Alf Alderson
Alf Alderson
SCMP Contributor
Alf Alderson is a ski and adventure sports writer based in the French ski resort of Les Arcs. He has skied at more than 200 locations around the world and writes for a wide range of publications including The Guardian, National Geographic Traveller and Daily Telegraph (UK).

The long-term forecast for the world’s ski resorts is bad, with rising temperatures shortening ski seasons and pushing snow lines higher up mountains.

Veteran skier Alf Alderson visits two British Columbia mountain resorts known for their formidable slopes to see how they’re dealing with the aftermath of Covid-19 – and comes away more than satisfied.

St Bernards were the original alpine rescue dogs, but they’ve been bred too big and hairy for the job. So it is Belgian and German shepherds and border collies we drop on in as they train in the French Alps with their handlers.


A smart jacket that pumps sweat away, a mid-layer that activates a heater to warm you up, heat-retaining leggings – this is wearable tech for skiers. There’s even a glove that doubles as a phone.

From the remote Tetnuldi, renowned for its challenging off-piste terrain, to Gudauri, with an array of wide, open intermediate pistes, skiers and snowboarders of every level will find something that sets the heart racing.

Longboarding, the traditional form of surfing, is seeing a resurgence in surf spots around the globe, with everyone from beginners to experts learning to appreciate the greater stability and smooth, flowing technique.

Timberline Lodge was the setting for Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic. From there you can travel to Idaho, stopping off to ski on untouched powdery snow.

The Scandinavian country’s second largest island offers powder-soft snow and spectacular scenery without the crowds. Why? Because you have to walk to the summit

It’s the purest form of skiing – you hike uphill on skis, then ski back down. We take you through the kit you need, and recommend some best buys; skis, boots, bindings, rescue kit and backpack – we’ve got you covered.

The combination of ease and fun is making the popularity of e-bikes soar. Mountain biking purists may call it cheating, but you’ll probably ride for longer and explore places you wouldn’t usually have the energy to get to.

In the 1970s surfers were greeted with bemusement on the beaches of France’s Atlantic coast; now it’s the cars without surfboards on that stand out at this stop on the World Surf League tour – but the innocence has been lost.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in North Wales is not for the faint-hearted. It is the highest navigable aqueduct on the planet. To reach it you need to carry a boat up into the mountains of Snowdonia, then inflate your vessel, get in and enjoy the view.

Better suited to unpaved tracks than a road bike and lighter than a mountain bike, gravel bikes let you ‘bikepack’ long – or short – distances in remote areas such as the Caucasus, Central Asia, the French Alps and the US Midwest.

You will feel no greater freedom then riding your first wave. Getting to the point where you can actually stand on a board, however, can be a bit tricky. Here are six places that are perfect to learn the sport

From China to the Canadian Rockies, ice climbing is a popular niche in the mountaineering world. We talk to the people who find joy in scaling frozen waterfalls and ice-coated crags as they make their sub-zero ascents

If you long for thigh-deep powder and untouched runs, look no further than ski touring. The activity takes you away from the resorts, and gets you climbing mountains and speeding down them, all while you are strapped in

From an avalanche safety bag that inflates in three seconds and anti-fog goggles, to heated socks and boot warmers, this season’s ski gear has a tech focus offering protection and comfort

Huge improvements in ski equipment enable recreational skiers to make serious forays into wild terrain, once the exclusive territory of ‘experts’. Here’s where to buy the best gear

Long used by mountaineers, a canvas and metal portaledge attached to a mountain above Annecy in France overs unforgettable views of the sunrise. It's not for the faint-hearted, or fidgeters

OK, you can never call a skiing trip a budget holiday, but heliskiing - where a helicopter drops you at the top of a mountain and you ski down - doesn't always cost a fortune.

From gloves to goggles, jackets to long johns, you need well-designed, innovative equipment. Here's our pick of what's available in Hong Kong and online


The Nav R-2 have a system that allows adjustment around the nose and face plus a light-sensitive lens that cuts glare, provides definition and enhances clarity in any conditions. 

With more than 1,000 to choose from, which ski resort best suits your needs? Alf Alderson gives his pick of winning winter wonderlands.