On Tuesday 17 May, Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre and Conferencing hosted 80 staff, family and friends for the first ‘community paddle’ evening on the riverfront.
Bisham Abbey staff member Alona, connected with local families, many hosting Ukrainian refugees and approximately 20 families gathered on the lawn to share the river front activities provided free of charge by Boat Rental Thames.
Bisham Abbey’s manager James Ewart commented, “We wanted to showcase to our staff and local community the wonderful riverfront we have here at Bisham Abbey. Boat Rental Thames offer all sorts of activities to help people to experience the river, be it on a paddle board, kayak or electric boat. Many of our staff haven’t had the chance to try these and to have so many local Ukrainian families join us as well made for a very special evening in the sunshine.”
Guy Fisher, Owner & MD of Boat Rental Thames added, “we expected to be hosting staff and their families and were absolutely delighted that so many local families supported the evening by bringing their Ukrainian guests. It was a real pleasure to show everyone all of our river craft, the new water bikes were a big hit and the younger family members were able to take a trip out on our skippered electric boats.”
The evening saw over 50 people take a boat of some kind on the river, over 80 guests shared the BBQ and drinks organised by Bisham Abbey on the lawn.
Local boy Walter, was delighted to be gifted this Boat Rental Thames t shirt, the Ukrainian family who are being hosted by the boys family, insisted he be given it for their kindness!
Four fantastic bike and run events kick off Summer 2022 in Val Gardena – with its three main villages – Ortisei (1,236 m), Santa Cristina (1,428 m) and Selva di Val Gardena (1,563 m) in the heart of the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with over 600km of bike trails.
11th June 2022: Sellaronda Bike Day & the Dolomites Saslong Half Marathon
The Sellaronda Bike day is a celebration of everything cycling as the roads on the Sellaronda will be closed to cars, allowing cyclists to take over.
The whole event boasts 53 km, while a 1,600 m elevation gain awaits those willing to complete the whole distance. Cyclists of all ages and levels will have the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful, free to attend, cycling tour featuring unique views on traffic-free roads, as the Sellaronda and its passes around the Sella Group will be closed to cars. The second date of the summer Sellaronda Bike day is 17th September 2022.
On foot, the Saslong Half Marathon takes place on the same day. For experienced runners this route, stretches from its start point at Monte Pana, extending between 1624 and 2363 m, with 900 m elevation. After reaching the Comici Hut the athletes will run across the City of Rocks to Passo Sella boasting a breathtaking view across the Marmolada. The asphalt-free trail winds its way across an environmentally protected area.
18th June: HERO Südtirol Dolomites
The HERO Südtirol Dolomites in Selva Val Gardena represents one of the hardest mountain bike events for amateurs and professional cyclists. The competition is spectacular and a great opportunity for international professional athletes and ambitious amateur cyclists to come together, allowing them to pursue the same dream: race and conquer one of the two demanding distances. All participants can choose between two distances stretching around the Passo Sella and Sassolungo:
The classic distance comprises 60 km and 3,200 m elevation gain.
The marathon distance boasts 86 km and a total of 4,500 m elevation gain.
Selva Val Gardena represents both the start and the end of the HERO Dolomites. Both the classic and marathon edition will take participants around the Passo Sella at the feet of the legendary skiing carousel, the Sellaronda. The day before the HERO Südtirol Dolomites, children can take part in the “HERO Kids” – starts in Selva Val Gardena and is a great event for younger cycling fans that will put their skills to the test in a friendly ‘competition’ where all that matters is having fun on two wheels.
25th June: NEW Val Gardena Family Bike Day
Part of the “Respect the Dolomites” projects, the first edition of the Val Gardena Family Bike Day will be held on Saturday, 25th June 2022. A day dedicated to cycling, explore Val Gardena in a green and sustainable way on two wheels. The route starts from Ortisei and takes you to Plan, in Selva Val Gardena, cutting across picturesque S. Cristina. The itinerary features different check points and sightseeing highlights, as well as spots where you can refill your water bottle and tank up on energy with a quick snack. Collect stamps at the checkpoints and sightseeing spots – only three required – to receive a small treat at the end of the itinerary.
with “Accueil Velo” – Cyclists Welcome – accreditation
OVO Network, chalet rental specialists in the French Alps, is increasing the number of its chalets that have the Accueil Vélo (cyclists welcome) accreditation.
Aside from skiing, the French Alps are renowned for their amazing cycling routes and events; biking enthusiasts will find no end of adventure for both road cycling and mountain biking, with challenging climbs, great views, and flatter valleys for all abilities.
Tim Andrews, founder of OVO Network comments, “The number of cyclists coming to the Alps continues to grow each year. The chance to cycle some of the famous cols and to follow in the tracks of the Tour de France are a major attraction for road bikers.
“But what these cyclists also want is a comfortable base to return to after a long day in the saddle. That’s where our chalets are proving very popular. Many are well equipped for cyclists, with secure storage, cleaning facilities, bike repair areas and extras such as hot tubs and saunas to help ease tired muscles.”
In response to the growing demand for high end cycling chalets, OVO Network is working with its chalet owners to help more properties gain the Accueil Vélo (cyclists welcome) accreditation. To achieve this, chalets must pass several checks, such as proximity to cycling routes and secure bike storage, which many OVO Network properties already have.
Andrews adds, “Accueil Vélo is aiming to help France become the world’s top destination for cycling tourism by 2030. We want to support this by encouraging our owners to apply for the accreditation. According to YouGov, 1 in 5 UK adults watched the Tour de France in 2021, so we know the demand for accommodation suitable for cyclists is there.”
OVO Network works closely with all its property owners to help them to maximise the potential of their chalets. With a strong demand from cyclists, chalet owners have increased occupancy rates, especially for the low seasons of spring and autumn shoulder seasons when cycling is at its best.
Upcoming cycling events in the French Alps include:
5-12 June: The Criterium du Dauphine [stage 8 passes through Thones & Le Grand Bornand where OVO Network properties are located]
11-12 June: Le Belier NEW Mountain bike event in La Clusaz
10-12 July: Tour de France [stage 9 Chatel, stage 10 Morzine – Megeve where OVO Network properties are located]
The following chalets are ideal for cyclists and/or already offer Accueil Vélo accreditation:
* Chalet Crechoua in La Giettaz – A new five bedroom, five bathroom chalet set in the pretty mountain resort of La Giettaz with easy access to fantastic cycling, including the famed Col des Aravis. The chalet has bike storage, an electric bike charger, a hot tub and a sauna, as well as Cool for Kids Extra facilities such as swings and table tennis. 7-nights rental from €1990.
* ChaletsCaramel & Nougat in Manigod – These two luxury chalets have everything a cyclist could want and have the Accueil Vélo accreditation. Set just off the famed Col de la Croix Fry, which is regularly part of the Tour de France, there’s great cycling on the doorstep. The two chalets share an indoor pool, with both having a hot tub, and Caramel also having a home cinema. 7-nights rental from €3090.
*ChaletsMacaron and Meringue in Le Grand Bornand Chinaillon – Le Grand Bornand is regularly a stage finishing point in the Tour de France, and these two designer chalets have the Accueil Vélo accreditation. Semi-detached, making them a great option if you’re holidaying as a large group, each has its own hot tub, secure bike storage, and easy access to world-class cycling. 7-nights rental from €1690 for Macaron and from €2490 for Meringue.
Nickie Mabey, Founder and owner of adventure ski specialist Mabey Ski (www.mabeyski.com), has become an ambassador of the charity, The Skiers Trust.
For over fifty years the Skiers Trust has been empowering young people, helping them to thrive and reach their potential through snowsports. It gives a life chance to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, with physical disabilities or with special educational needs, such as autism and down’s syndrome, whilst supporting the next generation of British competitors to develop so that they can compete internationally and at the Olympics.
The Penny Mabey Fund, part of the funds allocated to these young people by The Skiers Trust, was established in 1990 by a major donation from Penny Mabey (1923-2002), Nickie Mabey’s Grandmother. Penny was an active member of the Ladies’ Ski Club and had a lifelong passion for skiing, given to her by her mother and which she passed on to all members of her family.
Nickie Mabey comments, “My family has this incredible, historical connection to The Skiers Trust and whilst researching my family’s skiing history, I wanted to make sure the Trust and our family connection with the charity continues. We are a family of passionate skiers and whilst many of the family went down the ski racing line, I found myself escaping the crowds, skinning up remote mountains and exploring off-the-beaten-track ski destinations. This love for discovering new places like a local was behind me setting up Mabey Ski in 2017, and now as an ambassador for The Skiers Trust, I am looking to help the charity grow to keep supporting upcoming young skiers.”
David Budge, Chairman of the Skiers Trust adds, “We are delighted that Nickie Mabey has agreed to come on board and work with us to take the Skiers Trust forward in our mission to help young people.”
