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The Top 5 Best Things About Spring Skiing

clock 9th April 2014 | comment0 Comments
Sunshine

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!

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Longer Days

2. Longer Days

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

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Empty Slopes

3. The slopes are empty

As the Summer months draw nearer, the slopes become quieter and quieter. Airport transfers become much smoother and faster, there's smaller queues everywhere, you don't have to worry about busy restaurants and you 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 - plus on a powder day you'll be able to ski more fresh laps. It’s also a great time to bring along the kids and those who are just learning – they can focus more on their riding and less on trying to dodge others!

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Cheaper

4. 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 too, 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.

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Apres

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 Snowbombing and Zermatt Unplugged (see our events guide to what's on in the mountains this month here).

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What's On April 2014 | Ski & Snowboard Events in Popular Resorts

clock 2nd April 2014 | comment0 Comments
April Events

2nd – 23rd April 2014

Hut Evening (Hüttenabend Hohe Mut Alm) - Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, Austria

Take an uphill gondola ride to this traditional Austrian cabin, which boasts spectacular mountain views. Enjoy a delicious fondue or a tasty gourmet dish plus a welcome drink whilst listening to the live music entertainment by the roaring fire. Hut evenings are held every Wednesday from 6.30pm until 10.30pm and must be booked in advance.

See our holidays to Obergurgl & Hochgurgl.

To book a place, visit the Hohe Mut Alm website.


 

3rd April-1st May 2014

Night Tobogganing and Night Skiing (Nachtrodeln und Nachtskilauf) – Obergurgl-Hochgurl, Austria

Every Friday, head up the mountain to Hochgurgl for a spot of night time tobogganing and skiing on the 3km-long track. The session runs from 7.30pm until 10.30pm and the run is well lit by floodlights so you can always see where you’re going! To get there, you can catch a free bus from nearby Solden or Obergurgl. From there, you can then catch a lift up to Hochgurgl.

See our holidays to Obergurgl & Hochgurgl.


 

3rd-5th April 2014

Völkl World Rookie Finals – Ischgl, Austria

Up and coming snowboarders from all around the world will come together to compete in this junior slopestyle competition. All competitors are under the age of 18 and this is an excellent opportunity for them to break into the industry, getting a taste of the professional skiing and snowboarding lifestyle while showing us their gravity-defying moves.

See our holidays to Ischgl.


 

4th-5th April 2014

Allalin Race – Saas Fee, Switzerland

This event is the highest downhill glacier race in the world, and it’s not just for the professionals! If you wish to compete then you can register here, choosing from one of four race categories (him &her, solo, team race and a fun team race). For a bit of extra fun, there’s also the chance to estimate your pace before starting – whichever participant comes closest to their estimated pace in the actual race can win a special prize!

See our holidays to Saas Fee.

Visit the website to register.


 

5th April 2014

Krowd Party – Lake Louise, Canada

Party with Krowd Clothing at this fun event and get priority lift access for the weekend. Your ticket also entitles you to discounts on selected hotels. After a day of skiing or snowboarding, continue the party with the big post-ski Saturday night event, featuring DJ’s Revolvr, Robbie C, Michelle C and more.

See our holidays to Lake Louise.


April Events

6th-7th April 2014

Award-Winning Chefs in Ischgl – Ischgl, Austria

Head to this unique event for a chance to witness some of Ischgl’s most prominent Chef’s competing not just for a culinary title, but also for a chance to be crowned the winner of a downhill ski race. After the race, the chef’s will run over to a special cooking area, where they are given a basket full of miscellaneous ingredients. They must then whistle something up as quickly as possible with what they are given, serving it up to a panel of judges who must pick one winner. There will also be an appearance from World Cup footballer Andreas Brehme at this event.

See our holidays to Ischgl.


 

7th April-11th April 2014

Kids-Week – Saas Fee, Switzerland

Celebrate a week of kids going free, with complimentary ski hire, lift passes, lessons, plus a free kid’s meal and childcare, all for those who were born on or after 2008. Kids Week is great for parents who want to take their little ones on a ski holiday for the first time, as well as for those who are looking to help their kids to improve on the slopes.

See our holidays to Saas Fee.


 

7th-12th April 2014

Snowbombing – Mayrhofen, Austria

Enjoy live music in the mountains with Snowbombing Festival, featuring artists such as The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, Chase and Status, Rudimental, Tom Odell, Foxes and more! Spend your days skiing and boarding down the mountains, then get your après on for some cracking partying to top your day off.

See our holidays to Mayrhofen.


 

8th-12th April 2014

7th Zermatt Unplugged – Zermatt, Switzerland

This acoustic festival features big names such as Aloe Blacc, Katie Melua, Tom Odell and Mick Hucknall performing unplugged renditions of their songs. As well as live acts, you’ll also find an After Show Party, a stage for kids to show off their musical talents and a host of great bars and restaurants to unwind in.

See our holidays to Zermatt.


 

9th-10th April 2014

Gourmet Class Skiing – Ischgl, Austria

This event, hosted by Ischgl and Laurent-Perrier Champagne, sees chefs, waiters and other staff from the hotel and hospitality sector come together to compete in two days of fun races. The will be coached by former World Cup skiers and divided up into 2 teams, with bar staff, waiting staff, sommeliers and suppliers in one category, hotel staff and chefs in the other. This unique event is not one to be missed!

See our holidays to Ischgl.


April Events

11th-20th April 2014

World Ski & Snowboard Festival – Whistler, Canada

Enjoy a combination of live music, skiing, snowboarding and extreme sport film screenings at this mountain festival. There’ll even be a silent disco and the chance to test run the up and coming equipment for next season.

See our holidays to Whistler.


 

12-18th April 2014

Snow Jam – Les Deux Alps, France

If you fancy a break from your day of skiing or boarding, then take some time out to watch this Belgian ski and snowboard freestyle competition. Head up to the Toura or Lac Noir seats to get the best view.

See our holidays to Les Deux Alpes.


 

13th April 2014

French Ski Slopestyle Championship – Val Thorens, France

In the aftermath of the recent Winter Olympics, freestyle skiing and snowboarding disciplines are gaining more and more popularity. Head to Val Thorens to watch some of the top freestyle skiers defy gravity and battle it out to win the European Slopestyle Cup. The competition runs between 10am and 3pm.

See our holidays to Val Thorens.


 

April 14th-21st 2014

Easter Celebrations at Whistler – Whistler-Blackcomb, Canada

Make the most of longer skiing hours and beautiful Springtime sunshine in the picturesque resort of Whistler-Blackcomb. Between these dates, you’ll find a range of family friendly activities to celebrate the Easter holiday. This event also runs in conjunction with the World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

See our holidays to Whistler.


 

19th-21st April 2014

Festival Junior Foliz – Les Deux Alps, France

A fun and exciting children’s festival to welcome the arrival of Springtime. Enjoy arts, crafts, outdoor activities, circus performances and much more. The festival runs between 2pm and 6pm and is aimed at kids between 6 and 12 years old.

See our holidays to Les Deux Alpes.


April Events

19th April-4th May 2014

Flower Pow(d)er 2014 – Hintertux, Austria

Try out next season’s equipment prototypes, get freestyle coaching or even take part in a specialist nature photography workshop. On top of all this you can even get access to early bird skiing, the chance to drive a Pistenbully, avalanche training courses and a technical resort tour, where you’ll see the workings behind the lift systems plus the artificial snow making plant.

See our holidays to Zell am Ziller which is in easy reach of the Hintertux glacier.


 

26th April 2014

Season End Party – Saas Fee, Switzerland

See out the season with a bang - with 8 bars, live music, well-known DJ’s, yummy food and even a dance competition, this end of season party is set to be a good one. In the dance competition you can win prizes for displaying the best dance move, or for wearing the best outfit. A great opportunity to get your last taste of après before the resort closes for the Summer!

See our holidays to Saas Fee.



How to Get Into Freestyle Snowboarding / Skiing

clock 26th March 2014 | comment0 Comments
Freestyle Ski

With this year’s Winter Olympics really raising awareness of disciplines such as Slopestyle and Halfpipe, many people are now wondering how they can try these styles out for themselves. The good news is you don’t have to travel far to give it a go, with countless dry slopes and snowdomes around the country offering freestyle lessons, one-on-one coaching and competitions for all ages and abilities. Stick with it and before you know it you could be smashing out those triple corks, backside rodeo 540’s and cab 180’s just like the pros!


The basic requirements for beginning to learn these tricks are that you can confidently perform linked turns on either your skis or your snowboard. You also need to be able to ride switch (backwards for skiers, riding with the opposite leg forward for snowboarders). This takes a lot of practice, but many beginner freestyle lessons focus on helping you to grasp riding switch before they begin to teach you the rest.


Freestyle Snowboard

Glossary

Wondering what all this stalefish-fakie-ally-ooping-lincoln-looping means? We’ve broke down some of the freestyle lingo to help you get your head around it all…


Kicker – Another name for either a man-made or natural jump.


Jib – Any obstacle that you can jump on or over eg. Rails, boxes, tree stumps, etc.


Grab – To grab either your board or your skis in the air, using either hand.


Air – Any kind of jump off the ground.


Switch/Fakie – On skis, this is riding backwards. On a snowboard this is riding with the opposite leg forward.


Stalefish Air – A jump in the air, using your rear hand to grab the heel edge of the board between the bindings.


Air-to-Fakie – enter the halfpipe forwards then come back down backwards, without any rotation.


Spin on – A spin before landing on the rail.


Spin out – A spin to exit the rail.


180, 360, 540, 720 – These numbers are the number of degrees in which the skier or boarder rotates. You can perform different moves with varying degrees of rotation, for example backside 180. 180 degrees is half a turn, 360 a full turn, 540 one and a half turns, 720 is two complete rotations, etc.


Lincoln Loop – A flip to the side, almost like a cartwheel with no hands, except the legs are tucked into the body.


A Lincoln Loop


Rodeo – A cross between a flip and a spin. This move is an off-angle backflip, where your feet come over your head at an angle rather than directly above.


Misty – The same as a Rodeo, except you flip forwards instead of back.


Cork – An off-axis spin, where the feet whip round to your side, rather than over your head as they would with a back flip.


In this video, the first move is a Backside Rodeo 540 and the second move is a Backside Corkscrew 540


Backside 180 – 180 degree rotation in the air, turning clockwise for regular and anti-clockwise for goofy.


Ally-Oop – For this trick, as you come up into the air you turn 360 degrees, grabbing your board or skis before landing to face the same way that you started.


How To Frontside Alley-Oop



Freestyle Lessons in the UK


Freestyle Snowboard

The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead

  • Freestyle Fundamentals, Thursdays 7pm-9pm & 8pm-10pm – These sessions aim to get you to grips with the foundations before moving on to the more complex stuff

  • Freestyle Coaching Sessions, Thursdays 7pm-9pm & 8pm-10pm – Aimed at those who already have some freestyle experience and who are looking to improve

  • Thursday Freestyle 6-10pm – Beginner to Intermediate

  • Friday Freestyle 6.30-10.30pm - All abilities


Chill Factore, Manchester

  • Home to the UK's longest indoor, real snow freestyle park

  • Private Freestyle lessons available

  • Introduction to Freestyle Flatland, every other Wednesday 6-8pm – For complete beginners, learn how to ride switch and how to land properly

  • Introduction to Freestyle Features, every other Wednesday 6-8pm – Start learning how to hit those jibs

  • Junior Freestyle Coaching, Thursdays 6-8pm – For juniors who have already completed the above introductory courses

  • Core Freestyle nights are held every other week. Wednesday 4-11pm, Thursday & Friday 7-11pm – All abilities


SnoZone, Milton Keynes & Castleford

  • SHRED! Thursdays 7pm-9pm – All abilities

  • Freestyle Park Nights Thursdays & Fridays 7-11pm – All abilites


Snow Factor, Renfrew

  • Freestyle 1, Age 11-15, Tuesdays 6.45-9.45pm – Learning switch and flatland tricks

  • Freestyle 1, Adults, Wednesdays 6.45-9.45pm - Learning switch and flatland tricks

  • Freestyle 2, Age 11-15, Tuesdays 6.45-9.45pm – Introduction to park etiquette and riding boxes, rails and kickers

  • Freestyle 2, Adult, Wednesdays 6.45-9.45pm – Introduction to park etiquette and riding boxes, rails and kickers

  • Freestyle 3, Thursdays on request – Work on filling in your achievement card as your learn new tricks

  • Freestyle 4, available on request – Nail all of those tricks you’ve been working on

  • Freestyle Nights, Thursdays and Fridays 7-11pm – All abilities


Tamworth Snowdome

  • Board Stiff, Tuesday evenings – A ramp night for experienced freestyle skiers and snowboarders

  • Fresh, Saturday evenings - A ramp night with late bar, music and plenty of jibs. This one’s also for the more experienced freestyle skiers and snowboarders

  • Snowboard Shred School, Saturdays – All ages and abilities

  • Learn to Freestyle in a day - This one’s for snowboarders and includes a full day course with lunch, plus video analysis to help you perfect your technique


In addition to all of these courses, you’ll also find that Maverix Snow, Definition Camps, Salomon Grom Ski Camps and Grounded Freestyle Coaching all offer day courses in freestyle at various snowdomes.


These are not all of the possible freestyle options that you can experience here in the UK – most dry ski slopes also offer freestyle coaching sessions. If you want to learn halfpipe, then you’ll have to venture a little further unfortunately as currently the only UK halfpipe is situated in Cairngorm, Scotland. However, most snowdomes offer quarterpipes which are a good starter to get you learning some of those halfpipe tricks.


Here's a video featuring the Team GB Freestyle athletes to get you feeling inspired. Enjoy!




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