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Pistes and Punsch… early season in Kitzbühel

December skiing is a fickle beast. Pre-Chrimbo snow cover is something of an unknown, and those who do take advantage of early-season tour operator discounts breathe a collective sigh of relief when the flakes start to fly. So is it worth the risk? In my personal experience, the answer is usually yes. Simply being in the mountains, barrelling down empty pistes, and venturing beyond the groomed for the first powder turns (even if it’s only boot-buckle deep) is reason enough to part with a bit of cash and squeeze in a festive snow fix. Advertisements

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Emily Sarsfield in action in Val Thorens

Ski Club sponsored rider and Ski Cross racer Emily Sarsfield is Europe-bound for the next event on the World Cup calendar. Following a bit of action on the other side of the Atlantic, the event in Val Thorens (18-19 December) is the first European stage. Val Thorens is pretty much right in Emily’s backyard (she’s often in Meribel when she’s not training and competing).

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Tales from the lodge – Part 1: Destination Sainte Foy

Ever wanted to leave city life behind and head for the mountains? Mark has done exactly that, joining Venture Ski (a ChaletManager client) as a Resort Manager. In this series of blogs we’ll be taking a “behind the scenes” look at what it takes to run a chalet… from keeping the guests smiling to getting out on the slopes. Wow, it took me three years to pluck up the courage to take a break from city life and work a winter ski season, but ever since the phone rang to tell me I’d had a successful interview, time has flown by – and now the season start is imminent!

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Katy’s Blog: A December day in Courmayeur

Words and pictures by Katy Dartford It’s been just under a week since I made the drive over from the UK to Chamonix and yesterday I finally managed to go skiing… a timely reminder of what all the stress of the last few weeks has been for! Driving up on Friday there was just a light dusting of snow – but since Sunday it’s been dumping down. Being unused to all this, I wasn’t prepared for the amount of time you’d have to leave yourself for digging the car out of the snow before going anywhere – I just thank all the people who warned me!

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Skiing in Alta Badia…

I never thought I would be flying through powder on December 3. Officially opening this coming weekend, Alta Badia, (situated in the upper part of the Val Badia in South Tyrol) offers some incredible skiing with a beautiful backdrop. A new concept of Slope Food is also hitting the mountains this season. Skiers have the opportunity to taste the local cuisine created by different Michelin starred chefs, including John Burton-Race. Their dishes can be found at twelve locations scattered across the resort. And after sampling six of them, I can definitely recommend them all. Especially the ‘salad shaker’. You’ll have to eat it to believe it. For more information visit the Alta Badia Tourist Board; www.altabadia.org

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Estonia’s Got Talent

Yes, Estonia has talent. Or to be more precise, 10 year old Estonian skier Kelly Sildaru has talent. Oodles of it. This  little ripper from the far-flung corner of the Baltic first appeared on the internet a couple of years back, filming with PVS Company. The skills and uncanny balance were evident, but fast forward to now and take a look at her most recent segment, and I think you’ll agree that the world of women’s freestyle skiing is about to get rather interesting. Go on, watch it in full screen.

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Few Words in a few words

I’ve been looking forward to seeing this film since the incredible trailer for it came out in April.  Is Candide Thovex the best skier in the World?  He may not have all the traditional Alpine credentials where speed is king, but for me there is no other skier I would rather watch picking lines on the mountain and Few Words provided a sumptuous feast of this and more.

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New charity, Skiing with Heroes, is launched…

On Tuesday I was fortunate enough to attend the launch of new charity, ‘Skiing with Heroes’. For a week every year, Skiing with Heroes will host adaptive skiing for wounded veterans, including those who have been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is being created to compliment the good work of Help for Heroes and Battle Back. Martin Hewitt, who trekked to the North Pole in 2011, and was the first disabled person to reach the summit of Mt Manaslu, finished the evening with a thought-provoking presentation. Not only showing some incredible footage of the Walking With The Wounded team climbing Mt Everest, but frankly talking about his injury and other problems his team faced. We wish Skiing with Heroes the best of luck. For more information visit: http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/battle-back-disabled-skiers.html

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