Ski Bespoke Blog

Whistler

Written on March 20th, 2013
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Living in the UK we are not that far away from some of the best ski resorts in the world. With this is mind, it makes it very easy not to look any further afield than Austria, France, Switzerland & Italy.

But what if you have skied in Europe many times, you have been to all of the top European resorts and are looking for something new?

Then it may be time to look to North America for inspiration – and in particular Whistler, BC, Canada. The resort is located in British Columbia and less than 80 miles from Vancouver. This makes it accessible for British skiers seeking a new experience.

With an average travelling time of 7 – 8 hour (for the flight) and a 90 minute transfer to the resort (Roughly about the same time to get to Val d’Isere in February half term!), so for a 7 – 14 night holiday it is not that far.

The resort is regularly voted one of the best ski destinations in the world, with its excellent snow record, great range of slopes and après that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Whistler has been designed to be as accessible as possible and is largely pedestrianized. It features a huge number of shops, bars and restaurants to ensure there is plenty to do after a hard days skiing.

The mountain offers pristine powder separated into runs of varying difficulty and caters for all levels of ability. The resort has hosted world class events such as the winter Olympics in 2010, so has plenty of challenging terrain for the most advanced skier.

Whistler also offers a wide range of accommodation from luxury five hotels to homely condos. Our programme features something for everyone – for something Luxurious the 5 star Four Seasons Resort, for convenience the Westin and for the perfect honeymoon Nita Lake Lodge.

So for your next ski holiday, why not try something different to your usual European holiday in one of North America’s best resorts?

Canada_Whistler_Resort 5

Spring!

Written on March 12th, 2013
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As the season lurches towards the Easter period, a lot of resorts are reporting spring conditions (which just so happens to be one of our favourite times of the season!)

This is the time of year to take a layer off, put a little SPF 30 on, and ski in the afternoon sun. Spring is a great time to be on the hill — the days are longer, the prices are better, and crowds begin to thin. Spring skiing conditions can be a mixed though, and having a few specific strategies for dealing with what you get from late March to May can make or break your late season trip.

Spring Skiing Strategy

Strategy is as much a part of spring skiing success as solid carving skills are. Know the weather forecast and be on the hill for the ideal skiing window—don’t ski when the runs are bulletproof, and avoid the late day melt-down when the ski experience becomes more like the one you’d find behind a boat. Use your head and follow the sun, skiing east-facing slopes at the start of the day, then move to south slopes, and then ultimately west and north-facing slopes later in the day.

Technique is really the least of your worries — it should be about as easy to deal with as any skiing you do, so long as you’re discerning in where, when, and what you ski. But here are a few tactics (courtesy of about.com) to keep in mind to maximize the fun:

  • First, look for smooth patches of snow that haven’t been touched by other skiers. Untracked, wet snow is almost as fun to ski as fresh pow, and the sides of the runs are usually the place to find a clean slate.
  • Mind the piles! Depending on where you ski, you’ll probably encounter piles where most skiers have been. Do your best to navigate the slope to either surf along the wads, banking off them like your own skiercross course, or choose to arc through the slipped-off troughs nearby. Lacing your turns together in like kinds of snow will allow you to find your balance and better maintain it from turn to turn. Travelling at speed without paying heed to the slippery troughs and sand-like piles will result in a stop-and-go game of fore-aft catch up that often ends badly.
  • Last, let the ski do the work by focusing on rolling the skis onto edge rather than driving against them or constantly pushing them through turns. Soft slush can feel very “grippy” which can tire out a person if he or she is overworking the skis. Let the turn develop by using the skis’ shape, tipping them over to carve through the slush leaving a more defined track in the snow. If attempting this tactic only results in a build-up of too much speed, consider trying a shorter, wider, more shaped ski—you might be surprised by how well you can do and how much fun can be had!

Don’t forget to check out our promotions page for some of our best value late deals and go check out the sun, slush and apres-ski!

Snow in the UK

Written on March 11th, 2013
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Snow Fall in the UK

It is currently snowing at Ski Bespoke HQ and it has been all day! With more forecast for this evening and into tomorrow, we are all thinking of skiing, but for the rest of the country a small amount of snow leads to chaos and panic.

