Category Archives: General

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.

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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)

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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))

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Skins DNAmic Base-Layer Review

If you haven’t read our article about base-layers; you can read it here.

If you have read it; you’ll know how important your first layer of clothing is, in maintaining your core-body temperature, while skiing or snowboarding in the mountains.

However, what about ‘compression’ base-layers? I think most of us have heard about the benefits of ‘compression’ clothing:

  • Reduce injury by keeping muscles warm
  • Improved blood flow
  • Stabilising joints
  • Aid recovery from muscle stiffness and soreness

And we’ve seen athletes using them, even people on long-haul flights wearing them, but are they any good for skiing or snowboarding?

This winter I tried some ‘compression’ base-layers from Skins, both the Skins DNAmic long sleeve base-layer and three-quarter tights. I chose the three-quarter tights, over long-johns, because these would not affect the fit of my ski boots – less crease points! I have invested in quality socks and a custom boot fit, so why would I add another layer inside my boot to mess things up?

First thing first; these are ‘compression’ garments – so they are a very snug fit, if not a little difficult to get on. At first you could feel the ‘tightness’ or ‘support’ the garment gives you – it felt quite good, ‘superhero-like’!

I donned my other layers, and quickly headed out into the cold, because I was starting to get hot in the chalet.

As a base-layer they did their job; keeping me at a comfortable temperature all-day long. Moisture (sweat) generated on the exhilarating decent was wicked away, helping maintain a warm core-body temperature on the cold chairlift ascent. Early morning ski touring was cosy, without overheating.


Skins Womens DNAmic Thermal Mock Neck Half Zip Baselayer

As the days, and week of skiing, progressed I was pleased with my fitness/endurance. Yes I had prepared for the holiday, by going to the gym beforehand; but I do believe the ‘compression’ of my leg muscles, by the three-quarter tights, had made a difference. Also, after a few stretches and enjoying tea and cakes, sitting around in the ‘compression’ tights helped recovery for the following day’s skiing. I generally suffer with lower back pain; but once again because my hamstrings, glutes etc were ‘supported’ this was eased too.

As for the torso; I felt more stable. Yes I had done some core exercises at the gym, but once again the garment assisted.

So, what about ‘compression’ base-layers? I think they are good, and as a quinquagenarian I will certainly wear them (especially the three-quarter tights) when skiing.

PS The wearing of ‘compression’ clothing does NOT negate the need for exercise/fitness training for your chosen sport!

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Stance Backcountry Socks – Review

Start from the bottom up! That old saying “a house is only as good as the foundations” might not seem appropriate to skiing; but have you given your sock choice much thought recently?

Here in Colorado many of the mountain resorts have stopped the gondola wheels spinning, because Spring has sprung. For some of us the need for gondolas and chair lifts has long been gone, the deep powder days have come to an end, and the desire for ski touring has been getting stronger by the day. With clear skies, and an ever settling snow pack, the long days in the skin tracks are become a daily ritual – 4am trail head starts by head lamp and t-shirt hikes out; are how we spend the days.


With clear skies, and an ever settling snow pack, the long days in the skin tracks are become a daily ritual. Photograph Joe

With the Spring sun the days might start cold, but they soon warm up. And as for all the great things ski boots bring to the slopes, breathability certainly isn’t one of them. Consequently I was pretty excited to try out Stance’s new super light weight, super breathable Backountry Ultra-Light Sock, and see what they could do for my feet. Out of the pack these socks feel light and thin, very thin, and initially I thought Stance might have gone to far – and it would feel like I was putting my bare foot into my ski boot. That being said, and “you don’t know until you try”, I pulled them on and took them for a test on my pre-work skin up Vail Mountain. Straight away any concerns disappeared; because my feet felt great, and comfortable, in my Dalbello Lupo boots. My feet stayed warm, the arch support hugged my foot, and the gradual compression kept my legs feeling fresh – although I hope that was partly down to my fitness, not just the socks!

