Tag Archives: summer

5 Ways to get your Summer Skiing Fix

5 ways to get that summer skiing fix

It is a long wait between ski seasons in Europe. The wait is almost bearable if you’re are a resort worker. But for most of us who can only fit in a one-week holiday, it is 51 long weeks. So what can you do to get your skiing fix during the long hot summer months?

1. Indoor and Dry Slopesindoor ski

There are 100’s of these dotted around the UK, some big and some very small. You can find a full list of slopes on the Ski Club of Great Britain web site. There will be one close to you and they should have a small range of ski hire equipment too. In fact, why you are at it, you may as well take some non-skiing friends along and try and tempt them into taking it.

If you can convince them to come on your next holiday you will benefit from amazing group discount, which is time well spent.

 

2. Water Skiing and Wakeboardingwater skiing

Admittedly it isn’t the same. For a novice, it can be a bit like spending time on a slushy drag lift and it can work out costing a lot more than a week’s skiing.  You will also get wet. But if all that doesn’t put you off then it is a great way to feel that comforting leg burn that you get after a good day hooning around the slopes.

51 THINGS TO DO UNTIL YOUR NEXT SKI HOLIDAY

3. Head Down Under

You could probably fit the whole of Australia’s and New Zealand’s ski runs into the Three Valleys or even the Meribel Valley, (not an actual fact). Sadly we don’t offer catered ski holidays there and there is a long flight to consider. But that shouldn’t put you off. The skiing is actually very good in both countries.

What more could you want from a bit of summer skiing than to be carving down Kangaroo Ridge with a tinny instead of a demis.

4. Create a Ski Holiday at Home

Catered chalet breakfast

One way to make you feel like your skiing this summer without leaving the house is to take it turns to be the chalet host. To help we have prepared a guide on how to create a ski holiday at home.

5. Find a Glacier in Europe to go skiing on this Summer

There are some wonderful glaciers that are open for skiing during the summer. You could even pop over for the weekend. Our favorite is located just down the road from our spiritual home of Meribel, in Tignes. There is also a great one in Zermatt although it will take you about an hour to get to it from the resort.

 


 

Or you could just spend the summer reading ski magazines, watching snowboarding videos and deciding which chalet you will stay in this winter.


Summer Activities in the Mountains

Summer Activities in the Mountains

Not one to do things correctly, out regular Alpine Action Blogger Jim went to the Alps at the end of the summer to experience a few things.

Not only did I wait until the summer was over and autumn was kicking in, I even decided to try the Italian Mountains. What is a La Tania and Meribel evangelist doing heading to Milan then making their way north east, you may wonder? Well, to be honest I am not so sure but that is beside the point. What I do know is that the Alps in the summer look magnificent.

canyoning-12

Ok, so I was there for a reason. I wanted to find out a bit more about the popular adventure that people are calling Canyoning. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the activity if canyoning I shall explain. First you need a canyon, you also need an experienced guide, some safety equipment and the desire to abseil, jump and swim down the river that has helped create the canyon you are in.

The group I was going Canyoning with was made up of a varied pool of experience. There were the outdoor types, the lapsed outdoor types, the triathletes, the London bound office worker, the rugby players and the intellectuals. To some, this was going to be the ultimate test of nerve, danger and bravery. To others this was going to be a walk down a river.

Our Guides were what you would expect from a weathered ski instructor. A leathery tan, knowing eyes, the talent to smoke in any situation and the ability to make you feel slightly inferior. I expect these mountain guides are actually ski instructors in the winter months. They kitted us out in wetsuits and issued us safety equipment.

Unlike skiing there are no lifts of us to use. This meant a thirty minute hike up the mountain to the start point. For some of the team this was the hardest part. The climb turned into a traverse with a daunting view. It felt as though one mistake could lead to a slide over a hidden cliff. It wasn’t a gentle climb either. The optimist pointed out that the higher and steeper we go the more fun/extreme the descent would be and to the pessimists it was just another step up to a longer fall.

