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Ski Blog

Top 5 British Ski & Snowboard Brands of Winter 2013/14

clock 9th May 2014 | comment0 Comments

With a rise in interest in skiing and snowboarding, Great Britain has seen a boost in brands in the snow industry. Over the last few years an exciting range of snow companies have popped up all over the country allowing us to represent British companies in the sports we love.

With the effects of climate change and the ever growing concerns to be environmentally friendly, many brands have started to put focus on sourcing locally and using eco-friendly materials. This is extremely important within the snow sports industry as we want snow on mountains for many years to come so we can continue our passions. It is great that so many new British brands are adopting these principles.

Here are our 5 favourite UK brands from the past season:

 

5. D4Seven

D4Seven was founded with intentions of producing a custom UK brand focusing on fresh designs to the UK snow sports scene. D4Seven is all about adventure, living life to the fullest and pushing your boundaries. The large clothing range includes a collection of tall and normal fit t-shirts, to beanies to women specific apparel. D4Seven is keen to back the continued progression of the UK Snow sports by supporting a team of up and coming talent and sponsoring University snow sports teams.

4. Summit

Summit Worldwide produces some of the most stylish, freshest, most technologically advanced goggles in the Industry today. Founder Simon Reddy says ‘Our main objective is to provide better products than our competitors without the extortionate mark-ups.’ I first noticed this brand at the Ski Show; I loved the style of the goggles and favoured the prices even more! The prices are less than half compared to competitors with similar styles. Look out for 2014’s new Xpose goggles.

3. Funi

Funi is a custom hat company where you can design your own knitted beanies online or purchase from their large range of existing designs. As well as the striking designs, I was drawn to this company as Funi do lots for charity plus doing their part to be environmentally friendly. For every sale of the ‘Chernobyl Bobble,’ £1 was given to The Belarus Fund to help children still affected by the Chernobyl disaster. All headwear is knitted in Britain and the yarn use is made and spun in the North of England. Funi has now expanded from just beanies to seasonal collections with scarves and headwear.

2. DOUK Snowboards

DOUK Snowboards are the only 100% independent handmade snowboard manufacturer in the UK. Having been unsatisfied with the quality of equipment being mass produced by the major manufacturers and increasing prices they were charging, DOUK formed the basis of their business plan. They wanted to design and build snowboards to the highest standard and sell them at a competitive price. The team based in Worcestershire, design and produce every aspect of the board in their very own workshop, from the camber measurements to engineering the hard wood cores to producing the final top sheet graphics. Look out for the new UK inspired designs.

1. Butta

Butta has taken the snow industry by storm by bringing ski and snowboard fans Greener ECO waxes. The team have a big love for the mountains and believe it is of up most importance to preserve the mountains all year round, which is why Butta is much greener than most other wax’s on the market. The company was born out of a constant struggle to find an easy to apply, long lasting, nice smelling, fast, reliable, and green wax. After the success with the snow products, they have now ventured into the surf and skate wax markets, as well as apparel.

Facebook Competition

To celebrate our fantastic UK brands, here is your chance to WIN your very own amazing Funi AND Butta beanie. For your chance to win both beanies, head over to Iglu Ski Facebook to like and comment on the competition post. Easy! One winner will be chosen at random on Friday 16th May 2014 at 1pm.


By Krystelle



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
We chat with the stars of Sochi in a selection of 1 on 1 interviews. [More]


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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