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Ski Blog

Craig Pickering's Cool Run on the Road to Sochi 2014

clock 24th January 2014 | comment0 Comments

Excitement for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics reached fever pitch this week with the long awaited announcement of Team GB.

We caught up with former Olympic sprinter, Craig Pickering, who has been selected for the Team GB bobsled team, to hear his thoughts on this huge achievement.

Craig, Congratulations on qualifying for Team GB for Sochi 2014. What did you do when you heard you made the Olympic Team?

I was just relieved to have made it! I knew that once our second 4-man sled had qualified for the Games that I was almost certainly going to be selected, and so that was the major hurdle to overcome. We qualified in the last possible race, so it was quite a stressful few weeks, but in the end it all turned out fine.

It's not your typical British Saturday morning sporting activity, how did you get into bobsledding?

I used to be a sprinter, and I needed a back operation in March 2012 which ruled me out of the 2012 Olympic Games. Due to this, I lost my lottery funding, and so I needed to either get a job or find a sport that would provide me with some funding. I wasn't at all keen on getting a job, so the best option seemed to be finding another sport. My athletics coach and one of my training partners were already involved in the bobsleigh set up, so they put me in contact with the Performance Director, who was keen to give me a try out. I went to a few testing days and did very well, so the next step was to do some racing, and I haven't looked back since.

How have you found the transition from summer to winter Olympics?

Physically it hasn't been too difficult, as I was already a high performance athlete. The hardest thing physically has been putting on weight - I'm currently 16kg heavier than when I ran my best 100m time. This requires eating a lot of food and spending time in the gym. It can be really hard to eat enough food, as you are always full and it becomes hard work. The most difficult aspect has been the technical transition. It’s quite difficult to learn a new skill quickly, especially when there are three different positions in bobsleigh that I could possibly race at, but I have tried my best to become proficient at all of these positions.

Tell us about the fundraising efforts made for the team?

I'm fortunate enough to be supported by UK Sport and Lottery funding, so I haven't had to do any fund-raising efforts this year.

Have you always had an interest in winter sports?

I've never really been into winter sports before. As a professional sports person it’s probably not a good idea to ski or snowboard as there is a pretty high risk of injury. My girlfriend likes to snowboard, so once I retire I expect I’ll do some of that with her.

Do you have a favourite ski resort?

St Moritz is excellent as it’s the only natural bobsleigh track in the world, so it’s quite a different experience.

What other Olympic events are you looking forward to seeing?

I enjoy watching ice hockey, so will try and watch a few of those games. I also know a few of the bob-skeleton athletes so will be following their progress closely too.

How many times a day are you faced with references to Cool Runnings?

It happens quite a lot! I guess as it’s the only thing Joe Public knows about bobsleigh it’s going to happen quite a bit.I just smile and nod.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our interview with Craig as he prepares for the first Winter Olympic experience. The Sochi 2014 kicks off 7 February 2014 with Craig and the rest of the bobsled team hitting the track 16 February. We wish the team the very best of luck and look forward to a month of gripping winter entertainment.



December/January Ski + Snowboard Events in Popular Resorts

clock 13th December 2013 | comment0 Comments
Ski Events Calender Dec 2013/Jan 2014

1st-21st December 2013
Advent Magic in the Park - St Anton, Austria


Escape the Christmas rush this year and visit the picturesque resort of St Anton in the mountains of Austria instead. The start of the month saw St Anton don wonderful Christmas decorations, complete with open fireplaces and wonderful themed areas, getting visitors into the festive spirit. After a hard day out on the slopes, visitors can take part in a selection of fun activities such as designing greeting cards, indulging in delicious festive cookies and listening to recitals of traditional Austrian Christmas stories and poems. This event is perfect for adults and children alike with plenty to keep the little ones entertained – namely a festive trail and craft workshops with the resident elves!

To see our ski holidays in St Anton click here


Week 1: 14th–21st December 2013, Week 2: 8th-15th February 2014, Week 3: 29th March-5th April 2014
Ibiza Rocks The Snow – Meribel, France


Enjoy a touch of Ibiza on the slopes this winter, with the organisers of the infamous Ibiza Rocks music festival. Combine skiing and snowboarding with some wild après ski and cracking live music over the 8 day festival. The festival runs three times over the season starting on December 14th and finishing on April 5th 2014 with performances from artists such as Kissy Sell Out, Mistajam and Clean Bandit.

To see our Ibiza Rocks the Snow deals click here
Igluski Blog: ‘Ibiza Rocks Is Bringing the Heat To Meribel’
For more information and to buy tickets click here




16th December 2013-14th April 2014
Kissy Sell Out - Various Resorts, France


Looking for some wild après ski? Then look no further – electro DJ Kissy Sell Out will be playing at various resorts around France this season. The tour kicks off with an appearance at Meribel for Ibiza Rocks the Snow, followed by further appearances at Les Deux Alpes, Val Thorens and Val d’Isere.

