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Thursday
Apr102014

QUARK EXPEDITIONS┬« INTRODUCES FIRST-EVER LAND-BASED ARCTIC ADVENTURE PROGRAM FOR 2015

Quark Expeditions®, the leader in polar adventures, has introduced in its 2015 Arctic expedition line-up, their first-ever land-based adventure. Quark, in partnership with Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, will offer Arctic Watch Lodge: Adventure and Wildlife at 74°N, a week-long adventure camp experience beginning June 30 and running for six weeks through August 12, 2015. With a maximum occupancy of 26 guests per departure, it will be Quark’s most intimate Arctic program as well.

Located just above the Arctic Circle on Somerset Island in Nunavut, Canada, Arctic Watch is a five-star wilderness lodge and world-class beluga whale observation site. It features private lodging for two, locally-sourced gourmet dining and plenty of fully-guided activities such as hiking, kayaking, river rafting and exploring the Arctic tundra in all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and Mercedes Unimog. This will be a truly raw and untouched Canadian Arctic experience for nature enthusiasts around the world, all accessible within a short flight from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

“Quark is pleased to partner with Arctic Watch to offer our passengers a new way of experiencing the Canadian Arctic,” said Hans Lagerweij, president of Quark Expeditions®. “Although new for Quark, this 10-day land program is a unique way to explore the untouched beauty and wilderness of the Arctic, and offers the same quality expedition product people know and trust from Quark, and will impress even the most discerning adventure travelers.” Watch Hans’ video about Quark’s new land program.

Situated on Somerset Island, in Cunningham Inlet, the Arctic Watch Lodge is the most northerly lodge in Canada and offers plenty of opportunities for viewing incredible iconic Arctic animals like beluga whales, polar bears, musk oxen, Arctic fox and hares, ring and bearded seals, snowy owls, peregrine falcons and much more. Rated as the top beluga whale watching site on the globe, the belugas at the Arctic Watch Lodge were also featured in the BBC’s Frozen Planet documentary on the Arctic.

“Partnering with Quark Expeditions is the perfect fit for Arctic Watch,” said Richard Weber, owner of Arctic Watch. “Quark’s expertise in all-things polar, as well as their understanding of what these wild and rugged environments offer, will ensure guests will have a truly authentic and personal Arctic experience.”

For more information visit www.quarkexpeditions.com   or call 0808 120 2333

Tuesday
Apr082014

International Academy guarantee peak performing ski instructor courses in Canada

Aspiring ski instructors learn to teach from the best with International Academy. The long-standing experts in instructor training courses have refined their product offering and asserted themselves as the specialists in Canada.  

International Academy has been offering the highest quality instructor programmes in the Canadian Rockies since 1997 and are now working in partnership with resident ski and snowboard instructor training school ‘YES Tours’. They ensure an unrivalled development programme is delivered with a price-match guarantee – if you can find a cheaper course of comparable excellent quality and content International Academy will match it.

A range of courses are available from a short 4-week programme to intensive 11-week instructorships with opportunities to stay on and work for a ski school once the course is completed (as long as you have a VISA). The 11-week course now delivers a double qualification so instructors will be certified in both North American and European systems with CSIA Levels 1&2 and BASI Level 2 achieved within just 11 weeks (Feb course only). In Canada the CSIA level 1 qualifies instructors to teach children (ages 12 and under) and beginners while the level 2 certification allows instructors to teach skiers up to intermediate parallel skill level. New for this year - The BASI level 2 course can be completed in the final 3 weeks of the 11 week programme. It replaces the traditional CSCF Race Coach Training and CADS Level 1 course and will really improve employment opportunities once in Europe.

But it’s not all about the qualifications. The International Academy journey to excellence is also guaranteed to deliver on fun and provide a life-enhancing experience.  Aspiring instructors will struggle not to love Whistler Blackcomb. With over 8100 acres of skiable terrain, more than 200 trails and the largest bowls and above-tree-line area in North America, the skiing is expansive and varied, the facilities, parks and pipes are incredible and the après-ski and nightlife is guaranteed to tempt even the most studious of instructors out to play.

