Snowtrax is the largest independent ski and snowboard retailer in the UK. Come and visit us in our dedicated ski and snowboard shop in Christchurch, Dorset.

Our blog contains useful news plus reviews of all of our products to help you decide on the right gear!

Armada ARV 96 2018 | SKI REVIEW

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December 4th, 2017


If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! The Armada ARV 96 is a tried and tested all-mountain freestyle ski that’s proving to stand the test of time year after year. If you’re a confident skier who wants to hone their park skills and make the most of what the whole resort has to offer, the Armada ARV 96 is a bombproof, versatile ski that’s perfect for bump hopping, park shredding and piste cruising alike.  The 96mm waist will float over jumps, feel nimble on rails and hold its own on your standard resort powder day, whether you’re really going for it or having a chilled ski around resort. To use an often-written cliché, it’ll allow you to turn the whole mountain into a snowpark, for real. However, thanks to its slightly directional shape, medium radius and lightly rockered tip and tail, you’ll be able to navigate through late afternoon chop, bumps and hardpack just as easily as slushy park jumps. Whether you’re just getting started in the park or you like to throw down on a regular basis, the medium flex and lightweight tip and tail are perfect for hopping around on side hits and bumps, learning how to press and butter or progressing to bigger features. The perfect ski for first-time seasonaires, the ARV 96 will take you from nights at the snowdome to unleashing your inner Candide Thovex everywhere in resort.

You can Buy the Armada ARV 96 Ski here:

Level: Intermediate – advanced

Recommended use: 50% park / 30% off-piste / 20% piste




One way to get a gauge on the type or level of ski equipment and clothing you need for a winter holiday, is to look at what type of kit full time Ski Instructors use. After all, a ski instructor that spends almost every waking moment teaching people of all abilities, how to ski, is going to have more than your fair share of experience on the cold alpine slopes. To answer this question – we spoke to Giles Lewis a Ski Instructor with the development centre, who operate in val d’isere Tignes and the Three Valleys, France. It’s worth baring in mind that Giles’ kit list is a personal choice – and not necessarily something a first-time-skier HAS to imitate.


“As a snowsports instructor, I spend almost every day of winter on the slopes. I am outside no matter the weather. I spend so much time using my equipment that I’m very picky about a few items. This list is particular to me, what are your essential pieces of kit?


Skis and Boots

Ski Instructors always have favourite skis, but I treasure my boots the most. A well fitted pair of ski boots is essential and I wouldn’t ski in anything but my own, high performance ski boots. You cannot get the fit and adjustment that you need by shopping online, you need an experienced boot fitter to help you to narrow down what boots perfectly fit your ability and needs, before making any adjustments or customisation to finish off. Book an Expert Boot fitting appointment today, at The Boot Lab – Snowtrax

My Boots: Lange XT 130 for touring and off piste or Lange RS130 for the groomed slopes.



Most mountain clothing is pretty good in your standard cold and dry conditions. However when the wind is high, or it’s very humid (raining) or it’s too warm, you really need a highly breathable fabric that protects from the cold but allows you to stay cool in the spring. Also for me, a jacket with a snow-skirt is a must, otherwise I won’t wear it. Check out the Arcteryx Sabre Jacket 


Ski Poles

It is all about the handle and the strap. Rental poles with slippery plastic handles just don’t cut it. I like a rubber handle with finger mouldings. I use alloy poles, which don’t flex much (unlike carbon fibre poles) and the basket needs to match the day’s snow conditions. Small basket fitted when on the piste, large basket for the deep snow. Check out the Scott Team Issue pole


Avalanche Transceiver

I train a lot with a transceiver. Sometimes you can borrow one from the ski school, but ski instructors prefer to have their own and know it’s been looked after. All modern transceivers work in a similar way, but each model will have its own quirks and features. It is much better to have your own transceiver and know how to use it. The same applies to inflatable avalanche packs, shovels and probes.” Check out our range of Avalanche trackers and backcountry equipment.


