Red Paddle Co Ride 10’6″ Stand-Up Paddle Board (SUP) Review

With the stand-up paddle board market rapidly expanding, it can be a minefield in finding the right board for you.  Look no further! The Red Paddle Co Ride 10’6″ stand-up paddle board is the perfect board for all occasions, whether your exploring a river or entertaining the family on a lake the ride 10’6″ will do it all!

Having only recently been introduced to the world of inflatable SUPs, I was amazed by how stable and versatile this board really is. The way Red Paddle Co have designed this board with it monocoque structural laminate (MSL) is truly revolutionary. This way of manufacturing a board means that between the layers of material they have fused a second layer and added in drop stitches, which bind the top and bottom of the board together, to add rigidity and strength. It also allows the board to be 2Kgs lighter due to there not being as much glue between the layers or material. The 10’6″ has also been designed with iFin technology which means that the three fins are mounted to the board area as a permanent fixture;  meaning no tools, no replacement, and most importantly not missing out on that sunset paddle!

Having ridden the board in all conditions I find that the 10”6″ moves smoothly through the water, due to its sleek design and rounded edges. It is extremely easy to manoeuvre making it perfect for someone who is either new to paddle boarding or someone who is looking for more of a cruiser board.  Due to its width it gives the rider that little bit more confidence and stability. And with it’s thermo sealed crocodile deck pad it provides improved grip.

Red Paddle Co also provide a coiled leash with the 10’6″.  I prefer the coiled leash as it doesn’t drag behind you as you paddle, reducing the potential for the leash to get caught up. 

The board can easily be deployed whenever, wherever and can be completely deflated, rolled up and put in a backpack! 

When you purchase a Red Paddle Co board they provide you with a Titan pump which has a dual chamber system which allows you to inflate the board in under 5 minutes!

Don’t believe us? Come and try one out at our Watersports Centre; we will have you from pack to paddling in 5 minutes!!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Why One Should Take Up A Watersport

It’s safe to say that summer is the season to go out, be adventurous and try something new!

Floating around in a garden paddling pool is great and all… but how many times can you handle the children jumping on you, or turning the water a different shade before you want to “accidentally” puncture the side?

This article is here to throw you a summer lifeline by giving you the ins and outs of why one should take up a watersport!

It doesn’t matter how old you are, who you are or even what current fitness shape you are in. Here at Tallington Lakes we host numerous different sports that are suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

Being a boat driver and wakeboard instructor, I can assure you there is no greater feeling in watersports than when you first get up on water skis or a wakeboard.

water skiing tallington lakes

Water-Skiing

Water-skiing involves the use of two separate skis whilst being towed behind a boat. As you progress in your skill, you learn how to mono-ski by only using one ski. Finally, once you have conquered the turning and stability on one ski, you will be able to slalom through our course and look exactly like the guys on our posters! (who doesn’t want that).

If that doesn’t convince you to give it go, then here are a few benefits I pulled from “Health Fitness Revolution”:

  • Increased Balance and Core Strength: getting up on the skis- and staying up- require you to develop both your balance and core strength.
  • Resistance Training: water skiing forces you to hold yourself up and keep going using resistance. It works core muscles, arm muscles, leg muscles, and all the muscles around them.
  • Easy on the Joints: Water skiing uses just about every muscle in the body without wearing down joints because it is all body weight resistance in free range of motion.
  • Meditative aspect: Being on the water, much like in sailing, can have a calming effect on the mind and forces you to focus on the task at hand, forgetting about the day to day stresses and worries. Not to mention that the endorphins from being active will keep you happy and healthy!

wakeboarding tallington lakes

Wakeboarding

The best way to describe wakeboarding is essentially by saying it is a snowboard on water… minus the snow. Just like water-skiing, you are pulled behind a boat. The way in which you progress in wakeboarding is by learning how to “pop” the wake of the boat to achieve “gnarly air man” (a term commonly used by boarders).

Rest assured it is a fantastic feeling to be able to glide smoothly across the water, whilst also learning how to soar through the air performing 180s or 360s!

