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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



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.


  • Ski Yourself Fit This Season

    clock 7th January 2014 | comment0 Comments
    Burgers, Chips and Beer Yummy Cake & Bread




    Christmas is over, you’ve eaten your bodyweight in turkey (not to mention all those Mince Pies!) and now your jeans are feeling a little too tight. Now, you’ve got a ski holiday booked and you’re worried about all that indulgent mountain food – Tartiflette, Raclette, Fondue. ‘How am I ever going to get in to shape again?’, I hear you cry. Well, never fear, all that skiing or boarding you’re about to do may just allow you to eat whatever you want without having to worry…


    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.


    Cake Sausage & Bread




    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…


    Fondue Pastries for Breakfast




    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

    Chocolate Fountain Drinks & Choccy Biscuits




    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.


    Healthy Canapes Healthy Salmon




    • 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 2014.


    Happy skiing, snowboarding and eating, everyone!

    Healthy Canapes



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