All posts by Tallington Lakes

My name is Chas; and time spent in the mountains, rivers, lakes and sea; is time well spent. I thought I would gather useful information, from our experts, for those who like outdoor activities such as water sports, snow sports, walking, climbing etc. Having 'had a go' at many of the sports, myself, I see things from the customer's perspective! I trust the articles help, enjoy!

Salomon Quest 4D 3 Gore-Tex Walking Boots – Review

Walking – hiking – is an extremely popular activity to #getoutside and a good, well fitting pair of walking boots or shoes is a must if you want to enjoy the experience!

I’ve been using the Salomon Quest 4D 3 Gore-Tex walking boots for nearly a year now. I’ve worn them over a variety of terrain, in different seasons and weather, and I have to say I’m impressed.

I chose a walking boot because I wanted to protect against the likelihood of an ankle injury, particularly on uneven terrain when carrying a heavy pack, which you do not get from a walking shoe. The Quest were both supportive and comfortable whatever the terrain. They’re relatively light-weight too, so all-in-all I was happy I had boots that were made for walking!

On the warm sunny days the Gore-Tex breathable membrane worked well with my foot-to-boot interface, commonly known as a sock, to keep my feet comfortable. Yes my feet got warm but not too sweaty and hot as the socks wicked the moisture away from my foot and through the breathable membrane of the boot.

In contrast on wet autumnal and spring days, and the occasional river crossing, the membrane and gusseted tongue kept the water out. Obviously if the puddle, stream or area of water is deeper than the height of your boot you will get a wet foot, but anything else your foot was dry!

These boots were made for walking!

So what were they like to walk in? I found the fit nice and snug, with great heel hold. The lace locker eyelets ensure you can get the foot secure before finally tying up around the ankle. They are also set back from the other eyelets to help secure your heel into the back of the boot. At first, having been use to walking shoes, this felt a bit restrictive but once underway the support was very comfortable and reassuring.

Traction was good thanks to Salomon’s Contragrip sole and lug (tread) pattern whether footpath, rocky terrain, or muddy woodland. They even performed well in the snow!

The boots come with OrthoLite insoles, however I did replace these with Superfeet’s Trailblazer Comfort insoles to tailor the fit more specifically to my feet – making them even more comfortable and my feet less tired.

Why not check out our range of walking boots and shoes, and take advantage of our boot fitting service.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Atomic Vantage 97 Ti Skis – Review

I had the Atomic Vantage 97 Ti skis for a week and used them in varying conditions on piste which was hard packed and icy in the morning with soft spring condition snow in the afternoon. And after a dump of over a metre of snow I used the skis off piste too.

The first thing I noticed was how surprisingly light they were for 180cm ski. However these were the widest skis I had ever skied on so I was a little concerned about how they would react.

I shouldn’t have worried as they were excellent: high speed carving turns were a dream, very stable with great acceleration out of the turns. It was like being on rail tracks.

Shorter turns were also very easy and controllable. Just get in the rhythm and you are bouncing from edge to edge which seemed to take the skiing to another level.

Moguls were great fun, bashing the tops off and sliding down the back. Due to the sidecut I did not try the fall line route.

When on off-piste powder it was exhilarating, just like floating on a cushion of air.

The heavier slushy stuff towards end of the day was never a problem. The skis coped really well.

I really enjoyed skiing on the Atomic Vantage skis. They never let me down but to get the best out of them you have to work them and not be a passenger. By being aggressive with your skiing you will get so much out of them.  They really are a dream for an advanced skier.

Thanks Dave (Ski Instructor)

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

On Cloudventure Trail Running Shoes – Review

As an avid Canicross and adventure runner I look for a trainer that not only provides great grip across multiple surfaces but also supports the foot and is comfortable to wear.

I trialed the On Cloudventure trainer for 3 months, during this time I certainly racked up the miles and put it to the test with trail running, Canicross and quick lunch time runs through the local park.

From the first run I felt a complete different experience from my normal trail trainer The foot placing was different because of a slight increase in the heal rise to my normal trainer;  this put my foot in a freer more comfortable position in the shoe and resulted in my running gait being more open and increasing my average pace.  It also reduced leg strain and after running my legs did not feel so tired and tight.

Grace loves to run!

When running Canicross we run across all types of terrain from crossing farmers fields, waterlogged river paths to forest tracks, all of which are quite uneven and slippery. As you can imagine whilst running with a dog pulling you, you do need a good grip on all surfaces.  The Cloudventure sets your foot position down so  you feel that more of your foot is in contact with the ground providing you with a sure safe ‘put down’.  The grip is second to none on all off road surfaces.  Making this in my option and experience a great trail running trainer.

