Top events to see at the Winter X Games 2013

If you love snow sports, chances are you’re keen to attend the Winter X Games 2013. Held in Tignes, France from March 20th to 22nd, these give you a unique opportunity to see some of the top athletes for freestyle and freeriding snowboarding and skiing. Since they’re happening next month, I thought I’d give you a quick rundown of the events you shouldn’t miss.

Before I start, I should point out that the official schedule has not been released yet (or it hadn’t when I wrote this, anyway!), so I can’t give you exact dates or times for each. What I will do, though, is give you a run-through of the main events and how each works, including handy information like how riders are judged.

Each event has a women’s round and a men’s round. Typically, the men’s will begin will an elimination round to narrow the contestants down (which will usually be the best of two runs) and then a final that’s judged out of the best of three runs. The women’s will be broadly the same, with the exception that there is usually no elimination session.

Snowboard Slopestyle

Let’s start by taking a look at the Snowboard Slopestyle event. Whether the contestant is snowboarding or skiing (though obviously in this case it’ll be the former!), this event is designed to test a rider’s skills on a variety of terrain.

The slope is peppered with a mix of obstacles and apparatus, including tabletops, hips, rails and a mix of different jumps. What I think is so exciting about this event in particular is that it gives riders a chance to show off their aerial skills – so, for you and me, that means some particularly spectacular viewing.

In this event, riders are judged on a number of criteria, including difficulty, landings, use of the course and execution.

Ski Slopestyle

The Ski Slopestyle event is very similar in spirit, but there are a couple of differences that I’ll just outline for you quickly. The first is in the kinds of features the course has; for skiing, the slopestyle course normally has a combination of kickers, rails, jumps and gaps.

In terms of how the competition is judged, contestants need to impress on several counts. Style, trick completion and creativity are among the top criteria.

Snowboard SuperPipe

This next event is often described as one of the most exciting in the snow sports world – so whatever you do, don’t miss it! During the Snowboard SuperPipe, riders tackle a world-class U-shaped pipe that’s designed to maximise their time in the air for the highest and most amazing tricks, including mind-blowing spins and grabs.

Each rider takes their turn to prove their prowess when it comes to amazing aerial skills. The criteria each competitor is judged on as they battle it out to be the best at the X Games is similar to the Slopestyle – but there are differences. This time, riders will be ranked according to landings, difficulty and execution.

Ski SuperPipe

As you’ve no doubt guessed, the Ski SuperPipe has plenty of parallels with the snowboarding event. One of the key differences is that the pipe used for this is a bit bigger – but the criteria used to judge the event are the same.

Just to finish up, I’d like to add that there’s a lot else going on over this two-day event. For example, it’s known for its awesome parties – some of which last all night – while the X Fest at the Val Claret snow front offers plenty of other entertainment. If you’re still in the process of planning your trip, you can find decent accommodation through the Snowchateaux website.

Top 5 Must Visit Ski Destinations for 2012

With Christmas just around the corner, now is the ideal time to book your ski break for early 2012 so here are some of our top ski destinations for the New Year for you to enjoy some time on the slopes and  après ski!

Mayrhofen, Austria

The beautiful resort of Mayrhofen is one of the most popular resorts in Europe and it’s not hard to see why! With plenty to do for skiers and non-skiers alike, the resort has slopes for beginners, intermediates and experts alike as well as excellent ski schools for you to brush up on your skills. It’s also renowned for its nightlife with bars, restaurants and live music every night.

Meribel, France

Trendy yet traditional, Meribel is a purpose built French resort full of charming chalets with slopes to suit skiers of all abilities. It’s ideal for families with plenty of activities for the kids and a number of slopes adapted to make them safer for younger skiers.

Arinsal, Andorra

Andorra is one of the smallest countries in Europe and is set in the heart of the Pyrenees. It’s an ideal location for beginners due to its gentler slopes and excellent ski schools, and if its après ski you’re after the resort gets very lively of a night time.

Nevis Range, Scotland

If money’s tight, stick to the UK! Scotland is a great place for a ski break and the Nevis range is home to Britain’s only mountain gondola. There are 24 runs in total with ski and snowboard lessons available for skiers of all abilities and ages.

Aspen, USA

Famous for its slopes for decades, if you’re heading across the pond for your ski break Aspen in Colorado is a must visit. Popular with the rich and famous (many celebrities have holiday homes here), the resort has varied slopes to suit all abilities and is rich in history and character. There are 4 peaks, with plenty of trails so that you never have to do the same run twice.

At we have plenty of offers and deals to help you with the cost of booking your ski break, including Thomson discount codes so you can get the holiday you want this winter for less!

Top ten European ski resorts of the last season

French ski resorts have proved to be the most popular in Europe, new sales data released today by SkiHorizon on the 2010-2011 winter ski season reveals.

The French and the Brits continue to have different tastes for their ski holidays– French skiers and snowboarders are far more likely to ski in their own country, whereas British holidaymakers divide their loyalties between France, Switzerland and Austria.

Top ski resorts: French bookers

• Val Thorens
• Les Deux Alpes
• Avoriaz
• Les Arcs 1800
• Les Menuires
• Les Coches
• Saint Sorlin d’Arves
• Risoul
• Tignes Val Claret
• Plagne Bellecôte

Top ski resorts: UK bookers

• Morzine
• Les Arcs
• Saas Fee
• Serre Chevalier
• Avoriaz
• La Plagne
• St Anton
• Megeve
• Puy St Vincent
• Alpe D’Huez

Overall this shows that France is the most popular skiing destination among SkiHorizon’s customers. But Italy is steadily growing in popularity and SkiHorizon forecast that one of its resorts will break into the top 10 in the next few years.

Mark Oliver, UK Marketing Manager at SkiHorizon commented: “It’s no surprise that the French overwhelmingly choose to ski in their own country, with world-beating ski resorts on their doorstep, it takes a lot of persuasion for them to try skiing in other countries.”

“I do wish more French people would take the time to discover the dramatic scenery and the warm welcomes of Austria though, they would be very pleasantly surprised.”