Nickie Mabey’s family have been skiing since 1912. Her great-grandmother Dorothy was one of the British pioneers of skiing, spending winters in Switzerland, learning to ski in long woollen skirts on 230cm wooden skis. Nickie’s grandmother, Penny, was unsurprisingly a natural skier. Tackling the slopes without gloves or a hat (let alone a helmet) she learnt to ski on the slopes of Murren, skiing on old wooden skis, which eco-conscious Grandpa Bevil would then cut down to size for daughters Biddy and Isy. Nickie’s father and five aunties progressed from ski school to trainees, two of whom made the British Ski Team. After competing at the FIS World Cup, Nickie’s auntie Isy, became the first ever female racer to be selected by BUSC in 1972, breaking a 47-year tradition.
The Penny Mabey Fund is given as a single award and is presented to a young amateur female skier who shows exceptional commitment and drive to become an international skiing competitor. Nomination for the award is made by the Ladies’ Ski Club. Recent awards have been given to members of the GB Snowsports Alpine World Cup and Europa Cup squads including current Alpine ski racers Alex Tilly ,Charlie Guest and Telemark athlete Jasmin Taylor.
Mabey Ski creates out-of-the-ordinary ski adventures across the globe that push boundaries and challenge the conventional. Mabey Ski is a British-owned adventure ski specialist based in Whistler on a mission to conquer every continent. Founded by Nickie Mabey, whose family have been ski pioneers for over a century, skiing is more than just a hobby. It’s a lifestyle that has led her to ski peaks less tracked, explore remote regions, and create unforgettable ski adventures not found anywhere else. Find out more about Mabey Ski and its unique trips at mabeyski.com.
ABOUT SKIERS TRUST
The Skiers Trust is the UK’s oldest and widest reaching national snowsports charity for young people. It was created in 1966 to be the formal charity element of the triumvirate of British Snowsports alongside the National Ski Federation (now GB Snowsport) and the Ski Club of Great Britain. It was established by a core group of National Ski Federation and Ski Club members guided by Sir John Hunt who had been the first Director of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award which he played a major part in devising and led for its first ten years. Sir John Hunt is internationally renowned for having led the first successful Everest expedition in 1953.
Today it supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who couldn’t otherwise access snowsports. It operates a Pool of Talent to recognise up and coming talented young competitors and has supported four of the current six person GB Snowsports World Cup Squad over recent years. It supports activities at UK dry ski slopes, snowdomes and ski resorts across Europe. The Penny Mabey Fund is a Foundation Fund operated by The Skiers Trust. Its aims are to support young female ski racers.
French Chalet specialist OVO Network launch their summer season with a record number of properties available to rent and rather than preventing growth, state that the pandemic has increased the popularity of both renting and owning chalets.
As the world entered an era in which people wanted to escape to nature, to get in touch with loved ones, or simply to reconnect with themselves, renting a chalet in France has grown in popularity. Plus, now, more than ever, owners of chalets are benefitting from renting out their chalets year-round.
Louis Andrews, Operations Director of OVO Network comments, “This winter season has seen a huge increase in demand – both from the French market and from overseas visitors.
“Fresh air, healthy living and accommodation with private facilities were key requirements at the height of the pandemic – luxurious Alpine chalets tick all of these boxes. As a result, demand for many of our properties was so great, that at certain periods we could have sold them several times over. Also, with our ‘OVO Verified’ status our guests are guaranteed the safety of their money when making chalet bookings with us*.
“Throughout the pandemic we took a bold stance to expand our programme, rather than reduce it. We took on new properties, introduced new destinations such as St Gervais and Chatel and more owners chose to work with us because of our expertise in the chalet rental market. This has paid off, with our chalet owners attracting strong bookings throughout the ski season and going forward into summer and autumn 2022.”
OVO Network has availability throughout the year at nearly 300 chalets across the French Alps, including:
Grand for Groups, Le Grand Bornand
Chalet Happyview in Le Grand Bornand – Enjoy a pool, gym, home cinema and sauna at this lavishly restored 440m2 chalet from which to explore the Aravis mountains; there are also Cool for Kids facilities.** Sleeps up to 23 guests. Stay 7 nights from 12th June for €6390 [£5394/£235pp], €8490 for 20th August 2022.
Offering wonderful views of the beautiful Manigod valley, this spacious chalet offers a jacuzzi, games room, TV lounge and an impressive master suite. Sleeping up to 11 guests, there are also Cool for Kids facilities.**
7-nights rental from 16th July 2022 – €3590/ 7-nights rental from 27th August 2022 – €3290
Rocalillie Lodge has incredible views of Mont Blanc, an outdoor pool and hot tub, a sumptuous cinema room and is set in a large garden just outside St Gervais les Bains. Sleeps up to 14 guests. 7-nights rental from 25th June 2022 – €4290/ 7-nights rental from 27th August 2022 – €4590
Property Owners looking to rent out their own chalets via OVO Network receive a complete marketing, booking and management solution that makes it easy to successfully rent out a chalet. Dedicated to the Alps, OVO Network provides a sophisticated solution that covers everything from high quality photography and tailored marketing to bilingual guest communications and legal requirements. Plus, OVO Network owners can use their property whenever they choose.
