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Ski Blog

An Interview with The Jump star Marcus Brigstocke.

clock 27th January 2014 | comment0 Comments

“Be careful about conclusions you draw about people you’ve never met. I looked at the list of people and I was like, man, are you serious? This for a month? I’m actually a bit ashamed of that”.

Like most comedians, funny man and snowboarding enthusiast Marcus Brigstocke is not largely known for his frank, philosophical remarks. Many will recognise the serial satirist from Have I Got News For You or Love Actually, whereas ski and comedy fans may know him from setting up the hugely successful Altitude Comedy Festival in Mayrhofen, Austria, near Innsbruck where The Jump is set.

It seems the new show is bringing out a wonderful, softer side to him rarely seen with professional comedians. Obviously inspired by his experience so far, he was keen to tell me a story about his familiarity to snow sports before joining the show.

“You know I used to ski years ago, and stopped all that for snowboarding which is easier and more fun. Big spongy carpet slippers, only one piece of equipment to worry about...”

“There was a day that was both devastating and awesome in equal measure. My 9 year old son worked incredibly hard all week at ski school in Val D’isere. ‘I’m gonna bring you down The Face , one of the greatest ever downhill courses. I started picking up speed, and he stayed right with me. Then I was going pretty much as fast as I can go, and he said ‘am I alright to go now dad?’ and he just shot past me. It’s devastating.”

Contestants, including Essex girl Amy Childs and Olympic hero Steve Redgrave, have been training hard with Warren Smith and former Team GB skeleton racer Amy Williams. It tests celebrities on Winter sport disciplines, including downhill ski and the bone-shatteringly scary skeleton bob, in which they slide down a course head first. But scariest of all is apparently ‘the jump’ itself.

“The Jump is other worldly in terms of how scary it is. If you ski, you’ve probably done small kickers or little off-piste jumps, maybe hit a mogul with a bit of enthusiasm. This is different. Your ski’s get slotted in rails, and you can’t see anything you’re going to land on until you’re above it and in the air. I’m not an adrenaline junkie or anything like that…” “When I landed it I punched the air, and as soon as I was on my own, I felt tears stream down my face. I just turned to jelly and started crying. Unlike many of the other contestants, I’m still scared of the jump in a very visceral kind of way.”

“Darren Gough, Laura Hamilton and Anthea Turner are fast becoming very good jumpers. Sinitta put skis on her feet for the first time a few weeks ago, and she’s been off the jump. She’s a lovely lady, but she’s not what you think of as a daredevil, adrenaline junkie or whatever - She does it with quiet determination. Same with Amy Childs, star of reality world. She learnt to ski a few weeks ago. The first day she put speed skis on, and coach said, ‘point down, tuck down, build your speed’, and she just nailed it. The video you see of her going ‘oh my god, oh my god’ – she gets a lot better than that.”

The mere thought of Sinitta or Amy Childs scorpioning themselves in the head or face-planting the snow may sound like comedy gold for some sniggering viewers. But not for Brigstocke, who seems to have taken a shine to his new group of buddies.

“I’m not here to collect stories on the people here. I’ll be interested to see how facing fears affects the next few stand up shows I do.”

“Stand up is about exploring ideas in a fearless kind of way, but it’s a bit different to physical danger. But yeah there’ll definitely be material, if only making reference to the race suit they’ve got me in. Not a good look for a man of my size.”

To many fans of Altitude, this “new material” could make an appearance at the next festival in March.

“I can’t wait. A bunch of clowns up in the mountains, jumping around on our boards during the day, jumping around on stage at night... I’m out of the business side of Altitude now which suits me better. It makes me so proud that the festival is out there. This is for skiers and comedy lovers.”

It’s not been all about the laughs though on set. Any sport that instigates fear of this magnitude has an element of danger – viewers may have been disappointed to see a few rumoured contestants missing in the live show on Sunday night.

“There’s a couple of injuries I can’t tell you about, because we’re not sure how It’s going to affect taking part in the show. But I can tell you we’ve had Sam Jones (Flash Gordon) have his entire shoulder rebuilt. Then we have 2 broken bones possibly 3, bruising like I’ve never seen on anybody, and a ruptured hamstring I can confirm I’m in good shape though.”

Injuries aside, it seems the show has brought an otherwise misfitting group of celebrities together, in what could turn out to be a great bit of TV. I ask Brigstocke what he has learnt since starting the show;

“On a serious note, fears overcome makes you feel very good and those things are worth pursuing. On a further philosophical note – be careful about conclusions you draw about people you’ve never met. I looked at the list of people, and I was like, man, are you serious? This for a month? I’m actually a bit ashamed of that. These are actually really awesome people. I’ve shared with them some profound moments of overcoming some full-on fears. Oh, and I’ve learned to skeleton bob.”

…and the golden question. CAN HE WIN?

“It is possible. I’m not a very good jumper. Ultimately it comes down to that. With the other disciplines, I’m in the top 3. To play for the win is not what the cool boys do. I wanna win, I wanna get to the final.”

By Danny

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.

What's On in February - Ski + Snowboard Events in Popular Resorts

clock 22nd January 2014 | comment0 Comments

30th January – 2nd February
30th St. Moritz Polo World Cup On Snow – St. Moritz, Switzerland

Watch as polo teams representing prestigious brands, such as Cartier, BMW and Ralph Lauren, compete to win the prestigious Cartier Tropy. The polo match takes place in the snow and is the currently the world’s only winter polo tournament.

See our ski holidays in St. Moritz.
For more information on the event, visit the official website.

1st – 22nd February 2014
Made in Whistler Artisan Market - Whistler, Canada

Visit the Westin Resort & Spa in Whistler, Canada and browse local hand made goods and craft work, from jewellery to baked goods, food, fashion and more. The markets run from 1pm – 6pm every Saturday.

See our ski holidays in Whistler.

2nd February 2014
La Tzoumaz Luge Open – Verbier, Switzerland

Join this 4km toboggan race and, who knows, you could end up winning the Valais Luge Trophy at the end of it! A great event for all ages, including kids and adults alike.

See our ski holidays in Verbier.
Visit the Verbier events calender.

3rd February 2014
Ski with a Ranger – Heavenly, Lake Tahoe

Don’t miss out on this great experience – ski through the pistes of Heavenly with your own personal guide. On the tour, you’ll learn about some of the environmental partnerships who care for the forests as well as some of the local Lake Tahoe wildlife that resides there. Tours are offered on Mondays and Fridays at 10pm and 1pm, last for 1 hour and meet at the top of the gondola a few minutes in advance.

3rd – 8th February 2014
Ferrari Driving Course – Cervinia, Italy

Experience a once in a lifetime drive in one of the world’s sleekest, fastest cars. Zoom around the Breuil-Cervinia circuit in a Ferrari (yes, you get to drive it!) over the snow and ice, all the while receiving expert instruction from an experienced Ferrari driver.

See our ski holidays in Cervinia. For more information, contact the local tourist information centre.


4th February 2014
Freeride Attitude – Les Deux Alpes, France

Spend a day being introduced to freeriding with this great short course, which will introduce you to avalanche equipment and safety training. The day ends with an afternoon of off piste riding with a guide. This event runs every Tuesday between the hours of 9am and 7pm. You can book your place through the main Tourist Office.

See our ski holidays in Les Deux Alpes.

Sochi 2014

7th – 23rd February 2014
Sochi Winter Olympics - Sochi, Russia

Support team GB this year with a trip to Sochi, Russia to watch the Winter Olympic Games. With disciplines from snowboard slopestyle to curling, there’ll be plenty of events to keep you entertained. In between events, you can hit up Caucasus Mountain. And explore the resort of Gazprom and Rosa Khotar, where you’ll find 150km of ski runs.

Register for a spectator pass here.
Alternatively, tune into BBC Sport to see full coverage.

8th – 9th February 2014
Freeride World Qualifier – Tignes, France

This freeride contest is part of the Freeride World Tour, which has already been seen this season at Verbier and Chamonix. The event travels the world, finding talented freeriders to qualify for the final event. The competition is open for anyone to compete and spectators can watch the whole event for free.

See our ski holidays in Tignes.
Register to enter here.

9th February 2014
Full Moon Freeride Evolution 2 - Tignes, France

This freeride competition watches a host of skiers and snowboarders riding off piste, guided only by the light of the moon. If you don’t fancy entering this event yourself, then you can watch it from the frozen lake – it makes for an eventful watch, as all competitors wear luminous vests as they descend the mountain.

See our ski holidays in Tignes.

Valentines in Verbier

14th February 2014
Valentines Day Ski Dating – Verbier, Switzerland

Don’t fancy spending Valentines alone? Then why not head to Verbier, where you’ll have the chance to meet other like-minded singles on the slopes. From 9am onwards, you can pick up an armband - the day’s mission is to get talking to all the other on the slopes who are also wearing arm bands. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet the one of your dreams!

See our ski holidays in Verbier.

19th February 2014
World Record Longest Jump – Tignes, France

If you like live action then you’ll like this event! Watch Guerlain Chicherit attempt the world record longest jump as he attempts to fly 110m in a car, across the frozen lake. The event will take place between noon and 2pm and is completely free to watch.

See our holidays in Tignes.

22nd February 2014
Buttermilk Rail Jams – Aspen, Colorado, USA

Watch (or enter) this 30 minute ski only rail jam session, which results in a series 10-15 minute finals for the top 5 contestants.

See our ski holidays in Aspen.
Register here.

28th February 2014
6 Resorts Tournament – Val Thorens, France

Catch a spot of rugby on your ski trip this feb, with the 6 resorts tournament. The tournament sees 6 resorts fight it out in a game of rugby on the snow, followed by a race on skis. An entertaining watch!

See our ski holidays in Val Thorens.


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