Scarpa - The way customer service should be

Updated on , by Michael Peberdy

Over the years I have owned a number of Scarpa shoes. In fact my original full leather hiking boots are still going after 15 years and don't look like dying any time soon.

Last year, I bought a pair of Scarpa Crux approach shoes while in London. They are comfortable shoes and easy to use as an every day shoe.

After only two months though they had holes appearing in them where the shoe flexes over the toe. The holes went all the way through and started to leak water as well.

So, I did not think this was acceptable after two months as normal wear and tear and contact Scarpa through their website.

Within a day I got a pleasant response from the customer support desk and they agreed that this should not happen. Straight away they made arrangements to send me a new pair which did arrive before the end of the week.

THey have made some adjustments to the shoe which obviously had a design flaw but it was very refreshing to see a company that still prides itself on keeping its loyal customers happy. I am now enjoying my new pair of shoes and look forward to many more walks in Scarpa shoes.

Category: Sports Equipment

Splitboarding at the Test and Relax fesitval in Austria.

Updated on , by Michael Peberdy

Over the last few years of snowboarding regularly I had started to see these strange snowboards with clips holding them together and edges that ran down the middle of the board. I was curious as to what these were and later found out that it was for something called a splitboard.

For many people this is something they have never heard of. It is esentially a snow board that is cut down the middle and that can come appart into two skis so that you can go ski touring. The two skis allow you to walk up and traverse as well as any other skier and then you get to snap it back together as a snowboard to enjoy the decent on your snowbaord.


Through my research online I came across a test festival that was advertised to be held in Austria and after contacting the organisers they advised it would be suitable for someone like me who was interested in finding out more about splitboarding and trying it but had not done so before.

The event was promited and held by the people who run and a write up on the event can be found here and there were all the major manufactorers present to allow you to test their eqipment over the two days.

I have to say I was very plently shocked that at how easy it was to change from ski to board mode and just how well the boards rode. I was expecting a lot of give and twist but none of this was the case.

I will certainly be buying a split board in the near future and will finally get to enjoy ski touring with my skier friends and other like minded plitboarders.

Hope to see you on the slopes.

Category: Sports Equipment

Walking pole convert

Updated on , by Michael Peberdy

Until recently I was one of those walkers who would turn their nose up whenever they saw someone with walking poles going along a trail. I never saw the use of them until just recently.

This week my wife and I completed the Tour du Mont Blanc. The 170km walk includes over 10,000 meters of both assent and decent. Before going on the walk I found some poles that my mother had left in our house and thought that this walk would be as good a time as any to see if they were useful.

And arn't I glad I took them along. On the uphils they help to take the strain off your legs by allowing you to use your arms for momentum. They also help with the stair climbing to reduce the strain in the knees. But the place I found them the most useful was on the downhills, especially those steep or wet decents.

On the downhill you can use them to support and stabalise yourself. This allows you to stay in a more upright position while walking and to feel much more comfortable and confident in all weather conditions.

For a walk like the Tour du Mont Blanc they are a must! I still do remain a little sceptical about their use on all trails but as with most things, they have a time and a place and when you get both right they will make your walking day so much better.

As with most things they come in a variety of shapes, forms and with lots of high tech options. Be sure to ask your local shop and to try them all out to find the one that suits you best.

Enjoy your walks.

Category: Sports Equipment

Grand Massif Season Pass - Winter + Summer

Updated on , by Michael Peberdy

The Grand Massif is a great place for skiing and summer activities and the season pass is the best way to enjoy it.

When choosing where you want to spend your season skiing from the lake Geneva region you have a few options with the 4 Vallees in Switzerland, Port du Soliel in France and then also the Grand Massif fo large ski areas.

The Grand Massif season pass gives you access to the full 240km+ of groomed slopes throughout the season as well as coming with some other extras. And if you purchase before the opening day of the season you can get the season pass at half price making it one of the cheapest season passes in the area ad just over EUR 400.

Included in the season pass price is

  • 6 days in other resorts

  • vouchers for discounts at bowling, karting and aquatic centres

But the best thing I found this season was for an extra EUR 30 I was able to add the summer season pass which also then gives you access for the two summer months when the resorts are open for hiking, downhill mountain biking and other summer time activities.

Be sure to check out the Grand Massif in both Summer and Winter to have the best fun in the area and don't forget to get the season pass before the start of the next winter season and to also add in the summer pass.


