All posts by Lou

Lou's life revolves around the seasons. Surf in the summer and ski in the winter, with work reflecting her hobbies. With her partner Rob they run a surf lodge and surf school (Base Surf Lodge) in Newquay, during the summer months. Come winter, they head off to the Alps to run a ski chalet together in France. Autumn is their chill time in between working seasons. They pack light and live the simple life, with their dog, in a self-built camper van. This usually takes them surfing up in the north of Scotland. Spring is for summer preparation at the lodge, but whichever season it is you will always find Lou outdoors.

Seasonaire – Off To Work In The Mountains

Thinking of doing a ski/snowboard season this winter? Or have already signed up and getting super excited? This article will give you everything you need to know to help make the most of your time on the slopes. 

Firstly ski seasons are for everyone, not just for experienced skiers. Whether you ski, snowboard or are completely new to snowy mountain sports, there is truly something for everyone. In resort there are endless ways to fill your free time, as well as skiing and snowboarding. Activities range from husky rides to paragliding; or wining and dining in town to simply catching some rays in a deck chair. Being surrounded by like minded people and stunning mountain views, you will be hooked to seasonaire life in no time. 

Wondering what to take? Here is a winter season checklist with all the essentials you’ll need…

Technical Clothing

When planning a trip to the mountains for a whole winter it is essential to have the right gear. Getting cold or wet on the slopes can easily turn a super fun day into a shivering nightmare. So if you are going to spend money on only one thing I would definitely suggest treating yourself to some good technical outerwear. To keep yourself dry, it’s a good idea to buy snow jacket and pants which are minimum 10k waterproof and breathability. 20k is preferable to guarantee yourself a dry day even in really wet conditions, but this higher tech gear will no doubt have a higher price point. Keeping warm is also a necessity for mountain life. For this you can buy a highly insulated jacket and be super toasty year round. Although, the potential down side to only having a thick jacket is you could be too hot and sweaty riding in spring. For many seasonaires with limited funds, buying multiple jackets for different temperatures is not often an option. Therefore if you buy a thinner jacket you have the option to layer up in the depths of winter (mid layers and down jackets are great for this) or simply wear a t-shirt/baselayer underneath for warm spring days. This type of jacket will also be more suitable for when you are back in the UK, giving you more use out of it, therefore better value for money.

There are many snow brands which do great outerwear. A standout brand is Picture Organic Clothing. They have something for everyone, whether you ski or snowboard. Their bold asymmetrical designs perfectly match mountain life, their most technical wear ‘Expedition Line’ is mostly 20k waterproof and breathability, and more importantly they are eco-friendly. Incredibly their entire range is made from a minimum of 50% recycled plastic bottles, they have a mid layer which is completely biodegrable and all of their products are PFC free. They also have an ‘Adventure Line’ which has a lower price point and is perfectly suited for seasonaire life, with a more streetwear design. What more could you ask for?

Ski and Snowboard Boots 

After buying good technical wear, boots are definitely the next thing to consider. Comfort whilst riding is vital to get maximum enjoyment out of your day. There is nothing worse than having to cut your day short due to being in pain from poorly fitting boots. Snowboarders tend to have less problems with this, but it is a known issue with skiers. When buying boots, comfort and a good fit should definitely be priority over colour and style. But with many brands making different sizes and styles you should easily be able to find the perfect boots for you; however we suggest going to a proper boot fitter. Also the bonus of buying your own is most shops will do custom refits if the boots become uncomfortable. Plus you won’t have to wear some old stinky rentals. 

Skis and Snowboard

When you have the potential to ski or snowboard most days of the week for five whole months, having your own equipment is a huge bonus. By working with knowledgable shop staff before you leave for the mountains you can find a ski or snowboard to suit your own personal needs. Whether that’s park riding, backcountry skiing, shredding powder or if you want something that’s perfect for carving on the pistes. Having good equipment can really help improve your skills, style and even take you to new places. If you are unsure what exactly you want, a good all-mountain variant will take you comfortably off-piste, in the park and glide nicely on groomed pistes.

If you do buy your own skis/board my advice would be to get a ski lock, especially in bigger more well-known resorts, theft unfortunately isn’t unheard of. 

Helmet Goggles and Gloves

Helmets are not just for kids. Helmets are obviously for safety and designed for everyone of all ages and abilities. Further benefits include keeping your head dry and warm. Also for cruising at speed, helmets are a more secure option rather than losing your bobble hat in the wind. The good news, as well, is helmets have become more fashionable with new google-helmet style combinations. 

Goggles are essential if you want to ski or snowboard in all conditions. Most come with changeable lens to adapt for low-light snowy days and bright sunny days. It’s worth spending a bit more on a good pair to avoid misting up. A good tip is to try on your goggles and helmet together in the shop before purchase, as with all the different shapes and sizes around, its good to see if they fit or look good together. 

A good quality pair of gloves or mitts again is a must. To keep going until the chairlift closes you will need warm and dry fingers. Mitts tend to be warmer if you are a cold person and gloves tend to have more dexterity. For snowboarders who tend to touch the snow a lot, highly waterproof gloves will be your friend. 

Other Essentials

Specifically designed ski snowboard socks are where it’s at. They may seem pricey at times but a cotton sock will be round your ankles in no time and blisters are no fun at all. For something you will wear everyday you will definitely get your money’s worth.

Baselayers are great for wicking moisture away from the skin, to the outer clothing, to help keep you warm and dry. Its the foundation of the essential layering system that will keep you warm, comfortable and dry on the mountain.

Durable Water Repellent (DWR) hoody. Great for park riding on sunny Spring days, the coating make them water-resistant (or hydrophobic). And you’ll look cool!

A sensible pair of footwear will be your everyday friend for town life i.e waterproof with good grip.

A beanie or bobble hat again will be an everyday item for walking between pubs or for lunch stops on the slopes.

When you are not wearing goggles you should be wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes (snowblindness is a real thing!).

Lastly you will want decent bags for all your gear. Ski snowboard bags with wheels are great for convenience but remember they add a lot of weight if you are ever thinking of taking them on a plane. They are also more bulky so will take up more space in your staff accommodation (which are not always the most spacious rooms). Dakine bags are perfect.

There are specialist items to think about. If you’re thinking lots of park time, some additional protection such as pads or back protectors; and if yo’re thinking back country avalanche kit – but know how to use it because its useless otherwise. We recommend attending practice courses!

Now is the time to get excited with winter on our doorstep!

So head to a professional ski snowboard shop, make sure to try on all the gear and get a feel for comfort and size. Remember to think practical as well as style. Then you will be well on your way to an incredible winter season.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Why I Chose Faction CT 2.0 Skis

With help from their amazingly talented team of athletes, including Candide Thovex, Faction are  renowned for making world class skis. Their recent edits and full length films, especially ‘This Is Home’, really show the diversity they have in their skiers and the skis they make.

The Candide range of four different skis cover all bases for any type of shredding on the mountain. Whether you like sending huge straight airs off cat tracks, bouncing through powder in the backcountry or ripping around the piste or park, Faction have got it covered. The four CT skis vary in size and flex but share an attraction of being fun, playful and ‘rippable’ skis in differing terrain. Obviously the dream would be to have all four skis in the quiver but when the budget is tight it’s decision time! 

faction ct 2.0 skis
I chose the CT 2.0 because I was looking for a new playful ski that will enable me to learn butters, be light in the air for trying new spins and still be comfortable on crud and cruising home in the powder.

I chose the CT 2.0 because I was looking for a new playful ski that will enable me to learn butters, be light in the air for trying new spins and still be comfortable on crud and cruising home in the powder. The poplar/beech core is light, strong and responsive making it a great ski for extra pop and control in the air, not forgetting being buttery soft. With their carbon reinforcement underfoot, the impact of heavy landings is spread, whilst hard packed, cruddy terrain is dampened. The symmetrical shape of the 2.0 has made it easier to link and flow between turns whilst skiing switch and gives confidence for landing backwards. While this ski is ‘freestyle at heart’ it’s flat camber and tip and tail rocker mean it maintains a good edge on piste and still floats over powder effortlessly, making it a great all-round ski.

Overall the 2.0 is a lightweight, soft but strong ski with enough underfoot to be fun all over the mountain. Combine this with its slick, simplistic design and you have a very sexy ski. 

Louise (Ski Ambassador)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Fits Like A Glove (Or Mitt)! 

Whether you are cruising on corduroy, lapping the park or shredding powder, a decent pair of gloves or mittens is essential for keeping warm as your hands are usually the first thing to get cold on the hill. 

For many people, choosing between gloves or mittens is down to personal preference. Gloves will give you a bit more dexterity for picking up your poles or putting your goggles on, while mittens tend to be warmer than gloves as your fingers produce more body heat when next to each other. If you are unsure my advise would be to try both types on and if you are a skier hold a ski pole to see which feels more comfortable and gives you a nice grip. 

The key things to consider before purchasing either models are the specifications. Do they fit well? How waterproof are they? Are they windproof and breathable? 

To stop your fingers from freezing, it is important to get a pair which fits. If you go too small and your fingers are pressing on the end the cold will sooner seep into your finger tips and moisture is more likely to get inside the lining. If you go too big there will be a lot of space to fill with wasted body heat and you’ll lose some dexterity with the extra material. I would recommend trying a few on to get the best fitting pair. 

One of the most important features to look at is the waterproof rating because no matter how insulated your gloves are, if your hands get wet there is no stopping them getting cold. (This is even more important for snowboarders who tend to have more frequent hand contact with the snow). Most waterproof ratings for snow wear will range between 5,000ml and 20,000ml. I would advise an absolute minimum of 5K which will give you only some resistance to water. 10K plus for general conditions would be better but 20K plus is essential to keep you dry in wetter conditions. 

Many ski and snowboard brands including Patagonia and Salomon use Gore Tex technology which guarantees to keep your hands dry with an equivalent rating of 28K. Gore Tex is also breathable and windproof which enable temperature control of your hands in all conditions. This is just as important as the waterproofing as it helps prevent your gloves getting wet from the inside with sweat. You may find the use of Gore Tex adds a bit to the price tag however it is worth every penny. If you are looking for something more affordable, other brands have their own waterproofing and breathable technology including Dakine’s DK Dry which I am currently using and has held up strong in all conditions from +10C and sunny to -15C and snowy 

Then once you have narrowed it down to which specific features you want in a pair of gloves or mitts, the exciting part is choosing which design. Happy pickings!

Thanks Louise for the advice!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather