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Why We Loved Winter 2013/14 | Top 5 Moments of the Ski Season

clock 2nd May 2014 | comment0 Comments

Winter 13/14 has been a truly epic season, we are still buzzing from the amazing snow and fun we have had over the past 6 months, both in the UK and abroad. Here are our Top 5 highlights from this ski season

5. Winter came early

By 16th November 2013 Tignes had already been blessed with a 2m snow base up top and the Pyrenees had just received 40cm of fresh snow. Thanks to the fantastic snowfall and icy temperatures, resorts in Europe started opening their slopes early in a domino fashion. Alpe d’Huez opened 3 weeks early and continued to open every weekend until the resort’s official opening on 6th December. Kitzbühel and Obergugl began opening their slopes to the public in Austria, as did Verbier in Switzerland while Courchevel had a special free taster opening on Saturday 23rd November.

With huge storms in Switzerland and France in late November, keen skiers and snowboarders were able to get their snow fixes earlier than ever thought as more and more resorts opened early – was this the best start to the season ever?

Beautiful conditions in Tignes on 8th Nov 2013

4. Snow Events

To get us more and more excited as winter approaches, the UK presented a range of exciting ski events to attend as the months became colder. Londoners were lucky enough to take advantage of O’Neil’s Shoreditch Showdown, Ski and Snowboard Film Premieres and Iglu Ski favourite, Freeze Festival. Manchester and London played host to the Ski and Snowboard Shows which are the perfect way to find everything you need for the season. While the Snow Dome’s up and down the country gave us that snow fix before getting out to the Alps.

To give our ski holiday’s added fun, an increasing amount of events are popping up across the mountains. Christmas markets and firework displays give the festive weeks an added joyous feeling while music and sports events give unique experiences to your holiday. Ibiza Rocks headed to the mountains for the first time with a series of 3 weeks of parties in Meribel bringing the hottest breakthrough live acts and daily après ski events for ‘Ibiza Rocks the Snow.’

O'Neil Shoreditch Showdown, London

3. Increase in awareness for safety on the mountain

With the early snow dumps then warm conditions there was an increase in avalanches in the Alps and terrible news of accidents dominated the snow news. This has increased our awareness of off piste safety, using safety equipment and taking guided tours for off piste adventures. With the media domination of safety in snowsports, the rise in wearing helmets on the slopes is positive and Snow and Rock have seen a huge increase in helmet sales over the last 5 years. If you’re still not convinced, you must watch Kevin Pearce’s inspiring story ‘The Crash Reel’ and take a look at the Love Your Brain campaign. It is extremely important to stay safe on the mountains and minimise our risk of danger means we can carry on doing what we love for years to come.

For more information on Safety in the Mountains.

2. The Winter That Keeps On Giving

Even when resorts are starting to close for the season it is still dumping like its January! The heaviest snowfall has been reported in Switzerland with up to 50cm of knee deep freshies in Andermatt and Zermatt while the 3 Valleys in France and Cervina in Italy also enjoyed the best of the new snowfall. Our friends across the pond are on powder alert as they expect over 50cm this weekend in Lake Louise. Winter 2013-14 has been the season that keep on giving with some epic skiing this spring - We love spring skiing!

1. Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

Sochi showcased huge exposure for the British ski industry and the world recognised the elite status of Team GB’s athletes. For a country lacking in mountains, Team GB proved we are a country to take seriously when it comes to winter sports.

With an Olympic Bronze medal, five top 10 finishes, a further five top 20 and 3 in the top 30, it was the most successful Winter Games to date for British skiers and snowboarders.

Both Jamie Nicholls and Billy Morgan made history by representing Great Britain in the first ever Snowboard Slopestyle Olympic Final. After stomping a huge 90.75 in the semi-finals, Billy couldn’t repeat that incredible run and placed 10th in the final while Jamie scored an amazing 85.50 finishing in 6th.

Jenny Jones blew the nation away with her Bronze Medal winning run in the Ladies Snowboard Slopestyle Final and confirmed her place as the Queen of British snowboarding. Jenny won Great Britain’s first ever Olympic Snowboard Medal and became the first ever British female to win an Olympic medal on snow. Aimee Fuller was a crowd favourite after throwing a double backflip and landing 9th place in the semi-finals, and then took 17th overall.

The Top 10 places continued in the Freestyle Skiing where Katie Summerhayes finished in 7th in the Ladies Ski Slopestyle Final with a solid 70.60 score. Despite James Wood’s injuries, Woodsy qualified in 3rd place with an outstanding first run scoring 87.50 which made him the first ever British athlete to go through to a Men’s Ski Slopestyle Olympic Final. In the face of the hard conditions, the skiers threw down tough competition; Woodsy scored an incredible 86.60 that gave him 5th position in the finals.

The list doesn’t stop there; Team GB had a fantastic team of skiers and snowboarders participating in many specialities from Snowboard Cross to Cross Country to the Ski Halfpipe. We cannot forget the other disciplines, particularly the Team GB Curling team and Gold medal winner Elizabeth Yarnold in the Skeleton. Team GB surpassed the 3 medal target and created an unforgettable 2 weeks of winter sports and global recognition of Great Britain’s place on the Olympic mountain.