Again, if that didn’t convince you, my friends at ‘Health Fitness Revolution have these benefits to persuade you:

  • Strengthens arm and leg muscles: When you wakeboard you have to flex, resist and hold positions for periods at a time. Often you also have to build on these held positions and then explode or move from these static flexed positions to execute tricks and techniques.
  • Improves flexibility in the hands and feet: All the jump and turns performed while wakeboarding require hand and foot flexibility to avoid injury. Being agile and nimble on your feet will carry over to everyday activities.
  • Improves reaction times and versatility: With sudden changes of direction and position required, especially based on the boat’s direction and the shift in waves, regular practice improves reaction time and ability to adapt to differences in the water, direction, etc.
  • Develops hand-eye coordination and balance: Stability and balance are the foundation for wakeboarding, so core strength is a key component to this sport. Also, many of the tricks require fast hand switches, rotations, and jumps — all of which require hand-eye coordination and balance.

Wakesurfing

We have lakes, but they are no ordinary lakes. For here at Tallington Lakes we have the power to create an almighty tsunami behind our boats. This tsunami will release the inner surfer dude inside you just dying to rad on out. If skiing or wakeboarding seem a little too strenuous, then wake surfing is for you! It is exactly as it sounds, using the smaller version of a surfboard on a boat wake, in order to continuously glide and surf around the lake!

Once you have learnt to comfortably get up on a wakesurf, you will look the epitome of cool as friends, family and passers-by look at you in awe.

Kneeboarding

We understand that these activities may look daunting to a young child which is exactly why we offer the option of kneeboarding. This is great for children who are less confident on the water and is a fantastic way of slowly building them up to water-skis or wakeboard.  A kneeboard is similar to a body board which many use in the sea. To start, you lie on the board and wait for the boat to slowly pull the board to speed. Once the child feels comfortable they will move to a kneeling position on the board, then simply hold onto the handle and enjoy the ride!

So… Water you waking for?  Come down to Tallington Lakes and try something new!

Thanks Adam (Boat Driver and Wakeboarding Instructor)

 

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Smith Optics Outlier Sunglasses Review

When it comes to sunglasses, I am fussier than a fashion model with OCD:

  • Do I like the colour? Do they fit correctly on my abnormally shaped ears?
  • Are the lenses dark enough to hide my eyes, while also not impairing my vision in the shade?  
  • Will they make my nose appear the same size as Pinocchio’s?
  • Will my street cred rise a considerable amount, finally bringing me to the definition of looking “cool”?

Smith Outlier XL Polarised Chromapop Sunglasses

Therefore I was more than a little sceptical when Tallington Lakes Pro Shop asked me to review these “Smith Outlier XL Polarised ChromaPop” sunglasses. Now, as a boat driver and wakeboard instructor, having polarised sunglasses is an absolute must for me.  If the lenses fail to block the sunlight glare from the water, then I’m basically driving blind and nobody wants that…especially the poor beginner clinging to the handle for dear life behind the boat.

If you, like me, had no idea what the word “ChromaPop” meant and simply thought it was added in order to enhance the “coolness” effect of the sunglasses, then it turns out we were very wrong. Back in 2013 Smith declared:

“ChromaPop Lenses are the most advanced polarised lenses in the world… By blocking colour wave intersections as they pass through the lens, ChromaPop is able to eliminate colour confusion… ChromaPop optimises colour and increases clarity, enabling you to see the outside world with an unparalleled level of vibrancy.”

In other words, they cut through sunlight glare like a hot knife through butter whilst simultaneously spreading the jam on the bread all in one swoop…sweet.

smith optics outlier xl sunglasses
ChromaPop optimises colour and increases clarity, enabling you to see the outside world with an unparalleled level of vibrancy.

Little did I realise how truly magical that jam sandwich would be. I decided to test them around sunset when the glare from the water is at its finest, often resulting in severe wrinkles from squinting so hard, you age by at least ten years.

I was honestly blown away at how the glare from the water turned almost non-existent. I felt I was watching my life behind a new HD TV monitor and Johnny Nash ‘I can see clearly now’ began playing in my ears. 

