the Freeride World Tour have been searching for potential new venues, with the most recent trip being to Asia. The team explored new faces with the hope that freeride will continue expanding into China. For a behind the scenes peek at what the tour is like, go to skiclubgb. wordpress.com
LOCATION Geilo, Norway PHOTOGRAPHER
Paul Arthur Lockhart Geilo is just one of the places across Europe where kite skiing has become hugely popular. To read our feature on kite skiing and other ways to gain your wings on the slopes, the December/ January issue of Ski+board is available at skiclub.co.uk/ skiandboard
LOCATION Lech, Austria PHOTOGRAPHER
Sepp Mallaun Arlberg, between Tirol and Vorarlberg, is considered by many to be the cradle of modern skiing. In the February/March issue, we covered the new lift link between St Anton and Lech which means you can ditch the bus. In the November issue, you can find all the latest lift links for the current season. Back issues are available at skiclub.co.uk/ skiandboard
Selfies could potentially lead to risky situations
The dangerous side to selfies Stowe Resorts is the first American East Coast resort to be covered by the Epic Pass
Vail Resorts snaps up Stowe in a multimillion pound deal Harriet Johnston Vail Resorts has added another ski area to its expanding portfolio, having brought Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont. Though the company operates ski resorts around the world, this is the company’s first on the East Coast of America. It’s an area that Vail Resorts chief executive Rob Katz identified just last year as a hole in the Vail Resorts market. Vail Resorts is buying all of the ski operations The acquistion, which cost $50million, gives Vail Resorts a foothold in the East Coast market where skiers will now be
able to snap up more opportunities to use the Epic Pass. The company made headlines last season when it brought Whistler Blackcomb for $1.6billion. The Epic Pass costs less than $1,000, whereas a season pass to Stowe alone costs $1,860. The Epic Pass for 2017/18 was launched in March and will cover 75 resorts including Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Park City, Whistler Blackcomb as well as several resorts in Europe, like the Three Valleys and the Arlberg in Austria, and Perisher in Australia.
Warnings have been issued to potential selfie takers to remain aware of their surroundings. The research, by travel insurance specialist Columbus Direct, claimed that over half of experienced skiers have been injured trying to film or photograph themselves on the slopes, with 28 per cent needing medical treatment as a result. According to the research, nearly three quarters of skiers and snowboarders admitted to filming or photographing themselves in action. It was also revealed that experienced skiers and snowboarders pack gadgets worth on average £743 for a holiday. Rob Thomas, head of brand at Columbus Direct, said: “While it’s fun and thrilling to capture yourself in action with gadgets on the slopes, sport enthusiasts should prioritise their own safety above all else to enjoy an incidentfree winter sports holiday.”
Reverse weekends could be the new budget break
Take to the mountains for a reverse weekend
Forget school holidays and long weekends over the bank holiday, as the reverse ski weekend is the latest trend to sweep the slopes. Kaluma Travel found its guests seeking a short break could make savings if they stayed from Sunday to Wednesday rather than a Thursday to Sunday trip. Savings can be found on accommodation, as chalets and hotels seek to fill empty beds with lower prices. There may also be cheaper options in terms of selection of flights. For example, flying Gatwick to Geneva with easyjet on Sunday, February 26 and back on
Wednesday, March 1 was £92 cheaper than flying on Thursday, February 23 and Sunday, February 26 on flights at the same time of day. Andy Butterworth, director of Kaluma Travel, believes such reverse weekends offers better value. He said: “Smart weekend skiers know that if you travel out on Sunday and back on Wedensday, you have the same amount of time in the snow but at a much improved price.” And another advantage of skiing on a reverse weekend will mean fewer skiers overall on the slopes, so shorter queues and more space to show off on the piste.
Photo: Jeff Wise/Stowe Mountain
Photo: British Ski & Snowboarding
British athletes make history
Millie Knight is World Champion
Harriet Johnston British snowsports has had a monumental few months, with ski history being made across several disciplines. Izzy Atkin became the first British woman ever to win a Ski Slopestyle World Cup. The event, in Silvaplana, Switzerland, saw the 18-year-old finish ahead of Sweden’s Emma Dahlström and Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud. Andrew Musgrave has also had a great end to the season, putting in an incredible performance to finish fourth in the World Cross-Country skiing championships. His performance in the 50km freestyle event in Lahti, Finland, was Great Britain’s best ever Nordic skiing result. He was just one and a half seconds away from making the podium at the event. He finished ahead of every Norweigian and Swedish skier in the race, which was won by Canadian Alex Harvey
James ‘Woodsy’ Woods looks to be a great hope for British Snowsports at the Olympics in 2018
the X-Games in Aspen, US in January. Woodsy was able to secure the gold medal in Ski Big Air, while Katie took bronze in the Snowboard Slopestyle. The duo have gone on to take a handful of podium spots at a variety of events throughout the season. Katie took a silver medal at the Air+Style snow sports and music event in Innsbruck, Austria in February, while Woodsy also claimed second place in the World Cup Ski Slopestyle in Québec City, Canada. Katie was spotted early in her career by the Ski Club of Great Britain, which gave her the Evie Pinching award in 2014 when she was aged just 17. These results come ahead of the British Snowboarding and Freeskiing Championship, which takes place between April 2-9 in Laax in Switzerland. The competition, or ‘Brits’ as it is often known, is an open competition and offers rookies the chance to compete against pros. Woodsy and Katie will join other athletes like Billy Morgan, Jamie Nicholls and Katie Summerhayes at the event. Entry to the British Championships is open to all British passports holders, and covers five age categories. For those wishing to compete, register online at the-brits.com.
Photo: Jason Dodd
in 1:46:28.9. Elsewhere at the 2017 World Championships, he finished 12th in the 15km classic and 11th in the 30km skiathlon. Delancey British Alpine Team skier Dave Ryding also claimed a historic second place at the World Cup Slalom in Kitzbühel, Austria, matching Konrad Bartelski’s best ever British Alpine World Cup result. He was leading after the first run but was beaten by home favourite Marcel Hirscher, recording the first podium of his career. Katie Ormerod became the first Briton to win a World Cup Big Air in Moscow in January. The 19-year-old snowboarder scored 153.75 ahead of Austria’s Anna Gasser, who notched up 153.50 points. Slopestyle stars Katie and James ‘Woodsy’ Woods also claimed medals in
Photo: Switzerland Tourism/Jan Geerk
Visually impaired athlete Millie Knight and her guide Brett Wild took gold at the World Para Alpine Skiing Championship in Tarvisio, Italy, in February. In a first for Great Britain, Knight securwed a stunning World Championship victory on day one of the speed disciplines with a time of one minute and thirteen seconds — over a full second ahead of the nearest competitor. Millie’s speed topped over 112 kph or 70 mph. As she finished the race, Knight hit the crash barrier and became lodged under it, but was treated by doctors who saw her as fit for her second day of competition on Tuesday. The duo went on to win two further medals — a silver in the Super Combined and a silver in the Giant Slalom. Menna Fitzpatrick took fifth in the World Para Alpine Skiing Championship with a time of 1.30.54 guided by Jennifer Kehoe. She later took a bronze Giant Slalom medal just behind Millie. Menna was awarded the Ski Club’s Evie Pinching award for up-and-coming athletes last year after a public voting period. She recieved a £1,000 bursary for the year to help with training and competing.
Millie Knight became World Champion
SKI CLUB NEWS Resort Facebook groups are booming with thousands of members
Yorkshire school among first to benefit from Ski Club awards
The Ski Club’s Facebook groups have grown by thousands of members since their launch in early December. The groups are designed to help members connect with each other, arrange to ski and socialise together and also to see updates from those in resort. The most popular and active group remains the Val d’Isère group, with almost 400 members linked into the page for updates. Smaller resorts such as Soldeu, Andorra, with 113 members, and Zell am See, Austria, with 140 members, have also seen an increase in traffic with new posts every day. James Johnston, the Ski Club’s Community Page Manager, said he believed the popularity of the groups was down to the community feel and friendly atmosphere that was being built through members using the pages. He said: “It is easy for people to get in contact with the Leaders, they can hear about meeting points and get any tips from seasonnaires who are out there.” He added: “It’s also a good chance for anyone who hasn’t joined the club to see what kind of community we have. “Non-members can join and discover what is happening in resort as well as linking up with members that they can ski with.” You can find the Facebook groups by searching ‘Ski Club of Great Britain’ and your chosen resort name on Facebook.
The Forest School in Knaresborough has been awarded one of the Ski Club’s Thomas Lang bursaries of £1,000 to help children access snowsports. The secondary school, which is in North Yorkshire, applied to the Inspire Award fund in November. Mandy Pickles, a teacher from the school, said the ten children chosen by the school were looking forward to their skiing opportunity at Castleford Indoor Centre. One child said: “I really want to ski. I’ve never done it before.” The Thomas Lang Bursary helps secondary school students experience skiing and snowboarding. The funds will go toward helping children discover the magic of snowsports, at their local snow slope in Castleford. The children of Forest School will be taking to the slopes throughout March and April. A Ski Club member, Thomas Lang bequeathed a sum of money after a love
On the pursuit of ‘appiness The Ski Club’s updated app is now live for both Android and iPhone users. The app was made available for iPhone and iPad users in January this year, with the Android version following shortly afterwards. The app gives information about more than 250 resorts, and is updated daily. Features include snow depths on
upper and lower runs, the weather and expected snow in the next six days, piste conditions, webcams and information on member benefits in resort, including discounts and events. To find the app, simply search for Ski Club snow reports in the app store on your device. Existing users should recieve the updates automatically.
Photo: Kevin Stephens
Kevin Stephens snapped a pic in Flaine and shared it on Facebook — more photos from the groups are visible on the social page.
of skiing and involvement with the Ski Club throughout his life. The bursary was new in 2016, and is one of six Inspire Awards, which aim to recognise and reward people who are making a positive contribution to the sport. Other bursaries within the Inspire Awards include the Green Award, which offers funding toward environmentallyled snowsport projects undertaken by anyone who is a member of the Club, and student bursaries of up to £1,000 to help university ski and snowboard clubs develop. The other three awards, including the Pery Medal, Evie Pinching and Ski Club Cup & Challenge Awards, aim to support talent, and are given out yearly to people who have achieved major snowsports accomplishments. Further details about bursaries and awards, plus how to apply for the Inspire Awards is available online at skiclub.co.uk.
