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For any gadget mad winter sports enthusiasts, we’ve listed our top Ski and Snowboard Gadgets for 2017 below.
Make sure your holiday snaps are action packed with the GoPro Hero5. The new model features all the usual waterproof and noise reduction features, plus added benefits including voice control, video stabilisation, touch display, auto-upload to cloud, location capture and RAW/WDR photos. Buy direct from GoPro for £349.99, or alternatively consider their cheaper Hero5 Session and Hero Session models.
Perhaps the King of smartwatches, the Suunto Ambit3 Peak not only tells the time but also includes a heart rate monitor, and connection to a whole host of smart phone apps, so you can map your location, track burned calories plus connect to a whole community of fitness enthusiasts and adventurers.
The Trace Activity Monitor is the perfect gadget for action sports enthusiasts looking to perfect their moves. The monitor uses advanced sensors and GPS tracking to give you details of every jump and flip, so you can calculate your speed, height, distance and rotation from an app on your phone!
Ski helmets are a hotly debated topic each season, so for those who are pro- helmet, we present the POC Receptor BUG Communication Ski and Snowboard Helmet. It has an advanced outer shell which protects against falls and sharp objectives, plus built in Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, which can be controlled by your smart phone to take calls, adjust volumes and listen to music.
There is nothing more annoying than finding your phone’s battery wiped after a few hours on the slopes, so keep it charged up with the Celestron Elements Firecel+. The battery pack will not only provide charge for your phone, but also creates heat to warm your hands and includes a handy torch for finding your way in the dark.
Goggles are an important part of any winter sports kit, and the Smith Optics I/O Goggles are top of the line. They boast interchangeable lenses, an amazing field of vision, fog-free optical technology and are compatible with almost any helmet, plus the adjustable silicone strap make them super comfy.
If you invest in one backpack for the slopes this year, make it the Dakine Baker Pack. It has a hydro sleeve to ensure your water stays drinkable (i.e. not frozen), a goggle pocket, an integrated rescue whistle and a dedicated snow tool pocket to keep a shovel in case of avalanche etc.
Trying to access your phone on the slopes can be a nightmare, so why not invest in the dual purpose Peepsnake Smartphone Scarf? The fleece scarf will keep you warm, whilst the convenient touchscreen window pocket, and zipper pouch keep your phone, keys and cash safe and easily accessible. The phone pocket also boasts a window for your camera lens, so you can take photos and videos without removing your phone.
Thanks to the E-Glove Heli Snowboard Touchscreen Gloves, no longer will you have to choose between your smart phone and warm hands. The water resistant gloves are made with touchscreen finger pads, so you can wear them and use your smart phone at the same time! They are also made from luxury goats leather and windproof fabric, include a removable wrist support and have quick exit zips for your forefingers and thumbs (just in case you need them).
This may seem like a random choice, but anyone who’s woken up after a hard days skiing only to slip their feet into soaking wet shoes will totally understand out decision. The Peet show dryers claim to dry any show, not matter how wet they’ve become overnight, also removing odour causing bacteria, skin irritants and prolonging the life of your shoes (because let’s face it, good ones aren’t cheap!)
The slopes aren’t the safest place for gadgets and some of those listed above are quite expensive to replace. Where possible we suggest buying protective cases and equipment to keep your gadgets safe from moisture and any impacts they may sustain.
We can of course offer further gadget cover along with our wintersports insurance policy, this is a popular extension and gives you peace of mind when out on the slopes with your gear.
Choosing the right skiing helmet – http://www.holidaysafe.co.uk/winter-travel-advice/choosing-the-right-skiing-helmet/
Safety tips for skiing off piste – http://www.holidaysafe.co.uk/winter-travel-advice/safety-tips-skiing-off-piste/
Whilst skiing can be enjoyed by everyone, irrespective of ability, age and strength, it is always advisable to try to get yourself into reasonable shape before you head for the snow.. Of course you should try and maintain your fitness levels throughout the year (this helps you look good on the beach or on the piste!); try to get in at least 20 uninterrupted minutes a week of aerobic exercise (running, cycling, swimming, skipping etc) in order to build a healthy heart.
You should also do some muscle building – nothing too onerous you want to look like James Bond, not Charles Atlas – so use light weights (preferably after receiving suitable instruction from a trainer) and try to do three to six sets of 20 repetitions on each exercise. Remember it is better to use light weights and do the exercise properly, that go for heavier weights and get it wrong!
