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I’ve done my fair share of black pistes in the Alps, but as a snowboarder my favourites may differ to a skiers, so with help from our expert ski team: Sales Director, Adam Johnson, Head of Ski Product, James Box and Ski Team Leaders, Nick and Scotty, we’ve put together the ultimate top 5 black runs in Europe. From beginner blacks to harakiri-extreme pistes, you’ll feel like a ski champion after executing these slopes.
5. Aiguille Rouge, Les Arcs, France A Black/Red run for starters If your ski legs aren’t warmed up yet, they will be after this. From the top of Aiguille Rouge at 3226m you can take the epic 7 km Aiguille Rouge run down 2000 vertical metres to the village of Villaroger. It’s a mix of terrain starting as a black run for the first half, then a red piste through the trees for the remainder of the run. The steepest section is at the top, after that it feels more like a red run (a blackish red?)
4. Saslong, Selva, Italy
A world class thrill The World Cup Saslong run from Selva down into St Christina ‘is awesome’ says James. It’s not a difficult black run, as there a steeps followed by flats, followed by steeps, etc. So if you are flying down the piste you can get lots of air just as the downhill racers do when the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup comes to Val Gardena. Extreme fun paired with the beautiful scenery and the stunning mountain range backdrop.
3. La Sache, Espace Killy, France Not for the faint hearted AJ: My favourite black run in the Espace Killy is La Sache. There is a big caveat on this though. It must be done before lunch or maybe at lunchtime when the pistes are emptier. Some of the narrower and steeper sections get very crowded with skiers negotiating the monster moguls that form during the day that makes it a nightmare later in the day. Just before lunch is ideal because there is a great little Savoyard restaurant in Tignes-Les-Brévières called La Sachette that you can stop at after. At 1550m, this is the lowest point in the whole Espace Killy and therefore the warmest and best for dining outdoors. Scotty: The first time you do La Sache you just wonder where the hell you are going to end up, it’s steep, bendy but awesome. 2. Grand Couloir, Courchevel, France
Terror at the top
At the top of Saulire at 2700m there is just one of the famous Courchevel couloirs marked on a piste map as a run, the Grand Couloir. This famous piste is often high on the list for the scariest black run in the world and can get extremely mogully if it hasn’t snowed in a while. To get to the Grand Couloir there is a narrow ridge that gets icy and grooved so you can’t turn your skis to slow down. As you pick up speed the ridge gets steeper and bumpier. I’ve seen quite a few skiers lose their nerve and bail out at this stage but if you hold your nerve there is a small space to stop at the end of the track. The GC is steep to start but it quickly widens, it is steeper if you keep to skier’s right and stay in the shadow to get the best snow.
1. Chassoure – Tortin, Verbier, Switzerland
The possibilities are endless
From the Chassoure peak there are a few options to make your descent, depending on the snow fall and conditions these slopes can change daily. From the top you can drop straight in and face the moguls of ‘the wall’ or traverse along and ski down when you see a preferred route. The 700m track takes you down to Tortin where you can head up toward Mont Fort, or tackle the Chassoure-Tortin run again. This was described as a ‘skiers dream’ by one of the team, but beware as this is world renowned as an extreme ski run.
If you're looking to tantalise your extreme taste buds further, here is a quick rundown of more brilliant black pistes in Europe: For Starters: Piste 21 (under Chairlift 1), Kitzbühel, wide black run with flatter sections For Excitement: Through the tunnel in Alpe D’Huez …… stop… out the door…. ARRRHH. Beware, it’s steep. For Fear Factor: Anything down Mont Gele in Verbier. For Endurance: Point de Vue at Grand Montets in Chamonix, the run goes on forever. For Mogul Mania: Top of the Valluga in St Anton, it’s about half a mile of moguls! Gulp factor: Pan du Fou, Nendaz. If you’re a chicken then you turn right:
With winter just around the corner, Aldi have launched their new collection of ski and snowboard gear. We went along to the first preview to take an exclusive glimpse of the full line. Set in the beautiful Austrian ski lodge themed restaurant, Bodo’s Schloss, we were treated to an evening of alpine entertainment.
At Iglu Ski, we feel we can cater for all needs when searching for a ski holiday, from budget hotels and self-catering apartments through to uber luxury chalets. Even though we can provide a selection of bargain ski holidays, it’s all the extras you need for your winter getaway that add up and can put people off going skiing and snowboarding.
