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Last week I was lucky enough to go to the London premiere of this year's Warren Miller film, ...Like There's No Tomorrow. With last year's offering, Wintervention, being a killer film, ...Like There's No Tomorrow had a lot to live up to.
As you would expect Warren Miller didn't let us down with this year's film. Due to the epic amounts of snowfall last season, some incredible skill, some heart-warming stories centring on legends such as Tom Day, and of course some good humour, the film was a real ball.
To add to the great film that was on offer, the Warren Miller Tour had the usual fun you would expect from the film makers. During the banter-filled interval prizes from the main sponsors, including a pair of Rossignol skis, a Columbia jacket and some Warren Miller film crew kit, were given away. The guys from Nissan, the film's main sponsor definitely looked to have enjoyed the pre-film hospitality and cheered endlessly throughout the break.
... Like's There's No Tomorrow gets into the action pretty quickly with a trip to the Indian Himalayas. Big mountain skier, Lynsey Dyer and the renowned Alaskan heli-guide, Lel Tone, take us on a trip to these magical mountains. With true first descents on huge faces, followed by some sublime tree skiing, that wouldn't look out of place in a Japanese resort, whet the appetite. After taking on the huge lines and never-before-skied sections of the mountains, the girls head to the local resort of Gulmarg to showcase the country's basic, but dedicated skiing scene, while handing out a few tips to the locals.
Another standout section of the film was the trip to Andreas Hatweit's backyard in Sudndalen, Norway. The freestyle skier has built a world class park literally in his garden and the section includes a selection of top skiers, including Jossi Wells and Britain's James Woods, sessioning the park in day time and under flood lights. This is pretty nuts and needs to be seen to be believed. It definitely beats anything I've seen outside any seasonaire accommodation in the Alps!
The Monashee's section featuring the Yeti has to be my favourite. It starts with skier Andy Mahre declaring: "The key to life is to live each day like it’s your last day. If you’re sitting on the couch, you’re obviously not riding powder, so maybe you should get off the couch." The section that has Mahre and Tyler Ceccanti showing the insane powder, endless pillow lines and mouth-watering skiing to be had from BC's infamous Monashee Lodge. If the awesome riding isn't enough, there is also a subplot involving a yeti stalking Mahre and snaking his lines.
The Rahlves Banzai Tour is pure madness and nothing less. Imagine skier-cross with no rules and you have Banzai Downhill, essentially it's four skiers or snowboarders and the first to the bottom, crashes, shoves and cutting one another up is all part of the carnage. As described by one of the participants: "[you] go as fast as you can, down the gnarliest terrain that you can find and hopefully make it to the bottom." Brilliant.
The film ends on a mixed note with a trip to Alaska. The Alaska section starts with the Point North Heli-skiing family, describing their founders Kevin & Jessica Quinn, along with their new baby. The team then head into the Chegach Mountains with Seth Wescott, Tim Durtschi and Kip Garre, showcasing the incredible, steep, deep terrain on offer.
The section then turns into homage to Kip Garre, after informing the audience of his lost life in an avalanche last winter, the moving section showcases Garre's fantastic skiing and love of the mountains, along with Seth Wescott paying tribute to him. The section, and with it the film, is brought to an end with Wescott's quote, which is also the influence behind the title, " “It doesn't matter what’s going to happen tomorrow because you are living for the moment…and you are totally engrossed in it…and you are loving being there and being present like that. People who commit themselves to this lifestyle take advantage of it…like there might not be a tomorrow."
...Like There's No Tomorrow is about skiing with that in mind, instead of approaching each run thinking about what's next, it's about enjoying every minute on your skis and snowboard as if they are your last. Out of all the films I have seen this year, Warren Miller's latest offering is the one that has me pining for the mountains the most. I know I'll only have one trip this winter, but I'll be treating each day as if it's my last.
