You are on your own off-piste

There is an interesting discussion over at Piste Hors about whether or not off-piste hazards should be marked. This follows the death of a 17 year old British rider who fell 70 metres over a cliff in the Cote Brûne sector of Meribel last week.

I don't think anyone should expect such warnings when riding off-piste and nor should any ski area be expected to undertake such an onerous responsibility.

What is needed is better education about the dangers of off-piste riding which, to the uneducated, can often seem so benign especially when near to a marked piste and heavily tracked.

Burton v Sims

Interesting article about the early rivalry between Burton and Sims and their differing strategies for business growth.

24 February 2004 Burton v Sims

Avalanche swimming

I have always regarded the advice that you can sometimes 'swim' to the surface of an avalanche with a healthy dose of scepticism. This guy was very lucky.

24 February 2004 Avalanche swimming

The Snowboard Journal

This new quarterly snowboard magazine looks to be a bit more grown up than the usual fare. The article about 'snowboarding' in 1918 looks particularly interesting. Unfortunately, when I went to subscribe I got an email informing me that my first copy would be with me in 6-8 weeks. I'll have to cancel it unless they can do better but it might be worth looking out for in Barnes & Noble stores in the US.

UPDATE: I misunderstood, turns out the 6-8 week wait is for the next issue. I can have issue #001 straight away.

19 February 2004 The Snowboard Journal

I love it when a plan comes together

The ski station of La Bresse in the Vosges is nearer to London (758km) than some of the Scottish ski areas, like Glencoe (798km), but (I hope) with much more reliable conditions, both meteorological and financial. With this in mind I have planned a weekend road trip.

London to La Bresse route map

We will drive from London next Friday afternoon catching an early evening Eurotunnel (£123 flexible fare for car and up to 5 people) and hope to cover about two thirds of the distance to La Bresse from Calais before crashing out for a few hours in a Formule 1 motel en route (€25 for a room for 1-3 people). Then its an early start on Saturday morning to get to La Bresse for a full day's riding.

It is French half term so all the hotels in La Bresse, and nearby Gérardmer, were fully booked but with the help of the excellent Mappy we found a bargain Etap hotel half an hour away in Remiremont (€30 for a room for 1-3 people).

We will get an early start on Sunday and leave mid afternoon to head back to Calais with an ETA in London shortly before midnight.

The Vosges may not be the Alps but it should satisfy our snow lust for a weekend and it is a bargain trip that does not require any time off work. Expect a full report in due course.

Glencoe and Glenshee for sale

Things are still not working out at Glencoe and now both it and Glenshee are up for sale.

One wonders if any commercial operator can make a go of running these resorts or whether there is another solution, either some sort of club or co-op or public funding (shocking that Caingorm apparently received £20m in tax payer's money for the new funicular).

Val Thorens statistics

A friend just returned from 'Val Tho' and mailed me a couple of interesting data nuggets about the trip.

The descent from the top of the Col lift to the bottom of the Plan de l'Eau lift is 1314 m of vertical. The pistes - a red, blue, green, blue, red combination - cover 7,200 m. It took 10 minutes and 550 turns. Each turn, on average, covered 13 m and lost 2.4 m in height. A skier friend tucked the whole lot and did the run in 6 minutes.

The cost of driving from Calais to Val Thorens [and back I presume] was £195 for petrol [2.5 litre estate car] plus £85 in tolls, ie a total of £280.

I love the fact that he counted the turns - great stats - I will need a Suunto to beat that for detail!

6 February 2004 Val Thorens statistics

Unlucky ladies

First Lesley McKenna broke her jaw, knocking her out of contention for the FIS World Cup halfpipe competition in which she was doing so well.

Now Tara Dakides bails very publicly in New York while filming a stunt for Letterman.

6 February 2004 Unlucky ladies
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