Winter Olympics 2006 – Torino

Turin played host to the 2006 Winter Olympics, so in this time of heightening excitement about London 2012 it seems fitting to look back at the time when winter sports came to the forefront. It also fits well because the Torino olympics actually took place in the Milky Way region, which is where the places I have previously looked at are situated.

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Finding the right – Ski Jacket

Finding the perfect ski jacket can often be a timely and expensive procedure, but once you find one that is right you will likely hold on to it for many years. So it is worth putting the time into finding one that will meet your needs.

It is commonly asked question whether to go cheap or expensive when buying a jacket, simply because there is such a diverse choice. Different jackets offer different things, some may be specially designed for use with an iPod, allowing you to control it from your sleeve or some even have Bluetooth built in so you can take phone calls from your hood. While others will offer more in terms of comfort and keeping you warm, like extra inside layers or detachable gilets and fleeces.

Places like Decathlon offer a massive selection of all things ski and their jackets generally range from about £30 to £150. I have experience with the cheaper Decathlon jackets and, while it is probably what you expect from the price, they tend to be a bit poor. My first ever ski jacket was in fact the jacket in question and I only used it for one year. It had a elasticated waist and while the idea of this was nice, stopping snow from getting in behind the jacket, it rarely worked and most of time just made the jacket very uncomfortable.

Many other high street stores, like Millets and Snow and Rock, sell jackets from a wide range of brands and these offer the best variety if your not sure where to start. Also, if you happen to have a GoOutdoors near you then they often have some big reductions on branded jackets, so they are a good place to look. Another place which can, if you look hard enough, have really discounted ski jackets are T.K Maxx so trawling through the rails could be worth it.

I think a great feature to look for in a jacket is for it to be customisable and allow you to remove and add sections when desired. So, say it is a warm day you can remove the fleece part and your left with a cooler jacket.

A particular range of jackets I quite like are the Terkko ones by North Face. These are quite expensive at £250 (They can be had for around £175 here) but are feature packed, look good and come in some colours which may set you apart from the normal black jackets. Also being North Face you will know it is going to keep you warm.

North Face Terkko Jacket

It can be hard finding the perfect jacket for you, but once you’ve found it you wont look back.

It’s not a Drive-Through, It’s a Ski-Through

Just imagine; your hands are freezing cold, you just need a quick caffeine boost to get you to the end of the day but you don’t want to go to the hassle of stopping and taking your skis off. Oh, and you fancy a spiced Vanilla Latte. Well, if you happen to be in Squaw Valley in California, then your in luck!

Ever fancied a Starbucks 8,000 feet up a mountain?

Starbucks have just opened their first ever coffee shop 8,000 feet up a mountain and you will be able to pick up your coffee of choice without even taking your skis off. Impressive.

Now, when will they be coming to Europe?

Ski Runs – A Quick Guide

A Piste Map, the most valuable skiing accessory

If you are a first time skier then before you set off you should have a look at the types of runs that are available in the area you are going. Normally, in Europe, there are four different colours of runs, ranging from beginner to expert. Here they are:

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Green – Learner/ For the first day 

These tend to be quite rare and are often situated in the learner area of the slope. They are where you would normally get your first experience of skiing. They tend to be almost flat and cover a big area to allow plenty of room to manoeuvre around.

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Blue – Beginner/ For the relaxed 

The first of the ‘big three’. A blue run will normally consist of a medium to long length slope with plenty of room for big sweeping turns. A great way to get your confidence up if your a first timer or simply haven’t been on a slope in a while. They are also good for long, leisurely trips looking at the scenery.

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 Red – Intermediate/For  the more confident!

Now they start to get a little more tricky. Red runs, I find anyway, can often be quite varied. Some can only be a small step up from blue runs, while others can be downright tough. They are often narrow and can be very winding, however the steeper ones tend to be wider to allow for more turns. Once you master the red run you should be able to explore the majority of the resort.

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Black – Experienced/ For the very daring

Credit to DimiTalenBlack runs are the toughest in Europe and can be found in nearly all resorts. They are often quite small, narrow and very steep. Sometimes they are full of moguls, small bumps of snow, and this causes them to be difficult to successfully manoeuvre. Black runs are great for a rush of adrenaline and to really show how far you have come.

 

Note : Runs normally have more than one way of getting down, so if your going with a large party and some feel more confident than others then don’t worry. A few can attempt a black while the other can go down the red or blue. 

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Unmarked or Off Piste – For the adventurous

Not all parts of the mountains are marked runs, many often have areas which are not flattened by the Piste bashers, the large tractor like vehicles which compact and spread out the snow. These unmarked runs are normally full of thick snow and can be difficult to plough through. However you do get to see a less touristy version of the resort and there can be some stunning scenery to be had when your skiing through the trees.

Heading off piste?

So there is plenty of choice, for whatever level you think your at. Just work your way up and your confidence will build. Enjoy!

Heading off Piste… An Introduction

It is that time of the year again, ski season is here! But before you hit the slopes, you need the perfect place to stay, a place to relax in the evening and to get ready in the morning. With … Continue reading