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Friday, 29 November, 2002, 14:22 GMT
Share your ski stories and tips
The ski season is upon us once more, and we want you to use the Ski Sunday website as the place to share your stories, hints and tips with fellow skiers and boarders.
It might be a little-known gem of an off-piste track you discovered on your last holiday, or your view on some new equipment you've recently hired or bought.
Equally, you might want to let others know about the coolest nightspot to hang out after a hard day on the slopes.
Or you may need your fellow Ski Sunday fans to help you out with some advice or suggestions?
Whatever it is, e-mail us now and keep checking regularly to see what other skiers and boarders have been up to...
No matter how thirsty you are on the slopes. Just say no to yellow snow!
I went snowboarding for the first time a couple of weeks ago. The advice that I remember most from my instructor was "be cool" and "go faster, speed is your friend".
Hey dudes come ski America this season. Good snow and friendly people.
Recently visited Breckenridge in Colorado. The skiing was great but the town and resort were disappointing and not very friendly. Great for people who want to be in bed by 9pm!!
Is anyone going Portes du Soleil at half-term? I've never been there before, what's it like?
I'm going skiing in Valloire in France. I was just wondering if anyone had been before and could tell me what the apres-ski is like?
Word of warning - thieving on the Kitzbuhlerhorn. A friend bought new skis and sticks in Kufstein (her first set - very proud).
First day of use in Kitzbuhel we got caught in a storm on the Kitzbulerhorn - and along with many others went into a mountain restaurant for shelter.
As suggested by reps, we split our skis and sticks up, in an aim to prevent theft - even though the weather was very bad. When we came out her new ski sticks were gone.
Reps informed us that there is an organised gang working the ski areas - and taking the equipment back to other European resorts for sale. Beware.
Don't make the same mistake we did by not pre-booking the lift pass, ski hire and ski school. We got charged double the amount of anyone who had pre-booked and there was not a thing we could do about it!!
"Shoulders to the valley" - Always lean down the mountain not into it. It will help you immensely.
James Freeman, England
If you are looking for a good ski resort with plenty of runs, try Courchevel. I went there last Easter and the snow was great with a huge variety of runs. Have fun this season!!!
The best tip for skiing is to try and not fall over. People laugh at you and you get covered in snow. You heard it here first.
This is more of a request than a comment. I am going skiing for the first time in a couple of months. I have never skied before so if anyone has any help, hints or tips then please write in. Thanks!
Speed skiing? If you have a recorded top speed then you can check out sppedski websites to see how you compare with other British skiers. If all you have a descent rate watch, I know that 78 mph was 540 vertical metres per minute but it obviously depends on the angle of the slope. Try your luck at Les Arcs, Vars or La Clussaz.
I have an 18-year-old son with special needs just learning to ski, but has grown out of his boots. Anybody know where I can find a size 16/17 UK shoe size, he's a big lad at 6ft 7in. The last pair he had were searched for and donated.
I'm going to Park City in February and will be trying out snowboarding for the first time. Can anyone tell me whether I would be better off to hire my board, boots and bindings here in the UK or whether to hire them out there?
Well, what about the skiing in Scotland during October. Looks like most people did not catch any of it. Well what can I say, I managed four days of what can only be described as "most excellent skiing".
Glorious sunshine for two weeks with the odd snow flurry during the week. Powder conditions at the Lecht. Catch up with everyone in Pitztal. Ciao.
Everyone should try skibiking. It is a real blast! Basically it is mountain biking on skis. It is one of the up and coming extreme sports, but has been around in one form or another for the last 50-60 years.
You can hire and be taught now in many resorts, particularly France and Austria. There is also a big race scene with quite a few British competitors. So, go on have a go! You'll never regret it.
Ski where and when you can. Scotland, USA or Europe, I've had great days in all these places. Biggest ever buzz...teaching my kids. At four, they just do it (but never without a helmet).
Watching my six-year-old daughter chase her four-year-old brother down the slopes this weekend was very satisfying. It was the four-year-old's second day on the slopes. Unlike adults, they don't know that they can't ski!
