Let there be snow
Freeze Pro Shop's resident gearhead and international man of the mountains, Sam Grant runs through the best way to get your snow on this season
While we're complaining about the cold and long winter nights, for snow-obsessives the plummeting temperature sparks anticipation at this time every year. Time to explore the best spots to hit-up in Scotland and abroad, as well as the latest gear to keep you looking and performing at your best out on the hill.
HOMEGROWN HILLS: SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING IN SCOTLAND
Conditions in Scotland do tend to get a bit of a beating from the uber-critical. But while it’s often a far cry from the champagne powder of the US or Japan, there are still plenty of fun, soft, snowy days to be had at Scottish resorts.
Beginners can get their fix at The Lecht. Situated in Aberdeenshire and a three to four-hour drive from Scotland’s central belt, the Lecht is an ace spot to learn the basics and develop technique. There’s a choice of five nice and accessible nursery slopes, and lots of blues once you start to feel a bit more comfortable on your skis or board. For those somewhere between novice and pro, you can hone your skills at Glenshee – Scotland’s biggest resort – or Cairngorm Mountain, with their famous funicular railway.
If you’re an experienced skier or snowboarder and you’re looking for something a little different, Scotland naturally provides a spectacular backdrop for a spot of ski touring or splitboarding. Armed with the right equipment, you can head out into the backcountry and make the most of Scotland’s fantastic ‘right to roam’ laws.
JET SET AND GO: SNOWBOARDING AND SKIING AWAY FROM HOME
Whether you’re looking to head off overseas for a short mini break or no-holds-barred uber holiday, there’s somewhere to fit the bill.Accessibility is key for a weekend away and Geneva offers access to dozens of resorts both in Switzerland and France.
From the airport, you can get to the likes of Chamonix or Megeve in as little as an hour (traffic dependent). Both of these resorts have endless terrain, great accommodation and plenty ski schools for the wee ones. A great option if you’ve only got a couple of days, and there are daily flights into Geneva from Edinburgh.
There’s no doubting that chasing snow is an expensive pursuit, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be an unaffordable one - there are options out there that are brilliant on a budget. The weak pound isn’t doing anyone any favours, but resorts in areas like the Dolomites are going to be cheaper than the likes of France and Switzerland.
Got money to spend? The holy grail for many is North America, and you can’t get much better than a Mountain Collective pass. One ticket gives you access to the likes of Aspen Snowmass, Banff, Mammoth and Squaw Valley.
With a week in the mountains comes unpredictable weather. Having gear at your disposal that can handle different snow conditions and terrain types is a must. Check out these eclectic essentials.
Rossignol Soul 7 HD
Remastered with AirTip 2.0 to save weight but add strength in the tip and tail, this best-selling all mountain ski will help you make the most of your winter trip. Playful in the powder yet solid when making turns on harder snow, the Soul 7 HD from Rossignol will help you master the mountain, whatever the weather throws at you. £412.46
K2 FulLUVit 95
For the days when the weather can’t make up its mind, the K2 FulLUVit 95 proves the perfect companion. As at home on groomed runs as they are in the park or in the powder, the versatile all-terrain rocker profile will keep you conquering the slopes all day long. £356.21
Arbor Coda Camber
From backcountry pillow fields to icy park features, the Coda Camber from Arbor sings stability. Old school camber under your feet feels solid as a rock, and a super poppy core is ideal for helping you progress in the park. £463.96
Burton Talent Scout
A true all-terrain terrier from Burton, that'll have you mastering jumps and tree runs alike. Enjoy its responsive core as you get to grips with the world of freestyle. The Talent Scout's classic camber profile will help you build the confidence you need to progress your riding. £409.95.
Saga Anomie Jacket
A waterproof rating of 10,000k coupled with 40g of insulation, this anorak will keep you warm and dry for days! Mesh vents under the arms and removable storm skirt means the Anomie is suitable for a range of conditions. The handy kangaroo-style pouch will store all your essentials as you head out for a full day on the hill. £159.96
The North Face Tanager Anorak
Stay dry from the first run to the last with this waterproof and breathable jacket from The North Face. Dry vent technology wicks sweat away from your body and repels rain and snow on the outside. With helmet compatible hood, powder skirt, and media pocket; this jacket will have you equipped for a great day's skiing or snowboarding. £169.95.
With a new venting system, the Marker Ampire's new shell design offers 360-degree protection. It provides two-way climate control so you can keep your noggin at the right temperature. £139.95
Oakley Flightdeck XM
With a more modest profile than their big brother, the Flightdeck XM does not sacrifice on your field of vision. These aren't going to drown your face, and can be matched with a number of Oakley lens options to guarentee you visibility in all weather conditions. £139.96
More party than powder?
For some, a solid après game is a vital element to any good winter break. Take it to the next level with one of Europe's snow festivals.
Rock the Pistes 18 - 24 March, Portes du Soleil
Rock the Pistes returns to Portes du Soleil for its 8th year. Live music spread over a week, with stunning mountain views around the likes of Avoriaz, Champéry, Morzine, and Les Gets. Rag 'n' Bone Man headlines for a second consecutive season.
Snowbombing 09 - 14 April Mayerhofen, Austria
Chase and Status, and Run the Jewels are the big names to headline Snowbombing. It's as close as you're going to get to a full-blown festival in the mountains and its well worth a look.
Zermatt Unplugged 10 - 14 April, Zermatt
Zermatt Unplugged celebrates music, mood and beautiful setting. This year's line-up features Swiss legend Stephan Eicher, our very own Paolo Nutini, The Temper Trap, and Nelly Furtado.
Read our interview with Glasgow girl and Ski Cross athlete Pam Thorburn here.
Prices correct at time of publication. All products available from Freeze Pro Shop at their dedicated showroom at 8 South Gyle Crescent, EH12 9EG, Tel: 0131 260 9677, freezeproshop.com.