I have used the Cloudventure to run on a harder surface with some road running and whilst it is perfectly OK for a short period, this would not be my go to trainer for road running. But if you are looking for a trainer that can take you across multiple terrains in one outing this is would be the trainer I would pull out of my bag first. 

In fact I loved the Cloudventure so much when the trial came to an end and I was set to send the trainer back I purchased the trainer as I did not want to give it up!

Thanks Ross

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Planks Bro Down Black Snow Mitt – Review

After years of testing and trying numerous different gloves and mittens I am happy to say I’ve finally found my perfect pair, the Planks Bro Down snow mitts! Not only are they a simple design but the glove liner within ensured all my fingers kept snug and warm whilst looking as though I was only wearing mittens. The 10K waterproofing and breathability meant my hands stayed dry all day and didn’t get too hot or sweaty whilst the quilted insulation kept them snug and cosy even when it was sub zero! They were easy to adjust and the glove leashes were great for when we stopped for a drink as I definitely couldn’t lose them.

I would definitely recommend these to anyone looking for a simple but effectively designed pair of mittens!

Charlotte (Ski Instructor)

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Picture Organic Clothing Women’s Tanya Snow Jacket – Review

Before travelling to Poland for my ski trip I treated myself to a new ski jacket. I have always loved the Picture Organic Clothing designs – I just love the style and aesthetic – and particularly this year’s ‘marble’ range, so I decided to purchase the Tanya Marble snow jacket.

This is the first over-the-head jacket I have tried and the armpit-to-hip zip made it really easy to get on and off. The two-layer ripstop, with a crosshatch pattern, felt extremely durable and resistant to tearing, so I wasn’t worried about it getting damaged if I fell.

This outer fabric protects Picture’s DryPlay waterproof membrane and is covered by a durable water repellent (DWR) treatment, so the jacket is extremely waterproof. Even all the seams are sealed by tape to prevent water getting in!

The stretch snow skirt was brilliant for preventing snow (and cold) getting in, as were the wrist gaiters which were perfect for going over the tops of my gloves and keeping the heat in. The half zipper opening and underarm vents helped me regulate my body temperature when I was too warm however I stayed a perfect heat every day thanks to the breathability of the DryPlay membrane and the Coremax lining which insured I was cosy even when it got below 0 degrees.

I loved the front pouch pocket as it was great for my phone and sunglasses and even a snack for the mountainside, great size, and the magnetic poppers helped for quick and easy access.

I would recommend any of the Picture range as it is all beautifully designed and boasts multiple technical features! I absolutely loved this jacket, not only for its design but also the variety of qualities that made it perfect for my spring skiing holiday!

Charlotte (Ski Instructor)

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Falke Ski & Snowboard Socks – Review

At Tallington Lakes our team tried and tested a variety of Falke ski and snowboard socks; this is what we thought…

Charlotte (Ski Instructor)

As a full time ski instructor it’s so important my feet are comfortable all day, every day; otherwise teaching becomes painful and I can’t focus or enjoy myself as much. After testing out different ski socks, both at work and on the mountains, I’ve never really found anything that I absolutely love…until now! The SK4 women’s skiing socks with their light cushioning instantly made my feet feel warm and padded; additionally the merino wool mixture felt soft and snug whilst also providing me with moisture wicking. So, even when out all day my feet stayed reasonably dry and cosy. What’s more is that I normally get really cold feet so I was slightly worried at trying one of the thinner-style socks in the range; but ultimately I was amazed at the heat they retained without building up moisture thanks to the air flow channels built in.

As someone who spends all day on the slopes, whether it’s here in England or in the Alps, I want socks that won’t have a negative impact on my performance, and with the SK4’s I found I have control and great power transmission credited to their thin cushioning and instep fit. They protect my feet from rubbing and blisters; whilst padding all the necessary areas without being too thick, meaning my feet have never been happier than in these Falke SK4’s!

Falke women’s SK4 skiing socks.

Chandler (Snowboard Instructor)

I don’t normally mind what socks I wear when I teach and yet after trying the Falke SB2 men’s snowboard socks, I will definitely be wearing them in the future! My favourite factor was the stretch and elasticity; it meant they were really easy to take on and off but still had a snug fit for maximum comfort and performance. Even after a few washes, and initial worries of the SB2’s losing their resilience, the socks still held their shape and kept the secure fit I liked.

The SB2 socks were definitely more comfy than others that I’ve tried before; they kept my feet warm and prevented sweat building up because of the air channels, which I appreciated when boarding all day. I’ll definitely be using these in the future!