Never be too disheartened if the mountains are green rather than white when you arrive (as they were when we arrive in Kitzbuhel this year) the bars will always be open!!
I am saddened that BBC Sport has given no mention of the tragic death of Craig Kelly, four-time ex-snowboard World Champion, along with six other skiers and boarders in an avalanche in BC, Canada, earlier this week.
The sad death of Bill Weberniuk has been covered, rightly so, and the chance to give tributes. But please also show some respect for someone who was a huge influence on the sport of snowboarding and leaves us all with very fond memories.
My advice to all first-timers on the slopes is get some expert advice on the basics at your local ski centre if you have one, this could prove so beneficial and save getting a sore bum or even broken bones!
Get the basics correct from the start and you will improve far quicker and gain a solid technique.
HOT TIP - bring back David Vine.
Living in Colorado and being within 1-2 hours drive of the BEST runs/mountains in North America can't be all that bad. Some of the resorts stay open late into July, with Arapahoe Basin holding the record past July 4th.
Lift tickets can be anywhere from $30-$60 a day, but if you arrive early, have some friends living here you can very easily pick up some cheap tickets, local discounts ranging from 20%-40%. Mary Jane/Winter Park, Copper Mountain and Arapahoe Basin being by favourites with some verticals running 2,000-3,000 feet top to bottom.
I have fitted ski boots for some nine years both in the UK and in Chamonix, France and been lucky enough to be involved in fitting the ski boots of some of the best skiers in the world both World Cup and Freeride. I would agree that there are pros and cons to buying both in the UK and abroad. However, what it really comes down to is the quality of the staff in the shop.
You can buy in the UK and the guy fitting your boots may speak English but if he doesn't know what he's talking about technically then he may as well be talking Flemish.
What you will discover is that the best shops in the UK (of which I know only one) are clubbing together with the best shops in Europe and some of the best podiatrists in their respective countries to share their knowledge ensuring that, when it comes to ski boots, you are getting the best fit.
It is also worth remembering that price is of secondary importance when purchasing new ski boots. In my time I have seen plenty of bargain boots bought at ski shows and various shops around the world which were two, sometimes even three sizes too big. It is false economy to buy something cheap if it's never going to fit!!!
I would agree with Bob, Word of mouth is the best way to find the best boot fitter both here and abroad.
Hope everyone has an excellent season.
Definitely buy skis and boots when in resort they will almost always come out a lot cheaper. Talk to the people in shops and they'll let you try different pairs until you find some you like and that way you're sure that they suit you. If you don't buy them then they'll only charge you rental so you haven't lost anything if it doesn't work out.
Val d'Isere is an excellent resort, like Colin Turner states (see below). By the way Colin we call that chair the 'Hairy Chair'!
If you're after something a little different, try Japan. As I'm about to embark on my second ski season there I can honestly say I've never found better snow conditions anywhere (certainly not in Europe).
Out of a total of seven weekend ski trips last year I struggle to think of a single one without the mandatory two foot of fresh powder overnight. Daytime conditions were predominantly sunny too!
Another delight is the fact that Japanese skiers tend not to go off piste so there are ALWAYS fresh tracks to be had (weird but true)! A trip to Hokkaido will reward the most fervent powder junkie with untouched field after untouched field.
If you can get around the difficulties presented by language and travel in Japan then you are in for a treat. Especially with the Japanese yen weakening and cost becoming far less of a prohibiting factor than ever before.
If you're in the region anyway then this has to be a far better option than trekking back to Europe every year. The major downside is the lack of apres ski, so the best bet is to bring your own party!
Ski in Scotland you jessies! Powder and nicely-prepared pistes are really boring compared to random ice patches, flat light and five metre visibility.
Seriously though, it's beautiful sometimes and definitely cheaper, unless you are 'darn sarth'.
Top tip - after a day on the slopes when your eyelashes are frozen and your chin is solid, proceed to a kebab shop, order a doner kebab with extra chilli sauce. The feeling when it warms you up and your saliva glands explode is truly fantastic...none of that gluhwein nonsense!