For a full list of dates and to buy tickets please visit individual resort websites. To see our ski holidays in Les Deux Alpes click here
To see our ski holidays in Meribel click here
To see our ski holidays in Val Thorens click here
To see our ski holidays in Val d’Isere click here


21st December 2013
Synchro Ski World Cup – St Anton, Austria


Watch skiers from around the world compete in this entertaining competition in which competitors much complete each run in pairs. The full competition runs from morning till evening, beginning with qualifiers and ending with the final run.

To see our ski holidays in St Anton click here


2

21st December 2013
Ice Skating Gala “Les Etoiles De La Glisse” - Courchevel, France


Elegant figure skaters from around the world will gather to perform in this spectacular ice skating gala at one of our favourite resorts. Watch the performers execute graceful moves while donning wonderful costumes against a backdrop of impressive lighting effects. Perfect entertainment for all the family!

To see our ski holidays in Courchevel click here


21st-27th December 2013
Christmas, A Magical Week – Courchevel, France & Magical Xmas – Val Thorens, France


Spend a magical Christmas abroad in France this year, with plenty of festive entertainment to keep you occupied in between riding the slopes at both the Val Thorens and Couchevel resorts. There will be workshops for the little ones, live music and shows, torchlight descents and to top it all off, a visit from Father Christmas himself.

To see our ski holidays in Courchevel click here
To see our ski holidays in Val Thorens click here




22nd December
World Snowboard Day – Les Deux Alpes, France


Celebrate World Snowboard Day this season at the fantastic Les Deux Alpes resort. Spend 24 hours exploring breathtaking backcountry runs, carving up the slopes and trying out some jibs in the freestyle park.

To see our ski holidays in Les Deux Alpes click here


25th December 2013
X-Mas Events – Les Deux Alpes, France


Fancy spending Christmas somewhere a little different? Spend your days riding the slopes, then relax with a glass of mulled wine, a great choice of festive food and epic fireworks to wind down the day. There are also a selection of Christmas markets and a special street parade on Christmas Eve, complete with a visit from Father Christmas.

To see our ski holidays in Les Deux Alpes click here




31st December 2013
Tignes Fire Mix Party – Tignes, France, Val Tho Crazy Night – Val Thorens & NYE – Les Deux Alps, France


What better way to see in the new year than on the slopes, combining adrenaline fuelled runs with wild après ski. This New Year’s Eve, Tignes will play host to the Fire Mix Party, featuring a range of top class DJ’s, fireworks and an open air nightclub. It’s time to don those thermals and party into 2014! Val Thorens will also play host to some great NYE entertainment with plans for torchlit descents, ski and snow freestyle shows, live music and fireworks to see in the new year. Finally, Les Deux Alpes will also be spending NYE in style. With a giant firework (and champagne cork!) display and plenty of lively evening entertainment, this celebration provides the perfect end to a day out in the snow.

To see our ski holidays in Val Thorens click here
To see our ski holidays in Les Deux Alps click here
To see our ski holidays in Tignes click here


31st December-20th February 2014
Night Carnival – Val D’Isere, France


Experience beautiful illuminations, spectacular ice carvings and comforting hot drinks between your skiing and snowboarding adventures at this winter festival in Val d’Isere. With plenty of market stalls to explore and a host of evening entertainment, you’ll never be stuck for something to do.

To see our ski holidays in Val d’Isere click here




4th-25th January 2014
Ladies First – St Anton, Austria


Take advantage of a range of wonderful off-piste skiing, ladies-only concessions and plenty of goodies during this ladies week at the St Anton resort. Some of the great offers available include one day of lessons completely free of charge if you book a ski course with Arlberg Ski School. The resort are also offering 20% discount on all ladies slopewear and sportswear. Finally ladies, pick up your special voucher book from any of the Tourist Offices around St Anton for a range of surprises and further special offers, including the chance to win a week’s summer holiday for two!

To see our ski holidays in St Anton click here


5th January 2014
Savoie Snowboard Tour – Val Thorens, France


Why not take a break from carving up the slopes of Val Thorens to watch this regional 8 circuit snowboard competition. Local competitors under the age of 20 will participate in this event which aims to promote promising new talent as well as the sport of snowboarding.

To see our ski holidays in Val Thorens click here




7th-9th January 2014
X Speed Tour – Tignes, France


The X Speed Tour is a celebration of high speed skiing and is organised by the world record speedskiier, Xavier Cousseau, who made the headlines when he achieved a top speed of 131.89mph. Watch the thrilling ski demos and if you’re up for it, then you can even have the chance to try and beat the record yourself!

To see our ski holidays in Tignes click here


12th January 2014
Moguls French Cup – Tignes, France


Visit Tignes on the 12th January for a chance to watch some spectacular skiers compete in the French Mogul World Cup. With breath taking jumps, tricks and high speed runs fins some inspiration from these talented thrill seekers!

