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On a recent chaletpro.com team trip to Engelberg ski resort in Switzerland at the end of last season, we discovered a magical place full of surprises.  Epic snow conditions, incredible off-piste terrain, highly alcoholic cheese fondue, an über cool lodge to rest our heads and drink warming gluvine, and to top this all off – the coolest ski gear we have ever seen and the main reason for this blog post – POC.

POC is a Swedish brand, which has just recorded the highest growth rate in the Swedish sports industry, growing 110% during 2008/09 in a contracting market.  Being introduced to POC by hoards of young, hip and rich Swedish snowriders who come and stamp their mark on Engelberg each year, we’re not surprised.

This isn’t any ordinary ski gear.  POC has worked with the European Space Agency (ESA) to bring space technology into their innovative ski products.  The result is some of the most advanced and unique protective gear available, with space material and technology integrated for enhanced performance.  Not only is this the safest gear on the market and could probably see you comfortably to the Moon and back, it’s also ultra stylish with futuristic design – think Apple for the mountains.

POC Racing Helmets
We’re most excited by the Lobe ski goggles, Poc’s newest eyewear product (pictured below). Their frameless and spherical design creates more peripheral vision than other goggles – optimising your field of view.  Made of a clever polycarbonate blend, the lens is brilliantly anti-scratch and anti-fog, ensuring a crystal clean view all the time.  No more steaming up excuses!  The inspiration for these super goggles comes both from the Swedish architect Sigurd Lewerents (who puts his windows outside the facades), and also from astronaut Neil Armstrong.

POC Lobes_Black

To give their POC gear a good outing testing its safety and style to the max, Swedish skiers and snowboarders have found the best playground to do it in – Engelberg – and they don’t come to sample the piste.  They come armed with the fattest skis known to man to sample the secret powder stash hidden away off-piste in this relatively unknown resort in the Swiss Alps, braving the avalanche prone faces and icy glacier to get their fix.  Official reviews of Engelberg say it’s not the best place for beginners due to the variety of challenging runs, but with most people off-piste on their fat skis and dressed head to toe in POC, you’ll have the piste all to yourselves to show off your skinny skis and old-school outfit!

Fat Skis 2009

We think we have unveiled a secret the Swedes have been keeping from us for a while – their super hot ski gear and a very special mountain resort.  We are certainly planning a weekend trip back to Engelberg (pictured below) next season – it’s only a hop, skip and a jump away on the Eurostar, followed by a rickety old train winding its way up the beautiful mountain at the other end.  We can’t recommend it highly enough, and the need to be fully kitted out before you go!

Engleberg

poc-logo

Post written by chaletpro.com where you can search hundreds of luxury independent ski chalets in France, Switzerland, Austria and across the Alps to find your perfect mountain accommodation, for your perfect ski holiday.


There’s an air of mystery and excitement surrounding Steamboat Mountain Resort in Colorado. It might just be the best kept secret in skiing… the famous champagne powder, off-piste terrain found only in your dreams, the small and close-knit special community, the guy who supposedly studies tree leaves to accurately predict the weather conditions every day, the list goes on! Which of these are myths and which are reality? The resort is still very much unknown by Europeans – how many of us have been there and is Steamboat on our list of resorts to visit next year or the year after? For most of us – probably not. So what’s it really like and what are we missing?

To find out and be let in on the secret, the chaletpro.com team asked the guys at Moving Mountains Chalets, some of the most beautiful vacation rental homes and catered chalets in Steamboat Springs to give us the inside scoop on this special resort and their unique place within it. We may have just fallen in love with a new place to ski…

How long have you run your catered chalets in Steamboat?
We have been operating catered chalets in Steamboat since 1998. We started with one property and as the idea caught on we have grown to the point where we now offer over 20 chalets that will sleep anywhere from 8 – 24 guests.