Not only did the world now look bright and cheerful, when I glanced in my rear view mirror at myself – I wasn’t bombarded with negative thoughts regarding fitting size, shape or colour. I was pleasantly surprised with the way these glasses looked whilst sitting comfortably on the bridge of my nose. I reluctantly removed them, allowing others to test the glasses, and it was clear to see they had the same immediate reaction I did.  Noting the fact our head and faces were all different sizes, yet the glasses always fit perfectly just like Cinderella’s slipper.

If you’re a snow skier/boarder, fishing enthusiast, avid mountaineer or a fussy boat driver like me – these ‘Outliers’ are certainly high contenders in the sunglasses market and will not disappoint.

…Oh and yes, these glasses will definitely raise your street cred!  

Thanks Adam (Boat Driver)

Check out our selection of Smith Optics sunglasses; in store or online!

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Women’s Hoodies Fleeces Review

Ladies if you are thinking of a hoody or fleece, for when it gets a bit nippy this summer, why not have a look at a few Charlie has been trying on – it might help !

Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Fleece

The Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T fleece is ideal in a variety of ways. Firstly this fleece provides a thermal heat with it being 100% recycled polyester which creates a snugly feeling throughout the day, especially if the day is quite chilly! The fleece is also excellent for comfort, thanks to a soft short fur layer lining the inside and high neck. The large all in one pocket not only keeps your hands warm   but can hold objects securely. There is also a small pocket on the chest of the fleece and branded badge.

Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Fleece

From personal experience trying on this fleece I found it had a slim fit but not tight on the arms. I tried a size up than usual which I found more comfortable because of the larger fit; especially wearing a shirt underneath.

Picture Organic Clothing Nesla Hoody

The women’s Picture Nesla is another groovy styled hoody. This has a large ‘Picture Organic Clothing’ print in the centre surrounded by a summer pattern; which stands out from the navy blue colour. The hoody has  pink and white striped band around the bottom, which can be tightened. A large front pouch pocket which is ideal for keeping everyday items, or your hands warm. Extremely comfortable thanks to the 70% organic cotton.  Thick hood which was well wrapped around the neck with a unique twist.

Picture Organic Clothing Nesla Hoody

This had a slim fit and it fit me perfectly in the correct size ; so no need to go an extra size up for a comfier fit. 

Roxy Cruiser Night’s Hoody

The Roxy Cruiser Night’s hoody is a popular fashion item. This is ideal for wearing in the summer season as a form of casual wear for evenings or daytime due to the thin lining made of 60% cotton which is perfect for the summer weather and chilly evenings. The inner layer has a soft layer of fur which maintains a bearable amount of heat. This also features a simple but potent design which gives off a summer feel and represents the Roxy brand on the centre of the hoody. A front pouch which I found was ideal for keeping everyday items in or useful for just heating up my hands.

Roxy Cruiser Night’s Hoody

Volcom In A Dayz Hoody

 The Volcom In A Dayz hoody is a simple but trendsetting product however, different in a variety of ways compared to the previous hoodies. This has a zip which is perfect for matching with a shirt beneath which may contrast of the heather grey colour. I found this is easy to match with any day outfits as well as being a comfortable and thermal ideal for breezy weather, featuring two pockets ideal for warmth with the thick lining.

Volcom In A Dayz Hoody

The sizing was perfect as this wasn’t too tight or too baggy but had a stretched fit which was cosy to lounge in.

Why not check out the rest of our women’s hoodies from these and other brands!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Stand Up Paddleboarding – the must try sport for 2017

Stand Up Paddleboarding (or SUP as it’s commonly known) has quickly grown to become one of the most popular watersports on Earth. SUP has set the world alight because a whole host of different reasons. It’s incredibly inclusive – if you’re fit enough to walk up a flight of stairs you’re fit enough to paddleboard, it’s very easy to get standing and paddling away and it is fantastic exercise. SUP is not only a fantastic cardiovascular workout but it also gives more than 11 of your core muscle groups a serious workout. Not forgetting SUP Yoga! On top of all that SUP is the best way to explore new and existing areas, see wildlife and most importantly, have fun.

