Athlete Profile – Dave Ryding

Lancashire; famous for Hotpot, Football Teams, The Blackpool Tower and the Red Rose. Oh, and an Alpine Ski Racer?

It’s not often that someone from the shores of Great Britain is recognised on the world stage in Alpine Sports. Step forward Dave ‘The Rocket’ Ryding.

Dave began skiing at the age of 6, and unlike many on the world stage, began on the humble dry slope. From there, he has worked his way up to this season, a pinnacle in his career (so far!).

From humble beginnings, Dave has now represented GB in 2 Winter Olympic Games and secured a status right up there with the world’s best. The 2016 season was something of a breakthrough for the man from Preston, beginning with a career best 12th place finish in Val D’Isere, finishing the season with a more than impressive 115 World Cup points. However, it was the 2016/17 season where Ryding stepped fully into the limelight…

Perhaps one of the highlights of this season is the 2nd place finish at the infamous Kitzbuhel World Cup Slalom, a result that incorporated years of hard work and perseverance, and broke records in the process!

Ryding broke a record that had stood for 35 years by finishing on the podium in Austria; a feat that, as of yet, is his best career World Cup result. This wasn’t a one off, the result has been backed up by impressive performances; including an agonising 4th place finish in the Stockholm Parallel Slalom, missing out on a podium place by 0.06 seconds!

Following on from this, a finish of 11th in the St Moritz World Championships was almost considered as a bit of a disappointment, which really goes to show how far Dave has come in the last few years and how impressive some of his World Cup results have been!

You have to applaud just how remarkable these performances and results are. The Rocket is mixing with the likes of Marcel Hirscher and Henrik Kristoffersen who have the might of the Austrian and Norweigan teams respectively; teams which contain pretty much every ounce of support a professional athlete could want! From ski technicians to rehab doctors. On the other hand, Ryding has achieved his success on very limited resources, with just a handful of support staff on his team. However, lets hope his success helps pump some funding into inspiring and developing young alpine skiing talent.

We are sure there is plenty to come from Dave and surely it won’t be long until he is a regular on the podium, really challenging the Austrian and Norwegian powerhouses.

Dave is now among the favourites to finish in medal contention at the next Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang 2018. Not bad for a Brit!

From all of us at RxSport, good luck!

Have Dave Ryding’s performances and results inspired you to take to the slopes? Show us how you are getting on for your chance to be featured on our Social Media pages.

 

 

 

Alternative Apres Ski

Fed up of the same old Apres activities? Here’s some inspiration from us of what sort of things can keep you busy while the slopes close for the night!

We know the feeling, the slopes are shut and skiing is over for the day, so you find your way to terra firma and make the most of some of the local watering holes. Only to find that the nightlife gets the better of you and waking up for the first lift is a tough one!

So, RxSport are here to help! Here are some ideas from the team about how to keep busy in the evenings!

Dog Sledding

More resorts than ever give you the opportunity to take to the tranquil backcountry and try your hand at dog sledding! This traditional method of transport isn’t for the feint hearted however, Huskies aren’t the greatest off-road machines, so time to get that lactic acid pumping and help push up the steeper hills! Most resorts and companies will allow you to be in charge of your own sled, with 3 to 4 dogs to keep you company and keep you on your toes. This makes it a great alternative to those who fancy a bit more adventure and want to tick something off their bucket list!

A family can be given the run around by the dogs for around £180 per person (resort depending).

 

Bobsled & Skeleton

Thrill seekers listen up… Speaking as someone who has been lucky enough to have thrown themselves down an icy slope on a metal tray at near 100 km/h, I can tell you, it’s the most fun you can have lying down! This unparalleled experience can only be had at select few resorts, so choose wisely. It is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, so channel your inner Amy Williams and settle down for the ride of your life!

Sliding doesn’t come cheap, the ‘Thunder on Ice’ experience at Whistler Sliding centre starts at $179 per person.

