Archive for November, 2010
November 30th, 2010
November 30th, 2010
The British flag carrier has always been pretty good with ski/snowboards, however recently they have changed their stance on it.
Charge: Up to 23kg ,Free. Up to 32kg and in addition to your normal luggage allowance; £30.
The Swiss national airline, Swissair, is renowned for being reasonable towards skiers and snowboarders and this year they do not fail to impress in these hard times.
Charge: 1 piece of ski/snowboard equipment (skis, boots, poles/snowboard, boots) may be carried free of charge on SWISS airlines. However, this is within the 23kg that has been given as allowance. Above this, the charge is €35
Ryanair have a habit of taking money off the customer as much as possible, and taking skis or snowboards on a flight is no exception.
Charge: Up to 20kg, £40
Easyjet have a tendency of advertising a lot regarding their winter flights and their baggage rules are quite impressive.
Charge: Up to 32kg, £18.50 (pre-paid) or £26 (at the airport)
BMI have a complicated way of explaining their sport baggage, however it seems like they have quite decent prices.
Charge: Unlimited weight (possibly up to 32kg) £18.99
Flying out of London Stansted, London Gatwick and Bristol to Chambery and Sion, Snowjet call themselves the ski flight specialists.
Charge: £10 each way for bags up to 20kgs, £4 each way for boot bags, £18 each way for ski/snowboard bags
Virgin Atlantic obviously only fly to North America, however due to their frequent flights to Canada, Colorado, Utah etc we feel we should mention them (they also have a great ski/snowboard policy!)
Charge: Up to 23kg and in addition to your normal luggage allowance; Free.
Scandinavian Airlines only just recently change their policy regarding ski/snowboard equipment.
Charge: Up to 23kg and in addition to your normal luggage allowance; €30
(Asterisks denotes normal checked in luggage incurs a cost on these airlines)
That considered, it can also be worth noting that Easyjet, for example, run a Grenoble service only during the winter ski season. This proves, along with their mass winter sports advertising, that they are committed to delivering a good service to skiers and snowboarders even though they are a so-called low-price airline.
Written by: Tord Nilson
November 26th, 2010
One of the best snowboarders to have come from the UK, Scott caught the boarding bug when he was just 12. With character and bags of natural talent the sponsors (namely Red Bull and Oakley) came calling and Scott has spent much of the last decade getting extensive coverage in the UK and global snowboarding press, as well as featuring in a host of breathtaking movies.
So, here’s what Scott thinks about Avoriaz:
“Part of the Portes du Soleil, Avoriaz offers some of the best riding in Europe. It boasts 2 terrain parks and has some epic off piste areas, which allow you to get away from the crowds. I did my first season there about 7 years ago and I’ve uncovered pretty much every area there is. Compared to a lot of places in Europe, Avoriaz still comes out on top. Just over an hour’s drive from Geneva you can be having breakfast in the UK and carving the slopes by lunch time. I’ll usually start the day with a few warm up laps down “Starwars”. This is an epic run and if you ever bump into someone who’s ridden here they’ll know exactly where I’m talking about.”
For more info on Avoriaz and the rest of Portes du Soleil including a piste guide and piste maps, check out Snowfinder Portes du Soleil.
November 25th, 2010
Sunset: Set of reefs dealing with swells from North through West. Northerly swells break the wave up into different peaks and make the place a little more sharing as a result. On a classic big west swell with trades, Sunset is a heavy, jacking peak that develops into a hollow, sucky, thick lipped beast. These swells catch the trades side off-shore, and the result means heavy longboards and serious intent are required to get you into the wave. 4-15ft. Major rips, crowds, experts only.
Sunset Point: Further inside is a quality right breaking at 3-6ft on NW-W swells. It can lose shape on north swells. Crowds, intermediate.
Just East is Backyards: fickle, often shifty proposition that goes left and right, and works from 4-12ft. Currents and unpredictable peaks absorb surfers well. Experts or tow-in.
Finally, Outside Sunset: Huge right tow-in spot when Sunset is closed out. Can work all the way through Outside Backyards, which is a right / left outer monster too, with a shallow reef under the end sections. Hell men only!
November 23rd, 2010
James started snowboarding over 20 years ago and was recently voted the UK’s 4th best snowboarder ever. He began his career perfecting tricks in the snow park, and then developed into a pure backcountry boarder. He’s done over 10 seasons based in Chamonix and last season won 3rd place in the highly coveted World Freeride Tour event held there. His knowledge of the slopes in and around Chamonix is second to none.
Here’s what James think of Chamonix:
“Chamonix is situated in one of the most unique valley’s in the world. It never fails to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as I drive up the valley at the start of the season and Mont Blanc comes into view, followed by the jagged peaks surrounding the Aiguille du Midi that dominate this long deep valley.