You should always warm up for at least 15 minutes before you start your training (or before you ski!).
If you have a medical condition, or any type of injury you should always seek expert advice from your doctor or Physio before you undertake any exercise.
Warming up your muscles before exercise helps to prevent injury. You may want to try gently running on the spot for five minutes or six minutes just to get the blood flowing as this will warm and relax your muscles. Some gentle stretching will then prepare them for a more vigorous work out.
Your warm up stretches should what are known as ‘static’ stretches. This means that you should not ‘bounce’, strain or get breathless – simply stretch.
For best results you should hold each stretch for around 10 seconds, feeling the stretch in the muscles you are working. Because your back and knees are especially vulnerable when skiing, you should ensure you focus on these in particular.
Now that you have warmed up, and lulled yourself into a false sense of security, it is time to get the heart pumping a bit. However you must be careful not to overdo it at first, break yourself in gently… that way you will enjoy it more, and be able to measure your progress more accurately.
As you did in the warm up, you should aim for quality rather than quantity. If an exercise is too difficult, reduce the number of repetitions, and build up gradually as you get stronger. If you feel any pain – stop! At first, just complete one circuit – building up the number of circuits as you get stronger until you can do at least three circuits in your 20 minute workout period. Try to get someone to be your ‘training buddy’ as this makes it easier to count your repetitions and time your rest periods – you can also introduce an element of competition to spur you both on!
So now that you have completed your circuit (s) and you are feeling pleased with yourself, it is time to Cool Down – that doesn’t mean heading off to the bar or Après Ski area!
You should always round off each session with the same stretching exercises you used for the warm up. There are lots of technical reasons why you should do this, but the most important one is that if you stretch out properly in your cool down, you will help to stop your muscles aching the next day!
Do not rush your cool down – because your muscles are nice and warm, you should be able to stretch that little bit further than you did in your warm up. However do not try to overstretch because it is very easy to strain the muscle… and that just defeats the whole object!
Keep up these exercises for at least 10 weeks before you are due to go skiing, and you will be surprised at the results, you will feel fitter, be more flexible and so get more enjoyment from your skiing.
70,000 skiers will injure their ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) this year. Don’t be one of them.
With all the expense around Christmas, a ski break can be too costly to fit in but if you shop around, you can find some great budget holidays that aren’t going to break the bank. Sticking to destinations in Europe will help you to keep the cost down in terms of flights but where are the best places to go?
This is one of the oldest resorts and also the largest in Bulgaria but it has had a makeover to ensure it meets modern tastes. The sheer size of Borovets means that there is a great night life at the resort so you will be sure to keep busy on and off the slopes. Bear in mind that because it’s such a popular resort, the slopes can get a bit crowded at the weekends. However, it’s only an hour from the airport in the capital of Sofia, making it particularly easy to get to. Head to Borovets if you want a classic, cheap skiing holiday with a bit of a party vibe in the evenings.
This resort is one of the most popular in the area and has over 400km of pistes. Whether you’re a complete novice or a more experienced skier, you’ll find something to suit you, with excellent skiing on offer for all abilities. Sauze d’Oulx has some great opportunities for off piste skiing through the trees if you prefer this and there is also the option of skiing off the top of Fraiteve if you want something more challenging. This is an ideal resort if you are going with a mixed experience group and need to please everyone.
This is the largest ski area in the world because there are several slopes that come under the Three Valleys. Meribel has got a bit of a reputation as being one of the more expensive resorts to visit so many people often rule it out as soon as they find out how much the ski passes are. However, if you’re smart and shop around for your accommodation, it can easily fit your budget. Chalets booked as part of a larger group can cost as little as £100 a week so take the time to check out the various options and you can easily have the five star resort for the three star price.
Many people wouldn’t expect this to be a good ski resort, given that it is on a flat valley floor. However, there are some great slopes hidden away. The village itself has some lovely old fashioned hotels so if you want to take a step back in time and embrace a bit of traditionalism, this is the resort for you. If you take a bus out of town a bit, you’ll get the best out of Mayrhofen, particularly because it’ll help you to beat the queues in busy periods. Whether you want to ski hard and party hard or you’d rather have a nice, relaxing break away, Mayrhofen pleases everyone.
