Saturday, October 20, 2018

The comprehensive guide to your avalanche beacon

The Experts at Ortovox Shed Light on Avalanche Beacon Functionality and Stress the Importance of Three-Antennae

Like most of your avalanche rescue tools, the transceiver, otherwise known as a beacon, is a device that you hope to never use in the field—except in a training scenario. Having a solid understanding of how your avy equipment works is paramount, and there’s hardly a tool more difficult to truly understand than this minuscule device. Read up on the intricacies of the avalanche beacon, below, and above all else, remember that nothing is a legitimate substitute for practice, practice, practice.

What is an Avalanche Beacon?  READ ON..

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Why the Portes Du Soleil keeps solo skiers coming back!

Why the Portes Du Soleil keeps solo skiers coming back!

The solo ski experts at The Ski Gathering tell us what is attracting first-timers and veteran solos to Morzine, Avoriaz and Les Gets.

Across the board, solo travel has grown enormously in recent years, mirroring a general trend in ‘independent’ and socialising hobbies. Today, people use apps and websites to find flatmates, meet gym buddies, arrange car shares… and plan their solo-travel adventures.

This is particularly noticeable with ski holidays, where solo travellers are increasingly making their mark. Some solos prefer to ski alone, enjoying the total freedom of the mountain. But most see it as a social opportunity to meet other skiers or boarders and avoid paying the empty-bed supplement. For the latter group in particular, the Portes du Soleil has become a focal point in the solo travel revolution. Why is that?

It’s Perfect for Mixed-Ability Groups
It’s Day One of your solo ski holiday and you’re heading out with a group of people you’ve never skied with before. Head for the Les Gets Bowl - the perfect starting point for mixed-ability groups. Here, five lifts serve twelve interconnecting pistes of varying levels of difficulty. Perfect if you all want to try out different slopes but still meet for the lift ride back up or a swift vin chaud.
The speed demons can head straight for the steep Tulipe red run off the Ranfoilly lift; the less flamboyant can find their feet on the more slow-and-steady Reine des Pres.

Beginners won’t be left out
Resorts like Les Gets and Morzine are perfect for beginners. Friendly people, great ski schools, plenty of beginner slopes, and an easy(ish) descent back into resort. While you’re having lessons, the rest of the group probably won’t be too far away, so meeting up for a long social lunch is still on the cards.

Find time for yourself
One of the best things about solo travel is having the total freedom to do what you want, when you want. You can opt out of group activities and blaze your own trail any time you like. For an afternoon in your own company, intermediates and advanced skiers should head over to the back of Mont Chery in Les Gets. It’s so quiet over there, you can virtually have the mountain to yourself. Soak up the silence and get away from it all for the afternoon.

Looking for an adventure
Solo travel is all about creating unforgettable experiences, so set your alarm and have a crack at the Portes du Soleil ‘Loop’. A big day even for serious skiers, this will take you around the perimeter of this, the world’s largest ski area. Probably not one for snowboarders or inexperienced skiers, this is a demanding day’s exercise and you’ll probably need a guide who knows the way without consulting a pistemap. But those who finish the Loop will never forget the experience. Or stop bragging about it.

Have a guide show you the backcountry off-piste
If you’re traveling independently but are not joining a group of solo skiers, a week can be a long time to ski in splendid isolation. One way to break this up is to get lessons or a guide. The Portes du Soleil has vast off-piste skiing opportunities which are essentially off-limits without an experienced guide, so why not kill two birds with one stone? Explore the road less travelled while getting a bit of company for a day.

Discover hidden treasures
If you’re skiing with other solos, you will probably soon forget that you ever travelled out on your own: we often say that solo travel holidays are for groups of friends who haven’t met yet. A great way to cement this kind of dynamic is to discover new things together, and the Portes du Soleil has plenty of hidden treasures for you to seek out. One example is ‘Les Lindarets’, better known as The Goat Village. Named after the many goats which fill the village in summer, this magical location could scarcely be more picturesque and is the perfect spot for a lunchtime stop-off. It’s a skier’s heaven.