Spa

You’ve had a busy day out on the slopes, what better way to spend the evening than relax in the Spa? For those who like to holiday in style and comfort, a spa evening after a long day is just what the doctor ordered. Sauna, steam rooms and Jacuzzi’s, all to help rest the muscles that have taken a hammering. It is no secret that a long day skiing takes it out of you, so check out some of the best Ski-Spa resorts and hotels that can give you the ultimate evening relaxation – Telegraph Ski & Snowboard

Ice Skating

Fancy yourself as the next Jayne Torvill or Christopher Dean? Strap on your skates and head out onto the ice! A great family activity that is a fantastic apres ski alternative at most big resorts. Whether you find yourself tussling with tourists on a tailor made ice rink, or fancy braving it out with the locals on a frozen lake, there are plenty of options, especially in Europe and North America. If you’ve never been before, we would recommend you take some knee pads!

This is a great and often cheap alternative to Apres Ski. With prices from as low as £8, including skate hire. That’s about as much as a local beer in some resorts!

Night walks

A perfect alternative for all you night owls! Get the camera ready and take a stroll under the stars. If you’re lucky enough to be staying somewhere on the mountain, this is an ideal option, just wander around outside and gaze up into space! Given that ski resorts tend to be situated at higher climbs, light pollution can be reduced, giving you a great view of the stars, make sure you wrap up warm though!

If you’re venturing to Scandinavia, why not have a trek and search for the magical Northern Lights, another one to tick off the bucket list! Check out the Northern Lights forecast to see whether you might be in luck! – Aurora Forecast

The best thing about this, it’s free! All you need is a torch and your thermals (and a good sense of direction)!

Share your favourite apres ski experiences with us, by tagging us in your social media pictures!

 

 

 

Kit Out the Kids – Junior Ski Gear!

Have you pulled out the kids ski stuff from the back of their wardrobe and found that their heads have grown or their goggles are scratched beyond use…DON’T PANIC, WE ARE HERE TO HELP!

Organising a ski holiday is a mission in itself, let alone finding & buying kit for your youngsters. To make it all that little bit easier, the RxSport team have got you covered!

Check out our favourite goggles and helmets for your little shredders!

ANON TRACKER SKI GOGGLES – A simple pair of lightweight durable goggles, that come with an anti-fog treated lens and venting across the top of the lens. These goggles would be perfect for ages 6-12(ish!). Also, how can you look past the epic colours!

ANON RIME SKI HELMET – Durable and ding-resistant shell with passive ventilation channels and fleece lined ear pads. If your shredder prefers the beanie look, the liner & earpads can be removed! Sizing: S/M 48-51cm and L/XL 52-55cm.

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SMITH SIDEKICK SKI GOGGLES – A perfect goggle for smaller children, with funky patterns for both boys and girls. The Sidekick has an Anti-fog treated lens, which offers great impact protection. The back strap has dual fit adjustment and silicone beading to hold the goggle in place.

 

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SMITH HOLT JUNIOR SKI HELMETNot just a ski helmet, the Holt Junior can be used all season long. Its hardshell design and removable goggle clip means this helmet can be used for cycling as well as winter sports. The Holt also comes in ultra bright colours!

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SALOMON JUKE SKI GOGGLESA soft flexible goggle that will fit various face shapes and provide a comfortable fit. A Tonic colour lens that works well in both cloud and sun comes as standard with the goggle. This goggle will fit perfectly with Salomon junior helmets.
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SALOMON KIANA SKI HELMET A perfect helmet for young ladies, a tough and durable helmet with a comfortable liner – which is also removable and washable! The Kiana features a custom dial fit to provide a snug fit. The Salomon Jib is the alternative for the boys.
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ELECTRIC EGV.K SKI GOGGLESA very cute pair of goggles for small guys and gals. (4+) The EGV.K is flexible and comfy, triple layer face foam ensures protection on the coldest days. A tough anti-fog coated lens will mean your little ones never have to slow down!

BOLLE AMP JUNIOR SKI GOGGLESOne of the real tiny tots, this goggle will fit a child age 3! A really sweet & simple goggle, it comes with a Citrus Dark lens as standard which will work in both cloud/snow and sun.  A dual lens which features an anti-fog layer on the inner surface – all for £22.99.


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Show us how your little shredders are doing out on the slopes by tagging us in your social media pictures!

 

 

 

Half Term Ski Holiday Destinations

With February half term falling smack bang in middle of the month, what better way to shake off the first term of the year than with a family ski holiday!

YES the slopes are going to be busy, YES you are going to be queuing for lifts & YES you are going to pay more for your holiday BUT you will be going skiing and there will be snow, SO WHO CARES!

There are plenty of child/teen friendly resorts all over the world but we’ve listed a few to help make your choice a little easier…hopefully!

Les Deux Alpes, FranceOne of the biggest resorts in the world and thanks to its glacier you are pretty much guaranteed snow. Given the resorts size it has plenty of activities for all ages. Anybody from the age of 1 can experience sliding on snow with the “baby snow” device which was invented by a resort instructor.
If you have slightly older children then they can give the Big Air snow-bag a go – a ski jump that ends in a comfy landing.les-deux-alpes-4-opt

Your youngsters can even experience an avalanche in the Robocoaster or perhaps try a mini snowmobile or ice glider! You can pick up a Chalet in Les Deux Alpes during half term for around £450 per person.

Galtur, AustriaGaltür is a part of the giant Silvretta ski area which stretches across The Austrian – Swiss area between Ischgl and Samnuan, just down the valley – altogether there are nearly 240 kilometres of piste.  Galtür itself has a family-sized 40 kilometres of local slopes, named the Silvapark and specially designed to be family-friendly with separate sectors for different ability levels and snow sports styles.

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While children from as young as 2 are looked after in the guest kindergarten and from 3 in ski school, older children have a full week of activities including;

  • Jumping lessons on skis or a board
  • Resort treasure hunt (with stamp collectors card)
  • Night skiing sessions
  • Off-piste ski safari after a piste-basher ride up the mountain
  • Sessions on snowblades (extra short skis) and twin-tips. 

Every Friday there’s a mini Winter Olympics. Everything is in place, with electronic timing, musically accompanied award ceremonies, medals and winner’s cups. Treat yourself to a break out in the Austrian alps for around £950 per person including flights for 7 nights half board.

Sauze d’Oulx – Italy – Sauze d’Oulx is a fantastic alternative to the usually much busier French or Austrian Alps. With access to 212 pistes, it provides skiing for all abilities. The plentiful, English speaking ski and snowboard schools give a place for your little ones to enjoy while you go off and explore. For those looking for a more advanced slope to tackle, the Olympic Kandahar Slalom run dominates the mountainside in the town of Sestriere which is a short ski over the top of the mountain, using the Milky Way (Via Lattea) ski area.

For those of you (and most of us here) who spend half of the day making it onto highlight reels of the best falls of the year so want to spend the evening on firmer ground, the nightlife and restaurant scene in Sauze is tip top. Plenty of local, family run restaurants serving classic Italian dishes to Apres Ski bars where you can dance the night away with a pint of Guinness in hand! Half term breaks in Sauze d’Oulx start at around £550 per person.

Heading off on a half term trip across Europe or even further afield? Tag us in your photos wearing your RxSport gear on our social media pages! 

 

 

 

Dirty Dog Sport Edge – Wideopen Magazine Review!

We sent a pair of Dirty Dog Sport Edge sunglasses on their holidays to the guys at Wideopen Magazine. After putting the Dirty Dog’s through their paces, they published a great review on their site! 

“With summer leaving town faster than a wig in a hurricane it might seem odd to feature sun glasses” – We agree but you protecting your eyes from the harsh winter wind, rain and grit is still hugely important!

“The Dirty Dog Edge brings together a plenty of to-be-expected features but is most interesting because of its photochromic lens option.” 

Jamie at Wideopen mag tested the Smoke Photochromic DD Sport Edge – “When the trails get darker, the lens loses its tint. When the sun shines, the lens tints.”

Photochromic lenses are a cyclists best friend when it comes to changing weather, they are a good compromise that will work for every season, in all weathers!

“The frame is also light and comfortable, there’s a rubber nose-bridge to hold them in place in crappy conditions and the lens is shatterproof and scratch resistant.”  – Even at such a reasonable price you would be buying a comfortable lightweight frame.

“In practice we’ve found the Dirty Dog Edge to work really well. An evening ride up into the Llangollen hills above the British Downhill Series treated us to a bright, low end-of-the-summer sun and lots of jetting in and out of dark trees from dark to light to dark.” – THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING.

“The lens never goes totally clear in the light but brightens up well enough for all but the darkest of woods” – The Smoke Photochromic lens will transition from 47% at its lightest down to 14% at its darkest.

“Dirty Dog might not be the most on-trend name on the track – but if you want good value and comfortable optics that will keep your eyes safe in changing light, these will do the job” – THEY HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD.

If you fancy your own pair of Dirty Dog sunnies then click here

Thank you to Jamie at Wideopen Magazine, we loved your review!

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE FULL REVIEW.
http://wideopenmag.co.uk/2016/09/reviewed-dirty-dog-edge-photochromic-glasses

Best ski resorts for early snow!

Summer is over, winter jumpers are starting to make their way out from the back of your wardrobe, the heating is being cranked up rather than the AC and you are getting increasingly excited about the upcoming ski season!

Well…if there’s snow then why not go? We thought we’d give you early birds a helping hand finding the resorts that are well known for early season snow!

Hintertux, Austria: If its snow you want, then Hintertux is one of the most snow sure resorts in the Alps. The glacier (3,250m) located in the Ziller valley is one of only two ski resorts in the world offering skiing 365 days a year – the other being Zermatt in Switzerland.  The resort is great for all abilities and offers great free ride runs and parks for those skiers/boarders that like a challenge!

Check out the great video from the guys at Betterpark below! 



Cervinia, Italy: 
Due to the resorts height, Cervinia usually opens its gates in late October. The highest slopes sit at 3,480m however Cervinia shares a glacier with Zermatt which sits at 3,820m so snow is pretty much guaranteed up that high! You may not be able to ski back down to base in the early season, however you can usually reach the mid stations at around 2,800m. The resort as a whole is very good at extending the ski terrain where possible and by December the snow cover is at its best so Cervinia is perfect for a Christmas time break!

Obertauern, Austria: Obertauern does not have a glacier to draw in the crowds, however it has very impressive natural snowfall and fantastic snow making facilities which usually means the majority of terrain is open by late November!
The resort is not one of the highest, with its peaks sitting at 2,315m but as its situated on the eastern side of the alps the temperature remains lower, meaning the snow sticks! Plus the resort is incredibly easy to navigate thanks to its large bowl shaped layout.

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Ski map from the Obertauern website.

Val Thorens, France: Europe’s highest ski resort, Val T usually opens a week earlier than its competition Tignes/Val d’Isere. The resorts altitude and modern snow making facilities means guaranteed snow cover by late November.
Although Val Thorens cannot compete with the size of the Espace Killy region (Until the 3 valleys opens!) it usually offers more reliable resort level snow.

Val d’Isere/Tignes, France: Arguably the best bet in the Alps for an all round early ski holiday! Other resorts will have early snow as mentioned above but few resorts pride themselves on early openings! Espace Killy managed to open the majority of their terrain by the end of November and the glacier in Tignes can be skied in early autumn! Val d’isere boasts one of the largest man-made snow systems in Europe so this area is a no brainer!

The team here at RxSport hope everybody has a great winter season, if you need any ski goggles / helmets for your upcoming trips – make sure you check out our great range! 

Ride 100 – Charlotte Holdsworth

A friend of RxSport is taking part in the Ride 100 event at the end of July and she has kindly written us a blog post about her training for the 2016 event and about her previous experience doing the ride in 2014!

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The Ride 100 is on the 31st July 2016 and this will be my second time in taking part in the cycling event. I participated in the event in 2014 when torrential rain somewhat disrupted the event and riders were not permitted to do Box Hill or Leith Hill due to safety precautions. There were other parts of the race where we were instructed to get off our bikes and walk due to excess water on the road.

All in all, it wasn’t quite the “sportive” I was hoping for and while I was proud to finish, I wasn’t that pleased with my time. So I was very happy to be successful in the 2016 ballot and the training for the race in July has started in earnest.

I go to regular spinning classes during the week and I also cycle the 6 miles to work and back every day during the week but I know the best training is to get out to the hills for real and just go for it.

We didn’t want to push ourselves too hard on our first training ride of the summer but the beautiful thing about cycling is you can take breaks in between, so we knew we had the whole day to complete our 60 miles out to Box Hill and back home.

We started out at 9:00 am meeting in Richmond Park, along with hundreds of other cyclists who had had the exact same idea as us. Setting off out of the park through Kingston and Hampton, the sun was already beating down but the breeze was welcome. We started to get into a proper rhythm heading out to Esher and the pretty route out to Cobham. Unfortunately this is also the start of the “warm up” hills and with the temperature heating up by the time we got to Downside and the M25 crossing the legs were starting to burn!

We were also amazed by the number of cyclists heading back into London – they must have started out at 6:00 am to have done a few laps of the hills and already be heading home.

During my spinning classes and some helpful tips from my keen-cyclist husband, I have been trying to improve my technique while out riding. Our first very big hill came in Ranmore Common and while it was tough, I kept my breathing steady, core engaged and shoulders relaxed while pumping the legs to get up the hill. With not much time to recover Box Hill was less than a mile away and soon we were staring up to the top of the hill and taking some deep breaths. I love Box Hill – the steady and long incline is probably the closest thing Surrey has to the European mountains and it is such a good feeling when you get to the top. The view isn’t bad either!

We had an obligatory stop at the top with ice cream and flapjacks and a short sunbathe before heading down for a little loop around Westhumble and then back the way we came into London. I find riding with a friend so much more fun than going out alone but not as intimidating as some of the London cycle clubs!

Our final stop was in the Giro café on Esher High Street. A special café designed for cyclists, with plenty of space to store bikes, live cycling races on the telly, seats outside in the sunshine and array of cold drinks on offer and tasty snacks and lunch bites. We grabbed a table outside and enjoyed a well deserved rest with some iced smoothies before our final push into London.

The final push to London was fast and flat and we agreed to push as fast as we could to Richmond Park; I find pushing hard on tired legs is the best way to see results on the next ride and to really polish yourself off. My legs were screaming as I dismounted finally back at home in Fulham with 60 miles under the belt and the first training ride done for the summer. I’m already looking forward to the next one and trying to push down my time, fingers crossed this lovely weather continues!

Thanks Charlotte from all here @RxSport!

Top 5 Family Ski Resorts

Skiing, panorama - family enjoying winter vacation

Most adults that are keen skiers or boarders want to get their little whipper snappers out on the slopes during half term but finding resorts at the right prices can be a nightmare! As half term is fast approaching we have picked our top 5 ski resorts that we think are ideal for families. Grab yourself a last minute deal!

Alpe d’Huez – France
Fly into Grenoble, hop onto your transfer and you will have reached the resort in less that 2 hours. Alp d’Huez is known for its bluebird weather with over 300 sunny days a year, so fingers crossed you will be greeted by an abundance of snow and sun! A ski holiday isn’t exactly relaxing, early mornings, fights with numerous layers of clothing and then having to haul yourself up to the slopes with skis, boards and boots BUT you will be pleased to know that Alpe d’Huez offers an excellent lift system so queues are virtually non existent! If your little ones need a rest from skiing then the village has plenty to keep them occupied and the Apres ski for adults isn’t to bad either!
A 6 day ski pass would be around €255 for adults and €199 for juniors/seniors.

Avoriaz – France
A car free resort, Avoriaz is located in the valley above Morzine and can only be reached by cable car, meaning this resort is extra safe for young children.
There is a car park right on the edge of the town so you can drive most of the way but the main ski village is vehicle free. Avoriaz is a small resort with around 69 runs but you can purchase a lift pass which allows you to ski the whole of Portes du Soleil, one of the largest ski areas in the world! Avoriaz may be a small resort but there is plenty to do, such as swimming pools, horse-drawn carriage tours, climbing, farm tours, a cinema and much more!
Ski passes for adults are around €247 and €186 – €223 for juniors/seniors.

Laax – Switzerland
The ideal resorts for both young children and teens! Laax can be accessed by train/bus transfer in around 2 hours, the closest airport being Zurich. Laax is one of Switzerland’s biggest ski areas, it has 5 freestyle parks perfect for adventurous teens and if your little ones are in need of a few lessons then the instructors speak fluent English! We love this resort, you can ski all day and not see the same run twice.
A 6 day lift pass for adults is around 427 Swiss Franks and from 142 – 284 Swiss Franks for kids and teens.

Obergurgl – Austria
A small ski village full of Austrian charm! The ski school instructors all speak very good English and class sizes are kept small – perfect if your child is a little nervous. Innsbruck is the closest airport, around 60 miles from resort. Obergurgl is the 2nd oldest resort in Austria and at its highest goes up to 1,930m making it one of the most snowsure resorts in the Alps! Despite being an older resort the lift system is very modern, which keeps queuing to a minimum.
Ski passes range from €236 for adults and €142 – €196 for children. 

