All posts by Jim Duncombe

This seasons ski innovations ranked

Help us rank all of this seasons ski and snowboard innovations

We went to the London Ski Show to check out all of this winters newest technology. Below is a list of some of the best things we spotted. Help us work out which is the best by voting for your favourites.

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Is the Ski Show a good place to take the family?

We took our family to the ski show

– by Jim Duncombe

In preparation for our first family ski holiday we thought a good warm up would be to take them to the precursor to the ski season the Telegraph Ski and Snowboard show in Battersea. As the show was being held during the Autumn half term the show was promising plenty for young ones to do  my children are 2 and 4 years old so I was still unsure how entertained they would be while I looked around. Spoiler Alert: My children were more than entertained for the time we were there but not for the reason you would expect.

The show, which goes on until Sunday the 30th of October, has made an effort to attract families and make sure it is good value for money, a family ticket is £40 and under 11’s are free.  They have also put on a few activities that will appeal to the younger generation.

Ice Skating

This year they have installed a real ice rink that is free to have a go on and all you need to do is book a time online or when you arrive. I am no John Curry but that didn’t stop me attempting to teach my 4 year old how to skate. For me it was like a 20 minute weight lifting session as she held on to my arm while doing her best to look as she had been to the Acme Loony Toons ice skating school.  We walked away uninjured and very entertained.

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KidZania

Normally KidZania can be found in the London Westerfield and is a giant role-play city for kids. A small section of this was transported to the back of the ski show and we had a go at being pro golfers and surgeons which everyone taking part looked like they were really enjoying it. Our 2 year old got giveen a hat for taking part in the golf tournment, which as you will find out opened the flood gates for free stuff. 20161027_133956

 


 



Christmas Ski Deal to the 3 Valleys from £549pp


 


 

Skiing and boarding

Despite all the ski chat that goes on in our house my children have never seen real life ski people. During the demos on the kicker and RailJam area they were totally engrossed and it could well be the moment that they start to develop an interest for the mountain lifestyle. Which I hope they do as a family ski holiday is a holiday that spans the generations and continues even when other holidays have been abandons or snubed… athough I may soon learn that this is because “mum and dad are paying”.

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Talking & Shopping

Normally the show is about chatting and catching up with people. Not this year. If you want to research, shop and relax  don’t take two under 4’s they aren’t interested. I managed one full conversation with Andrew an inventor who had designed the PolePod, an adaptor that turns your ski pole into a selfie stick, and can be found in the innovation area. An area where I would have liked to spent a bit more time.

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Free Stuff

As it is Halloween week, on the way in we were given a bag of sweets for the children which set a precedent for what was to come. It has always been a tradition of trade shows to give away free marketing stuff, as an adult I have learn’t that I don’t need 100’s of ski resort stickers, out of date ski pass holders or badly made pens. A 2 year old, hyper on jelly beans, has yet to learn this. Once he had been gifted a hat and the initial shyness had subsided it was assumed that everything on any stand was fair game. I had to put a lot of things back. 20161027_154134

A glimpse of the future

We had a good time. We didn’t learn much new about the development of the sport. We did find out what it will be like taking our family unit skiing. If your in a similar situation to us and at the ski show then I suggest that you head to the photo booth, tell everyone to get kitted up with ski gear and have their photo taken… this may give you an insight into what it would be like with all that kit and all those children in a ski resort.

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Meribel Snow Records, Statistics & History

We take a look at the snow record of Méribel

The hardest thing about being a skier or a snowboarder is that we are all slaves to the weather. While resorts like Méribel can make snow and ensure the pistes are always open. They can’t create that magical moment when you wake up to a massive dump of snow and go and ride fluffy white powder then at the end of the day you have a silly grin on your face and aching legs.

So while we anticipate what the weather gods will blow into the the Three Valleys this year, we thought we would analyse the last 8 years of snowfall and snow depth and make some cool graphics to tell the story!

Méribel’s best season for snow

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Which is the best month for snow in Méribel?

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Average snow depth for Méribel

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Christmas skiing in Méribel & La Tania from £549pp

Average snow condition for peak weeks in Méribel

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Best day for snow in the last 8 years in Méribel

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Please take a look at all our catered ski holidays to Méribel. 

 

 


What is your ski racer name?

Have a go and tell us what your ski racer name is in the comments below or leave it on our Facebook post.

Ski Racer Name Game


8 reason why we are looking forward to the ski season

8 things we are looking forward to this winter

There is a chill in the air, there has been no indian summer and people have started to put the heating on all of which means that it’s time to look forward to the winter season. It won’t be long before we are packing our bags and heading back to the Three Valleys, opening up our chalets in Meribel and La Tania and making sure our guest have a great ski holiday.

