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Ski Blog

How to Get Into Freestyle Snowboarding / Skiing

clock 26th March 2014 | comment0 Comments
Freestyle Ski

With this year’s Winter Olympics really raising awareness of disciplines such as Slopestyle and Halfpipe, many people are now wondering how they can try these styles out for themselves. The good news is you don’t have to travel far to give it a go, with countless dry slopes and snowdomes around the country offering freestyle lessons, one-on-one coaching and competitions for all ages and abilities. Stick with it and before you know it you could be smashing out those triple corks, backside rodeo 540’s and cab 180’s just like the pros!


The basic requirements for beginning to learn these tricks are that you can confidently perform linked turns on either your skis or your snowboard. You also need to be able to ride switch (backwards for skiers, riding with the opposite leg forward for snowboarders). This takes a lot of practice, but many beginner freestyle lessons focus on helping you to grasp riding switch before they begin to teach you the rest.


Freestyle Snowboard

Glossary

Wondering what all this stalefish-fakie-ally-ooping-lincoln-looping means? We’ve broke down some of the freestyle lingo to help you get your head around it all…


Kicker – Another name for either a man-made or natural jump.


Jib – Any obstacle that you can jump on or over eg. Rails, boxes, tree stumps, etc.


Grab – To grab either your board or your skis in the air, using either hand.


Air – Any kind of jump off the ground.


Switch/Fakie – On skis, this is riding backwards. On a snowboard this is riding with the opposite leg forward.


Stalefish Air – A jump in the air, using your rear hand to grab the heel edge of the board between the bindings.


Air-to-Fakie – enter the halfpipe forwards then come back down backwards, without any rotation.


Spin on – A spin before landing on the rail.


Spin out – A spin to exit the rail.


180, 360, 540, 720 – These numbers are the number of degrees in which the skier or boarder rotates. You can perform different moves with varying degrees of rotation, for example backside 180. 180 degrees is half a turn, 360 a full turn, 540 one and a half turns, 720 is two complete rotations, etc.


Lincoln Loop – A flip to the side, almost like a cartwheel with no hands, except the legs are tucked into the body.


A Lincoln Loop


Rodeo – A cross between a flip and a spin. This move is an off-angle backflip, where your feet come over your head at an angle rather than directly above.


Misty – The same as a Rodeo, except you flip forwards instead of back.


Cork – An off-axis spin, where the feet whip round to your side, rather than over your head as they would with a back flip.


In this video, the first move is a Backside Rodeo 540 and the second move is a Backside Corkscrew 540


Backside 180 – 180 degree rotation in the air, turning clockwise for regular and anti-clockwise for goofy.


Ally-Oop – For this trick, as you come up into the air you turn 360 degrees, grabbing your board or skis before landing to face the same way that you started.


How To Frontside Alley-Oop



Freestyle Lessons in the UK


Freestyle Snowboard

The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead

  • Freestyle Fundamentals, Thursdays 7pm-9pm & 8pm-10pm – These sessions aim to get you to grips with the foundations before moving on to the more complex stuff

  • Freestyle Coaching Sessions, Thursdays 7pm-9pm & 8pm-10pm – Aimed at those who already have some freestyle experience and who are looking to improve

  • Thursday Freestyle 6-10pm – Beginner to Intermediate

  • Friday Freestyle 6.30-10.30pm - All abilities


Chill Factore, Manchester

  • Home to the UK's longest indoor, real snow freestyle park

  • Private Freestyle lessons available

  • Introduction to Freestyle Flatland, every other Wednesday 6-8pm – For complete beginners, learn how to ride switch and how to land properly

  • Introduction to Freestyle Features, every other Wednesday 6-8pm – Start learning how to hit those jibs

  • Junior Freestyle Coaching, Thursdays 6-8pm – For juniors who have already completed the above introductory courses

  • Core Freestyle nights are held every other week. Wednesday 4-11pm, Thursday & Friday 7-11pm – All abilities


SnoZone, Milton Keynes & Castleford

  • SHRED! Thursdays 7pm-9pm – All abilities

  • Freestyle Park Nights Thursdays & Fridays 7-11pm – All abilites


Snow Factor, Renfrew

  • Freestyle 1, Age 11-15, Tuesdays 6.45-9.45pm – Learning switch and flatland tricks

  • Freestyle 1, Adults, Wednesdays 6.45-9.45pm - Learning switch and flatland tricks

  • Freestyle 2, Age 11-15, Tuesdays 6.45-9.45pm – Introduction to park etiquette and riding boxes, rails and kickers

  • Freestyle 2, Adult, Wednesdays 6.45-9.45pm – Introduction to park etiquette and riding boxes, rails and kickers

  • Freestyle 3, Thursdays on request – Work on filling in your achievement card as your learn new tricks

  • Freestyle 4, available on request – Nail all of those tricks you’ve been working on

  • Freestyle Nights, Thursdays and Fridays 7-11pm – All abilities


Tamworth Snowdome

  • Board Stiff, Tuesday evenings – A ramp night for experienced freestyle skiers and snowboarders

  • Fresh, Saturday evenings - A ramp night with late bar, music and plenty of jibs. This one’s also for the more experienced freestyle skiers and snowboarders

  • Snowboard Shred School, Saturdays – All ages and abilities

  • Learn to Freestyle in a day - This one’s for snowboarders and includes a full day course with lunch, plus video analysis to help you perfect your technique


In addition to all of these courses, you’ll also find that Maverix Snow, Definition Camps, Salomon Grom Ski Camps and Grounded Freestyle Coaching all offer day courses in freestyle at various snowdomes.


These are not all of the possible freestyle options that you can experience here in the UK – most dry ski slopes also offer freestyle coaching sessions. If you want to learn halfpipe, then you’ll have to venture a little further unfortunately as currently the only UK halfpipe is situated in Cairngorm, Scotland. However, most snowdomes offer quarterpipes which are a good starter to get you learning some of those halfpipe tricks.


Here's a video featuring the Team GB Freestyle athletes to get you feeling inspired. Enjoy!




Sochi 2014, the aftermath | an Interview with Team GB.

clock 21st March 2014 | comment0 Comments


Britain is never as proud and united than when one of our teams is competing and doing us proud. From cross country, to slopestyle, to downhill skiing, Sochi 2014 was a time that gripped the country. With over 1.1 billion social media impressions throughout the competition, and with snow domes across the country now totally packed out, we could be seeing one of the most exciting ski seasons in a long time next year with an influx of first timers getting on the mountains.

We had the privilege of catching up with some of the stars of Sochi, including bronze medal snowboarder Jenny Jones, Billy ‘triple cork’ Morgan, halfpipe hopefuls Ben Kilner and Dom Harrington, along with rising star and youngest woman to land a double flip, Katie Ormerod.

Here are some snippets from the interviews...



Jenny Jones

What has been happening for you since winning Bronze at Sochi? I’ve actually been recovering from Laryngitis. I’ve had to talk so much, so I’ve actually lost my voice. Seeing and feeling the response from everyone was just amazing. Everyone keeps telling me stories of how they were crying, or their mum was crying, or their kids were crying… just a lot of crying. I guess it was just a nail biter for everyone.

How does it make you feel being the 4th most talked about athlete? It made me giggle. I was like, 4th most talked about in Britain? But no, in the whole Olympics. It just makes you go wow. I’m glad that it actually entertained people on their Sunday mornings.

What did it feel like winning that bronze medal? My goal was to get to the finals. I knew there was a chance. The main thing I remember is the last person going down and I thought, Oh my gosh, I’m either going to come 4th or win a medal. It’s just crazy.

How do you feel it has helped young people getting into the sport? My local dry slope in Church Hill have sold out of lessons all through March. How cool is that? Knowing you have helped do that for your sport is great.

What was it like when you started? The dryslope was still there. It was hard boots back then. I went away with my school, and I think that is available now, but there is a lot more of it. It’s a great place to do your first turns – theres girls nights, junior nights, adult nights. I went straight out to work as a Chalet Maiden.

What was it like behind the scenes of Sochi? Billy (Morgan) is the joker. Katie Summerhayes is always singing and dancing. Apart from that, it’s all just a bit of banter between everyone. Going down to the canteen was cool because you got to meet everybody and try some of the Russian food, which wasn’t too bad actually. I ended up eating cottage cheese pancakes. Sounds a bit weird, but it actually turned out to be one of my favourite things. Meeting all the other nations and learning about the other sports was so interesting.

If you could do any other Olympic sport, what would it be? I’d probably do Ice Skating.



Billy morgan

How's everything been since Sochi? It’s been pretty none stop. I thought I’d be able to chill, maybe go on holiday. I got 2 days at home.

What did you think of the scoring? We didn’t really know whether they were rewarding depth or height of the jump - we had to work it out ourselves. I didn’t know whether they wanted us to go big, which I did in the second one, and they rewarded me for it.

What were your highlights behind the scenes? There were a few good nights out with some of the athletes. I played loads of ping pong as well.

What do you have coming up? 5 days training in Austria, then Spain for a competition, then straight to Finland, then back to France and Austria. In June we get some time off – I’m going to fly away to Bali where no one can find me.

You all looked very friendly with one another – did everyone get along well? Everybody is friends and has fun – that’s what makes snowboarding so good. It’s not intense. If everyone at the top was hating on each other and playing mind games it would be terrible.

What did you think about the conditions? The conditions were perfect. You can always moan about the weather. There was no wind, it was just pure sunshine. It’s gonna get a bit hot. It happens. It just made it a more spectacular event

What are your favourite resorts? Breckenridge is one. Mayrhofen or Morzine is where I have the most fun in the Spring when I’m not training.



Ben Kilner, Dom Harrington & Katie Ormerod

Katie, what have you been up to since watching the Olympics at home? I’m going over to Austria now training for the Junior World Championship in Italy. Then I’m going back to Austria for another competition, then going home to get my exams out of the way – I’m doing History, English and German A-Levels.

Ben, what kind of experience did you have at Sochi? The conditions were really difficult for me and Dom especially. We probably expected between 1 and 3 medals (for TeamGB) but just getting 1, we were over the moon with that. I think we probably expected Billy, Jamie and Katie were medal potentials.

Has it got people into snow sports? Yeah it’s even brought in sponsorship like Delancey, and with the help of UK Sport, that’s all new. (Dom) Hopefully it’s given a big push for snowboarding and skiing in the UK. It’s a wicked sport to get into. It just shows that with the facilities now, you get into it and can become really good at it. (Ben) We heard whilst riding Sochi that all the domes were getting full and the slopes were packed out, so it was really cool to hear. (Katie) After jenny won her medal, I think more people are wanting to get into snowboarding. Its such a popular sport now.

What did you think of the scoring? (Ben) With the level of riding in slopestyle, you’re quick to forget what the last guy did, so you saw a hammer of a run, but you forget what the last guy did. Sage did his first run and that continued, staying first the whole day. I had my heart in my throat when Billy and Jamie went down.

What are you favourite resorts? (Ben) I personally really like Mammoth Lakes and Breckenridge. (Katie) Breckenridge for me. (Dom) Well, Breckenridge has been our base for the last 3 or 4 years. It’s a really great place to train. There’s a few great places in Colorado. In November and December, you get so many pro’s. You go to a park and literally everyone is either sponsored or a pro.


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.


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