This Blog was written by Giles Lewis for Snowtrax. Giles is an ambassador for Dynastar skis and Lange boots. He is a Ski Instructor with the development centre, who operate in val d’isere Tignes and the Three Valleys, France.  He is a trainer and examiner of Instructors for BASI and a member of the British Demo team. #tdcski #basi #valdisere #dynastar #lange

Stay Warm This Ski Holiday


OK, “surviving” might be a bit strong, but keeping warm on the slopes in the middle of winter can be a challenge, especially if it’s particularly cold. As well as the main clothing like jackets and trousers, there are other things that can make a big difference for people who struggle to stay warm during their ski holiday:


Wear Thermals


Extremities get cold first. It is what the body does to protect itself from cold. So, if your hands or feet get cold, it might not be down to the gloves or boots, but because you haven’t got enough layers on. Wear good thermals, and if your hands and feet are still cold, wear another layer.


Helmet and Hat


Helmets can expose the neck to cold mountain air. Neck warmers, thin balaclavas or multipurpose tubes keep you toasty warm. Like scarves, but better.


Get your feet out


Particularly for skiers: if your feet have been cold and numb for more than an hour, you need to warm them up. Get inside, take off the boots and get the feet warm again. This will allow you to ski again afterwards, rather than developing serious cold injuries.


Dry your boots


Damp or wet boots are bad news. You need to dry your boots overnight, so if the hotel or apartment doesn’t have specific boot heaters, you need to make your own arrangements. Portable boot dryers work really well and are easier than balancing boots on radiators.



Giles Lewis is an ambassador for Dynastar skis and Lange boots. He is a ski Instructor with the development centre, who operate in val d’isere Tignes and the Three Valleys, France.  He is a trainer and examiner of Instructors for BASI and a member of the British Demo team. #tdcski #basi #valdisere #dynastar #lange





La Grave offers a lot of open space and fantastic tree skiing but what brings people to this mythical French village, is the big couloirs on both the north and south aspects of the big ridge, Girouse glacier.


So what should you be thinking about when tackling a couloir? Almost certainly, you will be with a group of friends, so it’s important to make sure you always communicate before you set off. Discuss where to regroup and how far it is to reach a safe spot in the couloir. This decision will be based on snow quality and the terrain around you.

It’s also wise to discuss the distance you want to leave between each skier, agreeing on a sensible gap will ensure everyone is safe.


When you arrive at the top of the couloirs, it’s a good idea to stop with your back to the couloir wall, so you can easily look up and downwards without having to twist your head too much, which can happen if you are stopping with your chest towards the couloir wall.


Remember when skiing, that your shoulders should be still and it’s your hips and legs that are making the turns. Your eyes on the other hand should be on the fall line and not looking at the flanking walls. To make your skiing as fluid as possible, always initiate the next turn with your wrist slightly towards the fall line.





When the snow is soft, always ski and rest in a sensible position, so as to avoid surface sluff created by your fellow skiers, as well as youself. ‘Sluff’ can easily grab your skis if you’re not fully under control. If the snow is firm, make sure to ski short distances between stops, to avoid large pieces of snow ‘taking out’ other skiers.


When traveling in mountainous terrain with couloirs, a lot of attention needs to be focused on whether or not the temperature is rising or falling. This will enable you to manage the risk of the couloir avalanching, but also to avoid skiing on refrozen snow where a hard, glazed layer has formed, making a couloir descent tricky or impossible.


When undertaken in the right conditions, by experienced skiers, couloir skiing is a reward that’s hard to match from any other type of skiing!



Top Tips – for the ski slopes

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January 11th, 2016



When you are skiing or snowboarding, there are a few simple things you can do (which you might never have thought about!) which can make your life easier on the slopes. Whether it’s your first time, a few times or you have been skiing since you could walk – our ‘top tips for the ski slopes’ will help you have a great holiday:


  • Stay hydrated

We sometimes forget how important it is to drink water and stay hydrated when on the slopes, particularly when it gets cold. Try and take a bottle of water with you so you can drink on the slopes, or a hydration bladder works unless it is really cold. Otherwise just stop regularly at cafes, and have a glass of water as well as a hot chocolate!