After the success of last year’s collection, Aldi has come to the rescue once again with its Ski Specialbuys range, offering ski and snowboard wear at an affordable price. These products will be available in stores from 4th December while stocks last. Whether you’re a complete beginner, regular holiday maker, or even a pro, Aldi has everything you need to fight off the freeze. For entry level skiers, there are adult salopettes and jackets from £16.99 each. Salopettes include 3M Thinsulate wadding, 2 zipped hip pockets and an inner snow cuff with anti-slip tape. Jackets include 3M Thinsulate wadding, side ventilation, snowbelt and a built in ski pass pocket sleeve. For kids there are bundles from £14.99 that also includes socks, gloves and accessories.
For the seasoned skier, there is the Aldi Pro range that features an enhanced specification to rival big-brand names, just without the large price tag. The Pro Jackets and Salopettes range from £29.99 - £34.99 and the Pro Lite Shell Jacket and Trousers come in between £34.99 – £39.99. New for this season and hitting stores nationwide in January 2015 will be Aldi’s first ever kids snowboard range, featuring children’s clothing as well as a Snowboard Suit (£19.99), Gloves (£4.99) and Goggles (£7.99).
Other items include: Children’s ski socks - £1.99 Adult ski socks - £3.99 Hats, gloves & scarfs - £2.49-2.99 Children’s thermal set - £4.99 Ski & Snowboard Goggles - £7.99 Adult Base Layers - £8.99 each Adult Merino Wool Thermals - £15.99 each Adult Helmet - £19.99
At first glance we were really impressed with the choices and colours for each of the genders; it was more than just black for men and pink for ladies, which is often the case for budget clothing. Then we had the opportunity to try on all the range: I loved the amount of pockets and detail in the jackets and soft shells; there were lift pass pockets and even iPhone/iPod compartments in some of the coats.
Direct Marketing Executive and seasoned snowboarder, Millie, also came along for viewing and here's her thoughts on the new Aldi ski Specialbuys: “Aldi’s new range of ski wear has seriously impressed me. In previous years I’d heard good things about their thermals, but had been dubious as someone who buys things to last from season to season. Having now tried out a pair of Aldi’s Merino Wool base layers as well as their compression thermals, I can safely say I’m sold. As I’m yet to hit the slopes in them, the jury’s still out on performance. But, I was pleasantly surprised by the snug fit and quality feel of the fabric. For someone on a budget, these certainly deliver functionality without compromising on looks.
Combining great fit, quality, comfort and an affordable price tag, these could give the well-known brands a serious run for their money this season.”
This collection is perfect for families on a budget or anyone looking to give skiing or snowboarding a go for the first time this winter but is anxious about spending a heap of money on a full ski outfit.
As well as the ski clothing, we were very impressed with the winter cocktails that were being served through the night and we thought we would share with you the recipe for our new favourite drink - perfect for something different this Christmas, plus all ingredients can be purchased at Aldi!
Cranbellini: Serves 1
Ingredients 75ml Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene NV 25ml Cranberry juice 25ml sugar syrup (or boil together 25ml of water & 25g of caster sugar to make) Fresh cranberries 1 tsp Mixed spice 1 tsp Icing Sugar Method: Dip the rim of a champagne glass into cranberry juice, then into the icing sugar and then into the mixed spice Pour in the cranberry juice & sugar syrup to fill ¼ of the glass and then top up with Prosessco. Garnish with a cranberry to finish.
Where do Londoners love to ski | Where has the best apres this season | Top 5 ski resorts for groups
For a country with a lack of snowy mountains the UK has a high proportion of keen skiers and snowboarders that head to ski resorts all across the world, season after season.
As the UK’s largest independent ski travel agency we offer ski holidays to over 200 resorts, giving our customers the widest choice of destinations available.
Earlier this year we published a roundup of our top selling ski resorts for 2013/14, which found Val d’Isere, St Anton and Meribel coming up top. During the build up to the winter season, London comes alive with alpine themed fun and lively ski events to get city goers amped for the season ahead. With a significant proportion of Iglu Ski customers residing in London we have delved into the city’s boroughs to find out how they compare.
This highest percentage of skiers and snowboarders live in the South West, with an average spend of £763.02 pp and Val d’Isere as their resort of choice.
The lowest rate of skiers and snowboarders in London are found in West Central London where La Plagne is the most popular option, with an average spend of £759.46 pp.
The biggest spenders are in SW3, Chelsea, where the average spends is £957.24 pp and residents favour the chic resort of Courchevel.
The ski resorts in the 3 Valleys and Espace Killy in France are the preferred locations by Londoners for their ski holiday and only a handful of boroughs favoured Austria over France.
View the full infographic here
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