Unsurprisingly the whole group made it to the start of the canyon. As it was the end of summer the water levels in the river were low. You could clearly see the height that water would reach in the spring when the winter snow is melting at a rapid rate. We weren’t going to get soaked but we weren’t going to be able to avoid the chilly mountain waters.

Many in the group had never put any trust in a rope at all, so being told to lean back and walk down a waterfall, while a complete stranger is entrusted with your life, was a tough thing to do. The nerves were obvious as the shaky leg symptoms were showing. For those of us experienced in abseiling, nerves were also high, as the guide, not happy that the activity was deemed so dangerous that most insurers won’t cover it, was insistent on lowering us using his hands alone despite having the correct equipment dangling from his harness.

For an hour we made our way down a river. We were lowered down a few waterfalls, dunked in several pools, slid down a rock or two, and navigated a log. The experience was tamer than I had hoped, and for many the challenge was the hike up. But for some it was a true face your fear adventure, spurred on by nothing other than peer pressure and the knowledge that there is no other option to get out of the situation.

I don’t think the activity of Canyoning will become a sport that many people fall in love with, but it is a great team building exercise.

 


Could being towed behind a boat be my ski holiday replacement?

Could being towed behind a boat be my ski holiday replacement? 

The other week I wrote about activities that I could do that are similar to what I get up to on the slopes. The blog, which you can read here, talked about a variety of sports  that would supress my longing for winter and occupy me, as well as generating the feelings I get when on the mountain. Since the publication of that blog I have received a few emails suggesting that I should take my own advice and try being towed behind a boat. The thing is, I am quite apprehensive about this.

My attitude to board sports has always been the same.  I get snowboarding, snow is soft and can definitely  help break a fall. Surfboarding; if you fall it is into water, it is also soft and as long as you can swim you should be ok. Skateboarding is for really mental people, concrete is not soft and can really hurt. I discovered this when I was young and have never been back on a skateboard. That may also have something to do with the fact that men or women on a skateboard over the age of 25, is a bit weird.

However I don’t feel that I have ever clarified my opinion on wakeboarding or water skiing. Now you may think that it would be this –Wakeboarding see Surfing. But it is not. I consider wakeboarding or water skiing as odd as skateboarding. If you ignore the logistics of going skiing and the infrastructure that is built to make sure we don’t have to walk up hill,I see snowboarding and skiing as natural, free sports. The same can be said for surfing. But a sport where you are pulled behind a boat, that is confusing and unnatural.

I will now have to be honest. My scepticism about wakeboarding doesn’t stem from an opinion that has been formed from ignorance, there are many contributing factors. Firstly I have tried water skiing and found it hard work. And this was when I was at my prime fitness at eighteen years of age. After an hour of water skiing, my legs hurt and my muscles burned. They felt like your legs do after three days of skiing. There is also the time I found myself in the middle of the sea, bobbing around, wondering what my next-door neighbour had in her mini freeze section of her fridge. This was a result of a banana boat incident,  banana boat incident that I caused. I decided that the ride was not very thrilling and that to spice things up I would deliberately cause the raft to tip over. Everyone on board ended up in the water. I also discovered how hard water could be and ended up with concussion.

banana

The being towed part also concerns me. Like everyone I am rubbish at ridding a button lift and live in constant fear of falling from it, no matter if I am on skis or a board. I am also rubbish at flying kites, one and two strings. So trying to guide myself behind a boat with a rope also causes me concern. I also have delicate ears and my top three most hated noises are hairdryers, Hoovers and wheelie suitcases, ( I have a top ten also). This leads me to believe that my tolerance for an outboard motor may be limited.

The last thing that holds me back from trying wakeboarding for the first time and water skiing for the second is that I don’t have a boat. I can’t see that it’s as accessible as simply buying a lift pass. With a lift pass one person operates the lift and the lift can transport 1000’s of people at a time. With the water skiing you need one person to tow you. If you consider the ‘captains’ wage, then a week’s water towing holiday must be quite costly. In fact, it probably would make the cost of a Three Valleys lift pass seem even better value for money.