Category: Sports Equipment

Tacx i-Vortex and TTS4

Updated on , by Michael Peberdy

Recently I had the pleasure of purchasing a Tacx i-Vortex to keep me going through the cold winters here in Switzerland.

Below are a few observations and comments on the trainer.

Firstly, it is a very simple kit to set up. We have 2 bikes of different sizes that are easily interchangeable. You just snap one bike out and set the new one in place.
The control panel is also easy to move from one bike to the other with the multi width straps allowing it to fit any bike handlebar.

TTS4 - The software is came with.
To get the most out of this software I upgraded to the advanced version. This allowed me to bring in more training information from external sources and also allowed me to have multiple users and compare previous rides. It also gives you access to edit and create your own training rides.

With the google maps ad-on you can also use your I-Vortex break to mimic real road rides with the trainer adjusting as you go to allow you to feel like you are climbing those hills. Also, you can import your GPS rides from other programs such as Garmin Connect with ease.

Although only small they are

  • A bit noisier than I expected. It is not too bad and if you just turn your music or TV up a little loader than you would normally have while exercising it is enough.
  • At first I had problems with the software and computer reading the bike. It turned out that the problem was that the Garmin software interferes with the Tacx so only one can be running at a time.
  • Sometimes the GPS does not calibrate properly leaving you cycling much faster down a short stretch of road. Not very common with my software but still there
  • The integration from TTS4 to Garmin connect is not native. There are programs that will allow you to do this but I have not yet found a free one.

    On the plus side this is a great machine that allows me to keep riding the roads I love on my own bike during the harsh winter months and I would recommend this to anyone looking to get an indoor trainer.

    Category: Sports Equipment

    Swiss Map Online. Adjustable and printable Topo maps for Switzerland

    Updated on , by Michael Peberdy

    As some one who has spent a lot of time outdoors doing many different activities, I have collected a lot of topographical maps over time. While these take a place of pride on the bookshelf at home I was looking for a way to reduce the number of these I was buying.

    While looking through the Swisstopo website I came across their offering for Swiss Map Online.

    This product is great. It combines all the different topo maps available but also gives you great tools for editing maps and showing the information you need.


    With the software you can select the polylines of trails already built into the map or draw your own and easily output information about the route into the profile page and get layout showing the distance, elevation and profile of the route.


    The tool also allows you to set custom print sizes and areas so no longer do you have the join of the map in the most annoying place.

    In all it is a very good tool and well worth the Chf 50 from here but as with all things there are a few detractors.

    Sometimes the layers can take a while to load but with patience they are always do. Also, the overview map could show more information about the layers selected and where you can find routes. But with only a few minor detractors I highly recommend this product.

    Enjoy your mapping and outdoor activities!

    Category: Sports Equipment

    Garmin Forerunner 310XT not receiving updates or courses

    Updated on , by Michael Peberdy

    Recently I have been having problems with my Garmin Forerunner 310XT and getting firmware updates and courses from the connect.garmin website.

    I search the internet and tried all of the solutions, hard and soft reset of the device, uninstall and reinstall ANT agent, edit registry to remove ANT and Garmin products completely before re installing, and none of this worked.

    Lastly I did what I should have done from the start. I contacted the Garmin tech support and got a fast response. This is something I should have long before and then I would not have got so frustrated with it.

    The solution was quite simple. Internet explorer was blocking the files being sent from the website and to fix this I just needed to trust the website in the security settings. Below are the instructions from the tech team at Garmin

    To help you resolve this issue, we suggest that you follow the instructions below which will guide you through enabling Compatibility View mode and Trusted Sites in your Internet Explorer web browser.

    You will need to add Garmin to your trusted sites, to do this see below.
    1. Open Internet Explorer
    2. Click Tools
    3. Select "Compatibility View Settings"
    4. Type “” in the Add this website field
    5. Click Add
    6. Click Internet Options
    7. Click the Security tab
    8. Select Trusted sites
    9. Click the Sites button
    10. Select * and click the Remove button, if available
    11. Add,,, and to the list of Trusted Sites
    12. Close the Trusted Sites window
    13. Select Internet and make sure that there is a check in the box for Enable Protected Mode
    14. Select Local intranet and Trusted sites one by one and make sure there is not a check in Enable Protected Mode
    15. Click OK
    16. Close out of any Internet Explorer windows
    Once Internet Explorer has been restarted the issue should be resolved. If not try restarting the computer to make sure that Internet Explorer has been completely shut down and restarted.

    Click to find more product information on the Garmin 310XT

    Category: Sports Equipment