Cervinia – Italy
Sun, Snow, Pizza and Pasta! What kid/big kid wouldn’t love this? The closest airport is Turin which is about 2 hours from the resort. Cervinia is one of the biggest ski areas in Italy with 350km of piste. If you have slightly older children we would recommend an ‘International Pass’ allowing you to ski Cervinia, Valtournenche and Zermatt.
A 6 day Multi area ski pass ranges from €200 for adults and €140 – €176 for children.

Get Piste! – RxSport’s Top 5 Après Ski Bars

While we’re all still dreaming about the snow covered mountains and our first days back on the slopes this season, let’s deal with the second most important part of any ski trip – Après Ski! At RxSport we have a few keen skiers and boarders that have tried and tested some of the watering holes the Alps have to offer.

Dick’s Tea Bar – Val-d’Isère

Dick’s Tea Bar opened its doors in 1979 and hasn’t stopped partying yet. It is the perfect slope-side hang out. Dick’s is open everyday from 4.30pm for ‘Après Ski’ where you can find a host of DJ’s, friendly staff, beer pong and an awesome atmosphere! On arrival at Dick’s you are seated in the snugly Après bar where you will struggle to think of drink they don’t have on offer!

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If you are a seasoned drinker (sorry, skier!) then Dick’s is the place for you. From their chilled ‘Après Ski bar’ to the ‘After Dinner Club’ and ‘Luna Thursdays’ there is always something going on!

As you would expect from Val d’Isere the drinks aren’t cheap but they make up for it in size and strength!

TOP TIP – Wednesdays are always a good time from Après ski, it is usually the chalet host’s night off and CHICKEN WING WEDNESDAYS at Dick’s!

La Folie Douce – Val-d’Isère

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A view of the approach to La Folie. If you don’t recognise the sight then you will the sounds!

You will soon realise when you are on the piste that leads to La Folie

Your ski’s and snowboards will start to jump from the live DJ music and the piste is swamped with people dropping down to the legendary mountain top club.
As soon as you have La Folie in sight you will be lured in by dancers and a live band on the roof top, not to mention the giant screens that project films of the crowd below!

If you manage to ski straight past then you have more willpower than any of us and will most likely make it down the mountain in one piece (though not to worry, the La Daille télécabine is just round the corner).

If like us you caved and went in, you will be sprayed with champagne, surrounded by smoke bombs, confetti cannons, glitter balls, balloons and lots of drunk people with lighter wallets! All in all La Folie Douce is well worth a visit! ENJOY!

Free Ride Bar – Alpe d’Huez

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After 11pm Free Ride really comes into its own. The bar operates on a stock exchange system so drink prices shuffle and change every 100 seconds.

You could end up drinking €4 pints all night or your favourite tipple could shoot up to €8! Its a game of patience, which makes drinking even more fun than usual.

If you find your legs start to wobble then there is no need to worry you will find an adult size slide down to the toilets!

Hofstadl Apres Ski Temple – Flachau

hofstadlThis place calls itself a ‘Temple’ and it 100% lives up to its reputation. Not only do they serve the classic Austrian drinks but the food is amazing too.

The place gets busy when the lifts close at 4pm, people flood in still in full ski attire and amazingly manage to dance in their ski boots! The music is typically German or Austrian so the locals sing along and the rest can stick to the dancing! Table dancing, cheesy music, great food and awesome beer.

Le Rond Point – Méribel

What more can be said about the famous Le Rond Point or “The Ronnie” as its most well known to the Seasonaires and annual holiday makers? Situated on the piste back into Meribel, this is an absolute must for anyone paying Les Trois Vallées a visit this winter.

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They serve a gorgeous à la carte menu, seven days a week from 11:30am to 3:30pm. Their monster American sandwich is amazing and will definitely fill a gap after a day’s shredding. After 4pm things start to get a little crazy, you will often find a host of premier DJ’s & live bands. Obviously there are copious amounts of beer,  Vin Chaud and their world famous Toffee Vodka.

If you fancy the ski back down then you’re most welcome to try, however we would naturally recommend the responsible option of the bus!

TOP TIP – Take a look at the food & drink offers on their site – big jugs (of beer) are always popular!