After rocker skis it was only a matter of time before rocker snowboards came on the market. Here's a good summing up of the new tech. Will you be trying one out this winter?
After rocker skis it was only a matter of time before rocker snowboards came on the market. Here's a good summing up of the new tech. Will you be trying one out this winter?
Avoriaz, in the heart of the Portes du Soleil, will be kicking off the winter with a bang in just a few weeks' time.
The resort has just announced details of a week-long festival of fun called Rock On Ultimate, taking place from 12-19th December.
With the lifts opening on Friday 12th December the week begins with a "Happy Hour Geant". On Saturday 13th December the resort plays host to Shaun White and his band Bad Things, who will be performing in the centre of the resort. Throughout the week there will be lots of opportunities to test new equipment, open air DJ sets, competitions, live music and parties.
Plus the legendary Stash, the ecological snowpark set in the forest, will be officially opening on Tuesday 16th December with live music and bbq to accompany the event! Full details here.
With fresh snow on the ground this week, and the promise of more to come, it really feels like winter is almost here. The week before Christmas is a great time to ski - pistes are uncrowded and accommodation and flight costs are generally low - so it's the ideal time to treat yourself and get into the Christmas spirit. See all our Portes du Soleil accommodation or look specifically for Avoriaz here!.
From now on and all through the winter season you can catch up with some of the best ski holiday offers and promotions by subscribing to our Latest & Greatest newsletter.
We send out the bulletins every two weeks approximately and we pick out a nice selection of tempting offers to cover different ski areas in different countries. These latest & greatest ski offers are picked from our selection on our promotions listing - take a look there are currently over 800 promotions available so there's bound to be something to suit you!
Here's just a few to get you excited!
Les Arcs - Paradiski - Pre-Christmas getaway
The week before Christmas can be a great time to get on the slopes. Resorts are quiet but are starting to gear up for the festive rush. There's a feeling of excitement and anticipation in the air and best of all the slopes can be your's - with just locals and a few others with inside knowledge enjoying the calm before the storm.
It's also when a lot of chalet companies are offering great prices! Alpine Motion, for example in Les Arcs, are offering a week catered for just £250pp.
So why not escape the Christmas shopping and give yourself the gift of some fresh mountain air and exercise in the great outdoors!
Les Menuires - 3 Valleys - Harrods teddies and Laurent Perrier champagne
Another one which caught our eye this week is from Three Valleys company Powder n Shine.
Be pampered and have your Christmas dinner cooked for you by a Michelin-trained chef! Not only that there are Harrods teddy bears for the kids and champagne for the adults.
Xmas in the mountains can be magical so why not spoil yourself and the family this year!
Chamonix - Les Houches - Christmas reductions and free lift pass
With fabulous views and just 3 minutes from a ski lift, Chalet Chamarel is an ideal venue for your Christmas ski holiday.
This year they're offering 10% off for the festive week and a free Mont Blanc pass for your group. The chalet sleeps 10/12.
Morzine - Portes du Soleil - Gourmet food, hot tub, free transfers and £500 off
Morzine is a fun, pretty, traditional alpine village and a great starting point to explore the extensive Portes du Soleil circuit which straddles France and Switzerland. SKP Morzine are offering a whopping £500 off their Christmas package price, which includes delicious food, and will throw in free airport transfers to boot.
Fancy sitting in the hot tub on Christmas day enjoying stunning mountain views? Don't mind if I do ...
La Rosiere - January Sales come early
At Hotel La Roz in La Rosiere, January sale prices are already available. 7 nights half board accommodation for their remining January weeks is just £250pp - and includes airport transfers!
So that's just a few tempting offers which will help make your ski holiday planning a little easier. For hundreds more suggestions take a look at all the offers and sign up for the Latest & Greatest to get these awesome promotions emailed to you all through the season!
Whoa how did that happen? Suddenly we're approaching mid-October. Ski Shows, Halloween and winter are round the corner. It's the ideal time to start thinking about getting ready for skiing. Whether you're taking the plunge for the first time or an experienced skier, a little bit of preparation and planning will make everything go a lot smoother.
1. Holidaying wth beginner kids? Get them some lessons.
It's hard for intermediate/experienced adults to remember how unfamiliar and strange everything was the first time you clipped into bindings. Cumbersome boots and planks under your feet is something we obviously don't experience everyday. Factor in your age and if you're under 10 the weirdness element can be mutliplied by 10.
So what can you do to avoid a first day fall out - when you go to pick up the kids from ski school and find them in tears and vowing never to return? If you can, get them some pre-season lessons. Snow domes, snow centres and artificial ski slopes all over the country offer beginner lessons aimed at children from as young as 3. This can make an enormous difference to how successful the ski experience will be in resort - and will often allow your children to improve quicker once they're on real snow.
The UK Snozones for example, based in Milton Keynes and Castleford, offer the SnoAcademy for kids from the age of 3. It consists of weekend sessions and the emphasis is on fun and play whilst developing new skills. The Snow Centre in Hemel also offers group lessons for juniors (from age 4) and during school holiday periods, 2 day courses - you can book now for the upcoming half term week.
Whilst it may seem like an unecessary expense think of it as an investment. By the time you get them into resort and onto snow they'll know the deal and will be excited and raring to go, rather than scared!
2. Physical Preparation.
Ok so you say it every year about this time - I must get fitter for skiing. But somehow, with the pressure of work, family, social life, the best intentions get forgotten. Then suddenly you're at altitude and trying to negotiate something steep and you wish you'd taken the time to do just a bit more. Make this the year that you do something about it! Just stepping up your regular fitness routine by about 10-20% will pay dividends in a month or two - so by the time you're on the slopes you'll feel the benefit.
Just googling "exercises for skiing" will give you a great range of resources and tips. Start easy and adapt exercise to your level. It's never too late to start.
3. Do Some Research.
So you may have already booked your holiday or are looking around to see what's available. The main thing is to choose a holiday which meets your expectations. if you're a seasoned skier you'll have a good idea of what to expect and what you want. If you're not (or even if you are), spend the time and make a list of what's important to you. Do you need a short transfer? Some airports can be 3 hours or more away from mountain ranges. Do you want chocolate box charm? Do you want a lively resort with lots of apres ski? Do you want a good swimming pool, gym, ice rink, bowling alley? Are you looking to tour the local area - what are the roads like for driving? Is there public transport? What's your budget - do you want the best of the best, or cheap and cheerful? In your accommodation is wifi essential? how about a hot tub or sauna?
If you're organising the holiday, whether for a large group, family or just you and one other, it's a good idea to set the guidelines so that nobody is disappointed. If you haven't found your holiday yet then you could try The Solutions Room - that's where you can ask all your questions and see what offers/answers/solutions come back.
4. Learn about Snow Conditions
If you're an experienced skier/snowboarder chances are that you will at some point be skiing off-piste. Modern skis make it much easier for relatively inexperienced skiers to try the powder - and snowboarders have been doing it for years. So if you are going to do that it makes sense to learn more about the environment. During the autumn Henry's Avalanche Talk runs regular sessions in partnership with Ellis Brigham and the Ski Club of GB. 90% of avalanches are triggered by the victim, and in many cases the situation could have been avoided with a bit more knowledge. The HAT Autumn Tour kicks off in Manchester on November 29th. If you're an off-piste regular you owe it yourself and your ski/snowboard buddies to go along.
Will you be jumping for joy on your next ski trip?
With a dollar exchange rate which is currently pretty attractive for European travellers Helen Brown of Chalets USA tells us what's great about skiing in the Rockies!
"The powder!" you hear the locals cry and yes the knee to thigh deep fluffy powder snow is incredible, but there are all sorts of other elements to the USA ski experience which bring visitors flocking to Colorado ski resorts from all over the world...will you love it too?
Ski resorts in the Rockies are famous for their powder snow - light fluffy flakes that feel like skiing on air. Steamboat Springs coined the term "Champagne powder" from the delicacy & lightness of the snow & its bubbly namesake.
"Powder days" are special & many local businesses will even shut for a few hours to let their employees "shred the pow" if there's over 8 inches of powder snow over night...and yes it happens quite a few times each season! Knee or even thigh deep powder is common and you'll hear skiers & riders whoopdy-doing down the mountain as they float along with just their ski tips poking through the snow.
