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The Ski Podcast Episode 201: Norway Special ft Gausta, Strandafjellet and Fjellsetra

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Bit spurious identifying that Zurbriggen won the 88 downhill from a lower altitude. The latitude and mid continent location of Nakiska are very different as was time of year.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
iainm wrote:
re ST, it was genuinely mutual. After three years, I'd covered pretty much every resort (some like Laax and Verbier are not part of Switzerland Tourism, don't ask me why), so it was time for a change.


Didn’t know that! Glad you ditched them then Very Happy
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Been busy...first there was this snowboarding special (E157)
https://audioboom.com/posts/8171940-157-snowboarding-special-how-to-choose-a-snowboard-renting-v-buying-splitboarding-more

Then a Snow Show Special (E158), inc interviews with Chemmy Alcott, Graham Bell and Mia Brookes
https://audioboom.com/posts/8176226-158-national-snow-snow-2022-ft-chemmy-alcott-graham-bell-mia-brookes

And this week Episode 159, covering skiing in Solden in October and Wipeout piste maps
https://audioboom.com/posts/8179708-159-skiing-in-austria-in-october-piste-maps-whether-to-rent-or-buy-your-snowboard
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iainm wrote:
@ster - I'd be really interested to hear what you think about the race in-situ. Certainly looks like it will go ahead now - evidently the snow situation can change quickly. My angle in this article for Fall Line was more about the need for snow https://www.fall-line.co.uk/ski-podcast-races-episode/.


You were right about more snow being needed, alas mens cancelled.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@iainm, interesting discussion on the current episode around the chap who takes a ski holiday to Solden in October, just looking at the piste map, seems an awful lot not open yet, and all high up so prone to wind/snow/bad weather closures?

Not sure it'd pan out as a great ski holiday in October? Might be a great holiday in the mountains with some skiing if/when possible. Interested it what others think?

https://www.soelden.com/winter/live-info/lifts-slopes/lifts-status.html
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iainm wrote:
Been busy...first there was this snowboarding special (E157)
https://audioboom.com/posts/8171940-157-snowboarding-special-how-to-choose-a-snowboard-renting-v-buying-splitboarding-more

Then a Snow Show Special (E158), inc interviews with Chemmy Alcott, Graham Bell and Mia Brookes
https://audioboom.com/posts/8176226-158-national-snow-snow-2022-ft-chemmy-alcott-graham-bell-mia-brookes

And this week Episode 159, covering skiing in Solden in October and Wipeout piste maps
https://audioboom.com/posts/8179708-159-skiing-in-austria-in-october-piste-maps-whether-to-rent-or-buy-your-snowboard


Enjoyed those last 2 back to back on a stunning, morning ride up to the Puig Major, the highest peak in Mallorca. No snow up there but nice views!


Chemmy is a great interviewer with all her positive energy. October Soelden fan guy was also an interesting listen although think I’ll stick to the sun for October Very Happy
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
kitenski wrote:
@iainm, interesting discussion on the current episode around the chap who takes a ski holiday to Solden in October, just looking at the piste map, seems an awful lot not open yet, and all high up so prone to wind/snow/bad weather closures?

Not sure it'd pan out as a great ski holiday in October? Might be a great holiday in the mountains with some skiing if/when possible. Interested it what others think?

https://www.soelden.com/winter/live-info/lifts-slopes/lifts-status.html


Gethin is a mate of mine, and yes it's an early Winter family holiday not a ski holiday.

But taking in all the aspects and experiences, they've had a great time every visit (hence why they return).

And more than enough terrain and skiing.

I almost went this year.

Hopefully next.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Mike Pow, you reckon there is more than enough terrain open with 6/7 meaningful lifts running?
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kitenski wrote:
@Mike Pow, you reckon there is more than enough terrain open with 6/7 meaningful lifts running?


Seems to be

As much as anywhere at that time of the year, or deep into the Spring (May, June)

And it's a matter of perspective

I'm used to repeating a small number of runs in Japan, rather than high mileage ski circuses
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
Great photo @BobinCH
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Two updates:
1) Episode 160 is out - about ski companies taking sustainability seriously. I am very mindful of greenwash, so interested in whether you think I went hard enough with the questions https://audioboom.com/posts/8185012-160-sustainability-special-ski-companies-taking-sustainability-seriously

2) Missed 'The Ski Podcast Live!' at the Birmingham Ski Show? You can now see @mikepow and myself and watch our 'Off the beaten track' chat (even if the audio is a bit ropey)


http://youtube.com/v/EoPICSXirAo
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Am playing catch-up and just listened to #159... hmm.

Guess which bit I'm "Hmm"ing about... yeah Snowboard Hire...

