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Chile VS Australia: Battle of the Southern Hemisphere Resorts

clock 13th June 2014 | comment0 Comments

Today marks the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and many of the countries fighting it out to be the winner of the World Cup are also some of the finest countries in the world to ski in, so in true Iglu Ski style we have been pondering which countries would win in a battle of the best ski resorts.

First up is Group B teams Chile VS Australia with a clash to find the best of the southern hemisphere resorts. We will look at the 3 top factors of a leading ski resort (the slopes, the après and the cuisine) in an endeavour to crown the winner of Chile VS Australia.


Perisher, Australia

The Slopes

Chile
Skiing in Chile is often regarded as a once in a lifetime opportunity due to its location in South America and the legendary off piste. The country offers 20 ski resorts which are located in the south with ski lifts peaking at 3500m. The Andes provide the perfect playground for adrenaline seekers and adventurers wanting to heli-ski with its 1 million acres of untouched powder. The Andes is the second highest mountain range in the world with the summit of Aconcagua sitting at 6950m. One of the best reasons to visit Chile is for guaranteed snow due to the high altitude.

The resort of Portillo averages 24ft of snow as well as plenty of sunshine similar to spring skiing in the Alps. Resorts in Chile are smaller than its European counterparts and lifts can be quite dated but slopes are quiet and Portillo even limits tickets sold so there is never a busy day on the mountain. Valle Nevado is situated in the heart of the largest ski area in the southern hemisphere and snow is guaranteed by the height and the considerable size of the terrain. This season, Valle Nevado opened 2 weeks early, on Friday 13th June, due to fantastic early snowfall.

Ski Pucon is situated on a volcano and is popular with freestylers due to the natural half pipes formed by lava. Chile famously featured in the Art of Flight with Travis Rice and Scotty Lago sending it off a 12ft kicker in the pristine South American backcountry. This put Chile on the map for many snowboard enthusiasts, including myself!

Australia
With winter kicking off down under this month, many ski resorts in the Southern hemisphere are starting to open… with or without snow! Unfortunately it hasn’t been the best start of the season in Australia and many resorts are still looking green on opening weekends. Resorts have to rely on snow guns to get some snow on the slopes, but with temperatures gradually dropping, it is expected to dump very soon.

Australia is famously known for its sun, sea and surf, but it is also a ski lovers paradise. Most ski resorts are found in the two states of New South Wales and Victoria. Perisher is the largest ski area in Australia, located in the picturesque Kosciuszko National Park neighbouring Thredbo just up the road. Mt Perisher peaks at 2054m, with the highest chair lift reaching 2034m.

One of the most visited Australian resorts is Thredbo, the resort has the steepest terrain in Australia and also the longest runs including the 5.9km Super Trail. Further South sits Mt. Hotham and Falls Creek which are linked by a helicopter ride. Falls Creek freestyle park and pipe consistently wins awards as well as playing host to many high profile snowboard events throughout the winter. Cross country skiing is available in most resorts where visitors can take advantage of the long groomed trails through the forest.

Winner: Chile



Portillo, Chile

The Après


Chile
Due to the small villages nightlife is limited in many resorts. Valle Nevado has the largest concentration of restaurants and bars and Portillo offers live music in a local bar and an all-night disco

Australia
Most of the resorts in Australia are well developed with large villages. Some tourists even come mainly to party with may be some skiing thrown in on the odd day. With 4 villages, Perisher is known for bars and restaurants becoming very active in the evening once the lifts have closed. Falls Creek has 28 bars and restaurants but if you are looking for a quiet evening there are spa options or places to sit in front of an open fire.

Winner: Austalia


Mt. Buller, Australia

The Cuisine

Chile
Traditional Chilen food may be hard to find in ski resorts. In large hotels you will probably encounter high quality international food and in budget accommodation you will find simple foods. Chile produces a bounty of fine fruit and vegetables which are easily found around resorts. Typical Chilan food is normally meat heavy with plenty of slabs of meat and fish in restaurants, where breakfast is more of a sweet affair with biscuits, cakes and tarts.

Australia
As Australian resorts aren’t very high and villages are easily accessible the food is general to what you find all over Australia. Many villages have a range of restaurants from fine dining to better value options. A traditional lunch on the mountain would be a burger/hot dog and chips but many resorts are starting to extend their ranges to include healthier options. If you are able to travel just outside the ski area to sub-alpine villages in Victoria, you can treat yourself to a feast of flavours including local beers and fresh produce

Winner: Chile


Chile

The Verdict

Winner: Chile

We love snow and the more snow the better. The Australian ski season can be variable with bad years having barely any snowfall. Australia does have many great resorts and features to make a fantastic week on the slopes, but Chile has it in the ‘back of the net’ with its epic backcountry and snow sure resorts.


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



I love April Skiing

clock 16th April 2012 | comment1 Comments

April may be the end of the season to most, but for Iglu it's a chance for most of the team to enjoy some hard earned slope time, even if it was the third or fourth trip of the season for some of them! AJ, our fearless Head of Sales, takes you through what the guys got up to last week in the snow.

I love April Skiing!

Spring snow madness hit the mountains yet again this season. Reports of the death of the season of 2011/12 after the warmth of March were greatly exaggerated. As usual there is more snow falling in April than March and we love it. This would be the fifth year straight that my ski week in April has been better than my week in March.


Chamonix on arrival.

Iglu had big end of season parties in three resorts for Easter last week.

My team were in Chamonix, the legendary home of Alpinism. There’s no better way to start a holiday then to have snow hitting your ChamExpress transfer vehicle on the way from the airport. We knew that meant powder from the very first day of skiing and despite the mind numbing tiredness that comes with a 4am start, we were grinning.

Monday was sunny, powdery and perfect as we hit the top of Grand Montets, in Argentière, for thigh-burning long powder runs. Tuesday was good but it was getting leg wearyingly slushy down lower. Good thing then that it puked down on Tuesday night, with around 25cm of fresh falling. It also got a little colder and the snow held for the next two days when we explored the Brévent/Flégère areas.


Top of the Grand Montets.

There was one final treat left though — Thursday night brought another big fluffy dump and Friday was the best day of the week. The sun peaked out and there was 25cm of powder all the way to the valley floor so we got to hit the trees of the Grand Montets. We did some GoPro filming and I hadn’t realised just how big my smile is when I’m bouncing in powder. My scurrilous ski buddies called it my pow-pout but I’ll take that kind of ribbing if I’m doing deep and steep powder tree runs, on Friday the 13th April 2012!

Iglu had another crew in St Anton for the week. Here’s a quote from JT on 12th April: Having an amazing time here, it's dumping down with snow at the moment, so tomorrow is gonna be insanely epic. Can we move Iglu to St Anton please? Ha ha.


Chamonix after some fresh snow.

And the response from Christian and the crazy crew in Les Deux Alpes was pretty similar: Same in Deux Alpes... had a solid thirty or more up high, fifty in the wind blown. Great end season conditions... love from Les Airelles!

The snow is still falling and we have reports coming in from Chamonix today that the higher areas are still pow-ticularly good.

See you on the slopes in April next year. AJ.



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