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This year's Relentless Freeze Festival looked like it was ready to step up the UK's premier winter sports festival a notch and Friday's British themed day proved to be a great warm up to a superb weekend.
The main event of the day was the Battle of Britain competition on the huge ski-jump-esque set up. The crowd were treated to a great spectacle with the best of British taking part. Jenny Jones, Gary Greenshields, Jamie Nicholls and Andy Nudds were all throwing it down, and though it is only early in the season the UK riders were really pushing the limit of the jump. Due to warm weather the run in was a little slower than expected, though that didn't stop the guys throwing down some serious tricks.
With Olympian Dom Harington and X-Games winner Jenny Jones not making the final it looked like current Brits champion Jamie Nicholls would be among the favourites. His double-corked 1080 got the crowd going, though due to the hand drag on the landing he only made third place. Scott Penmann had joked with the competitions MC's, Tim Warwood & Christian Stevenson, earlier in the day that his only trick was the double front flip, which he styled out to claim second place. With the lack of speed making the double cork almost impossible Billy Morgan finished the afternoon with a perfectly executed double back flip, gaining both a huge cheer from the crowd and bagging him first place.
Once the snowboarding had taken place there was an hour or so to go until the premier of Jeremy Jones new film Deeper and the Battle of Britain ski competition. With 20,000 people expected over the weekend this was the biggest Freeze Festival yet and with Relentless on board the entertainment had stepped up a gear.
Over by the For Boarder By Boarders stand they had set up a small mini-ramp, and to the backdrop of some beatboxing in the Desperados tent, we were treated to a mini skate demo with Vans snowboarder Chris Chatt showing off his skills on four wheels. There was also a bike demonstration from a couple of guys in the Relentless team including a 1.2m bunny hop and a variety of super-mans, tail whips and back flips all on show.
Battle of Britain Snowboard
Battle of Britain Ski
Friday was an absolutely awesome experience, and though some of the biggest names in freestyle skiing, snowboarding and music were to follow it will take some beating.
Photo's © Paul Anthony Easton
For those of us who are feeling the pinch this winter but can’t do without our annual snow fix here are some hot tips for skiing on a shoe string, with prices (including flights) from just £223 per person!
Self-catered apartments are a good value option if you have the discipline to plan and prepare your meals in advance – if you end up eating out every meal time it is a false economy and you would be better off in a chalet:
La Plagne 22nd January 2011, £223 per person for 7 sharing or £335 for 4 sharing. Includes: flights, transfers, self catering accommodation
2. Try something new
Skiing in the Three Valleys is great but it does come at a premium and there are many other great ski areas out there that are not so hard on the wallet:
Arinsal 16th January 2011, £386 per person Aparthotel Crest. Includes: flights, transfers, hotel accommodation, breakfast and dinner.
3. Get away for Christmas
Christmas is an expensive time of year; pre-Christmas drinks and parties, presents, Christmas day itself – whether you are driving hundreds of miles to visit family or hosting lunch yourself – it all adds up. Escape from it all and enjoy a white Christmas:
Soldeu 19th December 2010, £426 per person Xalet Casale. Includes: flights, transfers, chalet accommodation, breakfast, afternoon tea and evening meals with wine.
4. Short breaks
This year due to the fact the Christmas Day is on a Saturday the departure dates around Christmas and New Year have been altered and there are a lot of great value short breaks in the first week of January – not only is your holiday cheaper but your lift pass/ski hire costs will also be reduced. You will just need to make sure you make the most of your available time on the mountain (or a least give yourself an extra day to recover when you get home):
Les Deux Alpes 3rd January 2011, £441 per person + 2 for 1 lift passes. Chalet Chartreuse, 5 nights, includes: flights, transfers, chalet accommodation, breakfast, afternoon tea and evening meals with wine.
5. Catered Chalets
A chalet holiday offers fantastic value as your meals and wine are included, if you speak to the right people (such as Igluski.com who work with all the ski operators and therefore have a great overview of the market and current deals) you can find yourself a bargain. This season there is already some great early snow, so you can be the envy of your mates with a cheeky pre-Christmas trip:
Alpe d'Huez 12th December 2010, £425 per person Chalet Hotel L'Escapade. Includes: flights, transfers, chalet accommodation, breakfast, afternoon tea and evening meals with wine.
Full index of the cheapest ski holidays available.
Wednesday afternoon at the ski show is always a great way to kick start the season and yesterday was no exception to the rule. We had a fantastic afternoon with many of our good friends from within the world of skiing and very much enjoyed the surprise performance from former Meribel pop-band, The Feeling.
The afternoon got off to a good start over at the Thunder stand where the guys insisted their toffee vodka was better than that of the Morris Bar in Val d'Isere. Of course it would have been rude not to sample their product, and I have to say it is the best toffee vodka I've had outside of the Skilodge.
A walk around the show took us to some pretty cool products and some friendly stands. The guys over at Cool Board were demonstrating their great ways of developing core strength and Grannies inc were showing off their design your own beanies and had one of their grannies knitting away in the background. My favourite new product at this year's ski show has to be the retro, almost ironic, '80s-style one piece suits over at Willyfinder - I'll let you guess where the name comes from. Their über bright attire is bound to find its way into Europe's snowparks and student holiday trips this year, and to be honest for the sheer fun of it I would have bought one had I not forget my credit card!
Later in the afternoon we were treated to wine and canapés from our friends at Skiworld, one of our chalet operators, followed by more of the same by our friends from Inghams. It's always nice to meet up with our biggest suppliers face-to-face opposed to over the phone, plus there's always some good gossip on the go.
The highlight of the afternoon has to be the après ski-esque set that The Feeling did over at the Trois Valley bar. They played a few of their hits and Sophie Ellis Bexter joined them for an acoustic version of 'Murder on the Dance Floor'. They were promoting The Little Word Festival which will be on in Meribel in March, and the band have quite a following in the ski industry after a few seasons playing as cover band Superfly in Meribel. As always the music was great and they gave the show a little bit of a Ronnie-après-ski feel.
After a quick hello over at Natives, Aragon (Formigal) and Ski Big Three it was time to jump on the bus to the Ski Club of Great Britain party. The Ski Club party was fun and started with Pimms on the bus and a champagne reception as they showed off their rebranding (more to follow on this shortly) and their new website. A fun evening entailed and as usual we were joined by the guys from Vail Resorts and Ski Big Three for a quiet drink to discuss what had been a great day.
The ski show has some great entertainment on this year with the Trois Valley Cook-off, the Big Air competition and the Land Rover Fashion shows. If you have time head down there this week and enjoy the hospitality of everyone there.
Thanks to Inghams for inviting us down to the show and to the Ski Club of Great Britain for the evening presentation and entertainment. We'll be heading down again on Friday and then it's the unfortunate 12 month wait until next year's show.
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