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Warren Miller's 61st annual nationwide ski and snowboard film tour is currently underway in cinemas across the UK. The tour offers fans the chance of seeing the latest film in HD a full season before it hits the shops, and if you're a fan of ski and snowboard films this year's tour is a must see.
Warren Miller's Wintervention is another of this winter's offerings that push the boundaries of snowsports, with incredible locations, skiing and stories making up this year's film. The film starts with some pretty funny adverts from the Ski Club and Columbia, though I'm pretty sure only the latter is intentional! With the so-called skier-snowboarder divide almost non-existent these days the film combines both sports, with skiing making up about 70% of the film, but the snowboarding sections were more than a mere a gap filler including big names like Torstein Horgmo & Haldor Helgasson. Throughout the film the crowd in Shepherd's Bush Vue ooh'd, ah'd and ouch'd to big lines, stylish tricks and inevitable stacks and crashes.
This year's film is pretty high-octane from the start. The standout sections of the film are the trip to the Antarctic, heli-skiing in interior British Columbia, the trip to Georgia and the Arctic circle skiing in Spitzbergen. There is also a great section where Sun Peaks' locals Reggie & Zach Crist drive out to Utah's back country with big-mountain newbie Lexi Dupont to fuel their skiing addiction. The section includes some particularly amusing moments, from Lexi's comment "These guys... they’ve got a problem. Wife and kid at home, and they are out here in their airstream skiing", to the cheeky comments from Crist's wife back in the family home.
The trips to Antarctica & Spitzbergen, though opposite ends of the planet, offered some truly awe-inspiring moments. Some of the steepest lines I've seen, bar maybe the Arctic section in Deeper, and set in an immense backdrop. The Antarctica section includes some good natured fun with a sketch including a screen full of penguins and finishing off with skiing off an iceberg. The section in Spitzbergen shows our threesome of ski addicts from the earlier Utah section hiking incredible lines, camping and of course watching the locals (Polar bears) from a safe distance.
Wintervention also has a short tribute to back country legend Arne Backstom, who passed away in a skiing accident in Peru during the summer. The section shows him skiing some of his favourite lines in Heavenly and showed us why he will be missed by the skiing community as a whole.
My favourite section of Wintervention was the trip to Columbia Mountains, interior British Columbia. The section starts with an introduction to the heli-skiing area in the Bugaboo Mountains that had been discovered by Austrian skier Hans Gromer back in the '60s, the guide also enjoys pointing out that the ski area they use is 60 times larger than every ski resort in North America combined! There is steep, deep powder, high speed tree-lined runs and the amazing scenery, the Bugaboos are skiing heaven and the film portrays this superbly. By the end of this section half the crowd was salivating at the thought of being there.
The evening as a whole was good fun, and half way through the film there was a short, but fun interval. Jim from Black Diamond turned up with some prizes from the sponsors including some skis from Rossignol and a couple of jackets from Columbia.
All in all it was a great evening and another great must see film. For those not lucky enough to have seen Warren Miller's 'Wintervention' yet, the tour runs until the 14th Jan so get yourself to your local viewing or get the 2011 release on pre-order as soon as possible!
So far this week has proven to be an interesting one, the skiing romance that is Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement and Pope Benedict XVI blessed our favourite sport.
The Pope has been quoted saying "Skiing makes us feel small and returns us to our true dimension as creatures... It makes us capable of asking ourselves about the meaning of creation, of looking above, of opening ourselves to the Creator. By contemplating creation, man recognizes the greatness of God". However the real news is all about Prince William and Kate Middleton. Rumour has it the royal couple's relationship blossomed in the romantic, luxury resort of Klosters in Switzerland.
With this in mind that sent me to thinking where would be the best ski resorts to head to for a honeymoon. From the über-resorts of Klosters, Lech and Courchevel 1850 (popular with the rich & famous and the Royal Family), to the intimate resorts of Kitzbuhel, St. Martin & Wengen.
Skiing has played its part with the Royal Family over the years with Diana Spencer, Sarah Ferguson and now Kate Middleton invited on the family ski trips before their respective weddings. Prince Charles remains a keen skier and William and Harry are known to be fans of both Klosters and Verbier. So with a possible spring wedding where would William and Kate go if they were to head for a skiing honeymoon?
