Review of the ULLR D Shell Ski Jacket by Helly Hansen

Ozzy with the Helly Hansen ULLR jacket. Photo: The-Ski-Guru

I had the chance to get a Helly Hansen Men’s ULLR D Shell Ski Jacket from a trade event organised by Ski Press at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead.

It is too big for me, but I have still used it a lot in London, as I have yet to go back to the mountains for the summer. I got this jacket in May!

Helly Hansen ULLR jacket. Photo: The-Ski-Guru.
Helly Hansen ULLR jacket. Photo: The-Ski-Guru.

London had a very cold and wet summer – if we can call this summer! I have used this jacket pretty much every day to go to the park with my dog, and I have cared less if the weather was not good.

As this jacket is a Men’s Large (and I can use a Women’s Small or Medium), this is more like a raincoat to me. Nonetheless- for days when rain is coming side-ways, I am covered! This jacket is really waterproof and wind proof- I have tried and tested it on many days this “summer”.

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New technical underwear of UYN for the GB Ski Team

Dorothea Wierer, Dominik Paris and Federica Brignone in UYN Thermal underwear. Photo courtesy UYN.

UYN has unveiled its new technical underwear for the GB Ski Team. The athletes of nine other national ski teams: Italy, Austria, France, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Spain, China and the Austrian Freeski Team, together with the GB Team help the UYN engineers improve this line of underwear.

UYN, the Italian brand launched in fall 2018 by Trerè Innovation, an Italian company based in Asola (in the province of Manua). UYN stands for “Unleash Your Nature”. and is pronounced phonetically as “Win”.

 

The UK Ski Team is sponsored by UYN Technical underwear. Photo courtesy UYN.
The UK Ski Team is sponsored by UYN Technical underwear. Photo courtesy UYN

The new technology launched by UYN is called Natyon 3.0 and it features the innovative Natex bio-fibre derived from castor beans. Compared to traditional petroleum-based synthetic fibres, Natex has made it possible to reduce underwear weight by 34% and increase elasticity by 4% for greater precision and improved movement control.

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Indy Pass Adds Ten New Resorts

Indy Pass banner photo.

INDY PASS ADDS TEN NEW RESORTS, INCLUDING RAGGED MOUNTAIN. PASSES ARE NOW ON SALE IN CELEBRATION OF “INDEPENDENT’S DAY”

Ragged Mountain, NH, and nine other resorts will add capacity for the 2024/25 season, enabling a limited number of passes to be released today.

 

GRANBY, COLORADO—Indy Pass announced today that Ragged Mountain in New Hampshire, three others in New England, four in Japan, and one each in the Southeast and Nova Scotia will join the pass, adding skier capacity for the 2024/25 season. A limited number of passes will be available for purchase starting today.

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Snowsports Fear Surveyed To Reduce Barrier To Snowsport Enjoyment

The boys going the last part of the piste to the base of Pila, ready to catch back the cable car to Aosta. Photo: The-Ski-Guru.

Author and Illustrator of Ski A to Z Kimberley Kay and Snowsport England coach Dr Carol Porter have launched a research project to understand fears and anxieties that skiers and snowboarders experience, which may be barriers to snowsport participation and enjoyment.

Ski Fear Gondola illustration by Kim Kay.
Ski Fear Gondola illustration by Kim Kay.

Supported by Snowsport England and The Hill, home of Ski Rossendale in Lancashire, the project sets out to understand, address and mitigate fears that are potential barriers to snowsport.

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The Must-Read Guide to Pila, Aosta Valley

Skiing on top of Piste 2 in Pila, with inversion in the bottom. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. The Must-Read Guide to Pila, Aosta Valley

Why Visit – The Must-Read Guide to Pila, Aosta Valley

This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.

Pila is a resort that I’ve got to know by chance. I’ve drove with my family to Ollomont, a tiny ski resort at the end of the road of the Valpelline Valley, north of Aosta for the first ski holiday of my little one that was three. (My eldest went once to ski in Portillo before!)

