About Chalets, Alps and Life in General

About Chalets, Alps and Life in General

Life in the Alps has a distinctive pace and the people who are fortunate enough to live there are envied all over the world. The breathtaking views that the Alps provide are legendary, and images of their winter splendor can be found everywhere from framed office photographs in Tokyo to galleries in London to magazine covers in New York. The Alps are also well known for their world-class winter sports, including snowboarding, skiing and husky riding. People from all over the world flock to the region during its coldest months to participate in these activities and to have the chance of experiencing the crisp, alpine air. Life in an alpine village has more to offer than just one season, however, as people who actually live in one come to know well.

Life in the Alps traditionally happens in a chalet. This is a wooden home with a sloping roof that was once used as a home for the local herders and dairy farmers. Today, they are often the perfect escapes for vacationers. Chalets are the ideal home to fit into the Alps as they are built strongly and can withstand the weather and altitude. They also match beautifully with the scenery.

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Ski and Snowboard Vacation in Morzine

Ski and Snowboard Vacation in Morzine

Situated in the heart of the Portes du Soliel area on the Swiss border with France, the quaint market village of Morzine offers a gorgeous setting for vacationers who want to explore the great outdoors and participate in a wide variety of winter sports. There are chances to ski, snowboard, snow blade, cross country ski, AT/randonneé, telemark and snowshoe. In addition, the town offers excellent shopping, dining and entertainment options.

Skiing and snowboarding are where Morzine truly shine. With an altitude of 1000 meters and over 650 kilometers of piste, the Portes du Soliel offers many fantastic options for skiers of all ages and levels. There is everything from gentle bunny slopes to a challenging full-circuit courses.

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Husky Rides in Morzine

Husky Rides in Morzine

Imagine cutting through the breathtaking mountain scenery of the French Alps, behind a team of beautiful and friendly huskies while hearing the distinctive call “Mush, mush!” echoing through the forest. This is possible in Morzine, which now offers husky riding as one its most unique and exciting winter activities.

Husky riding began in Alaska and Canada in the mid-1600s as a way to transport people and goods over vast distances. Huskies were raised by the Chukchi peoples of Siberia to work as sled dogs as they were quick, strong, trusting, intelligent and sociable. Their heartiness and bravery became legendary in the frigid and unforgiving northern climes, and they are prized animals to this day.

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The Alps and Air Guns

Since Morzine is such an outdoorsy place, we receive many questions about swimming, fishing, skiing and hiking in the area. Recently, a Canadian asked me about the possibility of using an air gun in France. So, I did some research to answer his original question, and I also thought I might post the information ere for those who are similarly inclined.

Basic Information

To start off, both people unsure of what an air gun is and seasoned experts alike can find a wealth of information at http://www.airgununiverse.org/. This site provides descriptions, explanations and product reviews and it was helpful for me in being able to help my Canadian friend out. Ammo and pellets are readily available in France.

Transport

Now that we have a better understanding of what air guns are, we need to know what French authorities have to say about them. Air guns up to 20 joules are legal to buy in France with proper proof of residency and can be bought into the country with a valid EU Firearms Passport. They must be packed and transported safely. Carriers (like ferries or airlines) need to be notified in advance and have issued written permission for the transport of the air gun. Carriers may also have additional restrictions. So, be sure to plan ahead and contact all of the relevant parties. Beyond 20 joules, more paperwork and permissions will be needed to bring in an airgun.

New Licensing Laws

In 2013, French law changed regarding licensing and permitting practices and the size and power of air guns. The new law that states that air guns under 20 joules or 15 fpe are legal to use on your own land without registering them. This new provision is found in Sous-section 3 : Armes de catégorie C, Rubrique 4, Item 4°, for those who want to have all the information, but It is only in French at this time.

Anything over 20 joules requires a license, which can be obtained from a gun club with ID and proof of residency (e.g. a utility bill) for around 40 to 60 euro and the gun cubs yearly dues. It also has to be declared to the Prefecture. My Canadian friend’s Gamo Big Cat Air Rifle requires a license and registration. But, he is willing to deal with the authorities and he is more than happy to join a local gun club. Also, some areas have additional restrictions, so be aware.

Hunting

Another good reason to join a gun club is that using an air rifle for hunting or pest control is illegal in France without membership in one. You will need a licence de tir, which will arrive about two weeks after joining an allow you to buy a .22 rimfire, shotgun or hunting rifle to use on your land or on land where you have the owners written permission to shoot. For hunting off your property, you must have a permis de chasse, which requires an exam. There are seasons and restrictions on hunting some animals, particularly hares, so be aware of these before going out on your big hunt.

Crossfit Training to Stay Fit

Crossfit Training to Stay FitI love the winter months in Morzine. With the arrival of the first snow the whole region wakes up to a flurry of activities. Tourists flock to the area and the snow covered slopes take on a splendid and festive look with the skiers dotting the slopes. I have a great time in winter and the skiing gives me enough physical activity that I need not worry about my fitness, but it is the non-winter season that I’m worried about.

While I can pick out any of the physical exercises, it is the crossfit training that appeal to me more. I met a friend of mine a few weeks back that sparked my interest in crossfit. He said that he chooses crossfit traning, as it offers the best ever body workout that has the same program model for everyone, only with the intensity level changed, according to the age or fitness level of the individual concerned.

Scalable exercises

The best thing about crossfit exercises are that they possess a universal scalability that makes them ideal for any type of individual irrespective of the experience he possesses. Each day a single workout is given, which can be scaled based on the skill you have. For instance, if the workout needs squats with 120 pounds, but you are capable of only doing 40 pounds, then you can start on that level, or if you are not able to do the squats due to injury, a similar movement can be substituted till you get on to the level as prescribed.

Who can do it?

Crossfit though is suitable for everybody, everyone cannot do it. It is ideal only for certain categories of people.

Beginners in weight training who have not done weight training before find it ideal.

People who love the feeling of belonging to a community and support group find Crossfit a great outlet.

Fitness enthusiasts who cannot rest a day without having done their exercise for the day like the structured format of crossfit and the consistency present.

Former athletes who have been attuned to the feeling of camaraderie, competition and teamwork find the crossfit workouts a wonderful choice. Since the workouts involved fixed time limits for each repetition set, the competitive spirit in the athletes is aroused and they also like the nationwide competitions that take place in crossfit communities worldwide.

Starting the training

A CrossFit classes are generally provided free for the first class, so you can try out the workouts and see if they fit your purpose. The first class is the introduction class where you are given an overview on the workout, body movements involved and the benefits you get. I decided right on in the first class that the workouts are definitely for me. I also decided to make my muscles a little bit leaner, so I use bodybuilding supplements to create and drink tasty and healthy protein milkshakes.

The ramp or elements course is the next class, once you decide on joining the CrossFit workouts. This involves teaching nine basic movements in CrossFit and the need for sticking to proper form while exercising. This session is very valuable as you get to know how to perform the deadlifts, squats and presses perfectly.

Regular sessions include an hour or 45 minutes course that included doing the workouts prescribed like dynamic warm-up, strength work and workout of the day.

Samurai Training Camp in Morzine

Samurai Training Camp in MorzineFor as long as there have been two people with different goals, there has been conflict. Sometimes, conflict can be worked out with words – talks, treaties, compromises, all of that. Other times, conflict can only be resolved with combat. The ability to defend oneself from an attacker is a skill everyone should develop, because you never know when a “crazy, isolated incident” could involve you. I took this attitude with me to a Samurai training camp in Morzine, and in my opinion, it was this attitude which helped me to get through the process without a hitch.

Well they didn’t give us any real katanas to play with, but we did get to practice swinging around what I think were called kendo – that’s like a sword, but blunt and made from a lightweight wood rather than a dense metal. Getting hit with a kendo still hurts plenty, I guarantee. But they don’t really inflict grievous wounds. A samurai’s blade was his best friend, the only thing standing between him and death, so I figured we would be doing some sort of swordplay, with or without the real weapons. Samurai used other weapons too though – like massive clubs such as the Tetsubo, or Kanabo.

That first club was so massive that I couldn’t even wield it effectively. The second one was lighter, but didn’t do nearly as much damage upon landing a blow. I wouldn’t want to be caught on the receiving end of either though; they were both pretty fearsome weapons. The training camp was fun and all, but it’s just not practical to walk around carrying such hefty weaponry, or dressed in expensive armor. My choice for a self-defense class would have to be MMA, or something similar to that. I recently bought a comfortable BJJ kimono for that specific type of training, too.

I like MMA a lot, so maybe I have a bit of bias when it comes right down to it, but there’s no denying that using your body for self-defense is much cheaper and easier than buying a bunch of gear to accomplish the same goal. Granted, people would probably be less likely to mess with you in the first place if they saw you carrying some long, lethal blade or a massive, bone-crushing club, but again, it just isn’t practical. I like it so much that I even train with my favorite grappling dummy with free time I have while sitting around at home. You can’t really bring a samurai training camp into your home, you know?

Well, maybe you could, after all. I know plenty of people that collect weapons, some modern, some from ages long past. But if you ask me, there’s a lot less risk involved in beating on a dummy with your hands and feet, as opposed to swinging around potentially fatal tools of war. What do you think? Would you rather be armed when conflict comes to you, or would you take comfort in knowing you have weapons nobody can take away from you in a fight? By all means, leave your comments.

Decorating Chalet with Houseplants

Decorating Chalet with HouseplantsThe Chalet Le Coffy here in Morzine is a major tourist attraction. It brings in people from all over the world who are looking to ski on the Alps. However, while there is plenty to do in the place, the scenery can become somewhat redundant. It’s snow, snow and little else; at least while you’re outside. It’s something many visitors have commented on in the past, and we do take our visitors seriously. After hearing it enough times from several different people, we decided to dress up the interior of the Chalet, since there was relatively little we could do for the state of the exterior.

Now, we didn’t want to do anything too complicated or, well, expensive. So we decided to go with some pretty common stuff – houseplants, nothing too exotic, just enough to brighten up the interior of the Chalet and provide people with the color their skiing trips were sorely lacking. Buying up plants which are already fully grown can become pretty costly very quickly though, especially when there’s a great deal of area to cover with said plants. I came up with the idea to buy seeds and soil instead, and start from the ground up, so to speak. My peers took it pretty well and that’s what we decided to do.

While we don’t get a lot of color outside here, we do get plenty of natural light. However, it’s pretty cold here at the Chalet Le Coffy, so placing our budding seeds next to windows turned out to be a really bad idea. The cold just seeped through the walls, killed a lot of young plants.In the end, we all decided that getting some grow lights would be the best way to do things. That way the plants could stay warm, away from windows, and actually get a chance to live. You can also grow some vegetables, fruits and other plants indoors, using led grow lights, after reading one of these 800w LED Grow light review.

When I learned we could not only start providing our visitors with a lush and colorful environment, but that we could also supplement our food stores by using that same energy to grow fruits and vegetables, I was all about getting this thing set up right away. At first, we all thought it would cost us more money every month to run the lights regularly – you know, increased expenditures and all that. But imagine our surprise when our growing operation actually lowered our monthly expenses, because we suddenly had to buy less food and didn’t need to pay for any flowers or decorative houseplants at all!

We’ve had so much success growing our own stuff indoors, I wanted to take a moment to recommend it to anyone out there with a green thumb and plenty of free space around the house. Check out more useful information about indoors growing by checking this website. If you’re into this new healthy food craze which has hit the world, then you should know that growing your own food under conditions you control is the only way to truly cut out pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers and other poisons from your diet.

Beneath the Alps: About Internet and Data Storage

Beneath the Alps About Internet and Data StorageI was doing some research on the internet lately about the Alps, and I was surprised to discover that there is a unique, new business buried 1,000 inside a mountain in Switzerland’s Uri Canton.

During the Cold War, the Swiss government built the command center of their air force deep in the mountain so that it could withstand a 20,000 megaton explosion. It was decommissioned in 2007, but it still has all the Cold War regalia and the air of another time. Despite this, the command center is moving into the future. It is currently being transformed by the company Deltalis into a certified data center to store the content that we use all across the internet.

After doing some reading, I learned that the site of the command center was originally planned to store gold, but developers realized that data storage could be more profitable. (It really is the information age!) The cool climate of the Alps and the location deep within the earth makes the location very secure and has the perfect conditions for keeping computer components cool and running efficiently. Even more, Switzerland has a solid infrastructure and good laws on the books for data protection. This means that Switzerland is fast becoming one of the best placed in Europe for data storage.

What is striking is that the complex is so huge. It’s over 15,000 square meters and almost all of that will be used for data storage. Even though the data center is new, 1,200 square meters have already been spoken for and the company that owns the site says they have no fears about reaching full capacity in the future. They even expressed concern that their industry will not be able to keep pace with the demands!

With that kind of expansion, the need for secure data storage is obviously hugely important for making technology and the internet work. Thinking about it, we really do use the internet in almost every aspect of our lives nowadays, and it is not just a system of networks and cables. There has to be a physical facility to store all the information that we demand on a nearly constant basis. It must be well planned, and the sites have to be chosen to account for space, security, speed and many other factors. Certified data centers do this for us. Data centers make it so that we can have access to all the modern services we take for granted on a daily basis.