It's that time of year again when you go through all your old kit, deciding what to keep, what to repair and what to bin. Before torturing yourself by looking at all of this year's new stash. Whether you need some new skis, a new jacket or some new boots, you won't be able to keep your eyes away from the rest of the kit on offer.
With so much kit being launched at the moment, from HD helmet cameras to iPhone friendly ski gloves, I thought I'd start us off with what new kit is around this year that will make a family ski holiday a little bit easier, without being too hard on your wallet. Firstly, because anything that makes skiing with 2.4 children easier is a winner, and secondly, we don't all have £300 to spend on a GoPro camera.
The NipperGrip, does exactly as it sounds, it grips your nipper. The child ski-harness is a fantastic idea as it means you can let your little 'un loose on the slopes, while making sure they don't fall over, or ski off!
The NipperGrip was designed by parents, therefore they seem to have everything covered. The simple harness means you can pick up our children, should they fall, with ease and it also makes getting off chairlifts a much easier experience.
There are also detachable reins, which turn the NipperGrip into a kind of kids skiing-lead, meaning you can ensure they are skiing within a close distance and not racing off down the mountain out of control — or wandering off in busy resorts chasing after some random French dog.
All-in-all, this is a really simple idea, that's well executed and I won't be surprised if resorts are full of kids wearing them this winter.
The Ski-Walker is another great and simple idea, which makes carrying skis much easier. It is basically a handle that loops around your skis making them easy to carry. Now, this might seem like an obvious, yet somehow inconvenient idea. Well, it really isn't. The Ski-Walker is about the size of a Mars Bar — meaning you can stick it in those random pockets, half way down your salopettes, that you never use and are seemingly there for looks over function.
There really isn't anything to explain about how it works, but there is to why it's a great idea. First of all, carrying skis is a pain in the backside and this makes it much, much easier, second of all it gives you a lower centre of gravity, meaning walking around in treacherous ski boots will be much easier.
There is also the advantage for when you are skiing as a family, as you often have to carry more than one pair of skis. This makes it much more simple, as all you need to do is hold onto the handle, as opposed to balancing them over your shoulders in one hand, while keeping hold of your children in the other. Also, once the little mites are strong enough to hold onto their own skis, with their limited, child orientated common sense, they will find them much easier to carry the usual tangle of crossed skis, poles, hats, and goggles that you would usually encounter.
Now these two products may seem incredibly simple, but that's because they are. It's the simplicity that makes them such good ideas. Just think, the next time you are skiing with your three year old, you can walk to the slopes, carrying two sets of skis in one hand, a bit like carrying your shopping, with your little 'un essentially on a lead in the other hand. You get to the slopes, pocket the Ski-Walker, put your skis on, grab the reins and off you go again. As the old phrase goes, Keep It Simple Stupid, and a kiss is better than a smack in the mouth from a flailing ski!
NippedGrip are currently offering Iglu customers 20% discount as they liked the blog so much, all you need to do is quote IGLU1112.
Having taken a look at alternative resorts in the last couple of weeks, with Austria and Italy, I thought I'd take a look at where to enjoy a luxury ski holiday next.
Luxury ski holidays can mean something different to all of us, for some it's sitting in one of Chardon Mountain Lodges chalets in Val d'Isere, enjoying fabulous food and Perrier Jouët on tap, for others it's about staying in one of Courchevel 1850's exclusive hotels, or enjoying the champagne ice-bars that accompany the après ski scene in Lech.
Luxury skiing is also about the resort you stay in, the mountain you ski and, of course, where to eat, drink and shop. As mentioned everyone want's something different on their ski holiday, so here are a few of our favourite European destinations to burn a hole in your wallet with.
Courchevel 1850 has been synonymous with luxury skiing holidays for longer than I've been alive and will no doubt out live me too. The resort offers the world's largest linked ski area in the Three Valleys, some fantastically flattering pistes around the resort itself and is stunning.