Nice and warm day in Pila, snow became corn snow overnight- still nice! Photo: The-Ski-Guru. The Must-Read Guide to Pila, Aosta Valley
Nice and warm day in Pila, snow became corn snow overnight- still nice! Photo: The-Ski-Guru. The Must-Read Guide to Pila, Aosta Valley

As the ski area of Ollomont was too small (even though at first, I’ve thought it was ideal), and it did not have ski instructor nor skis or boots for my little boys, I had to go elsewhere. Somebody told us to go either to Pila in Aosta, or Crévacol, by the Grand Saint Bernard Pass. We went to Aosta, and the next was history.

We have been going ever since there, even though now we do not stay at the bottom of the main cable car, but in our home in Morgex (30’ away).

My youngest learnt to ski there, and my two boys love the resort, so we keep on going back for more. Even though I am more nearby La Thuile and Courmayeur, we tend to go to Pila, as it is a very easy-to-deal with and family-friendly ski area.

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Review on the Dynastar M-Pro W 92 skis for women

Dynastar Skis at the Snow Centre - Photo: The-Ski-Guru

I have the chance to try the Dynastar M-Pro W 92 skis at the Ski Press event at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead. I have tried already another pair last year which I really liked, and was keen to see how this ski would do.

A freestyle ski,  intended to be an all-mountain ski for advanced to expert skiers. Built with a wood core (hybrid core 2.0) –  it is designed to be great on powder and forgiving in piste.

Getting my skis ready by Scott Dobson of Dynastar skis. Photo: The-Ski-Guru
Getting my skis ready by Scott Dobson of Dynastar skis. Photo: The-Ski-Guru

It features a moderate waist width to ensure a smooth transition between groomers and fresh powder, and a dual rocker that enhances its manoeuvrability in soft snow while still giving you a grip on hard-pack, due to its traditional camber.

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I am at The Ski Podcast show talking about Valle Nevado and Portillo

Skier off-piste in Portillo. Photo by Liam Doran. Courtesy Ski Portillo.

If you go here, you can hear me talking about Valle Nevado and Portillo and their upcoming ski season. The show also talks of other subjects, such as the Ski Club of Great Britain reps (with journalist Lou Cameron-Hall), and what is going on in the ski industry.

Again, here is the link to listen to the podcast.

The View from Aiguille du Midi towards Grandes Jorasses. 65 x 50 cm. In my shop here.
The View from Aiguille du Midi towards Grandes Jorasses. 65 x 50 cm. In my shop here.

Start planning your next trip!

 

You can search for your own accommodation in the snow for your next ski holiday through our Accommodation Search tabOr if looking to stay in the heart of the Mont Blanc Valley in the Aosta Valley, check the direct booking for Il Coure della Valdigne here. This is our own family home in the mountains, that I am renting out when not using.

 

Il Cuore della Valdigne. Stay at the Heart of the Valdigne to ski in Courmayeur, La Thuile and Pila/Aosta.

Il Cuore della Valdigne. Book your lodging directly with me here.Il Cuore della Valdigne. Stay at the Heart of the Valdigne to ski in Courmayeur, La Thuile and Pila/Aosta.

Featured Image: Skier off-piste in Portillo. Photo by Liam Doran. Courtesy Ski Portillo. 

Review of my Snow Finel’s Merino Jumper

Snow Finel Chevron Kitzbühel Jumper. Photo: The-Ski-Guru

I’ve got the luck to get a Snow Finel’s merino jumper after attending the Ski Press Demo day. I am so lucky about it as I was eyeing them for a while!

Snow Finel Kitzbühel Jumper with its characteristic chevron.
Snow Finel Kitzbühel Jumper with its characteristic chevron.

The one I got is a Kitzbühel chevron stripe jumper in navy with orange chevron stripes. I love the softness of the wool, and the seamless construction. It is not bulky at all, as it sits well hugging your body. What I like of merino wool (which I use a lot), is that it is great for exercising, as it wickers the sweat very fast and the fabric dries without making you cold. The fabric also does not stink, thanks to its antibacterial qualities.

This is a perfect second layer under a ski jacket, as it is not bulky. I would use it year round, as it is pretty light to use when is chilly in summer too!

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The Must-Read Guide to Valle Nevado

Valle Nevado at dusk. Photo Courtesy Valle Nevado.

Valle Nevado is one of those ski resorts that you should go and visit. That is why I have put together this must-read guide to Valle Nevado. Located high in the Chilean Andes, to the west of Santiago, this is the centre of the Tres Valles de Chile (the 3 Valleys of Chile). Here you feel that you are definitely skiing in high mountain.

The ski season runs from late June till early October, but it can be movable depending on snowing conditions.

The Andes are majestic, from whichever side you see them. Valle Nevado counts with the best sunsets you will ever see on the mountains. The pinks, oranges and yellows of the sky are jaw-dropping. This is caused by the smog in Santiago (believe it or not!), but even if smog is awful, up in Valle Nevado you have a spectacle of light. Plus the smog gets stuck down in the valley!

Endless possibilities in Valle Nevado. Photo courtesy of Valle Nevado.
Endless possibilities in Valle Nevado. Photo courtesy of Valle Nevado.

Location – The Must Read Guide to Valle Nevado

Valle Nevado is located 46 km west of Santiago. You need to take the road out of Santiago and the paved road to Farellones for 32 km until the diversion the last portion to  Valle Nevado.

How to Get There – The Must Read Guide to Valle Nevado

You do have to be careful driving up (and down!)- the 59 hairpin turns to get to the resort. Read beforehand the timing of going up and down the road, as depending on the time of the year, and during all weekends during the ski season, there are early hours to go up and hours in the day to go down. The road is a bit thin, and when there is heavy traffic, when people finish their ski week, it could be too tricky to have traffic both ways.

As you will not be driving while in Valle Nevado, you might be better off taking a shared or private transfer to get up the mountain and back.

Aiguilles des Drus et Aiguille Verte. Soft Pastels, pan pastels and charcoal on La Carte Pastel. 65x50 cm (20"x26") in my shop here.
Aiguilles des Drus et Aiguille Verte. Soft Pastels, pan pastels and charcoal on La Carte Pastel. 65×50 cm (20″x26″) in my shop here.

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The Must-Read Guide to Portillo, Chile

Portillo Ridge Hike Upper. Photo Frank Shine.

Portillo is one of those ski resorts that should be in your bucket list. That is why I am putting together this Must-Read Guide to Portillo, Chile. Nested in the High Andes of Chile, in the border with Argentina, this boutique-ski resort is a little jewel. With a maximum 450 guests, and a 1-2-1 ratio of personnel, you will feel super pampered.

The perfect groomed slopes of Portillo. Skier: Chris Davenport. Photo: Tamara Susa Photo. Courtesy Ski Portillo.
The perfect groomed slopes of Portillo. Skier: Chris Davenport. Photo: Tamara Susa Photo. Courtesy Ski Portillo.

Located at 2,880 m (9,450 ft) over see level and extending to 3,322 m altitude (10,900 ft), Portillo offers 762 m of vertical drop (2,500 ft) lift served and1,235 acres. You have 35 runs including wide bowls and endless off-piste terrain accessible by traverses and short hikes. There is also heli-skiing, which is pretty affordable, comparing to prices abroad, giving you endless options.

Auberge de la Maison, one of my paintings of the Monte Bianco at dusk from the hamlet of Entrèves in Courmayeur. In my shop in this link.
Auberge de la Maison, one of my paintings of the Monte Bianco at dusk from the hamlet of Entrèves in Courmayeur. In my shop in this link.

The land of sun and snow, Portillo gets 80% sunny days, and usually storms last many days but are not that many in the season. Each storm can bring a big snowfall, which usually remains very dry and crisp thanks to Portillo’s altitude.

Ski season goes from late June to early October (check each year as opening and closing is mainly depending on snow conditions). They do have snowmaking to help with natural snow conditions if needed!

Ann Schorling and her students having a ball in Portillo, Chile. Photo courtesy Ski Portillo.
Ann Schorling and her students having a ball in Portillo, Chile. Photo courtesy Ski Portillo.

Not sure if folklore or not, but something I did for many years- the best time to go skiing is in August, (July is the school holidays), but if not, in September, as at the end of August, there is always a big snowstorm called Santa Rosa (Santa Rosa is on 31st August), that brings lots of fluffy snow. In September rates decrease as it is a lower season than August… But beware, as Portillo gets reserved from year -on-year for the 7th September is the Brazilian independence day, so Brazilians fill up the hotel, and on 18th September is the Chilean Independence…so those two weeks is difficult to get lodging! If you want to get a spot, reserve a year earlier!

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