Getting your layers right.

 

Have you ever noticed that many experienced skiers are not wearing padded jackets and pants, but lightweight shells? Layering has many benefits, including how light and compact it is to pack when traveling on a snow adventure.

First a three layer shell jacket and pant is needed. Some people do wear padded pants though. Three layer refers to the outer fabric, laminated to a waterproof membrane, laminated to an inner fabric which has a nice touch finish. Peak performance, J Lindeberg, and Mountain Force, make great shells.The reason shells are expensive is not only the expensive fabric, should be Goretex, or Dermizax, but the work involved in finishing the inside. Pockets, powder skirt, etc all have to be welded neatly onto the inner layer, rather than simply putting a liner fabric inside that hides the inner construction of the pant or jacket. Shell pants have heaps of work inside them also.

What to wear underneath obviously depends on the expected temperature, how active a day, and whether people feel the cold badly or not.Trial and error here will sort the problem. On top I suggest starting with Merino layer or layers. I start with a merino singlet, because the most important area to keep warm is the torso.Then a long sleeve merino top, preferably with a higher neck. I do find keeping my neck warm is important. Next a Fleece, or thicker wool layer.This would probably do most hot blooded males, but most girls will need to keep going. Alternatively, leave the fleece off and wear a down, or primaloft liner jacket, which is very warm and lightweight,or if it is very cold wear the whole lot. A light down or primaloft vest is also really handy. Primaloft by the way is a lightweight, super warm insulation that also repels water so does not get wet.This is an advantage over down which stops insulating if it gets wet, either from snow or precipitation, or sweat.

All these options can be worn in different configurations.A backpack is a great accessory to carry lightweight extra layers which may be needed if the temperature drops as the day develops.

With the bottom half thermal compression skins are good, but merino is hard to beat. Once again if it is very cold wear two pairs, and the other great thing I do is wear those neoprene knee protectors that you see in the pharmacy. Your knees are the area on the leg that gets cold, as they are bent on a chairlift.These keep your knee joints warm, which stops them doing the warm cold thing as you ski, then sit on a lift.They also give support to the knee.They cover the leg from the sock to halfway up the thigh, so there is really not much leg left.They really do work a treat.

Layering is not for everyone, but more and more people are realising just how well it works. Give it a go!

Last frontier Heliskiing.

There’s over a metre of snow at 1400m in Ripley Creek. Winter has arrived! Thank god, because I don’t know about you, but I have a hankering to go skiing. At Last Frontier Heliskiing, we’re neck deep in our pre-season preparation and we’re hoping for another awesome year in the far reaches of Northern BC. While there have been a few small changes for this year we wanted to take this opportunity to announce one of our most exciting changes for next year. Sure, it’s a year away, but we’re stoked to let you know that we will be going to groups of 4 skiers for 2017Small group heliskiing has always been one of the cornerstones of our operations. We are all about maximizing your time out there and we feel that moving from groups of 5 to groups of 4 has some major advantages.15_oct_newletter_banner_groups_of_4

Fuel / Range: Fuel cost is obviously a big thing for us. After years of operating with groups of 5 and having, along with the pilot and guide, 7 people in the heli, we’ve seen some limitations with this setup. We have a massive heliski area, but with the larger groups, especially on days where the weather is marginal, it’s harder to maximize the use of that large tenure. More fuel stops equals less time skiing, period. With one less person in the machine, that’s about 200lbs less weight in the front, giving not only increased fuel range and decreased consumption, but better balance for the machine. This gives us more time to for scoping out terrain, less fuel stops and, well, more skiing. And more skiing always go down smooth!

Fun in the trees! Photo - Mike Watling

Guide to Guest Ratio: Let’s face it, the less people there are in a group, the quicker they can move and the easier it is to manage for the guide. With groups of 4, it’s easier to pair folks up, especially in the trees, and the added bonus of a smaller group is there are less tracks on a given slope. Less tracks means more space for skiing. Another added benefit to shrinking the guide to guest ratio is tempo. Heliskiing is all about rhythm and having smaller groups gives us greater flexibility with skiers and riders of differing abilities and needs during their heliski day.

More skiing. Always more skiing.  Photo - Reuben Krabbe

More Skiing: As mentioned, with less weight in the machine, we can ski more. Our tenure is big. Huge, in fact, and we want to ability to use all of it on any given day. With smaller groupings, we can take our guests deeper into our terrain and that gives us huge flexibility in terms of snow conditions/terrain analysis. Marginal conditions in one area? Let’s move to another area. With added range and maneuverability, we can show you more and get you skiing faster, with quicker turn arounds on each lap. Even loading and unloading the machines will be more efficient. All of that means more skiing for you, and that’s why we’re in business.

Soon | Photo: Reuben Krabbe

Come along for the ride Photo - Steve Rosset

Small group heliskiing is all about being flexible and positioning ourselves to enjoy every moment of every day out there in the mountains. We’re constantly striving to make things work a little better and a little smoother so we can do what we all come up here to do: ski and ride in some of the best terrain on earth. But don’t take our word for it, come and see for yourself.

Be safe, ski hard.

Trust us, Try Verbier!

_i60158196Verbier is a beautiful Swiss ski town in theValais region of Switzerland.

This resort has a huge ski Area. It is famous for it’s off piste skiing, but also has all standards of ski runs. The highest lift is Mont Fort.Well worth going to the top with views from the Matterhorn around to The Mont Blanc Massif. It can be a pretty gnarly ski down the top section so if you don’t feel comfortable ride the cable car down. Don’t feel bad lots of people do. For a strong skier, the run down is challenging,right down to the base of theTortin lift..fFom there you can take a chair towards Siviez,. From Siviez chairs go up either side of the valley, towards Plan De Fu on the left, and Creppon Blanc on the right. Either side leads to a huge amount of cruisey skiing. For intermediate skiers watch out as runs are not really marked for difficulty, and sometimes a run will turn into a very steep face. Tortin is one run in this catagory. fFall at the top, you won’t stop till the bottom.The easy way to get to Mont Fort is to go down to a beginners area named La Chaux and take the Le Jumbo lift up to Col De Gentianes, where the top lift leaves from..The other nice cruiser area is Savoleyres which the buses around Verbier take you to.The back side is great. One more thing to keep in mind is don’t miss the last Tortin lift as it will take about four hours to get home, in a very expensive Taxi.

Verbiergalleryverbier609The best ski store in Verbier is Mountain Air,. Check out their website and it is best to make an appointment for their famous bootfitting. It is near the W Hotel next to the Medran lift

Regarding restaurants, when there we often eat in and go out for a drink. Generally I think that they are overpriced and not that good. Us Aussies are spoilt in the food and coffee area, and Swiss food is not as good as the mountains and the skiing.Verbier-06-GQ_11Dec13_pr_b_642x390

As far as food on the mountains is concerned Cabin Mont Fort, which is between Mont Fort and La Chaux is a beautiful spot for lunch. Chez Odette, in Siviez is good, and there is a nice outdoor place half way up the chair on the Creppon Blanc side of the chair. On the Savoleres side “Marmotte” is a nice place. At the end of a sunny day, ski down below Les Ruinettes, which is the half way station on the Medran lifts.These are the main lifts from Verbier. Chez Dany. is a must for refreshments with the most fabulous sunset.

A car is a great option, provided your accomodation has parking, as there are some amazing places in the area. If no car the Swiss trains are fast, easy, and of course on time. Catch a train to Martigny, change to the little local train to Le Chable, and from there either hop on the bus that will meet the train, or the Tele Cabine over the tracks.You can buy a ticket right to Verbier which includes the bus.

If you do have a car there are some great day trips.

Chamonix is an hour and a half away.The nearby St Bernard valley has some great small resorts. If it Snows heavily the top of Verbier is often closed, but there is a great little area called Vichere. two lifts and fantastic powder and tree skiing. It is safe when other areas are risky.

Champex Lac is a pretty little resort for a day of cruising also. Beautiful views from the top station.

A great trip is the little resort of Crevicole.It is on the Italian side of the St BernardTunnel.A funny little place next to the motorway, but cruisey pistes and a great off piste run. A guide is a good idea to do that one, skiing down to a beautiful old village named Saint Rhemy. A coffee at the Hotel Suisse, then a taxi back to Crevicole.There is a really really fantastic Restaurant right next to the second lift in Crevicole. Run by Isabelle, a wonderful Italian Lady and her Chef husband it is superb. Let her choose the wine, as she knows her stuff, believe me.This is my favorite restaurant anywhere. It is the stone hut right near the loading point of the second lift. Not the ones near the top of the first lift.

If the weather is not great, drive to Aosta, down the hill from Crevicole. An old Roman town, it has great shopping and food.Verbier-01

The Verbier area is one with so much to do. Enjoy it, and if you need more info email Tony at tony@snowsport.com.au

Verbier website:  http://en.verbier.ch

Launch

Well, the 2015 season is nearly here, and here at Snowsport we have some pretty exciting things happening.

For a start we are launching our new website, about time we guess, but onwards and upwards.

We had a fabulous buying trip to Europe in January, skiing in Verbier, and the St Bernard Valley, then on to Bologna, Milan and Munich, to buy next years ranges.

In March Lena, Tony, and seven of our great Snowsport friends travelled to Northern Canada, for a week of skiing with Last Frontier Heliskiing. What an unbelievable experience, fantastic mountains, great skiing, and wonderful food, accomodation, service and friends. Snowsport is very happy to work with Last Frontier, as they provide an intimate, boutique experience.

Snowsport is proud to host an awesome show on the Sunday night of the Long Weekend.

Scott Macrae puts on an amazing performance of the “Life and Music of Stevie Wright and the Easybeats”

All proceeds will go to the Cancer Council. Last Frontier Heliskiing have been kind enough to donate a weeks Heliskiing to the Cancer Council as an auction item.

Lets hope we have a good Season in Australia, even though it is amazing skiing overseas, the good days skiing among the snowgums and the varied terrain of Australia is a really special experience. Not to mention the odd lunch at Kareela, or a night in the Apres Bar. The Snowsport espresso machine will fire up soon, and we hope to see all our friends in the store enjoying a brew.

Heres to a fun season.