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Summer is finally over which marks one of our favourite times of the year – the countdown to ski season. If you’re lucky enough to be in London this is when the ski and snowboard films start premiering around the city and you can meet up with all your ski buddies and start drinking like it’s après o’clock in the Alps. It’s still 2 month until many of us can head to the mountains for our first shred of winter, so how do you pass the time? London Freeski Film Festival is back for it’s 3rd year and here to help you kick start your winter season in style. This year promises even more films, more stalls selling the latest gear, plus lots of prizes to giveaway. On Thursday 23rd October you can catch this year’s best new ski films featuring your favourite riders on two planks. Whether you’re into your gnarly jibbing or throwing down big mountain, there’s something for everyone.
Ski films confirmed: UK Premiere - Level 1 Production: Less The 15th annual ski motion picture from Level 1, shot in USA, Canada, Poland, Switzerland, Sweden, France and Japan.
Poor Boyz Productions: Twenty "True to the movement" since 1994, the Poor Boyz cameras have captured everything from the first twin tips in the park to remote mountain descents in this years unforgettable film.
Stept Productions: Ten and Two Join the Stept crew as they continue the search for their American dream. These weathered nomads strive to find a balance between craziness and normalcy as their transnational adventure takes them from New England, to the Teton Mountains and back.
UK Premiere - Sandra Lahnsteiner : Pure PURE is the second “Shades of Winter” movie of Austrian freeskier and filmmaker Sandra Lahnsteiner. Sharing her plattform of “Shades of Winter” with female athletes from all over the world you can again expect high performance skiing at its best.
When? Thursday 23rd October at 7pm Where? Famous Three Kings, Fulham, W14 9NL How? Buy Tickets HERE Everyone who buys a ticket will be entered into the raffle to win lots of ski swag to set you up nicely for this winter. 15% of all proceeds will be donated to the ‘Huck Cancer Foundation’, which is a non-profit organisation set up so skiers and snowboarders can show their support in the fight against cancer, which helps benefit the lives of patients in both the UK and France.
To win 2 tickets to the London Freeski Film Festival, head to Facebook to LIKE Iglu SKi, LIKE the image & Comment with your favourite ski film ever, or go to Twitter to FOLLOW @igluski & RT the competition tweet. A winner will be chosen at random on Friday 17th October and tickets will be collected on the door of the event.
Following the success of Go Ski Go Board last year, Snowsport England’s latest initiative Go Race Go Freestyle aims to capitalise on Sochi buzz and give people more of a chance to mirror the skills of the Team GB skiers and snowboarders.
Go Ski Go Board In its first year of launch, 10,000 people participated in the Go Ski Go Board sessions across the country where new riders had the chance to try skiing or snowboarding. Snowsport England continues to get more people into ski and snowboard by offering value for money and convenient access to the sports. Read about last year’s GSGB launch
Go Race Go Freestyle Launch We met Tim from Snowsport England at the launch of Go Race Go Freestyle and spoke about advice for new skiers and snowboarders, keeping the momentum of the Sochi legacy as well as the GRGF launch and other events coming up. Watch our video with Tim here: The GRGF launch kicked off at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead this week with Go Ski Go Snowboard Ambassadors, and Team GB skiers, Katie Summerhayes and Darcie Mead. Nick and Krystelle were at the event to meet Katie and Darcie as well as having a taking part in a Go Race Go Freestyle session. Katie and Darcie talking about their involvement in the campaign, then on the slopes at the Snow Centre Get involved in Go Race Go Freestyle Events will be held Nationwide at indoor and artificial slopes and snowsports clubs nationwide. The Go Race Go Freestyle sessions will come in various forms:
Darcie and Nick taking part in Go Race
Tim Fawke, CEO of Snowsport England said: “Sochi 2014 brought snowsports to the attention of more people than ever before, particularly those inspired by the dynamism and excitement of ski racing or by the fantastic performances from Great Britain’s freestyle skiers and snowboarders. With GO RACE GO FREESTYLE sessions, we are giving people the opportunity to get a taste for another side of snowsports and for people who want to get even more involved, it becomes part of the pathway from grass roots to elite snowsports.”