Stand Up Paddle Board

All you need to SUP is a board, a paddle and a leash (to keep you attached to your board in case you fall off). We recommend Red Paddle Co inflatable boards. Red Paddle Co boards are the best on the market and are incredibly stiff, durable and have the same performance as a hardboard. The liberating thing about an inflatable stand-up paddleboard is how portable it is – it can go practically everywhere with you. You don’t need a van or a roof rack to take it on a road trip, or even a large space to store it at home. Red Paddle Co inflatable boards can be rolled up to fit into their own compact bags and can be worn as a backpack or rolled along on wheels. They also come with a pump, paddle and leash as standard.

So, start SUPing this summer and get ready for every waterway to become an avenue for adventure, for escape, and for discovering areas of natural beauty that you’ve never even dreamt of. Learn that it’s possible to keep fit while having fun and sharing quality time with family and friends.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Hard-Shell Or Rubber Water Ski Boot (Binding)

The world of slalom water-skiing is a vast one when it comes to choosing the most high performance boots. The most regular question I get asked about bindings is “should I use a hard-shell or a rubber water ski binding?” The answer to this question is that you should use what you feel comfortable with. However determining this is easier said than done!

Rubber Water Ski Boot (Binding)

I started off my water-skiing life with a traditional rubber binding. This binding was perfectly suitable for learning how to perform deep-water starts, crossing the wake from side to side and water skiing comfortably on a slalom ski in a recreational environment, with no buoys to worry about.

When I was introduced to the slalom course, I swapped my traditional rubber binding for a HO Animal Boot (Binding). This boot supported me through learning the course and it was ridiculously comfortable! The binding still continued to support me when I increased the speed at which I was being towed through the course. By the end of last season, when I was still using the HO Animal Boot, it was carrying me through the course at a confident 36mph. The Animal Boot is a very comfortable binding because it’s not overly tight; however despite this the boot still gives excellent support around the ankle and heel of the foot – due to the insole of the boot. Over time the insole of the boot moulds to the contours of your foot, giving you the same feeling through the boot every time. Due to the lacing system on the HO Animal Boot, it is quick and easy to slip on and off which is a great asset, especially if you’re itching to get in or out on the water! Just a simple squirt of some boot slime and you’ll slip straight in there!

ho rubber water ski boot
The HO Animal Boot, it was carrying me through the course at a confident 36mph.

Hard-Shell Water Ski Boot

As much as I loved the HO Animal Boot, I decided to give the hard-shell option a whirl. The whole system was quite complex to set up once the releasing mechanism was bolted onto the ski. However, despite racking my brain for around two hours figuring out how it worked, I finally sorted it and found myself standing on the dock clutching my handle ready to water ski. I won’t go into all the details of that first set with the hard-shell because it would be rather embarrassing; but I will say I spent more time in the water than on top of it!

Despite this I persevered with the hard-shell. It is very different from the Animal, primarily because to hard-shell has a more snug-fit around the foot due to the plastic outer shell. This has often given me an aching sensation in my foot if I have over tightened the binding. However if the hard-shell is correctly tightened , this isn’t such a problem. Personally, I find the hard-shell a confidence-inspiring boot, allowing me to attack the wakes that little bit more.

water skier hard-shell boot
Personally, I find the hard-shell a confidence-inspiring boot, allowing me to attack the wakes that little bit more.

Overall both the HO Animal Boot and the hard-shell are very good bindings. However there is a huge difference in price. Considering the Animal provides me with great performance at those higher speeds and shorter rope lengths, just like the hard-shell, it certainly the cheaper option. This is often found with most rubber water ski boots compared to the hard-shells.

Luckily for you, the Tallington Lakes Pro Shop stock the HO Animal Boot and many other quality boots, so I would certainly consider looking at these to gain a better performance and save those hard earned pennies before you dive into the complex world of a hard-shell! I hope you all have a good, injury free, start to the season!    

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Oakley Crossrange Sunglasses Review

When it comes to a pair of sunglasses that are suitable for both lifestyle and active wear, Oakley have got it right. The Oakley Crossrange sunglasses aren’t a hybrid. Theses shades come with two sets of nose pads and temples, or arms (the bit that extends over the ear to help keep the sunglasses in place), to suit the conditions/mood you are wearing them in!