With the initial test out of the way, it was time to really put the socks through their paces. The planned route would be a twelve mile round trip, gaining a vertical height of 1400m (4600ft), and descending the south couloir of East Partner in the Gore Range, Colorado. Again, starting by headlamp in the early hours of the morning, the socks preformed excellently keeping my feet warm and comfortable for the first few miles of hiking. Once on the skis, and skins, everything still felt great. The thin slight compression-nature of the sock gives a great feeling that your foot is well held, and not moving around inside the sock or boot. The temperature regulation was good, which became more evident the longer the day went on and everything started to warm up. I have previously felt that once my feet get hot the socks can rub and create sores; this was not the case and I felt great all the way up and down. The trip, with its varied terrain, was more like an alpine ascent to the summit – including skinning, boot packing, and ice climbing in crampons – which took approximately eight hours; and I can truly say it’s the most comfortable my feet have felt all season. Don’t get me wrong I was super happy to get my ski boots off at the end!


The trip, with its varied terrain, was more like an alpine ascent to the summit – including skinning, boot packing, and ice climbing in crampons – which took approximately eight hours. Photograph Joe

Stance has produced a full range of ‘360 Feel’ snow socks ranging from ‘All Mountain’ poly blend to the performance driven ‘Backcountry Ultra-Light’ merino wool blend. Whichever category you put yourself in I’m confident you will not be disappointed; and I’d seriously recommended heading to the Pro Shop, and checking out their Stance range of ski and snowboard socks, ready to dial in your ski kit for next season.

Please note for the 2019/2020 season the Stance sock range will be called, for either ski or snowboard: Performance, Merino Blend, and Ultra-Light
Merino Blend.

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Stance Adventure Socks – Review

We are all encouraged to get outside more, and reap the benefits of the great outdoors – both physical and mental. Walking is one of the easiest ways to do this; whether a simple stroll in the park, a walk in the woods, or a hike up a mountain!

So when it comes to walking the first thing we think about is what walking shoes or hiking boots to put on our feet. We may even think about insoles to give support and comfort. But how much do we think about the interface between our feet and our footwear? Yes I’m talking socks!

women's stance adventure socks
Stance Women’s Hike Timber Multi Coloured Socks.

An inadequate, poorly fitting sock will negate all the money spent on your hiking shoes/boots; making them uncomfortable, they may even give you blisters, and therefore unlikely to get you outdoors more!

At Tallington Lakes Pro Shop we stock a range of walking socks from Stance. Stance is a sock company; they make socks and they are good at it. We have previously praised their ski and snowboard socks, and know how comfortable their classic lifestyle socks are – especially if the ‘Stance icons’ are on the inside of the foot1.

So what about their walking socks? The ‘Adventure’ range from Stance consists of the following socks, for both men and women: the ‘Outdoor’, the ‘Hike’ and the ‘Trek’. The socks are made of an ‘uncommon blend’ of fibres to produce a sock which is durable, temperature-regulating, moisture-wicking, and comfortable. Price varies between the three, as the socks get a little more technical, but there is a sock for everyone.

But what are they like to wear? Well let me tell you about the ‘Hike’ socks I recently wore, in both walking shoes and hiking boots, on a resent walking holiday. The mountainous area presented a variety of terrain: dusty rocky trails, a few marshy bits, boulder fields, and snow; and the weather was predominantly warm and dry, mid twenties degrees C.

I’m a UK 9.5 and selected a size large (UK 8.5-11.5). The first thing you notice when putting the socks on is the fit. As you pull the ‘L’ sock onto your left foot you feel the sock securely encase your toes, support your arch, encase your heel and reach the base of your calf. It’s a snug comfortable fit, like a second skin. Once in your shoe or boot, and you start to tighten your laces, the sock interfaces between foot and footwear to give a secure and comfortable fit. Whilst walking the sock didn’t move, and my feet didn’t get too hot – keeping them dry – thanks to the breathable nature of the socks. And when the socks did get wet, through the occasional deep snow, they were still comfortable and dried out quickly!

