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Shaun White, love him or hate him, is possibly the greatest competition snowboarder of all time. The snowboarding community are often split over his skill and drive in the sport but one thing you can't doubt is how he has helped shaped competition riding over the past decade.
Before picking up his first Winter X-Games Gold in 2002 Shaun was also making a noise in the world of skateboarding and was often seen as a prodigy of Tony Hawk. Over the summer months Shaun still skates as often as possible, though his fierce competitiveness and the fact skating is seen as his second sport has often led to a similar reaction with skateboarding to that from the snowboarding community.
Not one to let these opinions affect him Shaun has spent the second half of this summer killing it on the Dew Tour, already racking up back-to-back gold medals. In the last event he was evidently the best competitor, and though the like of Bob Burnquist & Sandro Dias were there, the amplitude of his tricks blew the competition away.
Roll back to the Vancouver Olympics, with an awkward build up to the competition - Kevin Pearce, Shaun's main competition, suffered what could yet be a career ending head injury - the 'Flying Tomato' again wow'd the crowds. After Pearce's injury practicing the now well documented double-cork, there were calls from the organisers to ban the extremely technical, dangerous and awe-inspiring trick. Many of the world elite including Peetu Piiroinen and Scotty Lago were throwing down huge variations from their repertoire along with the famous double-cork, though White pulled his incredible variation of the trick - the Tomahawk - out of the bag.
Some argue that he lacks the spirit of riders such as Travis Rice or Britain's Scott McMorris, yet none of us can under-rate his undoubted skills and drive to succeed. For many snowboarders the way his riding centres around competition doesn't represent what snowboarding is all about. His movie parts are limited compared with most big name riders and most snowboarders relate to their favourite riders by their style. The kids at the indoor slopes love to watch Mikey Le Blanc or JP Walker hitting rails and powder fans love to see Jeremy Jones and Travis Rice hiking ridiculous lines in Alaska & Japan. Though his parks runs are often immense and any freestyle fan loves to see his skills, his lack of riding natural terrain causes many to wonder if his skills are too calculated and not 'impromptu' reactions to the mountain around him.
Over the past few years Shaun White has bought snowboarding into the limelight. Along with his back-to-back Olympic Gold medals and his endless snowboarding and skateboarding X-Games wins he has taken on the world of media in a whirlwind of success.
How many snowboarders can boast a private half pipe? Well Red Bull built him one at Silverton Mountain prior to the Olympics. His attitude has landed him on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and he even graced the pages of the US publication of Playboy (he did an interview as opposed to getting naked!). How many athletes can say they've been interview by David Letterman and Oprah Winfrey? His success in the media and his ability to promote the sport globally is a skill that comes second only to his riding.
The world's most famous snowboarder may not always be the world's most popular, but you have to say has become one of the most influential guys in the sport and comparable to Jake Burton, Terje Haakonsen, Shawn Palmer, Jamie Lynn and Travis Rice. To some he may be irksome, but he's also a legend.
While discussing skiing in the UK we can’t ignore the fantastic season enjoyed by the Scottish resorts last winter, particularly Glenshee.
Glenshee enjoyed it’s most successful season since 2001, welcoming 116,000 skiers up from 45,000 in previous winters. The snow cover allowed the resort to remain open continuously from 22nd December through to 11th April, something that is not always possible due to snow levels.
The success of the winter season has enabled the ski centre to carry out much needed maintenance work and they have some exciting potential enhancements in the pipeline.
If the Snow Gods are good to us again this winter and you fancy some Scottish ski action Glenshee is easily accessible and perfect for a few days to satisfy your snow cravings.
There is plenty to keep you busy with 36 runs (8 green, 13 blue, 13 red and 2 black) served by 21 lifts (2 chairlifts, 16 pomas and 3 t-bars), which give you a respectable 40 kms of piste. The runs are spread across 3 valleys and 4 mountains providing an extensive and enjoyable variety of skiing and snowboarding.
A full day pass is just £27 for an adult and £17 for a child and the ski centre offers lessons, equipment hire and even ski suit hire if you don’t have your own gear.
Before looking into this I had underestimated the size and scale of Glenshee, now I know what it has to offer I will be keeping an eye on the weather and keeping a few winter weekends free just in case.
Written by Charlie Hamilton-Beaufort
Though we lack Alpine resorts in the UK, thanks to our indoor slopes, dendex and Scottish ski hills we have one of the largest and most promising ski and snowboard scenes in Europe. We may not match the Alpine and Nordic nations in terms of Olympic medals but we have a promising future with our three times X-Games Gold Medal winner Jenny Jones and groms like Jamie Nicholls, at 16 years old, making an impact in snowboarding's TTR World Championship.
Now not all of us have the time, talent or tenacity to make a living strapped to wood, metal and plastic whilst hurtling down a mountain or thorough the air, but we still love to get some pre-holiday turns in. Well, with six indoor slopes currently open and over 40 dry slopes out there, there is plenty of choice to get your skiing legs in shape or to get your snowboarding fix in between holidays. Thanks to the Passport Diary blog we have a veritable list of slopes for you to head to in the coming weeks.
Link to Indoor Skiing UK map
1. Xscape Braehead,, Kings Inch Road, Braehead, Renfrew, PA4 8XQ Telephone: 0871 200 3222 | Hours: 09:00 - 23:00 (Daily) 2. Chill Factore, Trafford Quays Leisure Village, Trafford Way, Manchester, M41 7JA Telephone: 0161 749 2222 | Hours: 09:00 to 23:00 (Daily) 3. Xscape Castleford, Colorado Way, Glasshoughton, Castleford, Yorkshire, WF10 4TA Telephone: 0871 200 3221 | Hours: 09:00 to 23:00 (Daily) 4. SnOasis, Great Blakenham, Suffolk Telephone: 020 7491 4634 | Hours: Due to open in 2012 5. Snowdome, Leisure Island, River Drive, Tamworth, Staffordshire, B79 7ND Telephone: 08705 000 011 | Hours: 09:00 to 23:00 (Daily) 6. Xscape Milton Keynes, 602 Marlborough Gate, Central Milton Keynes, MK9 3XS Telephone: 0871 200 3220 | Hours: 09:00 to 23:00 (Daily) 7. The Snow Centre, St Albans Hill, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP3 9NH Telephone: 0845 258 900 | Hours: 09.00 to 22.15 (Mon-Thu, Sat & Sun) 09:00 to 23:00 (Fri) 8. Cornwall Winter Park, Address currently undisclosed. Telephone: TBA | Hours: Opening Date TBA
Link to Dry Ski Slopes map
1. Midlothian Snowsports Centre, Hillend, Biggar Road, near Edinburgh, EH10 7DU Telephone: 0131 445 4433 | Hours: 09:30 to 21:00 (Mon-Sat) 09:30 to 19:00 (Sun) 2. Glasgow Ski Centre, Bellahouston Park, 16 Dumbreck Rd, Glasgow, G41 5BW Telephone: 0141 427 4991 | Hours: Pone for details 3. Knockbracken Ski Centre, 20 Ballymaconaghy Road, Belfast, Antrim Telephone: 1232 795 666 | Hours: Phone slope for details 4. Golf And Ski Centre, Tullymoyra Lane, Silverwood, Lurgan, Craigavon, Armagh, BT66 6NG Telephone: 028 3832 6606 | Hours: Phone slope for details 5. Sportsman Inn & Leisure, Bradford Old Road, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX3 6UG Telephone: 01422 340 760 | Hours: Phone slope for details 6. Llandudno Ski Centre, John Nike Complex, Great Orme, Llandudno, LL30 2QL Telephone: 01492 874 707 | Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (Daily) 7. Ski Club of Ireland, Kilternan, Co. Dublin Telephone: 01 295 5658 | Hours: Phone slope for details 8. Kidsgrove Ski Centre, Bathpool Park, Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent, ST7 4EF Telephone: 01782 784 908 | Hours: Phone slope for details 9. Stoke Ski Centre>, Festival Way, Festival Park, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 5PU Telephone: 01782 204 159 | Hours: Phone slope for details 10. Swadlincote Ski Centre, Hill Street, Swadlincote, Derbyshire, DE11 8LP Telephone: 01283 217 200 | Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (Daily) 11. Norfolk Ski Club, Whitlingham Lane, Trowse, Norwich, Norfolk, NR14 8TW Telephone: 01603 662 781 | Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (Mon-Fri & Sun) 10:00 to 19:00 (Sat) 12. The Ackers, Golden Hillock Road, Small Heath, Birmingham, B10 0LG. Telephone: 0121 772 5111 | Hours: 10:00 to 21:00 (Mon-Fri), 10:00 to 17:00 (Weekends) 13. Gosling Ski and Board Centre, Stanborough Road, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6XE Telephone: 01707 384 384 | Hours: 12:00 to 21:00 (Mon-Fri) 09:00 to 16:00 (Weekends) 14. Cardiff Ski Centre, 198 Fairwater Road, Fairwater, Cardiff, CF5 3JR Telephone: 02920 561 793 | Hours: Phone slope for details 15. Bracknell Ski Slope, John Nike Way, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8TN Telephone: 01344 789 002 | Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (Daily) 16. Sandown Sports, More Lane, Esher, Surrey, KT10 8AN Telephone: 01372 467 132 | Hours: Phone slope for details 17. Chatham Ski Centre, Chatham Ski Centre, Alpine Park, Gillingham, Kent, ME7 3JH Telephone: 01634 827 979 | Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (Daily) 18. Christ's College Ski Club, Larch Avenue, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 1JY Telephone: 01483 504 988 | Hours: 09.00 to 22.30 (Mon-Fri & Sun), 09:00 to 16:30 (Sat) 19. Alpine Snow Sports, Gallwey Road, Aldershot, Hants, GU11 2DD Telephone: 01252 325 889 | Hours: 10:15 to 21:45 (Mon-Fri), 12.15 to 18.30 (Weekends) 20. Southampton Alpine Centre, Bassett, Southampton, SO16 7AY Telephone: 02380 790 970 | Hours: Phone slope for details 21. Knockhatch Ski & Snowboard Centre, Hailsham Bypass, Hailsham, BN27 3GD Telephone: 01323 843 344 | Hours: 18:00 to 21:00 (Mon-Fri) 10:00 to 18:00 (Weekends) 22. Plymouth Ski & Snowboard Centre, Alpine Park, Plymouth, Devon, PL6 8LQ Telephone: 01752 600 220 | Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (Daily) 23. Suffolk Ski Centre, Bourne Hill, Wherstead, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP2 UK Telephone: 01473 602 347 | Hours: Phone slope for details 24. Brentwood Ski Centre, Warley Gap, Brentwood, Essex, CM13 3DP Telephone: 01277 211 994 | Hours: Phone slope for details 25. Bassingbourn Snowsport Centre, Royston, Cambridgeshire, SG8 5LX Telephone: 08450 728 293 | Hours: Phone slope for details 26. Christchurch Ski Centre, Matchams Lane, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 6AW Telephone: 01202 499 155 | Hours: 10:00 - 22:00 (Mon-Fri), 09:00 - 23:00 (Sat), 09:00 - 22:00 (Sun) 27. Bromley Ski Centre, Sandy Lane, St. Paul's Cray, Orpington, Kent, BR5 3HY. Telephone: 01689 876 812 | Hours: 12:00 - 22:00 (Mon-Thu), 10:00 - 22:00 (Fri), 09:00 - 19:00 (Sat), 09:00 - 20:00 (Sun) 28. Gloucester Ski & Snowboard Centre, Matson Lane, Robinswood Hill, Gloucester, GL4 6EA Telephone: 01452 874842 | Hours: 10:00 - 22:00 (Mon-Wed), 10:00 - 18:30 (Thu) 10:00 - 22:00 (Fri), 00:00 - 18:00 (Sat/Sun) 29. Pendle Ski Club, Clitheroe Road, Sabden, Lancashire, BB7 9HN Telephone: 01200 425222 | Hours: Phone slope for details 30. Kendal Ski Club, Canal Head North, Kendal, LA9 7BY Telephone: 0845 6345 173 | Hours: Phone slope for details 31. Pontypool, Civic Centre, Pontypool, NP4 6YB Telephone: 01495 756955 | Hours: Phone slope for details 32. Ski Rossendale, Haslingden Old Road, Rossendale, BB4 8RR Telephone: 01706 226457 | Hours: 13:00 - 21:00 (Mon-Fri), 13:00 - 17:00 (Sat), 09:00 - 17:00 (Sun) 33. Sunderland Ski Centre, Silksworth Sports Complex, Silksworth, Tyne & Wear, SR2 3AW Telephone: 0191 553 5785 | Hours: Phone slope for details 34. Bowles, Sandhill Lane, Eridge Green, Tunbridge Wells, TN3 9LW Telephone: 01892 665665 | Hours: Phone slope for details 35. Folkestone Ski Centre, Radnor Park Avenue, Folkestone, Kent, CT19 5HX Telephone: 01303 850333 | Hours: 10:00 - 22:00 (Mon-Fri), 10:00 - 18:00 (Sat/Sun) 36. Calshot Activities Centre, Calshot Spit, Fawley, Southampton, Hampshire, SO45 1BR Telephone: 023 8089 2077 | Hours: Phone slope for details 37. Avon Ski & Action Centre, Lyncombe Drive, Churchill, North Somerset, BS25 5PQ Telephone: 01934 852335 | Hours: Phone slope for details 38. Dorset Snowsport Centre, Warmwell Road, Dorset, DT2 8JE Telephone: 01305 853 245 | Hours: Phone slope for details 39. Swansea Ski Centre, Upper Bank, Swansea, SA1 7DB Telephone: 01792 645639 40. Clifton Hill Sports Centre, Belmont Road, Exeter, Devon, EX1 2DJ Telephone: 01392 253353 | Hours: Phone slope for details 41. Oval Ski Club, Wirral, Liverpool, Merseyside, CH63 7LF Telephone: 0151 645 2452 | Hours: Phone slope for details 42. Telford Snowboard & Ski Centre, Court Street, Madeley, Telford, TF7 5DZ Telephone: 01952 382688 | Hours: Phone slope for details 43. Ski Village, 4 Vale Road, Sheffield, S3 9SJ Telephone: 0114 276 9459 | Hours: 14:00 to 22:00 (Wed-Fri), 10:00 to 19:00 (Weekends)
P.S. The dry slopes are more fun after a bit of rain.
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