Falke SB2 snowboarding socks.

Paul (Boot Fitter and Snowboarder)

My main role here at the Pro Shop is as a ski and snow boot fitter, so it’s important for me to understand the technicalities of ski and snowboard socks. The SB2 men’s snowboard socks are brilliant! The extra padding is great for the high backs and binding zones because it prevents rubbing and eases pressure points, whilst the merino wool kept my feet warm throughout the day. I also liked the fact that they are anatomically designed because it meant they are fitted perfectly to the feet; which is great for boot fitting. Besides this, my favourite feature has to be the hydrophilic insides which draw moisture from the feet and the hydrophobic outsides which push the moisture out and away; keeping my feet dry, warm and comfortable!

Why not check out our range of Falke socks, or pop in-store for expert advice.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

American Institute for Avalanche Research & Education – Course Review

In December I headed to Chamonix to take the AAIRE Level 1 Course and AAIRE Rescue Course ran by the Chamonix Experience. The Level 1 Course is a is a 3-day introduction to avalanche safety and hazard management, combining classroom and field work, focusing on decision-making skills in avalanche terrain. The Rescue Course is an extra day bolt on at the end of the course that is focused on rescue practice including the transceiver skills, shovelling methodology, single and multiple burials and rescue response drills. My motivation for seeking out the courses was two-fold. Firstly, from an academic point of view I am always keen to find out more about how the geography and weather are going to affect the quality of my annual ski trip. And secondly because my skiing has improved (or certainly my confidence not necessarily my technique!) I find myself looking further afield for more challenging routes, or for a fresh stash of powder. With increased attention on avalanches and the dangers of venturing off piste, especially following recent tragedies even in resort, my ignorance of my decision making is no longer bliss! Day 1. We spent the first morning in the classroom, being introduced to the “Ride Safely” framework for planning and organising trips into the backcountry. The main emphasis was on introduction to different types of avalanches (there are nine different types!), what conditions they form in and what the warning signs are (if there are any!). As well as monitoring weather and snow reports throughout the season to get a feel for what’s going on in the snow before you even arrive on site. In the afternoon we headed up the Chamonix Valley to Le Tour and spent the afternoon learning how to use beacons, probes and shovels to find backpacks buried in the snow. This included the best practices for how to use each piece of equipment but also, what to watch out for in terms of good and “not-so-good” equipment.
people in the snow
Le Tour learning how to use beacons, probes and shovels to find backpacks buried in the snow.
Day 2 was again split 50:50 with the morning in the classroom and the afternoon out on the mountain. During the morning we continued to learn about how different weather conditions influenced the snow pack, but also on how to identify avalanche terrain and warning signs when out in the field. We also looked through some case studies of historic avalanches, as well an example of a situation where one of the instructors had a near miss on a day that was a level 2 on the scale. This really hammered home to me how naive I have been previously with my decision making. It turns out being in the wrong place on a level 2 day can be the same or worse than being somewhere on a level 4 day. This is probably my main taking from the course. How can you have enough information to be safe based on a scale that runs from level 1-5. Different parts of the mountain can be different levels on the same day, the scale only says the highest risk. We spent the afternoon at the top of the cable car at Le Brevent, looking for avalanche terrain and trying to find the safest touring routes through avalanche terrain.
Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc, in the back ground, looking for avalanche terrain.
snow covered mountains View north-west from Le Brevent, which is a popular ski touring route. Can you see the areas to avoid? We finished the day digging snow pits to look at the make up of the snow. Digging snow pits is the part I was probably the most looking forward to, however it’s a bit too advanced for the level 1 course. Having spent a lot of time talking about “weak layers” and “facets” over the previous couple of days, it was really interesting to see these terms first hand.
avalanche probe and shovel
Snow pit!! You can see where we have used our gloves to mark different strength layers in the snow-pack.
The final day of the Level 1 was spent touring. The class split into two groups and we had to plan and execute a safe tour for the day. The avalanche risk was level 4 (high) and the visibility was extremely low so this severely limited what we could do safely. However we managed a full day touring in relative safety by minimising our exposure to avalanche terrain. This was the first time I have ever been touring, and whilst we did not do anything overly challenging, it was an awesome experience. It was also a great opportunity to put everything we had learnt in the classroom to good use. I spent the last day doing the optional Rescue Course. I nearly didn’t stay on for this course, especially having spent a little time on the other course practising some some basics rescue techniques, but I am so pleased I did. We spent the whole day in the field going over different search scenarios and practising. I have to say I was blown away but how quickly you are able to land a “probe strike” on a bag hidden a metre down in snow after learning different techniques. By the end of the day we were getting down to having found buried bags in little over one minute, that’s how good the techniques and equipment were. The last day also allowed us to continue honing our skills from the Level 1 Course. Having checked the weather and avalanche forecasts before heading out on to the mountain, we knew roughly where to look for areas at risk to avalanches. During a one hour period at lunch we witnessed seven or eight small avalanches going off in a steeper section of terrain in between two pistes. Not only that people were still following tracks and skiing off piste in this section whilst it was happening, completely oblivious. I couldn’t help but think how many times that had been me. The terrain in question is in the picture below:
snow covered mountains
Can you see the ski tracks and all the avalanche activity on the terrain? (look above the tree). The lift to access this terrain was just off the picture to the right.
Overall, both courses were incredibly enjoyable and informative. Although quite expensive, the instructors and guides you gain access to were incredible and the whole experience has hammered home how naive I have been on all my previous ski trips. I was definitely the least experienced person on the course but I left the course feeling like I did it at the right time in my skiing journey. To give you a sense of my level, I ski once a year on holiday (twice if I am lucky), on some all mountain skis and spend my time on piste, on the side of the piste or getting a guide for a day if the weather is good. I’ve never been touring until the course. If you are staring to venture off the side of the pistes and are considering venturing in to the off-piste world with a guide, I would definitely recommend doing these courses. www.chamex.com/trip_courses/aiare-level-1-chamonix www.chamex.com/trip_courses/aiare-avalanche-rescue-course Thanks Will Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