Huge congratulations to all the Team GB athletes, you were all amazing and made us so proud! #backthebrits



By Krystelle



Sochi 2014, the aftermath | an Interview with Team GB.

clock 21st March 2014 | comment0 Comments


Britain is never as proud and united than when one of our teams is competing and doing us proud. From cross country, to slopestyle, to downhill skiing, Sochi 2014 was a time that gripped the country. With over 1.1 billion social media impressions throughout the competition, and with snow domes across the country now totally packed out, we could be seeing one of the most exciting ski seasons in a long time next year with an influx of first timers getting on the mountains.

We had the privilege of catching up with some of the stars of Sochi, including bronze medal snowboarder Jenny Jones, Billy ‘triple cork’ Morgan, halfpipe hopefuls Ben Kilner and Dom Harrington, along with rising star and youngest woman to land a double flip, Katie Ormerod.

Here are some snippets from the interviews...



Jenny Jones

What has been happening for you since winning Bronze at Sochi? I’ve actually been recovering from Laryngitis. I’ve had to talk so much, so I’ve actually lost my voice. Seeing and feeling the response from everyone was just amazing. Everyone keeps telling me stories of how they were crying, or their mum was crying, or their kids were crying… just a lot of crying. I guess it was just a nail biter for everyone.

How does it make you feel being the 4th most talked about athlete? It made me giggle. I was like, 4th most talked about in Britain? But no, in the whole Olympics. It just makes you go wow. I’m glad that it actually entertained people on their Sunday mornings.

What did it feel like winning that bronze medal? My goal was to get to the finals. I knew there was a chance. The main thing I remember is the last person going down and I thought, Oh my gosh, I’m either going to come 4th or win a medal. It’s just crazy.

How do you feel it has helped young people getting into the sport? My local dry slope in Church Hill have sold out of lessons all through March. How cool is that? Knowing you have helped do that for your sport is great.

What was it like when you started? The dryslope was still there. It was hard boots back then. I went away with my school, and I think that is available now, but there is a lot more of it. It’s a great place to do your first turns – theres girls nights, junior nights, adult nights. I went straight out to work as a Chalet Maiden.

What was it like behind the scenes of Sochi? Billy (Morgan) is the joker. Katie Summerhayes is always singing and dancing. Apart from that, it’s all just a bit of banter between everyone. Going down to the canteen was cool because you got to meet everybody and try some of the Russian food, which wasn’t too bad actually. I ended up eating cottage cheese pancakes. Sounds a bit weird, but it actually turned out to be one of my favourite things. Meeting all the other nations and learning about the other sports was so interesting.

If you could do any other Olympic sport, what would it be? I’d probably do Ice Skating.



Billy morgan

How's everything been since Sochi? It’s been pretty none stop. I thought I’d be able to chill, maybe go on holiday. I got 2 days at home.

What did you think of the scoring? We didn’t really know whether they were rewarding depth or height of the jump - we had to work it out ourselves. I didn’t know whether they wanted us to go big, which I did in the second one, and they rewarded me for it.

What were your highlights behind the scenes? There were a few good nights out with some of the athletes. I played loads of ping pong as well.

What do you have coming up? 5 days training in Austria, then Spain for a competition, then straight to Finland, then back to France and Austria. In June we get some time off – I’m going to fly away to Bali where no one can find me.

You all looked very friendly with one another – did everyone get along well? Everybody is friends and has fun – that’s what makes snowboarding so good. It’s not intense. If everyone at the top was hating on each other and playing mind games it would be terrible.

What did you think about the conditions? The conditions were perfect. You can always moan about the weather. There was no wind, it was just pure sunshine. It’s gonna get a bit hot. It happens. It just made it a more spectacular event

What are your favourite resorts? Breckenridge is one. Mayrhofen or Morzine is where I have the most fun in the Spring when I’m not training.



Ben Kilner, Dom Harrington & Katie Ormerod

Katie, what have you been up to since watching the Olympics at home? I’m going over to Austria now training for the Junior World Championship in Italy. Then I’m going back to Austria for another competition, then going home to get my exams out of the way – I’m doing History, English and German A-Levels.

Ben, what kind of experience did you have at Sochi? The conditions were really difficult for me and Dom especially. We probably expected between 1 and 3 medals (for TeamGB) but just getting 1, we were over the moon with that. I think we probably expected Billy, Jamie and Katie were medal potentials.

Has it got people into snow sports? Yeah it’s even brought in sponsorship like Delancey, and with the help of UK Sport, that’s all new. (Dom) Hopefully it’s given a big push for snowboarding and skiing in the UK. It’s a wicked sport to get into. It just shows that with the facilities now, you get into it and can become really good at it. (Ben) We heard whilst riding Sochi that all the domes were getting full and the slopes were packed out, so it was really cool to hear. (Katie) After jenny won her medal, I think more people are wanting to get into snowboarding. Its such a popular sport now.