Oakley has a video of some cheeky hipsters, including Chas Christiansen, riding bicycles to show the versatility of these sunglasses, however, I chose to wear them:
Lifestyle – attending a Game and Country Fair
Active – walking in the Derbyshire Peak District

Lifestyle Sunglasses

The lifestyle nose pad and temples were extremely comfortable; and made the shades easy to take off and put back on, as you walked in and out of marquees and the sun. Certainly did the job, and didn’t look out of place –hipster!

Active Sunglasses

You immediately felt the active nose pad and temples get into position, when putting them on, giving you confidence that they would not be slipping out of place; thanks to the grippy nose pads and earsocks. These are made from Oakley’s ‘Unobtanium’; a patented Oakley material that becomes tacky when wet/or you sweat and holds the frame in perfect optical alignment. 

OK walking in the Peak District may not be classed as extreme, but we were keeping up a healthy pace, along undulating terrain (including a bit of scrambling). It was a warm day, so perspiration was building up, yet the sunglasses did not move. Once again extremely comfortable and I was confident they were not going to fall off!

oakley crossrange sunglasses

Crossrange

The Crossrange comes in three styles: the Crossrange, Crossrange XL, and the Crossrange R (coming soon). All are made to Oakley’s exceptionally high standards, and seeing-is-believing with these ‘High Definition Optics’. The Crossrange XL, as its name implies is for a larger face, with a lens height of 46.7mm; compared to 46.1mm and 43mm  for the Crossrange R and Crossrange. The temples and bridge are identical on all three: 137mm and 17mm respectively.

The mechanism to swap the nose pads or temples is very simple to use, yet secure, but not designed to be change mid-activity!

Prizm Lenses

Oakley is moving towards Prizm lenses in all their sunglasses, following the success of Prizm in goggles. The lenses are designed for different environment such as: Everyday, Sport – Road, Golf, Trail, Deep Water, Snow etc.

However, as I found, although designed for a particular environment they are equally effective outside of that environment. Back to my stroll around a Country Fair and walk in the Peak District; the Prizm Sapphire Snow lenses performed outstandingly without a flake of snow in sight! Obviously I will update this blog once I have experienced them in the snow; but for now, as ever, Oakley have designed another excellent pair of sunglasses….

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

O’Neill Heritage T-Shirt Collection

Now these  may just look like normal t-shirts to you, however there is an individual story behind each one, the O’Neill Heritage T-Shirt Collection by Jack O’Neill. Back in the fifties O’Neill started up as a small surf shop. Now it’s thriving more than ever and ready to include you in the journey; inside each t-shirt is the story behind the picture on the front of the t-shirt! Welcome to the world of Jack O’Neill……

O’Neill Heritage T-Shirts

The 1950’s t-shirt features a picture of the Surf Shop which was located behind the fence, indicated by the large piece of driftwood written on by Jack and his surfer friends. This is one of the earliest photographs of the surf shop when it first opened in 1952.

oneill heritage t-shirt collection 1950
Surf Shop. Custom surf boards and tailored wet suits.

The 60’s t-shirt is made from a collection of photographs from the O’Neill Heritage archive. This particular collage of photos is called ‘First Name in the Water’ and is inspired by the old surf movie posters.

oneill heritage t-shirt collection 1960
First name in the water, O’Neill.

The 1970’s t-shirt represents the first wetsuit which came from O’Neill. The original advert shows the long john wetsuit which has no sleeves, and resembles a bib, hence the nickname.

Originals. Check out the ‘Long John’ wetsuit on the left!

These are only a few of the t-shirts from the whole Heritage Collection, which we have in stock. Please have a look for them in store or check our O’Neill clothing online!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The Integral Haute Route – France Switzerland

Two years ago, Tim Davies and I started the standard Haute Route (a high Alpine ski tour linking Chamonix and Zermatt) with Andy Cowan who 2 days in had to pull out due to injury. We managed to get as far as the Valsorey Hut where Tim developed appendicitis and had to be air lifted by helicopter and have an emergency operation; which left me on my own and having to ski back down over the glacier and crevasses by myself, which was quite interesting. The following year we did a few routes around the Imperial Haute Route but always planned to come back and have a go at the Imperial Haute Route proper.