**Cool for Kids- OVO Network Cool for Kids chalets offer a range of facilities for families holidaying with children, including black out blinds, bottle warmers, games and toys, plus extras such as Playstations, table tennis and table football.
The Ultimate Snowsports Lover’s Christmas Shopping List – a selection of items which should be top of every snowsports lover’s wish list!
Sunglasses – An après ski essential for long lunches in the sunshine
The Summit Sunglasses from dewerstone come with hand-made maple wood frames and their high quality 100% UV protection polarized lenses look after your eyes, reducing glare and fatigue.
Through 1% for the Planet, dewerstone commit 1% of their annual revenue directly to non-profit environmental action groups. All dewerstone’s products are Climate Neutral Certified and for every product they manufacture they plant a tree. The Summit sunglasses are available to buy online at www.dewerstone.com RRP £59.95.
Beanie – stay warm on and off the slopes
The ‘Strike’ unisex beanie is fleece lined and whether exploring home or overseas, it will keep cold heads warm. As with the sunglasses from dewerstone, through 1% for the Planet, dewerstone commit 1% of their annual revenue directly to non-profit environmental action groups. All dewerstone’s products are Climate Neutral Certified and for every product they manufacture they plant a tree.
Pelotan is a ‘once-a-day’, water and sweat resistant sun protection brand offering up to eight hours of protection at SPF 30. Now launching to the wintersports market for the winter season 2021-22, Pelotan is currently the official sun protection supplier of British Triathlon and British Cycling.
Pelotan is an alcohol-based product which is a no-mess, clear, quickly absorbed, lightweight and breathable – no more having to remove ski gloves to apply sun protection – get a full day on the slopes without risking skin damage. Pelotan is available online at www.pelotan.cc – 200ml spray £20 and 50ml Roll on £10
Level Gloves – Off Piste & Iris Leather Ski Gloves
These All-Mountain leather, short cuff gloves are a favourite for their styling and warmth, Thermoplus 4000 (down to -22°C) and Primaloft® insulation. Men Off Piste £150. The women’s Iris is a super soft leather which is elegant and sporty at the same time, with Primaloft® padding and membrane. Women’s Iris £95 More info at levelgloves.com and available across the UK at all good ski shops.
Ski Boots –Dalbello Quantum – new and lightweight
What every skier needs – light weight, smooth walking, and maximum downhill performance, ideal for ski touring and on the piste skiing.
For the first time in ski boot manufacturing, this ski boot has been created using a bonded shell with two separate halves fused together using a special vibration process developed originally for heart valves and later in the monocoque of Formula One chassis. This allows the ski boot to be much lighter but without losing the power and control. £660 More info at Dalbello.it and available across the UK at all specialist ski shops.
Skis -Volkl Mantra M6 – New tailored frame and tip for better precision and performance
The Mantra is a popular and well-established icon within Völkl’s All Mountain Freeride series – it is known for providing reliable performance in a staggering variety of snow conditions; 100% made in Germany, minimising the environmental impact of ski manufacturing. The new models offer more stability, liveliness, manoeuvrability and best of all greater versatility, mainly achieved due to two of the latest innovations from Völkl: Tailored Titanal Frame and Tailored Carbon Tips; the amount of titanal, and its corresponding damping and torsional flex, is tailored to the skier’s height and weight via the length of the ski – in the longer lengths there is more metal, increasing torsional stiffness, power transmission and damping for larger, heavier skiers. The shorter the length, the less titanal is used, making the ski softer and more manoeuvrable so that smaller and lighter skiers can take full advantage of the added performance.
The Tailored Carbon Tips feature custom-inlaid directional stringers, rather than a uniform carbon sheet, to reinforce the torsional stiffness of the ski at the forward contact point. As a result, the shovel responds precisely and directly when entering the turn, supporting a quick, reliable reaction from the ski, especially on hard snow. As the skier moves through the turn, the torsional stiffness of the forebody of the ski immediately transitions to a softer flex, ensuring a smooth flow through the turn and an incredibly playful ride quality. £660 More info at Volkl.com and available across the UK at all good ski shops.