It has been a great summer, full of sun, sea and fun leaving us very little time to miss the mountains. Now the cold wind is blowing and our mind has started to drift to our colder happy place… here are some of the things we are looking forward to this winter.

Skiing

Of course! As soon as the temperature drops we start to think about clipping into our skis and hitting the mountains. Right now as I type I can feel the excitement of the first day on the slopes. You know that feeling, the one that makes you just want to run to the lift knowing that the wait is nearly over and how that energy will carry you through the day as you ski run after run with a stupid grin on your face.

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2016/17 Lift Pass prices for the 3 Valleys : 1 Day €60 – 6 Days €279

New in Meribel

Every year the resort works hard to make things better. This year there are no new lifts or runs to look forward too. However, there is something that we are quite excited about. In Meribel-Motteret they are introducing an indoor picnic spot, complete with sofas, kitchen, free WIFI and charging points. It sounds like the ultimate skiers common room. You can expect to find us hanging out with a Baguette at lunchtimes!

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A new ski outfit

This year it is new outfit time which is very exciting. Once you have spent ages deciding what style and colour to go for the most exciting thing is then getting to discover all the different pockets and features that you didn’t even read about, like a whistle tucked into a hidden pocket in the collar!

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Catching up

It doesn’t matter if you’re a season worker or a holiday maker returning to a resort,is a joy when you meet up with people you know from past winters. It could be your favourite waiter, chalet host or ski instructor. They will be as pleased to see you as you will be to see them.

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Early season snow

Last year the snow fell before the lifts weren’t even open yet. This didn’t stop us as we hiked out of Méribel up to the top of the Saluire to get some of the first tracks of the season. Check out the video below.

Breathing the Air

How can you not miss the cold, unpolluted, crisp air of the alps. We always look forward to walking out onto the chalet balcony, all wrapped up warm, probably with a glass of wine, to look at the stars and breath the cool night air.

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The Food

Every year our executive chef dreams up a menu full of old favourites and new dishes and we love getting to eat every one of them. It also means a trip to our favourite butcher who always makes sure we get the best local meat and treats us to some his incredible pork chops (not pictured). We also get to sample all the wines that Tom picks to accompany your chalet dinner.

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The View

To be in the mountains is to feel humble and awestruck by the might of nature! Here are some photos to remind you of what it looks like.

If you want to join us this winter then check out all our catered ski holidays to Méribel and La Tania here!


What’s on at this years London Ski show

Find out what is on at this years London Ski Show

The London Ski Show has been going for 43 years and last year it saw some massive changes as it moved to a new venue. The general feeling was that the show was much better with more to see and do and the outside space that hosted the big kicker (Mount Battersea) and aprés stage proving to be very popular. There is more good news as 2016 sees the price of tickets fall as much as £5. Also the date has changed and the show has been moved back to into the half term holiday week.  Below is our guide to what to see and what is new…

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The Facts

Dates: Thursday 27th October to Sunday 30th October (times vary)
Location: Battersea Evolution in Battersea Park
Price: Early Bird – £15 Full £20 – Conssesions £10 – Children £8 – Under 11’s Free
Website: london.skiandsnowboard.co.uk

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Whats on

Skiing and Snowboarding

There is more skiing and snowboarding to watch than ever before which is good as it is what the show is all about. Mount Battersea is back with it’s pro riders hitting a real snow kicker pulling off some massive tricks. Expect to see some of our Olympic star’s like Murray Buchan taking part in the pro rider demo alongside some emerging talent. New for this year is live rail jam sessions and the rail area will also be hosting the  University tour – Downtown Throwdown finals.  There are also some great talks in the Mountain T=theatre on Back Country Skiing and improving your technique from the likes of Warren Smith and John Godfrey.

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Kids

As the show is held during half term this year there are more things for kids to get involved in which will make spending the day there more bearable for those with families. A New addition this year is the family tent where you the organisers promis games, magic shows and face painting. There is a chance for the children to get there Christmas fix win 2 months early as Santa is set to visit the show.  For the slightly older children KidZania are setting up shop at the show, giving kids the chance to go on a role play adventure, maybe they will pretend to host Ski Sunday?

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Entertainment

A returning addition is the Ice Rink, this time it is located outside and you will get a 15 minute session completely free and available to book in advance. The comedy tent is back with regular show attendees Marcus Brigstock and Andre Maxwell among some exciting cabaret acts. Boot fitting is back and is great fun if that is your idea of entertainment.p1000437

Exhibitors

The truth is that the show wouldn’t exist without the “trade show” element and for many people the chance to shop for all things ski related in one place is the reason they attend. This year there are some more focused areas, France have a whole pavilion dedicated to tempting you to ski in French resorts as do the Americans. As well as that you can expect the usual mix of small and large tour operators, retailers such as Ellis Brigham and Finches Emporium, gap year opportunities like our friends Basecamp ski instructor courses, representatives from ski areas like the Three Valleys, Clothing and Equipment as well as the obligatory novelty helmet stand.

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Food

Last year the food on offer was mountains better than in previous years with some of the street food being surprisingly tasty and at quite reasonable prices. It could be your first chance of the winter to get some tartiflette.p1000438

Free Stuff

On top of all the free pens, lanyards, sweets and stickers you can get a free pass to the Hemel Hempstead indoor ski slope, which if you claim it and use it makes the entry price to the show good value for money.p1000443

Apres ski 

Naturally there will be beer and wine and probably a Jager bomb too but this year the Aprés ski has been toned down after last year there were less that 5 people watching Hot Chip and Norman Jay MBE. Friday night is your best bet for a party fix as the show is open until 10pm and the party will be going on on the EIS HAUS Lounge. If you want to be a bit colder you can book to go into the EIS HAUS Experience a frozen bar with ice cold drinks.


What is the most satisfying feeling a skier can have.

How satisfying is skiing?

We recently asked a load of skiers what makes makes them the most satisfied when they go on a ski holiday. Here are the results.

Click here to take the survey.

Booking a ski holiday.

Before even going skiing nearly 70% of skiers reported that they feel very satisfied after they have booked a ski holiday, with only 2% not getting any satisfaction from booking the annual trip.

First Lifts

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The other 50% were all satisfied if they got out for the first lift however, there was a small percentage that weren’t. We can only assume that the unsatisfied 8% were more keen to a lie-in.

Ride, Eat, Party

We asked everyone how satisfied they felt after half a days riding, a long lunch, one more run and some Aprés? There was nearly a 30/70 split with the majority feeling pretty pleased with this approach to skiing.

Dump of snow

Unsurprisingly waking up to a fresh dump of snow was the most satisfying with 93% of skiers feeling satisfied/quite satisfied or very satisfied. There was a small group that weren’t very happy about this. We suspect that these are the same ones that were planning on a lie-in.

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Becoming a ski instructor

We wondered how satisfying it would you be if everyone who had been skiing followed their dream and became a ski instructor? 31% claimed it would not be satisfying at all but on the positive end of the scale 42% of skiers would be very happy to end up working as a instructor.

Hiking and getting fresh lines

The results were pretty clear  for the question “How satisfied do you feel after a day hiking and making fresh tracks?”. With the majority claiming that hiking was high on the agenda when looking for thrills on the mountain.

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Home Time 

How satisfied to you feel at the end of the trip? On the whole most people felt satisfied at the end of a weeks skiing with a massive 52% being very satisfied.  Not surprisingly there was an 18% who craved more mountain time which is why they should consider working a ski season.


My failed winter.

I failed on the slopes again

Yep that’s right I failed again. But I fail in the same way every year and each year I promise to learn from my mistakes.

Each year I book my ski holiday or holidays if I am lucky and each time I promise myself that it is time to improve. This is the year I will get better at skiing. For too many years my ability to ski has remained the same and probably if I plotted it on a graph from year to to year we would have seen it plateau for a while. The reason lies in that ski life mirrored real life as once I was old enough to leave ski school I did and I have never been back.

This means that I have never improved and have a technique so full of flaws that I now fear a ski lesson as much as a trip to the dentist.  Which is why I have failed again this year.

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Despite promising that I would have some lessons. I didn’t. I also made other “ski resolutions” which I failed to keep.  I said to myself that this year I would hire a guide and hit the backcountry for a day. I did come close to achieving this if you count looking at the Méribel Guides website before I went on holiday.

I failed in my attempt to try the park out and see what I was missing out on. When I was younger I loved to hit the snow park. Now I stop at the the top of the park remember the thrill of “getting air” and the think about the pain it might result in. Then after those thoughts leave me, I start to pressure myself into proving that I still can do it. Psyched up I ski off towards the green kicker, I panic, swerve and ski off out of the park making out that I intended to do that all along.

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I also failed in my promise to avoid aprés ski, chalet wine and general excursions to the pub. My failure to do this probably contributed heavily to my failure all round.

But do you know what. I had a good time it was probably one of the best ski holidays I have had.

There is always next years ski holiday.


What is the most satisfying part of skiing and snowboarding? Survey

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We want to know how satisfied you feel when skiing or snowboarding. To help us please fill out this survey with your satisfaction level…


Thanks for taking the time to complete our survey!