This mountain range is one of the best known and highest in the Czech Republic, offering some spectacular views. With the options of cross-country skiing, ski tourism and downhill slopes, you’ll find something for people of all experience levels at Krkonose. There are several different resorts within the range that offer slopes to cater for various difficulty levels so if you are a pro, you can check out the super-challenging routes. You’ll also find a fun park for snowboarders as well, offering a great alternative for when you’re sick of skiing. The huge variety of options make this range ideal for families, couples, groups and solo skiers of all ages.
If you are looking at a skiing break this winter, make sure you take the time to shop around and really explore your options. Package deals might seem like a bargain but it could cost you even less if you buy everything separately. Don’t forget to get your ski insurance from a company like Holidaysafe to ensure you’re covered if anything goes wrong. Skiing can be dangerous and it will give you peace of mind if you’re completely covered. Look into whether your ski passes are included in the price you’re quoted as well because you can often get deals on these if you book at the right time.
Here are the top 10 ski resorts in Europe which excel in combining luxury and alpine charm together with top class snowsports:
Famed for its tough ski runs and trendy après ski, Verbier also has some of the most luxurious chalets in The Alps and attracts celebrities and royalty from all over Europe. The ambience is one of charm and sophistication that also attracts some of the world’s best skiers.
Tucked away at the end of a valley accessible only by train (unless you have a residents permit and you can drive most of the way) Zermatt is arguably the most iconic ski resort in the world. The scenery is dominated by the Matterhorn which is a stark reminder of the towns mountaineering history. Today, countless luxury hotels and chalets blend naturally in with the charming and traditional town. The skiing is also pretty good too!
If you are asked what the most exclusive ski resort in the world is, most people would say St Moritz. Glamorous, chic and naturally expensive, St Moritz is understandably exclusive and preserved as a haven for the rich and famous. The skiing is varied and extensive with an excellent snow record, and because many visitors enjoy relaxing in the sunshine, the slopes are often nice and quiet.
Once dubbed the Paris of The Alps, Megève retains its name for luxury, good food and good skiing. Situated in the Northern French Alps, close to Mt Blanc, the scenery is fantastic and the skiing varied and suitable for all abilities. There are many accommodation options including many privately owned chalets which provide a more upmarket approach than is found in many other resorts.
Situated in the 3 Valleys ski domain, which links to the resorts of Meribel and Val Thorens, Courchevel offers an array of 5 star luxury hotels and chalets alongside the largest interconnected ski area in the world. This really is a place to splash the cash, there are four Michelin restaurants with 2 stars and three with 1 star….in a ski resort!
A young and vibrant resort which offers serious skiing and sophisticated accommodation. Val d’Isère has developed as a luxury destination that attracts the well-heeled who take their skiing seriously. The nightlife is no slouch either with an abundance of bars and clubs that keep going into the very small hours.
Lech and Zurs are situated in the Arlberg region of Austria and although close to the famous resort of St Anton, you won’t find the powder hounds and party animals hanging out here. Instead you get quieter slopes, gourmet mountain restaurants, spa hotels and upmarket pensions.
Another Arlberg resort that links into the St Anton ski area. St Christoph is a tiny hamlet sitting high up in a treeless valley with a handful of hotels offering high quality accommodation. It’s a perfect destination for combining relaxed luxury with off-piste skiing opportunities.
Possibly, one of the world’s most well-known ski destinations. Kitzbühel is the home of the Hahnenkamm Mountain which hosts the toughest downhill race on the world cup circuit. It also has some great hotels and restaurants if skiing 100mph down a steep and icy slope isn’t for you.
Nestled high up in the beautiful dolomite mountains, Cortina is renowned as Italy’s most upmarket and fashionable ski resort. The skiing area is large enough to keep the most active happy and the restaurants on and off the mountain are good enough to keep the less active occupied for weeks.
Choosing a winter holiday destination can be difficult, do you embrace the Christmas spirit and opt for somewhere snowy and magical, do you escape the cold and find a beautiful beach to lounge on, or do you stay active and head for the slopes?
To help you decide where to holiday this winter, here are our top 10 favourite winter holiday destinations;
Anyone who wants to do something truly memorable this winter should travel to Finland. September to March is roughly the peak of the Northern Lights cycle, an absolutely stunning natural display . Why not head to Lapland for a true Christmas experience, visit Santa’s grotto, see real reindeer and have a husky sleigh ride.
For winter sun, you cannot beat the beautiful Canary Islands. If you day dream about escaping the cold and rainy weather, and jetting off to a sun-drenched beach to relax and unwind, then start planning your break to the Canaries.
If you want a winter break which offers something for everyone, then Germany is the destination for you. You could indulge in the history, architecture and culture of the country, by visiting museums or going for stunning walks, or just go skiing. However, the real highlight is the annual Frankfurt Christmas Market, which is not to be missed. You can indulge your Christmas spirit wondering around the beautiful stalls and browsing hand crafted gifts whilst carolers serenade you!
For a great winter sports break, Switzerland is the place to be. The opportunities to ski, snowboard, ice skate and much more, are endless. You can choose from a range of amazing romantic, family or night life orientated resorts, visit a Christmas market or go for some awe inspiring walks.
To really treat the kids this winter, you should head to Disney Land or Universal Studios in Florida. You can enjoy the beautiful weather while they enjoy the amazing rides and attractions. Plus, the New Year celebrations are absolutely breath taking and not to be missed.
If you want to enjoy your Christmas shopping this year, Ireland is the place to go. You can shop till you drop with your friends in Dublin, stay in a great hotel and have a fantastic night out. Or you could go into the country side with your partner or family for beautiful views and country walks.
For a snowy wonderland of pure white snow and beautiful blue skies, Canada is definitely the place for an active winter holiday. You could stay in a ski resort with roaring fires or do something different and stay in an ice hotel. Whether you want to participate in winter sports, go in search of wildlife or simply enjoy the snow, you will definitely enjoy Canada.
New York is usually on most people’s ‘must visit’ lists, so why not do it this winter? New York is beautiful in the winter; you can wrap up warm and do some exploring and shopping, then head to Broadway and a great cocktail bar for the evening.
For a winter break a little closer to home, opt for Scotland. You could attend some winter festivals, go for fantastic walks in the countryside, or visit a beautiful castle.
France is the perfect destination for anyone eager to explore. If you want fashion, romance, food, art, winter sports, music, night life, architecture, culture, history, shopping (to name just a few!) you could book a weekend in Paris or a week in the South of France.
If you are interested in a Snowboarding holiday this year, but are unsure where to go, here are our top 10 Snowboarding resorts and locations.
This resort is in a great area, with 190 miles of pistes, extensive off-piste routes, over 100 shops and bars, plus great ski schools. Tignes also boasts the 1922 Olympics downhill course, and a range of winter activities such as ice diving, hand gliding, dog sledding, skidoo riding, skating and heli-skiing to name just a few. Tignes truly offers something for everyone, and is one of only two ski resorts in France which has been listed as ‘snow sure’ due to its high altitude.
Whistler and Blackcomb are actually the names of two side by side mountains, which combined offer over eight thousand acres of terrain. The area boasts a long ski season, and has a great snow record, with an average of over 450 inches of snow annually. Furthermore, with Vancouver just a two hour drive away, you could mix a snowboarding and city break.
Lake Tahoe is an amazing area; it features seven ski resorts and 400 inches of snow annually, with a mix of cozy villages and entertainment hotspots. The views are spectacular, with snowcapped mountains and the crystal clear lake. This resort is also perfect for a family holiday, with ice skating and sleigh rides available to keep the kids entertained.
Davos has altitudes between 1000 and nealry 3000m, with over 300km of slopes, 75km of cross-country ski tracks, two man made ice-skating rinks and Europe’s largest natural ice rink. Davos is made up of seven spaces, but the Jakobshorn is the place for snowboarders, with a half-pipe and monster pipe. Davos also offers horse-drawn sleigh rides, three sledging runs, and beautiful walks in the Davos mountains.
If you want all the fun of winter, mixed with sunshine then Mammoth Mountain is perfect for you. They have on average 400 inches of snow annually plus over 300 days of sunshine every year. Mammoth Mountain is the tallest resort in California, and also boasts over 3,500 acres of terrain for all ability levels, plus 150 trails. They have a range of activities, ski and snowboard school, entertainment and nightlife during their winter season, which runs from approximately November to June.