What did you think of the scoring? (Ben) With the level of riding in slopestyle, you’re quick to forget what the last guy did, so you saw a hammer of a run, but you forget what the last guy did. Sage did his first run and that continued, staying first the whole day. I had my heart in my throat when Billy and Jamie went down.

What are you favourite resorts? (Ben) I personally really like Mammoth Lakes and Breckenridge. (Katie) Breckenridge for me. (Dom) Well, Breckenridge has been our base for the last 3 or 4 years. It’s a really great place to train. There’s a few great places in Colorado. In November and December, you get so many pro’s. You go to a park and literally everyone is either sponsored or a pro.


Top 10 Resorts for Spring Skiing

clock 19th March 2014 | comment0 Comments

With Springtime fast approaching and bluebird days becoming more and more frequent, we’ve put together a list of our top resorts for Spring skiing. At this time of year, the higher altitude resorts and those with glaciers are the best to visit, as snow conditions stay preserved for longer - many even offer all year round glacier skiing.


Val Thorens, France

Snow forecast over the next 9 days: 31cm
Opening dates: November - May


Val Thorens
  • Val Thorens is Europe’s highest resort, standing at an altitude of 2230m, with 99% of the runs situated above 2000m.
  • The high-altitude works in its favour to preserve snow conditions for longer, meaning that the resort promises optimal snow cover throughout the season. If you can find another European ski area with more ski runs open than Val Thorens on any of the days that you are there, they’ll give you a free day of skiing as part of their Snow Guarantee.

  • Zermatt, Switzerland

    Snow forecast over the next 9 days: 54cm
    Opening dates: All Year Round


    Zermatt
  • Zermatt’s high-altitude provides consistent all year round skiing, with its glaciers staying open during the Summer months.
  • The resort is situated just across from Cervinia, which you can access by lift.
  • There are some great heliskiing opportunities on offer in Zermatt – expect stunning views and more challenging runs with this experience.

  • Whistler-Blackcomb, Canada

    Snow forecast over the next 9 days: 46cm
    Opening dates: November - July


    Whistler
  • Enjoy spectacular views and a huge selection of runs across both the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
  • The resort has excellent snow cannon facilities, meaning that the pistes are kept in good condition year round.
  • If freestyle’s your thing you’ll find the award winning Nintendo Parks. The parks feature a special difficulty rating system so there’s something for every ability.
  • The Blackcomb glacier provides skiing through June and July.

  • Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, Austria

    Opening dates: November - May


    Obergurgl
  • The high-altitude Obergurgl is linked by cable car to Hochgurgl, which is even higher up the mountain.
  • There are good snow making systems in Hochgurgl to keep pistes in tip-top condition.
  • Obergurgl-Hochgurgl are situated close to the resort of Solden where you can hit up some glacier skiing.

  • Lake Louise, Canada

    Snow forecast over the next 9 days: 36cm
    Opening dates: November - April


    Lake Louise
  • Lake Louise is situated in the stunning Rocky Mountains and is part of the Big 3 (along with Banff and Sunshine Village).
  • The resort won Canada’s Best Ski Resort last year at the World Ski Awards.
  • Snowmaking facilities help to keep the runs in good shape when snow is looking a bit thin.

  • Tignes, France

    Snow forecast over the next 9 days: 37cm
    Opening dates: December - May


    Tignes
  • Tignes is another of the French resorts which can guarantee good snow cover well into Spring. There are snow making facilities on those pistes that are more prone to harsh sunlight.
  • The Grande Motte glacier offers skiing and boarding throughout the Summer.

  • Hintertux, Austria

    Opening dates: All Year Round


    Hintertux
  • Hintertux is a glacier resort, which is well renowned for its year-round freestyle park, Betterpark Hintertux.
  • Powder days combined with bluebird conditions can be expected throughout the Spring.
  • Hintertux is home to Snowbombing Festival which runs from the 7-12th April 2014.

  • Cervinia, Italy

    Snow forecast over the next 9 days: 42cm
    Opening dates: October - May


    Cervinia
  • Cervinia is located just across the border from Zermatt.
  • The glacier, Plateau Rosà offers year-round skiing.
  • Cervinia is home to one of the longest runs in Europe running down to Valtournenche and standing at 13km long.

  • Mammoth, California, USA

    Snow forecast over the next 9 days: 8cm
    Opening dates: November - May


    Mammoth
  • Mammoth Mountain is home to Springfest, a festival packed full of competitions, après ski, family events and the annual pond skim.
  • Visitors benefit from the California sunshine, whilst experiencing one of the longest ski seasons in North America.
  • Occasionally, the resort opens for Independence Day skiing on the 4th July.

  • Passo Tonale, Italy

    Snow forecast over the next 9 days: 31cm
    Opening dates: October - April


    Passo Tonale
  • Passo Tonale is one of Italy’s highest resorts.
  • It offers glacier skiing plus Red and Black runs right through to Summer.
  • There are some great off-piste opportunities, as well as a designated snowpark for freestyle enthusiasts.


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