When Ski Club Line-S first asked us to write a winter season review, we smiled and nodded and thought it would be easy…
… but it turns out a fair bit happens across the world during a season and deciding which parts deserve credit is actually quite tricky! As a result this whole article is written very much through a Shred Ski lens, entirely opinion-based and focused largely on the best of what we experienced in person. We would love to hear your personal highlights too – I guess that’s why comment sections were invented.
The obvious place to start. It took a while coming but my god when it came it came. January 2019 saw record snowfall, unprecedented for the last decade across Europe. While in the short term this brought a whole host of problems including many trapped in resorts overnight, avalanches and the temporary shutdown of Austrian resort Hochkar, when the storms cleared and the bashers had done their work we had some of the most memorable powder days Europe has seen in a long time!
The sessions and socials
2019 saw two of the biggest heavyweights in alpine après both launch new venues. La Folie Douce reminded everyone how deep their pockets are, with a brand new build next to the Yeti on the Plateau in Avoriaz including a huge new terrace. Meanwhile Cocorico continues to conquer Espace Killy with a new venture in Tignes.
If we had to weigh up the two, we were a little underwhelmed by Folie (sorry we still love you guys) – given they had a ground up space to build something epic, it really feels like they prioritised bar sales more than the dance floor. It takes all of two seconds for the space to jam up with people queuing either to put liquid in or let liquid out. Ultimately the location is great but some of the old school Folie magic has started to feel a little too scripted for us.
Photos via Facebook
By contrast, the extended opening hours until 8pm at Cocorico lets the place get a little more lubricated and for the first time it feels like France might be stepping back up to the plate to take on the Austrian après giants. Plus with the main VC bus stop just across the piste, it’s an easy win for those tired legs after last orders.
Overall though, we would love to see more progress in this area, with budgets getting tighter and resorts in increasing competition, we would love 2020 to be the year that venues really push the boat out and get experimental. Looking at how fast the summer party scene is evolving, surely we can learn some lessons. Oh and Val Thorens, at least remember to set your NY fireworks off at midnight next time!
How could we do this without giving Woodsy a full standing ovation, winning gold at the slopestyle World Championships in Utah. Plus wasn’t it great to see him do it wearing British designed gear. Fair play to Planks for backing our boy every step of the way.
The success didn’t stop there though, with Charlotte Bankes winning our first ever World Championship snowboarding medal. Then Dave Ryding shouts ‘hold my beer’ by matching his best ever result with the second podium of his career and continuing to go from strength to strength.
What we love most about all of these athletes is that yes, they have had some serious worldwide professional coaching, but they all started out on the dry slopes back home – proving what a valuable resource this is to developing home grown talent (next stop JTT if you want our bets).
Finally, although we are not students anymore (tell our bank balances that), obviously what we do at Shred Ski has a lot of overlap, so we felt it was only right to call out some of our highlights here.
Although BUDS got off to a windy start, all was put to right when we finally got out on the white stuff. NUCO Travel in collaboration with EUSSC was simply nuts and a huge shout out to Sam Siggers who headlined the open air party for them. He created our number one stand out moment of the year with a positive vibe that perfectly encapsulates all that is great about snowsports (supported by our own DJ’s of course #namedrop).
In December, the legendary Varsity trip took over Val Thorens with 3,000 students. Both Varsity and Palatinalps had the numbers (and hence budgets) to do something pretty special and it was great to see trips big and small all trying to up their game this season and deliver more for their members. On that note, credit to Bath for record numbers in Tignes.
Overall, it has been a hell of a season with so many moments we haven’t had time or space to cover. What have we missed? Bang your highlights in the comments otherwise we will see you all next year for another game of ski!
Find out more about Shred Ski here.