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Ski Blog

Ski Yourself Fit This Season

clock 17th February 2015 | comment0 Comments

 

If you’re looking to kill a few calories but are unwilling to sign your soul away for an unused year at your local jazzy gym, why not consider the outdoor life and some truly awesome winter sports to get in shape the fun way. Of course the temptation of all that heavenly indulgent mountain food on a ski or snowboarding holiday (Tartiflette, Raclette, Fondue..) might have you concerned about piling it on, but fear not as food = fuel and that’s exactly what you’ll be burning tonnes of each day spent on the slopes.

Snowsports are an excellent form of cardio as well as a great way to tone and strengthen leg, core and arm muscles. Both skiing and snowboarding are particularly good for strengthening the ankles, lower legs, quadriceps and glutes, as you engage these muscles to control your board or skis. Both activities require good balance, which work your core muscles, pulling in your abs and helping to align your spine. As you balance, you use your arm muscles to help steady yourself, working to firm them up, particularly in the upper arms and shoulders.

 

 

When your muscles are strong, the body works harder to use them, therefore burning more calories. This, plus being in a cold environment (where your body burns calories just to keep warm) is great news for your metabolism! On top of all these great health benefits, skiing and boarding also release adrenaline and endorphins which lift your mood and make you feel more alert, awake and happy.

So how many calories does skiing / snowboarding burn?

Skiing or boarding for 6 hours can burn a whopping 2000 - 3000 calories, depending on your age, weight and height. With that in mind, it may take a lot less time than you think just to burn off that mulled wine and 3 Wiener Schnitzels you had for lunch…

Here are a few examples of some popular, hearty ski foods and drinks with an estimate of how long it takes to burn off each one (each food portion is based on a 300g serving).

 

Food / Drink Approx. Calories Approx. amount of Skiing / Boarding it takes to burn it off
Tartiflette 550 1hr 18mins
Fondue 793 1hr 54mins
Apfelstrudel with Custard 548 1hr 18mins
Käsespätzle 885 2hr 6mins
Germknödel 458 1hr 6mins
Raclette 1000 2hrs 24mins
Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce and Cheese 700 1hr 42mins
Goulash Soup with Bread 468 1hr 6mins
Tiroler Gröstl 758 1hr 48mins
Wiener Schnitzel 750 1hr 48mins
1 Nutella Crepe 579 1hr 24mins
3 Glasses of Mulled Wine 820 2hrs
3 Pints of Beer 546 1hr 18mins
1 Mug of Hot Chocolate With Marshmallows and Whipped Cream 321 48mins

 

Health Tips for Skiing & Snowboarding

The amount of calories burned while out on the slopes are immense and give you reason to feel less guilty about what you consume après ski. A day in the mountains can be exhausting and you will find yourself needing to consume more food in order to feel energised. If you want to know about the best foods to eat in order to keep you powering through, we’ve created a little guide below.

  • Breakfast – Breakfast is the most important meal and if you want to set yourself up for a day of skiing / boarding then don’t skip it. Eating in the morning will kickstart your metabolism and give your body the fuel it needs to get through those first few runs. A protein heavy breakfast featuring plenty of salmon, ham or eggs is ideal, as it will keep you full for longer. Throw in some carbs, such as bread or potatoes, and your energy levels will be all set to go.

  • Mid-morning snack – Top up your energy levels mid-morning with a granola bar, protein bar or flapjack. It’s light enough to digest while still skiing, plus it should give you that little extra boost. Remember to keep hydrated too and to drink as much water or fruit juice as you can.

  • Lunch – Lunch is a great time to rebuild your energy. Think carbs and go for a baked potato, pasta, or a whole whole-wheat sandwich. Soups and salads are a great option too as they are packed full of healthy vegetables. Avoid too much fried, greasy food as this will sap your energy levels and leave you feeling groggy. Before hitting up the piste again, try and allow 1 hour to digest your food. If you try and get skiing again too early you risk getting stomach ache and even feeling a little dizzy – not good when navigating slightly more complex runs!