The Ski Club app is now available to download for Android users
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Ski Club leader narrowly escapes avalanche
Jules Mountain successfully climbed Everest in May 2016, after his ordeal in the 2015 earthquake
After an earthquake triggered a fatal avalanche in Italy in January, Ski Club Leader Jules Mountain was reminded of his experience in Nepal 2015, when an earthquake triggered an avalanche while he climbed Everest. He told Ski+board about his experience: “I was resting in my tent, when all of a sudden the ground jolted beneath me. I couldn’t believe what was happening — I was lying on thousands of tons of ice on the glacier at Everest Base Camp. “I jumped to my feet at the entrance
to my tiny tent. Looking outside, I could see other climbers looking up at the sky. Following their gaze, it seemed everywhere I looked snow was rushing towards us like a train at full blast. “Quickly, I threw myself back into the tent and thrust my head into my sleeping bag so hard I bruised my face on the ice below. Instinctively, I covered my head with my arms. And then, the full force of the avalanche came blasting down on top of us.The tent rocked from side to side and snow blasted in through
the tent opening covering me. It just kept coming. It seemed like forever before it started to slow. I was now completely buried in snow. I tried to push upwards and managed to get onto my knees. But I was covered in snow, the tent was covered in snow, and so were all my bags and electronic equipment. I started digging out my bags and electronic equipment, phone and laptop, knowing that if I wanted to salvage any of it, I would have to work quickly. “Chaos ensued and I managed to break my way out of the snow, wriggling out. I made my way to the mess tents which were still standing in the dip in the glacier. It seemed everyone I saw was bloodied and sick. I beckoned those I could into the mess tent. “As a Ski Club Leader I am trained in mountain first aid and I have dealt with minor injuries on the mountain. Yet nothing could prepare me for the situation in front of me. Thirty or so sick and dying people came into the mess tent asking me for help. I couldn’t help them all. “One was carried in on a camp bed. As I looked at him, his breathing was shallow and his pulse weak. Shortly afterwards, he died right next to me.”
Photo: Jules Mountain
Ski Club member Stephanie Butcher found alpine skiing uncomfortable, as she suffered from chronic lower back pain. That was until she discovered the Trikke ski. She told Ski+board how it helped her take to the slopes: “I only started skiing in my mid-50s, and despite several years of trying to enjoy it, I decided to cut my losses and stick to sledging and après-ski. “On my way back from Wengen one day I saw a folded up object with some sort of skis attached — so I Googled it and discovered a Trikke Skki. I ordered it and spent half a day teaching myself the basics. It’s a third skiing, a third boarding and a third something else. I’ve been using ‘Fritz’ for five or six years. “He is engineered so that the rear skis can carve across the slopes exactly as normal whilst the front ski provides stability and directional control.
“Turns are achieved by shifting one’s weight and leaning — exactly as per normal skis. The advantage is that the rear skis are held parallel by the frame, elminating stress through the back. “I remember my first attempt at stopping — I suddenly realised that a snowplough might not work, so I modified a Christie turn which works well at all speeds. For those interested in speeds — I logged 75.3kph on him a few weeks ago. It’s really worth a look for those who want to ski but can’t.”
Photo: Stephanie Butcher
An enjoyable solution to uncomfortable back pain
‘Fritz’ which Stephanie uses on the slopes
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Austria | France | Italy
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All the gear and absolutely all the ideas
New this season, The Ski Club has partnered with the Freeride World Tour, which stops all over the world, from qualifiers in Hakuba, Japan to the finals in Verbier, Switzerland. Each week the content team will be selecting their
The hunt for gold The countdown is on — the Winter Olympics is in our sights But the athletes and coaches have had this event on their radar for much longer and British Ski and Snowboard have been doing everything they can to best prepare the athletes. The organisation recently announced Dan Hunt as their new performance director. Dan was a key part of the British Cycling team which took to dizzying heights at London 2012, so he knows his way to some silverware. The Ski Club’s Digital Editor Joe Troman also caught up with James
‘Woodsy’ Woods last month, to chat about his recent success at the X-Games and setting up for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. Woodsy is one of the brightest medal hopes heading to the games alongside GB Park & Pipe teammates Katie Ormerod and Jamie Nicholls. With recent performances from the likes of Dave Ryding, we reckon the rest of the team can catch up. Stay tuned for the latest news from our Olympic hopefuls in the racing and riders tab of our news section.
favourite video clip from this year’s competitions and sharing it with you as part of the #FreerideFriday series. Keep an eye on The Ski Club Facebook page every Friday evening to enjoy the action. Ski+Board Online Editor, Harriet Johnston also snuck along to a leg of the tour to spectate and meet some of the athletes — read her account on our blog.
The winners of the men’s skiing Freeride World Tour Vallnord-Arcalís Andorra leg
From living the high life to chilling in #VanLife
Clement Hodgkinson battles the elements to live the #vanlife
As Easter holidays approach, more and more students are preparing to live it up on their university’s ski trip. The Line-S team can help you out with all the essentials for surviving this week of pistes and parties! Meanwhile new contributor Clement
Photo: J Bernard
What goes on tour... doesn’t always stay there
British athletes Dave Ryding, top, and James Woodsy Woods, right, are going for medals
Hodgkinson takes us on his journey around the Alps and Pyrenees living out of the back of his converted van. Head to line-s.co.uk for serious travel envy, and discover more...
To find out more visit
Photo: Clement Hodgkinson
With the season drawing to a close you’re probably wondering what to do with yourself. We know we are. But you know what you can do? Buy more gear. That’s right. Skis, boots, outerwear and even some safety kit. Let’s face it — keeping up to date with new technology and improvements from established brands is a real task. Not to mention figuring out what gear will suit you best. As is tradition, the Ski Club TV team took to the trade show of Slide to check out all the noteworthy items for next season and filmed the whole thing. If you’re an off piste charging machine, or a streamline corduroy cowboy — we’ve got you covered. To see more of what the video team get up to, check out — youtube.com/thesnowcast
Photo: British Ski and Snowboard
SOCIAL WHAT’S NEW ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM Our pick of the best snaps from Ski Club members on their trips over the winter
Cervinia Ski Club Social Media Editor, Charlotte Ahlen Les Deux Alpes Ben Lanton Kitzbühel Victor Hugo Jr. Chamonix Johnny Baird Soldeu Simon Hanton Whistler Ski Club Leader, Ryan Crisp
SKI CLUB PROMOTION
Ski Club Resort Facebook Groups The Ski Club has launched new resort Facebook groups, where you can chat with other members, arrange to ski together and post your photos, videos and updates from your trip.
But it’s not just about looking at the things we post – it’s about your own contributions. So the idea is that each resort has an online ‘hub’ that will help us create a community, and get members talking to each other. Search for your resort’s group on Facebook by typing Ski Club of Great Britain, followed by the resort name – and if your resort’s not there, let us know and we’ll create one!
There are currently groups running for all Ski Club Leader and Instructor-led Guiding resorts, plus a few selected others. So if you know where you’re going this season, look up and join the relevant resort Facebook group, and get posting your content to help us create a buzzing resort community!
Photo: T.Loubere OT Val Thorens
The secrets of a resort are often the very best part Words by Harriet Johnston
here was a strange atmosphere below the ice, which was somehow serene and other worldly. The dive into the entrance hole had transported me from snowy mountains and valleys into dark and murky water. The only noise I could hear from beneath the thick layers of ice was my own steady breath, and the bubbles, which billowed from my regulator and up to the jagged surface, where they popped, entering crevasses and exploding into ripples. My heart hammered hard in my chest, as I felt water lapping at my lips, seeping into the rubber mask I wore to protect my skin from the freezing water. I repeated to myself the advice Olivier, my instructor, had given to me before I had entered the icy lake. “If the water reaches your mouth, it’s okay. Your nose? It’s not okay.” Seeking comfort, I looked to my second instructor, Thomas, who was acting as a guide, pointing out features in the ice and keeping me within a safe distance of the entrance and exit hole. From behind his goggles, his pale green eyes offered reassurance, and my breathing slowed again. I’d arrived in Val Thorens the evening before after a quick flight to Geneva and speedy transfer, with expectations shrouded in memories from a secondyear university ski trip. My experience had more heavily featured trips to La
Folie Douce and the underground club Malaysia than exploring the local secrets of the resort. With the luxury of ski-in, ski-out, this was really no excuse — Val Thorens could not be easier to explore. The green slopes which lie directly below the main resort are effortless for beginners, and from the base there feels like a real variety of runs. Once you head up the chairlifts, the mountains fan out around you, and the ski options of the Three Valleys seem limitless, with the main village of Val Thorens in the centre of it. Yet now, I found myself delving beneath the surface of the resort — not only throwing myself off the beaten track but also, in a way, under it. In the Vallon du Lou, close to one of the most well known off-piste routes in Val Thorens, lies the Lac du Lou. It had taken us over an hour to ski tour there in the hot sun, passing waterfalls and deep valleys, with little respite till we reached the newly built commune on the edge of the lake. I’d been particularly nervous about the activity, with visions of getting trapped, unable to find the exit hole. Though the lake has a depth of 17 metres, ice diving, I am told, isn’t about how deep you can go. It’s more about the distance travelled under the ice, the serene atmosphere and the patterns in the surface. The whole experience is otherworldy, from squeezing into the strange scuba dry
suits, to floating around in the water. Twenty minutes passed, and as I started to feel a little cooler, water rising dangerously close to my nostrils, I indicated to Thomas that I was keen to get out. Breaking the surface, I felt arms reach into the water and tug me out where I basked in the welcome sunshine. Ski touring and ice diving are just two of the alternatives to piste skiing that Val Thorens has to offer. Of course, the 600km of piste skiing is great for those looking to enjoy a ski holiday. But with a little research and a step away from the main resort, lies a whole host of other activities for those looking to experience something out of the ordinary on their ski holiday. At €150 for a 20 minute session, the price of ice diving may seem a little steep. But what made the experience worth it was the sense of achievement felt by all afterward. It was a challenge not disimilar to tackling a hard black run you've had your eye on for a while. Stripping out of their scuba suits, my group made its way back through the wild open terrain into the centre of the valley where the hotel Fahrenheit 7 is located. New this season, it grew from the friendship of the local Unger and Vidoni families, who created the hotel with more of a boutique, cosmopolitan feel, than a traditional mountain chalet. After a quick warm-up in the hotel’s sauna, and watching the sun set over the
