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Archive for August, 2009

Luxury ski chalet company Descent International goes into liquidation

August 21st, 2009

The news which has shocked the ski holiday industry today is that Descent International has gone into voluntary liquidation, leaving a number of high profile clients out of pocket, including the Duke of York.

Because the company was just a accommodation provider, they had none of the financial protection in place required by tour operators, so it is unlikely that any of the clients will see their money.

Descent International are the latest in a line of luxury chalet operators to go under this year, including Indigo Lodges and Ski All America. Other luxury chalet companies are reporting bookings to be down 17% on this time last year.

Conversely, smaller ski companies such as White-Peak Holidays who offer luxury self catered chalets in the Portes du Soleil are well up on bookings compared to this time last year, and even this time the year before. This suggests that perhaps the recession is hitting the more high brow resorts (such as Verbier at Courcheval) to the benefit of other ski areas such as the Portes du Soleil.

The ski website welove2ski documents the demise of Descent in detail here.

Here at AllMountainHolidays, we are keeping our fingers crossed that other independent ski companies can ride out these hard times and come out of the recession stronger and wiser!

Keep the faith…things will get better.

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Ski and Snowboard News, ski holidays

Possibly The Longest Downhill MTB Course In The World…?

August 20th, 2009

Marc Beaumont (GBR) dons his helmet cam as he launches down the epic Monster Energy Garbanzo DH in Whistler, Canada. This is Marc’s actual race run, in full, just to illustrate how tough and long this race is. The Team GT rider finished in 13:58.55, taking fourth place, only 14 secs behind race winner LEOV (NZL).

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Mountain Biking

Austrian Ski Racing Legend Renate Goetschl Retires

August 20th, 2009

The 34 year-old Austrian ski racing star Renate Goetschl announced on Wednesday her retirement from active racing, saying that the decision was an easy one as she is expecting a child.

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Ski & snow news

K2 Release Tribute Ski To Shane McConkey

August 20th, 2009
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Shane McConkey

Shane McConkey was a legendary free rider who died tragically in a ski BASE jumping accident in the Italian Dolomites in March 2009.

To celebrate the life of McConkey, K2 will release a limited edition ski for the winter 2009/2010 season. Only 500 pairs will be available, and all profits generated by the sales will be donated to Shane’s family.

Shane was a memeber of the K2 ski team, and according to Jeff Mechura, Global Brand Director for K2, “He was the pure embodiment of everything that K2 stands for, and we cherished the time we were able to spend with him”

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Pierre & Vacances acquires Arc 1950 & Flaine Montsoleil from Intrawest

August 20th, 2009

12th August 2009Pierre & Vacances Group and Intrawest Hotels & Residences have signed an agreement for the acquisition of Intrawest’s lodging and commercial operations at Arc 1950 in Savoie and the Flaine Montsoleil resort located in the Haute Savoie region of France.

Arc 1950 is Intrawest’s first mountain resort in Europe. The acquisition agreement includes the resort’s lodging management business, which consists of 655 apartments managed under the  “Radisson” and “Intrawest Hotels & Residences” brands. Also included in the transaction is the management of two restaurants, a bar and two commercial spaces located in the resort village. The operations at Flaine Montsoleil Resort include the resort’s lodging management business, which consists of 138 apartments. All of the staff associated with each of these businesses will also transition under the management of Pierre et Vacances. This includes both on site staff and support staff located in Bourget du Lac.

As part of the terms of the agreement, Pierre et Vacances will operate both resorts in accordance with 4-star tourist residence standards. The addition of these two branded resorts will significantly enhance the Pierre & Vacances Premium Alpine holiday offering, which includes residences currently operated under the Résidences MGM, and Pierre & Vacances residences (Courcheval, Méribel…).

The acquisition is scheduled to close on 1st October 2009.

Intrawest ULC is a leader in the development and management of experiential destination resorts. The company has interests in ten resorts in North America’s most popular mountain destinations including Whistler Blackcomb, a host venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympics Winter Games. The Intrawest network also includes Canadian Mountain Holidays, the largest heli-skiing operation in the world; Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Florida; and Club Intrawest – a private resort club with locations throughout North America. In addition, Intrawest develops, markets and sells real estate at its resorts and at other locations across North America and in Europe. Intrawest is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, and is a portfolio company primarily owned by private equity funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group LLC.

About Pierre & Vacances Group

The France-based Pierre & Vacances Group (also known as P&V and PV-Holidays) is the number one provider of holiday residences, villages and hotels all over France. It offers self-catering and hotel holidays in France, Spain, Italy, Morocco, Tunisia, Switzerland and the Caribbean through its five brands: Pierre & Vacances, Maeva, Residences MGM, Latitudes Hotels and Adagio City Aparthotel.

Further information

For further consumer information on P&V, please visit the PV Holidays site.

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Choosing Winter Outdoor Clothing, Equipment and Accessories

August 9th, 2009

Although the British summer is still officially in full swing – even if nobody has told the weather – the winter sports scene is only just around the corner. Proving to be more popular each year, winter adventure activities are not for the faint-hearted. Indeed, winter sports including skiing and snowboarding are physically demanding pursuits that also require a disciplined mental approach. Additionally, activities such as winter hiking and mountain climbing offer their own set of challenges that can prove deadly when not undertaken in a professional and sensible manner.

Of course, the dangers of winter adventure activities are part of their wide appeal, as the fine line between fun and injury is essential for getting the adrenaline pumping. Moreover, the rush of skiing or snowboarding down a mountain having climbed up the other side is fraught with hazards, yet it is this sense of feeling truly alive that keeps people coming back for more each year. Indeed, winter adventure activities are a way of life for many people.

Choosing appropriate outdoor clothing and equipment, however, is not something that should be associated with any sense of risk. Those who partake in winter sports and adventures without the right equipment and clothing are those who put their lives on the line for no good reason. The first thing to note when choosing appropriate outdoor clothing is that the winter can give rise to truly unforgiving temperatures and weather conditions. What may seem like a gentle nature walk, for instance, can quickly turn into a battle of survival. Therefore, clothes should provide adequate thermal protection and insulation, be fully waterproof and yet also breathable and lightweight enough to ensure that sweat does not become a problem. Montane jackets are among the best in the business for these items of clothing. Furthermore, high quality hiking boots, gloves, hats and fully protective trousers are also essential.

Base layers such as Montane`s Bionic long sleeve t-shirt are also very good for regulating the body`s temperature whilst providing a supportive under layer of clothing. These also assist in muscle performance to a certain extent, are lightweight and help to wick sweat away from the body. On a freezing day at the top of a mountain somewhere in Scotland or Wales, base layers can provide an exceptional level of comfort, warmth and support.

Finally, much consideration must also be given to the choice of camping gear. Winter adventure activities will often be undertaken in cold, damp, icy or snowy conditions, whilst wind can be ferocious at a certain altitude. With all this in mind, it is essential that the winter outdoor adventure enthusiast is fully prepared to survive in extremely poor conditions. In this respect, Vango tents such as the Alpha 300 and Spectre 200 provide exceptional cover when required, although it is always necessary to buy a tent that is suitable for the expected conditions (ie., a mountain tent). Furthermore, the Vango Sumatra tent is ideal for the family outdoor adventure.

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Outdoor Equipment

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