  • Carry snacks

On a similar note, as well as carrying water, it is a good idea to carry some snacks like cereal bars, nuts or even some chocolate. If your energy levels dip you can have a few bites and feel normal again. When your energy levels are low, you will have less control, which could mean a higher chance of having a tumble.


  • Carry spare goggles

If it is a guaranteed blue-sky day, this may not be so relevant, but if you carry a backpack then it is a great idea to have a spare pair of goggles. On an ever-changing weather day, it is so important to make sure that you have a pair of goggles for the variable light conditions. Expensive goggles with a very reflective lens are fantastic for a blue-bird sunny day – but if the weather turns quickly, you need something with you that can handle the low light situation. A cheaper, bright yellow lensed goggle is perfect for conditions like this!


  • Don’t buy ‘cheap’ gloves

We’ve all been there – uttering the words ‘how much?’, whilst looking at the range of ski gloves. Then buying one of the cheapest pairs to ‘save money’. After spending one of the coldest days you’ve ever experienced out on the slopes, you will change your mind forever on this – trust us! A decent pair of ski gloves should cost between £50 and £150. Spend as much or as little within this price range and you should have warm and dry fingers on the slopes!


  • Don’t clean the inside of your goggles

It is always tempting to try and clear snow or condensation from the inside of your goggles, but try and avoid cleaning or rubbing the inside if you can, as most goggles have a anti-fog film on the inside, and you want to try and avoid damaging this. Your best bet is to try and gently remove the snow, and then blast them under a hand-dryer to get rid of the moisture.


  • Buy your own boots

Unless it is your very first time (even then we’d still recommend buying your own for maximum comfort), it is a good idea to have your own pair of ski or snowboard boots, and make sure they are fitted professionally. Having a bad fitting pair of boots can make your ski holiday miserable, so seek advice on which boots to buy, and get them fitted properly to your feet. If you get them fitted in the UK, you can then try them at home or at your local slope to make sure they are right ahead of your holiday, as well as this, if you’re buying boots from Snowtrax | The Boot Lab, a comfort guarantee applies and any niggles or issues can be looked at. Buying boots out at resort is NOT recommended as you will be unable to fix any fitting issues unless you travel all the way to the same shop.



  • Service your skis or board and check bindings

If you own a pair of skis or a snowboard, before your trip out on the snow, it is a good idea to get your skis or snowboard serviced, to ensure they are in tip-top condition and performing as they should! For skis in particular it is also a good idea to check that your bindings aren’t damaged and are working correctly.


  • Wear the right clothes

I have seen many people caught out on the slopes without a waterproof jacket, because the day started off sunny, and the snow came in later in the day. Having a waterproof and wind-proof layer is important, as is having decent breathable base and mid layers underneath. In my books, a neck warmer is also an invaluable piece of kit for the slopes. Something like a Buff is great as it is lightweight and versatile and can be used as a headband or hat as well.


  • Warm up your hands with a ‘windmill’

There is nothing worse than cold hands, and sometimes it is hard to avoid. If you fingers start to get cold, I have found two good ways of warming them up by essentially getting the blood back into them. First one is to put your arms by your side and quickly shrug your shoulders, pushing the blood down into your hands. Otherwise you can do the trusty windmills of both arms, which should have the same affect.


  • Get fit

Although time is often scarce, getting fit for the slopes is so important. Have a look out for ski fit classes at your local gym, or you could do some exercises at home. You may also want to consider getting your ski legs back by having a lesson or session at your local artificial or indoor slope.



Betony Garner is an ambassador for #Dynastar skis, based in Chamonix, France.

Snowtrax The Boot Lab Professional Ski Boot fitting service


Here at The Boot Lab, Snowtrax – we get asked a lot of similar questions when it comes to ski boot fitting. Questions like “What are the best ski boots?”, “Do you have this in a UK 9?” and “My friend said Salomon are the best – so can i just try those on?” are all very much common place in our day to day ski boot fitting lives. We’re not complaining either! We’ve come to learn, over our 20+ years of fitting the latest ski boots and snowboard boots, that questions are good and people ultimately just want the best boots for their feet and skiing ability – so let’s answer a few of these questions now.


What are the best ski boots?

It goes without saying that this question conjures up incredibly objective and ‘opinionated’ responses if you were to ask any skier on the mountain. In store, here at The Boot Lab, our staff are far less opinionated for one very simple reason… Every boot we stock, is the best boot for someone.

With a boot fitting analogy straight out of a Cinderella fairytale, a ski boot often chooses it’s owner to a certain degree, rather than the other way around. Our job is to help you find the boot that ticks the most boxes for you in terms of ability, experience, body shape and physical strength, as well as of course making sure it is the best fit. It’s for these reasons that copying what boot your mate has – is quite possibly the worst thing you can do!


Do you have this in a UK 9?

Ski boots aren’t measured in a traditional UK shoe size. They are instead measured in cm in a size range called ‘Mondo Point’. Mondo point size is the physical length of a foot in centimetres. Ski boot manufacturers like Salomon, Atomic, Dalbello or Head, then play with this length a little when they add the thickness of the inner boot liner, as well as what toe box shape the particular boot has. It’s additional aspects like this, which make for the differences in boot sizes between some manufacturers. With some adding loads of room to the toes, others adding less.
You will see MANY mondopoint to UK shoe size conversion charts on the internet stating that a Mondo 28.5 is basically a UK 9.5 – sadly it really isn’t anything like as simple as that, this is why you should book a ski boot fitting.

At The Boot Lab, we take into account so many different variables other than just your foot length (ability, experience, body shape and physical strength being a few), so it isn’t possible to simply pick a pair of ski boots off the shelf, or order them online, without first being treated to a proper professional ski boot fit!


My friend said Salomon boots are the best – so can I just try those on?

Similarly to the above points raised about each manufacturer having a different ethos and fitting spectrum – clearly one brands boots can’t fit EVERYONE perfectly. Many ski boot brands, like Salomon, have drastically improved the scope for their boot models to be fully customised by professionals in a boot fitting store. Fully heat moldable liners are now completely common place – with custom heat moldable shells fast becoming the norm now as well! This means that ski boot brands are able to accommodate even more foot shapes into their boot models, thus increasing sales (great for the brands) but it also means that we at The Boot Lab, are able to completely customise a ski boot to fit you, faster (great for our customers)!


As some of you will know – nothing compares to having perfectly fitting ski boots that match your physical and technical ability. So why not come in store here at Snowtrax and visit The Boot Lab and get yourself boots that really fit!


Appointments available – make an appointment here.


Local Snowboard talent, Snowtrax Collective Chairman AND Snowtrax Store employee Jack Labbett – is finally in the spotlight and deservedly so.

If you ride at Snowtrax or Calshot, chances are you already know what Mr. Labbett can do and that when it comes to rails and dry-slope shenanigans, he’s a force to be reckoned with! If you’re not fortunate enough to have ridden at our slope or indeed witness Jack’s talent here in the UK – It’s about time you did.

Whitelines Magazine were super excited to finally be able to squeeze in a local filming session with our man Jack. Entitled ‘Shadows’ – it features Jack doing what he does best at both his local ski slopes, Snowtrax and Calshot.

Hit play, full screen it and see how far snowboarding can be pushed here in the UK – without any need for a single flake of snow!

Candide Thovex – quattro

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December 10th, 2015


Candide Thovex doesn’t wait for winter.

Filmed in Megève, France.

Instagram & Twitter: @candidethovex



Image Courtesy of Scott Sports


Never tried skiing or snowboarding and want to know why it might be the hobby for you? Here’s what you have been missing out on, all this time.


If you’re expecting another argument for and against either skiing or snowboarding, you won’t find one here. That argument will rage on for decades to come I’m sure – we’re here to talk about skiing and snowboarding as a collective experience.

