March 2018 - The Whiteroom
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March 2018

Under the Radar in La Plagne’s Backcountry

Ski journalist and photographer Alf Alderson gets more than he bargained for – in every sense of the word – in La Plagne’s backcountry. La Plagne – most ski guides describe it as ‘perfect for intermediates’, ‘great cruiser runs’, ‘popular with families’ – that kind of thing. So, it’s not a ski resort where you’d expect to find world-class off-piste and backcountry; but you’d be wrong in your expectations. In fact, from where I’m standing now, on the east shoulder of 3417m (11,200ft)  Bellecôte, I’m enjoying views to match any in the Alps as line after line of snow-shrouded mountains extends to the horizon like the lines of a monstrous ocean swell. Amongst the peaks in view are some of…

Kicking Horse: Dave Treadway’s 5 top tips

Dave Treadway is a professional freeride skier and Peak Performance ambassador. He’s hosting a trip this winter with UK tour operator, Kicking Horse Powder Tours, in his home resort of Kicking Horse, British Columbia. We caught up with him to ask for his top tips in this legendary Canadian resort. What’s your favourite place for some great powder skiing in KH Dave? Super Bowl - a short hike to fun, long run with good snow and easy cliffs! Kicking Horse is well-known for its lift accessed, super steep chutes that are too numerous to mention, what’s your favourite? CPR Ridge - so many steep run options! After all that adrenaline, where’s your favourite spot for a nice lunch? Eagles Eye…

Legend interview – Dominique Perret

Rob Stewart catches up with freeride pioneer and legend Dominque Perret – founder of the International Snow Training Academy (ISTA), an organisation dedicated to training skiers and snowboarders in off-piste and mountain safety. Dominique Perret has defined himself and his career by the passion to look beyond the norm, to travel a path where there are no pioneers and no finish lines. Press and media have lost little occasion to highlight Dominique’s multiple skiing achievements, films, expeditions, and events crowning him “Best Freeride Skier of the Century” as the most outstanding radical free-skier of his generation. Skiing runs thick in Dominique Perret’s blood. His first skiing experience took place at the age of two and, he spent the next 15…

World’s Most Advanced Chairlift Yet Coming to Montana

What is believed to be the most advanced chairlift yet built will be installed at the Montana ski resort of Big Sky this summer and be operational for winter 2018-19. The new lift, which will also be the first eight-seater chairlift to be installed in North America will feature a host of hi-tec functions, some of them visible to users, others to the lift’s operators. The next generation Doppelmayr D-Line chairlift will provide feature the signature Big Sky blue bubble covers for added warmth and seats that are heated, form-fitting and wider than any ever made, providing what Doppelmayr say will be the most comfortable chairlift ride yet conceived. Other features include an integrated 30’ x 10’ high resolution LED…

Location, Location, Location’s Phil Spencer Amongst Team Raising Over £1m For Charity in Gruelling Ski Touring Challenge

A charity fund-raising ski expedition in Switzerland which took place over four days at the end of February to raise funds for research into paediatric brain tumours looks set to raise over £1 million. Along with 30 other intrepid challengers, Phil Spencer, the Channel 4 presenter of Location, Location, Location and Love it or List It joined the charity’s epic ski tour in Verbier, ski-touring a gruelling total of 8,848 metres uphill, the height of Everest.  “It was a personal Everest for everyone. It was simply incredible and something I would never have thought I would have been able to achieve. It was the epic challenge of my life!” Phil said after completing the challenge. Teams ski tour the height…

Biggest Snowfalls This Century in Western Spain

There have been some huge snowfalls in Spain this week and unusually it is not the mountain range where the country’s biggest ski areas are that have been really dumped on. Spain has more than 30 ski areas with about half of them, including most of the larger centres, in the Pyrenees along the country’s northeastern border. But the others are located all over the country in other mountain ranges including the Sistema Central and the Cantabrian Mountains or Cantabrian Range that stretch for over 300 km across northern Spain, from the western limit of the Pyrenees to the Galician Massif in Galicia, along the coast of the Cantabrian Sea. It’s small ski areas in these mountains that are reporting…

Chairlift Operator Blamed For Georgia’s Ski-Lift-Going-Backwards Accident That Went Viral

The operator of a fixed-grip chairlift which went in to revere at apparently high speed, flinging skiers on the lift of backwards with centrifugal force, has been blamed for the accident. Video of the accident on March 16th went viral and news media outlets all over the world broadcast footage of the incident, causing the Georgian government to launch a major damage imitation exercise to try to salvage the reputation of the Gudauri ski area which has seen major investment in recent years in an attempt to build its status as an international destination resort. The Georgian government employed an organisation called ‘Bureau Veritas’ to look in to the accident, describing them as international safety experts. The Bureau Veritas report…

Japan update and focus on Nagano (Hakuba)

Here we are in March. And for most of Japan, nature seems to have taken that as a clear sign to quickly switch to spring mode. It has been a generally mild and spring-like start to the month along with some nasty rain in lots of places. It might not feel like it right now, but historically March has a habit of delivering some good surprises and can offer some really feel-good conditions on the slopes. At the time of writing its early days yet, so hopefully, we might get some of that this season. Come the end of March and early April, lots of ski hills in Japan will be closing for the season, but a fair number of…

In search of whitegold on the silk road – adventure skiing in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is a country few skiers could spell and fewer still confidently locate on a world map. Once the centre of the world at the heart of the Silk Road and later part of the mighty Soviet bloc, the “Switzerland of Central Asia” (a topographic rather than economic likeness) is bordered by China to the east and a trifecta of fellow ‘Stans- Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan- to the north, south and west. The vast peaks of the Tien Shan and Pamir mountain ranges dominate three-quarters of the country. Once popular with holidaying Russians, the fall of the Soviet Union decimated its tourism industry. But, thanks to its considerable natural attributes and an increasing number of enterprising local and international operators,…

The Italian Drop

Bruce Pope explores the vast terrain of the Monterosa region and experiences heliskiing for the very first time Crouched in the snow, I try to keep my excitement in check as the ‘WHUP-WHUP-WHUP’ sound of the approaching helicopter echoes up the valley towards me. I’ve never been in a helicopter before, but in a couple of minutes, I’ll be whisked between the mountain peaks of the Monte Rosa massif for my introduction to heliskiing. In my head, I run through the instructions I’ve been given by our mountain guide, Roberto Valzer: “Keep low, protect your eyes from the downwash, wait until called forward, be careful climbing aboard, follow the pilot’s instructions. “And leave room for me!” he adds, with a twinkle…

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