The phones have been ringing off the hook! Not sure we have 'hooks' in 2013, but you know what I mean. Travel writer with 'The Sunday Times', Jez Lazell decided that our epic cross country ski journey across the Jura mountains in France was just the ticket for a feature for last weekend. I can see it now, a log fire, a cup of something warm, the dogs lying across the hearth, and feet up with the Travel Section dreaming about winter mountains and sparkling snow crystals.
Walking and running are amongst the most popular of physical activities, but which is best? Nope, no easy answers to this vexing question - it all depends on what your objectives are!
The great snow conditions continue here in the Alps giving us a fabulous start to the New Year. The view from the office window this morning offers another blue sky day with the sun sparkling on the mountain tops. Ski conditions on the downhill pistes in Chamonix are excellent and the town is buzzing ! Off piste a lot of the terrain is ‘skied out’ but offering good descents in what are ‘stable’ snow pack conditions. For the French avalanche bulletin check here and if you are in Switzerland this provides a good service and an App called White Risk, which I would recommend. One of the best snow forecasts is from snow-forecast.com
Many of us that struggle to find enough time to dedicate to training wonder how best to develop our VO2 max, given busy lives and tight schedules ('VO2 max' is shorthand for maximal oxygen uptake, a standard measure of aerobic fitness). In actual fact about 50% of our VO2 maximum is innate i.e. it's based on our own genetics… so you're to some extent blessed with being born relatively fit, or rather less so. That however does mean that the remaining 50% is in essence entirely up to you!
Shock horror the 'guide' is wearing walking shoes! That was certainly the reaction a few years ago when I turned up to meet my group of Tour du Mont Blanc hikers with low cut walking shoes. The walking shoes in question were North Face Hedgehogs and five years later I am still guiding wearing 'Hedgehogs'. Certainly, since then it has become more and more common for 'walkers' to be wearing low cut 'shoes' rather than heavy duty walking boots and from my own experience the benefits are clear.
When I saw the Guardian Newspaper, image of Austrian daredevil, 24 year old, Mich Kemeter balancing precariously high above the Verdon Gorge I felt quite ill. Having peered from the top of these magnificient jagged cliffs into the depths I know just how stomach churning the experience can be, so what possessed Mich to tight-rope walk across the chasm without safety ropes defies belief.
scott trail running shoes
Scott Icerunners and the ion-mask!
Last month the record for running the winter Ramsay round was well and truly broken.
The 'Ramsay's Round' is a 24-hour hill circuit of 60 miles taking in 24 summits of Scottish Munros including; Ben Nevis, the Aonachs, Grey Corries, the Loch Trieg group and the Mamores with a total climb of around 28,500 feet / 8686m. First run by Charlie Ramsay in 1978, this is one of the world's toughest mountain running challenges and taken on and completed by very few.
To run barefoot, or not?
Barefoot running is getting a lot of attention these days. Should you retire those well-worn shoes and go 'au naturel'?