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Ski Blog

Lindsey Vonn To Take On The Boys

clock 19th October 2012 | comment0 Comments

Female skiing sensation and model, Lindsey Vonn, has written to the FIS requesting permission to compete in the men's downhill in Lake Louise next month. Could this be another Red Bull first?

Lindsey Vonn has dominated Women's downhill skiing for years, both on the mountain and in the press. At 27 she already has 33 World Cup victories to her name, 26 of which are in downhill skiing. If being one of the greatest women skiers on the planet wasn't enough, Vonn's looks have also led her to being a poster girl for both the sports and the US Winter Olympic team.

Photo: © U.S. Ski Team

Vonn certainly has the skiing ability and public appeal to take on the boys at their own game, and as she already trains with them, you can bet she's pretty confident in beating them too. But is this all down to Vonn, or does having an ambitious sponsor like Red Bull help.

When it comes to action sports and high adrenaline, Red Bull are the masters of PR. This week the Red Bull Stratos took place — where Austrian sky diver jumped out of a balloon at 120,000ft breaking both the sound barrier and the record for the world's most ridiculous, sorry, highest sky dive. So, is it any surprise they are supporting another one of their prized assets taking on a world first?

The decision to take on the Men's Downhill apparently comes from Lindsey Vonn's team, as opposed to the US ski team, which this statement from the US team seems to back up: "We clearly have great respect for Lindsey, her accomplishments in the sport and her desire to seek this new challenge. But we have not had any formal discussion yet between Lindsey and FIS. As with any issue or opportunity, decisions we make are management decisions but include all appropriate parties."

So, could and should Vonn be allowed to take on the men? There is no reason why she shouldn't, unless the likes of Bode Miller are worried that she could pip them to the podium positions. British women's skier Chemmy Alcott seems to think not, according to a post on Facebook this week:

"Most people will expect me to be averse to Lindsey Vonn's request to ski against the boys. They will probably expect me to be jealous, as a peer who will never have the opportunity she is seeking.

Or they might think that I will deem it unfair that Lindsey will, if she continues to compete on the women's World Cup tour, "break" FIS rules by skiing on a piste the week before an event. This would give her a big advantage in the women's race because the gate setting in Lake Louise next month is the same.

However, this is far from true. I am sympathetic to Lindsey's plight. She is not just any female requesting the opportunity to compete against men in her sport - she is the best, and by far. Numerous times she has destroyed the competition in speed events by seconds (a lifetime in our sport)."

I say let her compete against the boys to see how they cope with her taking the limelight on and off the slopes...



Driving Miss Peisey

clock 21st March 2012 | comment0 Comments

Ever thought about driving to the Alps for your next ski trip, or are you a regular of the trip from Surrey to the Savoie?

If you are indeed planning a skiing road trip then it's definitely worth taking some time-out to make sure you are up to date with the latest local laws, to avoid an untimely fine on your way to the mountains. But how many of you are aware of the intricacies of French law while travelling along their toll booth-filled roads?


Photo: Evodriver.fr

To help you prepare for a week on the slopes and to ensure your spending money is reserved for lift passes, local cheese and an après ski beer or two — as opposed to lining the pockets of the French motorway police — here are a few things to make sure you pack:

Your Personal Breakdown Kit: You are probably already aware that driving regulations in France require every vehicle to carry a warning triangle and reflective jacket in case of an emergency. However daft you might feel getting your bright yellow jacket out on the hard shoulder, a fine will feel much worse.

Snow Chains: Again, this may seem obvious, but cars driving on snow-covered roads must have snow chains fitted where roads signs to such effect are in place. On busy transfer days in the snow, the police will often be sat at the bottom of mountain roads, from Avoriaz to Val d'Isere, making sure everyone has snow chains before letting you go any further. There is also a 50 km/h (31 mph) speed limit when snow chains are in use — not that you'd want to drive any quicker then that with bits of metal wrapped around your tyres!

Breathalysers: Yes, breathalysers. As of 1st July 2012 all drivers of any motor vehicle will be required to carry a disposable breathalyser in their vehicle. Failure to do so will result in a fine. As you may need to use one, it's recommended to stick two of them in your glove box for safe keeping. The breathalyser has to be certified by the French authorities showing an 'NF' number and they usually last for 12 months before going out of date.

Radar & Speed Camera Detectors: Though radar detectors are still legal in the UK, as of 3rd January 2012 they have been outlawed in France. Anyone caught with a radar speed camera detector can be fined up to €1500 on the spot and their device will be taken away immediately — this includes satnavs that show the locations of speed cameras. According to the AA's guide on the matter, you should be able to disable this function from your device and if you contact the manufacturer there may be a software update that removes the locations of speed cameras in France. Either that, or leave the satnav at home and rely on your trusty old maps.

Speeding: Speed limits in France are affected by both where you are, what you are driving and the weather. Standard speed limits for cars are easily seen with road signs, but during high-winds, rain and snow these all drop. For example, the speed limit on the motorway is 130km/h, which is reduced to 110 km/h in the rain. Note: Holders of EU driving licence — if caught driving more than 40 km/h above the speed limit — will have their licence confiscated on the spot by the police. For more info on speed limits in France, take a look at the AA's France Touring Tips.

Tolls: As you are probably aware, the French motorways and duel-carriageways are all tolled in France. The advantage is no road tax, the disadvantage is the need to stop and pay the fees every so often. You can now purchase the Liber-t toll tag, which allows you to effectively jump the queue buy using the automated tolls, as opposed to paying each time. The set-up cost is around €40, of which €20 is a refundable deposit. If you are on a long journey, to say Val d'Isere, the €20 cost will easily be worth the savings in time and the possible fuel costs caused by sitting in queues when the traffic is busy. I know us Brits love to queue, but there nothing wrong with joining the quicker, more organised and efficient queue — in fact, that is the British way to queue. These can be purchased on the Sanef Tolling website, where more information on the costs and how they work can be found.

Driving to France can be a great way of travelling to your skiing holiday, whether on a cheeky weekend away or for a full-blown family holiday. Just make sure the experience makes your holiday easier, as opposed to a hassle. Remember, French police will take no encouraging to fine you, so be prepared.



Family Friendly Ski Accessories

clock 4th November 2011 | comment0 Comments

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

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

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.



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