Black Bear Chalet, Steamboat Co

Are “catered chalets” like yours a relatively new concept in the USA?
The Catered Chalet is still almost unknown here. Americans love it (they are no strangers to the concept of great service), but for the most part they have no idea how good this is until they try it. Once they stay with us they are hooked and have begged us to offer other areas so that they can enjoy the same package elsewhere. Many US guests that seek us out have tried a catered chalet in Europe before and are already “converted”.

BRBgtroom

What should guests expect of their chalet experience with you?
We are very detail oriented and try to accommodate all requests to make the stay as custom and personalized as possible. Our homes are top of the line offering amenities that are typical of a five-star hotel – flat panel TV’s, wi-fi, luxury toiletries, robes and slippers. The menu is tailored to the guest preferences and we offer special kids menus for family groups. We try to think of every detail and our staff try to anticipate guests needs so that the stay is as seamless as possible. This allows our guests to focus on time together rather than who is making the next dinner or who is making the arrangements for snow-cat skiing.

Our full-service catered package is top of the line and includes staff collecting you from the airport in private 4WD SUV’s and offering on call driver / ski shuttle service throughout the stay including trips out to the famous hot springs. New this year we have also introduced an economy catered package that makes it almost irresistible for those willing to compromise a little on the convenience of our private shuttle service and go for a more family-style / less gourmet menu selection.

dinner_staff

What makes Steamboat special?
We get some guests from Europe, but Steamboat is a well kept secret to many Europeans who first think of Vail or Aspen when they think of skiing the Rockies. Steamboat is the third largest ski resort in Colorado, it is easy to get to as we have a major regional airport just 22 miles from town, and the resort oozes a friendly Western welcome that you don’t find with our glitzy neighbors. The snow is incredible – the footage of people skiing waist-deep powder is not done with special effects! It is the lightest and deepest snow you will ever see, and snow between December and April is not in short supply. We have averaged close to 400” (10m) / year for each of the last 5 years and with top to bottom snowmaking it’s a safe bet for early season skiing as well. One final bonus point is that Steamboat is the lowest altitude Rocky Mountain resort (base elevation 6950) so the altitude issues that affect some visitors to the Rockies are minimal here.

Waist-deep champagne powder, Steamboat

Your top tips for people visiting the Steamboat resort?

  • Stay in a chalet not a condo (of course!)
  • For untracked powder without the heli-skiing price-tag ski Buffalo Pass with Steamboat Powder Cats
  • Dine out at Café Diva
  • Take a day off and go dog-sledding
  • Soak in the Strawberry Park natural hot springs
  • Watch the weather forecast, check the 5:00am snow report and if it dumps go early to the mountain: Closet and Shadows offer some of the best tree skiing on the planet
  • Drink lots of water – it is very dry here

Contact: Moving Mountains Chalets: http://www.MovingMountains.com
Tel: 1-970-870-9359
Email: info@movingmountains.com

MMCexterior

Post faciliated by the chaletpro.com team.  For more information on Steamboat chalets and vacation rentals, and mountain property in the Alps visit www.chaletpro.com


Snow reports by twitter – that’s just so NOW.  Well that’s what we thought, but maybe we’re just a bit on the geeky side.

As usual the story starts in the pub.  It’s a bit of a blur, but someone suggested that it’d be cool if they could get their snow reports delivered directly to their twitter stream.  So that’s exactly what we’ve done.  Initially we’ve only got 11 resorts set up, but people find it useful we’ll add some more. Leave a comment, or drop us a line to info@chaletpro.com to request your favourite resort is added (Europe or N.America, or anywhere for that matter!).

Follow one of the twitter streams below to get daily updates (for today’s forecast, and tomorrow’s forecast):

@chamonix_snow
@chatel_snow
@la_plagne_snow
@la_rosiere_snow
@la_tania_snow
@les_gets_snow
@meribel_snow
@morzine_snow
@samoens_snow
@tignes_snow
@val_disere_snow
@whistler_snow

For more information on our twitter snow reports keep an eye on our main site.  This is where we’ll keep the up to date list of the resorts that we’re twittering snow fall data for.