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8 Reasons Why You Should Strongly Consider Making France Your Next Ski Vacation

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France as a whole features a preeminence of food, wine, and beautiful surroundings, so it’s no surprise that these crucial cultural elements also hold a pivotal place in the French Alps. Add to the towering peaks with a vertical drop that can only be described as dizzying, seemingly endless terrain, surprisingly affordable lift tickets, and horizons offering Dr. Seuss-like craggy summits in the background with ancient churches and castles (yes, castles) in the foreground, and you’ve got a ski vacation straight out of a fairy tale. 1. History of Winter Sports La Clusaz, which opened in 1907, is one of the world’s oldest continuously operating ski resorts. Patrick Nouhailler The country’s most expansive ski region, the Rhone-Alpes, has been embraced as a winter sports wonderland for more than 100 years. La Clusaz is one of the world’s oldest continuous resorts, in operation since 1907. Chamonix, arguably France’s most renowned resort, hosted the very first Winter Olympic Games in 1924. Grenoble followed in 1968 and Albertville in 1992. In 1947, a guy named Francois Salomon transformed his saw blade metalworking shop in Annecy, France, into what has become one of the most universally renowned, respected, and innovative ski, boot, and binding…

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Less Hassle, More Time on the Slopes: Why Utah Will Be the Easiest Ski Trip of Your Life

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What’s the highlight of your ski vacation? It may be the skiing itself, it may be the mountain landscape, or it may be relaxing moments shared with friends. But it’s a pretty safe bet that time spent in transit doesn’t make the cut as the most enjoyable component of your trip. While most ski destinations require a dedicated slog to get to—multiple connecting flights, trains, buses, and hours in rental cars—Salt Lake cuts that hassle out of the equation. There are several world-class ski resorts LESS than 40 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport. Which means many people can catch a flight, grab a rental car or a shuttle, and be on the slopes the same day!** Here are the three biggest ways Salt Lake makes ski trips to Utah easier—and more fun. 1. A Convenient Base Camp! Stay in Park City and it’s easy to access many Utah resorts. josephdepalma On most ski vacations, you’ve got to pick pretty much one resort and stick with it. Not so with Utah. Several resorts are all within 40 minutes of each other, so you can pick one—then try the rest, too. If you stay up one of the canyons, it’s…

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Ski Exercises To Get You Ready For The Slopes

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Prepare for the rigours of the downhills with this workout from personal trainer Jamie Lloyd. When you consider what skiing involves – pelting down snowy inclines at 40km/h-plus with only your skill in using two thin planks strapped to your feet keeping you upright – it’s not surprising that it causes more than its fair share of injuries. It’s not only high-speed crashes that can derail a ski holiday either. Sore muscles from the previous day’s exertions might not be as dramatic as hitting a tree at full tilt, but they can kill your ski spirit just as effectively. Given that most ski holidays involve a hefty outlay to cover flights, accommodation and equipment hire, not to mention the money put aside for après-ski activities, it’s well worth spending some time in the gym prepping your body so it can handle the rigours of the trip. That way you can maximise your enjoyment without the fear of crippling DOMS come day two. For some advice on the best exercises to help you prepare for a trip to the slopes, we enlisted fitness coach Jamie Lloyd. “Skiers and snowboarders need stability, strength, power, endurance and flexibility, as well as good technique,…

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What Is Gait Analysis And Is It Worth Doing?

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Does gait analysis provide valuable insights on your running stride or is it a sales tactic? There’s a whole world of running shoes out there, all making grand promises about what they can do for you. When you’re first starting out as a runner it can be very tricky indeed to work out which pair is right for you and whether it’s worth spending the big bucks. If you enter a running shop during this selection period you might well be encouraged to try gait analysis to help determine the best footwear for you. This generally takes the form of a quick run on a treadmill to determine your running style, which can lead to shoe recommendations. The cynical may well recoil, assuming it’s a ploy to get you to buy shoes. And it is, but it’s also an easy and usually free way to get a bit more insight into your running gait, which can be important in helping you to avoid injuries and fulfil your potential in the sport. Below you’ll find everything you need to to know about gait analysis, starting with what running gait actually is. What Is Running Gait? "Your running gait, comprising five phases,…

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Five Hamstring Stretches To Keep Your Legs Loose

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Increase your lower-body mobility with these simple stretches. If you’re a regular runner or cyclist, or indeed someone who does any sport involving running, hamstring stretches should be part of your weekly routine. If you’re an active person who ignores this kind of mobility work you raise your risk of injury, and judging by the pain on the faces of footballers on TV who twang their hammies during a match, you really don’t want a hamstring injury. To help you avoid that unpleasant fate, or just to stretch out your legs after a long day sitting at a desk, try these five hamstring stretches from Josh Cooper, head coach at fitness studio UN1T. Split reach Sit on the floor with your legs forming a V-shape in front of you. Reach and lean towards one side at a time to feel a stretch in the hamstring in that side. You can turn this into a great mobility drill by reaching to one side and then moving your hands from foot to foot by walking your fingers along the floor in an arc. Dynamic hamstring reach Stand tall with one foot slightly further forwards than the other. Keep your front leg straight…

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Do You Know Your Mountain Trivia?