Having camped out over night, I had to wear the socks for a second consecutive day, and was pleasantly surprised they maintained the comfort of the first day; and didn’t smell (too bad).

men's stance adventure socks
Stance Men’s Pennell Hike Black Socks.

So if you’re wanting to get outside more by walking, ladies and gentlemen, you won’t be disappointed with a pair of these socks – whether a casual stroll in open park land in the ‘Outdoor’ socks or a full-on walking holiday in the ‘Hike’ or ‘Trek’ socks. Basically “these socks were made for walking”.

Note 1: the classic socks do not have a left and right indicator, like the more technical snow or adventure socks. However they are still ergonomically designed/manufactured; therefore there is a left and a right sock for you left and right foot. Although not essential to have the correct casual lifestyle sock on the appropriate foot; they will be even more comfortable if you do. So when wearing the classic Stance socks, remember the ‘Stance icons’ to the inside!Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Picture Organic Clothing Welcome Snow Jacket and Pant Review

The Picture Welcome Snow Jacket and Pant are designed for those wanting the best technical features with the lightest possible performance. Ideal for ski tourers and free-riders this is the ultimate technical outerwear for ups and downs.

Picture Organic Clothing have grown from strength to strength in the 10 years since their inception. At their humble beginnings the company was the idea of three friends who wanted to make technical mountain wear with a strong eco-friendly ethos. Now they are at the forefront of organic and eco-friendly apparel in both the mountains and oceans.

Welcome Snow Jacket

The Welcome Snow Jacket is at the upper end of the range and hosts a wide array of technical features. The jacket is a 20K/15K shell with fully taped seams keeping you dry all day no matter what the mountain throws at you.  The shell is designed to go hand in hand with mid layers and the breathability means you will be able to control your temperature on the climbs too. Both the jacket and pant have large vent systems to further assist keeping you cool on those Spring ascents.


The Welcome jacket is designed to go hand in hand with mid layers and the breathability means you will be able to control your temperature on the climbs too.

The hood  for the jacket is helmet compatible and also has an adjustable 3D construction. This means that when you move so does your hood, a simple but great feature giving you better peripheral vision on the slopes.

The jacket comes with a detachable snow skirt and hand gaiters with adjustable cuffs. This means that when the best powder day of the season arrives you don’t have to worry about snow getting to your base layers and concentrate more on those rooster tail turns! The detach ability of the skirt is ideal for those trying to keep the weight down on multi day tours.

The design of the jacket is sharp with a performance fit. For those of you who have spent any time in the alps will be familiar with Pictures contemporary designs and bold colour ways. All zips are YKK, and come with a lifetime guarantee.

Welcome Snow Pant

The snow pant is made from the same, aptly named, DryPlay material and fully taped seams. One of the unique and highly functional features in the pant is Picture’s patented I-Fit system. Essentially a draw cord in your pocket that will allow you to adjust the height of your boot cuff. This is both handy when using crampons to protect the bottom of your pant or dancing on tables at Apres!

Eco-Friendly

So that’s the performance features but what exactly does eco-friendly technical outerwear mean. Well Picture Organic Clothing strive to minimise the impact their clothes are having on the environment and here is how. The majority of the shell is made up from recycled polyester, which results in a large men’s jacket consisting roughly of 50 recycled bottles. If this isn’t enough Picture have invested heavily in developing a biodegradable water repellency across their whole line. Traditional DWRs (Durable Water Repellency) consist of contaminants such as PFC’s which when washed off your jacket stay in the environment and pollute the whole water system. There have been some terrible findings in water around some of the biggest ski resorts due to DWR’s washing off of outerwear. Picture’s new DWR Eco-Elite is totally biodegradable so after a greats days riding your conscience can rest knowing you haven’t had a negative impact on the environment.