The best ski and snowboard movies to stream

It’s a fact that we spend more time thinking about skiing or boarding than we actually spend on the snow doing it. Some of us are happy just dreaming of being on the mountain but occasionally we need a reminder of what we are missing. The other day we found ourselves sat on the sofa trawling the internet for ski movies to get us through the summer. We found some new, some old and some very boring movies to watch and after we had quenched our frozen water thirst we thought we would share what is out there with you so you could hydrate yourself.

Watching a snow movie reminds you how much fun you can have out it the mountains.

Below is a selection of ski and snowboard movies and TV shows that are available on the internet with subscription services like Netflix and Amazon, as well as free services such as Red Bull TV and YouTube.

Netflix

Steep

Steep was filmed in 2007 and looks at the history of extreme skiing, it starts by looking back at the 1979’s when a skier called Bill Briggs who was a pioneer of Big Mountain Riding skied down the Teton Mountain in Jackson Hole. The history of the sport is told with the help of ski legend such as Shane McConkey, Chris Davenport and Ingrid Backstrom. The motto of the film and the people featured in it is “ski where the sport of skiing is still an adventure” and this is what the film is about too.

Deeper – Further – Higher

This trilogy of snowboarding films starring Jeremy Jones isn’t all about tricks and montages, it truly is about the adventure of free-riding and searching for the ultimate line in some of the worlds most extreme places. Jones and his crew don’t just rely on heli drops they believe that mountaineering is part of the experience of big mountain riding. These films follow Jeremy and the team who film him as they go deeper into the back country. These aren’t films about goofy snowboard dudes these are documentary’s about pioneers and explores who respect their environment who just happen to have the best way of getting down a snowy mountain.

Jeremy Jones’ Deeper Trailer – A Snowboard Film from Teton Gravity Research on Vimeo.

Chalet Girl

I went to the Cinema to watch this when it came out and spent the time scoffing at the unrealistic depiction of chalet staff, later on I reflected on this thought and realised that being realistic would have made a pretty boring film. The movie is loosely based on the story of Olympic Bronze Medallist Jenny Jones and her life as a seaonnaire. While the actual ski and snowboarding content is limited, in an odd way, you might find this film inspires you to get back on the snow or even apply for a job as a chalet host.

Chalet Girl Trailer from Transmission Films on Vimeo.

Also on Netfilx is My Side of the sky a TV docudrama about Windells Academy a school for snowboarders.

Amazon

Going Downhill Fast

If you are a fan of science movies that you were shown in school in the 90’s and made in the 80’s then this is the ski movie for you and it is also Amazons only ski offering. The documentary talks about going fast on skis and has interviews with experts who talk about snow in terms of penetrating particles and freezing points. Watch this if you want to learn something, not if you want arty shots of powder runs and big air.
Going Downhill fast

Red Bull TV

Art Of Flight

If I owned a company that made too much money, I like to think that, like Red Bull, I would just keep ploughing the money into doing cool stuff to promote my company! Despite the fact that The Art Of Flight is a feature length advert, but then aren’t most ski films, this is one of the best and possibly the most beautiful winter sports film ever made. The film starring Travis Rice documents what its like to challenge yourself in a dangerous environment and challenges what you may think about riders who put are searching constantly and pushing the boundaries.

 

Red Bull TV has plenty to keep any winter sport fan entertained for hours with shows such as Keep Your Tips Up a documentary about a group of riders making a movie, a film about Lindsay Vonn’s comeback and one about Mike Shaw a pro skier who was told he may never walk again.

You Tube

Apocalypse Snow

There are 4 of these movies that have been since 1983, originally a promo video for Les Arcs these films have turned into a cult classic. This isn’t your usual ski movie and don’t let what I am about to tell you put you off. Firstly there is a plot that revolves around the snowboard legend Régis Rolland on his swallow tail board as he is chased around the mountain by evil mono skiers trying to capture the secret of skiing. The music is incredible the stunts amazing and the ski outfits are some of the best you will ever see. Still not convinced.. I have put the first instalment below. Trust me you will be hooked.

Few Words

Also on YouTube is the movie a Few Words which is a documentary by Quicksilver about one of the worlds most accomplished skier, Candide Thovex. One reviewer describe its as “A great overview of the life of this incredible skier…. great cinematography as well as music and the skiing out of this world 10/10; this is one ski film worth buying and keeping.”. Which obviously you don’t have to as they have uploaded it to Youtube. It is a high quality movie that will make you consider the possibilities of what is possible with a pair of skis, before you realise that remembering which pocket you put your lift pass in is hard enough.

And if that isn’t enough you can always search YouTube for epic ski fails!


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