Ski resorts in the Rockies get a lot of snow! Year after year snow conditions are pretty reliable & the snow total averages are impressive - Jackson Hole gets 459 inches (1166cm) on average, Breckenridge 300 inches (762 cm) & Winter Park 348 inches (884cm).
Wide open motorway pistes are great for beginners & intermediates to master their turns without feeling like they're going to careen over a cliff.
Most of the ski runs in Colorado (except the bowls) are lined by trees which gives you good definition & helps you see even in low light & when it's snowing - whiteouts are rare here.
In many US resorts there tends to be a ski boundary around the whole ski area & anything within that can be skied (avoid closed areas of course & only ski terrain appropriate to your ability level). So in the USA you can pop off the ski run into the powder at the side of the run, nip in & out of the trees or make your own route between runs. It's pretty much all in bounds, making the ski area twice as big as it seems.
So to the bowl skiing - huge wide open, in-bounds, bowls with off piste conditions, often plus some groomed runs, can be found in many resorts - Vail has its 7 bowls, Aspen has its Highlands Bowl, Beaver Creek Larkspur bowl & Breckenridge its Imperial Bowl as well as peak 7 bowl, Winter Park has Parsenn Bowl, plus Jackson Hole has Rendezvous & Laramie Bowls.
Yes some of the bowls are advanced / expert skiing, but there are also blue bowl runs, ideal for intermediate skiers to improve their off piste skills.
Vail is famous for its Back Bowls & Blue Sky Basin, Aspen for its Highlands Bowl & Ruthie's Run, Beaver Creek for its Golden Eagle Birds of Prey downhill course & Jackson Hole for Corbet's Couloir. For keen skiers these are "must ski" runs & not to be missed!
Yes you need to be pretty good (and pretty brave!) to attempt Corbet's Couloir, but intermediates can definitely give blue Ruthie's Run in Aspen or some of the blue runs in Vail's back bowls a try.
Most of the ski lifts in the major resorts are chairlifts or gondolas, so you can rest your legs between runs. Poma / draglifts & T-bar's are rare, so you can avoid achy legs and not have to worry about falling off half way up the lifts.
Many times you'll ski in the Colorado resorts without having to queue for lifts at all, especially during the week. On the whole lift queues in the USA are orderly, with skiers / riders politely alternating taking turns to get on the lift from left & then right. Unlike Europe you tend not to have little kids or angry Frenchman (!) barging in front of you to get onto the lifts.
Especially on weekdays the slopes tend to be pretty quiet & uncrowded, leaving you free to whizz at top speed down that run or wind your way gently down through the glades at your leisure.
The Americans are hugely customer service orientated and will greet you & be friendly at every opportunity. The "lifties" help you get on the lifts & have a chat, staff at your lodging ask about your day & want to make sure you know about the latest great restaurant or event. They all just want you to have a great ski holiday...
Many of the luxury hotels / apartments have ski valets, who will bring your gear to the slopes & even help buckle your boots for you if needed!
Well they say everything is bigger in the USA and to some extent its true. Accommodation in the USA tends to be a lot more spacious than in Europe and often homes includes rec rooms with pool table / table tennis / full size bar, family rooms with big screen TVs and even home cinemas complete with stadium seating in leather, reclining chairs & projector screens.
Yes the portions are bigger! The Americans are pretty used to eating out regularly as in several times a week, so you'll find a large variety of restaurants in resorts and often many affordable options which are pretty decent. The huge portions mean you can share dishes to keep the cost down or it really is the norm to take a doggy bag home, perfect for a snack or lunch / dinner the next day.
We first skied in Colorado USA back in 2001, fell in love with the snow, ski resorts & people, moved here & never looked back.
We're thrilled to be able to share this fantastic USA ski holiday experience with our guests from all over the world, so if you haven't already, it's time to give it a try...
It might be one of the hottest days of the year so far but we know that it's never too soon to start thinking about your next ski holiday. Whilst you're sipping on your cold beer in the sunshine here's some exciting new gadgets to bring hi-tech to high altitude.
You could be forgiven for thinking that GoPro is the only POV camera - but a slew of competitors have arrived. The new iON Air Pro 3 camera, for example, offers a major, high-definition upgrade in self-mounted camera footage. The camera is waterproof and wifi enabled and will shoot up to 60 frames per second at 1080 pixels. It also has a shake-reduction feature and built-in microphone - which allows for good quality sound even on windy days. Footage can instantly be uploaded to Facebook too.
GoPro's Hero 3 gets an upgrade this year in the shape of the Hero 3+, smaller and lighter than its predecessor with longer battery life, and faster wifi connnection. Again the built-in microphone has been improved, and the lens is now wider angle.
If you're worried about the POV camera spoiling the look of your sleek silhouette, you could try the latest camera goggle from Zeal - an extremely cool piece of kit, with an updated lens and improved camera performance. Integrated wifi also means you can share content directly on Facebook and other social networks.
The footage certainly looks pretty good!
When it comes to techy goggles it looks like most manufacturers are getting in on the act - with Zeal, Oakley, Smith, Scott and Uvex all coming out with integrated GPS heads-up displays. Many will be using Recon Instruments Snow 2 HUD. The technology adds a tiny GPS-enabled screen inside the lens which shows speed, vertical descent, airtime, navigation, distance and more. There's also a "friend-tracking" feature and wireless connection to your phone for receiving texts. You can also connect to your favourite ski apps to get latest weather and snow information.
With all this stuff to operate, constantly removing your gloves very soon becomes annoying and uncomfortable. Beartek Snowsport gloves provide the solution! The glove allows users to wirelessly control a smartphone or GoPro camera through Bluetooth and wifi modules built into the glove. Just tap your thumb and finger together to stop and start video recording, answer a call or fast forward your playlist.
Finally Burton's Chill Hero jacket is waterproof, breathable and has an Emergency Blanket heat reflective liner for warmth. You can also unzip the liner completely and pack it away into the jacket's back pocket on those warmer days. The Chill Hero will be available in men and women's sizes and what's more it is socially responsible - each purchase also means a donation to the Chill Foundation - a non profit organisation which gives at-risk youngsters the chance to learn to snowboard.
And of course don't forget if you've got the gear but no idea of where you'll be skiing and snowboarding next winter try our super cool ski holiday finder gadget the Solutions Room - for a tailor-made ski holiday ideas!
A brand new service for all extreme sports movie fans will be launching soon.
Vaporvue will provide on-demand, HD, internet streaming media designed to give subscribers unlimited access to the world’s most exciting sports movies whenever and wherever they are . Covering all kinds of our favourite sports from skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, surfing and more, Vaporvue offers a Netflix-style subscription-based service which you can watch online on all kinds of devices.
Surfing filmmaker Ira Opper will launch the service on June 21, 2014. “Subscribers will be able to access Vaporvue on their computer, smart phone, tablet and TV,” said Opper, CEO of Opper Sports Productions. “You can watch what you want, when you want.”
Featured content will include movies, documentaries and TV series on surfing, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, outdoor, moto and other extreme sports. Vaporvue will also include a wide spectrum of related adventure, travel, fitness, yoga and the how-tos of extreme sports. “We’re going to provide the most comprehensive, diverse library of professionally produced extreme sports content on the web,” said Ira Opper. “That’s our goal.”
Opper is one of the pioneering filmmakers credited with documenting “extreme sports” on cable TV. He will again test the cutting edge of sports filmography when he launches this innovative website catering to the extreme sports enthusiast.
"Vaporvue offers a massive selection of content,” said Matt Warshaw, author of the Encyclopedia of Surfing. “It’s lightning-fast, and 500 times easier to use than my toaster.”
Ira Opper began producing extreme sports for ESPN in 1982 and had his own prime time ESPN series by 1985. He has traveled the globe in his quest to capture the extreme sports lifestyle. He has produced more than 200 extreme sports television shows, documentaries and movies. Today Opper Sports Productions is a recognized brand name in the industry, and will contribute vastly to the library of content at Vaporvue.com.
Find Vaporvue at www.vaporvue.com. The movie service has a free, 7-day trial, and is available for $9.99 a month. It's just the thing to get you in the mood for your next mountain trip!
Still stumped for school holiday ideas for this summer? Alpine summer holidays are great for all the family with lots of opportunities to be active and adventurous - or space and time to chill out and enjoy the scenery. Here's a few summer ideas to try out for size.
Morzine: The Big Summer Sale at Chalet Sherpa - Jolly Good Alpine Adventures are now oferring big reductions on all remaining rooms in Chalet Sherpa or in their self-catered studio Marquis. 7 nights catered is now just £340pp up until end of August ! More details ...
Les Gets: Save 20% - Reach 4 the Alps have announced a generous 20% discount on holidays from 28th June to end of July. They have some lovely self-catered chalets available and prices include linen, towels and use of hot tub. More details ...
Samoens: Great discounts - Chalet 365 is offering up to 20% off per person in their super Samoens chalet with fabulous views of the Giffre Valley. More details ...
Chamonix - Argentiere: Bigfoot in Chamonix have the beautiful Hideaway Chalet on offer from £99 pp/pw. The chalet is in an idyllic location with amazing views of the Mont Blanc massif and has a swimming pool and hot tub! More details ...
Whilst winter is half a year away we know that if you're looking for peaks weeks there's a good chance that places will be selling out fast. So we've rounded up some of the best ski special offers here!
3 Valleys, Portes du Soleil, Paradiski, Val d'Isere and more: Alpine Elements can always be counted on to offer some exciting, good value offers. They have a big choice of accommodation in resorts to suit all levels and budgets, and prices include flights and transfers. They're currently running some interesting lift pass offers which could help you save up to a whopping £210! More details ...
Paradiski and Tignes: Snowchateaux are another company who have some extremely, tempting deals available right now. They still have some availability for Xmas and half term, and have frozen their prices for Easter too! More details ...
Grand Massif: Book by June 21st and get 20% off the lovely self-catered Chalet Fischer which sleeps up to 8 - perfect for a family or group looking for flexibility! More details ...
St Anton and Val d'Isere: Ski Val's Super Saver weeks are available in both locations and offer huge savings - prices include flights, transfers and catering. They got some cracking Easter deals in St Anton too with BOGOF lift passes and free ski hire for kids! More details ...
Spring has arrived across the Alps over the last couple of weeks bringing lots of sunshine and that special chillaxed feel you get with warmer weather. It's also the time where it's fun to be in the great outdoors and many resorts will oblige with special events designed to keep you entertained. Here's a selection of a few taking place over the next few weeks!
Swatch Xtreme Verbier - Verbier, 22nd March (weather permitting)
If you're in Verbier over the next few days you'll be able to catch the grand-daddy of freeride events, the Freeride World Tour Final. The competition takes place on Saturday March 22nd (weather permitting), but the party atmosphere will start from tomorrow and last right through the weekend, with parties, ski and snowboard tests, a street fair, lots of animation and live music too.
The event is the culmination of the Freeride calendar, where the top athletes will be put through their paces to see who is this year's king and queen. Full details here!
Rock the Pistes, Portes du Soleil, 26-30th March
Now in it's 4th year and Rock the Pistes 2014 promises to be bigger and bolder than ever. The festival brings together international pop-rockers and concerts are staged throughout the Portes du Soleil, both at lunchtime and at 5pm at the foot of the slopes. This year's artistes include The Klaxons kicking everything off in Avoriaz and Babyshambles in Chatel on March 28th. See the full programme here.
Altitude Comedy Festival, Mayrhofen, 31st March - 4th April
Billed as mainland Europe's biggest comedy festival, this year's Altitude line up includes Al Murray, John Bishop, comic ventiloquist Nina Conti and of course Marcus Brigstocke, who helped to get the Altitude show on the road when it first began in Meribel all those years ago.
The programme also includes apres ski events every day and the Late Show every night, which features new UK talent and special guests. Full details.
According to the latest weather forecasts it seems that there could be more snow on the horizon too for many resorts. Looks like conditions could be set for some excellent spring skiing!
Our intrepid photographers at CDHQ have been out and about documenting mountain life. Here's a selection of alpine scenes.
Alpine chough - or the choucas - a member of the crow family, which lives and breeds at high altitude.
Powder skiing in the Grand Massif.
Looking down to the Arve valley towards the Megeve ski area.
See more offers on our Promotions page!