Klosters - You would have to say that the Swiss Resort of Klosters would be their most likely destination. A luxury resort, superb skiing and the location of many a picture of the pair skiing together. They have stayed in 5* hotels and in private chalets in the resorts. With accommodation on offer for the über-rich and years of Royal connections the resort definitely has a head start.
Verbier - Not as romantic a resort as Klosters but again a luxury resort with world class skiing and world class private chalets on offer. Home to The Lodge, Richard Branson's über-luxury property, as well as a host of other high end accommodation, they would be well looked after.
Courchevel 1850 - France & Russia's favourite exclusive resort, Courchevel 1850, would also be an ideal location. Already a firm favourite among the Royals and a regular haunt of Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. The combination of exclusive hotels, chalets, clubs and restaurants, coupled with one of the world's premier ski areas make Courchevel an attractive destination.
Lech - Lech is often seen as the Courchevel 1850 of Austria. Lech is renowned for über luxury 5* hotels, exclusive bars, restaurants and night clubs and are among the 'it' resorts during New Year. With many an F1 team owner and the truly super-rich heading to Lech you would have to say it is Austria's most likely option. Throw in the awesome Arlberg ski area, linked with St. Anton and St. Christoph and you have a perfect location.
Now where as we may all aspire to staying in £1000 per night accommodation, while rubbing our shoulders with industrial powerhouses and film stars, most of us have more modest budgets and desires for a romantic skiing trip with the other half. Whether on a honeymoon or a romantic week on the slopes there are some fantastic resorts with stunning views, intimate alpine restaurants and affordable bubbly on offer. For those who are looking for a special escape without the celebrity spotting and the prices it brings here are some great resorts.
Kitzbuhel - The quaint resort of Kitzbuhel is often described as the prettiest town in the Alps. The skiing is picturesgue and the hotels range from 5* luxury to family run affairs. Throw in a great mix of night-life from the Michelin star Neuwirt restaurant in the Hotel Schwarzer Adler to the typically entertaining & beef-fuelled Austrian apres-ski.
St. Martin - The hidden gem of the Three Valleys in France, St. Martin de Belleville is a small village at the bottom of the Belleville valley. Offering attractive Savoyard charm, intimate little bars and restaurants and 'the world's largest ski area', on a romantic week for two, do you need anymore?
Grindelwald - The Swiss resort of Grindelwald is one of the country's stunning and stereotypical chocolate box resorts. Set in a picturesque alpine location offering romantic hotels and the superb skiing of the Jungfrau region, with the beautiful resorts of Wengen and Murren included in the lift pass. Grindelwald offers a perfect romantic escape from the hustle and bustle of Europe's major resorts.
These are my thoughts, but where would you go? Comment below or drop us a message on our Twitter or Facebook pages.
Now this may no be everyone's cup of tea, but there isn't much that compares to spending a day flying off a kicker into fresh powder with your friends. Though this is a past time I enjoy I am far from an expert and don't profess to be one.
Cue Ryan Davis, the former Brits winner is renowned for finding killer spots, and styling out the huge kickers he builds. If anyone is qualified to offer up a few resorts it's him.
Freestyle skiing and snowboarding are both growing faster than ever. Gone are the days of purely schussing down the Hahnenkamm or the Face for our thrills, these days winter sports are taking adrenaline levels higher than ever. Though it's easier to head to the snowpark or slalom run, you can't beat a short hike to a secluded spot and hitting natural lines or building your own kicker. Us mere mortals will try and cram as much as possible into our few days on the slopes each year, but there are those who somehow get to do this for a living.
Ryan may not be gracing the front pages of Document Snowboard or Whitelines as often as he used to, but he's happy to share with us his top five resorts for powder kickers. Hey, we might not all be able to float through the air pulling tricks but most of us can still enjoy an afternoon riding white fluffy snow and enjoying the view!
So it's over to Davo.
Ok, so Davo's top powder kicker resorts. Basically a good powder kicker resort consists of two main ingredients. 1 - consistent powder, and 2 - good knowledge of the terrain.
I had to say Morzine is my all time top pow kicker resort because I know it better than any other resort and there are loads of great spots.
So here they are.
Written by Stephen Adam featuring Ryan Davis.
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