Saturday, July 29, 2006

Braving Whistler's bike park

Whistler's ski season may be coming to an end this weekend, but the good news is adventure seekers can still find fun on the mountain in the bike park.

Blackcomb glacier closes to skiers and riders tomorrow, but the mountain bike park on Whistler mountain remains open until 9 October. There are over 200km of graded runs to test your nerves on.

Different levels of skills centres give riders the chance to practise ramps, jumps and teeter totters (see-saws). This is me wobbling my way over the tiniest ramp on the mountain.

Read all about my attempts at downhill mountain biking in my feature on the Sky Living website. Just click on the Canada story with the picture of a biker.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

easyJet winter flights on sale

easyJet winter routes are now on sale for the 2006/7 season.

The flights have been on sale since 21 July, so there should still be plenty of deals around.

Remember though, the cheeky airline charges £15 each way for your snowboard (2005/6 price), even if it is your only piece of baggage.

British Airways, on the other hand, will carry your equipment free of charge, with a generous short-haul baggage allowance of 23kg.

Snow Train 2007 timetable published

If you're feeling guilty about the environmental impact of flying to European resorts, Rail Europe has just launched next season's snow train timetable.

Beat the rush and book by 31 August for an earlybird deal. Prices start at £199, a saving of up to £30 on the regular fare.

The Eurostar trains run from London Waterloo and Ashford via Paris to Chambery, Albertville, Moutiers, Aime, Landry (I once did my laundry there actually) and Bourg St-Maurice.

The added bonus of taking the train is that you arrive on Saturday morning and leave on Saturday evening, allowing eight days of riding.

Book at

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Himalayan ski packages offered

France - been there. Canada - done that. India - not yet? This year you could be the envy of your boarder friends and book a package to the world's highest resort.

Ski Himalaya is now taking reservations for winter 2006/7 trips to Gulmarg in Indian Kashmir, the only major Himalayan resort.

A new gondola covers 1350m of vertical, more than any lift in the USA.

The company is offering 15-night packages from US$960pp, including accommodation, transfers and most meals. For an extra US$500, skiers and riders can treat themselves to two weeks of guiding with Kashmir Powdercats.

Skier numbers are low, meaning plenty of fresh tracks for all. The snowfall looks pretty impressive too. Last season, almost 8m of snow fell in February alone.

Getting there involves a flight from Delhi to Srinigar (1 hour 30 mins) and a 56km drive. There are hotels near the base.

Friday, July 14, 2006

No more getting stuck on the flat

Sick of unstrapping and breaking into a sweat as you skate along the flat, while skiers smugly fly past you? A new pole for boarders could change all that.

The Snowstik is a snazzy new gadget from snowboarder Richard Marks. The telescopic pole is designed to be clipped onto your boot and extends at the press of a button from 55cm to 140cm.

You can propel yourself along the flat or straight on and off the chairlift without ever needing to undo your bindings.

The pole comes in five colours, including a girlie lipstick pink (boys might prefer gunmetal or stealth) and is on sale for £55.

Snowclips cost £11.75, though it might be more comfortable if you bung it on the outside of your backpack.

Find out more at

Thursday, July 13, 2006

UK skier numbers increase by 7%

Seven per cent more British skiers took an overseas ski holiday last winter than in the previous season according to the annual UK Ski Industry Report released this week.

The number of skiers and riders visiting the USA and Canada increased by 30 per cent. Other countries showing growth included Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovenia and Finland.

France is the most popular destination, taking just over a third of British skiers and boarders, followed by Austria and Switzerland.

The figures were released by British ski tour operator Crystal.

Monday, July 10, 2006

2014 Winter Olympics shortlist

The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in either Austria, Russia or South Korea.

The International Olympic Committee narrowed the shortlist from seven to three at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Thursday.

The remaining candidate cities are PyeongChang in South Korea, Salzburg in Austria and Sochi in Russia.

The winner will be chosen in Guatemala City on 7 July 2007.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

NZ club fields opening

It looks like it's going to be a stonking start to the season for some of New Zealand's club fields this weekend.

Among the weekend openings will be Craigieburn and Mt Olympus, which open on Saturday 8 July, and Temple Basin, which opens on Sunday 9 July.

All three are located in South Island's Canterbury region and have fantastic bases thanks to recent dumps. Mt Olympus is reporting an impressive base of 123-183cm today with a whopping 44cm of fresh pow falling overnight.

If you're thinking of heading to these powder traps, bear in mind they only have rope tows, requiring a tow belt, nutcracker, protective gloves and a healthy dose of skill and determination.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Women only coaching at The Remarks

Girlie riders at The Remarkables can take advantage of a new women only coaching programme announced by the Kiwi resort today.

The programme, which begins on 19 July, aims to encourage female boarders to try something new and improve their style in a macho-free environment.

Laura Woerlee, freestyle snowboard coach and co-ordinator at The Remarks, said: "It's all about having fun with your friends while introducing riders to freeriding, parkriding and a variety of different terrain."

The mountain will run five-hour sessions every second Wednesday, aimed at intermediate and advanced riders.

Find out more at (Check out their revamped web pages!)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Summer snow in Scotland?

Six hardy skiers made it onto the slopes of Cairngorm last week to mark the beginning of summer. Yes, you read that correctly, skiing in Scotland in June.

Ski Press reported yesterday that the determined skiers found a sizeable snowfield not far from the top of the Ptarmigan tow. Amused hikers are said to have watched all the action, and the skiers even showed off a few tricks on a kicker.

Perhaps it's time to scoff a little less at Scotland's perceived lack of snow. reckons "there is certainly scope for some July snowsports for the ultra-keen".

Since this year's season kicked off in November, that would make July the ninth month of skiing and riding.

Check out the pics on