Chamonix is a traditional mountain town steeped in mountaineering and skiing tradition, winter after winter attracting mounatineers, skiers and snowboarders from all over the world looking to prove and challenge themselves. The valley has probably got the bext lift accessible terrain in the world, from the mind boggling Aiguille du Midi lift that puts you at the foot of Mont Blanc to the famous slopes of the Grand Montets.”
For more info, including James’s favourire runs and apres ski spots in resort, check out Snowfinder Chamonix.
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November 22nd, 2010
After six months on the sidelines following a horrific fin cut to his foot, Joel Parkinson won the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa on Oahu’s North Shore. It’s been a tough up and down season for Parko, with the injury, the birth of a son and then the death of Andy Irons. The entire surfing community has got to be stoked to see Parko back and in such great form.
Here’s the official ASP press release:
HALEIWA, Oahu, Hawaii – (Nov. 21, 2010) — Australia’s Joel Parkinson (Gold Coast, QLD) made a brilliant return to the pro surfing stage after six months on the sidelines with injury, winning the Reef Hawaiian Pro today to take the lead in the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series. Parkinson, 29, is the two-time defending champion of this Hawaiian series that is the final stage of the ASP World Tour. It was an emotional day for the Australian who has experienced the highs and lows of life en-route to today’s win: The birth of his son last month, the death of close friend Andy Irons two weeks ago, and debilitating injury that forced him off tour.
This week Parkinson has been in devastating form, posting the only perfect 10 of the event and the highest heat total of the competition in his opening round. His form has been on-point and on-rail for the duration and easily deserving of the $20,000 winner’s purse.
“It has been a pretty up and down year emotionally,” said Parkinson. “I cut my foot and I was out of action for six months, I didn’t surf for three months and I didn’t compete for six months. Then I had a baby son so we had some joy, and then Andy (Irons) passed. It’s been one of those years with one good thing then one bad thing. The year is almost over, we’ll get through it and I’m trying to make amends with all good things that can happen from here to December.
“Riding a wave is always one of those things that, no matter what happens in or around your life, you can still ride a wave and forget everything.
“Considering that the last few years I didn’t make a final here, to actually get a win and go to Sunset, which is one of my strengths and Pipe, where I’ve done well, it’s definitely a good start to the Triple Crown.”
Runner-up in the final was Joel Centeio (Hawaii, $10,000), the defending champion coming into the event. Third was Julian Wilson (Sunshine Coast, QLD, $5,100); and fourth was Heath Joske (Coffs Harbour, $4,900). The highest placed Brazilian surfer was Alejo Muniz (=13th); the top US surfer was Huntington Beach’s Brett Simpson (CA =13th); and the top European was Maxime Huscenot (France, =25th).
For Wilson and Joske, this was their first 6-star Prime rated final and the pair are now in the running for the JN Automotive Rookie of the Vans Triple Crown award – for the top newcomer to the series.
The 30-minute final was a relatively wave-starved affair with a total of only 11 waves ridden. Conditions over the past week of competition have ranged from double-overhead to head-high today.
November 11th, 2010
Haleiwa: Head north up the Kam Hwy to Haleiwa. Left turn into town towards the harbour. When it’s on, it is one of the heaviest, fastest, hollowest rights imaginable. The main peak is about 300m out to sea, and the wave forms heavy sections all the way across to a shallow close-out spot (Toilet Bowl). Best at 6-8ft with prevailing Northeast trades and Northwest to West swell. When bigger, can get very rippy and bumpy, but quality is possible up to 10-20ft plus. Watch locals paddle out to gauge current and best route. Flirt into the zone to get your wave, then hang wide between sets. Beginners can check the inside shore break. Crowds, crazy in winter. Experts only, unless small.
Avalanche: is a big wave arena several hundred yards further out. Lefts up to 30ft plus are not uncommon in winter. Tow-in spot except Dec-May (Whale season). Unreliable end section means that floggings are common, even if you make the intial drop. Moving peak means contant paddling to re-position, and outside bombs are a constant risk (an Avalanche of water on your head). Experts only.
November 9th, 2010
At eighteen, Ed Leigh did his first season in Val d’Isere and the resort captured his heart. After five seasons in the Haute Savoie, his professional career was cut short by injury. As editor of Whitelines magazine Ed visited every continent on earth in search of snow. He is now the snowboarding half of the BBC’s Ski Sunday presenting team and the voice of Olympic snowboarding commentary.
