There’s a lot we could have explored in this blog, there’s been many innovations in the snowsports world over the past few years, making a ski adventure easier, cheaper and more enjoyable than ever. Ski and snowboard technology is advancing every season, ski resorts all over the world are constantly upgrading to give visitors a superior ski experience and at the same time gadgets are becoming much more attainable and cheaper so we can use the same ski gear as ski professionals. We’ve picked out our recent favourites that make our ski holidays better than ever.
One of the best features of skiing in Kitzbuhel has got to be its large amount of chairlifts with luxurious heated seats. Kitzbuhel has been named one of the top ski areas in the world because of its ultra-advanced lift system, high levels of comfort and excellent snow making facilities.
There are 9 chairlifts and gondolas in Kitzbuhel which have heated seats, these are spread over the whole ski area and are labelled on the piste map.
Drones have revolutionised the way we document our skiing and snowboarding adventures. In a small space of time we have evolved from wobbly iPhone videos to GoPros on selfie sticks to high quality aerial footage. The Lily Drone allows users to simply throw it in the air and follows them around. There is no controller needed, Lily flies itself and uses GPS and computer vision to follow you around top produce high quality, cinematic style footage.
A new Wi-Fi enabled gondola is coming to one of our best loved ski resorts, the new TC10 Solaise Gondola in Val d’Isere will take you to the top of Solaise in 7 minutes. This gives you enough time to post a photo of your ski holiday straight to Facebook from the slopes.
In winter 2014/15 I was surprised how easy it was to find wifi on the slopes in Mayrhofen. Most of the large ski lifts had hotspots including at the top of Penkenbahn and Horbergbahn. Bergbahnen Solden also have 8 free Wi-Fi access points across the ski area.
Many more ski areas are starting to include Wi-Fi on the slopes to help you keep in touch with your ski group in resort, plus friends back home whilst on the mountain.
Nike and Transitions Optical have joined up to create snow goggles with transitions adaptive technology. When the light changes, the lens adapt automatically by darkening or lighting its level of tint, improving your visual performance on the slopes. No need to carry around extra lenses anymore!
As snowsports enthusiasts are becoming more daring off piste, the correct safety equipment needs to be more readily available. ABS airbag avalanche safety packs have revolutionised off piste safety by using top technology to make mountain exploration safe. Airbags are used to protect you from being buried in the event of an avalanche.
Transceivers, shovels and probes are also important for rescue teams to find you and you to help anyone in need. For more information take a read of this Guide to Avalanche Airbags and the best models available.
A paper piste map is a thing of the past. FATMAP is the future. This revolutionary 3D skiing app is so much more than just a route finder. Discover new adventures and recommended pistes all from the palm of your hand. The ultra-high resolution 3D mapping technology will change the way you navigate around the mountain by being able to explore every angle on and off piste before even stepping out on to snow. Enjoy your ski holiday to the max by assuring the best time on the slopes.Extra features on the app also include, interactive resort information, pinpointing your location and other friends with the app, freeride mapping and much more. Read more about FATMAP.
FATMAP app piste map and features
The Oakley Airwave goggles have a built in mobile dashboard. The Airwave’s heads-up display uses innovative prism technology to provide the display graphics that look like they are projected 5 feet away. You can track and automatically see your speed, jump airtime, your vertical feet, your location on a piste map, music and much more. Ski goggles fit for James Bond!
Every year more and more resorts are becoming interconnected allowing skiers and snowboarders to explore more pistes than ever before. The newly announced ‘Tirol s’ link will connect Fieberbrunn to the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang area creating one of the largest ski circuits in the world with a total of 240 km of piste and 68 lifts.
The New Tirol S gondola will span 2890m over the valley from Hinterglemm to Fieberbrunn
SkiWelt is to construct fastest chairlift in the world for winter 2015/16. The chairlift in Brixten im Thale will operate at a speed of 6 metres per second. Read more about the new chairlift in our ski news section.
Just when you thought they couldn’t get any smaller, GoPro have released the new HERO4 Session which is their smallest, lightest and most convenient camera yet. The waterproof design and small size is perfect for snow sports.
The HERO4 Session is 50% small and 40% lighter than any other HERO4 camera
What do is you favourite ski tech? Let us know by commenting below
What a season it has been! It may have not been the best start to the season, but the snow at the end certainly made up for it. Staff and customers have relished in the top snow conditions during the past month leaving lots of happy faces at the end of our favourite season.
The staff here at Iglu Ski have travelled to some brilliant ski resorts this season and we wanted to share with you our favourite moments from this epic winter.
Where have you been this season? Tignes (with a day in Val d'Isere and Val Thorens), Verbier and Mayrhofen. France, Switzerland and Austria in one season, might be a first for me!
What have been your highlights? Staying in the amazing Chalet Cosy Corner with Ski Armadillo in Verbier, waist deep powder on the Hintertux glacier and the amazing pork knuckle I had for dinner one night at the Hotel Perauer in Mayrhofen.
Where would you like to go next winter? Next winter I want to head back to Austria and try Ischgl, or perhaps Livignio in Italy.
Nick in Mayrhofen
Where have you been this season?Les Deux Alpes, Verbier and Tignes
What have been your highlights?Catching a bluebird powder day on a 3 day trip to Verbier, sometimes you just get lucky! Also, soaking up some late season skiing and sunshine in Tignes with good friends on our end of season trip.
Where would you like to go next winter?I really want to go to Ischgl next year, after doing a season in St Anton I hear that the only après that compares is Ischgl’s. Also I really want to arrange a trip to Japan for some epic powder, in the 2012 season Niseko had 21 meters of snow!
Top - Jake in Les Deux Alpes. Bottom Left - Late season slashes in Tignes. Bottom Right - Fresh snow and blue sky in Verbier
Where have you been this season?Val d’Isere/Tignes
What have been your highlights?Returning to skiing after 10 years of snowboarding was immensely rewarding and lots of fun. Hitting small mile stones of progress through the week was terrific with the real highlight coming with an incredible blue bird powder run towards the end of the week. Whilst snowboarding will always have a place in my heart it’s great to know my ski legs are still kicking!
Where would you like to go next winter?The Dolomites. Great skiing, beautiful scenery and delicious Italian food and wine – ticks all the boxes. I have already booked Club Med Pragelato to take advantage of the early booking discount!
Laura in Val d'Isere
Where have you been this season? Whistler, Peisey Vallandry and Valmorel
What have been your highlights? In Whistler I stayed at the Pan Pacific Mountainside, my best bits of the holiday was the zip wire trek between Blackcomb and Whistler mountain, and going on the amazing Peak to Peak gondola – it’s so high up! Plus Canadian people are a lot of fun, which made my stay even more enjoyable. In Peisey Vallandry I stayed at Les Chalet Des Deux Domains which is in an excellent location just a stone throw from the first lift. The chalet staff were brilliant, the child care was fantastic and the quality of the food was way better than I expected. Plus we had loads of snow! It was a great week. In Valmorel we stayed at the All Inclusive Club Med Hotel. The evening show was the best I’ve seen in a Club Med Village. The location is ski in – ski out, you can almost ski to the bar! The food and drink at Club has to get a mention every time. The Club Med Valmorel is the best family village; the facilities for the children can’t be beaten. There is access to a soft play room and early dining for children if wanted, plus there is a baby room available in the evenings if you have a baby booked in. Nothing is a problem when you stay here.
Where would you like to go next winter? Has to be the Dolomites, maybe Selva. I love food, mountain views, great skiing and staying in high end hotels. Otherwise Ischgl, Obergurgl, Vail and Breckenbridge are on the list next.
Scottie in Peisey Vallandry after fresh snow
Where have you been this season? Mayrhofen, Alpe d’Huez and Tignes / Val d'Isere
What have been your highlights? Going to Snowboxx festival in Alpe d’Huez was amazing. I love après and watching live music so being able to go to the events after a day on the slopes was so much fun. You can have plenty of late nights in Alpe d’Huez! When in Mayrhofen I plucked up the courage to snowboard down Harakiri, Austria’s steepest ski slope, plus I conquered Sarenne in Alpe d’Huez, the longest black run in the World.
Where would you like to go next winter?A large group of friends and I have already booked Chalet Zita in Ischgl for March, and then I’d like to go to somewhere I haven’t been before, maybe Les 2 Alpes, Val Thorens, Livigno or Sauze d’Oulx.
