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FINAL TURNS IN THE TIROL - James Cove, PlanetSKI Editor
Saturday April 22, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

There has been a dump of fresh snow & the season is drawing to a close so there is only one thing for PlanetSKI to do. Check out our updated blog as we arrive in Ischgl in the Austrian Tirol. NEW

Sunday 23rd April

An alarm clock going off at 04.15 is not my perfect way to start a Sunday.

But I had an 07.05 flight from Gatwick and an hour and a half later it was worth the effort.

This was my view.

Flying in to InnsbruckFlying in to Innsbruck
















Flying over InnsbruckFlying over Innsbruck
















Ahead of me is 4-days of ski testing in Ischgl with the crew from Ellis Brigham as they put next year's models through their paces - see the blog below from Saturday as to how I have ended up being here.

It was last minute even by my standards!

And as I touched down the first message was from my good friend, Fraser Wilkin, from the respected snow web site,

I had messaged him to ask what the snow is like in Ischgl for my hastily arranged trip.

"It's been a funny end of the season for Austria and the Tirol. Generally speaking snow depths have been below par this winter but last week's big dump made for some of the best conditions of the season so far," said Fraser.

"What's more, there is going to be a lot more snow in the Tirol this week, perhaps 50-70cm at altitude in Ischgl which will ensure a fabulous finale," he added.

As I had a quick wander round the town on arrival I questioned his judgement.

The skiers were coming down from the slopes shortly after lunch and it looked positively spring-like.

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria
















You could ski into town - but only just.

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria
















Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria
















Summer sports seemed more attractive than the winter variety.

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria















"Don't worry there are some fabulous conditions at the top of the resort and we should have a couple of good days on the pistes and then the snow is set to come in," said Mark, who is running the tests for Ellis Brigham.

He was addressing the assorted testers as we met up on Sunday evening.

The Ellis Brigham testersThe Ellis Brigham testers
















Over the next few days I will be testing dozens and dozens of skis.

From sleek and stiff GS skis through the all mountain variety to the fat powder ones.

The conditions look like they should be about perfect.

And as I looked at the web camera on the TV in my hotel room it seemed true.

Good snow at the top of the resort and read the small print for what we are promised for Thursday.

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria
















Bring it on! Smile

Saturday 22nd April

There has been some of the heaviest April snowfall in recent years and, best of all, the temperatures have remained cold so it hasn't turned to slush by the following day.

Next week it is forecast to remain cold with more snow mid-week.

There is powder in the Alps and it needs to be skied.

I spent much of this week in the office looking at the reports and receiving pictures from our reporters and readers out in the Alps.

See here as I updated our snow reports as the snow fell.

Then on Thursday an email dropped into my inbox from Ellis Brigham asking if I could spare the time to come out to Ischgl to take part in their annual ski tests.

They test all the latest skis in order to know their product inside out for the following season.

They want to advise their customers what is best for them from personal experience not sales talk and spin from  the manufacturers.

I read the email again to make sure it was true.

I pinched myself to check I wasn't dreaming.

It was and I wasn't.

By utter co-incidence the PlanetSKI editorial team had a meeting the day before as we looked back on the season and ahead to the winter of 2017/18.

We discussed the possibility of ski tests and agreed we try to do them next winter for the following season.

Well, now we are doing them for this autumn as I am ski testing for a week!

I moaned that I hadn't actually been in the Alps since January (true) and everyone turned on me and used phrases I can't re-produce here.

I had spent a full month in Canada and the USA back in February on a 4-week road trip in North America.

And then there was the small matter of The Dolomites in Italy in March and a big trip to Andorra in the Pyrenees the same month.

All true but I still wanted a final look at the Alps before the snow melts.

The God of Skiing must have been listening.

This is what Ischgl currently looks like:

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria
















Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria
















Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria
















And now I am packing my ski gear once again and tomorrow (Sunday) I'm off again!

Here we go again!Here we go again!
















First stop is my favourite alpine city of Innsbruck (flight from Gatwick at 07.05) so will be in Innsbruck for breakfast.

And this is what it looks like at the moment.

Innsbruck, TirolInnsbruck, Tirol




















As well as joining the Ellis Brigham test team to research our own PlanetSKI ski tests I will be reporting on how the team judge the skis and decide which ones to stock.

I will be looking at what is new for next winter and skiing out the last snow of this winter.

PlanetSKI's senior news reporter, Katie Bamber, has cleared her diary for next week and is coming along too.

She knows a thing or two about turning.

She will be editing and producing our new ski testing features for next autumn.

Like me she is also a BASI ski instructor and a bit of a geek when it comes to skis.

I have ended many a season in May in Ischgl and was there in May 2014 for the resort's closing concert.

That year it was Robbie Williams - see here for my report.

Next weekend it is the Italian singer Zucchero as we reported earlier on PlanetSKI.

So, if you want to find out how skis are rated, tested and what is new for next winter then do check back.

We will be reporting on the good end of season conditions in the Tirol and much else besides.

Do check back later if you haven't quite had enough of winter... I haven't...

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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