To see our ski holidays in Tignes click here


19th January 2014
World Snow Day – Les Deux Alpes, France


January 19th plays host to World Snow Day and what better way to celebrate than with a day spent carving up the slopes at Les Deux Alpes. With a Snowboard half-pipe competition, sledging, free of charge skiing lessons and a chance to try a jump onto the Big Air Bag, amongst other things, you’d be mad not to join in! After a day spent exploring all of the adventurous activities, take some time to relax with hot wine and live music from one of the many bars on the resort.

To see our ski holidays in Les Deux Alpes click here



Next month: Fun Festivals, the Freeride World Qualifier and an attempt at the World’s Longest Jump!





O'Neill Shoreditch Showdown

clock 27th November 2013 | comment0 Comments

Thursday 21st November was no normal day in Shoreditch, between the hip bars and the trendy hangouts, O’Neill transformed Old Street’s graffiti clad Red Market into an iconic London Street Scene that provided the ultimate backdrop for showcasing the UK’s finest skiers and snowboarders.

The Shoreditch Showdown entertained a 500 heavy crowd with a night of world class riding. The 24 man open jam included best tricks on the bus stop, rails, post box and telephone box which built up to the epic head to head final. With a clean frontside 270 to switch boardslide on the rail styled out with a tap on the red post box, Sparrow Knox won over the judges and nailed that Number 1 spot for the snowboarders “I just like to ride, we were all here as mates, I totally didn’t expect to win. It was a great format and a mad set-up.”


Meanwhile for freeski 17 year old Tyler Harding killed it all night and ended with a 270 on revert 270 off the rail. Stoked with his win Harding said “It’s something special to win in a place like this, completely unexpected. A great way to set up for the winter.” Both riders recieved £500 for winning each discipline.

Other stand out tricks included Team GB snowboarder Jamie Trinder’s 50:50 frontflip off the London bus shelter and George Walton impressed the judges with a bolts 360 nose tap on the red phone box. Snowboarder Andy Nudds had a top night at the event “This is by far one of the best events I’ve been to, everyone has been killing it and the crowd were sick. The standard of British riding has been phenomenal tonight.”


Thanks to O’Neill for putting on an amazing rail competition that definitely has been the best event in the snow calendar so far this season. O’Neill’s #RIDEMORE campaign is designed to inspire creativity and innovation. Find some different terrain, step outside the ordinary, and most importantly – be creative, then you too can #RIDEMORE.

Ski Results

1st Tyler Harding
2nd Ross Welch
3rd George Walton
4th Michael Rowlands

Snowboard Results

1st Sparrow Knox
2nd John Weatherly
3rd Ollie Dutton
4th Andy Nudds



Who needs a mountain anyway? The Shoreditch Showdown sure proved that!

 

Written By Krystelle
Image Credits: James North Photography



Iglu at The Ski and Snowboard Show

clock 5th November 2013 | comment0 Comments
That’s another ski show wrapped up for another year, and what great fun it was! The 2013 London Ski and Snowboard Show was held at Earls Court 2 from the 30th October through untill 3rd November. If you have never visited the ski show before – get it in your calendars for next year! It is the best way to find everything you need for the season ahead and definitely the coolest day out in the city.

Snow retailers from all over the country came to the ski show to showcase their brand new stock and sell off old stock at bargain prices. If you have spent the summer searching for a brand new pair of ski boots or a new snowboard but you haven’t been sure enough to press that buy it now button, the ski show is the perfect place to view your wish list items and talk to on hand experts to see if it is the right product for you.


If you are looking for some inspiration for your next winter holidays, representatives from large and small resorts from across the world exhibit at the ski show to give you a taste of what you could experience on your next ski trip. From the large European resorts of The 3 Valleys and Verbier, to resorts across the pond including Jackson Hole and Panorama to even Japan!

The Austrian Tirol Stand was one of my favourite exhibits this year which brought the Tyrolean charm from the heart of the Alps to central London. With its very own bar, themed seating areas, and even the Austrian après game ‘Tiroler Nageln,’ where players have to try hammer nails into a tree trunk using the wrong end of the hammer head.


If you've never tried skiing or snowboarding before, then the ski and snowboard show is the perfect place to give it ago without even leaving the city, or touching your wallet! Fully trained instructors from The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead are on hand through Ski Show week to give you 30 minute taster sessions.

As the event coincides with the local half term, year on year the Ski Show has more indoor activities for the family. As well as the skiing this year boasted ice skating, tubing, a scooter park, and even Burton Snowboards had the Riglet Park that offered snowboard lessons to children between 3-6 years old.

There really is something for everyone and all ages at the Ski and Snowboard Shows, this was my 4th year attending and I already cannot wait for next year.

My Top 5 Ski Shows Musts are:

1. Have Tartiflette for lunch
2. Get a free photo on a chairlift with your friends and family
3. Try Thunder Toffee Vodka
4. Take a look at ski resorts you've never thought about going to
5. Buy your new season bobble hat


View our full gallery from The Ski & Snowboard Show

By Krystelle


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