Those looking for an equivalent hell might head for the Swiss Wall. Only to be attempted by the most experienced mogul skiers, this near-vertical drop marks the entry point into Switzerland. Ski or snowboard down it, or watch in admiration from the chairlift to meet up at the bottom. You’ll need a head for heights either way.

So, if your group can’t make it this year, or your friends just won’t even try skiing this winter, there’s really no excuse for stayi

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Project EMA: What’s new?

Project EMA: What’s new?

Morzine Avoriaz EMA

In April 2017, following rumours from as far back as 2009, it was announced that a new cable car would be built, starting from the centre of Morzine, travelling up the Ardoisieres Valley and joining the Prodains 3S cable car to take skiers and snowboarders all the way up to Avoriaz. If you’re not familiar with the plans you can read about them here.

Over a year and a half later, we’ve not heard much in the way of official announcements, but this summer has seen some quiet council meetings pass, almost under the radar, which appear to be starting the proceedings towards a finalised project plan. Read on..

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Latest gear - New jackets for winter 2018/19

Check out the newest clothing products for the upcoming winter

Published: AVORINET

Winter is on its way. You can smell it on clear mornings and it won’t be long until the first frosts and proper snowfalls on the mountains.
Clothing forms a big part of winter gear. It’s pretty obvious that you need more clothing for a day skiing at -10ºC than a summer trail run at 25ºC. So, here are some items of clothing to keep an eye out for this winter. In the next couple of months, I’ll take a look at new equipment for this winter, including skis and snowboards.

Rab Microlight Summit Jacket

The Rab Microlight Jacket is, without a doubt, the most popular lightweight down jacket on the market, in the UK at least. It’s crazy how many of these Rab have sold in the past 6 or 7 years. They are a common sight on the mountains and in towns and cities too. The original Microlight is really well designed. Most importantly, though, it’s well priced and carries the Rab logo.
The Microlight Summit is a different beast. It uses an advanced new fabric called Pertex Infinity Weave which enables a seam-free construction. This reduces weight and enhances water and wind resistance too. It’s a pretty cool step forward in down garment design. The Microlight Summit uses Nikwax Hydrophobic Down for better performance in damp conditions and has a long, slim cut for good coverage in cold conditions. It also has a helmet compatible hood, a baffle behind the front zip and stretch nylon cuffs. It won’t be as popular as the original Microlight but it’s great to see Rab pushing the boundaries with this piece.

Icebreaker MerinoLOFT Helix Long Sleeve Zip Hood

Hybrid insulation is a fully established concept these days. Having different types of insulation placed in different zones on a garment gives the user appropriate levels of warmth, breathability and mobility where it’s needed most. Icebreaker MerinoLOFT products use merino wool as the insulation material. As you’d expect, merino is warm, breathable and compressible when used this way. It’s also a nice alternative to traditional synthetic insulation being natural and fairly sustainable. Due to the hybrid fabric construction, the MerinoLOFT Helix Hoody should work really well as a mid layer for cold conditions. It will breathe well and hold warmth really nicely under a shell when skiing, snowboarding or hiking. Like with many Icebreaker products, it looks good for everyday wear too.

The North Face Summit L5 Ultralight Storm Jacket

The L5 Ultralight Storm Jacket comes in at an insanely light 156g, and yet is still completely waterproof and breathable. It uses a super light 7 denier Pertex Shield fabric that offers protection from the elements and gives the jacket a tiny pack size. Despite the low weight, this jacket still has a helmet compatible hood and a chest pocket that doubles as a stuff sack. The cuffs are elasticated and the long slim fit is ideal for climbing. The L5 Ultralight Storm Jacket looks like a great shell to take along for alpine adventures when you need technical features and performance together with a very low weight and pack size.