Top - Krystelle on Harakiri. Bottom Left - Apres at Folie Douce in Alpe d'Huez at Snowboxx. Bottom Right - Val d'Isere slopes
Where have you been this season? I’ve been to Tignes, Val d’isere, Val Thorens, Hinterglemm and Zell am See
What have been your highlights?Apres at the Goat Bar in Hinterglemm and the night tobogganing.
Where would you like to go next winter? I would like to go to Alpe d’Huez next year. I went there over 10 years ago and really enjoyed the resort so would love to go back. Otherwise I’d like to try Canada and combine it with a city break for a few days.
The Goat Bar, or 'Goaßstall', and ski slopes in Hinterglemm
Where have you been this season? Mayrhofen, Valmorel (with a day in Val Thorens/Les Menuires) and Tignes
What have been your highlights? All three are top notch resorts, so I won’t go on about the skiing too much. I’m lucky to have been able to go for 3 weeks in total this season, all with plenty of good snow. Mayrhofen: Harakiri, Austrian Après – you can’t beat the Europop, the Iglu White Lounge bar, Bus Warten Schnapps and Bruck’n Stadl. Valmorel: Club Med are great, every single one of them I’ve been to have been fantastic. The fondue in the specialty restaurant and some Veuve Clicquot was the perfect way to celebrate my birthday in style! Skiing with 3 of the best skiers in our office made this trip the most challenging skiing-wise. A short drive over on the sunniest day for some great powder skiing in Val Thorens was very much worth it. Tignes: I’ve been to the Espace Killy loads before, but this time with the best crew! It was the Iglu Ski end of season trip and a large group of us stayed in the brilliantly located Chalet Hotel Curling. The lowlight on this trip was when I managed to pop my knee out on the Piste “A” on our way back to the village, the highlight when I potted 2 balls with a train in pool that NOBODY saw!
Where would you like to go next winter? Japan in December if I can afford it, Austria in March (maybe Saalbach) and then somewhere high in France in April, I’d love to go back to Val Thorens or Alpe d’Huez as I’ve not been there before.
AJ and Linda in Val Thorens
Where have you been this season? Tignes, Val d’Isere, Val Thorens, Whistler, Niederau, Kitzbuhel, Park City, Deer Valley and Morzine.
What have been your highlights? New Year in Val d’Isere was really fun; I had an amazing powder day in Kitzbühel with a local guide and finishing the season in the sun in Morzine was perfect.
Where would you like to go next winter? Colorado, the snow parks in Breckenridge and Keystone are two of the best in the world.
Phil in Whistler
Where have you been this season? St Anton, Lech, Morzine, Park City, Canyons, Tignes/Val d’Isere and Verbier.
What have been your highlights? Trying Austria for the first time was a great experience. America was awesome although the snow this year was far inferior to Europe this season. I love Morzine and the Portes du Soleil, so going back is always top of the list for me.
Where would you like to go next winter? Love to try Japan in December or the Dolomites is high on the list.
Top - Beautiful blue bird day in Verbier. Bottom Left - Fresh tracks in Morzine. Bottom Right - Out of Bounds in Park City
Relive the best moments of the ski season with our favourite ski videos from 2014/15. From ski comedy, to next level riding to stunning backcounty cinematography, we’ve included it all in these top picks.
The funniest ski video of the season!
This is one of the most mesmerising ski videos I have ever seen. Watch skiers dressed in custom made LED suits gracefully ski at night through deep pillows and Alaskan spines in the backcountry wilderness.
Filmed in Tignes/ Val d’Isere, this was a submission for the ‘GoPro Find Your Line’ video contest from Transworld Snowboarding and Newschoolers. Kicking off the video with a backflip, Léo skis through super narrow couloirs at crazy high speeds as he dodges people on his decent through this gnarly section of the Espace Killy ski area.
Scott Stevens is one of the most stylish snowboarders out there. His creativity and one-footed airs make him one of the most watched riders on the scene today. After his ground-stomping first part in Defender of Awesome, he has stepped up his game in the Stay Bad Ass sequel and thrown down one of my favourite film parts of this winter. To watch this part you will have purchase the film, put to give you a taster you can catch his b-side segment here:
Wouldn’t we all love to have one of these days! After his first awesome day in 2013, Candide blew up the internet earlier this year with this amazing sequel filmed in his home resort of Val Blanc. Double flips, cliff drops, tree runs and jumping over skiers all crammed into 5 minutes of action packed radness.
