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Why skating is the best training for winter sports

Skiing and snow boarding are very intensive for your body. But many people leave for wintersports holiday without properly preparing their bodies.  Skating (inline & board) is a great way to prepare your body and brain to go on holiday and come back without serious long term injuries. Just keep reading to discover why.

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Camping in The Netherlands, Rehab from Urban Life

When I was young, I would listen to a certain song quite often: ‘Niet Ver Weg’ by Samson en Gert. Literally translated it means ‘Not Far Away’, about going on vacation close by. We went on a mini vacation in The Netherlands. We went camping at camping Batenstein in Woerden.
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Lopifit, walking on cycling speed

Lopifit in actie

The Netherlands is a cycling country, we’ve known that for a while. But Lopifit brings cycling to a whole new level: the Dutch expression ‘alles loopt op wieltjes’ (literally ‘everything runs on wheels’, which means ‘everything runs smoothly) suddenly becomes reality.

ELECTRICAL WALKING BIKE

Lopifit is a means of transport which combines the speed of cycling with the comfort of walking. Lopifit looks like a big kick bike, but the middle part is a treadmill in stead of a board to stand on. It brings your gym experience outside!

Thanks to the elektrical support you can reach speeds of 25 kilometers per hour while you’re just walking 5 kilometers per hour. That means you can track quite some kilometers without sweating like a horse.

Lopifit foto
Picture by Lopifit
lopifit close up
Picture by Lopifit

SPECIFICATIONS LOPIFIT

Lopifit is not very compact with it’s lenght of 222 cm and weight of 55 kg. Nonetheless, I can see many benefits in this walking bike. Even though I wouldn’t strut my stuff in stilettos, like the lady in the picture, a skirt or a dress would become much less of an issue than on a normal bicycle.

The range of a Lopifit varies from 50 to 70 kilometers, depending on the road surface, geography, weather… But even if the range is ‘only’ 50 kilometers, that would still be quite a nice walk, no?

lopifit in actie
Picture by Lopifit

In Kruibeke, Belgium you can rent a Lopifit to ride… or walk along the river Scheldt. You can also get one yourself, but you’ll have to reach a little deeper in your pockets: you can own your own Lopifit for €2.195. But that price actually corresponds to the price of a descent electrical bicycle.

I can see myself walking to work, taking it easy! What do you think about Lopifit?

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Skiing in Belgium, a spontaneous adventure

Winter is in town. We got our skis out of the closet and decided, quite last minute, to go skiing in Belgium for a day. We drove to Ovifat for an entire day of snow fun.

When you think of skiing, you think of a very long bus drive, kilometers of slopes, panoramic views of beautiful mountains and making sure you catch the last lift home to get back to your chalet. We had a little bit of a different experience, but we enjoyed it just as much.

A couple of hours driving from our beloved home town, Ghent, lies Ovifat. It’s all the way in the east of Belgium. In the Rue du Piste 1 you’ll find the parking lot of a nice private terrain where you can enjoy a day of skiing on 3 (!!) different slopes.

skiing Ovifat elan k2

The practical side of skiing in belgium

First of all, the highway and big roads are free of snow and safe to drive. However, this is not the case for the smaller streets, including the street towards the parking lot of the skiing area! Winter tires are desirable when you’re driving towards the Belgian ski slopes.

Secondly, did you know that the skiing terrains in Belgium seldom allow snow boarders? It feels like a bit discriminating, but I’m sure they have a good reason for that. At least, I hope they do. So PJ went – feeling a little offended – skiing in stead of boarding,  for the first time in 15 years.

Another thing we discovered is that in order to use the lifts you have to buy a ticket with a limited amount of trips. Every time you take a lift back up the hill, they punch a hole in your card. And you’ve got 18 trips per card. At first we thought that 18 descends per person was not a lot, but at the end of the day we still had a couple of squares without a hole in it.