Dan Fox, Managing Director of International Academy said: “We have always chosen to work with the best ski schools in the best resorts in the world to ensure the best possible experience and development of our trainee instructors. ‘YES’ are outstanding, genuine and very well respected in the field of instructor training and we consistently receive tremendous feedback and see impressive results and pass rates every year. This is why we’ve chosen to focus on our Canada offering.  Whether students are looking to become fully qualified instructors, so they can work anywhere in the world, or they’re just looking to take their skiing and mountain knowledge to the next level, we’re confident the International Academy course will exceed expectations. You genuinely won’t find a better value course offering the same level of quality instruction and content – if you can, we’ll match the price.”

Many additional courses, workshops and local discounts are also included such as customer services, communications, injury prevention, equipment information seminar, ski tuning and boot fitting and video analysis. *Accommodation is at the Alta Vista Chalet where dinner and continental breakfast are included 6 days per week. Flights are not included.

For more information call 02380 206977 or visit www.international-academy.com

Monday
Apr072014

Coastline welcomes you to Corsica

Discover Coastlines four brand new luxury villas for summer 2014

With the days becoming longer and warmer it’s time to think about that summer holiday, and where better than the Med? With Coastline Villas you can enjoy the luxury and comfort of one of these fabulous new villas this summer in Corsica.

Villa Fiorella

When looking for the privacy and tranquility of your very own boutique, bijou residence, this is perfect. Spacious and contemporary, it is nestled close to the enchanting forest of Ospedale with spectacular views as far Porto Vecchio harbour. This lavish home has everything you need to relax and rejuvenate, from the kitchen equipped for the owner chef to the large sun terrace and your private infinity pool. Within the villa itself there is a double bedroom with bathroom and a twin with en-suite, as well as the spacious open plan living and kitchen area. The beautiful beaches of Saint Cyprien and Palombaggia are both within easy reach, while the town of Porto Vecchio is only a 10-minute drive away.

Pinarello Beach House

In traditional Mediterranean colours of terracotta and blue, this is everybody’s dream beach house, nestled in a wonderful, tree-filled garden. After a day relaxing by the private pool with time to enjoy the terrace with barbecue, venture to the bottom of the garden to find a little wooden gate that leads directly on to the white sands of Pinarello beach. There are twin and double bedrooms, which share a shower room and WC, a double with en-suite, as well as the open plan living and fully equipped kitchen area. There is also a choice of tempting restaurants just a few minutes’ stroll from the house, while the historic town of Porto Vecchio is just a 25-minute drive away. 

Costa Nera

There are only two words for these new apartments: sleek and chic! Housed in separate units to maximise peace and privacy, each apartment has a large, private terrace. Just a three-minute stroll away is Santa Giulia, ranked in the top three of Corsican beaches. Simply relax by the warm, turquoise waters of the crescent-shaped bay or enjoy water sports as part of a perfect beach holiday. Each of these beautiful two-bedroomed apartments are air-conditioned with an open plan living and fully equipped kitchen area on the ground floor. Other features such as WiFi, TV and iPod docking station are all found within the apartments. As well as having amenities nearby, the town of Porto Vecchio is just an eight-minute drive away.

Villa Rossa

Some of the best holidays are when we can enjoy fun in the sun with our family and friends. Thankfully, the spacious Villa Rossa is ideal for a party of up to 10 guests, yet offers the peace and privacy of its tranquil surroundings in the village of Tagliu Rossu. By day relax by the heated swimming pool, amidst the lawns and olive trees, or dining al fresco on the wooden decks, head for the chic town of Porto Vecchio and the magnificent beaches of Palombaggia and Santa Giulia. There are five bedrooms and five bathrooms, as well as the open plan living and kitchen area. Porto Vecchio, with its shops, restaurants and pavement cafés is just 10 minutes away by car.

 

For more information please visit www.coastline.co.uk or call 0844 557 1020.

Monday
Apr072014

Following in the 100 year old footsteps 

Alta Badia is preparing to commemorate the soldiers that fought during the First World War on and around the mountains of the region. Events through the summer will recognise perils involved with battles in the Dolomites and the ‘Peaks of Gastronomy’ will honour the soldiers’ diet with a gourmet twist.

100 years on

There will be a number of events through the valleys and on the mountains to commemorate the Great War:

Peaks of Gastronomy

This year the Michelin starred chefs of the area are paying homage to the Great War with their own slant on the cuisine of the time. Utilising the simple ingredients that were on offer between 1915 -1918 the dishes will be served in mess tins. This year’s event will be launches on Friday 27th June in San Cassiano giving those in the area the opportunity to taste the simple ingredients with their gourmet, Michelin starred, twist, including Geröstel, a type of hash, and a bread soup. The dishes will be available in eight mountain huts: Lèe, I Tablà, Bioch, Piz Arlara, Pralongià, Mesoles, Jimmy and Scotoni.

Excursions to WWI sites

The Alta Badia Tourist Board is running an excursion every Friday (June – September) to the locations that played a key role in the war. Expert guides will lead visitors on a route from Passo Falzarego towards the Vonbank (front line) where trenches have been restored. The Kaiserjäger path then rises to the Piccolo Lagazuoi before descending towards and into the tunnels that were dug into the base of the mountains. Inside there is a restored kitchen and soldier’s dormitory. 

The demanding walk takes around 5-6 hours with 650m of uphill walking to contend with. Prices: 20€ for adults and 15€ for children between 7 and 12.

Photographic Exhibition

Unpublished photos by Alex Pedratscher  will be displayed in La Villa from July to the end of September. The images have been collated by history buff and local author Oswald Mederle who will also present on the war in the Ladin valleys and lead excursions to historical sites.

Background to WWI in Alta Badia

Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary on the 23rd May 1915, nearly ten months after the initial declarations of war by Austria-Hungary and Serbia which condemned Europe to war. The majority of Austria-Hungary’s troops were occupied on the Serbian and Russian fronts. This lead to Italy’s first forays into the war being met by a number of battalions of infantry with limited artillery at their disposal. Included within these were men of the gendarmerie, the Finance Guard and Standschützen Mareo – made up of young and old.

Over time these men were backed up by the German Alpenkorps along with the local Ladin people who had pre-empted war by constructing defences. Although low in numbers these men were able to take up strategic positions due to their mountain knowledge repelling Italian attacks on the Castelletto, Falzarego, Lagazuoi and Col di Lana peaks. The war raged through the area leading to infrastructure being built such as hospitals, cemeteries and POW camps. On the mountains the war lead to changes too with tunnelling becoming an effective tool for soldiers utilising mines, particularly on the Lagazuoi. At the conclusion of the war the Trentino Alto Adige (including Alta Badia) was annexed to Italy following their victory in the wider war.

For more information on Alta Badia and events in the region visit www.altabadia.org

Tuesday
Mar252014

"AS GOOD AS IT GETS" - Alta Badia, a Cyclists Paradise

Keen cyclists will love Alta Badia in the summer when the rich cycling heritage of the Dolomites for those on two wheels comes to the fore. A packed calendar of events has been put together, making the most of the facilities in the villages and the iconic Dolomite mountains.

Alta Badia (South Tyrolean Dolomites/Italy) – The peaks of the Dolomites have always acted as a draw for cyclists, coupled with the area’s rich cycling heritage. Maria Canins, two time Grande Bouche (female Tour de France) winner and Olympian in cycling and skiing is Alta Badia’s most famous daughter and still takes tours of the area. Iconic races have also included the roads in the area such as the Giro d’Italia and the Maratona dles Dolomites-Enel with its 9,000 participants. More casual rides such as the Sellaronda Bike Day also attracts up to 20,000 riders to this Dolomite location each year. This year’s Sellaronda Bike Day is the 22nd June.