Hi, I maintain a web-site of the fastest British speed skiers - all 14 of us. This ranges from Marc Poncin at 144 mph to my lowly 78 mph. Have a go at Les Arcs, La Clusaz or Vars in France or other resorts around the world. Happy speed skiing...
This is my third winter working in Davos and I'm with Tom - the snow is already awesome. There's a great base but the snow is still to metamorphose. The ground isn't frozen yet and there is a crust developed over the last week. So off-piste isn't that safe when there's more snowfall.
If anyone's in Davos come and find me in the Hacienda bar at the end of town opposite the hospital. Have an ace winter!
My advice is to definitely buy boots in the UK - go to the very well known high street shop - where the lads there know their stuff - it took me six hours to fit my boots - in the UK they know the language - they have more time on their hands than those in resorts who are trying to sort out punters with hire kit - this particular shop is never knowingly undersold throughout Europe (with money back if you find the same product cheaper elsewhere)!
As for skis what you pay for is what you get - I have a very well known model of ski (£500) but it is clearly the best around as this company is doing the same model for a second season in a row - it is also much cheaper to buy than to rent - I ski three-four weeks a year and it's about a £100 to hire skis and the bought pair should last at least three-four seasons if you look after them and avoid rocks!
Hope this is of some use - I'm off to Wengen on the 24th so hope you all enjoy what promises to be an excellent season!!
Tips for hiring/buying ski boots: For your first two to three weeks on skis/ hire boots - that way you can learn in beginner boots and then buy a pair of intermediate/advanced boots that hopefully will last a few years before you want to upgrade.
When you buy boots in the UK consider making an appointment at the ski shop (some shops have evening opening which is a good time as the shops are generally less busy then) - buying boots can take a long time - allow at least an hour and don't be surprised if it takes longer. A good ski shop will be only too happy to spend this long on your purchase.
Wear your new boots at home for a couple of evenings - that way if they hurt you can usually exchange them (as they are 'unused') or get them adjusted at the ski-shop (again all part of the service at a good shop). Finally when you think they are OK try them out on a dry slope -you then have time to get them adjusted at the shop before your skiing trip.
I am taking my family skiing to Pas de la Casa in Andorra for the first time in the new year. Does anyone have any hints or tips on child care in resort and where to eat as we are going s/c.
Tip 1: If your ski boots are hurting it may have nothing to do with the fit. It may well be due to you using muscles that haven't been stressed since last season and what you're experiencing is some kind of localised cramp. Either slow down on the first day or exercise before - anything to get those calf muscles aching.
Tip 2: If your knees are hurting get a lesson - you're doing something wrong and an hour with an instructor will at least point out the root cause even if they don't fix it (that'll take a few more days!).
Tip 3: Never rent skis from your holiday company. Chances are that they'll be more expensive (10%) and from an inconvenient "location". Rent from the nearest shop to your lodging instead. That way you can get things fixed easier as well. Favourite resort for kids: Avoriaz - miles of green/blue slopes, ski to door, no cars.
Dave (below), if you only get one week's skiing a year the shop is going to have to offer you a lot to make up for your annual skiing experience being ruined because your feet hurt all week.
The basic insurmountable problem is that you can't try before you buy/rent in the UK and you're stuck if anything goes wrong.
Following on from Gary's comments, another really cheap option is to fly Ryan Air to St Etienne which is a two-hour drive from the main French resorts.
You can get your accommodation directly on most resorts' websites. When booking for at least two I've usually found flights, car hire and accommodation is cheaper (and clearly much more flexible) this way than via a package.
A frequent problem in trying to max your week's skiing is that usually you only get your accommodation for six nights. If you are booking independently and want an extra two days on the slopes, an option worth considering is to fly out on a Friday and back on a Sunday. You can stay the extra nights at a cheap hotel in the towns below the resort.
For example, the Formule 1 in Albertville is only about £15 per night for a room that sleeps three. You can get details on the web (other chains also have good deals).
I've just got back from a long weekend in Val Thorens and the conditions were fantastic. It looks like it's going to be great season. Enjoy!
The best day's skiing I ever had in my life nearly wasn't: it had been snowing for four days solid and we were told that the sun would come out on Sunday. So, Friday night, we all went to the local nightclub in Wengen until 2am....