I have been using the Welcome technical outerwear for the 2019 season and it has been highly adaptable in a variety of condition. From the powder days in January to one of the warmest February’s I can remember. It is definitely a great suit for those looking for the higher end technical features and performance whilst maintaining fantastic environmental principals.

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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.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Helly Hansen Lifa Active Light T-Shirt Review

As an passionate coffee drinker, and I mean espresso machine, cafetiere, moka pot etc – not insta.. (sorry can’t bring myself to type the word), I was intrigued to hear that Helly Hansen were adding coffee to their garments!

Personally I’ve used coffee grounds, from the spent puck of the portafilter, on my garden as a mulch. And I have heard, you can use coffee grounds to neutralise orders. But clothing? Consequently I spoke to Helly Hansen; and they kindly enlightend me about the use of used coffee grounds in clothing, and gave me a garment to try, so I shall enlighten you.

The technical stuff! This garment uses S.Cafe yarn; and this is where the used coffee grounds come into play. A process enables the used coffee grounds to be embedded in the yarn; giving the yarn the following characteristics:

  • Odour Control. We knew that; and because the grounds are embedded in the yarn they do not wash out.
  • UV Protection. Didn’t know that! The numerous microscopic pores help reflect UV rays; giving UV protection.
  • Moister wicking. The garment moves moisture away from the skin to the outer surface of the fabric for faster drying process.

Helly Hansen Lifa Active Light T-Shirt

So what’s it like to wear? I was fortunate to be given a HH Lifa Active Light t-shirt to try; which is made from Helly Hansen’s legendary Lifa hydrophobic fibre and S.Cafe yarn. It’s categoriesed under ‘base-layer’ however I was going to wear it as a t-shirt. Consequently, it was an athletic, slim, snug, or some may say tight fit; because base-layers work best when they are touching the skin they are trying to wick moisture away from. I’m normally a size large, and the large was a comfortable ‘athletic’ fit – you may want to go up a size for a relax/baggy fit. I think the flat-lock seams and stretch, of the fabric, made the ‘athletic fit’ comfortable to wear; the crew neck was good and it was long in the body. It was a good fit for me! However, the first thing I noticed, putting the t-shirt on, was it felt cool! I don’t know if this was psychological, because Helly Hansen had said it would feel cool, but I did genuinely feel a little cooler when I first put the t-shirt on.

trad climbing derbyshire
The t-shirt performed well; even on the crux of the climbs I felt cool and the garment nonrestrictive – I was very impressed.

The recent hot weather presented idea testing conditions; so off I went climbing in the Derbyshire Peak District. The t-shirt performed well; even on the crux of the climbs I felt cool and the garment nonrestrictive – I was very impressed. The day’s climbing was in and out of the sun, so difficult to evaluate the UV protection, but I didn’t burn. However, I do know of some who have burnt their shoulders, because the garment they were wearing didn’t provide any UV protection, so it’s worth considering.

By the end of the day I had a good few routes in the bag, including a higher grade lead for me, so I was pleased with myself. But what did I smell like, after an arduous day at the crags? Not too good, I’m afraid to report. Now, how much you stink is subjective (“one man’s toxic waste is another man’s potpourri”, said the Grinch). So I didn’t smell fresh; but had I not been wearing this t-shirt I could have smelt worse, or perhaps I just need a ‘stronger roast’ coffee in my S.Cafe yarn!

belaying climber derbyshire
So I didn’t smell fresh; but had I not been wearing this t-shirt I could have smelt worse, or perhaps I just need a ‘stronger roast’ in my S.Cafe yarn!

Overall as an active t-shirt I was suitably impressed, and at £29.99 good value for money because it can be used as a summer t-shirt and a winter base-layer. This S.Cafe t-shirt, and other garments, will be available from Helly Hansen summer 2019.

Tallington Lakes Pro Shop has a large selection of men’s and women’s clothing from Helly Hansen!Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather