Ski Bespoke Blog

Mountains aren’t just for winter…

Written on June 28th, 2012
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Canada not only offers world class skiing, it is also an incredible summer destination.

Whilst Canada is a popular choice for ski holidays, with many top resorts such as Whistler, Banff, Lake Louise to name just a few, it also has so much to offer during the summer months, it is a truly spectacular place to be. The options are endless and there is something for everyone, from festivals and heritage trips to its vibrant cities and urban chic. You can be wined and dined or take a spa & wellness option, or even a beautiful log cabin set in a spectacular landscape.

Not to mention the wildlife! You have many options from; observing Moose, bear viewing, whale and marine encounters to polar bears. It is a great opportunity to see these animals in their natural environment.

This country really does have something for everyone whether it’s an exciting family holiday you are looking for, wildlife experiences, fishing trips, spa & wellness or a ranch holiday, you will not be disappointed.

Please see a sample itinerary below and please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your holiday.

A Sublime Mountain Adventure

Day One – Alberta Touchdown
As you fly into Calgary you will catch a glimpse of the jagged peaks of the Rockies. You will transfer to pine-scented mountain air of Banff.

Day Two – Splash & Spa
Prepare yourself for an adrenalin rush with white water rafting rapids followed by pampering yourself with rejuvenating spa treatments.

Day Three – Hike in the Clouds
Take a helicopter ride to the remote Columbia Mountains of British Columbia. At your well-appointed mountain lodge, infinite adventures await.

Day Four – Spectacular Landscapes
Prepare to be astonished, an untamed wilderness will unfold under your hiking boots. Travel by helicopter to mountains so isolated some have not even been named.

Day Five – Choose your Adventure
Hike along scenic ridges where few other people have been privileged to walk. If you are feeling daring you can zip-line over a raging river or scale a rocky peak. At the end of the day immerse yourself in the rooftop hot tub and the sensational view.

Day Six – Two Canadian Landmarks
Revel in a helicopter ride back to Alberta and Lake Louise, a scenic gem nestled in one of Canada’s most beloved parks. Either hike its shores or glide across it by canoe.

Day Seven – Onto the Glacier
With crampons on your hiking boots, cross a remnant of ancient history with a skilled guide. The Athabasca Glacier in the Columbia Icefields is an exquisitely beautiful expanse of deep crevasses and towering icefalls. After this challenging excursions linger over a gourmet dinner in your elegant Lake Louise Hotel.

Day Eight – The Adventure Concludes
It’s time to return to Calgary for your flight home and while you leave the enthralling landscape behind, it will never leave you.
Remember, this is a just sample itinerary –  please call for a more detailed quote!

Are Airlines Finally Banning the Ban on Liquids?

Written on May 10th, 2012
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Newly approved airport scanners will allow passengers to carry toiletries and bottles of liquid in their hand luggage within the next 12 months, transport bosses confirmed today.

A complete ban on carrying liquids over 100ml onto aircraft is still in place at airports, but the ruling could be changed by the end of next April after new devices were approved by the Department for Transport.

Airline passengers will still have to remove bottles from their hand luggage to be inspected, but will no longer be banned from carrying liquids in containers larger than 100ml.

The newly-tested and approved airport scanners will be installed at every airport in Britain and the EU by April 2013, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The move will ease the flying experience for passengers previously inconvenienced by lengthy inspections and having to hand over expensive toiletries.

Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond had previously hinted that regulations would be eased, after saying he sympathised with parents with young children who had to taste jars of baby food and drink to prove they were safe.

The new scanners have been tested at numerous airports as part of EU trials.

A Department for Transport spokesperson confirmed devices had been approved, adding it was working with the EU to meet the April 29 deadline on lifting current restrictions.

However, there has been no plans to change the ski carriage charges… These look likely to stay.


Record breaking snow continues…

Written on March 26th, 2012
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Deep powder at Sunshine Village, March 15, 2012. Photo by Sean Hannah

Banff–Lake Louise has been experiencing fantastic snowfall conditions this year and now they are even breaking records.

Sunshine Village has just set the record for the its largest snowfall in the resort’s 84 year history, with 909 cm having fallen since opening day. What makes this record breaking even better is that it is dry light Canadian Rockies powder, some of the best snow in Canada for skiing and boarding.

The Lake Louise Ski area is not far off from breaking records either having recorded their best March snowfall since 1956 with 154cm falling so far!

Canada’s Protected Playground, made up of Mt. Norquay, The Lake Louise Ski Area and Sunshine Village have had a season full of great snow and it is not over yet. With such strong March snowfalls, fantastic spring skiing is just around the corner and while most of you are pulling out the golf clubs, they will be skiing into late May in Banff National Park. Both The Lake Louise Ski Area and Sunshine Village boast some of the longest seasons in North America and people often ski into the third week of May!

There is still plenty of time to book a spring skiing vacation in beautiful Banff National Park, check out our Banff/Lake Louise page for a great selection of accommodation to suit all needs!

Spring Skiing!

Written on March 15th, 2012
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Spring skiing may be considered ‘low season’ but that’s not a bad thing. As long as you choose the right resort, skiing in April can bring some huge advantages

The (often) warmer, sunny weather makes for ideal apres-ski conditions on the mountain terraces. You can also develop your skiing with alternative outdoor activities, like walking, climbing and snowshoeing in the afternoons.

Provided you avoid the Easter holiday, spring is not a peak time – so you’ll find fewer skiers on the slopes, which means shorter lift queues and more skiing time. Skiing in low season is also easier on the wallet – the price of lift passes fall in April and hotels usually lower their rates.

Springtime in the L’Espace Killy region means beautiful sunny days with warmer temperatures and longer lift opening times. Snow quality may not be quite as good as mid-winter, but big snowfalls in April are actually very common. On top of this, you have a whole winter’s worth of snowfall as a good base.

Spring skiers should hit the slopes between 10 and 2, not too early to avoid the ice and not too late to get the slushy remains of the day.

In a lot of places, spring means shuttering up and staring down the end of another ski season.

But Whistler Blackcomb isn’t most places. Here, spring is all about long runs in short sleeves, après pints under bluebird skies and some of the best deals of the season

Coupled with the fact that Whistler has received more than 52cm in the last 48 hours, spring conditions might just be the perfect conditions!

The Dangers of Off-Piste Skiing

Written on February 24th, 2012
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As a ski tour operator we can obviously see the appeal of going off piste. But we would always advocate you take the correct precautions.

You should always have adequate ski insurance that covers you for off piste skiing, have the correct kit with you and at all times we would always recommend you go under the supervision of a guide.

While off piste skiing can offer some superb fresh tracks, it comes with its own dangers – mainly the fear of an avalanche. While reports are fortunately few in number, there are instances when serious injury or worse can come from going off piste without being properly prepared.

Some people are lucky. British skier Miss Rhianna Shaw from Chichester, West Sussex survived after she was buried alive in an avalanche and declared clinically dead.

The accident happened on Thursday last week when Miss Shaw, who is spending the ski season working in Austria, was skiing off piste near St Anton with five friends. She had been out on the same slopes several times before.

She said: ‘We hadn’t had snow for a couple of weeks then lots came down and it was a lovely sunny day so we decided to go out.

There is only a six per cent chance of resuscitation once someone has been buried in deep snow for eight minutes.

Miss Shaw, from Chichester, West Sussex, said yesterday it was ‘absolutely terrifying’ as she could not move and her friends could not hear her screams for help.

She said: ‘There was several feet of snow on top of me. You usually think snow will move but it just sets like concrete around you.

‘I was absolutely frozen and  I couldn’t move an inch. I could just about make out which way was up as a little bit of light was coming through and I could hear faint sounds.

‘All I could do was scream for help, but no one could hear me.

‘They thought I might have skied off and I could hear my mobile ringing in my pocket but I couldn’t answer it. It was absolutely terrifying.’

‘I was completely buried alive and no part of me was above the surface. I would rather have not been conscious but I was.

After 11 minutes buried under the snow, most skiers die. Miss Shaw was taken to hospital by helicopter and put on a drip. A week on, she is ‘doing well’ but still haunted by the accident.

She said: ‘It hits me at strange times. It’s like a weird bad  dream. I won’t be going off piste again in a hurry.’

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland has some very good safety advice and information on avalanches. 


TTR World Snowboard Tour – Billabong Air & Style, Innsbruck

Written on January 30th, 2012
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If you’re looking for a short ski break to get away from it all, and dont fancy spending the full week in resort, few places are better than the Austrian alpine town of Innsbruck.

With direct flights from almost every major airport in the UK, combined with a number of resorts within an easy (and often under) 1.5 hour transfer – including LechSt AntonZursIschglKirchburgKitzbuhel to name a few – Innsbruck is also a major town, capable of hosting a number of winter events throughout the season.

This winter season marks the 10th anniversary of the TTR World Tour – established by Terje Haakonsen aimed to become the most innovative and grass-roots tour, connecting the most prestigious independent snowboard events worldwide.

From 2 – 4 February riders will make a stop off in Austria for one of the longest-running events in snowboarding: Billabong Air & Style in Innsbruck, where the atmosphere is bound to be as electric as ever at the iconic Bergisel ski jump.

New for the TTR Tour this year is the introduction of an all-new World Tour Ranking system which ranks riders in individual disciplines: Overall Tour Ranking, Halfpipe Tour Ranking, Slopestyle Tour Ranking and Big Air Tour Ranking. The season will be capped off with the cornerstone of freestyle snowboarding events, the 30th annual Burton US Open, where TTR will crown the Overall, Halfpipe and Slopestyle Tour Champions.  The combined prize purse of all 6Star events for the 2011/12 season is worth a whopping $1.15-million USD.

Watch a promo for the TTR World Snowboard Tour.


World Ice Cider Festival

Written on January 17th, 2012
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While Ontario and British Columbia have their Icewines – sweet, luscious nectars squeezed from frozen grapes – Québec has turned the province’s sometimes harsh climate from a curse into a blessing and created ice cider, a tart alcoholic concoction coaxed from frozen apples.

Since the first ice ciders became available in 1996 they’ve snatched international medals and sold out in more than 30 countries. These days about 50 producers, mostly family and boutique enterprises in the Eastern Townships outside of Montréal, have made ice cider the fastest-growing sector of Quebec’s beverage industry.

To celebrate the success of “apple icewine,” 2012 sees the launch of the 5th annual Mondial du Cidre de Glace – the World Ice Cider Festival – held between 10th – 12th February.

Amid the orchards of the agricultural community of Rougemont, 50 km (30 miles) east of Montréal, more than 25 producers will compete and offer tastings.

Among them are the much-awarded Domaine Pinnacle whose ice ciders were featured at the 2010 Shanghai Expo, and scrumptious offerings like icy Neige from La Face Cachée de la Pomme. Sip and sample the spectrum of ice ciders from fresh sparkling aperitifs to creamy Bailey’s-like treats paired up with local delicacies from chocolate to cheeses.

With return flights out to Montreal coming in much cheaper than their neighbours in  the west coast, this is yet another reason to visit Québec !

You can even take in some skiing at the same time…



Written on January 12th, 2012
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I went to Hintertux and Kirchberg in Austria for a pre Christmas warm up which gave me the excuse to try out my new compression underwear.

For those not familiar with it, the main benefits of compression sportswear is that it keeps the muscles warm to prevent muscle strain and fatigue, and wicks away moisture  from the body keeping you warm and dry. In addition, there is some evidence that compression underwear may enhance athletic performance. or so I would like to think, but I did feel that my legs were not quite so tired after a first hard day on the slopes especially it being the inaugural ski of the season. There are various brands and price points but they all do the same thing and are all sold at good ski retailers. (Enter our ‘Name A Cow’ Competition and you can get a pair?!)

The other added bonus I felt a bit like Spiderman for the day!

Definitely worth considering, have a look at them some time .


words: Mr D Benson.

Swiss Cowmpetition

Written on December 22nd, 2011
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Swiss Cow Competition

Ski Bespoke has a family of Swiss cows (they are wooden not real unfortunately). Our latest member to the herd sadly does not have a name..

So we would like you to name our newest arrival!

To see how she is settling in, please follow them on facebook.
The lucky winner will win a £100 voucher for Snow +Rock!

To enter the competition, please go to our facebook wall and leave a comment telling us which name best suits our cow.
The competition ends 18 January.

Don’t forget you can also follow Ski Bespoke on Twitter @ SkiBespoke


Vail Wi-Fi Gondola for 2012

Written on December 20th, 2011
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Vail Mountain Announces a State-of-the-Art Gondola to Replace Vista Bahn Express Lift (#16) in Vail Village

  •  Opening of new gondola will coincide with Vail’s 50th anniversary in December 2012
  • High-capacity gondola – first of its kind in North America – will increase uphill capacity by 40 percent and include new features such as free Wi-Fi access

Vail Mountain, the largest ski resort in the United States, has already begun making plans for its 50th anniversary in December 2012, by announcing the planned installation of a new, state-of-the art gondola to replace the Vista Bahn Express Lift (#16) in Vail Village.

The new gondola, which will have the number “1” to commemorate Vail’s original gondola in that location, will provide a 40 percent improvement in uphill capacity over the existing Vista Bahn Express Lift (#16) – the highest of any gondola in North America. The state-of-the-art gondola, the first installation of its kind in North America, will offer new features, such as free Wi-Fi access for guest.

“We could think of no better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vail Mountain than by making a dramatic investment to improve the experience for our guests. The new gondola will set a standard for how we transport guests up the mountain, significantly reducing wait times at one of the most popular and recognized lifts anywhere in the world. It will also offer a protected and comfortable ride, complete with free Wi-Fi access,” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. “The new gondola continues a long tradition of Vail’s investments to set the leading position in guest service anywhere in the mountain resort industry.”

“The new gondola in Vail Village will provide the final touch to Vail’s multi-billion dollar renaissance over the past decade, which has been the result of an incredible partnership between Vail Resorts, the Town of Vail and the entire Vail community,” said Andy Daly, mayor of the Town of Vail. “These investments have ensured Vail’s leadership position in the resort industry for many years to come.”

The new gondola will be located in the same location as the existing lift and will reach the same location at Mid-Vail. The gondola is a state-of-the-art lift replacing the technology of the existing high-speed quad lift that was installed in 1985, approximately 26 years ago, and reintroducing a gondola to Vail Village not experienced since the 1970s. The gondola is proposed to be installed in the spring and summer of 2012 and be operational for opening day of the 2012-2013 ski season, just in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vail.

The base lift facility will be similar to the existing equipment but instead of chairs hanging from a cable, there will be gondola cabins. Unlike the Eagle Bahn Gondola (#19) in Lionshead, which is an enclosed facility, the new gondola will be an open air terminal.


“Many thanks for your excellent service”

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