Tag Archives: ski

1/2/13 – Can anybody beat this loo-with-a-view?

Snowy Schladming in mid-January

Snowy Schladming in mid-January

On Monday the World Alpine Skiing Championships begin in Schladming, Austria.

I spent a long weekend at the Austrian resort a few weeks ago, and you can read how impressed I was with the place in the Daily Telegraph travel section next weekend (or online, here).

This comfort stop is clearly signed

This comfort stop is clearly signed

As well as great, tree-lined ski runs, an attractive town square, half a dozen dirndl shops, the largest apres-ski bar in Europe (they claim – and Hohenhaus Tenne is indeed huge – pictures in a future blog) and unbelievably cheap and tasty food in giant portions, Schladming has fantastic places to “go”.

A very public loo

A very public lavatory

To the loo.

On the mountain.

At the junction of two chair-lift top stations on Planai (read the Telegraph piece to see which ones), the mountain where the racing takes place, is a white, green and yellow cabin marked “Sky Toilet”.

Here are the instructions that come with the loo

Here are the instructions that come with the loo

In the ladies’ , I found one cubicle with a wall of glass, one-way viewing, of course, overlooking the  ascending chairs at close quarters and the piste.

Plastered to the other walls and ceiling is local mountain scenery, completing the picture. The second cubicle is  totally wallpapered.

This is the view from where I was sitting

This is the view from where I was sitting

Of course it was all beautifully heated, with plenty of room to put your gloves and a hook to hang your rucksack or coat.

There were similar good loos elsewhere in Schladming – easily up to the standard of Aspen, where the mountain loos are very practical.

Spot the door in the Planet Planai ladies'

Spot the door in the Planet Planai ladies’

In Planet Planai, the new base station, there’s more good wallpaper, plus a powder scene across all the doors in the ladies’.

In Hohenhaus Tenne, on the way out, there’s a sort of chalet willage of lavatories, comoplete with a rustic water fountain in the middle.

Step inside the chalet to 'go'

Step inside the chalet to ‘go’

Please advise if you know of other mountain loo stops that are as beautiful and useful as these, and I will make an effort to make use of them one day…

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Filed under Austria, Food and drink, Racing

16/12/11 – Winter campervanning in Fernie in Fall-Line magazine

Nick and Bethan, the plucky campervanners

Two of the most brilliant people I met last winter were Bethan and Nick Lowe, who spent a ski season living in a campervan in Fernie, a great resort in British Columbia, Canada.

Happily for them, it was a fantastic snow year, and Bethan – who arrived an out-and-out beginner – was able to master powder skiing on Fernie’s scores of lovely, ungroomed, gladed (and often very steep) runs. Nick turned out to be a superb patient fiance (check out this post – http://tinyurl.com/d845cgm – and see if you recognise who I’m talking about) and it turned out to be a great way to spend a winter in the mountains at very low cost.

Chilly but cosy: the happy couple's home sweet home

My article about Nick and Bethan is out now, in the current issue (101) of Fall-Line, the excellent ski magazine. Find it in the newsagent, or to have a look at the piece – “Maximum Freshies, Minimum Cost” – here, follow this link:

Maximum Freshies, Minimum Cost – Fall-Line magazine, issue 101 

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Filed under Link to article by Yolanda Carslaw

16/6/11 – Next season, carrying your skis with Easyjet will cost nearly 40 per cent more

It seems early to be thinking about winter flights - but this year especially, it's worth saving money wherever possible

Tomorrow I am flying from Gatwick to Basel with Easyjet, then taking the train to Interlaken for the Jodlerfest (yodel festival) that I mentioned in my post of 10 June. As it’s usually winter when I’m flying this sort of route, my impending trip made me want to glance at Easyjet’s flights for the 2011/12 ski season, which have been on sale now for a couple of months.

You can book flights up to 24 March 2012 and the good news is that for people who can be organised enough to do so now, there are still bargains, especially to Geneva. Even Saturday to Saturday fares during the school holidays are reasonable. There’s a twice-weekly new route from Luton to Salzburg, starting 17 December, and daily Innsbruck flights begin on 10 December.

A quick look shows that a return from Luton to Geneva, at civilised times of day, departing 24 December and returning 31 December, costs £114.98 including a 20kg case at £9 each way and a £8 debit card fee. Similar fares are available over New Year, though the price climbs if you want to return on Monday 2 January.

Not bound by weekends or school holidays? Even better. For a long weekend in December you’ll pay £73.98, including luggage and debit card fee, to fly from Luton to Geneva first thing on Thursday 8 December, returning last thing on Monday 12 December. It’s similar in January: my probable flights to Zurich for the Inferno are £83.98.

So that’s the good news.

However, there is very bad news for Easyjet passengers who take their own skis or snowboards on holiday next winter. The carrier’s price for ski carriage has risen by almost 40 per cent. Last season the cost was £18.50 each way for a ski bag; this year it is £25 each way.

It may therefore be time to pack cleverly to save a few pounds. According to Easyjet’s own baggage statement (http://www.easyjet.com/EN/Planning/baggage.html), a ski bag (sports equipment) can weigh up to 32kg. Therefore instead of booking a normal bag (£18 return) and a ski bag (£50 return), there seems no reason not to book solely a ski bag. As long as it’s not too slim, you should be able to stash within it pretty much everything you need in terms of ‘sports equipment’ – jacket, salopettes, socks, gloves, shovel, probe, transceiver, suncream and so on. Maybe you can even double up and put in a second pair of skis for your travel buddy.

Your boots you can take in your hand-luggage, which can be up to 56 x 45 x 25cm – my wheelie case is just big enough for a pair of boots – and your snow boots and evening clothes, if there is no more room, you can wear.

This is my advice, and I have clarified by phone with the Easyjet press office that the baggage situation is as explained above, but I take no responsibility for anyone’s excess baggage charges should it be off the mark…

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Filed under Austria, France, Italy, Switzerland, Transport