From one seasonaire to another…

Remember: you are probably going to be flying and will have to fit everything into your ski bag and holdall. So, this is my ultimate guide after massively over packing for my own season!

Firstly, keep in mind that you will, hopefully, be skiing everyday for five months so invest in your kit wisely! The number one piece of kit on your list should definitely be boots, whether that is ski or snowboard. We’ve all worn rental kit, which is just about passable for a week but these need to be comfortable from the moment you step onto the slopes on your first day to the last day of the season. Go to a shop, and get your boots fitted properly. A simple solution is to get a footbed, get them heat moulded, and wear them in before you go. Then you’re not wasting your precious slope time trying to make sure your feet don’t hurt! Get several good pairs of socks too; this will ensure your feet stay warm and provide all the necessary padding in all the important areas.

Secondly, get yourself a tray, or two! Investing in a snowboard or skis will mean you can have exactly the right kit to meet your needs. Remember, you are there for five months so you have to think about what you can achieve in that time; even as a beginner you can progress to be riding powder (which will happen) to free-styling within a month or so. Since you are riding every day make sure you get yourself something you can have fun on everywhere as well. An all-mountain set up that’s not too stiff will mean you can venture anywhere on the mountain, including the park, but won’t hold you back on the fresh corduroy. With your hardwear now covered, don’t forget your head. Never ride without a helmet, protect yourself!

Get yourself a comfortable pair of goggles that fit well with your helmet. Having the choice of lenses is also a good idea: the Oakley Prizm Rose are ideal for cloudy-to-low-light days but will cover you if the sun decides to shine; paired with the Oakley Fire or Sapphire Iridium and you’ll be covered for all levels of ability.

For the duration of your season, one pair of salopettes is plenty but ensure that they have leg vents. Bib pants are a great choice since you get more pockets and they keep all the snow out, especially on a powder days. They are also fantastic for summer slush laps as they provide all the important cover without the need for extra layers, not to mention they look pretty cool too.

Clothes and layers are equally as important, since you will see all sorts of weather throughout the season; where sunburn is possible and but so is frostbite. You’ll need t-shirts and sun cream when riding in 12°C sun and also a number of thermal tops and leggings for those really cold days. Remember, layering is more than just one massive coat, so grab a riding hoodie or fleece (or three), plus a thin waterproof jacket. This will benefit greatly as you can then mix and match your apparel depending on the weather – so you don’t get too hot or too cold! What’s more, a cheap spare coat that you are happy to get a little dirty is a must-have for your nights out.

With all your technical equipment accordingly sorted, now to decide what to wear when you’re off the slopes! The mountains are surprisingly not a fashion show you don’t need a new top every time you go out; a couple of spare jeans and tops will do you fine, just make sure you stay on top on your washing!

Finally, my top seasonaire tip – make sure you pack yourself a 4-way plug because you can be sure that you’ll need to charge several things at once. This way, not only have you got a bit more extension but there won’t be any arguments over plugs!