Here’s Ed’s view on Val d’Isere, after five seasons:
“I have visited a lot of resorts in a lot of countries and I still haven’t seen anything that rivals Val d’Isere’s diversity. With one of the highest tree lines in Europe it has fantastic bad weather riding, but it equals this with some fantastic high altitude big mountain riding. All this epic terrain is serviced with one of the fastest and best maintained lift systems in the world. In recent years the town’s reputation has certainly fallen from grace, from its heady days as the jewel in French skiing’s crown attracting the rich and famous, it is more of a stag do heaven these days. However, for those in the know there are lots of different areas to avoid the raucous nights, most notably the world’s most underrated resort next door, Tignes.”
For more info on Val d’Isere, including Ed’s favourite runs, piste maps and more, check out Snowfinder Espace Killy.
November 8th, 2010
The Rip Curl Pro Search event of 2010 will never be forgotten. Just a few days after the tragic passing of surf icon Andy Irons, Kelly Slater won his 10th ASP World Title and then later in the day won the event itself. The display of surfing that Kelly put on only emphasized his class and quality, beating Adriano de Souza in the Quarter Finals before the Brazilian had even ridden a wave.
SOMEWHERE, Porta Del Sol/Puerto Rico (Friday, November 5, 2010) – Kelly Slater (USA), 38, has made sporting history today, claiming an unprecedented 10th ASP World Title at Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico.
With his advancement out of the Quarterfinals of the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico over Adriano de Souza (BRA), 23, Slater amassed enough points to move out of reach remaining contender Jordy Smith (ZAF), 22, and collect the 2010 ASP World Title, culminating a 20-year effort.
“I don’t know, it just happened,” Slater said. “If you look at the heat, Adriano (De Souza) passed one up and let me have it and that was a good wave and that was pretty much it a few minutes into the heat. I just want to send my condolences to Irons family. It’s been a week of extremes for me. If it wasn’t for Andy (Irons) there is no way I’d be here in this position right now. I don’t really know what else to say, I’m a little overwhelmed right now. I want to dedicate this to Andy and to my family.”
Andy Irons (HAW), 32, former three-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World Tour competitor, tragically passed away last Tuesday in transit back home from Puerto Rico. The iconic Hawaiian’s unexpected passing has been a devastating blow to the international sporting community.
“I had the 3rd at Teahupoo and Jordy got the 17th, at the time I really wanted to win that event and pull into the lead, but having Andy (Irons) win that contest was really special,” Slater said. “I surfed a last heat with him this year and to get past everybody at Trestles, I know the level is pretty much going through the roof every year. The stuff that Dane (Reynolds) and Jordy (Smith) pull off at every event, everyone is trying to catch on and their strike rate is so high, their consistency is so high. When I got into the lead after Trestles, I didn’t really feel that confident going into France. It was a wave-catching contest at first, but then it got big and I thought ‘this is my zone, this is where I do well and this is what I love.’ The points all started coming together just right for me. To get past Jordy (Smith) in the Final in Portugal, I knew something special was happening.”
“I decided to go for 10 (ASP World Titles) when a friend asked me if I’d decided to win 10 yet after a few contests into this year,” Slater said. “I told him ‘yeah, okay.’ That was right before Brazil. At that point I knew I could do it, but Taj (Burrow) looked good to start the year, but to me it looked like Jordy (Smith) was the guy early on. Mick (Fanning) had a lot of ninths and he knows he’s not going to win a title with ninths. Besides Jordy’s 17th, his worst result was the Quarters, so I knew there was no room for error. These last five events have really come together. I don’t really know how it came together the way it did.”
Slater, who spent a large portion of his youth in Puerto Rico, had a huge support crew of family and friends on hand to witness the incredible feat as well as the support of the tens of thousands in attendance on the beach.
“It’s nice to win this in Puerto Rico with my friends and family here,” Slater said. “I haven’t been surfing here on this part of the island since ’88 and I used to come here a lot. This was like a second home to me. It was like my little Hawaii. I used to come here in the winter and I have a lot of good friends from here. It’s the closest event ever to my home, so it feels like home.”
November 8th, 2010
Few places on earth qualify for the term extreme, but this stretch of coast most definitely does. Extremely big waves, extremely shallow reef, extremely wide barrels, extremely crowded, extremely seasonal, extremely good surfers.
When to go:
The North Shore’s best conditions coincide with the winter season. Northeast trade winds combine with winter West to North swells to create perfect and often massive conditions between October and March. The closer you are to the middle of this window, the more chance you have of big perfect surf … and crowds. Bear in mind that, as an island in the middle of the largest ocean, Oahu is rarely flat, and it may pay to check it early or late season. Kona (Southwest) winds can also hit at any time or season, sometimes for a week of more, making most of this coastline on-shore. Equally, glassy mornings can occur at any time, making unusual spots perfect. Summer is traditionally small or flat, but mother nature can offer unexpected treats.
Big waves, heavy surfer population, reef cuts, occasional sharks, jellyfish, sea-urchins, currents, some theft, expensive beer.