Despite all my negativity, I have had a positive wakeboarding experience. One year I attended the popular wakeboarding festival Wakestock in Wales. Admittedly it was a freebie and I wouldn’t have attended otherwise, but it did open my eyes to what was possible when you are towed along on water. Much of the spectacle was aereal stunts and I can see that if you were into sessioning the park when you are in the mountains then you would probably enjoy wakeboarding.

So with all this out in the open it is my intention to try wakeboarding before the summer is over. Actually I am going to research it now and get booked up.


How to make your ski holiday even better

How to make your ski holiday even better

For most people the summer is a ski free time.  Unless you head to one of Europe’s glaciers such as the Grand Mott in Tignes or the Glacier Paradise in Zermatt. Some of us may head down under and take on the slopes of New Zealand and Australia. The rest of us may try and head to the nearest snow dome but unless it is next door you are unlikely to go regularly.  As we all know, unless you do something frequently you lose your edge a bit and as we just pointed out, regularly skiing out of season is a bit tough. What we can do is keep fit for skiing, ready for the winter.

The joy of skiing comes from the outdoor environment and the perceived interaction with nature at its most extreme. There are obviously other joys to the sport and the activities that make up your ski holiday, but being outside and being active are the most attractive. So what are the best substitutes for an outdoors summer, getting out in nature as well as keeping fit and strengthening the muscles that you will use when back out skiing on the slopes next winter?

There are two sports that fill all the above requirements; cycling and walking. The great thing about these two activities is that they are good cardiovascular workouts and help to work your core and leg strength. When you go skiing you use these muscles all the time. If you lack these strengths then you will get tired quickly and along with the draining effect that the altitude can have on your body, injuries can easily happen. Whether you do or don’t exercise regularly you should consider adding these two pursuits to your summer schedule.

Cycling is growing in popularity ever since the Wiggins win of the Tour de France and the outstanding achievements of the Great British cycling team
at the London Olympics in the summer of 2012. So why not jump on the band wagon and improve your fitness for next winter. There are so many varieties of cycling so you will probably find one that suits you and like skiing there are also different levels of extremeness. The options for you will depend on where you live but you will probably have the options to take part in Mountain Biking, BMX, Road Riding or if you do fancy the indoors, you could head to the local Velodrome. If you don’t have the time to fit cycling into your busy life then you could try using your bike to commute to work.

So why is cycling such a good exercise companion for skiing? Cycling will use your quad muscles which are key for a long day on the mountain. Cycling, unlike skiing, has a low impact on your knees, by exercising this way your knees will not wear out so fast and you can enjoy many years of skiing.  Cycling can also be tailored to feel like a day’s skiing. When we are on the piste we will use short burst of energy then periods of rest. This can easily be recreated on a bicycle and will be the perfect aerobic workout.

Walking is also a great workout and has many of the benefits that cycling has, when preparing yourself for your favourite winter activity. What we are not talking about is a stroll to the shops or the pub. We are talking about hiking, which by definition means walking a long distance. The UK is full of beautiful places to go walking and a beautiful view is a great reward. A long hike will work your core and leg muscles, you can also take walking poles to help with upper body strength, ski poles work just as well.

The best thing about walking is that it can be relatively inexpensive and can form part of a long weekend or mini break. If you really wanted to you could even head out to the Alps in the summer and try out the thousands of walking routes that are in the ski resorts. One important thing to remember when planning a walk if you want the best exercise, you need to add in some hilly routes. This is great as it will lead you to walking in some of the best places in the UK. Try the following places for some great hikes Dartmoor, Exmoor, Lake District, Peak District, South Downs, South and North Wales, North Yorkshire Moors, Yorkshire Dales, Galloway, Northumberland and the Scottish Highlands.

Whichever way you plan on staying fit make sure you stay safe and always use the correct equipment. If you are planning to start cycling then there are clubs you can join. Make sure you always wear a helmet when out on your bike. Walking can be dangerous too, if you are planning a long walk then make sure you register your route and take enough provisions. Why not set yourself some goals. There are lots of walking events around the country of varying lengths that you could train for such as the Startreck Challenge in Devon. The same goes for cycling, one great event to be part of is the London to Brighton cycle ride that raises money for the British Heart Foundation.

Get fit in the summer and make your ski holiday even better.


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