Courchevel is known for its superb hotels, designer shopping and, of course, the James Bond altiport — okay, so it's not actually called that, but you may recognise it from the opening sequence of Tomorrow Never Dies. Courchevel boasts lavish, exclusive hotels, for those who can afford them and also a handful of chalet hotels, for those who can't, but enjoy watching the Prada clad skiers/shoppers and the fantastic atmosphere.
As mentioned, Courchevel is renowned for great hotels, and though they currently seem to be filled with the Russian nouveau riche, there is still an elegantly Anglo-French atmosphere and plenty of wealthy Brits in town. The Hotel Annapurna has to be the reference point for Courchevel's hotels, it has been well established for 36 years and under the same management for the past 20 years — testament to it's reputation. The Annapurna is also closest to the altiport, important for those looking for helicopter transfers or mere James Bond fans.
The Hotel Les Airelles has been a celebrity favourite for years and it's regulars include Eddie Jordan, Mike Rutherford and Chris Rea, as opposed to reality TV stars. The relaxed atmosphere and lavished surroundings, as well as a great location, also add to it's popularity. Now, Le Chabichou, may only be a four star establishment, but boasts the world renowned, michelin starred, Michel Rochedy as it's restaurants head chef. The restaurant received its first Michelin star in 1979 and its second in 1984 and there aren't too many hotels in the Alps that can boast the same level of cuisine!
Lech has been referred to as the Courchevel of Austria, and though it's an exclusive resort, filled with luxurious hotels, offers world class skiing and is steeped in history, it is a very different resort to Courchevel. Courchevel is where the rich happily flaunt their money, Lech is the opposite of this.
Over the Christmas and New Year holidays you won't be able to find a room for love nor money, as many of Europe's elite have the hotels wrapped-up, and have done so for decades. You'll find the owners of Mercedes and BMW, along with their families taking over the resort during the festive season, and though there is always an air of wealth, there types of skiers in Lech never feel the need to show it.
With the big, open, motorway pistes of Lech and the more technical skiing of St. Anton to enjoy, along with this gorgeous, relaxed resort you can see why it is a former favourite of the late Princess Diana.
The Gasthof Post opened in 1937, and like the Annapurna in Courchevel, is the reference point for Lech, the family run hotel has stuck to the same recipe for years and remains a favourite of Lech's regular skiers. Other notable hotels in Lech include the Almhof Schneider, based a the foot of the Schlegelkopf mountain and the luxury chalet-styled, boutique hotel, Hotel Aurelio.
Though Klosters can often take the limelight when it comes to luxury skiing in Switzerland — and when the Royal family are in town there's no surprise to why — St. Moritz is one of the world's most elegant resorts, boasting one of the most iconic hotels in the Alps, Badrutt's Palace.
St. Moritz is the original winter sports resort, if not the first true ski resort. It came to popularity with the Brits at the turn on the 20th century as skiing began to grow as a holiday activity for the wealthy, and has remained a favourite resort for generations since.
Though not as flashy as Courchevel with it's designer shopping, fur jackets & Range Rovers, it is not as understated as Lech. This is a resort that, again offers an air of wealth and chic surroundings. The shopping would be enough the break to average bank account and the skiing is comparable to Val d'Isere — in size at the very least. There are motorway pistes and flattering runs, for the more pedestrian skier and challenging off-piste for the adrenaline junkies out there.
The historic Palace Hotel in St. Moritz opened in 1896 as the successor to the first winter sports hotel, the Krup Hause. The hotel has recently changed it's name to the Badrutt's Palace, but remains one of the most recognisable hotels in skiing. The founder of hotel built the first bobsled run for his guests and the current owners have maintained the reputation of one of the leading hotels in the world.
There are so many great resorts for a luxury skiing holiday, with Val d'Isere, Davos, Klosters and Ischgl to name a few, but Courchevel, Lech and St. Moritz have long been at the top of most people's wish lists and will remain there for years to come. The question is which resort is the right one for you? Whether you are there for the skiing, the lavish hotels or the shopping.
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