For more and more people who love the mountains, annual ski holidays or spending a couple of winters as a seasonnaire is no longer enough. If you’ve got a ski tourer’s ambition, a chalet host’s work ethic and an idea, there’s no limit to how high you can go in the mountains. The Alps is fast becoming a breeding ground for entrepreneurs showing that you can have it all. Welcome to the world of the ski-trepreneur.
Ski instructor Gabriele Nicotra set up a workshop crafting natural bamboo ski poles in Tignes in early 2015. His idea of producing “beautiful, strong, light and unique poles handcrafted by true mountain lovers from sustainable bamboo” came from skiing in Japan. He says: “Bamboo is everywhere over there and I fell in love with the material and its properties. I realised that nobody makes them any more in Europe.”
Growing as it does in all sizes and colours, nobbly bits and all, makes it impossible to mass-produce bamboo poles… and that’s the beauty of them. Each Poleplant pole has been lovingly created by hand and no two are ever the same.
The first 50 pairs were produced in summer after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Expect to see Poleplant on the Espace Killy slopes this winter and look out for them in the expert hands of international freerider Silvia Moser and Val d’Isere pro rider Leo Taillefer. Gabriele is hoping Poleplant will allow him to “spend more time in the mountains all year round, as that is where my heart is”.
Enter our competition to win your own set of unique Poleplant bamboo ski poles here.
Bent down hanging onto the coat of her snowploughing 2-year-old, while keeping a watchful eye on the 4 and 6-year-olds careering down the slopes, Jo Searles wondered if there was a way to make skiing with children easier. The resourceful mother-of-four’s solution: GOTCHAkids vests.
The vests are fluorescent so they’re visible in bad light, and fun for kids to wear with butterfly wings for girls and dinosaur pictures for boys. Most importantly, they have reins and a handle attached to the back, which allows you to grab, straighten up and pull your child without ripping their coat or straining your back. “I couldn’t take two of them out together, on and off chairlifts, without them,” Jo says.
She also adapted the harness so snowsports equipment can be attached to it, making the long traipse home carrying your own skis plus the children’s a thing of the past. Olympic skier and fellow Tignes mum Emma Carrick-Anderson says: “I was surprised how many uses they have – the back strap is handy in any situation where kids need a bit of a guiding hand.”
GOTCHAkids vests are available in:
Skiset Tignes Le Lac
Duchy Tignes Val Claret
Enter our competition to win your own GotchaKids ski vest here.
As ski instructors who ride the Espace Killy even in the worst conditions, Aude Jacquemard and Muriel Potin don’t just need accessories like neck warmers, headbands, bandanas and caps to look good – they have to be protective and high performance too. When they struggled to find what they were looking for, they created their own.
Using top quality technical textiles and original design the friends have built up an accessories range that’s now sold in 40 shops across Val d’Isere, Tignes, Les Arcs, La Rosiere, Sainte Foy and further afield. Their products can be personalised for events or companies and are already a favourite with pisteurs, firefighters, ski teams and even footballers.
Aude says: “Gone are the neck warmers of fleece that freezes when wet or chokes you. We test our own products under real conditions and improve them all the time. Now we’re growing the brand – it’s a really rewarding and exciting time.”
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