As I went home, I started to see stars...and so I got on the 8.30am cable car and skied fresh powder all morning, beating the crowds everywhere.
The afternoon: going to Bern airport to pick up the next set of customers. I've still got a 36 roll of slides from that morning - can you beat 75cm of powder in -10 sunshine under the North Face of the Eiger? Maybe, but not easily.....
Moral: always listen to local knowledge with respect, but also with a pinch of salt. Roll on 13 January for this season's opening week for me...
Some favourite spots:
Skiing: it's the boots that'll give you trouble when renting, so don't rent boots. Buy your own and get them properly fitted. Rent the rest of the gear in resort. It's not much more expensive than renting in the UK. There's no excess baggage charge and you don't have to lug heavy skis around airports. Rental skis are usually very well maintained in resort.
Boarding: no choice. You can't rent decent gear in resort. It's never waxed, the edges are always blunt and they're always step-ins: the mechanisms are usually too worn to be any good. If you're going to rent, then rent in the UK. At least the boots aren't so difficult to fit.
We have been to Val d'Isere for the last four Christmas'. It is a wonderful resort for families. We particularly like taking the locally named 'Aaahhh' chair over to the glacier slopes. It still makes my wife squeal!
I agree with Bob - renting in the UK is not the best choice. Rent in the resort and you can try different skis and boots. It's not about the style - it's about fit and personal comfort. A new boot needs breaking in anyway. Why spend £600 on your holiday to be in pain all day? It's not necessary. Rent in the resort and keep it simple.
My tips for the season - many resorts have their own excellent websites and carry all sorts of useful information - use 'em.
I and two workmates have flights on one of the cheap airlines to Bergamo for £40 return and will stay in a three star hotel in Bormio for £18 a night B&B. This is at the height of the season.
Surely this has to be more cost effective than using package deals. Probably rent a board over there, due to bad experience of broken bindings on board hired in UK and used elsewhere. This is the way to go.
PS. Anyone got any idea what Bormio is like?
There may be some advantages to hiring ski gear in the UK, but I personally never would as I usually have enough to carry and some airlines charge extra for skis and boards.
Also, an appeal to all skiers not to wear all-in-one ski suits. They are just awful!
Having lived at the foot of the Alps for three seasons and skied four weekends already this season, I would say I am fairly experienced at skiing and ski equipment.
I completely agree with Bob (below). Rent or buy in a resort. If you think it is cheaper in the UK, check out the prices on some of the sportswear companies' websites; and don't forget to include the extra cost of flying with skis (about 15 quid).
If you are buying ski boots, get them properly fitted with footbeds. You will still need to take them to be adjusted a couple of times during the first two or three days.
For skis, try at least four or five types of ski before you buy, different types of ski can make a big difference to your performance. This can be done at most shops and the hire cost is removed from the cost of the purchase.
The good news for you all is the snow is already better than at any time last season. There is a good base, so off-piste skiing should be much safer.
Ski snobs have always scoffed at Andorra but it is a great place to ski...the snow record over the past few seasons has been fab and they are building some top class hotels too.
Going out is cheap because of the duty free prices and I bought my new skis for almost half the price they would be back in Britain.
Sorry Bob (below), but if you are a beginner snowboarder, it really can be worth hiring kit from the UK before heading out to the slopes for the first time.
You generally get brand new kit, which can be prepared to individual requirements. Most of the reputable shops that offer a good choice of hire kit only employ people who have a healthy and extensive knowledge of winter sport and the ins and outs of all the equipment.
In fact, many of them have an unhealthy interest in all the equipment changes from previous years! In the unlikely event, after all your fittings, that something is uncomfy or fails, then most shops that take an interest in customer care would be willing to offer some sort of deal upon your return, after all, if you continue in your new chosen sport, you are likely to return many more times in the future.
As someone who worked extensively in this field, to sell something purely to 'get the sale' would I am sure inevitably lead to future meetings with returning disgruntled customers, as opposed to people who return very happy, after being professionally fitted into their new equipment.
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