2 of the biggest ski destinations in Europe fight it out this weekend in the group stage of the UEFA EURO 2016. On Sunday 19th June, the France and Switzerland football teams go head to head at the Grand Stade Lille Métropole. Both contries are big favourites for many skiers and snowboarders, but which one will be crowned King of the Alps? We compare the slopes, après and cuisine to find out…
SwitzerlandMost resorts in Switzerland are set at a high altitude, bringing guaranteed snow as well as glacier skiing and good conditions throughout the season. Many of the ski areas provide long runs and challenging pistes, making it particularly good for skiers at a more intermediate to advanced level. There are, however, still opportunities for beginners. The resort of Wengen has a ski school as well as a blue piste and a ‘slow speed zone’ for those just starting out. From stunning scenery to plenty of pistes, backcountry runs and snowparks, Switzerland certainly has a lot of variety. The Graubunden ski area is Switzerland’s largest alpine area, offering a whopping 225km of skiable piste. Head to Verbier and you’ll find your ski area expanded to across the 4 valleys, which includes the neighbouring resorts of Nendaz and Les Collons. If you visit Zermatt you’ll soon spot the famous Matterhorn peak (pictured above), which is often featured in many photos of the resort. There are some great advanced runs here as well as the opportunity to do some heliskiing for those who are looking for a new challenge. It is also the highest altitude resort in the country sitting at a top height of 3900m.
For the adventurous ones out there, Flims Laax is home to 4 snowparks (including Europe’s largest half pipe) and a glacier for spring and summer skiing.
France Much like Switzerland, France also offers plenty of variation, from high altitude resorts to snowparks and glaciers. Snow reliability is high and the majority of resorts offer good snow conditions throughout the season. Les Deux Alps is the highest resort, standing at a top altitude of 3600m. The resort experiences long sunshine hours and boasts 220km of piste, a board park and a halfpipe. There are plenty of linked ski areas such as the massive 3 Valleys with its 600km of runs. Portes du Soleil is one of the largest skiable areas in the world, with lots of ski-in ski-out accommodation which is ideal for families and kids. For your freestyle fix, the Paradiski area has four snowparks and two half-pipes. France caters equally well for beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers. Alpe d’Huez has lots of blue runs, beginners only areas and no abundance of ski schools. If you like backcountry skiing, Tignes has some fantastic off piste opportunities, as does Val d’Isere. There are also numerous glacier resorts in France, including Tignes, some of which offer skiing all year round. Winner: France
La Plagne, part of the Paradiski area in France
Switzerland The après scene in Switzerland is a little on the small side, with not a great deal of après venues on offer. However, each of the bars makes up for it, with resorts such as Verbier known to have some fun and lively nightclubs. As well as nightclubs, expect to find discos, jazz bars and quiet pubs – something to cater for every taste.
France France is home to some well-known après venues, like Rond Point in Meribel and the legendary La Folie Douce, which has bars in Val d’Isere, Meribel, Val Thorens and Alpe d’Huez. Ibiza Rocks the Snow Festival is also held yearly in France, bringing some great partying and music to the mountains. All in all, expect some wild après, live bands every night and quieter venues where you can relax with a drink. Winner: France
Folie Douce in Val d'Isere
Switzerland Switzerland is the home of the delicious Fondue as well as a whole other collection of comforting mountain foods. Enjoy Käseschnitte (cheese on toast), Raclette (melted cheese scraped overmeat, bread and vegetables) or fried potato Rösti’s. To satisfy your sweet tooth, Switzerland is a great place to find Swiss Chocolate and no end of delicious cakes and pastries.
France Most dishes found in the French mountains are cheese, potato or bread heavy. Traditional French dishes include Tartiflette (baked cheese, potatoes and meat), Beaufort Tart (a cheese and pastry tart), sweet crepes and pastries. Winner: Switzerland
Swiss cheese fondue
Winner: France This one was a very close call – both countries have some excellent skiing, après and food and are both firm favourites for many snowsports enthusiasts. The winning streak came from France due to its ability to cater equally to beginner, intermediate and advanced abilities. It also knows how to throw a mean après party to end the day!
We’ve all bumped into one of these on a chairlift and you can often see them coming from a mile away. Ski resorts are full of weird and wonderful people that all share a love for the mountains and our beloved winter sport. What’s your ski personality?
1. Old Pro
2. Powder Hound
3. The Seasoniare
4. Forever Young Father
5. Extreme Infant
6. All Gear No Idea
7. Ski Chic
8. Park Rat
9. Super Mum
View Full Ski Infographic Here
Winter is coming, will you be shredding one another of these hilariously named pistes this season?
1. Doom & Gloom, Whistler
Nothing like a bit of Doom and Gloom after tackling Stefan's Chute & Cockalorum.
2. Devil's Crotch, Breckenridge
This hellish double diamond expert piste isn’t for the faint hearted
3. Steeper Than Hell, Snowbird
Snowbird: Hitting the nail on the head since 1971
4. Glory Hole, Alta
I wonder what goes on here...
5. Schattberg, Saalbach
Because we’re all still kids at heart!
6. Idiot's Delight, Alpine Meadows
Locals say you have to be stupid to actually take this route
7. Tom's Mom, Brekenridge
*Insert riding Tom's Mom joke here*
8. Adios Mother F*****, Snowmass
Steep as f***
9. Harakiri, Mayrhofen
A ski run that compares itself to the ‘abdomen cutting’ samurai suicide ritual, it is the steepest slope in Austria after all.
10. Goat's Head Soup, Sunshine Village
Goat’s Head Soup, Goat’s Eye Gardens, Cleavage, Ewe First, Mother-in-Law, Think Again, Bushwhackers and Chicken. What were these guys on when naming this area.
11. Organ Grinder, Sugarbush
Your body will be pulverised after this long and steep piste
12. Spanky's Ladder, Whistler Blackcomb
…how do they come up with these names!
And one more for luck
Our friends at PlanetSKI in Marmot Basin... Does it mean the same thing in Canada as it does in Britain?
And then you have Knob Hill, Knob Bowl and Knob Traverse leading off Knob Chair. Find out more about The Knob in PlanetSKI's Banff to Jasper blog
Other favourites include:
Shaft & Climax, Mammoth
Dick's Ditch, Jackson Hole
Beer Belly, Red Mountain
Kill the Banker & Big Woody, Revelstoke
Big Doo Doo, Alyeska
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Snow where are you?? It’s that time of the year again, the long summer months are here and news of fresh powder on the slopes feels like a distant memory. So here at Iglu Ski we have put together a wintry themed list of Hollywood movies involving skiing and ski resorts that are so frosty you really should watch in the warmth of summer. Without further ado and in no particular order, I give you the Top 10 Best Hollywood Ski Films.
Hot Tub Time Machine is an adventure comedy that follows a group of best friends who've become bored with their adult lives. In an attempt to reconnect and reminisce about the Good ole days the group revisit Fernie Alpine ski resort in British Columbia, Canada. After a crazy night of drinking in a hot tub the men wake up back in 1986. With the chance to amend past mistakes, rekindle lost relationships and improve their own lives in the future firmly in their own hands as well as the consequences.
Not to be confused with the children (and adult) Disney hit film of 2014. This Frozen is the terrifying tale of three eager snowboarders, whose endeavour to get one last run, takes a turn for the worst with them fighting for their lives. Joy soon turns to despair when they get stranded high up on a mountain ski lift when a storm approaches, and the realisation that the resort will be shut for the whole week sinks in. Stuck in the bitter cold the trio take their chance at survival to get off the lift and back down to the resort. Filmed at Snowbasin near Ogden in Utah and without giving away too much, hypothermia isn’t the only thing they have to fear.
Set in St Anton, Chalet Girl is a charming romantic comedy that brings the resort life to the big screen. Think chick-flick with snowboards, Chalet girl tells the tale of former skateboarding champion Kim who has become resigned to working in a fast food restaurant until she gets the surprise job opportunity to work for a wealthy family in the Alps. After being whisked away from England her fun filled adventure begins, full of love, heart-break, partying and a turbulent time in her new job, she enters a snowboarding competition with the dreams of winning the huge cash prize.
Dumb and Dumber is a comedy classic, full of hi-jinx and slapstick comedy, the two good-natured but dimwit friends set out on a cross-country trip to Aspen, Colorado to return a briefcase full of money to its owner, only to be pursued by a group of criminals who are also after the briefcase. Aspen, known for its extravagant hotels and picturesque mountain views is comically described by Jim Carey as "a place where the beer flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano”. Take a look at this laughter filled adventure.
Okay, okay! We know this film is an animation that doesn’t feature skiing or ski resorts, but hey those penguins are incredible body boarders. And who doesn’t love a musical themed heartfelt story about a courageous penguin that is unable to sing like the rest of his kind, but instead is inspired to tap dance in the hope of winning the affection of the penguin he loves.
This science fiction heist thriller, featuring a star ensemble cast with leading man Dom (Leonardo DiCaprio) who sets out on an impossible task fulfil his redemption. Dom acquires a team of specialists to perform corporate espionage using an experimental military technology to infiltrate the subconscious of their targets and extract information while experiencing shared dreaming. This mind boggling movie features an adrenaline fuelled scene high up in the mountains where the team are trying to destroy a snow covered fortress.
With the world’s oil supplies hanging in the balance, James Bond is assigned to diffuse an international power struggle and protect the daughter of an oil tycoon. Though filming for this movie took place all around the world, the most iconic scene of the whole movie is undoubtedly set on the slopes. Pierce Brosnan & Elktra King expertly navigate their way down the slopes with the breath-taking mountains ofChamonix in the background, before battling villains in the sky on flying snowmobiles. For more action packed clips of James Bond on the slopes check out our must read blog.
Based on the true story of four Jamaican bobsledders, who dream of competing in the 1988 Winter Olympics despite having never seen snow. With the help of a disgraced former champion desperate to redeem himself, this joyful feel good comedy follows the Jamaican hopefuls as they set out to become worthy of Olympic selection, and go all out for glory. Cool Running’s is the charming tale of determined underdogs, with plenty of laughs, moments of real tension, and five engaging performances, this is a definite must watch.
Combining outrageous comedy, awesome snowboarding and the most over the top après-ski antics you’ve ever seen on the big screen. Out Cold, captures that youthful time in our lives where the party and fun never seems like it is going to end. Set in the fictional tiny-town of Bull Mountain, Colorado – a winter wonderland of snow, skiing and snowboarding. A place where there's always fluffy powder to plow through and hilarious friends around every corner.
Whether you’re shaking your head in admiration or shaking your head in despair, the hopeless lovable Bridget Jones never fails to raise a smile. The edge of reason takes Bridget on a hilarious and unexpected new journey as she navigates the treacherous territory of modern love without ever losing her inimitable sense of humour. One of the film’s most iconic scenes takes place in Lech, Austria where Bridget loses her composure after convincing herself she’s pregnant and ends up slaloming down the slopes before inadvertently gate-crashing a professional ski race and whizzing off piste and miraculously ending up in the resort pharmacy. This jolly movie is a must watch if you haven’t already!
Now that’s what you call a great list, by the time you’ve watched them all it might just be time to start dusting off your skis and preparing for your winter ski break with IGLU Ski. Let us know your favourite film from our list in the comments section below.
(Here at IGLU Ski we promote safe drinking and encourage everyone to act responsible on the slopes.)
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