  • Mid-afternoon snack – If you feel tired again mid-afternoon, grab another granola bar, protein bar or flapjack. Fruit is another great, light option too to help keep you going until the evening.

  • Dinner – By the end of the day, your muscles will be tired and will need some good food to help them recover. Eat plenty of protein again – cheese, chicken, red meat – and some more carbs – bread, pasta, potatoes – to restore your energy levels.

 

Feeling in the mood for a ski trip now? Check out our Last Minute Ski Holidays 2015.



Which skier are you?

clock 27th January 2015 | comment0 Comments

Thousands of Brits head to the slopes each winter for their one week a year on the slopes. As the mountain lifestyle is so different to our normal 9-5 lifestyle we all have strange traits and habits on a ski holiday – where else can you get away with a Glühwein stop at midmorning or where melted cheese becomes part of your daily diet?

We’ve put together some of our favourite humorous ski characters you’ll find in a ski resort – which one are you and your friends most like?


Powder hound


You don’t bother getting out of bed if there isn’t any fresh snow. If there has been snow forecast, you will be up before sunrise to hike up your favourite mountain for fresh tracks before most people are even eating breakfast. You are an expert in all things backcountry, avalanche safety and snow prediction and often found preaching to people on a chairlift.

Ski Chic

Even though you have been skiing since a young age, you now only get out on the slopes if it is a perfect blue bird day. You are most likely found occupying sun loungers and bar stools in Zermatt, Courchevel or Davos in late season. Your skis have seen more action in the ski racks of an après bar than on snow.



The Ski Family

Are you a super mum that is always fully prepared for any weather or situation? Are you a dad that tries to fit in with the chalet staff at après and is the first one to get the jagerbombs in? Do your children either head straight to the snow park or fly down red runs when there are meant to be sticking to blue pistes?

View more characters and full infographic here

By Krystelle

Illustrations by Mark Owens



Get in the mood for winter at London’s most spectacular location

clock 19th November 2014 | comment1 Comments

Join in the celebrations for the 10th year of winter fun at the Natural History Museum Ice Rink

Warm up to winter in style at one of the most beautiful and iconic settings in the Capital, the Natural History Museum Ice Rink is now open throughout the festive season. If there is one place in the city to kick start your festive spirit and to start counting down to winter, here it is. The ice rink is set in the foreground of the stunning Museum and will be open to skaters through till Sunday 4th January.

Want to win the chance to go to ice skating at the Natural History Museum for free?
See the bottom of the blog for more info.

 

Many ski area’s aren't open till mid-December, so if you are as ski crazy as us and cannot wait another few weeks to satisfy that snow urge this is one activity that will delight your winter lust. Set in a winter wonderland, surrounded by nearly 80,000 twinkling fairy lights and a huge glittering 40 ft Christmas tree, beginners and advanced skaters alike can enjoy the 1,000 square meter rink.

As we can’t enjoy the slopes just yet, we have spent the build up to ski season trying and testing all the exciting winter and ski themed activities you can do in London.

We were lucky enough to visit this festive haven in its first week of opening, and what a wonderful evening out we had! From exiting the underground, you are dazzled by the exquisite fairy lights and then stunned by the extraordinary architecture of the Natural History Museum before you stop and take it the atmosphere of this beautiful setting. There is something very special about being able to ice skate outside in the middle of London on a winter’s evening.

It is the perfect activity for friends and family alike, all ages were out on the ice and if there is someone in your group that isn't ice-ready, they can stand around the outside and take photos or enjoy a mulled wine from the café bar.

 

The marketing girls looking festive at ice skating

Here’s what we had to say on our adventure on the ice:

Chloe: "Ice skating at the Natural History museum was a magical evening out that helped throw me in to the Christmas spirit. I was mesmerised by all the lights, the decadent Christmas tree, and music. I was also impressed that the ice wasn’t too overcrowded. Followed by a mulled wine and festive nibbles at the bar, this is certainly an experience I would recommend anyone to share with your friends and family."

Laura C: "A fantastic location just outside of the Natural History Museum, the setting couldn’t have been better. The ice rink was the perfect size, and the big Christmas tree in the middle added the perfect wintery touch. I had great fun skating around (and trying not to fall over), and it’s safe to say that I’m definitely feeling festive and in the Christmas spirit now."

 

Iglu Ski on ice & the view of the ice rink from the balcony at the cafe bar


Where? Natural History Museum. Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD. Nearest tube – South Kensington

When? Thursday 30 October 2014 – Sunday 4 January 2014. Check the website for daily session times.
How? Online: http://www.nhmskating.com. In Person: at the Natural History Museum Ice Rink Box Office. Phone: 0844 847 1576 

Extra sessions

The Ice Rink will also be offering ‘SK8’ sessions where all can take to the ice for extended skating periods.
On weekdays in November, the Ice Rink will hold special sessions for parents and toddlers, and for students who present their NUS card at the box office. Parents with pre-school children can enjoy special rate skating sessions with complimentary drinks for both adult and child in the cafe afterwards. Students will also benefit from an exclusive special rate and complimentary drink.

Visit the website for more details on sessions and offers www.nhmskating.com

 

Win 2 Tickets to Ice Skating at the Natural History Museum

Celebrate the festive season at the Natural History Museum Ice Rink, London’s most spectacular winter attraction. Whether you’re a novice or an expert skater, it’s a wonderful day out with family, friends or someone special. This Christmas one lucky reader will win two tickets to London’s most enchanting ice rink for an unforgettable Christmas experience in the capital.

To win – Head to Facebook to like and comment on the image telling us who you would take with you, or go to Twitter and retweet this tweet.

Terms and Conditions: Promotion closes at 23:59 on 30 November 2014. Winners will be notified on 01 December 2014. The prize must be redeemed by 12 December 2014 and is non-transferable and has no cash alternative. There is one prize of two ice skating tickets at The Natural History Museum Ice Rink. Advance booking is essential, and prize is subject to availability. Blackout dates may apply. The winner will be the first entrant selected at random after the closing date. Over-18’s only. Promoter: IMG (UK) Ltd.


By Krystelle



Après-ski: Where to go 2014/15

clock 19th September 2014 | comment0 Comments

With our first 2 après ski guides now out of date AJ Johnson, Iglu's Director of Sales, and resident après ski Black-Belt, has updated our best après ski destinations for 2014/15.

Après ski is now as important as the skiing for UK skiers and riders. Those hectic (or chilled) hours between 3.30pm and 6.00pm when you celebrate a day of great skiing with your mates while still in your ski gear and often still up on the slopes can make or break your trip. The level of après ski is the most common question we get about resorts and I happen to agree that it is an essential part of my ski experience. I may not want to party every afternoon, but when I do, I want very good music, cold beers and cheap shooters, plenty of room to dance, and the option of a sunny terrace. If it’s inclement weather then an indoor area with strong tables for dancing on with ski-boots and lots of alpine memorabilia and style will do.

The resort Councils also realise the importance of après ski to the UK market and last year Alpe d’Huez warmly welcomed Folie Douce with their 4th Franchise to great success and the brand keeps going from strength to strength.



Val Thorens, Trois Vallées, France

The highest party town in the Alps

For a long time VT has been considered the poor cousin of its neighbours in upmarket Méribel and super expensive Courchevel but recent years have seen a transformation into a more mid-range resort. There are still the cheap and tiny apartments available but now there is a 5 star Hotel, some top quality chalets, upmarket self-catered apartments and this year sees Club Med launch their newest village right in the centre of town. We’ll be there for an early season ski in December. It’s a great resort for early or late snow due to its height.

The Folie Douce here is just above the town so everyone gets to do a short ski back down on wobbly legs. It’s smaller than the rest of the Folies as it was not built to purpose but a restaurant taken over. I think it has a charm which puts it among the finest après bars in the Tarentaise Vallée.

