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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.


Val Thorens Sensations | Club Med's Latest Resort

clock 3rd March 2014 | comment0 Comments
Sensations Exterior Sensations Bedroom

What’s this? Club Med is launching a new resort?
Yes, Club Med are opening a brand new 4 Trident resort in the popular French ski area in Val Thorens in the 3 Vallées. The resort will be called Val Thorens Sensations and is due to open on the 14th December 2014. They’ve used crowdsourcing to help decide on certain aspects of the new build, starting a Facebook community where followers helped to make key decisions, such as whether there should be an indoor climbing wall (they voted yes!). Sensations is set to operate from November to May, promising optimal snow cover during that time due to the resort’s high altitude.


Who is the new resort aimed at?
The new resort will be aimed at groups of friends, singles, couples and families with teenage children. The resort is accessible to young children too (from 2 years up), however, there will no kids clubs or kids entertainment programmes running.


Sensations Couch Sensations Bar

So what makes this newbie stand out from the other Club Med resorts then?
The resort will stand out from the rest due to its contemporary design, which features huge bay windows that will give guests a fantastic view of the surrounding snow-covered mountains. There are 3 sun-facing terraces and the majority of rooms promise to have breathtaking mountain views. Each of the rooms will be one of four different categories – there will be 361 Club Rooms, 12 Deluxe Rooms, 5 Junior Suites and 6 Suites.


We know that Club Med is all inclusive, so what dining options will this new resort provide me with?
There will be 2 onsite restaurants which will stay open from 7.30am till midnight, so whether you’re an early riser or a night owl then there will be something to suit you. One of the restaurants will provide a buffet set up and the other will be a concept restaurant, catering for the more gourmet tastes and offering a menu of local cuisine. For those dying to get out on the slopes, a self-service take-away corner will provide guests with a range of hot drinks and snacks, which can be taken out onto the slopes with them.


Sensations Bar 2 Dining

What about the après ski?
If you’re after a drink, then Sensations will have the choice of 2 bars and a packed schedule of evening entertainment. One bar will offer a more cosy and intimate setting, whereas the other will provide a more open and lively atmosphere. From 3.30pm each day, the Wine Cellar and Grocery Store will play host to a range of wine tasting sessions, after which guests can purchase goodies to take home with them.


Can I hire equipment direct from the resort?
Val Thorens Sensations have struck up a partnership with Rossignol and will also be supplying equipment by Lacroix and Dupraz, meaning that guests will be able to rent top quality boots, boards, skis and more. Once you’ve got your equipment sorted, you’ll also have the option to take ski and snowboard lessons, which are included in the price and aimed at all levels from beginner through to advanced. The resort is also in a ski-in ski-out position, making it super easy to get out on the slopes once you’ve got your equipment.


Sensations Food Sensations Snowboard

When I’m not on the slopes, what other activities can I do?
Sensations will put a special focus on health, fitness and wellbeing, offering a range of additional packages which include fitness training, nutritional advice and spa treatments. If you want a break from the slopes, or you just fancy working on your fitness a bit more, then a range of fitness classes are included in the price of your stay. Zumba, Body-Balance and Pilates are just some of the classes on offer. Alternatively, if you’re a little shy about training in a room full of others, you can choose to join in with a toning workout video, which will be available from the privacy of your room. For all those gym and weight fanatics out there, there is a fully equipped cardio and weight training zone. If you’re on the lookout for a bit more adrenaline then there is also a large 10 metre high climbing wall with 4 routes, mountain biking, sledging, snow mobiling and boardercross. If you fancy a swim, then you can head to a nearby pool, where you’ll receive free entry as a Val Thorens Sensations guest.


I’m too tired for more exercise, what can I do to relax here?
After a hard day on the slopes, why not relax with a Turkish Bath? All customers will have free access to the onsite Turkish Bath and will have the option to pay extra for spa treatments to wind down after an exhausting day.


Sensations Couple Sensations Ski

Spa treatments aren’t really my thing, what else can I do?
If you’re still looking for more to do, then the resort will also house a tenpin bowling alley and a shopping boutique. Also on offer is a selection of ‘a la carte’ excursions, which will allow guests to pick and choose outings as they please. These will include a Baroque art guided tour, a traditional themed evening in a yurt and a snowscooter outing.


What else can you tell me about Sensations?
This new resort promises to be very digitally focused and wi-fi will even be available out on the slopes. High speed internet, ranging from free packages to high speed paid packages will be available in the hotel. The resort even has its own app so that users can look at the daily schedule of events, find ski buddies and share content such as images and music. In most public areas, digital screens will display information relating to daily activities and weather conditions. To top it all off, Sensations promises effective queue management to heighten guests overall experience, making it as stress free, fun and relaxed as possible.



 
In a nutshell
 
  • Open November – May (official opening 14th December 2014)
  • Ski in-ski out
  • 2 restaurants open 7.30am till midnight + take away area in ski room for those in a hurry
  • 2 bars with a full schedule of evening entertainment
  • Wine tasting every day
  • Top quality equipment to rent + ski/snowboard lessons included
  • Health, wellness and fitness packages available
  • Onsite spa, free access to Turkish Bath & free access to nearby swimming pool
  • Ten pin bowling
  • Shopping boutique
  • Excursions available
  • Wi-fi available on the slopes

  •  
     
    Val Thorens Facts

     
  • Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe at 2230m high
  • 600km’s of piste
  • Longest run: 8km
  • 93 ski lifts, 52 draglifts, 31 chairlifts, 9 cable-cars
  • 5 snowboard parks
  • Easily accessed from Geneva, Lyon and Chambéry airports and Moutiers railway station
  • It is in the 3 Vallèes ski area, which is linked with other resorts (you get access to the whole ski area)
  • 3 Vallèes has 33 black pistes – 119 red pistes – 135 blue pistes – 48 green pistes
  • Val Thorens has 275 runs – 101 beginner, 146 intermediate, 28 advanced

  •  


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