Imperial Haute Route (Grand Lui Variation)

So after saying good-bye to the Oakham Lower School ski trip I met up with Tim and started to sort kit, huts, transport, etc. Our weather forecast for the week ahead was good and so two old men set out on a journey from Chamonix to Zermatt via La Fouly. The Integral Haute Route is two days longer than the standard routes, has more high gain and loss, and does not require you to book a taxi so is more of a pure journey.

We knew that the start was going to be a bit of a ‘bun fight’, as we had to do hand to hand combat with the queues at the Grand Montets Cable-Car Station. This is always a bottleneck and means a slow start wedged in with huge crowds. Luckily, the cable-car was running smoothly and after a couple of hours, we found ourselves deposited at the top station ready to go! Avalanche transceivers checked and harnesses on we set off across the Argentiere Glacier towards the Col du Chardonnet (3323m). We travelled quite quickly deand managed to overtake many guided groups, which meant that when we arrived at the Col there were only a few people, and groups in front of us. As there was a fixed rope already in place and we were a small team, Tim managed to persuade the French to allow us to jump the que, which was a great result. Once down we set off for the Trient Hut, but first had a great view of our route for early the next day whilst having a late lunch. Climbing the Fenetre de Saliena (3261m) had us skiing down the Trient Glacier towards our evening stop. The hut is well positioned with great views and is a mix of old and new even if the guardian is a little less than welcoming.

skier climbing col
Steve climbs down the Col Fenetre de Saliena (3261m).

The standard route goes down to Champex where you get a bus or taxi to Bourg St. Pierre, however, we chose to ski over the Grand Lui to La Fouly which would mean we could ski/walk the whole route making it a little more challenging, purer and two day’s longer. We left the Trient and skied some excellent snow with no one else anywhere to be seen. It was great to be in these high mountains and have the place to ourselves. The Col de Saleina (3419m) was easy enough to get over and then followed some more fantastic snow, which started to change as we neared the valley to heavy slush, which made skiing a little more challenging. Scrabbling through some loose rocks and boulders gave access to the final stretch down to La Fouly and the Auberge des Glaciers. I had been through here a few years previously when doing the Tour De Mont Blanc with family and friends and remembered it as being very relaxing. The hotel was great and we had the dormitory to ourselves so we managed to spread out and sort kit. Being in a valley meant that the meal was exceptional in quality and value for money plus we had showers.

Day 3 was going to be quite a hard day but relatively short and would finish at the Plan de Jeu Hut which Tim assured me would be excellent, which it was. Walking along the road, we arrived at some steep verglas slopes with a huge amount of old avalanche debris that had to be picked though and we eventually passed the Lacs de Fenetre and climbed up to the Fenetre de Ferret were we saw our first people. The ski down to the road and on to the Great St Bernard Monastery was on exceptional snow and left both of us smiling from ear to ear as did the excellent coffee and cakes we devoured at the hospice. The Plan de Jeu is brilliant with smiling, happy/welcoming guardians, who love country & western music, great views and sound advice. Certainly worth a stop next year for a bit of day tour action with my wife. I might even try to get over later in the year for their beer festival! The beer, food and company made for a very memorable evening and again no one else was staying so we had the place to ourselves.

Travelling onwards to the Valsorey Hut (3037m) in wall to wall sunshine with 1600 metres of up and a good amount of downhill action was something I was looking forward to as it would take us to our high point of two years previous and mean we were well on our way. Once again the skiing was exceptional and certainly left us wanting more, however, the climb that followed from the valley floor to the hut was seriously hard in the full glare of the sun.

skier mountains
The Matterhorn dominates the skyline from the final Col de Valpelline (3568m), before skiing down the glacier to Zermatt.

The start of the day was a little on the messy side as I had a bad case of the squits; which is not good when you are climbing steep iced slopes of around 50 degrees with skis strapped to your back. The wind was quite strong which made everything that little more exciting especially going to the toilet! We had no issues route finding and the snow conditions continued to be great. When we arrived at the Chanrion Hut I found that several people had been hit with the same bug, one having to be air-lifted off and others turning back. It is amazing how something so simple as a stomach upset or a broken binding could put an end to an expedition.

