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The Ski Holiday Checklist

clock 2nd December 2011 | comment0 Comments

Now I appreciate most people who use Igluski are regular skiers, but for those who are either new to the sport, are forgetful or wonder why they are always cold, no matter how big their jackets are, here is our ski holiday checklist, to make packing that little bit easier.

Whether skiing or snowboarding, the vast majority of your 'software' will be the same, brands apart. Where it differs is down to personal preference, the weather and the type of skiing or snowboarding you plan to undertake — for example you don't really want a shovel on your back and an expensive transceiver on if you are hitting the park.


Don't be left feeling like something's missing.

The Essentials

So to help you be prepared for every occasion, here are a few essential items to make sure are in your suitcase and ski bag before you leave the house:

  • Thermals: thermals keep you warm and dry, they are breathable and keep moisture away from the body, but don't have to be expensive.
  • Gloves: ski gloves, not woolly gloves, as they are waterproof, windproof and warm.
  • Goggles & sunglasses: Goggles are for skiing in, sunglasses are for wearing at lunch. Most goggles come with spare lenses which are always worth taking too.
  • Sun cream, lip balm and after sun: you are several hundred metres close to the sun, surrounded by a white reflective surface, you've been warned!
  • Beanie or headband: remember the old adage that you loose 70% of you heat through your head? Well keep it in. Headbands are for skiers only!
  • Water bottle: simple, you're doing exercise, so keep hydrated. There are loads of different types from camelpacks to thermos bottles you can use.
  • Ski jacket: a proper outdoor jacket is needed, they are water/snow proof, breathable and keep you warm, ski jackets also have garters to prevent you getting snow everywhere.
  • Salopets: again, proper ski salopets or board pants will keep you warm and dry. Skiing in jeans won't!
  • Ski socks: you don't need expensive ones, but you need proper ski socks are as opposed to thick socks or football socks, which won't keep you warm at -5°c.
  • Helmet: would you ride a motorbike without one? Thought not. Your head's pretty important, keep it safe.
  • Travel insurance details: make sure you are covered for winter sports and in an emergency you know where you've put it. Also take emergency contact details with you.
  • Phone: pay for a roaming package as you'll be surprised to how many times people take 'the other left' on the mountain.
  • Rucksack: whether carrying a hip flask or packing your kids off to ski school for the day, rucksacks are essential.
  • Labels: if you are skiing with your family, label EVERYTHING. You'll be surprised how helpful it is at ski school the following morning when little Johnny gets his gloves back.

Layering

You've probably heard all this before, but it's all about layering when skiing and wearing the correct layers. Just because something is heavy, doesn't mean it's going to keep you warm, and that goes for everything from your socks to your jacket.

Whether you are on your first lesson, a seasoned skier or hiking the Vallée Blanche, wearing the correct layers is essential. Remember it's easier to cool down then to warm up. As basic guide to layers is:

  • Thermals: in all weather it's good to wear a thermal top, they keep you warm when it's cold and cool when it warm. If you feel the cold or it's particularly chilly one day, thermal long johns or leggings will help keep you warm, I even know ski instructors (male may I add) who wear tights as well.
  • T-shirt: short sleeve or long sleeve depending on the weather and comfort.
  • Fleece, hoody or jumper: try and pack at least one 100 weight and one 200 weight fleece or hoody, so you can dress for the weather.
  • Ski jacket and salopets: I prefer a Gore tex shell most of the time and have a big down jacket for those -20°c powder days.

Off Piste & Ski Touring

If you are planning on doing some off piste skiing or back country hiking here are a few more essentials to pack for the mountain:

  • Helipack: for piste skiing a comfortable backpack is enough, but when backcountry skiing you need a rucksack designed to carry all your kit, including your skis.
  • Avalanche transceiver: these things are literally a life saver, but don't just carry one, learn to use it first.
  • Shovel: from digging out buried friends to building a kicker, shovels are an essential piece of kit.
  • Probe: you can use your probe to test the snow depth, or to find buried friends, a very helpful piece of kit.
  • Spare goggles and gloves: there's nothing worse than cold hands or snow-filled goggles miles from home.
  • Water and snacks: you may find yourself further from a mountain restaurant than usual, so essential to keep you going. I personally go for Mars and Snickers.
  • Walkie talkie: you may not have phone coverage and will want to keep in contact with your buddies either in front or behind you.
  • Avalanche whistle:; not essential, but a helpful tool so your friends can find you.
  • Spare batteries: you don't want your transceiver or walkie talkie running out of juice on the mountain.

Everyone has their own idea what to pack a trip to the slopes, some people like hand warmers, others need a good bottle or brandy or single malt for their hip flask. Forgetting the essentials can cost you a fortune in resort and even ruin your holiday. So as Robert Baden Powell would say: "be prepared".