GO SKI GO BOARD and GO RACE GO FREESTYLE sessions can be found on www.goskigoboard.org.uk
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With our first 2 après ski guides now out of date AJ Johnson, Iglu's Director of Sales, and resident après ski Black-Belt, has updated our best après ski destinations for 2014/15. Après ski is now as important as the skiing for UK skiers and riders. Those hectic (or chilled) hours between 3.30pm and 6.00pm when you celebrate a day of great skiing with your mates while still in your ski gear and often still up on the slopes can make or break your trip. The level of après ski is the most common question we get about resorts and I happen to agree that it is an essential part of my ski experience. I may not want to party every afternoon, but when I do, I want very good music, cold beers and cheap shooters, plenty of room to dance, and the option of a sunny terrace. If it’s inclement weather then an indoor area with strong tables for dancing on with ski-boots and lots of alpine memorabilia and style will do. The resort Councils also realise the importance of après ski to the UK market and last year Alpe d’Huez warmly welcomed Folie Douce with their 4th Franchise to great success and the brand keeps going from strength to strength.
The highest party town in the Alps
For a long time VT has been considered the poor cousin of its neighbours in upmarket Méribel and super expensive Courchevel but recent years have seen a transformation into a more mid-range resort. There are still the cheap and tiny apartments available but now there is a 5 star Hotel, some top quality chalets, upmarket self-catered apartments and this year sees Club Med launch their newest village right in the centre of town. We’ll be there for an early season ski in December. It’s a great resort for early or late snow due to its height. The Folie Douce here is just above the town so everyone gets to do a short ski back down on wobbly legs. It’s smaller than the rest of the Folies as it was not built to purpose but a restaurant taken over. I think it has a charm which puts it among the finest après bars in the Tarentaise Vallée.
Down in town there are more bars than you can visit in a night and the après starts early. The Frog and Roast Beef is the highest pub in Europe and draws a UK crowd. The Saloon bar is the Seasonaires favourite and is the rowdiest and most fun bar on the strip if you can take the crowds. VT is also home to the largest nightclub in the Alps in Malaysia, it may be cavernous but it fills up late and rocks all night. The place to stay – The New Val Thorens Club Med Sensations is going to be brilliant.
24/7 Ibiza (budget) Party Town
This big resort in the Grand Rouses mountain range has long been a favourite with the young hip crowd and offers an amazingly long season due to the huge glacier. It has a direct link access to the legendary La Grave free-ride resort, the best Terrain Park in Europe, and summer skiing. There are 45 bars along the main drag and 8 night-clubs. That’s not much less than the entire Trois Vallées and more than Val d’Isére and Tignes added together. On the slopes there is the amazing and huge PANO BAR that gives the 4 Folie Douces a run for their money. The beats are a bit dancier and recognisable and the crowd a little less reserved. After your Pano après session there are a series of bars at the foot of the slopes worth visiting. Just a little warning, the last run in to the resort called the Valentin is a serious run. Download on the Jandri Gondola if you’ve over-cooked it on Jaeger-Bombs. This direct Gondola access means injured or non-skiing friends can join you for lunch and après every day. At the foot of the slopes I like the Umbrella bar. The giant Umbrella can be closed for really cold days and opened for the sunny ones.
Ski Hard, Party Harder
St Anton is still the best of Austria but it is perhaps too popular and the famous piste-side bars are uncomfortably jammed to overflowing with plastered Brits, Dutch and Germans. It has fantastic off-piste routes like the Valluga and brings a lot of the best skiers in the world to party. It also claims to have the oldest ski school in the world and this brings a constant flow of new skiers and boarders to the noisiest après ski bars in Austria. I love the place and I’ve had some of my best après ski moments in The Krazy Kangaruh. Directly across the piste from the KK the Mooserwirt starts the party with ‘The Final Countdown’ at 3pm and then cranks out loud Austro/German pop and gets the crowd into a table dancing frenzy. They probably make the strongest tables in the World in the Arlberg region! Just seeing the beer servers who carry up to 30 full size drinks on doubled up trays is worth the trip. Those guys are seriously strong. This is a bit off subject but for Lunch on the mountain you must visit the Hospiz Alm down in St Christoph. It is easily the best on-mountain restaurant in the Arlberg region and has well-priced daily specials. You are served by staff in traditional lederhosen and there’s a great slide down to the loos inside. I can also highly recommend the Heustadl for live music on the slopes. It’s in a perfect suntrap just before you get to the KK on the skiers left. Recommended Hotel in St. Anton: The Nassereinerhof Every Austrian resort provides good après ski bars and special mentions go out to the resorts of Saalbach, Sölden, and Soll. They all deserve a visit that you’ll never forget.