For more information about any equipment please see our other blog posts or visit us in-store.

Lottie (Chief Instructor)

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Smith Optics I/OX Snow Goggles Review

It’s been almost two years since the beautiful partnership with my Smith’s sunglasses began and I couldn’t have asked for a better pair. We’ve been all over the world together from the likes of far East Asia to the busy bustling cities of Europe. 

However, as great as my sunnies are, they’re no match for alpine skiing conditions, which is why I’ve upgraded to the big guns. Tallington Lakes were kind enough to let me test out a pair of Smith I/OX snow goggles as I embarked on my adventure to the French Alps. When I first opened the box a bright smile was looking back at me, it was my own reflection cast from the pristine conditioned ‘ChromaPop’ lenses.

I’ve been skiing now for the best part of twenty years and I’ll be honest, I’ve never really invested too much into my snow goggles. Comparing my old pair to these I/OX goggles, it’s clear to see there’s no competition. It’s like trading in your old banger of a car, that’s just about managed to get you from point A to point B; for a souped up, all singing, all dancing teched out super car!

If I knew it wasn’t impossible, I would have placed a bet that Tallington Lakes had rigged the weather system in order to really allow me to test these goggles. In the one week I was there, I encountered harsh snow blizzards, gale force winds, torrential rain, depressingly overcast to extreme dazzling sunshine without a cloud in sight.

These I/OX goggles come equipped with two different lenses in order to combat the diverse weather you can clearly come across whilst in the mountains. Do not fear though, unlike other interchangeable lenses where it feels as if you are solving a rubix cube for hours, the lens swapping process here is very straight forward.

The first lens provided is the ‘ChromaPop Sun Platinum Mirror’ with a VLT (Visual Light Transmittance) of 13%. In English, it means only 13% of light passes through the lens. 13%?! I’ll do the maths for you, that means your eyes are shielded against a whopping 87% of all light particles trying to shine through. You will be correct in thinking, that’s an astronomical amount of light being blocked – however what you need to realise, is the UV rays from the sun are more powerful when you’re stood on top of a mountain. Those rays are then reflected from the snow which create the super annoying blinding-glare effect. Therefore a 13% VLT rating truly is a remarkable feat and not only does it work, it works brilliantly. I never once felt myself squinting from the sun glare. The goggles allowed me to easily pick out my turns in order to avoid the treacherous trees and murderous moguls.


The first lens provided is the ‘ChromaPop Sun Platinum Mirror’ with a VLT (Visual Light Transmittance) of 13%.

For extreme low light conditions, such as the total white out blizzard I unfortunately ended up in, Smith have designed the ‘ChromaPop Storm Rose Flash’ with a VLT rating of 50%. If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to ski in a white out, you will remember the dreaded feeling of being lost, lonely and confused as you vision becomes extremely impaired. You’ll remember trying to pick out those piste pole markers you took for granted as you attempt to safely escape the mountain – the skiers and snowboarders who were only a few feet away completely disappear and all you end up saying on repeat is “I can’t see a thing in these goggles”. Sound familiar?

Without those low light lens on, I think I’d still be stuck on that mountain top.

An important issue with snow goggles is the potential fogging up of the lenses. This can be due to a number of different reasons from the change in air temperature to difference in altitude to simply the hot panting breath you produce when working your legs overtime to get those turns in.

Thankfully Smith have countered all these problems by installing an incredible feature called the ‘AirEvac’. It allows for a constant air flow in order to reduce the risk of foggy goggles. On top of this amazing feature, the Smith lenses are equipped with 5x anti-fog inner lenses which provide five times the fog absorption compared to anything else on the market!

I’m a wimp when it comes to the cold so I always wear my neck-warmer around my face and over my nose to stay warm. Therefore every time I breathe out, the hot air rises and attempts to pierce through my goggles defences. If I were in my ‘old banger’ goggles I surely would have fogged up and skied off a cliff. These goggles didn’t even slightly fog up once during my entire week!  

The extra-large spherical lens of the I/OX allows unparalleled peripheral vision which is absolutely vital when you’re skiing on a busy slope surrounded by potential collisions.

To top everything off, the goggles are perfectly designed to fit comfortably on your face whilst attaching easily to the back of your helmet.

With the weather forecast ahead still predicting a huge amount of snow this season, it’s not too late to book another ski adventure. I cannot recommend these ski goggles enough – imagine a ski holiday in ultra coloured HD, it’s there and yours for the taking!

Check out our selection of Smith Optics snow goggles, here.

Adam (Ski Instructor and Water Ski/Wakeboard Boat Driver))

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather