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WHY YOU, TOO, SHOULD GO HELISKIING…

If the thought of paying for a heliski trip makes your palms sweat, that’s fair enough – but it doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg, and you don’t need to be a pro-level rider either. Here’s why you should consider give it a go. All images courtesy of Last Frontier Heliskiing www.lastfrontierheli.com   By Alf Alderson I’m standing on the summit of 3040-metre Pizzo Zembranka on the border of Italy’s Stelvio National Park with four other skiers and a guide. I got here by helicopter in order to deal with the little matter of a 2090-metre descent down wide open, humanity free powder fields… And to do so I had to shell out just 180…

SKIING IN THE LAND OF FIRE AND ICE

Kamchatka is one of the most active volcanic regions on Earth, an integral link in the infamous Pacific Ring of Fire. It’s not a place you’d immediately think of for a ski trip, and indeed you need a helicopter to make the most of the slopes here, but if you do have access to one, you’ll encounter some of the most spectacular skiing on Earth. As it happens I did; well, not me personally, but I was part of a group of 11 Brit, Russian and Dutch skiers (along with two professional ski guides – vital ‘accessories’ on a trip like this) who recently explored the region’s volcanic peaks in an ex-Russian military Mi8 helicopter. One of the…

LAST BUT NOT LEAST

Alf Alderson finds himself ‘accidentally’ taking part in a ski touring race in Switzerland The summit of 2,833-metre Oberalstock in the Bernese Oberland is the kind of place where it’s worth hanging about on a sunny spring day; the views encompass a magnificent glaciated panorama and when I was there we even had the obligatory sea of cloud rolling and tumbling beneath us. But if you’ve inadvertently got yourself mixed up in a ski touring race to the top of said peak you can’t really hang about too long… I was part of a two-man team that had stumbled upon the Susten Derby almost by accident, thanks to an e mail from contacts in the local tourism office…

LOOKING DOWN ON IT ALL

Alf Alderson heads to one of skiing’s most iconic locations If the weather was playing ball the view from here would be one of the most spectacular in the world – as it is all I can see is whiteness. Where the Matterhorn should be – white; where the Breithorn should be – white. So why, you may reasonably ask, am I trudging upward on climbing skins towards 3479-metre Testa Grigia, some 1800 metres above the famous Swiss mountain town of Zermatt (which needless to say is also lost in whiteness)? Here are the reasons: 1. It’s an alternative to climbing up the 4164-metre Breithorn, which was the day’s original plan; 2. I’m in the company of local…

Norwegian Summer Ski Centre Ends 2018 Season Three Months Early Due to Heat

Norway's Galdhøpiggen summer ski area has closed early for the 2018 season.  The ski area, Norway's highest, had been scheduled to stay open to early November. “The sweltering spring and summer temperatures have been hard for the snow,” a ski area spokesperson said, adding, “We must therefore with heavy hearts close indefinitely.” Galdhøpiggen is on Scandinavia's highest mountain at 2469 metres and usually attracts international race teams for training. The centre’s T bar lifts reaches 2,250m on the Veslejuv Glacier from a base of 1900 metres and accesses up to 1.5km of trails over a 350 metre vertical. Norway has two other summer ski centres but one, Stryn, had already opened and closed for summer 2018 with a very short…

BC RIDER

Alf Alderson hits the road in a huge ‘RV’ to visit five of BC’s best If there’s one way of guaranteeing first tracks on a powder day it’s to sleep next to the ski lift, which is why I found myself nodding off one night last February within spitting distance of the Silverlode Chair at Red Mountain, BC. Snow had been falling since dusk some six hours ago, but I was safe and warm in a queen-sized bed in a monster-sized ‘recreational vehicle’, or ‘RV’; this was how, along with my mate and co-driver James, we’d managed to negotiate ourselves into pole position for the feeding frenzy that would…

POWDER HOUNDS

If you’re caught in a slide, these are the guys to call… By Alf Alderson I’m buried beneath a metre of snow, a few chinks of sunlight slicing through gaps to the outside world; but I’m not hurt - in fact, I’m not even worried – because I know an avalanche rescue dog is on the way to find me, and these are the go-to guys in this situation. ‘This situation’ is actually an exercise with the Breckenridge Ski Patrol, so apart from getting a little chilly there really is nothing to get anxious about, for within a minute an enthusiastic canine member of the ski patrol team known as ‘Ayup’ can be…

THE GREATEST?

Trying to ski the ‘Greatest Snow on Earth’ isn’t as easy as you might think. By Alf Alderson There’s an urban myth that the Inuit have around a hundred words for snow (although a recent article in the Washington Post claims the figure is actually 50), but North American marketing men seem intent on pushing the number of English words for the white stuff even higher. Steamboat Springs has its ‘champagne powder’ (trade-marked too, so don’t try using it without permission; which I just have); BC skiers float through ‘white smoke’; and, of course, if you’re in Utah you’ll be skiing the ‘Greatest Snow on Earth’. Or will you? Well, last February, me and my mate James decided…

BOLLÉ B-FUN SKI HELMET REVIEW

BOLLÉ B-FUN £69 www.bolle.com BEST BUY The B-Fun was one of the heavier helmets we tested, at 570g, but this does give it a solid feel and given the price you wouldn’t expect it to be super-lightweight anyway. It uses an injected ABS construction to provide protection, and everything is held in place with an easy-to-use rear dial adjustment system. We particularly liked the lining, which is very warm and very well padded, and there are 12 vents to help regulate the temperature on warmer days, although these are not adjustable. Other features include a poppered goggle strap and click-fit chin guard with soft, fleecy lining, which combined with everything else gives the B-Fun all you need in a helmet…

SINNER TITAN VISOR TRANS+ SKI HELMET REVIEW

SINNER TITAN VISOR TRANS+ £175. www.sinner.eu The Sinner Titan Visor Trans+ is a new design for this season which features in-mould protection and a photochromatic visor that offers protection from cat 1 – 3, which covers light conditions that vary from cloudy to bright sunlight, so you’re covered for most conditions other than a complete whiteout (or darkness). Ventilation is though eight small, meshed vents which unfortunately are not adjustable. You can adjust the fit with an adjustable rear dial, and once it’s all dialled in you’ll find the soft, thick padding and removable ear pads give a very snug, comfy fit. The visor likewise has soft face foam on the bottom for warmth and comfort, although I’d advise trying…