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Size isn’t everything in a mountain. Neither is topographic prominence, or isolation, or vertical rise, or geologic age, or symmetry, or wildness. The best mountains, of course, are those that get lodged in your heart so that you feel them even when you’re far away, and lodged in your subconscious so that you dream about them. Maybe it’s the Grand Teton or Denali; maybe it’s that anonymous desert butte or that glorified hillock you keep coming back to—a personal sacred summit, “stats” be damned. That said, stats serve a useful (and sometimes entertaining) purpose. Whether you’re seeking applicable knowledge about specific peaks, or just hoping to be a human repository of ‘did you know’ facts among your climbing and hiking buddies, this hodgepodge of mountain trivia should help. From the fundamentals, like highest and most prominent, to the obscure little tidbits and other random stuff in between, here’s a brief breakdown of some of America’s best mountains (for one reason or another). The Highest: Elevation Revelations Denali is the highest mountain peak in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,310 feet above sea level. Christoph Strässler Drawing from this Summitpost ranking of the highest summits in North America with…

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How Much Marathon Training Do You Need To Do To Hit Your Goal Time? Strava Knows

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Get crowd-sourced advice on the weekly mileage and number of runs you should do to smash your marathon goal. There is no perfect way to train for a marathon. Different runners can succeed with different approaches, and often the amount and type of training you do will be dictated by your own individual circumstances. That said, it’s certainly no bad thing to check out what other runners are doing, especially those that have achieved a time target you are aiming for. Fitness tracking app Strava is one of the best sources for this kind of information. You can browse the training logs of millions of other runners, including pro athletes, to see what they’ve been doing. And when you put all that data together, you get a pretty clear picture of the approach successful marathon runners tend to take with their training. Strava has accumulated the data of male and female marathon runners who have hit times ranging from sub-three to five-plus hours and looked at how they trained in the 12 weeks leading up to the race. The data is broken down by weekly mileage, the number of runs per week, and the average pace of those runs. It’s…

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What It’s Really Like to Complete the World’s Toughest Endurance Race

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It’s nearly dark when Kathleen Hamrick jogs into the jungle camp. She’s exhausted, overheated, soaked to the bone with river water, sweat, and grime. She has been running through the Amazon for five days now—through swamps that swallow you up to the waist in mud, along poorly marked village trails, up and down punishing hills, and across deep water river crossings. There will be no sleep tonight. This stage of the course involves racing through the darkness, and there are two days still to go before the finish line. But Hamrick lays down her pack and immediately begins the nightly ritual: shoes off, dry your feet, get in your hammock, and rest while you still can. A few minutes later another runner stumbles in, and Hamrick’s brother, William, part of the medical team, walks over to him. “Hey man, what’s going on?” he says. “You need me to take a look at your feet?” The guy nods his head and peels off his shoes, and William steps back. “The whole bottom of his foot was coming off,” says Hamrick. “Jungle rot.” This is the near-legendary Jungle Marathon, dubbed “The World’s Toughest Endurance Race” by CNN. The race covers 157 self-supported…

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Everything You Need To Know To Start Trail Running

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Grab your (trail appropriate) shoes and get ready to off-road. Whoever you are, you owe it to yourself to embrace the great outdoors. In a 2015 study, Stanford University researchers found that volunteers who exercised in a natural setting – as opposed to an urban one – not only reported decreased anxiety and depressive thoughts, but actually showed decreased neural activity in areas of the brain associated by mental illness. Researchers theorise that natural settings feel less threatening and turn off our evolved stress response, but there might be more to it than that. “The ground beneath your feet demands 100% of your attention,” says running coach George Anderson. “It’s the perfect mindfulness practice. Every step needs careful consideration.” And, of course, your body will also reap the benefits, adjusting to the demands for core and hip stabilisation that come from running on uneven terrain. In short: it’s the season to hit the trail. But don’t just throw on your most beaten-up trainers and head out to the nearest wilderness – that’s the path to injury. We’ve assembled an everyman’s guide to getting outside your comfort zone, from taking your first (tiny) steps to competing in your first race. Thank…

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4 Rookie Mistakes Made by First-Time Backpackers

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“Where is it? It has to be here somewhere.” I was standing in a parking lot in Yellowstone National Park staring at a mess of gear strewn across the pavement. “Where’s the rainfly for the tent?” One thousand miles away in my apartment in Dana Point, Calif., that’s where it was. Because I didn’t double-check all of my gear before I departed for Wyoming, I didn’t realize the rainfly was in a stuff sack in my closet. So, during a 70-mile journey through the soaking Yellowstone backcountry, I struggled each evening to fold and shape a rectangular blue tarp into a dome-shaped fly. The word “origami” comes to mind. That wasn’t my first backpacking trip, but my failure to thoroughly check my gear was the type of mistake novice backpackers make all the time. And they don’t make mistakes because they’re dumb or careless. It’s because you can easily mess up when you’re doing something for the first time. Plus, it’s simply not easy to organize all the possessions you’ll need to leave civilization and explore unknown territory. If you’re new to backpacking, do yourself a favor and take heed of the following rookie mistakes. With a little knowledge, you’ll…

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