Posh But Fun
Let’s get the hard bit out of the way first, it’s expensive. The Swiss Franc is on a roll right now and until it gets back to reasonable levels against the £ your après sessions are going bite like a Nile crocodile. Do as seasonaires do and follow the happy hours around the village. No visit to Verbier is complete without a session or two in the Pub Mont Fort, but my favourite is the Farinet Bar — with its sliding roof that opens to let the steam out when the party gets too hot. It’s an experience to remember when they open the roof when it’s snowing and you’re dancing to a Swedish cover band that is leading the shot taking between songs. Why is it that the Swedes seem to have an impossibly good looking cover band in every decent resort in Europe? I suspect it’s because the band members are chasing the best snow, just like you and me. Recommended chalet hotel in Verbier: Chalet Hotel De Verbier.
Glamorous and expensive, and worth every penny
VD is IGLU’s number 1 resort for sales and for staff love. We can’t get enough of it. The skiing in the Espace Killy (the area linked with Tignes) offers more easily accessible variety than any other in Europe. It has a very long season because it catches the storms as they hit the end of the Tarentaise Valley at the border with Italy. But what really sets it apart is the number of high quality bars on-piste and off. The original Folie Douce has got its Mojo back after a couple of experimental years and now offers a great afternoon’s entertainment. The price of a large beer has stayed at 7€ which a few years ago seemed expensive but now matches up with most bars in the Alps. Kelly Starlight still leads the entertainment but has toned down the cabaret aspect in favour of more DJ inspired singing and dancing. There are countless bars in town like the Petit Danois (après drink deals and 2 pool tables), The Morris bar, The Underground (very French), Victors (241 cocktails), and Bar La Rosee (nice terrace) in La Daille. The 2 biggest nightclubs are the legendary original Dicks Tea Bar with a mainly UK crowd and Doudoune for a French crowd (and corresponding appalling music). I could name another 20 bars but the names don’t really matter. You will never be more than a few metres from a party in this premier resort of France. Recommended Chalet in Val d’Isére: Chalet Yeti - get in early as it’s sold out by November.
Cheap & Cheerful
Over the last few years the rise and rise of the € against £ has hurt our back pockets during the après ski hours, particularly in the UK customer dominated über-resorts of the Tarentaise Vallée. For this reason a lot of my friends have starting heading to Alpe d’Huez. In this resort the cost of a sérieux will only be around €4.50. You always pay over €6 and probably much higher in Val d’Isére or Méribel. There’s loads of bars here to try, but no pub crawl would be complete without visiting O’Sharkeys, Smithy's, The Crowded House, and of course you must try the slide at Freeride. If you want to stay up until the sun rises then you’ll be at the Igloo bar that gets crazier and crazier all the way until the 6am closing time. This resort is now the most fun in France, it’s just a damned shame it’s a bit ugly. The skiing here is up there with the best and the 16km La Sarenne black run of the back of Pic Blanc down to Vaujany is world class. Personally I prefer the thrills and spills of the un-pisted Itinerary route through the famous tunnel. Not for beginners! Recommended chalet in Alpe d'Huez: Chalet Friandise – a little beauty.
Upmarket 24/7 Party Town
Okay, it’s not cheap compared to other Austrian resorts but it’s still better value than the big resorts of France and Switzerland. The Trofana Alm stakes a claim for the best après ski bar in the world. It encompasses everything you’d expect from that title. Classic Tyrolean décor, cheesy sing-along songs with silly dances that get everyone involved. Fantastic service from immensely strong waiters, carrying trays of beer and shots for you to choose from are never more than a few minutes away from another visit. The Schatzi Bar offers the added bonus of traditional bar top dancing girls and more modern music. I’d also throw in a vote for the Kuhstall, that plays more English music and fills to the brim with the younger crowd, jumping in their boots to the latest hits.
Tax Free Party Haven
Livigno is a shopper's paradise as well as an après ski mecca. It has around 150 bars, which dwarfs any other ski resort in the world — I think Vail is second with 110. Livigno has belonged to numerous countries and empires over the centuries and now has a distinctly Austrian flavour to it. The Kuhstall, Mikey's Pub, Gulliver Pub, the Echo Pub, and for cocktails, Jpioca, are all recommended. This resort has so many bars to offer, that there really isn’t much to say other than I bet you can’t visit them all. Recommended hotel in Livigno: Hotel Valeria. Italian resorts tend to be a bit more sophisticated and calmer during the après ski hours, but there are some pretty good traditionally loud and riotous gems to be found in the resorts of Cervinia and Selva.
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