The Chanrion Hut was much nicer, the guardian very welcoming and interested in our well-being which was nice. Following a relatively good night’s sleep, we faced another long day with lots of UP! Climbing the Pigne d’Arrolla (3796m) was cold and windy and seemed to go on forever. However, having recovered from my illness and in good weather we climbed the last few metres to the summit to take the obligatory photos before heading down to the Vignettes Hut, which would be our final hut of the trip. Now that all of the various Haute Routes variants had joined, the route was a mass of people and the hut was not much better although still very welcoming.

With the final day looming we got our heads down and in the morning managed to be the first party out of the hut and to the first Col. The weather was forecast to change with much colder weather on its way. The clouds rolled in to make route finding quite challenging at times but this never detracted from the enjoyment of completing this amazing journey across the high Alps. Our final ski descent from the final Col was hard with man-eating moguls made of solid ice spread around big crevasses on steep slopes. The leg in to Zermatt was slow, as the snow had turned to slush so our skis having little in the way of wax on them tended to stick.

bottle glass of beer
The Grand St Bernard Pass from the Plan de Jeu refuge. The beer was 8% and very welcome!

All in all this was a great seven-day tour with great company in amazing surroundings with some challenging descents and route finding. We had the mountains to ourselves until the Pigne d’Arolla where we joined the standard route. I would recommend the Integral Haute Route to anyone that wants a challenge. Our final photo’s where taken outside the Monta Rosa Hotel having skied into Zermatt then walked through the narrow streets towards the train station and our train back over the mountains to Chamonix looking forward to a good shower, meal and a few beers to celebrate.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Rossignol Soul 7HD Skis Review

Truly one of the best skis, wherever the mountain takes you, the Rossignol Soul 7HD. Although the Soul 7, with its 106mm waist, suggests its a big mountain ski; it is just as easy to ski on the piste as  85mm underfoot piste ski!

Taking the Soul 7’s away after two seasons out of skiing, and being use to a 85mm underfoot all mountain ski, it was safe to say that, even as a 23 year old confident chap, I thought I might of bitten off more than I can chew.

In my previous years skiing before my short break I would ski all of the mountain comfortably; including the odd hike to find some of the fresh snow in the untouched couloirs of the French/Italian Alps. Wanting to further my backcountry skiing the Rossignol Soul 7HD skis were highly recommended to me.

Rossignol Soul 7 Skis

The first day of my ski holiday came with the perfect conditions, lots of fresh snow, to throw me in the deep end with the new skis; the phrase ‘baptism by fire’ comes to mind. Although we are suggesting ‘fire’, myself and the Soul 7’s were in ‘heaven’. Instantly feeling so comfortable in the powder, strange noises of whoops of enjoyment were a regular occurrence. After each run through the trees or open couloirs I felt like my skiing had improved massively. The acknowledgement from my brother, a better powder skier than me (although I would never tell him), confirmed my thoughts. The family joke of ‘directional charging’ became much more of a reality as we were lapping the off piste sections.

As the week progressed unfortunately no more fresh snow was to come, no fresh powder but perfect corduroy piste with sunny conditions. This would be the real test on the hard pack piste with a 106mm waist. Again the Soul 7’s were unbelievably good. Carving made easy and edge hold with no chatter at all. Safe to say that I was highly impressed by the complete versatility of this ski. Towards the end of the week the snow became more hard pack, with some runs featuring ice patches. The best snow conditions were on the relatively untouched black runs which would prove to be the best test for the skis. The Soul 7’s is as easy to ski in the deep powder, and steep black runs, as it is on those leisurely blues and reds.

rossignol soul 7hd skis with bindings
The Soul 7’s is as easy to ski in the deep powder, and steep black runs, as it is on those leisurely blues and reds.

Therefore, for the advanced skier who wants to ski everything from deep powder to corduroy piste, with one ski, the Soul 7HD is the ski for you. But also for the more advanced intermediate who wants to get more into the big mountain skiing this is a great ski that makes life easier in all conditions.

Thanks Mark (skiing in January in the French/Italian Alps).

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather