Archive for the ‘Snow’ Category
February 11th, 2011
The anticipation of a trip to the mountains is almost as much fun as when you’re there. Almost. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best iPhone apps to help you prepare for your trip, from choosing the resort with the best snow conditions, to getting a great deal on flights and accommodation, and working on your technique so you hit the pistes on top form.
Ski Club Snow Report
Produced by the Ski Club of Great Britain, the free Snow Report iPhone app gives daily updated reports on the snow conditions in over 250 resorts across Europe and North America. There’s a good overview of information including snow depths, the number of lifts and runs open, as well as conditions on and off piste.
You can access webcams and the latest ski and snowboarding news produced by the club. There is also a weekly video podcast. This app was recently voted in the top 100 apps by iPhone users. Not bad when you consider it was up against over 200,000 others.
Good for: planning which resort to go to.
We say: requires a network connection to get information so watch your roaming charges when overseas.
The Snow Report
Produced by The North Face, this app accesses snow reports in a similar way to the Ski Club’s app, with a few extra features too, most notably a 5 day weather forecast and piste maps for some (but not all resorts).
One big difference is the “Track Day” feature, which allows you to record the mountains conditions on the days you have spent in the snow, and post photos direct to Facebook and Twitter to the envy of all your online friends.
The app’s design is clear, simple and easy to use. And if you store your favourite resorts, users can receive the latest weather updates, snowfall reports and live reports direct to their phone.
Good for: recording a ski diary of snow conditions.
We say: piste maps are patchy and could be higher resolution.
Iglu Ski Deals
So you’ve checked the snow conditions and know which resorts have just had fresh falls – now you want the best deal on your flights and accommodation to the mountains. Booking a last minute ski holiday just got easier with Iglu’s Ski Deals app – the UK’s largest independent ski retailer pick their top 10 ski holiday deals, while you can search live availability for major ski resorts and airports, drilling down results by group size and departure date.
If you find something you like, you can save your search results or use the share feature to pass on the details by email or on Facebook.
Good for: booking holidays on the move.
We say: use the search function to dig out the best deals.
Ski School Lite
Based on this free sampler app, the Ski School series of instructional videos and tips is a real winner. High quality video tutorials are delivered in a clear manner by instructor Darren Turner, a former member of the GB ski team. Ski School Lite features four short technique videos, with films covering basic snow plough to tips to linking dynamic turns.
The production qualities are high while the app feels well made and easy to use. Videos are reinforced by cue cards – short text reminders of the key lessons. The stunning scenery will build excitement before a trip, while they can also reinforce everything you’ve learned after a day of “real” tuition.
Price: free. Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced versions of the app are £3.99 each.
Good for: learning good technique at your own pace.
We say: all content is stored on your phone so there are no roaming charges to worry about.
A simple concept – iTrailmap lets you download high resolution piste maps to your phone. 750 resorts are available, and because the maps are stored on your phone you don’t incur roaming charges. A paid-for version, iTrailmap3D, take the app a stage further using GPS tracking to record your runs before viewing in 3D at the end of the day.
Good for: a piste map in your pocket. That’s it.
We say: a useful app, make sure you download the piste maps you’ll need before you go to avoid mobile roaming fees.
What do you think makes a great ski app? And what would you like to see in a Snowfinder app? Post a comment and let us know your thoughts.
December 22nd, 2010
Still only 18 years old, James “Woodsy” Woods has quickly become recognised as a rare British ski talent. He joined Salomon Grom Camps at 13 and by 16 was already considered one of the best freestyle skiers in the UK.
After several trips round Europe with the Salomon UK team in the past couple of years, Woodsy spent last season out in Breckenridge … so who better to turn to for a round up of the resort.
“I first came to Breckenridge in December 2009 and the plan was to stay for a month before returning to Europe. However I ended up staying 3! Anyone who has ever been lucky enough to spend some time in Colorado will tell you the same, that there is just no place like it. I fell in love with the pace of life and the huge diversity of the ski areas available. Notably, the freestyle parks are some of the best in the entire world. Drawing in all the most talented major names in freestyle skiing and snowboarding, as well as hosting events such as the Winter Dew Tour (see video below), the freestyle arenas are well worth a look as well.”
December 15th, 2010
Lesley grew up skiing in Aviemore and has become a double Olympian and Scotland’s best known snowboarder. A pioneer of the women’s snowboarding scene, she’s the only British snowboarder to have won a half pipe World Cup event. As well as starring in and producing her own snowboarding films, she’s also a fully qualified BASI coach and runs the annual Roxy snow camps.
Here’s what Lesley has to say about Les Arcs, part of the Paradiski ski area:
“Les Arcs was one of the first of the big ski resort developments to take place in the swinging sixties, designed for funtionality, ski-in ski-out and to open up the slopes to the masses. Well, is has certainly managed that! A total of 4 seperate villages with all the fun and apres you could ever need, Les Arcs is one of the most beautiful mountain resorts in all of France.”
For more info on Les Arcs and the rest of Paradiski including a piste guide and piste maps, check out Snowfinder Paradiski.
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 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.
More Snowboarding Videos
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 5th, 2010
Zoe Gillings is Britain’s most successful Olympic snowboard cross athlete of all time. Zoe fell in love with the Portes du Soleil area at an early age and Morzine, with its mixed terrain, has always been a favourite. Ten years in the Portes du Soleil has seen Zoe compete in two Olympic Games, win world cup snowboarding competitions and regularly stand on World Cup podiums. For the last 4 years Zoe has been, and currently maintains the position of Great Britain’s highest ranked Olympic snowsports athlete.
Here’s Zoe’s take on the resort of Morzine:
“Ideally placed between Avoriaz and Les Gets, Morzine has a fantastic selection of tree lined runs where kids rarely get lost and access by road is easy. It boasts a vibrant night life and even an ice hockey rink! Though these days closely linked with Avoriaz, Morzine has kept its identity as one of the preferred resorts of the Portes du Soleil, with larger pistes and an “old town” feel bringing together excellent riding, a vast selection of restaurants and a fun night life. The only drawback with Morzine is sometimes a lack of snow, but being on the doorstep of higher resorts removes this problem and a little known gondola at Ardent takes you straight into a nice Portes du Soleil circuit where the snow is in abundance.”
November 2nd, 2010
Pat Sharples is one of the leading names on the British ski scene. He started skiing at the age of 6 and by 16 had decided to leave school, and England, to work out in Courchevel. Living in Les 3 Vallees for 12 years, Pat developed a talent for freestyle mogul skiing and then hit the freeride tour in 1996. He’s competed in a number of big mountain freeride and freestyle competitions around the world and has graced a number of ski magazine from covers. Nowadays he runs the Salomon Freeski Gromcamps, works tirelessly to promote skiing around the UK and makes the occasional TV appearance!
Here’s what Pat has to say about Courchevel:
“Courchevel is one of the biggest resorts in Europe, is known for attracting the rich and famous and be the place to be seen in, but you can’t forget that it’s one of the best ski areas in the world with great off-piste, legendary couloirs and the perfect place for taking the whole family as it has something to offer everyone! The huge amount of terrain means you can go back there year after year and never get bored as there is so much to cover. The lift system in incredible and you hardly ever find yourself in lift queues. I love the atmosphere in resort, specifically 1650. You can also find untracked snow if you know where to look, even after weeks without a snow fall if you’re prepared to hike a little. I lived in Courchevel for 12 years and that included spending some summers there too. It’s my first choice of place to go, even now!”
Here’s even more info on Courchevel and the 3 Valleys ski area, including some of Pat’s favourite runs.
October 12th, 2010
Sitting on a freezing chairlift trying to unfurl a soggy piste map will be a rare experience on the slopes of a dozen major ski areas this season as we unveil a brand new range of pocket-sized guidebooks.
Top names have contributed to the range of 12 guides, including Ed Leigh (co-presenter of Ski Sunday and High Altitude), Olympian snowboarder Zoe Gillings and top British freeskier Pat Sharples, who all pass on their insider’s knowledge of the slopes.
Covering ski areas in France, Austria and the USA, the compact books combine full colour piste maps with individual descriptions of each run to help skiers and snowboarders of all abilities plan their day on the slopes.
Each guide features a pro in the know who, as well as describing their favourite runs in each resort, reveal the best apres-ski in the area, top tips on places to go eating, drinking, dancing or clubbing.
- pocket sized piste guides
- easy to use & practical
- includes full colour piste maps & resort info
- knowledge & insight from pro’s in the know
Over the next few weeks we’ll be profiling the skiers & snowboarders featured in the new guides and will be featuring insights into their favourite ski areas.
We’ll be launching the guides at the Metro Ski & Snowboard Show at London Olympia (20th-24th Oct). For a full listing of all the resorts we’ve got covered just go here: Snowfinder ski & snowboard guides.