THE SNOW REPORT
Want to hit the slopes this winter? Ski and board in siyle with our edit of this season’s hottest trends, kit and expert tips from ski writer Abigail Butcher.
Ski holidays are no longer just ski holidays. These days, there are so many more waysto enjoy yourself on snow than with a bunch of mates in a chalet. As a ski journalist and qualified ski instructor, I spend more time in the mountains than anywhere else. This winter, I’ve heardskiers will be staying in places off the beaten track – in smaller, more authentic resorts, rather than the bignames. Mindfulness, retreats and yoga are bigger thanever – as are back-to-nature experiences such as staying in mountain huts or sleeping in a treehouse. Atthe other end of the spectrum, winter sports will be inthe public eye more than ever this year as it’s the 2018PyeongChang Winter Olympics from February 9-25, with the current TeamGB offering Britain’s best chanceof a medal haul in history. Here’s my round-up of thebest trends for the 2017/18 season, plus TeamGB athletes’ top tips to help you perform at your best.
Ski holidays 2020 & Skiing Holidays 2021 Photo Gallery
MUSIC İN THE MOUNTAINS
Music festivals and skiing seem to gohand-in-hand these days, and the latest addition is Musilac Rock and Ride, a pop-rock festival taking place from April 19-21,2018, in the Bois du Bouchet,Chamonix, France, which organisers hope will become ‘the closing party of the Alps’. The festival will host around 15 bands, withfour to five acts per evening and three headline artists — with the first namesbeing announced around the end of November. Visit musilac.com.
Want to boost your performance on the piste? Try mindfulness, says former national snowsports coach John Arnold. When applied to skiing, it can greatlyimprove your powers of learning. Now Arnold has launched a series of new Mindful Skiing and Being weeks: Mountain Off-Piste, Ski Safari and Ski Touring in either Val d’lsere, Les Gets orChampoluc, France. Visitmindfulmountains.com.
Yoga on snow, off snow, before snow, after snow, is all the rage, and one of the original, biggest and best yoga festivals in the Alps celebrates its 6th birthday this season. The Val d’lsere Yoga Festival is three days of, yoga and wellbeing, running from April 27-29. Fingers crossed for some spring skiing too! Visit valdisere.com.
Two years ago, Pippa Middleton hit the headlines taking part in the Patrouille des Glaciers, a biennial ski-mountaineering race from Zermatt to Verbier in Switzerland,organised by the Swiss military. Fancy entering? You need serious fitness, ski ability and mountain skills. Start training for two year’s time – it gets booked up well in advance. April 19-23, 2018; pdg.ch.
SLEEP UP A MOUNTAIN
Mountain huts used to be the preserve of alpinists and ski tourers happy with a wet-wipe wash at the end of the day and dinner in their thermals before climbing mountains at the crack of dawn. The reopening of Terminal Neige in Chamonix, France, marks a whole new era for comfort up the mountain. Experience the joys of sleeping in a high-mountain environment with stunning views over Chamonix’s Mer de Glace at 2,050m, in glorious but affordable luxury. Rooms start at €160 per night, half board, based on two sharing; terminal-neige.com. The Refuge du Lac du Lou in Les Menuires has also reopened after extensive refurbishment, offering adventurous skiers a comfy place to stay in the mountains – but only those prepared to snowshoe or ski tour up for a night. It’s a traditional refuge, so expect a shared dorm – but that in itself is a great experience – just remember to take a sleeping bag liner! From €20 per night, or €48 half board; savoie-mont-blanc.com.
CITY & SKI
Thanks to changing climates around the world, gone are the days when we could depend on the snow conditions, so it helps to ensure your winter holidays are not purely dependent on skiing. Crystal’s new package to Innsbruck, Austria allows you to choose from nine ski areas plus time in the city – starting from £619pp for a week, including flights; crystalski.co.uk.Or further afield, how Chamonixabout combining a ski trip to California, USA, with a stop in Los Angeles? US ski holidays have become cheaper in the past year due to Norwegian’s low-cost flights, and Ski Safari offers a nine-night trip with seven days’ skiing in Mammoth Mountain followed by two nights in LA staying at Long Beach for £1,195pp, based on two sharing, including flights, hotels (room only) and SUV hire; skisafari.com.
A BIT UNUSUAL
Looking for more interesting dinner partychat than the usual package to Meribel?Another World Adventures offers a 10-day ski-touring trip in Bamain, centralAfghanistan, where you’ll meet the Shia minority Hazara people, plus ski virgin powder routes deep in the Hindu Kush, from February 17-26. It costs from USD2,450 including accommodation, somemeals, ground transport, internal flights and guides; anotherworldadventures.comOr, for something closer to home, howabout skiing with eagles in Val d’Arly, between Megeve and La Clusaz in the French Alps, while staying in the middle of the woods? Entre Terre et Ciel (cabanes-entreterreciel.fr) has two stunningtreehouses that will make you feel alone in the world — in the lap of luxury. From €450 per house, per night, B&B.
‘HOW I STAY FUELLED’
PROFESSIONAL SLOPESTYLE SNOWBOARDER AIMEE FULLER IS AIMING FOR A MEDAL IN PYEONGCHANG 2018.
‘A big breakfast is key for me, to help me stay fuelled throughout the day. My favourite is a large bowl of oats made with almond milk (I love the Rude Health one; rudehealth.com), topped with Nutrii yoghurt (eatnutrii.co.uk), almond butter and fresh fruit. Snacking on the mountain is key to keeping your energy levels up. I tend to take a piece of fruit, a small bar or some nuts such as a Wyldsson tube (wyldsson.com), to have around nam. I can then power on until I go down and have a big lunch, post riding.’
ABI’S KIT TIPS
gopro.com; £499.99‘l’m finali’ getting properly into social media and one piece of kit l’ll be taking on the mountains with me this winter is the rugged, waterproof GoPro Hero6, which zipstogether adventures into QuikStory videos.’
PEAK PERFORMANCE WOMEN’S SPOKANE JACKET
£400; peakperformance.com ‘This super-cosy waterproof, breathable down jacket is built for the slopes and boasts plenty of techy details, but will look equally good around town. Winner.’
MAMMUT AVALANCHE KIT
mammut.com‘l always take avalanche kit when skiing off-piste. l’ll be using Mammut’s Flip Removable Airbag 3.0 (£525), Probe 240 Short (£50), Alugator Light (£60) plus new Barryvox S (£330) beacon.’
ROXY WINTER NECKWARMER
£30; roxy-uk.co.uk‘l never go skiing without my cable-knit neck warmer, which has an integrated Biotherm® Enjoy & Çare linerto keep skin moisturised on the mountains. l have sensitive skin and this really, really works.’
£29.95; hydroflask.com‘l always take an insulated bottle on trips, for water and hot drinks. You save money and it’s better for the environment. This metal flask keeps liquid hot or cold for 12 hours and you can swap the caps to suit your activity.’
FALKE SK2 WOOL
£29; matchesfashion.com‘l haven’t worn any other socks for the past 10 years of skiing – these regulate temperature and provide padding in all the right places.Plus, all merino wool used in the manufacture is from sources that look after the sheeps’ wellbeing.
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