Here are some interesting snow facts too – enjoy!

1) Shops across the country are stripped of essential items as panic buying sets in due to the white stuff falling from the sky.

2)  If you have to take a train when it snows, you may as well start off assuming it will not be working. So now is the time to tell your better half or your boss that you will be late.

3) Apparently, one in five people take the day off when snowfall is heavy.

4) Chionophobia is a fear of snow.

5) The heaviest snowfall in the UK was in 1695. London saw snow for five weeks straight – and the Thames froze over. The snow didn’t fully clear till mid-April!

6) In 1864 the Thames froze for even longer. It was solid for two months as average January temperatures dipped to -3 degrees Celsius.

7) Over 100,000 tonnes of girt or rock salt is laid across London when snow is expected. This is done to stop it freezing over, and crucially to stop you falling over, or your car skidding over the edge.

 

Chi snow110313

 Current snowfall outside the HQ!

Easter skiing and 2014

Written on March 7th, 2013
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March weather has been delivering snow to many resorts in Europe and North America.

In fact, in the last week alone there has been up to 55cm of fresh powder! Here’s a quick run-down of some of our featured resorts , when it last snowed and how much:

Jackson Hole – 05 Mar (10cm)

Zermatt – 05 Mar (10cm)

Banff – 05 Mar (1cm)

Saas Fee  -05 Mar (1cm)

Breckenridge – 04 Mar (20cm)

Aspen – 04 Mar (15cm)

Vail – 04 Mar (13cm)

Whistler – 02 Mar (55cm)

Cervinia – 28 Feb (25cm)

Tignes – 28 Feb (10cm)

Val d’Isere – 28 Feb (15cm)

When combined with some hotels offering great value for money, March can be one of the best times to book a quick ski getaway!

And while speaking of value, the more ski savvy amongst you will know that the further ahead you book, the better value you get. We have already started to receive enquiries for 2013/14 – combined with great availability with airfare (as we are talking next season!) there’s never been a better time to look ahead!

Champ or Cramp

Written on January 24th, 2013
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The town of Spittal an der Drau in the region of Carinthia, deep in the  Austrian Alps, has recently hosted the “Champ or Cramp” vertical skiing event.

This unique “Champ or Cramp” competition offers the ultimate challenge to athlete and avid skier alike. Instead of allowing gravity to be your ally, this competition seeks to turn the tables and become a foe to all who enter – trying to ski UP the longest black run in the Alps!

At a stretch of 8.5 km and with an altitude difference of 1,600 metres, this run would make a “Herminator” out of any skier and will definitely make you enjoy the Gluehwein at the end…

Champ or Cramp Map

 

Apart from the over 200 athletes hailing from all parts of Austria and the neighbouring states, more than 1,000 visitors were welcomed in the last few years at the competitions and the associated events of the master programme.

Naturally, this event is hosted over the weekend during the peak of the main winter season, which is when more than another 2,500 ski lovers come to the region of Goldeck.

With top sports channels, DJ´s, award ceremonies and much more make up an exciting day at “Goldeck”– the sports mountain in Carinthia.

This year’s event was won by Slovenian skier Nejc Kuhar, who crossed the finishing line in a time of 50 minutes and 36 seconds

 

For more information, or to enter for next year, check out the website here .

Champ or Cramp?  The choice is yours!

The 2012 Seasons’s Top 12 Ski Resorts

Written on January 11th, 2013
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Ski holidays take people travelling all over the world, either to popular well-known resorts or to the more inaccessible winter wonderlands.

Most skiers have a list of top 10 destinations that they have either been to or they would like to visit, but how you define a top 10?

Is it snow record? Accessibility? Terrain? Popularity? Best ski runs in the world?The list could be endless as everyone has a different view on what make the best ski resort.

When putting together our 10 top we thought about what was important to most skiers, the result: a very long list! We included snow record, variety of runs, terrain, quality of hotels, Luxury, travel, family friendly, gents/ladies weekends, beginners – expert, ski and spa weekends to mention a few.

To be honest there were too many to choose from – we couldn’t narrow it down to 10 so we had to settle on 12!

We feature many resorts in our programme and all of them have been selected for a variety of reasons, but  these are the Ski Bespoke 12:

–          Whistler

–          Vail

–          Beaver Creek

–          Breckenridge

–          Lech/Oberlech

–          St Anton

–          Courchevel 1850

–          Val d’Isere

–          Chamonix

–          Zermatt

–          Saas Fee

–          St Moritz

Our top 12 include resorts that offer some of the best skiing in the world, suitable for all levels, family friendly, perfect for a ski weekend break, off piste for powder hounds, luxury four – five star hotels, resorts that offer not only excellent skiing but also fantastic non-ski activities as well as some of the best hotels and spas around. But remember : shhh don’t tell anybody…

Did you Know? Interesting Skiing Facts

Written on November 23rd, 2012
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Origins

  • Ski is from the Old Norse skio meaning split piece of wood.
  • The oldest know ski found in Sweden dates from 4,500 – 2,500 BC.

Telemark

  • The sport of modern skiing derives from ancient Nordic skiing. Most other snowbound cultures, like the Inuit, developed snowshoes which involve stepping rather than sliding.
  • The biggest innovator in the world of Nordic skiing was Sondre Norheim (1825 – 1897) from Telemark, he created Telemark bindings, enabling a skier to jump & turn while going downhill.

Conan Doyle

  • Not only brought us Sherlock Holmes but those of you who enjoy skiing in the Swiss Alps Swiss have him to thank. After falling in love with the sport in Norway he thought Switzerland’s terrain would be perfect for the sport. He imported a few pairs of skis and encouraged two Swiss brothers to join him one day. The brothers used to practise at night so that the local wouldn’t laugh at them.

Boards & Sleds

  • In 1965, Sherman Poppen from Michigan made a snowboard for his daughter by binding two skis together. He called it the ‘Snurfer’ and he sold nearly a million of them within a decade.
  • Bobsledding was invented in the 1870s in St Moritz by Caspar Badrutt. In an attempt to make his hotel more popular with English guests during the winter season he modified delivery sleds and sent his guests flying around the town’s streets. This became so popular he built the first half pipe as the pedestrians were so terrified. From the origin of this half pipe, sports such as the luge, skeleton & bobsledding developed.

The Cresta Run – The legendary run in St Moritz was built in 1884 by British Military officers and it remains completely off limits to women as a competitive sport.

 

Ski Circus

Written on September 28th, 2012
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Calling your ski area a ‘circus’ is not usually an accolade that most resorts would take kindly to. But the snowy playground of Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang manages to draw on all the fun associated with a trip to the Big top… including an adrenalin-fuelled “flying fox” cable slide (one of the fastest in the world!)

 

 

At speeds of more than 80 mph, the Flying Fox XXL in Leogang is a perfect activity for those non-skiers among us..

 

There really is something for everyone in Saalbach!

Air Passenger Duty – A Fair Tax on Flying?

Written on September 6th, 2012
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As any frequent flyer will know, taxes on air travel are higher in the UK than anywhere else in the world – but a new campaign has been launched aimed at changing that.

In the last six years, Air Passenger Duty (APD) has risen more than 300 per cent on many routes – while inflation has increased barely 20 per cent.

Some customers are now paying £184 for a single journey, while the cost for families taking their annual holiday has sky-rocketed: In 2006, a family of four flying to the Caribbean would pay £80 in APD – today they would pay £324 in World Traveller, or £648 in World Traveller Plus, Club World, or First.

This level of increase has no justification and no international parallel. Yet the UK Government has firm plans to keep on raising APD every year to 2017.

How can you help? Just take a few seconds to visit www.afairtaxonflying.org and key in your postcode. This will generate an automatic letter to your MP, calling for action on a tax that is now far too high and inflicting real damage on the UK’s efforts to move out of recession. Add your name, send and you’re done.

Olympic Relay

Written on July 16th, 2012
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With 11 days until the London Olympics officially kicks off, the torch is still working its way around a rain-soaked (and very British) host country.

The Olympic Flame will travel to within an hour of 95 per cent of people in the UK, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey during the 70-day Torch Relay.

Today, the torch has the honour of passing literally under the Ski Bespoke HQ!

To check out the route in its fullest, take a look at the official website : http://www.london2012.com/torch-relay/route/

Come on GB!

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