Down in town there are more bars than you can visit in a night and the après starts early. The Frog and Roast Beef is the highest pub in Europe and draws a UK crowd. The Saloon bar is the Seasonaires favourite and is the rowdiest and most fun bar on the strip if you can take the crowds. VT is also home to the largest nightclub in the Alps in Malaysia, it may be cavernous but it fills up late and rocks all night.

The place to stay – The New Val Thorens Club Med Sensations is going to be brilliant.

Les Deux Alpes, France

24/7 Ibiza (budget) Party Town

This big resort in the Grand Rouses mountain range has long been a favourite with the young hip crowd and offers an amazingly long season due to the huge glacier. It has a direct link access to the legendary La Grave free-ride resort, the best Terrain Park in Europe, and summer skiing. There are 45 bars along the main drag and 8 night-clubs. That’s not much less than the entire Trois Vallées and more than Val d’Isére and Tignes added together. On the slopes there is the amazing and huge PANO BAR that gives the 4 Folie Douces a run for their money.



The beats are a bit dancier and recognisable and the crowd a little less reserved. After your Pano après session there are a series of bars at the foot of the slopes worth visiting. Just a little warning, the last run in to the resort called the Valentin is a serious run. Download on the Jandri Gondola if you’ve over-cooked it on Jaeger-Bombs. This direct Gondola access means injured or non-skiing friends can join you for lunch and après every day.

At the foot of the slopes I like the Umbrella bar. The giant Umbrella can be closed for really cold days and opened for the sunny ones.

St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria

Ski Hard, Party Harder

St Anton is still the best of Austria but it is perhaps too popular and the famous piste-side bars are uncomfortably jammed to overflowing with plastered Brits, Dutch and Germans. It has fantastic off-piste routes like the Valluga and brings a lot of the best skiers in the world to party. It also claims to have the oldest ski school in the world and this brings a constant flow of new skiers and boarders to the noisiest après ski bars in Austria. I love the place and I’ve had some of my best après ski moments in The Krazy Kangaruh. Directly across the piste from the KK the Mooserwirt starts the party with ‘The Final Countdown’ at 3pm and then cranks out loud Austro/German pop and gets the crowd into a table dancing frenzy. They probably make the strongest tables in the World in the Arlberg region!

Just seeing the beer servers who carry up to 30 full size drinks on doubled up trays is worth the trip. Those guys are seriously strong. This is a bit off subject but for Lunch on the mountain you must visit the Hospiz Alm down in St Christoph. It is easily the best on-mountain restaurant in the Arlberg region and has well-priced daily specials. You are served by staff in traditional lederhosen and there’s a great slide down to the loos inside.



I can also highly recommend the Heustadl for live music on the slopes. It’s in a perfect suntrap just before you get to the KK on the skiers left.

Recommended Hotel in St. Anton: The Nassereinerhof

Every Austrian resort provides good après ski bars and special mentions go out to the resorts of Saalbach, Sölden, and Soll. They all deserve a visit that you’ll never forget.

Verbier, Switzerland

Posh But Fun

Let’s get the hard bit out of the way first, it’s expensive. The Swiss Franc is on a roll right now and until it gets back to reasonable levels against the £ your après sessions are going bite like a Nile crocodile. Do as seasonaires do and follow the happy hours around the village. No visit to Verbier is complete without a session or two in the Pub Mont Fort, but my favourite is the Farinet Bar — with its sliding roof that opens to let the steam out when the party gets too hot. It’s an experience to remember when they open the roof when it’s snowing and you’re dancing to a Swedish cover band that is leading the shot taking between songs. Why is it that the Swedes seem to have an impossibly good looking cover band in every decent resort in Europe? I suspect it’s because the band members are chasing the best snow, just like you and me. 



Recommended chalet hotel in Verbier: Chalet Hotel De Verbier.

Val d’Isére, France

Glamorous and expensive, and worth every penny

VD is IGLU’s number 1 resort for sales and for staff love. We can’t get enough of it. The skiing in the Espace Killy (the area linked with Tignes) offers more easily accessible variety than any other in Europe. It has a very long season because it catches the storms as they hit the end of the Tarentaise Valley at the border with Italy. But what really sets it apart is the number of high quality bars on-piste and off.