Photo: Andy Parant
fRom beHind His goggles, His pale gReen eYes offered ReassUraNce
Photo: C.Cattin/OT Val Thorens
Vanoise mountain range from the spa’s balcony, we took a drive down into the valley. Pépé Nicolas' ‘arbé is around 15 minutes away by taxi, and is affiliated with nearby restaurant Chez Pépé Nicolas. Stumbling up a winding snowy path, led only by a burning torch and the light of the stars, we found ourselves at an unassuming traditional mountain hut. As we creeked open the door, we were greeted by a cosy candlelit room, a pot of beef stew on the stove and hot tomme de Savoie cheese resting on the oven hatch. Charles Trenet’s ‘La mer’ serenaded us from an old fashioned radio and it filled the room with a nostalgic feel and romantic joy which stayed with us long into the night. It was wild to think that until this season, this beautiful building was storing disused tools from the nearby restaurant. The manager of Chez Pépé Nicolas had transformed the space, larking back to the days of her grandparents with the mountain hut. The price of €150 for the immersive dinner may seem like a large amount, but when splitting it between possibly up to eight people, the evening is more than worth it. Though the food was fairly basic, the feeling of being transported into a different time was unlike any other I have had. Hours later, we used a burning torch to totter our way across the ice to the distant car park. The clear bluebird day had given way to a starry clear evening, with constellations lighting up the sky and Orion’s belt high in the heavens. This led to yet another sunny day, and we rose again, taking to the slopes and swapping ski touring for the pistes. We hopped from chairlift to chairlift,
traversing the resort. We charged across the valley, from long swooping blues where I could barely catch my breath, to moguled black runs which left my legs burning. We moved at a real pace, but even the slowest in our group was able to enjoy the slopes. High above our heads, we spotted floating red balls hanging in the sky, which were later revealed to act as signposts for overhead planes or helicopters to spot the world’s highest zip wire. The Val Thorens zip line offers the chance to take in the resort from the air. After technical difficulties and high winds shut the wire, we swiftly made our way to the start point in the afternoon, which, at 3,230 metres, is the highest point of the Three Valleys. Lifties strapped me into a large harness which felt somewhat nappy like, attaching my skis and poles onto the back to hang behind me. We walked up a few steps and out onto a ledge overlooking the valley, before I was clipped onto the cable above. I hung my feet over the ledge, dangling my boots over the rocky drop below and watching the red hold light which would flash green as I was released onto the wire. The 1,300 metre long ride is the longest in the world and, at just €50, provides a fun alternative when snow conditions are less favourable. The ride is not as frightening as one might expect, with stunning views to add to the thrill. On the clear blue day I could see right across to la Meije of legendary La Grave and even spot the t-bar on the glacier of Les Deux Alpes in the distance. Once my feet were firmly back on the ground, we sped back down
Photo: Tourist Office Val d'Arly
Photo: Tourist Office Val d'Arly
Photo: Tourist Office Val d'Arly
booked year round. It’s not difficult to see why — we gazed around in a wonder which was somewhere between childlike excitement and romantic haze. Though we weren’t staying in the property, my group walked away with a sense that they would return — one guy planned to bring his girlfriend here on a mountain biking summer break while another joked about returning for a honeymoon trip. Though I’m single, I could see the attraction of locking yourself away in a remote treehouse which has been designed with luxury in mind. In bed that night I dreamt of zipping through forests, passing hidden treehouses and delicious desserts… The next morning, after awaking to another bluebird day, we travelled to the ski area of La Giettaz en Aravis. It feels like a weekend or holiday destination for locals, with the majority of skiers being French or Belgium families. Far beyond the 192km of piste in the connected Espace Diamant and Les Portes du Mont Blanc ski area, there are fromageries to explore, ski joring to try and locals who are more than happy to help you see the more authentic wilderness of the area. A session learning to drive a dog sled costs just €50 and lasts half an hour. In a glade, we were introduced to 15 dogs, which ranged from pet-like mutts to wolf huskies who wouldn’t look out of place in Game of Thrones. Some seemed intimidating, barking and fighting one another, but when we were invited to harness the animals, they immediately became obedient and almost politely bowed into their positions. We were given instructions in French, and I couldn’t help but feel something was lost in translation. As the dogs were hooked up to the sleds, I once again found myself in a slightly surreal and intimidating situation. With four dogs under my control, their excitement was clear as they tugged at the sled, delighted at the very thought of running through the mountains. At my word, the animals rushed forwarded, bounding through the snow and whipping around
Photo: C.Cattin OT Val Thorens
to the Fahrenheit 7, while our ESF instructor Jérôme pointed out the natural highlights of the area, like the ice falls beneath the Cascade glacier. Tucking into a lunch of scallop stew and an indulgent dessert buffet on the sunny restaurant balcony, I took in the mountainous surrondings and wondered if there was anything that Val Thorens could not offer. The honest answer is — I had no idea. Approximately a two hour drive away is a valley and collection of villages named Val d’Arly. Where Val Thorens has a real resort feel, Val d’Arly is a hidden gem, incredible for those looking to escape the crowds. Mont Blanc towers above and is visible oUr gRoUp gaZed from almost any point, aRoUnd in a creating an iconic and naturally majestic skyline. WoNder wHich Was The unapologetically authentic rural lifestyle someWheRe betWeen was clear as we drove cHildlike exciteMent through the villages, passing domed churches RomaNtic HaZe and chalets still covered in Christmas decorations. Forests of pine and spruce seemed to conceal hidden secrets, in sharp contrast to the expansive and vast nature of Val Thorens. Saint-Nicolas-la-Chapelle is just one of the villages and from there, a short drive away, is the Terre et Ciel, concealed in a wood. Without knowledge of the two treehouses hanging in the forest, it would be impossible to find them. The first treehouse, the Cabin Mont Blanc, is traditional in style — but with luxurious touches, like the outside cooking plate, or jacuzzi and sauna, from which Mont Blanc is visible from 50km away. The second is completely circular, and is made up of just one bedroom, with a bathroom to one side and a rooftop balcony. Branches of the nearby trees had been cut away to reveal the view. The majority of business comes by word of mouth and at €350 to €400 a night, the treehouses are almost fully
Photo: Val Thoren.FI
corners. I could only do my best but to cling on, using the brake mat to slow the sled down whenever I could. The ski area dips in and out of glades in a way which feels more North American than traditionally European. The dogs on the sleds behind me quickly caught up and we were soon a tangle of dogs and sleds, racing through the woods and up the slopes. One member of our group was so taken aback by the pace of the dogs that he lost his footing and was knocked from the sled, and the dogs of another drove straight into him. Once we had all dusted ourselves off from the dog sledding adventure and said goodbye to our new furry friends, we took our more accustomed planks to the slopes of Crest-Voland. The village hosts the Val d’Arly Eagles Festival between February 27 to March 2 in support of the National Freedom programme, which allows you to ski with the bird as a falconer explains how the programme is trying to reintroduce the animals to the wild. This experience is free and worth doing even though the late afternoon sun had melted much of the snow, and 30 other tourists jostled around me, trying to catch a glimpse of Fletcher the eagle in flight. In this part of France, beneath the surface and around every corner is a whole other world, skiing and nature come together — be that flying with eagles, eating in an authentic shepherd’s hut or diving deep into the resort’s lakes.
Harriet travelled as a guest of France Montagnes (france-montagnes.com). In Val Thorens, Harriet stayed at the Fahrenheit 7 which costs €230 per night for B&B in a double room. A ski pass for an adult to the Three Valleys costs €60 a day or €294 for 6 days. Ice diving costs €150 for a 20 minute session (evolution2-valthorens.com). Dinner at Pépé Nicolas' 'arbe is €150 for the evening. The zip wire costs €50 per flight (valthorens.com). Staying in the treehouses in Val d'Arly is €350 for the birds nest, €400 for the Mont Blanc. Ski hire in Val d'Arly is around €28 a day. Learning to drive the dog sleds in Val d'Arly starts at €70. Information about skiing with the eagles in Val d'Arly Eagle Festival can be found at (valdarly-montblanc.com).
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A special Spring Treat: Ski + Golf in Kitzbühel The Legend. Kitzbühel is shaped by the extensive landscape paired with the majestic mountain backdrop of the Wilder Kaiser, Kitzbüheler Horn and Hahnenkamm and has always represented two main things – sports and lifestyle. While often claimed to be opposites, these two elements in fact form a charming symbiosis and perfectly represent the unique Kitzbühel way of life. “Legends do more than just write history – they bring history to life!” Skiing Legacy. The most legendary city of sports in the Alps is successfully making skiing history for more than 120 years now. Being awarded both as “World’s Best Ski Resort” and “Austria’s Best Ski Resort 2016”, Kitzbühel is the first non-glacier ski resort to open its winter season and offers 190 days of skiing fun on 215 kilometers of slopes each year. The ski area is nestled between the Kitzbüheler Horn and Hahnenkamm mountains. Kitzbühel hosts international events like the world-famous Hahnenkamm race. Easy access, long winters and a high chance of snow sets Kitzbühel apart.
Alpine Golf Paradise. Kitzbühel doesn’t just have a great skiing tradition, golf also has a long history. The first golf course was officially opened on 30 July 1955. Wide tee shots fly past massive rocks, approach shots spin over deep ravines and putts roll over perfect greens. Welcome to a round of golf in Kitzbühel! Kitzbühel hosts 4 golf courses at the most of a five-minute drive. Hence, Kitzbühel is rigthly called the golf paradise in the heart of the Tyrolean Alps,
characterised by its 4 idyllic golf courses right in the center of town and another 30 courses within a range of 100 kilometers. “Kitzbühel – shaped by mountains, an enthusiasm for sport and a desire to succeed. A passion which becomes a zest for life.” Hence, the perfect symbiosis of skiing and golf is guaranteed with the Kitzbühel Ski + Golf Package. This special highlight offers the best of spring in Kitzbühel.
© Fotos: Michael Werlberger | Kitzbühel Tourismus
Ski + Golf: One card for two highlights!
15th Kitzbühel Golf Festival – “Gourmet” golf
Kitzbühel, 365 days a year unforgettable moments
Enjoy perfect carving on a sunny spring day, the culinary delights at one of the cosy mountain huts – where traditional Tyrolean style meets urban flair, and perform the perfect swing in a picturesque alpine setting. Ski + Golf combines perfectly the unique Kitzbühel way of life – both, active and delightful! Please find all the details for an unforgettable and joyful vacation at www.kitzbuehel-golf.com
It is definitely the best week of the year for golfers. The Kitzbühel Golf Festival features 10 tournaments such as the unique Streif Attack tournament, where famous athletes and amateur golfers take on the legendary Streif racing piste in summer. The festival concept will also melt in the mouth of discerning food lovers, as 4 Gault et Millau award-winning chefs and six winegrowers will take part in the six-day festival, June, 18th to 25th 2017.
Kitzbühel offers a scope for you and your holiday dreams. Every day in Kitzbühel is an unforgettable experience. Whether it is in spring, summer, autumn or winter, the region changes its appearance with the seasons, but it never fails to fascinate with its beauty. The ski season lasts for 190 days, and golf is also played in Kitzbühel on 190 days. It’s not just the natural surroundings that are thrilling. Kitzbühel has plenty to offer in terms of sport and cultural events. No matter, whether racing down the Streif or chanting a classic concert in the historic city centre, Kitzbühel provides a unique stage. Further, Kitzbühel is also popular for conferences, not only because of its easy accessibility and ideal infrastructure, but also due to the leisure activities and incentives offered, leaving no desire unfulfilled. There is no doubt, Kitzbühel is worth a visit all year long. The legendary Kitzbühel way of life awaits you.
Kitzbühel Golfcard The Kitzbühel Golfcard (Golf Alpin Card) grants access to more than 30 Golf Alpin clubs in Tyrol and Salzburg. The Kitzbühel Golfcard is available in three options – 5, 4 or 3 green fees.
Don’t dream it, book it. booking.kitzbuehel.com
Photo: Jari Peltomaki
There is a faraway place, where lights dance in the sky, romance reigns and skiing in the dark is the new style Words by Colin Nicholson
t was skiing back towards the village that throughout the season. I saw it — a green, unearthly glow coming Due south, the sun was struggling to rise, even from over the brow of the hill. We had after ten in the morning. But it finally bathed the flown out to Finland that morning, but rime-covered fences in a pink light that made having woken up before dawn, I was keen to their ice crystals glisten, and it flooded the tops reward myself with a brief ski on arrival. Not of snow-laden trees further down the mountain wanting to fork out on a lift pass, we hired with a peachy light. cross-country skis to climb through forest trails In the Alps, such scenes would be fleeting and and glide down lakeside paths, past ice-bound the preserve of early morning and late evening fishing platforms. ski tourers. But this magical light lasted till We had been looking out for the Northern sunset, just three hours later. Lights, and it was when I turned a corner that I All the pistes are fairly short, but we were spotted the green glow. Though its source was grateful for this. With the temperature at -22°C slightly unexpected — yes, a huge, illuminated before wind chill, we interspersed each run with advert for the drink Mountain Dew. sitting round the open fires, buying hand and Far from detracting from the romantic toe warmers, and drinking endless coffees and atmosphere, the sign only highlights the hot chocolates, including at the super-stylish surprisingly modern features of Ruka. It’s a but intimate Peak restaurant. And because there contemporary purpose-built was no shortage of snow, I had The sun bathed village with Alpine chic, unlike my first taste of powder of the the rime-covered other Finnish resorts which feel season, veering off piste into more like country towns. Ruka’s fences in a pink light widely spaced glades that are wood-clad bars, curio shops easily accessible from the slopes. that made their ice and restaurants are decked with I could glide in and out of trees crystals glisten...this strings of lights, and line the as I wished, almost forgetting the magical light lasted pedestrian area at the foot of woes other resorts across Europe till sunset the downhill slopes. The village have suffered this season. is known for its nightlife, and on the journey Nothing, however, was more pleasant than at out I had seen many child-free couples like us the end of the day renewing our acquaintance coming to a country that is popular for families. with all our digits in the sauna. All the The tour operator we were travelling with, apartments have their own sauna, as do the Crystal, began offering holidays to Lapland four log cabins, which offer a particularly romantic years ago. And because of Finland’s unexpected charm and also give you the best chance of popularity, this winter it started flying to a seeing the Northern Lights. To reach the main second airport, Kuusamo, which is only 20 village you have to catch a bus, or go on crossminutes from Ruka, as well as Iso-Syöte and country skis, but for the popular excursions a Salla, both about 90 minutes away. coach will pick you up. It was the following morning that the These include a visit to the snow and ice castle attraction of Finland for couples both young (no inside sauna in there), and snowmobiling, and old — skiers and non-skiers alike — really though I’m no fan of these noisy, smelly beasts, began to dawn on us. We swapped our crossso I preferred husky-sledding. The dogs are both country skis for the more substantial variety noisy and smelly too, but in a cuter, more natural and headed up the steep mountainside. From way. By far my favourite was reindeer sledding, the summit, albeit at a mere 500m above sea jingling along the forest floor, with these gentle, level, the rolling landscape was completely big-eyed creatures magically seeming to know snow covered as far as the eye could see — and exactly which way to lead you. had been since early October. Unlike other You can do all three rides together in a halfmountain destinations this season, Ruka day session. And there is always time for more has been blessed with flutterings of snow cross-country skiing, by far the simplest way to
Photo: Yllas. FI
The light gives Ruka another worldly feel, where peachy lights and the severe cold transport you to a different type of skiing. Thereâ€™s no way that Lapland is just for Christmas...
Photo: Ruka. FI
Ruka is about to get a new village on it’s east side. The hours of daylight offer a chance to try activities like dog sledding and reindeer petting, as well as traditional alpine skiing.
explore this magical landscape. On one of our
many sorties, we passed under steep cliffs that seemed curiously out of place in this land of rolling fells. Locals later told us they’d been left there by the ice age. As recently as 12,000 years ago an ice sheet that was more than two kilometres thick covered the country. The west side of the mountain above the village is surprisingly steep, and back on downhill skis, we found that even the piste marked ‘easiest way down the mountain’ was not unworthy of its red status. In contrast, the east side blends into the gentle undulations of the surroundings, catching out unwary snowboarders with sudden flat sections. And for those who missed out on the reindeer, you can watch the animals being fed just off the side of the piste every other day at 4.30pm. This day was slightly warmer — as high as -20°C — so we carried on skiing until after the pink of the sunset had given way to the orange glow of strontium lights. Ironically, it is because the days are so short that the runs stay open so long. All but four of the 34 slopes are floodlit, which allows the resort to keep the pistes open until 7pm (and 9pm on Fridays). Skiing at what felt like the dead of night was rather fun and somehow reminded me a bit of finding my way around the bars and clubs of a new city. And since we were reluctant to stop in the cold and get out our piste maps, it was only after several missed turnings that we found the route under the ski jump to the narrow Pessari
red run towards a tumbledown café. It was from the warmth of the café, as we had a late lunch that felt like a midnight snack, that we were able to work out how to reach the wide Kelo boulevard, where we skied from one semicircle of light to the next. And we finished with a blast down the beautifully pisted, arc-lit FIS-rated slalom run. We even followed this up with a visit to the ‘Piste’ bar-cum-nightclub. In party-mode we ordered Finnish whiskies, but all the shy Finns were studying their phones, rather than the VJ’s output of Russian pop videos. Well, it was scarcely 5pm. We’d hit an unusually bitter snap (-13°C is the average for January), and cross-country skiing proved the ideal way to keep warm, so we alternated it with our downhill endurance days. There is no charge for using the cross-country trails and once you have paid for your rental you can swap your downhill skis for crosscountry skis and vice versa. This time we wanted to attempt a tour around the mountain — literally. Because the downhill ski area is so compact, with its 30km of runs and 21 lifts close together, you can do the circumnavigation on the ‘Ruka ring route’ in a day. So we started over the lake, then passed the cosy restaurants at the bottom of the pistes to venture into less charted territory. At times we had to ask directions of other skiers, many of whom were friendly Russians who had come over the border just 25km away to make use of
Photo: Ruka. FI
warm sunshine. If you want to go in spring you have to travel independently, as it’s impossible for tour operators to offer competitive prices. Crystal is already busy pushing its Finnish holidays for next season, which look set to continue for the foreseeable future. It briefly offered trips to Finland just before the credit crunch, but this time the programme looks set to carry on, helped in part by interest from couples like us in the period between Christmas and half-term. Although we were challenged by the temperature, it was a nice change from the usual gripe of lack of snow on the Continent. Finland’s latitude guarantees an abundance of the stuff — a nice reminder of how ski holidays
Photo: Yllas. FI
Photo: Ruka. FI
the facilities over the Orthodox Christmas. The cross-country trails snake over and around the mountain and it was only after several hours that we arrived on the east side. It is here that a new pedestrian village will be built, and it will be linked to the existing village by a very welcome gondola going over the top of the mountain. At present, only one of the chairlifts has a ‘bubble’ hood. This will put Ruka in the same league as Finland’s two biggest resorts, Levi and Ylläs, and work begins next year, which begs the question: “When is the best time to go?” You can ski in Ruka any time until early May. But from March onwards is when all the canny Finns flock to their home resorts to bask in the
It’s the fairytale Finnish charm which truly adds to the Disneyland feel of the resort — it’s impossible not to lose yourself in this arctic wonderland, with the magical peach lighting accentuating the traditional wooden cabins.
Colin travelled as a guest of Crystal Ski Holidays (crystalski.co.uk; 020 8939 0726), which offers a week’s B&B at the Ruka Village apartment hotel in Ruka from £575 per person (based on four sharing a 40m2 studio apartment), including flights from Gatwick and Manchester to Kuusamo and transfers. The ‘winter activity taster’ session costs £115, or £46 for children.
Photo: Yllas. FI
ought to be. The excess of snow, cosy wooden cabins and near-permanent dusky atmosphere only emphasise the Narnian qualities, so you can’t help but feel you’ve escaped the humdrum of the average ski resort for something with a little more enchantment, only accessible with a pinch of magic. And while Finland continues to draw wannabe elfs paying visits to Santa, its eternal winter is drawing just as many couples who can still stir their eternal child within.
Most Improved Resort
94-2014 19 Where to Ski ❆❆
World's best Ski Resort 2013 2014 2015 2016
Mountain Tracks After a career in outdoor education, Nick Parks decided that in 2000, he was ready to leave teaching. He launched Mountain Tracks, combining his long love of skiing and climbing with his desire to get outside, and encourage others to do the same. Three years later, his brother Chris joined him, and together they formed one of the UK’s leading mountain adventure companies, offering a programme of off-piste courses and ski touring, with alpine mountaineering and trekking holidays in the summer. And in December 2016, the Ski Club of Great Britain welcomed Mountain Tracks into its own family. Nick and his fellow guides, Olly Allen and Matt Dickinson, hold prestigious qualifications, such as the IFMGA Mountain Guides qualification and are members of the British Mountain Guides Association. Recognised internationally, the IFMGA qualification denotes an extremely high level of professional experience, knowledge and skill in skiing, climbing and mountaineering. They are
supported by excellent freelance guides. The Off-Piste Performance ski courses are led by expert instructors such as Dave Meyer and Floss Cockle. With small groups — never more than 6 — Mountain Tracks is able to tailor the course to ability and conditions. The selection of ski adventures, summer trekking and mountaineering holidays are offered at 3 levels: introductory, intermediate and advanced so will suit first-timers, experienced alpinists and everyone in between. Mountain Tracks is also able to customise adventures for private groups. This means families, workmates, schools or groups of friends are able to adjust their trip to their expectations and desires. Mountain Tracks provides unforgettable holidays, with achievements, camaraderie and the unmatched thrill of being in the mountains. Join us and discover why Mountain Tracks sets the standard in guided mountain adventure.
SKI CLUB PROMOTION
adventures, destinations, holidays…
Vanoise National Park – 6 days Ski Mountaineering The Vanoise National Park in the Tarentaise Valley is the largest national park in the Alps, and is bordered by several extensive ski areas — Les Trois Vallées, L’Espace Killy and Paradiski. Together with the Gran Paradiso National Park on the Italian side of the border, these parks cover over 1,250 km². This trip is an intensive and highly rewarding six days through one of the most beautiful areas of wilderness in Europe. A remote paradise, the area is crammed with big ascents and ‘out-there’ descents, plus at least one night in one of the most stunning huts in the Alps. This is ideal for ski tourers and mountaineers looking for a challenging yet highly rewarding week.
Gran Paradiso – 3 days Ski Touring The Gran Paradiso area in Italy is a renowned ski touring area with a huge range of options and excellent huts. The Benevolo hut gives access to a number of good ski peaks with great north facing ski terrain with the best chances for good snow to ski. If you’re looking for your first multi-day ski tour, this three-day ski trip offers relaxed touring close to the Benevolo hut. You’ll get a fantastic flavour of what it is to ski away from resorts, enjoy the social aspects of hut life and get a taste of the remoteness of the mountains.
Zinal – 5 days Off-piste Skiing Zinal is situated in the Val d’Anniviers in Switzerland, which is well known for its variety of snow and the scope of its off-piste terrain. This foundation course is ideal for anyone who wants to develop their off-piste skiing skills in one of the most snow-sure alpine ski areas.
For more details visit mountaintracks.co.uk or call 020 8123 2978
Is Airbnb spelling the end of the traditional chalet break? Words by Ben Clatworthy
hoosing where to stay in a ski resort can be a serious gamble, but I’ve got lucky. From the kitchen window, where I’m making myself some breakfast and a coffee, the Penkenbahn — Mayrhofen’s state-ofthe-art gondola — looms large; the lift station is 50m away. Also very near is the resort’s high street, with its mix of lively après-ski bars, pretty restaurants and charming shops. It feels as if I have my own digs in the best location in town. However, this is not an eye-wateringly
expensive chalet or a swanky hotel suite. I’m staying in an Airbnb apartmentcum-chalet to try the new way of renting in the mountains. And, to judge from my experience, it looks as though this season could mark a turning point in the Alps for the home-sharing phenomenon that has gripped cities across the globe. Airbnb, founded nearly nine years ago, is worth $30billion, on a par with the world’s most valuable hotel chain, Marriott, which dates back 90 years. With such staggering growth, it was always going to be only a matter of time
before the company started paying serious attention to the Alps — and with listings in prime spots, such as mine in Mayrhofen, it looks likely to change the face of ski resorts. In many cases, the Airbnb properties are cheaper than chalets and offer more flexibility. Most have a minimum two or three nights’ stay, compared with the full-week option offered by chalets. Plus there are no painful shared-chalet dinners, stuck listening to Hooray Henrys honking on about their prowess on the slopes. My Airbnb apartment would make
Airbnb are expanding the possibilities for those wishing to stay in the Alps, from traditional Alpine chalets to nights spent in romantic frozen igloos.
Photo: Österreich Werbung, Mallaun Photo: Österreich,Werbung, Fankhauser Photo: Airbnb
Airbnb has starting offer properties in Austria.
a great base for a group. Traditional in style, my bedroom is large, with wood-panelling on the walls and wooden floorboards. Its only drawback is not being en-suite. Reaching the bathroom requires a shimmy across the entrance hallway, so it’s worth coming with friends. Upstairs, set across two floors, are a further seven rooms, all with a traditional Alpine look. The property sleeps 16, meaning it offers an alternative to more expensive, traditional chalets for large groups of friends travelling late in the season. Best of all, it has a spa in the basement, which has a sauna, a hot tub and a relaxation room with a waterfall. It’s essentially a home away from home — if rather more luxurious than my London digs. What about the resort itself? Well, Airbnb has certainly picked a good spot to begin its first serious foray into the Alps — with great skiing made possible by modern lifts, plus lively nightlife. From my door it’s just a minute’s walk to Mayrhofen’s impressively modern gondola. There are no slopes down to the resort on this side of the mountain, so until the new gondola opened in December 2015, queues had been notorious. Now, with over 177 lifts and 489km of piste to enjoy, the ski area is formidable, with challenging red runs and a good number of blues that many resorts, especially in France, would rate
higher. We spend the morning whizzing around, taking in the Panorama red run and the Harakiri black run. It’s Austria’s steepest groomed run and one for experts; if you fall, you may only stop at the bottom. For lunch, we head for the Schneekarhütte, an old farm that’s been converted into two quirky pyramidshaped buildings, one housing the restaurant, the other offering rooms that are listed on Airbnb. The Suite-Genuss at an elevation of 2,250m costs from £401 a night (for up to four people), and because of its remote location, includes a five-course dinner and breakfast. There are wooden beams, cow-hide furnishings and huge windows, from which you can watch the sun rise across the valley. The spacious suite, which is ski-in, ski-out, also has a modern bathroom with a mountain view. The next day we make a beeline for the smaller Ahorn mountain. The pint-sized ski area is the perfect place to escape the weekend warrior crowd. Having caught the first lift at 8am, we are able to fly down the rolling red run, which turns into a black nearer the bottom, back to the valley, without spotting anyone else. It’s a serious descent, with a vertical drop of 1,300m, which leaves your legs burning and your ears popping. Aside from that challenging top-tobottom descent, the Ahorn mountain
is ideal for beginners, with gentle and wide open slopes, all served by high-tech chairlifts with heated seats. We spend a few hours pootling around, before stopping at the White Lounge Igloo for a hot chocolate. Inside, carved into the ice, are comfy snugs with tables and chairs covered in sheepskin. The real treat is at the back, where you’ll find seven smaller igloos designed for couples that can be rented for the night. These include the White Lounge Iglu Hotel Romance, where a night costs from £323 for two and includes dinner at a nearby mountain hut and breakfast. Designed for couples “with something to celebrate”, the booking includes a huge mattress, Arctic-grade sleeping bags, bubbly on ice and scattered rose petals. For Airbnb in the Alps it’s still early days, but the number looks likely to explode in coming seasons. The real variety offered would seem to cater for everyone; from expansive family homes which could house huge reunions to cosy romantic igloos. For tourists it’s a boon, with greater choice of places to stay and the chance to live like a local, away from the shackles of a traditional chalet or hotel holiday.
Ben Clatworthy was a guest of Airbnb (airbnb. co.uk). He stayed at the Apart Central chalet (airbnb.co.uk/rooms/3693930), which costs from £749 a night for 16 people.
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THE INSIDE EDGE 46 SNOW WEAR
58 RESORT INSIDER
As we dive into powdery runs and lunches in the sun, invest in clothes which will keep you cool all the way into next season
A sneak peek into some of the snow-sure resorts which can be good options for late season Easter skiing
62 IN YOUR NEXT ISSUE
Embrace wearable technology and easy apps which won’t get in the way but will actually help you advance your skiing
Give your summer holiday a lift this May with a little help from Ski+board’s summer sister, Elevation magazine
Spring into action with bargain kit and clothing By reviewing your gear and equipment late in the season, you can make savings and invest in kit which can work for years Words by Harriet Johnston Spring skiing is truly a special thing. Skies can be stunningly blue, temperatures well above zero and, in recent seasons, snow at its absolute best. And, if you’re at home, as the mornings get lighter and the sun begins to peek through the wintery grey, it can feel very tempting to shove snow wear and kit to the back of the wardrobe, where it will lie neglected for another year. But this time of year gives the perfect opportunity to review what clothing may need replacing before the winter comes around again. Spring is also a good time to snap up any bargains in the sales — and while it can be tempting to browse the net for cheap sale offers, popping into a shop can garner invaluable knowledge, particularly regarding the quality of the product. We’ve identified the key trends which means these pieces will work for years. As we revealed in the November issue of Ski+board, colourways inspired by nature are the new thing and likely to remain so next season. Burnt oranges, beet reds and olive greens are worth investing in as they’ll look fresh for years. If you are stashing your snow wear away, make sure you clean your kit first as per the instructions (or follow the tips on the Ski Club’s YouTube channel). This will ensure they don’t develop an odour of any kind. It may also be helpful to re-proof your clothing using spray-on or wash-in waterproofer. You can find guides to colour trends and how to care for your clothes in previous Ski+board magazines, which are available at skiclub.co.uk/skiandboard.
T HE INSID E ED G E S NOW W EAR
Ole wears Dare2b Argent jacket (£200) and Stand For Pants (£100) with Barts Sandy beanie (£25) and Sontimer H Bomb goggles (£60)
T HE INSID E ED G E S NOW W EAR
From left, Will wears Trespass Icon DLX Jacket (£250) with Provision pants (£160) and Dragon NFX2 goggles (£185). Tony wears Eider Brooklyn jacket (£260) and Kingston pants (£175) with Ortovox Freerider gloves (£115) and Poc Fornix helmet (£125)
T HE INSID E ED G E S NOW W EAR
Ashley wears Burton WB Hazel jacket (£165), Burton WM Chance pants (£150) with Burton profile gloves (£35)
From left, Tony wears Salomon jacket and Poc Fornix helmet (£125) with Von Zipper goggles (£120). Will wears Burton Folsom Mocha Wax jacket (£210) and Cargo pants (£160) with Anon M2 goggles (£180). Ole wears O’Neill Jeremy Jones jacket (£240) and pants with Von Zipper goggles (£105). Ashley wears the Planks Good Times jacket (£190) Ski+board
T HE INSID E ED G E S NOW W EAR
From left, Will wears Patagonia Untracked jacket (£280). Tony wears O’Neill Jeremy Jones shell (£370)
From left, Ole wears Salomon Icetown jacket (£300). Ashley wears Schöffel Grenoble jacket (£270) and Anon WM1 goggles (£160)
T HE INSID E ED G E S NOW W EAR
Ole wears O’Neill Jeremy Jones jacket (£145)
MAJOR BRITISH RETAILERS Snow+Rock: snowandrock.com Cotswold Outdoor: cotswoldoutdoor.com Ellis Brigham: ellis-brigham.com Surfdome: surfdome.com TSA: snowboard-asylum.com The retailers above offer Ski Club members ten per cent off full-priced products, apart from Snow+Rock and Cotswold Outdoor, which offer 15 per cent CONTACTS Anon: anonoptics.com Arc’teryx: arcteryx.com Barts: barts.eu Burton: burton.com CLWR: snowtraxstore.co.uk Dare2b: dare2b.com Dragon: dragonalliance.com Eider: eider.com North Face: thenorthface.com O’Neill: oneill.com Oakley: oakley.com Ortovox: ortovox.com Picture: ellis-brigham.com Peak Performance: peakperformance.com/gb Planks: planksclothing.com Poc: pocsports.com Roxy: roxy-uk.co.uk Salomon: ellis-brigham.com Scott: ellis-brigham.com Trespass: trespass.com Von Zipper: absolute-snow.co.uk
Fashion editor Rachel Rosser Production manager Ben Clatworthy Photography Melody Sky Hair and make-up Jemma Barwick Models Ashley Crook Anthony Wilson Will Siggers Oline Antonsson
Stunning modern architecture and mountain scenery combine to create quite the impact on Sölden’s high slopes. The resort shone on the big screen last autumn as one of the locations in the James Bond film Spectre, and its popularity continues to grow. With three peaks above 3,000m, two glacier ski areas at Rettenbach and Tiefenbach, a state-of-the-art lift system and 146km of pistes to explore, the skiing is varied and snow-sure. The village has a stylish restaurant scene and lively nightlife to keep everyone entertained. Daily scheduled and charter flights are available to Innsbruck from many airports across the UK. Alternative airports include Zurich, Munich and Friedrichshafen. For more information on Sölden visit: soelden.com/en, to find out about the Austrian Tirol region see visittirol.co.uk Ski+board
Volvo Car UK has been in partnership with the Ski Club of Great Britain for just over one year. Its vehicles support the team on their overseas trips, thanks to the innovative four-wheel drive technology and large luggage capacity in Volvo’s range.
Ski Club Freshtracks 2016-17 Lap up some late season snow with Freshtracks With flurries of snow across the Alps, we’ve got an inkling we could be in for a snowy spring, making up for lost time. It seems every day we’re spotting friends skiing and enjoying the recent dumps which have been seen across Europe and North America. Resorts which were spring like in December have become winter wonderlands in March. There are still plenty of opportunities to get back out to the Alps - whether that’s celebrating Easter in the famous La Grave or developing your skills in the Espace Killy.
Don’t miss out on the best conditions of the season… To improve your skiing…
Val Thorens Spring Ski Week 15-22 April We’re heading back to snow-sure Val Thorens for an extra week in the warm and welcoming Hotel Le Sherpa. This trip includes 5 days instruction with the team from BASS who we have worked with now for 3 seasons to rave reviews. The week is aimed at intermediate (red) and advanced intermediate (silver) on piste skiers over 55.
Val-d’Isère On Piste Development 25 March-1 April An instructional ski holiday in the world famous Val-d’Isère with the entirety of Espace Killy at your fingertips. It’s a week of full on skiing on amazing terrain, with six days of instruction so you can make the most of it. This vast ski area has over 150 different runs including the 10km La Sache. You’ll be staying in The Lodge which has been newly refurbished to offer style and comfort. A €70 bar tab is also included in the booking. The week is aimed at advanced intermediate (silver) and advanced (purple) on piste skiers.
Photo: Melody Sky
Photo: Ross Woodhall
SKI CLUB PROMOTION
To tick one off the bucket list…
La Grave Off Piste Easter Weekend 13-17 April
To experience the very best off-piste that France has to offer…
Chamonix Off Piste Adventure 1-8 April The Off-Piste Adventure weeks are all about skiing as much of the amazing and challenging terrain as possible. Aimed at experienced off-piste skiers, you’ll be looking to get plenty of miles under your feet and experience all this incredible area has to offer. As ever, our Chamonix weeks will be hosted by a Ski Club Leader who will have a minibus to get you from place to place each day. Your base for the week is Chalet Freshtracks in Les Houches. New to Freshtracks this year, you can expect a warm welcome, plenty of delicious home cooked food and even a hot tub to soak in after a hard day on the hill. The week is aimed at advanced (purple) and expert (gold) off piste skiers.
An off-piste weekend to savour. La Grave is famous for offering the world’s biggest lift-accessed off-piste skiing. Take the one and only lift from the village at 1400m up to mid stations at 1800m, 2400m, 3200m and finally to Dôme de la Lauze at 3550m. Once at the top, the mountain is your playground. The off-piste terrain available is so vast that you need a guide to experience it properly and safely. And that’s where Jean-Yves, Philippe and Maxant come in. These experienced local guides will lead you to open powder fields, narrow gullies, tree runs and even some drops if you’re brave enough. The week is for advanced (purple) and expert (gold) off piste skiers. Photo: Tom Ewbank
For more details visit skiclub.co.uk/freshtracks or call 020 8410 2022
Feeling the buzz about skiing As gadgets become more popular, ski apps and wearable tech are adapting to the mountains Words by Alf Alderson It can be frustrating if you spend more time faffing around with gizmos than enjoying what the mountain has to offer. Recent research by Columbus Direct revealed that British skiers and snowboarders are now taking gadgets worth £3 billion on their winter holidays every year. This season, technology will enhance your mountain experience by fitting into the kit you’ve already got, meaning
it should seamlessly add to your trip, rather than distract you from it. It can offer tips on your skiing, point out areas to explore or lead you to the closest bar for après. Resorts are getting in on the act by offering apps which are free to download, like the Yuge app reviewed here for Paradiski. Wearable technology is also increasingly popular — a trend we’ve seen recently with the rise in fitness watches. Though Google Glass didn’t quite catch on, camera sunglasses SunnyCam Activ could change the way après is recorded — if only an hour at a time. Gadgets like the Carv Ski Wearable will improve technique, by tracking ski motions and providing analysis.
Read more gear reviews as they are posted online at skiclub.co.uk/news
Alf Alderson is an award-winning adventure travel writer who divides his time between the Alps and Pembrokeshire. He is co-author of the Rough Guide to the Rocky Mountains and other ski guides. He is an experienced gear tester for the ski press.
Fortnightly £2.99 Yearly £25.99
Daily €4.99 Weekly €26.99 Annual €49.99
Yuge Paradiski Ski App
Skadi Ski App
Yuge is just one of many free apps being offered by resorts — in this case, it’s the Les Arcs/La Plagne Paradiski area. The app can be personalised to provide information specific to skiing ability and resort. My favourite part is the real time information on lift queues, as well as which pistes and lifts are open which should mean more time can be spent on the slopes. There are snow reports and weather forecasts, plus a stack of other features including trail maps and suggestions for routes. An ‘SOS’ button can be used in an emergency and tells rescue services of your exact location. Yuge will also track your riding activity and rank it against other users. All this info for free is great, though be aware — roaming charges may be costly.
Fatmap is aimed mainly at freeriders and covers most of the world’s major ski areas — though it is sparse in Canada, with only Whistler included. Fatmap offers, amongst other things, clear 3-D maps, information on slope gradient, aspect, altitude and other crucial pieces of terrain information, as well as location sharing so you and your group can stay in touch, route maps of the best off-piste lines and the facility to record your routes. The off-piste information is very impressive and remarkably detailed. There are also descriptions, locations and guides to every piste in your resort of choice, along with information on stuff like restaurants, bars, transport and first aid facilities, so piste skiers will also find it very useful.
Skadi is free to download and able to create a personalised itinerary of your ski resort. You input your level of ability and skiing preferences and it acts as a personalised guide, providing both visual and audio guidance around the resort. It saves a lot of faffing around with piste maps, as you just plug your headphones in and follow audio prompts. It’s a great option if you like to cruise around and explore without constant stops to check where you are. The app can even create a personal full-day ‘ski safari’, and it will take you to a point such as a restaurant or lift by tapping said location on the map. However, at present it only covers a limited number of resorts, most of them being in Austria. Though it costs to use Skadi, it doesn’t incur roaming charges.
Free, heaps of useful features for any visitor Can incur roaming charges
Great tool for off-piste skiers in particular Can’t replace a qualified ski guide
No roaming charges You have to pay to use it
THE INSID E ED G E G EA R
Sunnycam Activ Video Sunglasses
Garmin Fēnix 5S
Carv Ski Wearable
The Sunnycam Activ sunglasses feature a frame that contains a 1,080 pixel video camera between the eyes. This has a 90° field of view lens and a microSD port that can hold a 64GB card, allowing you to record over 11 hours of video. The problem is the limited battery life — at one hour, you have to be selective when shooting. Controls are built into the frame’s arm, and just a touch will start recording. You can download the footage onto a laptop via a USB port. The glasses are bulky, with the frame sticking out either side of your temples making them uncomfortable to wear with a helmet. They also have a minimum operating temperature of 0°C, which will severely restrict their use in mid-winter.
The Fēnix 5S comes preloaded with features for skiing, cycling and many other sports. It also supports Strava live segments and offers daily activity tracking, a barometric altimeter, threeaxis compass and gyroscope. There are a variety of training features and a Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate sensor provides improved monitoring day and night without the need of a chest strap. When paired with a compatible smartphone you can get calls, text and email notifications on your watch. It’s also compatible with Garmin Connect IQ allowing you to customise the watch with apps, widgets, data fields and watch faces; you can even set it to be your favourite photo with the ‘Face It’ app. It’s also light and small and comes with a choice of colours and watchbands.
This device, which attaches to your boots, provides technique feedback from simple, actionable data to detailed metrics and analysis. A combination of inserts and a clipon tracking device measures pressure distribution (there are 48 pressure sensors per foot) and skiing motion, and the feedback from this is relayed through headphones as you ski to provide you with your own virtual coach, giving analysis of your technique and drills to improve your skiing. The system connects wirelessly to iOS and Android which allows you to analyse technique later, and compare it with friends who are also using the system. It’s designed to operate in -40C, is water resistant and has a 16-hour battery life (recharging by a USB port).
Fun, easy to use; decent-sized memory card Poor battery life and bulky design
Small, sleek design with loads of features Expensive
Convenient way of analysing your skiing Probably a bit too geeky for a lot of skiers
SKI CLUB PROMOTION
The Ski Club’s all-new Snow & Weather App The Ski Club’s snow and weather app has been given a brand new look and redesign from the ground up - making it easier than ever to view the conditions in your favourite resorts.
With the app you can access our industry-leading snow reports and 6-day weather forecasts for over 250 resorts, all wrapped up in one easy-to-use app. You’ll also receive notifications letting you know what’s happening in your favourite resorts – where to find our Leaders or Instructors-led
Guiding service, where you can use Ski Club discounts, and details of social hours where you can meet other members to ski with. The app is now available to download from the Apple App Store for iPhones and iPads, and the Google Play Store for Android devices.
SKI CLUB BENEFITS
MEMBER DISCOUNTS The Ski Club offers its members a host of discounts at a variety of organisations to help save money both before and on your holiday. To claim your discount visit skiclub.co.uk/discounts where you will also find full terms and conditions.
SkiSweden 5% Skiworld 10% Sno Holidays 5% snow-wise 10% Snowcoach 5% Snowscape 5%
TOUR OPERATORS Alpine Action 5% Alpine Elements 11% Balkan Holidays 5% Club Med 10% Crystal Ski Holidays/ Crystal Finest £50 discount Different Snow 5% Elegant Resorts 5% Erna Low 6% Esprit Ski 5% Frontier Ski 5% Headwater 5% Iglu.com 5%
Stanford Skiing 10% Sunweb Holidays 10% The Oxford Ski Company 5% Travel Club Elite 6% VIP Ski 10%
Alpe d’Huez Chalets Alpe d’Huez 5% Alps Accommodation Samoëns and Morillon 5% Auberge & Chalets sur la Montagne Sainte Foy 10% Chalet Blanc La Chapelle d’Abondance 5%
Hotel Belvedere Wengen 10% PASS
Hotel Bristol Saas-Fee 5% Hotel Schweizerhof Pontresina 12% Hotel Silberhorn Wengen 10% Hotel Wengener Hof Wengen 10%
Fun & Spa Hotel Strass Mayrhofen, Austria 5% Holiday Whistler Whistler 10%
Nomadic Ski Holidays 5%
Neilson Holidays Up to 12%
Ski Talini 5%
Premiere Neige 10%
Snow Retreat 5%
Ski Amis 10%
Snow Trippin 10%
Ski Independence 5%
The Tasty Ski Company 10%
Ski Peak 5%
Valloire Reservations 12%
Ski Solutions 5%
Ski Total 5% Ski-Val 5% SkiIceland 5% SkiLapland 5% SkiNorway 5%
FINANCIAL Caxton Fx £10 balance on registration WeSwap £10 discount
AIRPORT PARKING, HOTELS AND LOUNGES APH Airport Parking & Hotels 10% to 27% Cophall Parking Gatwick 20% FHR Airport Parking and Hotels 10% to 25%
Chalet Blanc Portes du Soleil 5%
Holiday Extras 10% to 15%
GriwaRent Grindelwald 5%
Serena Stubbs Orthotist 10% Skifitness 20% Ski-Mojo 10%
SHOPPING Absolute-Snow 15% Aquapac International 20% Banana Moon Clothing 10% Blacks 20% Burnt Custard 20% Cotswold Outdoor 15% Craigdon Mountain Sports 15% Cycle Surgery 10% Drift Innovation Action Cameras 20% Ellis Brigham 10% Ember 15%
Chalet Apartment Rentals Four Valleys 15%
Ferienart Resort & Spa Saas-Fee 10%
JK Physiotherapy 15%
Verbier Rentals Verbier 10%
Mark Warner 10%
Ski Cuisine Méribel 5%
The Snow Centre Hemel Hempstead 10%
SkiA Ski Trainer 15%
Summit Vacations 20%
Mountain Paradise 5%
Ski Rossendale 10%
Swiss Quality Hotels Resorts in Switzerland and Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany 10%
Méribel Ski Chalets 11% Méribel
GYM, FITNESS AND LEISURE
Lagrange Holidays 5%
Mountain Heaven 10%
Glenshee Ski Centre 10% to 20%
Sunstar Hotels Group Arosa, Davos, Flims, Lenzerheide, Grindelwald, Wengen, Zermatt, Klosters, Saas-Fee 15%
LeaveTown Alberta, British Columbia and Québec in Canada 6%
Jasna Adventures 10%
Cairngorm Mountain 10%
Silvretta Parkhotel Arosa 10%
Clarian Chalets Portes du Soleil 10%
Looking4parking Up to 20% Skyparksecure Up to 16%
Finches Emporium 10% Freetime Mountain Sports 15% Freeze Pro Shop 10% Glisshop 10% Go Outdoors 10% Hardnutz 20% Little Skiers 10% to 15% Lockwoods 10% to 25% Mountain Warehouse 15% Nature Shop 5% PIQ 20% Planks 15%
PlayBrave Sports Apparel 20% Profeet Ski Boot Lab Various Discounts Runners Need 15% RxSport 10% Ryft Goggles 15%
Mountain Rescue 10% off Saturday transfers PowderCab Airport Transfers 10% Ski Lifts 10% Whiterides Airport Transfers 10%
Ski Bartlett 10% Snow Lab 10% to 15% Snow+Rock 15%
Adrenaline Ski and Snowboard School Verbier £10 discount
Surefoot 10% Surfdome 10% Techniblock Sunscreen 10%
Element Ski School 10%
Thirsty Various discounts
ESI First Tracks Ski Coaching 5% to 10%
Ultimate Outdoors 20%
European Snowsport 10% Evolution 2 10%
FOR CARS Polar snowchains 15% Sanef Tolling — France Free registration The Roof Box Company 10% Volvo Various discounts
SKI LUGGAGE Bag Solo 10% Loqski 10% Piste of Mind 10%
TRANSPORT Jet2.com 10% Snow Express 10% Swiss £25 off flights to Switzerland
CAR HIRE Rhino Car Hire 15% Zest Car Rental 5%
Magic In Motion Courchevel, Méribel 10% Marmalade Ski School 10% Momentum Snowsports 10% New Generation Ski and Snowboard School 10% Oxygène Ski School La Plagne, Val d’Isère 5% to 10%
SNOWSPORTS INSTRUCTOR COURSES ALLTRACKS Academy Various discounts Altitude Futures Various discounts
Basi 10% off Level 1 course
European Outdoors Film Tour 11%
EA Ski and Snowboard Training 25%
Exeter & District Ski Club 20%
TECHNIQUE COURSES AND CAMPS
Focus Study Tours £100 all language plus courses
Core Ski & Snowboard Camps Various discounts
Gosling Ski & Board Centre 10%
Inside Out Skiing 50% off first ski clinic at Hemel Snow Centre
Huski 10% Llandudno Ski and Snowboard Centre 10%
Nonstop Ski & Snowboard Various discounts
Mendip Snowsport Centre 10%
Powder Extreme Various discounts
Newmilns Dry Ski Slope 10%
Pro Ride Snowboard Camps Various discounts
Norfolk Snowsports Club 25% Off Courses.net 10% Sandown Ski Centre 10%
Shredder Experiences 20%
Scuola Sci Sauze Sportinia 10%
Andrist Sport 15%
Ski and Snowboard Centre Cardiff 20%
Arc 1950 Up to 55%
Skyspii Ski Tracker 10%
Glacier Sport 10% to 15%
Ski Progression 10% to 15%
Le Vallon Blanc Up to 30%
Snowtrax - Outdoor Activity Centre 10%
Ski School Cristallo-Cortina 10%
Skiset 15% to 60%
Polaire Star Up to 25%
Snow d’Light 10%
Skimium 10% to 25%
Stoked Snowsports 10%
Snowline Sport Shop 25%
Summit Ski & Snowboard School 10%
Stager Sport 15%
Supreme Ski & Snowboard School 10% Swiss Ski and Snowboard School Villars 10%
White Storm 55%
OTHER Ackers Outdoor Activity Centre 10%
The Snow School 15%
Alpine French School £25 Free enrolment fee
Ben’s Bus 5% off return transfers from Grenoble airport to ski resorts
Ultimate Snowsports Tignes 10%
Alpine Snowsports Aldershot 10%
Looking4Transfers Up to 15%
Chill Factore 10% to 30%
Firpark Ski Centre 20%
Holiday Taxi Innsbruck Airport 5%
Carlisle Snowsports 10% Chel-Ski 20%
TDC Tignes, Val d’Isère 10%
Cham Van 10%
Bromley Ski Centre 10%
Basecamp £250 off 11-week courses
Schweizer Schneesportschule Davos 10% group lessons Scuola di Sci del Cervino Various discounts
Brentwood Ski & Snowboard Centre Various discounts
Bassingbourn Snowsports Centre Up to 25%
Bearsden Ski & Board 10%
Echo Travel 10%
Bowles Snowsports Centre 10%
iSki Val d’Isère 15%
Bracknell Ski Centre 20%
Snozone Castleford and Milton Keynes 10% Southampton Alpine Centre 10% Suffolk Ski Centre 15% Sunderland Snowsports Centre 20% Swadlincote Ski & Snowboard Centre 10% Tamworth Snowdome £15 discount Telford Ski Centre 5% Yoodo Movie Maker 20% All discounts are based on information available at the time of going to press. All are subject to partners’ terms and conditions and are subject to change without prior warning. See skiclub.co.uk/discounts for further information or call Member Services on 020 8410 2015
Photo: Greg Mistral\Tignes
The arrival of miracle March Words by Harriet Johnston, Joe Troman, Susannah Osborne Back in 1991, Lake Tahoe was suffering a disastrous ski season...Until a miracle happened. Over the month of March, over 20 feet of snow fell in the ski resort, saving the season. And now, 26 years later, after a somewhat slow start, March has arrived and with it, the snow has finally come. Every day we are catching wind of dump after dump of snow in the mountains, with knee deep powder somehow feeling more of a characteristic of Easter than Christmas. Spring provides a whole new face to the mountains. Every type of snow can be found, transforming throughout the day as the sun warms the surface and offering new experiences. It gives a chance to explore areas of the mountain that aren’t as accessible or prevalent at other times like parks or glaciers. Whether you’re building a kicker with friends and relaxing by the side of the piste with a beer, or searching for the last of the season’s powder, the joy of spring can offer endless possibilities. And perhaps you’ve been holding out for the very best snow of the season or there just hasn’t been a convenient time to head out to the slopes. Maybe you have already had your fix but your feet are still itching to get back into those trusty boots. Many resorts are open well into May with some operating year-round thanks to glaciers. Resorts which, like Tignes, have
plenty of north-facing terrain above 2,200 metres will catch good quality spring snow. Last spring, much of the Alps were blessed with dustings of snow and Scotland had some of its best snow. So head to high altitude resorts, and those with a glacier as well as to Nordic countries to get some of the most snow-sure conditions later in the season.
To read guides to more than a thousand resorts see skiclub.co.uk/skiresorts
HOW OUR GUIDE WORKS CHALLENGE Our infographic shows how resorts
grade pistes according to difficulty, showing what percentage are black, red, blue or green (however, note that Austrian, Swiss and some Italian areas don’t have green runs). PISTES We list the combined length of all the resort’s
pistes, as claimed by the tourist office. We include linked areas that are also covered by the lift pass. LIFT PASS Lift pass prices are for a six-day adult pass
during high season.
T HE INSID E ED G E R ESORT I NSI DE R
Photo: Greg Mistral\Tignes
Variety which adds spice to any late season skiing Why there? For many resorts, Easter is considered late season, but in Tignes it's just not the case. In fact, it seems the season never ends. The two 3,000m plus glaciers of the Espace Killy area that Tignes share with Val d'Isère are open in summer, providing great piste conditions year round. Throw into the mix a high speed lift system and you have the makings of a piste skier’s dream resort. For those who like to adventure off-piste, snow levels have been historically excellent well into April and later. To add a final string to its already impressive bow, park rats will find two of the most progressive parks in the Alps. Even later in the season, all the way to August, these come alive as visitors take to the slopes either to throw some shapes, or just to watch the spectacle.
Can’t ski, won’t ski: In addition to Val's infamous après ski
spot La Folie Douce, Tignes offers everything from ice gokarting to rock climbing. For anyone who are searching to recharge their batteries in the mountains, neighbouring resort Val d'Isère will host the Yoga in the Mountains festival from April 28 for the weekend. JT
Charisma Ski schools
Piste height: 1,550m-3,456m
Photo: Silvano Zeiter\Myrkdalen
A surprisingly fun resort with a unique difference Why there? Sat a little over two hours north east of Bergen, Myrkdalen isn’t a destination considered by many Brits for a holiday in the snow. But you shouldn't let the resort’s modest piste mileage and elevation put you off. This compact, quiet retreat is perfect for families who may be looking to get away from the hustle and bustle. Wide, open, well maintained runs interconnected by a freshening speedy and modern lift system make it a good resort for beginners and intermediates. More daring enthusiasts are well catered for too, with extensive touring and easily accessible off-piste a-plenty. Snow levels peak around mid-March so the spring snow is as dependable as anywhere else in Europe. Big kids will enjoy the terrain parks which have a good mix of features on offer. For those really into their freestyle, Myrkdalen plays host to the World Cup Big Air Finals at the end of March.
23% 27% 10%
Can’t ski, won’t ski: The fjords, scenic railway the Flåm Line and so many other Unesco World Heritage sites make this area a great destination for those looking for something a little different from their winter break. JT
Charisma Ski schools
£120 9 26km
T HE INSID E ED G E R ESORT I NSI DE R
Why there? Avoriaz sits at the heart of the Portes du Soleil ski area, a network of 12 ski resorts spanning the French— Swiss border. Perched on the edge of dramatic high cliff, overlooking the Morzine valley, the resort was built in 1967 as a tranquil antidote to city life and celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Entirely car-free, access to the slopes and accommodation is by foot, horse-drawn sleigh or electric caterpillar track taxi; leaving your car at the gate of the resort costs from €65 a week, or €12 a day. Pistes and fast, modern lifts fan out in all directions from the centre of the village. The long and steep runs below the resort lead to the high speed Prodains Express cable car that starts above Morzine village. Descend from the ridge to the west of Avoriaz to access the pretty wooded slopes that lead to Les Lindarets, from where you can continue towards Châtel. And above the main resort, the Chavanettes sector offers access to Switzerland.
Photo: Stéphane Lerendu/Avoriaz Tourisme
A huge south-facing but still fairly snow-sure resort
Snow Lifts Queue-free
Can’t ski, won’t ski: Kick back at Aquariaz, a huge water park right on the pistes, or tour the resort by horse-drawn sleigh. SO
Piste height: 1,800m-2,460m
SKI CLUB BENEFITS
Choosing Ski Club Travel Insurance has always meant that you’re getting the specialist cover you need, with policies designed by experts for skiers and snowboarders. And our policies aren’t just for skiing – they’re the perfect accompaniment to all of your travel adventures, on and off the snow.
HIGHLIGHTS: • Off piste skiing and boarding, with or without a guide • All policies include Fogg Medi-card as standard, to get you off the mountain with no up-front costs • Single trip cover up to the age of 85 (75 for multi-trip)
15% OFF for Ski Club Members
• Children FREE up to the age of 18 on all family policies (or under 24 if you have Ski Club Platinum membership) • Up to 45 days’ winter sports cover each year with Ski Club Platinum Membership • Winter sports equipment cover including goggles, helmets, boots & gloves as well as the usual cover for skis, poles and snowboards • Cover for lack of snow, and avalanches
For a quote, visit skiclubinsurance.co.uk or call 0300 303 2610
• Heli skiing, glacier skiing, backcountry skiing and ski touring all covered as standard
Fly direct from 9 local UK airports to 18 of the top resorts across the Alps
Great group deals with up to 1-in-5 go free
NEW Winter 17/18 Preview Brochure out now!
Call 01483 345 957 or visit skitotal.com
Thereâ€™s more fun for everyone No.1 for family skiing Choose from 13 resorts across the Alps, along with flexible, award-winning child care that includes dedicated Baby and Toddler weeks. With Esprit you all have more fun!
100% Financial security | ATOL 0 |
Call 01483 915 069 Or visit espritski.com
Do You Own Your Own Skis?
Can you ski everything you want to? Skis are now much more versatile and user friendly, helping you ski with less effort in lots more varied snow conditions. Choose the correct ski for your ability level & preferred terrrain & you will feel huge changes in their ease of use, your progression and enjoyment. Recent technology and innovation means ski equipment is better than it’s ever been before... isn’t it time you upgraded your equipment and made the most of your experience in the mountains? Before you invest in your next trip... come and visit us today to ensure you have the correct advice from experienced equipment specialists.
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SKI CLUB BENEFITS
It’s still not too late to ski with the Club! One of the great things about being part of a club is getting together with others and doing what you love best. Our Leader and Instructor-led Guiding Services are running in 29 resorts right into April, so there’s still plenty of time to take advantage of the fantastic late-season conditions and ski with fellow Ski Club members.
SKI CLUB LEADERS Get more from the mountain If you’re tired of looking at your piste map, join a Ski Club Leader group and get straight to the best slopes. Our volunteer Leaders can take you to the best snow, and help you meet people of similar ability to ski with. Pick the days and times which suit you best, as each weekly programme includes a variety of options for skiers of different abilities. Leaders also host a social each evening, where you can share a drink with fellow Ski Club members and recount your tales of a hard day on the slopes. Ski Club Leaders are in 18 resorts in Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Andorra, USA and Canada.
Find out more at skiclub.co.uk/leaders
Had a great time and found some lovely snow. No need to look at the piste map for 1.5 days. Awesome value.
Quite honestly my holiday was made by our Leader John - his enthusiasm and leadership, faultless. Rob Parkynn
INSTRUCTOR-LED GUIDING The best way to get around French resorts New for this season - Les Deux Alpes, and extra sessions added in Tignes and Val d’Isère! Instructor-led Guiding is running in 11 major French resorts – with full-day and half-day sessions each week to suit different skiing abilities, ranging from exploring the resort’s pistes, to off piste adventures for experienced powder hunters. Instructors also host social evenings – the frequency varies from resort to resort so check the website for more details.
Advance online bookings: £30 full day / £15 half day* Direct bookings with instructor in resort: €45 full day / €25 half day *Online bookings can be made up to 12pm on the Friday of the previous week. Melody Sky
Find out more at skiclub.co.uk/instructors
A WELL-DESERVED OPPORTUNITY EXCLUSIVE V90 CROSS COUNTRY OFFER
As a Ski Club of Great Britain member, you can benefit from exclusive savings on the refined elegance and rugged, robust edge of the new V90 Cross Country, including a £250 contribution towards Volvo accessories until the 31st March. V90 D4 AWD Cross Country, Metallic Paint Personal Contract Purchase Representative Example* 48 monthly payments Customer deposit On the road price Member saving Revised on the road price Total amount of credit Interest charges Total amount payable Duration of agreement (months) Fixed rate of interest (per annum) Optional final payment Mileage per annum Excess mileage charge Representative APR
£329.00 £7,369.00 £40,355.00 £4,905.00 £35,450.00 £28,081.00 £4,410.85 £39,860.86 49 2.52% £16,700.00 10,000 14.9p per mile 4.9%
Available with 3 years’ complementary servicing when purchased on Volvo Advantage Personal Contract Purchase.
SEE HOW MUCH YOU COULD SAVE BY VISITING SKICLUB.CO.UK /DISCOUNTS OR BY CALLING T YSON COOPER ON 01473 372 020
Official fuel consumption for the Volvo V90 D4 AWD Cross Country in MPG (l/100km): Urban 45.6 (6.2), Extra Urban 60.1 (4.7), Combined 54.3 (5.2). CO2 emissions 138g/km. MPG figures are obtained from laboratory testing intended for comparisons between vehicles and may not reflect real driving results. *Finance subject to status. The £250 contribution towards Volvo Accessories offer is valid until 31st March 2017. Retail sales only. Subject to availability at participating dealers only on vehicles registered by 31st March 2017. At the end of the agreement there are 3 options: (i) Part exchange the vehicle, (ii) Pay the Optional Final Payment to own the vehicle or (iii) Return the vehicle. Further charges may be made subject to the condition or mileage of the vehicle. Terms and conditions apply. Applicants must be 18 or over. Guarantee/Indemnity may be required. Volvo Car Credit, RH1 1SR. The service offer is only applicable when purchasing on Volvo Advantage Personal Contract Purchase on vehicles ordered between 1st January 2017 and 31st March 2017. Services must be carried out at a Volvo Authorised Repairer. Retail offer only. Excludes fleet operators and business users. See volvocars.co.uk for full terms and conditions.