Banff enjoys unbelievable scenery, with three winter sports areas and around 8,000 acres of terrain and one of the longest ski seasons in North America. Banff also offers shops, ski lessons and children’s programs to keep them amused. The list of other activities available is also comprehensive, with Nordic Skiing, Ice Skating, Sledding, Tobogganing, Horse-drawn Sleigh Rides, Snowshoeing, Dog Sledging, Ice Fishing, Ice Diving and Snowmobile tours to keep you busy.
Verbier is one of a four part ski area, with over 400km of ski runs and stunning views across the Swiss Valleys. Verbier has an altitude of around 1500m, so is almost guaranteed snow. Furthermore, it is great for skiers and boarders of all levels, with great off-piste runs and a specialist snow park for experts. There is a wide variety of night life, entertainment and activities including heli-skiing.
Saas Fee is a small village surrounded by over 13 mountains which are over 4000 metres high. The area has vast networks of pistes which stretch over 145km, and runs which are suitable for all skill levels. The village is car free, so is great for people who want to escape the urban, and for family holidays as kids can run free without fear of the roads.
Ruka is truly a winter wonderland, with two parks featuring a challenging mix of runs, plus ski and snowboard lessons for beginners. They also feature the Vuosseli Super Pipe and Battery Park, which was the venue of the 2005 Freestyle World Championships. This area is perfect for a winter family holiday, it has two kid’s areas complete with real reindeer.
Vail is the largest resort in the USA with over 5,000 acres and 300 days of sunshine every year, with a wide range of shops and entertainment (including a spa) it is great for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. However the best part of this area is Vail’s Adventure ridge, which is the perfect family destination, with snow tubing, snow biking, and restaurants to keep the kids entertained, they will love a trip to Adventure Ridge.
Choosing a winter sports holiday destination can be difficult, there are so many locations and resorts which all offer similar benefits but are quite different. Basically you need to decide exactly what you want from your holiday, and take it from there. For example, do you want great night life? Beginners slopes? Child friendly resorts?
Below, we have listed some topics and advice, to help you when planning your winter sports trip.
How much money do you have to spend on this trip? When choosing any holiday destination there are countries and resorts which are more expensive than others, but with wintersports holidays you also have to consider the cost of ski lessons and equipment hire. Decide on your budget and then research countries which offer the best value for your money, on currency (against the pound on exchange), accommodation, ski lessons, hiring equipment, food, luxuries etc.
Snow is an essential pre-requisite for a winter sports holiday, and with weather becoming more and more unpredictable every year, you don’t want to book your holiday and find that there is no snow. For guaranteed snow you should book high altitude resorts, however the lower resorts tend to have the easier slopes that are preferable for beginners, so make sure your chosen resort has a network of snow cannons.
If you are a novice you will need to look at resorts with instructors, and beginner slopes, you will find it almost impossible to learn on an advanced slope while pros shoot past you. On the other hand, if you are a seasoned skier you may want to head to resorts that offer new challenges, or slopes with amazing views.
If you are a beginner you should choose a resort which has a ski school with a good reputation. It is a surprising statistic, but over 70% of first time skiers do not return to the slopes, and this is mainly because they did not enjoy their ski school experience. It is important that the ski school constantly grade their pupils so that those who take to it naturally can feel that they are progressing during their trip, whilst those who struggle are brought along at a gentler pace so that they do not feel ‘left behind’.
If you are travelling with your partner, there are some stunningly romantic countries and beautiful resorts, with roaring fires, sumptuous food and panoramic views. On the other hand, if you are travelling with children you should look for resorts which are catered to their needs, for example ski school lessons and group activities for children to get involved in.
You need to decide whether you want a short break in Europe, or perhaps to head World Wide. It all depends on how adventurous you are feeling and what your budget will allow. For example, if you have always wanted to visit France, then why not head there to Ski? On the other hand, if you want to explore somewhere new, why not head further afield to Canada?
Whatever choices you make when selecting your ideal winter sports destination, make sure you’re covered by adequate travel insurance before hitting the slopes. Although your chances of suffering injury are very unlikely, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
In the end, the possibilities for ski holidays are almost endless, whether you are a beginner or seasoned pro, family or thrill seeking individual, there are ski destinations all over the world to choose from. So start researching! You can get information and recommendations online, from travel agents and ski forums.
Just remember to invest in quality Winter Sports Travel Insurance before you depart.
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