The original Folie Douce has got its Mojo back after a couple of experimental years and now offers a great afternoon’s entertainment. The price of a large beer has stayed at 7€ which a few years ago seemed expensive but now matches up with most bars in the Alps. Kelly Starlight still leads the entertainment but has toned down the cabaret aspect in favour of more DJ inspired singing and dancing.

There are countless bars in town like the Petit Danois (après drink deals and 2 pool tables), The Morris bar, The Underground (very French), Victors (241 cocktails), and Bar La Rosee (nice terrace) in La Daille. The 2 biggest nightclubs are the legendary original Dicks Tea Bar with a mainly UK crowd and Doudoune for a French crowd (and corresponding appalling music). I could name another 20 bars but the names don’t really matter. You will never be more than a few metres from a party in this premier resort of France.



Recommended Chalet in Val d’Isére: Chalet Yeti - get in early as it’s sold out by November.

Alpe d’Huez, France

Cheap & Cheerful

Over the last few years the rise and rise of the € against £ has hurt our back pockets during the après ski hours, particularly in the UK customer dominated über-resorts of the Tarentaise Vallée. For this reason a lot of my friends have starting heading to Alpe d’Huez. In this resort the cost of a sérieux will only be around €4.50. You always pay over €6 and probably much higher in Val d’Isére or Méribel. There’s loads of bars here to try, but no pub crawl would be complete without visiting O’Sharkeys, Smithy's, The Crowded House, and of course you must try the slide at Freeride. If you want to stay up until the sun rises then you’ll be at the Igloo bar that gets crazier and crazier all the way until the 6am closing time. This resort is now the most fun in France, it’s just a damned shame it’s a bit ugly. The skiing here is up there with the best and the 16km La Sarenne black run of the back of Pic Blanc down to Vaujany is world class. Personally I prefer the thrills and spills of the un-pisted Itinerary route through the famous tunnel. Not for beginners!



Recommended chalet in Alpe d'Huez: Chalet Friandise – a little beauty.

Ischgl, Austria

Upmarket 24/7 Party Town

Okay, it’s not cheap compared to other Austrian resorts but it’s still better value than the big resorts of France and Switzerland. The Trofana Alm stakes a claim for the best après ski bar in the world. It encompasses everything you’d expect from that title. Classic Tyrolean décor, cheesy sing-along songs with silly dances that get everyone involved. Fantastic service from immensely strong waiters, carrying trays of beer and shots for you to choose from are never more than a few minutes away from another visit. The Schatzi Bar offers the added bonus of traditional bar top dancing girls and more modern music. I’d also throw in a vote for the Kuhstall, that plays more English music and fills to the brim with the younger crowd, jumping in their boots to the latest hits.

Livigno, Italy

Tax Free Party Haven

Livigno is a shopper's paradise as well as an après ski mecca. It has around 150 bars, which dwarfs any other ski resort in the world — I think Vail is second with 110. Livigno has belonged to numerous countries and empires over the centuries and now has a distinctly Austrian flavour to it. The Kuhstall, Mikey's Pub, Gulliver Pub, the Echo Pub, and for cocktails, Jpioca, are all recommended.

Here’s my top tip for Livigno and this one really will pay off. Right in the centre of the pedestrianised area of Livigno is a bar with a unique drawcard. The Baita Del Ghet offers every customer their 1st drink free. That’s every time you go there. Unsurprisingly it is extremely popular and worth heading to early. It has great food and it’s where the locals go with their families and dogs as well.

This resort has so many bars to offer, that there really isn’t much to say other than I bet you can’t visit them all.

Recommended hotel in Livigno: Hotel Valeria.

Italian resorts tend to be a bit more sophisticated and calmer during the après ski hours, but there are some pretty good traditionally loud and riotous gems to be found in the resorts of Cervinia and Selva.



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