The GoPro HD Hero2

clock 29th November 2011 | comment0 Comments

This week we are looking at HD cameras for the slopes and have enlisted the expert help of Matt Taylor, from Action Cameras, to give us a review of this year's hottest piece of kit, the GoPro HD Hero2.

GoPro HD Hero2

So by now, most people have heard of GoPro and if you haven't you've almost certainly seen footage filmed on one: that video of the fella getting knocked of his bike by a buck in South Africa — GoPro, the one where Ken Block does doughnuts in his rally car — GoPro, point of view footage in films such as the Art of Flight, Deeper and That's it That's All — you guessed it, GoPro. "But that was the GoPro HD Hero 1?" you may say, "what is all this I hear about the GoPro HD Hero 2 Motorsport, Outdoor and Surf Editions?" I hear you cry, well here goes...

First up, they look (almost) the same, they weigh the same, they're both waterproof to 60m and they both shoot HD video through a 170° lens. To spot the differences between the Hero 1 and 2, you have to look deeper. Like its predecessor, the Hero 2 brings increased low light performance, 11 megapixel photos and the ability to capture bursts of 10 photos in a second, meaning it's great for sports photography and cobbling together sequential photos of you going big off that jump or successfully backflipping that cliff. Other features include a redesigned digital display, something which was much needed as the Hero 1 was, at times, difficult to navigate. Plus, there are more developments on the way from GoPro, these include a remote control and a Wi-Fi backpack, which will undoubtedly only be compatible with the new version.

In summary then, GoPros are awesome, they're great fun, easy to use, and great quality. The New GoPro HD Hero 2 ups the game a little, continuing the trend for full 1080p HD recording and offering better quality still photo options and if you like the idea of a remote control and Wi-Fi backpack, anything but the Hero 2 simply won't do.

They both weigh the same, both can record full high definition video and both can shoot a 170° field of vision. Somehow, GoPro’s latest release improves on the HD Hero.

That’s more than twice as powerful as the HD Hero, not to mention the completely redesigned wide-angle lens or simplified language-based user interface. We hope that straightens things out.

Full discloser: We are currently running a win a GoPro competition with Action Cameras.



The Art Of Flight

clock 18th November 2011 | comment0 Comments

Last night the world tour of the Art of Flight arrived in London for the UK premiere at the BFI IMAX, Europe's largest HD screen. Though the film has been available to buy for a few weeks now, the vast majority of people in the room had waited so they could watch the Art of Flight on the big screen, and none of them, me included, were disappointed.

The event started as soon as you arrived at the IMAX, where the girls greeting you on the door, checking your tickets and generally being helpful, were all dressed in Red Bull flight attendant gear. Once through to the big screen itself, Tim Warwood, introduced us to the film, while looking like a WW1 pilot, before introducing and interviewing Travis Rice, the man behind the film. On discovering the fact that most people had waited to watch his film the excitement built up and culminated when a fan (our Invoice & Ticketing Manager) donated a beer to Rice, which he finished in one to applause and cheer from the crowd.

The room then went dark and the film started...

The Art of Flight opens with Travis Rice discussing the digital age that we now live in and the world of second hand information we are a part of, going on to say that sometimes you need to experience things for yourself. The opening sequence is him going through the airport and the production team giving us a glimpse of the amazing HD filming we were about to experience.

Then bang — the crew are in Alaska, with Rice being dropped at the top of a ridge and the helicopter takes off, shown in an incredible showcase of HD slow-mo, with the heli flipping itself over 90°, before vertically heading down the cliff face. The room was silent... the crowd was already in awe of what we would spend the next hour watching.

This film is truly incredible, and rather than ruin it for you I'm going to leave it for you to watch, but here are a couple of highlights to enjoy.

The team's first trip Canada is incredible, showing how dangerous the mountain is, how every snowboarder, however famous and skilled, has to respect their surroundings. The section shows them testing the conditions and setting off avalanche after avalanche, before finally finding a line they think is safe, only for Mark Landvik to be swept down the mountain by another avalanche. Though he was okay, he was both upset with being swept down the mountain and that they'd put themselves there in the first place.

The section where Travis Rice heads to Patagonia will have you on the edge of your seat, as they push the level of safety beyond the realms of normality, to get one, insane line in an area the locals describe as: "where the devil lives."

The film isn't all about beyond the realms of safety. The sections where the team head to Jackson Hole and Revelstoke are the most fun, with the guys clipping trees in mid air, throwing down huge tricks and hitting lines that make the sport look fun — with some sections in Revelstoke looking rideable by mere mortals like us.

The Art of Flight pushes snowboarding to another limit and though it lacks the story-style feel of That's It, That's All, it truly is a masterpiece. The cameraman turns to Jeremy Jones in his section at the end and Jeremy perfectly sums up how this film will make you feel: "Travis is the future of snowboarding, and the future is now." If you don't own this film, then get onto iTunes and download or fork out for a Blu-ray player, as this is what HD was made for.

I doubt there'll ever be a film that makes me want to strap on my snowboard more.



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