Maybe you have friends that go skiing every year? Or perhaps you’ve caught one of the epic freestyle competitions that take place during the Winter Olympics? Either way, it’s likely that you’ve flirted with the idea of cruising the blissfully soft and fluffy snow, whilst being bathed in the fresh alpine sunshine – what’s not to like about that? It’s probably just as likely that your rose tinted dreams of blasting down a complex ski slope, halted as abruptly as they began, with the realisation that ‘you can’t ski’ and that even thinking about starting a hobby where ‘all the gear’s probably really expensive!’ is just silly. We’ll talk about the cost in a moment but perhaps you’re right about your current skiing ability level, you can’t ski…. yet! Don’t forget you probably weren’t always able to tie your shoe laces or ride a bike or write your name but you overcame these obstacles pretty easily? Learning to ski and snowboard is just another obstacle! Once you have unlocked this skill – it will transform your holiday habits and possibly even your life.

I’m going to come right out and say it, learning to ski and snowboard is not as easy for some people, as for others. Just like picking up the various skills needed to drive a car, can be more difficult for some people, than for others. This in my opinion, is not a good enough reason on its own, for you to be put off what is considered all over the world, to be some of the most enriching, dream-like fun you may ever experience!


Val Thorens Groomed piste

Image Courtesy of Val Thorens


To put it simply, Skiing and Snowboarding is fantastic in so many ways! Possibly the biggest reason for me though – is the freedom. There aren’t many sports/hobbies where you can experience exhilarating speed, genuinely breathtaking scenery and absolute serenity, all at precisely the same time. Yes, it’s cold, sometimes exceedingly cold with temperatures reaching the wrong side of -5 but all this is genuinely insignificant if you’re wearing the right gear. Skiing and Snowboarding, at least from a ‘tourist’/holiday makers perspective, is not really about ‘enduring’ unmanageable conditions. Leave that to the arctic explorers and the daredevil freeride pioneers that venture deep into unknown mountainous territory. No, average joe’s version of the Alps is far more easy-going. Think more along the lines of rustic mountain restaurants offering you hot, mouth-watering food, accompanied by a deliciously rich hot chocolate, all being served within a picturesque alpine vista that is basically your very own outdoor playground – more about indulgence and excitement than ‘survival’.


Isn’t it expensive?

So all the above sounds great and you’re well and truly salivating over the thought that your skiing dreams are all but realised – but you heard that skiing and snowboarding is just for the middle classes with disposable income? It really couldn’t be further from the truth.

The 80’s were a long time ago. Gone are the days of extortionate flights, accompanied by even more extortionate ski equipment and clothing prices! At Snowtrax – we pride ourselves on helping to get everyone on the slopes, whatever their budget. Yes there is always something more luxurious that can be purchased but if it’s your first time, we’ll focus on the basics like decent base layers (these are the skin touching, ‘thermal’ layers that work directly with your other layers to help you to stay warm and breathable in both the biting cold and the relatively warmer, sunny moments) and sensibly priced Skis, Snowboards and jackets!

So go on – experience it for yourselves. It’s time to find out what you’ve been missing on all this time! The only question you really need to ask yourself is whether you’re going to Ski OR Snowboard.


Image courtesy of Salomon Group

Image courtesy of Salomon Group



Here it is – the Snowtrax Air Attack Freestyle competition Halloween special – Sponsored by Salomon!

With fantastic support from riders all over the country and guest appearances from the likes of Team GB athletes Billy Morgan and Millie Wilkinson – Our Halloween edition of the Air Attack comp went off with a bang!

We had a Snow canon, a laser light show, fancy dress and even some pumpkin carving (it was Halloween after all), to accompany some of the most talented skiers and snowboarders we’ve ever had compete!

Snowtrax would like to personally thank everyone who attended and made the event what it was. Year on year we’re really pumped to see an increase in attendees and competitors that really treat the comp as a super friendly event, for all levels of freestyle ability!
A huge ‘thank you’ to competition sponsors Salomon, for their generously donated equipment and prizes, that were MORE than well received!

Shout out to Snowtrax Collective team riders: Jack Labbett, George Waite, Harry Waite and especially Brad Rowell, with the final double front flip off the hip, to finish this edit!

The FULL list of results for this competition can be found here. Look forward to seeing you all again next year around the end of May!

Video shot and edited by Life Cinematic: (Thanks guys!)

Music: Wax Audio “Thunder Busters” (AC/DC vs Ghostbusters)