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Ski Blog

15 tips for a beginner skier’s survival

clock 6th May 2015 | comment0 Comments

I recently recovered from my first ever ski holiday with the Iglu Ski team in Tignes, France. I had such a great time that I am definitely hooked and can’t wait to go again next year.

I learnt so much along the way, I thought I would share my new-found knowledge, from one non-skier to the next.

1. On sun cream & the goggle tan that divides opinion 

When you’re up in the mountains, you’re at a very high altitude and much closer to the sun. This means whether the sky is blue or grey, you are still being exposed to high intensity UV rays; so whilst you think you may not be affected, there might just be an unsuspected goggle tan creeping up on you.

Try to wear Factor 50+ on whatever skin is exposed. It might also be a good idea to get a lip balm with an SPF. Bring moisturiser and after sun too – just in case you only realise before it’s too late!

2. Onesies, meggings, glitter…everything goes

When you face such weather and temperature extremes, it’s difficult to know what to pack. I would recommend anything and everything, here, we have a breakdown of essentials; but what people don’t tell you is – the wackier the better.

3. Snow-ploughing is the one (sorry boarders)

To those that plan to snowboard – this is irrelevant, but to the skiers amongst you – snow ploughing will become a way of life. For some, parallel skiing may come naturally, but once you’ve got this move down, the rest of your week is set.

4. Ski boots are not.

Ski boots are not the most comfortable footwear. Non-skiers might be familiar with the cramp feeling you get from ice-skating boots – imagine this, and then imagine wearing and dancing it out in these all day. Take plenty of comfortable ski-socks with you – they’re worth the investment!

5. The importance of lessons

Allow yourself at least 3 half days for ski lessons. This is enough time to learn the basics and build your confidence; private lessons and group lessons both have their benefits – it depends what sort of holiday you are looking for.

6. It’s okay to fall

This means you have been working hard, plus, an element of fearlessness goes a long way. Falling over is all part of a beginner skier’s day’s fun so don’t let it knock your confidence.

7. And do you know what’s not lame? Safety.

Helmets, goggles, sunglasses, heavy jacket, light jacket, ski socks, sun-cream, gloves, salopettes (not trousers) – they all offer protection. Stay safe. Do as Jonah says.

8. Don’t forget your lift pass £££

When considering your holiday costs, don’t forget to account for your lift pass hire. Once you arrive in resort you still need to get up the mountain to learn how to ski down. For beginners, you may not need a full 6 day hire; 3-5 may suffice.

Beginners lifts are available in most resorts and these are often free – reference your local piste map or resort representative. If you are taking lessons, your instructor will take you through the basics.

If not included in your holiday package, you can often buy a pass by day or half day – depending on your mood. Pre-holiday, your travel agent can help you arrange this. You can also purchase this anywhere in resort or from your chalet representative. Recommended ski resorts for beginners.

9. But don’t sit down on the button lift!

Gently rest your bottom on the button lift as it gently pulls you along; sit down too comfortably and it might take you back into the air!

10. You can travel on foot too

In your first few days, you might not want to go for a full day’s skiing. Why not take a pedestrian pass and enjoy the piste on foot?

11. Brush up on your navigation skills

 Once lessons are over, it’s down to you to navigate your way around the slopes. I spent the first half of my week thinking everywhere looked the same, a piste map will help keep you on the right track. Normally, the difficulty of the slopes is signposted very clearly.

Remember: Green, Blue, Red, Black

12. Après après après

It’s not all about skiing or boarding, it’s about creating memories with your friends and family…or potentially losing them due to excess apres. There are hundreds of bars on the slopes and in resort for you to enjoy. With DJs, live music, dancing and great food to suit all tastes. Best ski resorts for apres ski.

13. The Chalet staff are your friends

More often than not and depending on which chalet or hotel you are staying in, you will be spending a lot of time with the same chalet staff throughout your stay. They will be with you at breakfast, dinner and afternoon tea. Look after them and they’ll look after you – a sure guarantee that there won’t be an empty wine glass in sight at dinner.

14. …& they need a day off too

During a week’s stay in the average chalet, there will be one day of rest for the kitchen and chalet staff. You will still get your usual continental breakfast but this means no cooked meals. Take advantage of this day to go out and experience some traditional local food – think fondue, tartiflette, steak amongst anything else you might not expect to see on the menu.

15. Some terms that you may need to know

  • ‘Powder day ‘– that morning when you wake up to see there has been a fresh snowfall overnight – no slush or ice for you to snow plough over! 
  • ‘Bluebird’ – blue skies and white snow, this makes for ideal skiing conditions and perfect for a little après on the piste.  
  • ‘White-out’ – when the sky is white it blends in with the snow making it difficult to see lumps and bumps in your way. Go cautiously under these conditions. 
  • ‘Jaeger Milk’ – yes, you heard. This is a creative take on the well-known Jager bomb, but instead we substitute Red Bull for milk – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, it’s delicious, we promise. 
  • ‘The Park’ –isn’t grassy green or home to any swings – this is a skate park on snow, probably best admired rather than played on for beginner skiers.

 

By Chloe



Top 10 ski resorts of winter 2014-15

clock 29th April 2015 | comment0 Comments

Where did you manage to ski or snowboard this year? Did you go to a French favourite, maybe Tignes, Les Arcs or 3 Valleys? Or did you venture to Austria in search of the best après? Or do you crave powder and ventured off to Canada, Japan or a secret gem? Hundreds of thousands of UK holiday makers head to the slopes each winter, but what resorts are the most popular? We have looked at our customers this season to find out.

Did you know we work with over 50 ski tour operators so we can offer ski deals in over 200 ski resorts in 16 different countries? This huge selection of holidays gives us the top variety of ski deals anywhere so we can find our customers the perfect getaway.

With so many ski holidays to offer we send customers to a tremendous range of ski properties and resorts all over the world. Being able to do this gives us a brilliant insight to the UK market’s favourite ski destinations. We have looked at where you have chosen to ski and snowboard this winter and put together the top 10 ski resorts of this ski season.

 

Val Thorens, France

10. Courchevel

This exclusive resort in the 3 Valleys is a firm favourite with customers with the 600km of pistes on its doorstep, the beautiful alpine village and the stunning mountain restaurants. There may be seven Michelin-starred restaurants and two 6-star hotels in resort, but there is still accommodation for all budgets, including apartments and chalet hotels.

View ski holidays in Courchevel

9. Alpe d’Huez

Alpe d’Huez has so much to offer; 250 km of varied pistes, from the green areas surrounding the resort to the longest black run in Europe; incredible bars to keep you partying from après through to dawn; so many non-ski activities to do, you don’t even have to think about skiing (ermmm...) and super high peaks to give you access to great snow throughout the season.

I visited this brilliant ski resort in March 2015, read my 10 reasons why I love Alpe d’Huez

View ski holidays in Alpe d’Huez

The Peak of the longest black run in Europe (La Sarenne)

8. La Plagne

This massive resort is made up of 10 ski villages, all offering a colossal range of accommodations and amenities. From the abundance of apartments in Belle Plagne, to the ski in-ski out hotels across the resort to family ski chalets with onsite crèche facilities, La Plagne has something for everyone.

View ski holidays in La Plagne

7. Les Deux Alpes

A popular option if you are looking to go on a ski holiday at the start or end of the season. With skiing up to 3600km it is a snow sure resort that is even open to skiers and snowboarders in the summer months. Les Deux Alpes has an extensive ski area, vibrant après scene and a range of budget priced properties making it a top option for groups.

View ski holidays in Les Deux Alpes

 

6. Val Thorens

 The village of Val Thorens was purposely built to give guests the best access to the slopes making this an ideal location if you love hitting mountain first thing in the morning. Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe, with the village sitting at 2300m and the pistes peaking at 3200m and is illustrious for its excellent snow conditions.

View ski holidays in Val Thorens

5. Les Arcs

The only ’non-mover’ in the top 10. Les Arcs is an all-round resort which is popular year after year with families, groups and couples alike. The variety of the ski areas and the villages appeals to beginners on their first ski holiday, and even offers enough to keep a seasoned skier or snowboarder entertained all week.

View ski holidays in Les Arcs

4. Meribel

Positioned perfectly in the heart of the largest ski area in the world, Meribel is in an ideal location to make the most of this renowned region in France. The tree lined runs and chocolate box style village charm make it one of the prettiest ski resorts in France.

View ski holidays in Meribel

3. St Anton

The legendary après of St Anton draws in the crowds year after year and is consistently our top selling Austrian ski destination. Ski holidays in Austria have been dramatically popular this season; we have seen huge jumps in numbers year on year to some of the popular Austrian resorts, including Mayrhofen, Lech and Ischgl.

View ski holidays in St Anton

2. Val d’Isere

Last year’s champion has been knocked off the high spot by its ski neighbour. The Espace Killy ski area is a favourite with our customers and ski team every season. The first rate ski area provides a large variety of terrain for all abilities and a snow-sure glacier making it one of the most attractive destinations for a ski holiday.

View ski holidays in Val d’Isere

1. Tignes

With the largest share of customers choosing Tignes as their ski holiday destination this year, you have made this outstanding resort the top ski resort in winter 2014/15. With the poor start to the ski season, Tignes would have been a safe option because of the high altitude skiing with pistes up to 3400m on the Grande Motte glacier. With its fantastic snow record it is no wonder why thousands flock to Tignes year after year.

View ski holidays in Tignes

 

Grande Motte, Tignes

 

The Best of the Rest

Top 3 France

1. Tignes
2. Val d’Isere
3. Meribel

Top 3 Austria

1. St Anton
2. Mayrhofen
3. Lech

Top 3 Italy

1. Sauze d’Oulx
2. Cervinia
3. Selva

Top 3 Canada

1. Whistler
2. Tremblant
3. Banff

Top 3 USA

1. Breckenridge
2. Jackson Hole
3. Killington

Top 3 Andorra

1. Soldeu
2. Arinsal
3. Pas de la Casa

Top 3 Switzerland

1. Zermatt
2. Verbier
3. Wengen

 

Want to see who came out on top last season? Take a look at the top resorts from winter 2013/2014

View 2015/16 ski holidays

By Krystelle



Top 5 reasons we love spring skiing

clock 1st April 2015 | comment0 Comments

Skiing in March and April is our favourite time of the ski season. Days get longer and temperatures start to warm up so you can relish in the brilliant ski conditions in the morning then hit the bars in the afternoon and soak up après in the sun on a mountain top terrace.

End of season skiing is a popular option for skiers and snowboarders as there is more availability in favoured accommodations and families can enjoy a cheaper ski holiday in the Easter break compared to the high prices at Christmas and half term. Here are our top 5 reasons why we love spring skiing:

1. The Sunshine

There’s nothing better than carving up the mountain with the sun beating down on your back. You don’t have to cart around lots of layers, you can sunbathe in between ski runs and you’ll have that special code worn only by fellow skiers and boarders – a cracking goggle tan so that everyone knows you’ve just returned fresh from the slopes.

 

2. Longer Days

More sunshine = longer days = lifts are open longer = more time out in the snow! Do we need to say any more?

 

3. It’s cheaper

As the slopes get emptier, the prices get cheaper, meaning that a last minute ski holiday is a great way to save the pennies. You'll have a bigger choice of accommodation as chalets and ski in - ski out accommodation won't sell out quite so fast. If you’re looking to squeeze in your second holiday of the season without using up all of your budget, then now’s the time.

If you don't have the time to enjoy a full week on the slopes, there are a number of Weekend Ski Breaks available so you can squueze in that last ski adventure of the season.

Take a look at Last Minute Ski Deals

 

4. The slopes are empty

As the spring months draw nearer, the slopes become quieter and quieter. Airport transfers become much smoother and faster and there are much smaller queues for chairlifts, lunch stops and bars. You’ll have more time to enjoy the breathtaking mountain views, rather than rushing to be first on the lifts.

You'll find that there's much more space on the pistes and if you are lucky enough to enjoy a late season powder day, you’ll be able to ski more fresh laps.

Spring is also a great time to bring along the kids and those who are just learning so they can focus more on their riding and less on trying to dodge others!

 

5. End of season parties

Experience some top après as resort bars aim to drink dry the last of their stock, ready to close down for the summer. You’ll find plenty of closing celebrations at just about every resort with live music, BBQ’s and of course, snow – a perfect combination!

The end of season also brings along a lot of festivals, such as SnowbombingSnowboxx and Zermatt Unplugged.

 

Snowboxx festival at Folie Douce, Alpe d'Huez

 

View Ski Holidays in April | Ski Next Weekend | View Snow Reports



Ski Yourself Fit This Season

clock 17th February 2015 | comment0 Comments

 

If you’re looking to kill a few calories but are unwilling to sign your soul away for an unused year at your local jazzy gym, why not consider the outdoor life and some truly awesome winter sports to get in shape the fun way. Of course the temptation of all that heavenly indulgent mountain food on a ski or snowboarding holiday (Tartiflette, Raclette, Fondue..) might have you concerned about piling it on, but fear not as food = fuel and that’s exactly what you’ll be burning tonnes of each day spent on the slopes.

Snowsports are an excellent form of cardio as well as a great way to tone and strengthen leg, core and arm muscles. Both skiing and snowboarding are particularly good for strengthening the ankles, lower legs, quadriceps and glutes, as you engage these muscles to control your board or skis. Both activities require good balance, which work your core muscles, pulling in your abs and helping to align your spine. As you balance, you use your arm muscles to help steady yourself, working to firm them up, particularly in the upper arms and shoulders.

 

 

When your muscles are strong, the body works harder to use them, therefore burning more calories. This, plus being in a cold environment (where your body burns calories just to keep warm) is great news for your metabolism! On top of all these great health benefits, skiing and boarding also release adrenaline and endorphins which lift your mood and make you feel more alert, awake and happy.

So how many calories does skiing / snowboarding burn?

Skiing or boarding for 6 hours can burn a whopping 2000 - 3000 calories, depending on your age, weight and height. With that in mind, it may take a lot less time than you think just to burn off that mulled wine and 3 Wiener Schnitzels you had for lunch…

Here are a few examples of some popular, hearty ski foods and drinks with an estimate of how long it takes to burn off each one (each food portion is based on a 300g serving).

 

Food / Drink Approx. Calories Approx. amount of Skiing / Boarding it takes to burn it off
Tartiflette 550 1hr 18mins
Fondue 793 1hr 54mins
Apfelstrudel with Custard 548 1hr 18mins
Käsespätzle 885 2hr 6mins
Germknödel 458 1hr 6mins
Raclette 1000 2hrs 24mins
Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce and Cheese 700 1hr 42mins
Goulash Soup with Bread 468 1hr 6mins
Tiroler Gröstl 758 1hr 48mins
Wiener Schnitzel 750 1hr 48mins
1 Nutella Crepe 579 1hr 24mins
3 Glasses of Mulled Wine 820 2hrs
3 Pints of Beer 546 1hr 18mins
1 Mug of Hot Chocolate With Marshmallows and Whipped Cream 321 48mins

 

Health Tips for Skiing & Snowboarding

The amount of calories burned while out on the slopes are immense and give you reason to feel less guilty about what you consume après ski. A day in the mountains can be exhausting and you will find yourself needing to consume more food in order to feel energised. If you want to know about the best foods to eat in order to keep you powering through, we’ve created a little guide below.

  • Breakfast – Breakfast is the most important meal and if you want to set yourself up for a day of skiing / boarding then don’t skip it. Eating in the morning will kickstart your metabolism and give your body the fuel it needs to get through those first few runs. A protein heavy breakfast featuring plenty of salmon, ham or eggs is ideal, as it will keep you full for longer. Throw in some carbs, such as bread or potatoes, and your energy levels will be all set to go.

  • Mid-morning snack – Top up your energy levels mid-morning with a granola bar, protein bar or flapjack. It’s light enough to digest while still skiing, plus it should give you that little extra boost. Remember to keep hydrated too and to drink as much water or fruit juice as you can.

  • Lunch – Lunch is a great time to rebuild your energy. Think carbs and go for a baked potato, pasta, or a whole whole-wheat sandwich. Soups and salads are a great option too as they are packed full of healthy vegetables. Avoid too much fried, greasy food as this will sap your energy levels and leave you feeling groggy. Before hitting up the piste again, try and allow 1 hour to digest your food. If you try and get skiing again too early you risk getting stomach ache and even feeling a little dizzy – not good when navigating slightly more complex runs!

  • Mid-afternoon snack – If you feel tired again mid-afternoon, grab another granola bar, protein bar or flapjack. Fruit is another great, light option too to help keep you going until the evening.

  • Dinner – By the end of the day, your muscles will be tired and will need some good food to help them recover. Eat plenty of protein again – cheese, chicken, red meat – and some more carbs – bread, pasta, potatoes – to restore your energy levels.

 

Feeling in the mood for a ski trip now? Check out our Last Minute Ski Holidays 2015.



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