Finally, there’s one bistro at the top of the slopes where you can buy something to eat and drink. I would recommend to bring some snacks of your own to enjoy as much of the experience as possible. The first time on the slopes in the season is quite tiring and the cold doesn’t do much for your energy levels either. Also, don’t for get to bring water on your skiing trip! In this blog post you’ll read about why you should bring water and how to make it durable.

skiing ovifat Thaïsa
Ready to hit the slops for the first time this season!
skiing Ovifat lift
The lift of the red slope is not one to underestimate. It’s fast and steep.
Testing skis

After a couple of descends we got the idea to switch skis. Even though PJ’s skis are way too long for me and my skis are in fact too short for PJ, we still decided to shake it up. The difference we felt was remarkable, and that wasn’t only because of the different length of the skis. I won’t go into detail, but let’s say the type of ski definitely has a big impact on your skiing experience. The way a ski feels to you depends on your level, your style and your body type.

If you’re renting skis, for example at A.S. Adventure, Skimium, or a local rental place, I’d urge you not to sell yourself as the next world champion free ride or slalom if that’s not the case. The people who decide which skis you’ll be using for a week should be able to trust on your word to give you the right skis. The problem in the high season is that exchanging your skis for another pair is not always possible. In the sad case where your level doesn’t match the level of the skis, you’ll probably won’t be able to enjoy your holiday as much as you’d like.

skiing Ovifat change
The plus side of working in ski rental is being able to adjust skis on the slopes
skiing Ovifat elan
I was so ready to try out this brand new pair of Elan Amphibio 76
DON’T FORGET TO ENJOY

We used the day to test our techniques. I even tried to take my first couple of small jumps. Maybe we also talked a lot about technical skiing stuff. But most of all, we enjoyed ourselves a lot. It was my first time on the slopes in four years. For PJ it was his first time skiing in fifteen years. We had a lot of laughs and we joked around a bit, and we definitely enjoyed skiing in Belgium.

skiing Ovifat relax
The best kind of break for PJ is the one where you’re sitting in the snow and you’re enjoying a sandwich with chocolate-hazelnut spread
skiing Ovifat view
Even without majestic mountains, the sun provides you with magical snowy landscape views
skiing Ovifat selfie
Spontaneous adventures lead to smiling faces!

Our spontaneous little adventure gave us a lot of joy and a little bit of sunburn on our cheeks. Skiing in Belgium was a great idea in our humble opinion and we’re definitely going to do it again!

Did you ever go skiing in Belgium or elsewhere close to home? How was your experience? 

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2017 Bucket List: Sports Edition

The beginning of the new year is a good moment to review your to-do’s and your bucket list. To be honest, I’ve never done that before… But better late than never, right? In 2016 I started inline skating as a new sport, and even though I’m not great at that yet, I’m already thinking of a couple of new sports I’d like to try in 2017.

1. Skiing
It’s been a couple of years since I hit the slopes. Even though I was in great company and hanging out in one of the nicest areas of France, it was not the best year to ski. The slopes looked more like ice skating ranks because of the way-to-great weather. I can’t even remember what it feels like to have powder under my skis.
With a little push in the back, I booked a spot on a skiing trip with some friends. In February I will test my skills on the slopes of Alpe D’Huez, France.

2. Yoga
I’ve always thought of yoga as a meditation thing. I’m not great in standing still and thinking, let alone doing it in a weird position. In 2017 I’d like to give it a chance, though. It increases flexibility, balance and power. And I think this is exactly what I need in combination with sports that work on cardio. My future self could be thanking me for doing this.

3. Scuba Diving
I’ve been telling myself this for three or four years. This year is the year, I’m telling you! They say you have to do it when you tell four people. I think I’ve only told two, but now I’m telling the whole wide world: In 2017 I. Will. Try. Scuba Diving.

4. Dog Sledding
Actually I’m not a big fan of organised activities which include animals. I will never ride an elephant just out of principle, for example. But I’ve got one sport on my bucket list which does include animals doing most of the work: dog sledding. The dog breeds used for this kind of activity are strong and very active breeds. They love running for a couple of miles with the buddies of their pack. So, unless proven otherwise, this seems like an animal friendly activity and I would love to give it a try!

5. Wake Boarding
This is a sport that’s high on PJ’s bucket list. There is no better sport to combine the adrenaline of snowboarding and the love for sailing. We both haven’t tried wake boarding, but it looks like a lot of fun! Let me tell you a little secret, I’d rather try water skiing unless I’ve learned how to snowboard by then 😉 It’s a ski vs snowboard kind of relationship.

Let’s say everybody should try something old and something new every year. What’s on top of your bucket list?