Bike Friendly

Bike Friendly is the name given to the infrastructure put in place to support avid cyclists when they are in Alta Badia. Aimed at both road and mountain bikers the tourist board produces maps with itineraries and tours arranged through Dolomite Biking for both individuals and groups. Facilities range across the villages with hotels, shops and restaurants all aimed at those looking to cycle here. In hotels such as Hotel La Perla, Melodia del Bosco and Hotel Gran Paradiso, to mention just a few, there are storage, wash and repair facilities for bikes along with a hearty breakfast packed with carbohydrates and energy. The lifts will carry bikes free of charge and upon return to the hotel a cold snack or cake is readily available to replenish energy.

Dolomites Cycling Weeks

Between the 25th May and the 22nd June there is the opportunity to enjoy four days guiding in preparation to potentially ride the Maratona dles Dolomites-Enel. Run by Holimites the expert guides take into account physical condition before planning routes. The participants of each week will be split into three ability groups and equipped with energy packs, saddlebag, water bottle and route book with a support van on hand for any technical difficulties. For prices and availability visit www.holimites.com/en/sport-packages

La Maratona dles Dolomites-Enel

This year will be the 28th staging of the televised (RAI TV) Maratona dles Dolomites-Enel and will take place on Saturday 6th July starting from La Villa and ending in Corvara. The race has grown in popularity over the years with foreign riders being drawn to the race along with the Italians. 35,000 contested the 9,000 spots available in the starting peloton.

Michil Costa, local and patron of the event says: “Taking part is not just about overcoming fatigue, nor about contemplating and being contemplated about and by nature, but it is about a form of spirituality shared by thousands of persons who wish to experience a special occasion. The Maratona dles Dolomites is all about throwing yourself into an arduous activity and hours later coming out as new.”

There are three routes available this year of varying lengths and difficulty from 138km hardest route with 4,190m of climbing to the medium course of 106km with 3,090m climbing and the 55km Sellaronda route with 1,780m climbing. Visit www.maratona.it

Pinarello Partnership  

Alta Badia has partnered with the world famous road bike manufacturer Pinarello, supplier of bikes to Team Sky. Pinarello now supports all cycling activities in the Alta Badia area having been a longstanding partner of the Maratona dles Dolomites. Guests will be able to try out the latest Pinarello bikes including the famed Dogma series, the preferred bike of Team Sky.

Mountain Biking in Alta Badia

Cycling on mountain trails is just as popular and impressive as the roads in Alta Badia. The Sellaronda route and the new downhill route from Passo Gardena towards Colfosco are amongst the highlights, both are accessible from the Gardenaccia lift. Lifts used on the 58km Sellaronda MTB route reduces the climb to just 500m from 3,400m. The Sellaronda lift system operational from 22nd June to the 21st September.

Biking Up!

A new ‘Biking Up!’ Dolomiti Supersummer Card gives mountain bikers access to the lift system with their bikes attached to the sides. Guided tours available with www.dolomitebiking.com

Sellaronda Hero MTB Race

The Sellaronda Hero MTB race, dubbed as the toughest in the Alps, will this year take place on Saturday 21st June. Routes are either 62km or 84km in length.

E-Bike Sharing at 2,000m

An e-bike sharing concept in the mountains has been launched by Alta Badia working in a similar way to ‘Boris Bikes’ in London. There are three drop off points in the valleys in Corvara, la Villa and San Cassiona whilst there are four on the peaks at the Col Alt, Piz la Ila, Piz Sorega and Pralongià which also act as recharging points. The bikes are all new this season and feature the newest e-bikes from Trek. Suitable for over 14s the prices start from 21€ for adults and 15€ for adults based on half day rentals.