Patagonia Stretch Nano Storm Jacket

The Patagonia Stretch Storm Nano looks really cool. It’s an insulated, stretchy waterproof shell that still packs small and remains very breathable. The outer fabric is a waterproof and stretchy H2NO ripstop nylon. Inside is the stretchy Full Range insulation that Patagonia have used to such good effect in the Nano Air series of products. Full Range is warm and effective when wet like all synthetic insulations. It’s also extremely air permeable so can be used in more active situations than traditional synthetic insulation. The Stretch Storm Nano looks awesome for throwing on a summit stops and for belaying, but it also looks great for more active situations. I’m thinking ski touring or alpine climbing in really cold conditions when stop/start exertion can make it difficult to find a layering system that offers enough protection whilst remaining breathable too.

Jargon Buster

Air Permeability
Simply the ease with which air can move through a fabric. Recently synthetic insulation garments, in particular, have started to become more air permeable and therefore more comfortable to wear even when active.
Hybrid Construction
Garments with a hybrid construction use two or more fabrics placed in different areas of the garment in such a way as to make the most of the fabric characteristics where it’s needed most. For example, more insulation might be placed in the core area to preserve warmth and thinner, stretchier materials under the arms to keep bulk to a minimum and improve mobility.
Patagonia’s proprietary waterproof breathable fabric. Similar to Gore-Tex and other waterproof fabrics, H2NO comes in 2 and 3 layer forms, along with stretch versions.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Winter tyres mandatory in French Alps by 2019

Published Avorianet

    Winter tyres to be mandatory in French Alps

    After the carnage on the roads over the winter of 2017/18 amid record breaking snow fall, authorities will make it illegal for light vehicles to travel in the French Alps without winter tyres from the start of the 2019/20 season.

    The period for mandatory winter tyres has been set from November 1st to March 31st, but the geographical areas and altitudes where the order will apply will be at the discretion of local authorities in the municipalities affected by the new ruling. Which types of winter tyres will be deemed suitable (M+S or 3PMSF), or whether chains or snow socks will suffice, is still unknown

    Friday, September 7, 2018

    Why Morzine France should be your next Ski destination

             Why Morzine France should be your next Ski destination

    When asked what my favourite ski resorts are around the world, Morzine France is always in my top 5. It is a resort that suits all types of groups from family ski holidays to a bunch of friends flying in for a weekend. It offers a wide range of activities on and off the slopes and also has a large selection of restaurants and pubs to cater for your needs. Not to mention it is part of one the biggest ski areas in the world, Portes de Soleil, with over 650kms of runs and is only around an hour and a half from Geneva airport. Because of this, it is fast becoming incredibly popular with British skiers/snowboarders.

    Out of the 12 resorts that make up the Portes du Soleil ski area, Morzine is the largest and probably the most convenient in regards to resort hopping. It is one of the reasons why I have been here on several occasions during the ski season. It is also the only resort, where I have ever experienced extreme weather conditions from -26 with arctic winds to thunder and lighting while skiing.

    Monday, September 3, 2018

    7 Excuses to Visit Les Portes du Soleil

    STORY BY Megan Hughes 

    A hugely popular ski area, Les Portes du Soleil is one of the top destinations in the Alps. Here at we are giving you a rundown of 7 reasons why you NEED to visit Les Portes due Soleil this year.

    1. Size Matters

    With over 650km of marked piste and 196 lifts, Les Portes du Soleil is one of the largest ski areas in the world. It boasts over 300 runs, 2/3 of which are either red or blue, meaning that skiers of every level will be able to enjoy themselves with an abundance of runs to ensure good variety throughout your visit. Due to the immense size of the ski area, there are good pre-marked trails and circuits that are often popular with holidaymakers due to the ease that comes with their being well signed. If you prefer to make your own routes however, this is simple too thanks to a free app that creates and plans routes based on your ability level and preferences.

    You could spend a whole season there and never get bored, so whether you’re thinking of heading off for a week’s holiday or working a winter season, Les Portes du Soleil will provide you more than enough pistes to play with.

    2. Superb Snow Parks....READ ON