VHS BLOG

Snow Report

16 December 2013

We’re off to another bright and sunny week in the Espace Killy and Les 3 Vallees!

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The forecast for both areas looks clear through Wednesday, and (dare we say it?) the update later this week just might include snow. Wouldn’t we like to keep the best of both worlds: balmy, sunsoaked temperatures (just above zero at the summit and around 10 degrees down below) AND some nice, fluffy snow?

In the meantime, Courchevel has begun to open the lower portions of the resort, meaning that there’s still some untouched snow left on 1650 pistes. If you squint hard enough, you can even spot some decent places to sneak off-piste amidst the sunshine. For a live glimpse into what’s going on in Les 3 Vallees, check out the live cam on Val Thorens.

These new openings, accompanied by the FIS Men’s Alpine Ski World Cup in Val D’Isere, Women’s World Cup in Courchevel, and Ibiza Rocks the Snow in Meribel (just to name a few) all happening this week, indicate that there is plenty of activity going on in resorts across the Tarentaise as the winter mindset sinks in. With Christmas less than 10 days away, think of how you can make this season memorable: by giving your loved one the gift of a lifetime with one of our heliski, reverse heliski, Mickey’s Ears half day experience, or off-piste guiding packages. As the season is just beginning, now is the time to make your reservations. Visit our heliski packages page today for descriptions and price lists and take the leap—we’ll see you in the skies!


What’s there in Val D’Isere?: An Update

At press time there is plenty to say for what’s going in the Isere Valley: the weather has been frankly gorgeous for the past few days, holiday makers are starting to flock in, and there is a buzz of excitement for the potential of the season ahead.

 

However, though the weather has been incontestably warm and bluebird throughout the daytime, the quantity of snow is to be desired upon. Since the main dump we had a couple weeks ago, people have capitalised on the chance to make fresh tracks mainly in Tignes, but since then what was fresh pow has become a crusty frozen layer. Those with 105mm underfoot skis are best off holding out until we have more snow. You can hopefully expect to see snow by mid-next week, however rumours have been floating around that it could even be as late as January that the next big dump arrives. Forecast for the steep and deep are looking a little bleak, but meanwhile we can enjoy the beautiful weather!

 

6-day forecasts are sunny and hot, so if piste skiing and a few genepés at lunch is your bag you are most definitely in luck. The emptiness of the slopes is also in your favour, so make the most of it before we are joined by the world and his dog. For those with Espace Killy passes, take advantage of the sun by starting off on the Tignes side (Glacier and Les Lanches areas are nice in the am) or for Val d’Isere the pistes above Solaise near Leissieres (the up-and-over). Come the afternoon, it’s best to avoid Val Claret, as its cold in the shade and queue lifts start to build up fast as everyone starts seeking the sun. Stick instead to the VD glacier or the pistes running down from Marmottes.

 

In other news the social scene is buzzing (and has been for the past few weeks) with a quality event going on every night without fail. Dicks Tea Bar and Chalet Doudoune have been leading the way with seasonnaire parties, numerous themes, and packed venues…all finished far past bedtime. If you’re planning on coming out to party, you wont be disappointed. Casual drinks out have also been buzzing, with Saloon Bar and Le Petit Danois proving great music and a buzzing atmosphere (for après) highly recommend.

 

Overall, partying and piste skiing could not be better, but the freeriders amongst us, keep posted. Not long to go for snow!

–M


MEET JAMES STENTIFORD

One of the things we’re most excited about this year at Val Heliski is getting the chance to work with freeride snowboard legend James Stentiford.

It isn’t going too far to say that James truly is a legend of European snowboarding. He’s been a pro rider for twenty years and is one of the most respected and experienced freeriders in the world – and a regular podium finisher on the Freeride World Tour. So we are proud to collaborate with him on two 5-day splitboard freeriding courses over the 2013/14 winter.

Click here to find out full details on the course and what you can expect to learn. You’ll have an education at the hands of a master, get to do some amazing splitboarding and be a far better rider by the end of the week.

Don’t believe us? Check out the clip above to see Stenti in action.


Snow Report

12 December 2013

Will there be snow in our future? This is the big question all of the resorts are asking themselves this week. Unlike the US, which was recently hit with an early winter storm (according to USA Today, 66.9% of the country was covered in snow as of Monday), Les 3 Vallees have not seen a dusting in weeks—an unwelcome thought as the warmth of the past few days has brought frowns to many a rosy cheek for those awaiting fresh flakes in resorts throughout the valleys.

As we patiently await the snow, there is plenty of work to be done (yes, planning heliskiing trips included!). While all ski areas are busily preparing for the Christmas week, Courchevel is readying itself for another major event: the Women’s Alpine Skiing World Cup to be held this coming Tuesday, December 17th.

Race events include the Slalom and those, along with the opening ceremonies held in Le Forum of Courchevel 1850, will likely be well-attended. Visit Club des Sports Courchevel for more information about the Coupe du Monde. This bird’s-eye-view captured from a gondola depicts the groomers making the slopes race-ready.

 

 

IMG_2951Likewise, the rest of the resort is working to open fully in anticipation of the holiday crowds:

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In Val D’Isere, conditions are expected to be icy as temperatures dip below freezing over the weekend–ideal for snowmakers on the piste. The forecast looks clear and dry, however, so skiers and boarders can take advantage of the days leading up to the seasonal rush. Use this time to practice carefully for the off-piste runs, as light snowcover can make for risky (and rocky) trips down the slope.

The weather in Sainte Foy looks a little warmer, with minimal wind–we are looking forward to seeing some powder on some of the best off-piste runs in Europe. Meanwhile, there is an exciting list of events planned for this winter in Sainte Foy, so be sure to check back for more details about what’s going on each week!


VAL HELISKI SNOW REPORT

Val Heli Ski Snow Report: Monday 9 December 2013

After the last major snowfall a few weeks ago, powder has been scarce in Les 3 Vallees—but that doesn’t mean the skiing has been any less incredible! The temperature has lingered around 0°C and the forecast predicts sunny days ahead, once those clouds clear out…

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…here’s to hoping they don’t linger–that is, unless they bring snow!

Courchevel is only partially open for the time being, with Meribel and Val Thorens accessible and trails leading down to 1650 and below opening up by next weekend.

The terrain is nicely groomed: not too icy with some loose granular. While there isn’t enough snow cover to fully venture off-piste, that hasn’t stopped some brave individuals from trying. To be safe, wait until we get another dusting in order to avoid injury on those hidden rocks and ledges. In the meantime, enjoy the wide-open pistes, fresh corduroy until late morning, and light queues before the Christmas holiday.

Over in the Espace Killy, expect to see some sunny skies for the foreseeable future. Enjoy the bright, dry weather and sparsely populated pistes this week, as well as the relatively mild temperatures between 0° and 3° (with a gentle wind chill, too). In Val D’Isere, the packed snow is hard underfoot, so stick to the south-facing routes, especially in the afternoon.

Sainte-Foy is busily preparing for the opening of its new high-speed chairlift, meaning you’ll have much faster access to the slopes. The Sainte-Foy Tarentaise website boasts that this new lift is capable of traveling at a top speed of 5m/second, and it features top-of-the-line safety measures, such as an automatic locking system. The resort is also installing a brand-new piste machine to ensure that you have the smoothest runs during your stay; we are convinced that Sainte Foy is right on track to welcome its annual crowds.

Cheers to the beginning of an adventure-filled season!


VAL HELISKI DAY TRIP FILM NOW LIVE!

Our day trip heli ski missions are our bread and butter here at Val Heliski. And if you’ve ever wondered exactly what you can expect if you do join us, our latest edit should put you completely in the picture.

It was filmed at the end of March 2013 and was, in the words of our guide and friend Mathieu Ottobon, one of the best days of the winter. It was all there – perfect weather, great snow and a brilliant group of equal ability, including Mail on Sunday ski journalist Neil English, who came along for the ride. Look out for Neil’s article on the site soon.

One of the great things about day trip heliskiing is that you can match the terrain to the group’s level of ability, and the result on this day was some truly inviting intermediate level off-piste terrain completely plastered in the white stuff. Click the link and enjoy….


WE’RE IN EASYJET MAGAZINE!

Get ready to be inspired the next time you hop on Easyjet flight – the guys behind the airline’s in-flight magazine have just published a whopping 8 page feature on Val Heli Ski! Journalist Matt Barr visited us last spring and scored one of the best days of the season. Check it out here or click the link to read the entire thing.

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HOW TO SKI POWDER LIKE A PRO

 

 

How to ski powder like a pro

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1. Don’t lean back

 

There is a common misconception that one should lean back whilst powder skiing but in fact while it is important to keep the tips from sinking, leaning back makes It much harder to turn effectively.  Always maintain a centered position on the skis and try lifting the tips up at the same time by feeling your toes pushing on the tops of your boots.

 

2. Maintain speed and make less frequent turns

 

Instead of trying to carve through powder like you might do on a piste bashed run try pointing your skis down the hill more to maintain speed and turn less. Use the deep fresh snow to slow you down rather than trying to do lots of large turns to control speed.

 

3. Keep a strong core

 

Maintaining balance can be tough because of the weight and depth of the snow. Moguls, other peoples’ tracks and the fresh snow can surprise you and knock you off balance. Use your core strength to powerfully smash through the powder without letting it shock you. With a friend try standing on your skis in a relaxed position and get them to push and shake you. Then try tensing all your abdominal muscles and get them to do the same. You will feel much more stable when your core is tensed.

 

4. Gentle edging

As powder is so much softer than other terrain it is not necessary to dig your edges into the snow as much for grip, or to slow yourself down. Imagine you are mono skiing and put both skis close together whilst keeping equal pressure on each ski throughout the turn using up and down movements to keep your skis above the snow. Stand tall at the beginning of the turn and flex down at the end. As your turns will be quick and short you should feel like you are bouncing from one turn to the other.

 

5. Pole Plant

Pole planting should be used to maintain a rhythm. At the start of each turn as you bounce out of the last one punch your hand forward and plant your pole in the snow down the hill in front of you. Always keep both hands in front of you to prevent you from leaning back after each plant.

 

 

 

 


DISPELLING HELISKI MYTHS:

Originaly published at: http://www.snowzine.com/2013/10/dispelling-heli-skiing-myths/

Have you ever dreamt of jumping into a helicopter, being whisked to the top of a snow capped peak, followed by a heavenly descent back down the mountain through untouched off piste powder?  Heli-skiing is the holy-grail for many skiers and snowboarders and something that many of us aspire to experience one day.  Often however, people are wary of the misconceptions surrounding this extreme sports activity and may be nervous of taking the plunge.  In this article with the expert guidance of Val Heli Ski we will shed some light on the common myths of heli-skiing and show you that it is probably more accessible than you think. Continue reading…