Earlier this winter we put together our winter 2014/15 video guide with a full list of all the ski and snowboard films that dropped this year – which one was your favourite?
Already thinking about next winter? Take a look a 2015/2016 ski deals
Andorra is a hidden gem in the skiing world and is often overlooked when choosing a ski destination. Located between France and Spain, the Andorran ski resorts have just as good slopes as the French Alps but without the lift queues and ridiculous bar tabs. In March 2014 I booked a last minute ski holiday to Soldeu in Andorra. Like many skiers and snowboarders, I had never thought much about skiing the Pyrenees when we have the wealth of popular French and Austrian resorts at our fingertips.
My curiosity got the best of me when a friend that was working in the resort kept on saying how amazing the skiing was and her stunning snowy photos filled up my Facebook feed for most of the winter. As my planned week off quickly approached I decided to discover a new ski destination, so I booked a last minute ski trip to Soldeu.
Going up in the TC8 gondola from Soldeu Andorra is a hidden gem between France and Spain, with just as good slopes as the French Alps but without the lift queues and ridiculous bar tabs. The resort of Soldeu is situated in the middle of 210km of pistes in Grandvalira with linked access to 5 other ski villages including Pas de la Casa.
As Andorra is tax free, alcohol prices in the shops are amazingly cheap. This is great if you are looking for a cheap ski holiday as apartment accommodation prices are very reasonable and you can eat and drink cheaply so you should have no problem with over spending on your trip.
On the slopes in Pas de la Casa
There are regular ski events throughout the season in Grandvalira from professional skiing events to freestyle competitions. Recent events include the Speed Skiing World Championships at the Grau Roig Riberal slope, Alpine Skiing European Cup on the Àgila slope in El Tarter and the Total Fight Master of Freestyle competition held at the El Tarter Snowpark. The Andorran ski resorts have had incredible snowfall the past few seasons, with snow levels even topping our favourite French ski resorts. During the winter 2014/15 ski season Pas de la Casa recieved 734 cm snowfall, Soldeu had 715 cm and Arinsal got 608 cm. Does it all sound too good to be true? Why don’t more holiday makers make Andorra their ski destination of choice?
Fresh snow and quiet slopes on a powder day in Soldeu
I didn’t believe it until I experienced it myself and I had one of my favourite ski weeks ever. I was extremely lucky and encountered a perfect week of snow conditions whilst staying in Soldeu. For the first 3 days I woke up to nearly a foot of fresh snow everyday so I was able to make full use of my new Nitro powder snowboard, and then for the second half of the week we had beautiful bluebird days. I couldn’t have prayed to the snow gods for a more superb ski holiday.
To start your week off there are plenty of blue runs around the Soldeu and El Tarter ski area allowing you to easily warm up your ski legs before venturing on to any intermediate or advanced pistes. Each of the villages are well linked with hardly any need for traversing which is great for snowboarders.
Fantastic wide pistes with stunning views As you progress through the week head over to Grau Roig and Pas De La Casa for a superior choice of wider and longer blue and red runs. The black and red runs on the face in Soldeu are fantastic and are easily accessed straight from the gondola or the TSD 6 man chairlift. For the freestylers, the snowpark at El Tarter is amazing and quick to get to from Soldeu. There is everything you need from fun features to huge kickers for all levels to enjoy.
Mountain restaurant stops in El Tarter
There is no lack of après and nightlife in Soldeu town. If you like a late night or two, this is a resort for you! Fat Alberts is a favourite and where you will end up if it ends up being a big night out. With live music and themed nights throughout the week, it is a popular spot for holiday makers and seasonaires.
The Aspen in the middle of town is one of the most popular bars. The bar staff are awesome, there is a huge choice of drinks, plus there’s also pool tables upstairs and you can watch popular sports events here. The Irish bar, The Harp, is a top bar to hit for après and is often filled with the ski instructors as they finish their day of work. It is the perfect place to get the shots in after a day on the slopes and have some banter with the bar staff.
If you are looking for a late night venue to end your bar crawl, head to Pussycat that is open till 5am!
The end of an amazing week in Soldeu
View Ski Holidays in Soldeu | Ski Holidays in Pas de la Casa | Ski Resorts in Andorra
Words and photos by Krystelle
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