Set your Tivos

SCUK has timings for the weekend's Channel 4's coverage of last week's Snowboard World Championships in Whistler, strangely they talk as though the comp is yet to run:

"Watch out for Zoe Gillings and Lesley McKenna for the UK, who are both fit and capable of winning their events."

If you don't want to know the results then don't follow this link for the women's snowboardcross (Zoe Gillings) or the women's halfpipe (Lesley Mckenna)!

27 January 2005 Set your Tivos

First turns

Well, I finally got my first turns of the season at La Bresse last weekend. It was my first time riding since breaking my ankle last year and I was a little apprehensive. To start with I was very aware that I did not have full strength in the joint and I was nervous committing to toe side carved turns in particular but by the Sunday afternoon it felt almost back to normal. Very encouraging.

As before we drove to La Bresse on Friday night, arriving at about 2 am and drove back on Sunday afternoon getting home, to London, a few minutes after midnight. Despite spending longer in the car than on the slopes, it was well worth it and four drivers made light work of the 1500km round trip.

We had been a bit dismayed last Thursday as the web cam was showing white and brown in equal proportion (looking much better for this weekend btw) but in the event there was enough snow to keep almost half the resort open and we enjoyed riding under clear blue skies with temperatures a degree or two below freezing keeping the remaining snow in good condition.

One revelation this time around was the ski d'aurore, or dawn skiing, which operates from 6 am at weekends. Not all of us were able for the early start on Sunday and we regretted our late night when we heard the report of fresh, flood lit corduroy over breakfast. Practically speaking, it makes great sense to use the extra few hours this affords as we had to leave at about 3 pm to get home at a reasonable hour. Next time!

20 January 2005 First turns

Massive avalanche caught on camera

Elk Point Northeast Chute avalancheBruce Tremper, director of the US Forest Service Utah Avalanche Centre, just happened to be in the right place at the right time to capture this huge natural avalanche. Scary.

Flow binding recall

Poor old Flow, their bindings have always been a cool and innovative product but they still can't seem to put them together very well and now I see they are having to recall 2004's MK03, MK04, MK05 & MK110 models.

I was totally wowed when I got my first pair in 1996 and other riders used to stop me and ask about them on the slopes. They lasted for years until they got stolen. Naturally, I replaced them with new Flows. They broke the same day! After the same thing happened again and again the distributor agreed to replace them with a top of the range carbon fibre model which, surprisingly, is still holding out.

Pretty in pink - not

pink one pieceSome skier friends of mine just returned from Val Thorens and took great pleasure in showing me this 'boarder' in a lovely pink one piece.

Initially I was shocked but, on closer inspection and judging by her uncomfortable looking stance, I would guess she was a skier trying a board for the day.

The picture reminded me of the entertaining Romper suited tosser's site which is worth a look if you have not seen it.

Custom board designs

This seems to be a bit of a growth area, I mentioned Original Snowboard Art recently, additionally Sikko Snowboards offer similar custom skins and Burton have introduced their Series 13 programme that allows you to choose from a range of topsheet designs on a number of their boards, providing that you live in the US (possibly available in Canada too).

I also just noticed that Salomon are running their second annual board design contest with a prize of 2,000 for the winner, closing date is 31 January. If you can cope with the ghastly Flash interface the competition site is here. Via Josh Rubin.

11 January 2005 Custom board designs

The pain of fame

Sting was apparently hounded off the slopes by phone cams, you'd think he'd get some goggles and a beanie - obviously not that committed a rider.

11 January 2005 The pain of fame

Park and pipe guide

There is a good piece in The Times about how important it can be to a resort to have a quality snowpark, without which they miss out on a crucial demographic group. The article goes on to list some of the best parks and pipes, not surprisingly most are in North America.

I remember being wowed at Blackcomb on finding an entire run with perfect tabletop after perfect tabletop all the way down and how impressed I was (and intimidated) by the perfect super pipe at Whistler. Although I am more of a free rider than a park junkie it does annoy me the way so many European resorts pay lip service to the idea of a park/pipe by building but not maintaining them.

10 January 2005 Park and pipe guide
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