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Many people don’t realise that we are a travel agent and when you come to our site you see the prices and availability of chalets, hotels and apartments from all the major tour operators and many small operators (we work with over 40 ski tour operators). We are saving you a lot of time and effort by bringing all this information together, as well as getting some great prices and exclusive offers from our suppliers.
What many people also don’t realise is that many of the big ski brands are part of the same organisation. Iglu is an independent agent so we don’t have any affiliation to any of the tour operators, our goal is to offer the best choice and prices for our customers.
Earlier this summer quite a major event happened in the ski industry, the Enigma Travel Group was sold to Hotelplan UK. Now this will not mean anything or sound very exciting to most people, but it has created the second largest ski tour operator group bringing together the brands of Inghams, Ski Total and Ski Esprit, and putting the Hotelplan UK group not far behind TUI Ski in size.
Is bigger better? In a tough economic climate if savings can be made through economies of scale and passed on to the consumer then everyone is winning, and it creates some healthy competition for the market leaders which is never a bad thing.
Shaun White, love him or hate him, is possibly the greatest competition snowboarder of all time. The snowboarding community are often split over his skill and drive in the sport but one thing you can't doubt is how he has helped shaped competition riding over the past decade.
Before picking up his first Winter X-Games Gold in 2002 Shaun was also making a noise in the world of skateboarding and was often seen as a prodigy of Tony Hawk. Over the summer months Shaun still skates as often as possible, though his fierce competitiveness and the fact skating is seen as his second sport has often led to a similar reaction with skateboarding to that from the snowboarding community.
Not one to let these opinions affect him Shaun has spent the second half of this summer killing it on the Dew Tour, already racking up back-to-back gold medals. In the last event he was evidently the best competitor, and though the like of Bob Burnquist & Sandro Dias were there, the amplitude of his tricks blew the competition away.
Roll back to the Vancouver Olympics, with an awkward build up to the competition - Kevin Pearce, Shaun's main competition, suffered what could yet be a career ending head injury - the 'Flying Tomato' again wow'd the crowds. After Pearce's injury practicing the now well documented double-cork, there were calls from the organisers to ban the extremely technical, dangerous and awe-inspiring trick. Many of the world elite including Peetu Piiroinen and Scotty Lago were throwing down huge variations from their repertoire along with the famous double-cork, though White pulled his incredible variation of the trick - the Tomahawk - out of the bag.
Some argue that he lacks the spirit of riders such as Travis Rice or Britain's Scott McMorris, yet none of us can under-rate his undoubted skills and drive to succeed. For many snowboarders the way his riding centres around competition doesn't represent what snowboarding is all about. His movie parts are limited compared with most big name riders and most snowboarders relate to their favourite riders by their style. The kids at the indoor slopes love to watch Mikey Le Blanc or JP Walker hitting rails and powder fans love to see Jeremy Jones and Travis Rice hiking ridiculous lines in Alaska & Japan. Though his parks runs are often immense and any freestyle fan loves to see his skills, his lack of riding natural terrain causes many to wonder if his skills are too calculated and not 'impromptu' reactions to the mountain around him.
Over the past few years Shaun White has bought snowboarding into the limelight. Along with his back-to-back Olympic Gold medals and his endless snowboarding and skateboarding X-Games wins he has taken on the world of media in a whirlwind of success.
How many snowboarders can boast a private half pipe? Well Red Bull built him one at Silverton Mountain prior to the Olympics. His attitude has landed him on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and he even graced the pages of the US publication of Playboy (he did an interview as opposed to getting naked!). How many athletes can say they've been interview by David Letterman and Oprah Winfrey? His success in the media and his ability to promote the sport globally is a skill that comes second only to his riding.
The world's most famous snowboarder may not always be the world's most popular, but you have to say has become one of the most influential guys in the sport and comparable to Jake Burton, Terje Haakonsen, Shawn Palmer, Jamie Lynn and Travis Rice. To some he may be irksome, but he's also a legend.
While discussing skiing in the UK we can’t ignore the fantastic season enjoyed by the Scottish resorts last winter, particularly Glenshee.
Glenshee enjoyed it’s most successful season since 2001, welcoming 116,000 skiers up from 45,000 in previous winters. The snow cover allowed the resort to remain open continuously from 22nd December through to 11th April, something that is not always possible due to snow levels.
The success of the winter season has enabled the ski centre to carry out much needed maintenance work and they have some exciting potential enhancements in the pipeline.
If the Snow Gods are good to us again this winter and you fancy some Scottish ski action Glenshee is easily accessible and perfect for a few days to satisfy your snow cravings.
There is plenty to keep you busy with 36 runs (8 green, 13 blue, 13 red and 2 black) served by 21 lifts (2 chairlifts, 16 pomas and 3 t-bars), which give you a respectable 40 kms of piste. The runs are spread across 3 valleys and 4 mountains providing an extensive and enjoyable variety of skiing and snowboarding.
A full day pass is just £27 for an adult and £17 for a child and the ski centre offers lessons, equipment hire and even ski suit hire if you don’t have your own gear.
Before looking into this I had underestimated the size and scale of Glenshee, now I know what it has to offer I will be keeping an eye on the weather and keeping a few winter weekends free just in case.
Written by Charlie Hamilton-Beaufort
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