Chris Moran may be the man at Intersport for Snowboard hire, but I'll lay money he's not hired from them, or anyone, in recent memory. Let me quote from their website first of all, now I'll forgive a bit of 'lost in translation' but let me simulate an experience for me attempting to book a snowboard package for my youngest (11) who is a pretty decent enough rider, currently tooling about nicely on own gear (Salamon Villain 144). Two shops where we are off to (Flaine) next, neither show any detail on what they specialize in, but I choose one which happens to have at least some snowboards in its photo.

First if I take his age, that only puts him into the Beginner kit group. Zero description of the gear on offer - no size range, nothing. Lets step up to intermediate... again from their site, and I quote...

Quote:
This snowboard hire package (Snowboard + Boots) is ideal for younger beginner skiiers to good younger skiiers. Freeride, freestyle... for a snowboarding rush of adrenaline, you can count on this quality equipment!

I can forgive a bit of 'lost in translation' but REALLY? Again, no idea of whats available. In fact, the only thing that seems to change through the 3-tiers of quality are the number of years they keep the kit in circulation.

If i'm committing nearly €90-100 on just a board and bindings (I assume they come with bindings, they're not mentioned at all as part of the package - it would literally take two words "AND BINDINGS") I'm going to want at least a hint at what I'm hiring - Say at LEAST what companies you get your rental stock from or give some basic examples of packages.

On a general point, its been a little while since I last rented any snowboard kit so maybe it IS genuinely better - This isn't with Intersport, but I rented a set of bindings for myself as I'd forgotten mine, and spend all week rebuilding them, and I rented a setup for Jnr when he was still learning, and was genuinely given a setup which weighed in significantly heavier than my own, despite being for a beginner child, AND I had to fix that one too as the threads which attached the bindings to the board were so worn that they were causing the binding to shift around. I ended up swapping them out with bolts I had in my own spares kit. I did try to swap this stuff out, but was just met with "This is what we have..." and a shrug.

Now, this isn't Chris Morans problem (apart from his corps website - really Chris - put your Punters hat on and actually TRY the experience you're offering to us snowboarders) but really, the ONLY way anyone should bother renting kit is from people who actually CARE about this sport. Spend the time, find a independant where you can and give them the trade rather than the Usual Suspects.

Rant over.... Nice podcast as usual @iainm,
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Good feedback. I'll pass it all on!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Hi Richard_Sideways, just thought I would jump in here, and reply to you about your comment on the snowboard availability with Intersport. To be honest mate, you're completely right, and honestly it's my life long goal to change the culture and to get really really good snowboard rental availability at Intersport.

We came so close a few years ago, because we got the nitro Q series in 2018 and it looked like our buying team had finally gotten the concept, but then covid hit, some people within the company left etc and it's the momentum hasn't been there. In our defence there are some great shops in the network, especially in the resorts which have really good snowball scenes: Morzine, Chamonix, Flachau, Mayrhofen, Verbier, Tignes etc, but yes I take your point, there are still frustratingly some older shops that carry a more limited range and just don't have the know-how.

There are over 700 Intersport stores now across the Alps and Pyrenees. Not an excuse at all, but it's a big company and it's difficult to convince everyone of the need to fill in niches that some of the older store owners don't understand. Hope that makes sense. It will change, I can promise you that, but it's gonna be a few more seasons before each and every store has full splitboards, powder boards, and a great kids line up as part of the full range of equipment.

In the meantime, if you want advice on which are the best stores, just message me via the Intersport FB page (me and my team run the social campaigns) and we'll answer any questions you've got and do our best to point you to the most snowboard friendly of our stores. Hope that helps and apologies if your experience wasn't so great.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
iainm wrote:
Two updates:
1) Episode 160 is out - about ski companies taking sustainability seriously. I am very mindful of greenwash, so interested in whether you think I went hard enough with the questions https://audioboom.com/posts/8185012-160-sustainability-special-ski-companies-taking-sustainability-seriously


Pretty impressive commitment from Hotelplan - first job was with Inghams and they felt like a really good company back then. Private jet lady didn’t seem quite as clued up - would have thought you could do a lot more for a wealthy clientele being less sensitive to additional costs from local sourcing / renewables etc. The veggie Morzine guy was a good listen although surely you just don’t fill the hot tub if you want to save power/water? Giving people a discount for not using it while it sits there full and hot seems a bit pointless?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@ChrisMoranHBT, Hi Chris - Firstly, thanks for taking time to response to some ranty old buffer that @Iains tagged on SH - Some of us remember you from 'The before times...' and I liked your writing for Whitelines when print was still a thing.

Intersport and the other big beasts are big old tankers to turn around when the culture seems to be pushing the other way, So its good to know someone is at least trying - like you say its a shame the Nitro thing didn't come off. Please do consider the website thing though - simply altering the text a little here and there would improve the kerb-appeal to snowboarders a LOT, and it's no more cost than your yearly site tyrekick and overhaul.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks for all the feedback guys. Delighted to say that @BobinCH features on the podcast for this first time with a report from Verbier. That's in Episode 161, which is a 'Ski Boot Special'. I was lucky enough to be joined by two genuine experts: Colin Martin from Solutions4Feet and Al Morgan from Ski Kit Info. I found it fascinating, hopefully you will too!
https://audioboom.com/posts/8196297-161-the-ski-boot-special-how-to-choose-ski-boots-custom-insoles-boot-fitting

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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Great episode

Essential listening
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Respect to Chris for trying, replying and being so honest. One of the good guys.
Richard_Sideways wrote:
@ChrisMoranHBT, Hi Chris - Firstly, thanks for taking time to response to some ranty old buffer that @Iains tagged on SH - Some of us remember you from 'The before times...' and I liked your writing for Whitelines when print was still a thing.

Intersport and the other big beasts are big old tankers to turn around when the culture seems to be pushing the other way, So its good to know someone is at least trying - like you say its a shame the Nitro thing didn't come off. Please do consider the website thing though - simply altering the text a little here and there would improve the kerb-appeal to snowboarders a LOT, and it's no more cost than your yearly site tyrekick and overhaul.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Excellent, glad Colin could fit you in Very Happy He really does explain his craft so well. You should have asked him about ski boot colour earlier on Toofy Grin
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@iainm, argh terrible listening to oneself Shocked Great episode though - Colin is hilarious (as well as super knowledgeable). « I want to fit their foot into the ski boot and not half of Larry the Lamb » Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

A few follow up questions in case you get them back:
1) Would be interested in why recommended choice of sock material (merino, silk, manmade) differs depending on individual physiology?

2) custom insoles are getting very expensive (150chf+). Unless your foot is particularly difficult do they offer a significant benefit over a 40chf superfeet blue or red? IME the superfeet insoles work well, I only really feel the benefit of the custom insole in my problematic flat right foot. On the « normal » left foot I can swap between custom and superfeet and feel no difference.

3) a local (shan’t be named) boot fitter insists on throwing out all stock liners and fitting custom liners. As per Al’s comment IME stock liners are usually pretty decent nowadays and it’s only really the flimsy skimo liners that need replacing once they’ve packed out. Is this just a money spinning scam?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Thanks for the feedback. You're right about Colin - so many great quotes in there!
Good question on the socks and insoles, will follow that up with Al, who's back on in E163

BTW Episode 162 is now live. Great story in there about skiing in Ukraine, plus Patrick Thorne on his new book, James Gambrill on his first year at the Ski Club and plenty more:
https://open.spotify.com/episode/05xBazRuxHBQaJ7fVkOhRk
https://audioboom.com/posts/8203818-162-skiing-in-ukraine-trains-to-the-pyrenees-around-the-world-in-50-slopes

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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@iainm, another great episode - keep up the good work.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
iainm wrote:
Thanks for all the feedback guys. Delighted to say that @BobinCH features on the podcast for this first time with a report from Verbier. That's in Episode 161, which is a 'Ski Boot Special'. I was lucky enough to be joined by two genuine experts: Colin Martin from Solutions4Feet and Al Morgan from Ski Kit Info. I found it fascinating, hopefully you will too!
https://audioboom.com/posts/8196297-161-the-ski-boot-special-how-to-choose-ski-boots-custom-insoles-boot-fitting



I called Colin "Kevin" at the snow show. I realised about 2 seconds after I'd done it, then ran away.
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Quote:

local (shan’t be named) boot fitter insists on throwing out all stock liners and fitting custom liners


Slight diversion, Concept and SOLE are now (as of last season iirc) selling the Zero-Gs without stock liners, as the stock ones are so feeble.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Timmycb5 - Laughing Laughing Laughing
@under a new name - good info
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@iainm, enjoyed that episode and the book sounds interesting. I’ve been heli-skiing from Mestia in Georgia and as your powder mad guy said it’s an incredible place - like a step back in time. The new locations he’s visiting this year sound pretty cool!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
BobinCH wrote:
@iainm, enjoyed that episode and the book sounds interesting. I’ve been heli-skiing from Mestia in Georgia and as your powder mad guy said it’s an incredible place - like a step back in time. The new locations he’s visiting this year sound pretty cool!


Agreed

Great listen

Can vouch for North Macedonia and Kosovo

Montenegro too

Heading back to Turkey in two weeks, and possibly Azerbaijan.

So many place to ski Smile
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Episode 163 is now live - includes a few mentions for Snowheads...plus chat about ski boot fitting at Profeet, protecting your skin and new plans in La Plagne.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/1az5uC8aXajto9XW2cRTtt
https://audioboom.com/posts/8211132-163-ski-boot-fitting-at-profeet-la-plagne-s-glacier-protecting-your-skin

http://youtube.com/v/Ngd1C1QCR5o
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
An interesting decision by La Plagne to reduce access to the glacier. The Flocon Vert scheme sounds interesting too - could be worth a segment in the future.
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@iainm, sounds like you’ve got some nice new boots there. By coincidence just listened to an in depth review of the Atomic boot range by their product mgr here
https://blisterreview.com/podcasts/matt-manser-on-atomics-22-23-ski-boot-lineup-more-ep-225
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Harking back to episode 161, I was a surprised about Al Morgan giving a positive opinion on Carv but not having tried it. More so that he seems to be a paid ambassador for the product, which at least he disclosed.

I hold more stock in independent reviews and prefer reviews are limited to these rather than advertorials. And if an opinion is offered that its actually been tried an anger.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
ster wrote:
Harking back to episode 161, I was a surprised about Al Morgan giving a positive opinion on Carv but not having tried it. More so that he seems to be a paid ambassador for the product, which at least he disclosed. I hold more stock in independent reviews and prefer reviews are limited to these rather than advertorials. And if an opinion is offered that its actually been tried an anger.

I'm not sure he's been paid, more than he's been given one free (as I have). My thoughts were that he's spoken to those that have tried it (whereas I haven't). My (honest) review will come in due course...
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BobinCH wrote:
@iainm, sounds like you’ve got some nice new boots there. By coincidence just listened to an in depth review of the Atomic boot range by their product mgr here
https://blisterreview.com/podcasts/matt-manser-on-atomics-22-23-ski-boot-lineup-more-ep-225

Just used them for the first time in Orelle/Val Thorens. Paired them with Atomic Backland's in VT and all went well. Will expand on this in the next podcast but wearing a ski boot in the shop and skiing in them is a completely different experience - touring in them even more so.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
And finally, a new podcast is up. Interview with Alexis Pinterault. To be honest I was quite surprised to get some time with him, being France's most successful ski racer ever, but nice chap as I think the interview gets across. So many other things I wanted to ask him about, but I only had a limited time slot, hence the short run time.
https://theskipodcast.com/podcast/164-alexis-pinterault-french-ski-racer/
https://audioboom.com/posts/8216747-164-alexis-pinterault-french-ski-racer

Photo below shows him plugging his book, which sadly is not yet available in English...

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Episode 165 was published on 24 December, featuring @mikepow and @bobinch of this parish, plus features on Orelle, Val Thorens, Madesimo, plus skiing in Uzbekistan
https://audioboom.com/posts/8220439-165-orelle-uzbekistan-madesimo-le-board-in-val-thorens
https://theskipodcast.com/podcast/165-orelle-uzbekistan-madesimo-le-board-in-val-thorens/

Feedback always welcome...next episode due to go live 06 January

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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Long time, no post. Been busy with two episodes since my last post:

166: Skiing in Iraq & Afghanistan, plus Ice Swimming in Samoens
https://audioboom.com/posts/8225287-166-skiing-in-iraq-afghanistan-plus-ice-swimming-in-samoens

167: Van Life, Off the Grid in Méribel & Innsbruck Ski Jumping
https://audioboom.com/posts/8233324-167-van-life-off-the-grid-in-meribel-innsbruck-ski-jumping

There's so much in these two podcasts. Really enjoyed putting them together, although very depressing talking to James from Untamed Borders about the changes in Afghanistan since my last chat with him (and since the Taliban took over).

Feedback always welcome...
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@iainm, James was a great listen - amazing what he’s done/doing in Afghanistan. Very inspiring!
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
How have I not come across this before? Just listened to the two recent episodes and they are great! <subscribe>
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
iainm wrote:
Long time, no post. Been busy with two episodes since my last post:

166: Skiing in Iraq & Afghanistan, plus Ice Swimming in Samoens
https://audioboom.com/posts/8225287-166-skiing-in-iraq-afghanistan-plus-ice-swimming-in-samoens

167: Van Life, Off the Grid in Méribel & Innsbruck Ski Jumping
https://audioboom.com/posts/8233324-167-van-life-off-the-grid-in-meribel-innsbruck-ski-jumping

There's so much in these two podcasts. Really enjoyed putting them together, although very depressing talking to James from Untamed Borders about the changes in Afghanistan since my last chat with him (and since the Taliban took over).

Feedback always welcome...


Two great episodes

Really exploring the variety of winter life
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