mont blanc routes strenuous day we’ve ever experienced on skis

montblanc roller pen strenuous day we’ve ever experienced on skis

Words do not begin to describe what we experienced today. It might be trite, but you would truly have to ski it to believe it.

It was a good start to the day no electrical explosions. And only a 45 minute jog (that would prove to be a bad move .) around Courmayeur due to severe Alpine fatigue and too much good Italian food and wine.

Today our travels took us to the Vallee Blanche and into Chamonix, France, site of the inaugural Winter Olympic Games in 1924. Time to brush up on that high school and college French oui, oui.

After a 10 minute bus ride to a nearby village, La Palud, we hitched a three car ride on the Funive Monte Bianco cable car to the summit of Punta Helbronner. That’s where our exciting excursion began. the VB, is a 20 kilometer (about 12.4 miles) route that starts at 3,812 meters on the Aiguille du Midi and traverses the glacier into Chamonix. It’s above the treeline, all rocks and snow and peaks and spires. No easy way down all black diamond and double black all the way. Cobalt blue skies were ever present. “When we ski in the glacier, they are a requirement,” said Luca Argentero, a ski guide and instructor with Societa Guide Alpine Courmayeur, a group that began working the terrain in 1850. Mario Ravello and Gian Franco were the other guides who assisted us in our 2,
mont blanc routes strenuous day we've ever experienced on skis
800 meter altitude decent.

Some of us agreed that it was the most demanding, strenuous

day we’ve ever experienced on skis. It might be the most difficult 12.4 miles in sport, and not to toot my own horn, but this comes from one who will compete in his 12th consecutive Ironman USA Lake Placid triathlon in July.

The route took us through untracked powder, with depths that could reach five meters. That’s where the guides came in handy. We even had to climb several hundred meters up snow steps to get to a ridge before we skied another five kilometers into Chamonix. That’s as close to mountaineering as I ever want to get. I didn’t have my heart rate monitor, but I’m sure it was pushing 170 beats a minute for 20 minutes or better.

The aforementioned harnesses would be used to rescue anyone who happened to fall into a crevasse (some were as deep as 20 meters); the beacons would be used to locate anyone who got buried by an avalanche.

Fortunately no one from our group needed rescue from one of those hazards, though one skier did wind up atop a crevasse about six inches wide. Our guide Gian yelled, “Merdi! (Translation: “Sht!”) Don’t move.”

The skier was quickly pulled to safety.

The route proved too difficult for another, who required rescue by helicopter after about one kilometer of the descent. He was airlifted to a heliport in Chamonix. Fortunately, the guide service had insurance for one copter ride.

And, yes,
mont blanc routes strenuous day we've ever experienced on skis
according to a poster on the wall at the cable

car, they have an App for this place (it’s Ski Resort) that can be downloaded to your iPhone. But Monsieur Jobs, my 3G iPhone froze up on the mountain and became disabled for the entire trip, hence no photos of one of the most

spectacular landscapes on earth. (Please Google Vallee Blanche, though photos can’t do it justice.)

One guide said it happens all the time. It recovered after it warmed up at the hotel.

After our 5 hour, 19 minute excursion, a young girl riding a poma lift at the base of Chamonix welcomed me to France as I passed her by.

“Bonjour,” she said. I replied, “Ca va bien?”

Oui! Indeed, it was a good day, a great one. One of, if not, the greatest days in our skiing lives.

After we finished the Vallee Blanche,
mont blanc routes strenuous day we've ever experienced on skis
we were invited to an apr event hosted by the Hotel Prieure in Chamonix, one of four hotels with more than 300 rooms at the base of Mont Blanc.

discounted mont blanc pens strap adds smart to analogue watches

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While most traditional Swiss watch makers are reluctantly embracing the smartwatch revolution, they frankly don’t have much in way of innovation. Their timepieces are undoubtedly impeccable, but technologically archaic. In an era of wearables, this gives tech giants like Apple and Google an edge.

While most traditional Swiss watch makers are reluctantly embracing the smartwatch revolution, they frankly don’t have much in way of innovation. Their timepieces are undoubtedly impeccable, but technologically archaic. In an era of wearables, this gives tech giants like Apple and Google an edge. That said, there is something special about a traditional watch, and that’s why smartwatches are not exactly setting the house on fire.

Montblanc is taking a different approach to this wearable wave. Instead of reinventing, its timepieces, it is adding the smarts to its straps with its e strap. This is an all new approach.

At the end of the day,
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the reason one wears a band is to keep a track of time and because of the aesthetic value the timepiece represents. Smartwatches flounder in timekeeping once their meager batteries run out and their aesthetics so far have not reached the levels of Switzerland’s best.

Connected with a smartphone app, the e strap adds a basic fitness tracker and notifications hub within the band. This way, Montblanc retains the dial of the watch, which is autonomous for timekeeping and all the smartwatch like extra functionality is transferred to the e strap.

In its current avatar, the e strap is super expensive and rather rudimentary. For around 250 pounds one gets a band made out of Florentine leather, and a sensor hub/display out of carbon fiber, which Montblanc calls diamond like in nature. This ensures Montblanc’s premium build and image, but its smarts are limited to notifications and data from an accelerometer.

It does not have the advanced health tracking sensors of an Apple watch or even some of the Google Android Wear products.

This band is being treated as an add on by Montblanc, so it should be interoperable with most of its watches if not all. Though, still, it is not known if it will be compatible with watches from other watch brands.
discounted mont blanc pens strap adds smart to analogue watches

mont blanc fountain pen price store hopes to succeed where Saks

mont blanc pen pouch store hopes to succeed where Saks

1996 11 06 04:00:00 PDT New York It’s a river of shoppers women in Armani suits, young men in nylon windbreakers, befuddled Midwestern tourists. Bloomingdale’s on 59th Street in Manhattan is a blur of faux fur hats, gleaming cosmetic cases and little designer boutiques nestled next to counters selling Mont Blanc pens and Bottega Veneta handbags.

“Try a little Chaos?” asks a salesclerk in an unmistakable New Yawk accent, holding up a bottle of Donna Karan’s new perfume

In a way, that’s the question Bloomingdale’s will be asking when it opens a new store at Stanford Shopping Center on Friday, after kicking things off with a private black tie benefit featuring Liza Minnelli tonight.

Will Silicon Valley, home of Dress Down Friday, warm up to Bloomingdale’s, purveyor of urban chic? Will South Bay shoppers like the renovated former Emporium space, where an inlaid slate island the better to show off the mannequins qualifies as a “fashion moment”? Will they flock to a boutique inspired by the Broadway hit “Rent,” which sells black vinyl pants and hologram T shirts?

In short, will it play in Palo Alto?

Michael Gould, chairman and chief executive officer of Bloomingdale’s, knows he has a challenge ahead.

“None of our competitors are welcoming us with open arms,” said Gould, who nonetheless says the move is a good fit, despite the fact that the Palo Alto Bloomie’s is only one fifth the size of the New York store.

“(Ours is) a customer that is fashion forward, wants newness and has a very strong bent on home,” said Gould, who pointed out that domestics and housewares are an integral part of Bloomingdale’s business.

The Palo Alto store, renovated for $25 million, features open spaces, bright lights, curving aisles and inviting counter tops. The first floor is devoted to women’s wear, with labels such as Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren and a sizable petite department.

In a first for local specialty and department stores, women’s cosmetics will be on open shelves rather than behind glass counters. The second floor features housewares, men’s clothing and children’s wear.

At least some local shoppers are looking forward to the opening.

“We’ve missed Magnin’s and Saks at the shopping center, and I think we needed something to fill in,” says designer dressed Rhea Friend of Woodside,
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who is among the 2,000 guests who have paid a minimum of $250 a person to attend tonight’s gala.

Paula Foley of Atherton, who also will attend the party, echoes her feelings.

“I think it’s absolutely fantastic. We desperately need another store. We just have Neiman’s and Nord strom. I’m very happy about this and I think everyone out here is.”

Ticket sales for tonight’s party, which will be held in a 100 by 220 foot tent in the parking lot, have already raised more than $1 million for the Stanford University Medical Center. The gala, which Bloomingdale’s has dubbed “The Ultimate Premiere,” sold out weeks ago. Minnelli is expected to sing for an hour and will probably do “New York, New York.” How could she not?

In a way, Minnelli is the perfect metaphor for the new store. She was hot back when she starred in “Cabaret” and cavorted nightly with designer Halston and other beautiful people at New York’s Studio 54. Then her career plunged. Now it’s heating up again as she steps in to replace Julie Andrews in the Broadway hit “Victor/Victoria” in January.

Similarly, Bloomingdale’s was the hottest place on Earth to shop during the ’70s and ’80s when its legendary foreign country promotional themes and perfume launches were not to be missed. Bloomie’s was such a New York fixture that Woody Allen even joked about it in his movie “Manhattan.”

The 59th Street store, however, lost its cachet in the early ’90s when it was bought by Federated Department Stores. It grappled with bankruptcy and found itself in stiff competition with Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.

But with its cutting edge “Rent” collection and glamorous “Evita” inspired clothes that will be in stores next month, the beat seems to be back in Bloomie’s.

In addition to the Palo Alto store, Bloomingdale’s is expanding into California with three more branches that will open this month in Southern California. A fifth will open in the Beverly Center in Los Angeles in March.

One of Bloomingdale’s biggest battles will be the sea of sameness customers encounter in one department store after another. A recent preview of the Palo Alto Bloomingdale’s reveals many of the same designer labels available at neighboring stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.

The Stanford Bloomingdale’s will try to distinguish itself with more than 1,000 exclusive items throughout the store. Appearances by 165 designers, celebrities and chefs in its first month alone may also give it an edge. Ken Norton Jr. of the 49ers will be there for Guess men’s wear on Tuesday and supermodel Christy Turlington will appear for CK underwear on November 21.

“Bloomingdale’s’ challenge will be to offer a unique product that’s distinctive,” said Rose Marie Bravo, president of Saks Fifth Avenue. “The consumer there is very sophisticated and savvy and wants that upscale environment and service attributes.” Saks closed its store at Stanford Shopping Center last year.

Hedging its bets a bit, Bloomingdale’s sent a team from New York to design and open the store, but also hired Lorraine O’Connor, who ran the former Emporium store that Bloomingdale’s took over, as operating vice president and general manager.

Joan Weinstein, who owns the Ultimo boutique in Chicago and who also entered the California market when she opened a Jil Sander store in San Francisco last summer, predicts Bloomie’s will do well in Palo Alto.

“I think they’re probably very clever about the areas they chose for their kind of business,” she said. “If they pick the right market they will do very well, they have their own little niche.”

“They’re trying to overcome the Bloomingdale’s curse. When they go west of the Mississippi they’re a colossal flop,” said Alan Millstein, New York based publisher of Fashion Network Report. Bloomingdale’s closed its Dallas store in 1990 and the space remained vacant for years. It recently reopened as a JC Penney.

Said Millstein,
mont blanc fountain pen price store hopes to succeed where Saks
“A lot of the success of Bloomingdale’s will depend on how good your economy remains and if the store can continue to develop unique looking merchandise. Women are not exactly walking around in gunny sacks waiting for this store to come west.”

mont blanc sketch pen Star Talks Designing Her Gorgeous Bling Now

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As it turns out, Hayden Panettiere designed her gorgeous engagement ring herself!

The Nashville star gave us the scoop on her sparkler at the Environmental Media Awards Saturday evening,
mont blanc sketch pen Star Talks Designing Her Gorgeous Bling Now
telling E!’s own Marc Malkin and Ali Fedotowsky she created the ring with Montblanc.

“They made me this amazing book where they did a bunch of sketches,” Panettiere said. “I told them my idea over time and tweaking things here and there,
mont blanc sketch pen Star Talks Designing Her Gorgeous Bling Now
it came to fruition.”

Although the actress couldn’t stop gushing over her ring, she kept mum on how her boxer fianc Wladimir Klitschko popped the question, simply saying the proposal was “romantic.”

As we reported earlier in the week,
mont blanc sketch pen Star Talks Designing Her Gorgeous Bling Now
the 6 carat, emerald cut, diamond engagement ring,
mont blanc sketch pen Star Talks Designing Her Gorgeous Bling Now
has an estimated value of about $500,000.

Panettiere officially announced her engagement just a couple of weeks ago during an appearance on Live With Kelly Michael, after rumors started flying in August she was set to tie the knot when she was spotted with a huge sparkler on her ring finger.

best price mont blanc pens Speeds for a Cessna C

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The Basic V Speeds (Cessna 150)Pilots often use the phrase “fly by the numbers”, and trust me, in aviation there can be a lot of numbers. One group of basic numbers are the V speeds. V speeds are standard speeds that are important for precision flight, and by precision flight I don’t mean some sort of formation flying I mean the type of basic flying you do every time you fly. These are speeds you really should know, and in fact, my instructor required that I know them before he’d let me solo.

There are lots of V speeds, and of course there are more for some planes than there are for others. For example, there is one speed called VLE, which is the maximum speed you can fly with the landing gear extended. That speed only applies to aircraft with retractable landing gear. I’ve got a fixed gear Cessna C 150L, so my plane doesn’t have a VLE.

The first V speed is VR, or rotation speed. Rotation speed is the speed at which, when you’re rolling down the runway on take off, you pull back on the yoke and leave the gound. The 150 rotates at 55 mph (and it gets there pretty fast you apply full power, check the gauges and you’re pretty much there).

Once you’ve taken off you have to land, and that requires slowing down as much as possible while still maintaing control and flying. That brings up the second V speed the stall speed (VS). Stalling is when the plane no longer has enough lift to keep it flying.

There are at least two stall speeds flaps up and flaps down. Flaps down provides more lift,
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hence a lower stall speed. In my 150 the VS is 48 mph, meaning that with full flaps it will fly as slow as 48 mph at a gross weight of 1600 pounds before it stalls. Although landing at a slow speed is easier on the airplane, you still need some airspeed to maintain control. I actually land closer to 65 70 mph airspeed.

The third V speed is VS1, or clean stall speed. This is the stall speed at gross weight, but with flaps up. Flaps up is clean, flaps down is dirty. VS1 is 54 mph.

When you want to land you have to slow down (there’s an old saying “slow down to go down”). One way to do that is to reduce power, raise the nose of the airplane, and apply flaps. The amount that you apply can vary, but what you can’t do is apply flaps at too high a speed. Too much airspeed and you’ll damage the flaps. That brings us to the fourth V speed, VFE, or maximum flap extended speed. On the airspeed indicator a white line begins below this speed, so its easy to see when you’re in safe flap range. VFE for my 150 is 100 mph.

VC is cruising speed, and that comes in at between 120 and 123 mph. The the maximum speed at which you can use abrupt control travel, or the design manouvering speed is called VA, and that’s a little bit lower,
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coming in at 109 mph.

Its important to understand that you can get a 150 going pretty fast, and pretty quickly. That can happen in a descent, especially a nose down descent. It’s not extremely dangerous if you keep your eye on it, but it is important to keep in mind. This speed, which the manufacturer advises that you never exceed, is called (of course), the VNE. Although I’ve said it can happen quickly I have to admit I’ve never gotten close, because the VNE in the Cessna C 150 is 164 mph. However, speed does climb pretty quickly in a nose down attitude, so, as I said, its something to remember and keep an eye on.

Two V speeds come up in relation to climbing. Normal climbs are performed at bewteen 75 and 85 mph with no flaps. This is best for cooling the engine (or more to the point, keeping it cool). We could say that the best rate of climb, VY, comes in at 77 mph.

There is another way to think about it as well. VY is the fastest climb rate in terms of time. In other words,
best price mont blanc pens Speeds for a Cessna C
at VY you’ll rise more feet per minute than you will at the second V speed for climbing, VX, or best angle of climb. Best angle of climb is a measurement of how much you climb in relation to how far you travel across the ground. Its slower, about 69 mph, so you climb slower, but you don’t have to travel as far across the ground to get there. Obviously its helpful to know this speed if you’re concernedabout clearing obstacles at the end of the runway.

Its interesting to note that VY decreases with altitude gain, while VX increase with altitude gain, becoming equal at the aircraft’s service cieling, wuhich in the C 150 is 13,000.

The last of the basic V speeds is VBG, or best glide speed. This is important in the unlikely event that you experience an engine failure, or the likely event that an instructor throws a simulated power failure at you. You have to put the aircraft into the best power off glide speed, which is the speed that will allow the plane to glide the longest amount of distance, so that you can find an airstrip, make it back to the mainland or find somewhere acceptable to put the plane down.
best price mont blanc pens Speeds for a Cessna C

Montblanc Meisterstuck Ballpoint Pen Platinum Black speed read for Wednesday

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montblanc classic fountain pen Snowboarding and Skiing in Metabief

starwalker mont blanc Snowboarding and Skiing in Metabief

Beginner or Experienced Snowboarder? It’s Saul Goodman!You may never have heard of the ski resort of Metabief Mont d’Or in the Haute Jura in France and I wouldn’t have either if it wasn’t for the fact that I pass it every time I drive down to Lausanne in Switzerland.

Most of the time Le Mont d’Or is just a grassy hill but sometimes it gets dumped on with over a meter of fresh snow.

When low pressure comes from the north west to bring low temperatures and snow to the Alps it hits the Jura first because of its geographic location. When this happens Metabief gets more than its fair share of snow and it gets it first. Especially centres of low pressure that are weak tend to die out after dropping their snow in the Haute Jura mountains before moving on to the Alps. On these days Metabief has fresh snow while the Alps remain dry.

In any case it is worth checking the weather forecasts for low pressure from the north west before planning a day trip here.

The Ski Town of MetabiefThe ski resort of Metabief offers a modest 500 meter (1650 feet) difference in altitude between the bottom at 900 meters (2952 feet) and the top of Le Morond at 1420 meters altitude (4658 feet).

Metabief Mont d’Or can be reached from Lausanne within 30 minutes when parking at Les Tavins just after crossing the swiss french border at Les Echampes. From Pontarlier in France it takes less than 30 minutes to arrive in Metabief.

Hotels, restaurants and supermarkets are found in the town of Metabief and Jougne.

Bunny Hills and JibbingAs already mentioned in my article about the Top 5 Unknown Snowboard Destinations Metabief Mont d’Or is the go to place for people who are residing in Lausanne, Montreux or Geneva and who have kids or who are still learning snowboarding or skiing themselves. Because the ski pass prices are quite reasonable and because you have the option to buy as little as a 2 hour ski pass it is way more economic to learn snowboarding or skiing here than somewhere in the Alps.

Learning how to snowboard or ski is already frustrating enough so you could do without the frustration of buying an expensive ski pass that you are not using up to its full potential when rocking the bunny hill all day. The cool thing about Metabief is that the whole mountain is a bunny hill. Did you know that Metabief is actually french for ‘bunny hill’? And did you also know that when you say the word gullible real slow it sounds like ‘orange’?

Now that does not mean this place is boring for more advanced snowboarders or skiers. First of all the slopes are all steep enough to never fall still, even when you do a bit of powder sidestepping outside of the slopes and into the forest. Secondly the terrain offers a lot of features that can be jibbed.

Now if you are new to snowboarding then you are probably also new to a word like ‘jib’. The Urban Dictionary defines a jib as “an object or obstacle used by a snowboarder to jump upon or over. The jib can be made from almost anything, natural or man made: trees,
montblanc classic fountain pen Snowboarding and Skiing in Metabief
logs, stumps, handrails, barrels, tires, vehicles,
montblanc classic fountain pen Snowboarding and Skiing in Metabief
walls, people”. I actually like jumping over people’s abandoned skis outside of restaurants. Nothing like a little backside 180 across someones skis to bring back the tension between snowboarders and skiers.

The Skillful Art of Eating a Packed Lunch While Cruising Down the SlopesWhen driving to Metabief from Lausanne it is easiest to park at Les Tavins where you can also buy a ski pass at the ticket office. When you still have to learn snowboarding or skiing or when you are looking for a way to get rid of your children quickly it is better to drive to the town of Metabief from where you have direct access to the bunny hills. This is also where you can hire skis or snowboards at two different rental places or book lessons at the ESF ski school. There is also a ski hire in the town of Jougne. Rental in french is written as ‘location’ so keep looking for those locations.

After mastering the skillful art of frontside and backside turns on your snowboard or pizza fries on your skis it is time to check out the rest of the ski resort.

The chairlift appropriately named Moron D is the fastest and most modern ski lift in town. It is also the only chairlift that brings you up the mountain in less than ten minutes. The rest of the chairlifts are still from an era when taking a chairlift was considered a privilege. The chairlift of Morond will bring you directly to the highest elevation of the resort, the top of Le Morond (1420 meters / 4658 feet).

Depending on how well you can ride the slopes you can choose to either take the blue ‘Berche’ or the black ‘Renversee’ down to Metabief with blue being the easiest and black the hardest. There is also a green slope called ‘Familiale’ but because this is a path I only recommend this to beginning skiers. We all know that for snowboarders, who are still a bit shaky on the front and backside turning, paths are the worst.

For more advanced skiers and snowboarders the green and blue slope are nice to cruise down and offer you the opportunity to eat your packed lunch. The black slope is only called black because it is not prepared, not because it is steep.

Black,
montblanc classic fountain pen Snowboarding and Skiing in Metabief
Green and Everything In BetweenThe only real steep part in the resort can be found on the side of Les Tavins on top of ‘Roches’ chairlift when you take a right turn down the ‘Competition’ slope. The very first part, right after exiting the chairlift, is especially steep and very tricky when slopes are icy. If you like slap stick comedy I recommend stopping here for a minute to watch skiers and snowboarders negotiate the steep sheet of ice. It will give a clarifying insight in the dynamics of the non existing discipline of downhill speed skating.

Another option when reaching the end of ‘Roches’ chairlift is to take the ‘Bouc Blanc’ red slope or the ‘Vieux Chalet’ blue slope down. Since these two are nothing more than just a red and a blue slope I usually opt for the green ‘Creux Soudet’ because it offers some unconventional fun. ‘Creux Soudet’ is actually a hollow road with both sides going up most of the time providing a natural gully with plenty of options to jib. There are stones, little trees and small rivers that can be jumped and most of the time the road is steep enough to pick up speed after a little jib on the side. Only on the last part, after the second sharp left turn, you need to keep enough speed in order to make it out without having to take off one or two bindings.

Wrapping Things UpThe ski resort of Metabief is small enough to check out all the different lifts and slopes in 4 hours. This is only possible if you know your way around so it helps studying the resort map before going.

Note for example,
montblanc classic fountain pen Snowboarding and Skiing in Metabief
when studying the resort map, that in order to get from the Les Tavins side of the resort to the Metabief side you will have to take the ‘Chamois’ chairlift from somewhere halfway the ‘Granges des Pauvres’ blue slope.

Also to get back from the Metabief side to Les Tavins you need to take the same chairlift ‘Chamois’ down or you will have to try and find the start of the blue ‘Raccourci’ slope which is hidden somewhere on the right side of the red ‘Troupezy’ slope. ‘Raccourci’ is actually just a dirt road with snow on it so for snowboarders who are not yet comfortable making turns I recommend riding the ‘Chamois’ chairlift back down.

On the Les Tavins side, after being brought down to ‘Granges des Pauvres’ you can choose to remain seated and have the ‘Chamois’ chairlift bring you up to the black ‘Competition’ slope just below the steep icy part described earlier in this article.

If you parked your car on the Les Tavins side you can cruise all the way down to the parking from here and call it a day. If you still have to pick up your kids from the bunny hill on the Metabief side make sure you get the last ride up with the ‘Chamois’ chairlift before it closes or you will be stranded on the wrong side.

This sums up all the things you need to know to have a great time in the ski resort of Metabief Mont d’Or. Keep checking the snow forecast this winter to make sure you only go there when conditions are epic.

best mont blanc pen smart folio can translate your pen and paper notes into other languages

mont blanc pencil smart folio can translate your pen and paper notes into other languages

Real world pens that can capture real world notes and send them to a computer, tablet or smartphone screen are nothing new LiveScribe has been successfully cultivating a loyal following of journalists and college students for many years with its clever pens that can save doodles and even simultaneously record sound. But what about those who put as great an onus on individual style and traditional craftsmanship as on digitizing, classifying and saving notes and ideas,
best mont blanc pen smart folio can translate your pen and paper notes into other languages
wherever inspiration strikes?

Enter Montblanc and its Augmented Paper, as the company is calling it. It essentially a modified Montblanc StarWalker ballpoint pen and an Italian leather bound notebook that come in their own folio, also in leather. The company is calling the system Augmented Paper rather than a smart pen because it the smart leather folio which is essentially a cunningly disguised graphics tablet where most of the tech is hidden.

As long as you write with the pen,
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on the notepaper, while it on this folio, it can,
best mont blanc pen smart folio can translate your pen and paper notes into other languages
according to the company, accurately recognize handwriting (in 12 different languages) and convert it into an on screen font. The system doesn need to be connected to a computer or other device to work. Simply start jotting and it can save up to 100 pages of notes internally. When it is time to empty the memory to start jotting again, there an app the Montblanc Hub app that can be used simply for storing and cataloguing or for sharing notes with others.

The batteries will last for up to eight hours and everything can be recharged via the bundled USB cables. The gadget will cost $725 when it goes on sale,
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exclusively at Harrods in London from mid September. But for that fee, Montblanc is throwing in three ballpoint pen refills. And for those that don live in Knightsbridge that are taken by Montblanc marriage of analogue luxury and digital practicality, the Augmented Paper will be going on sale globally via Montblanc boutiques and concessions,
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from October.

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At a current value of $2.45 billion, the Indian luxury market is poised to double its value to $5.8 billion in the next five years, says the latest Confederation of Indian Industry AT Kearney Report on Indian Luxury. The growth, much like India’s larger story, will be propelled by smaller, scattered markets, the new pockets of wealth in Tier II cities. Industrialist Shivaji Mohite constructed the 1.2 km course for his son Dhruv in 2006. Built to international specifications it cost Rs 1.5 crore. In Guwahati, printing press baron Diganta Barua is constructing a Rs 5 crore indoor cricket ground so his 14 year old son can get a competitive edge in that other national obsession.

Wealth creation, without precisely shifting its city centre, has spiralled out to Tier II towns. This year’s World Wealth Report by Cap Gemini Merrill Lynch estimates the number of Indian high net worth individuals with liquid assets of over $1 million at 1,53,000. That’s almost double the 2008 count. India is perched at the 12th position globally in potential to purchase luxury. Yet India accounts for barely 1 per cent of the global luxury goods industry, compared to China’s 10 per cent share. For smaller cities, the obstacles to luxury spending have been access and availability, barriers that are now being breached.

Keeping pace are the luxury products that are increasingly targeted at the big fish in smaller ponds. Says Chadha, “India is in the starter money stage; where people tend to buy logos;
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cars, watches, pens.” It is a standard progression for emerging markets. “In China, luxury brands entered in the ’90s and in India you can say that happened in 2003 (with the opening of the first Louis Vuitton store in Delhi), so we’re 10 to 12 years behind. And now, the luxury story in China is all Tier II.”

An unreleased study by management consultancy Technopak estimates that 30 per cent of the business for big city luxury retailers now comes from smaller towns. International luxury brands will still foray into India via Delhi or Mumbai, but they intend to claim their share of that substantial sector. Delhi’s Emporio mall, which gathers Tarun Tahiliani and Tod’s, Giorgio Armani and Manish Arora under one roof, is bringing their brands to the buyers. Dinaz Madhukar, vp DLF Emporio, reveals the ultra deluxe shopping destination is “toying with the idea of running chartered helicopters (to and from Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Jalandhar) with intimate invitations for select shoppers”. The ones without that instant name recognition need to peddle their premium wares a little differently.

The Hermes made in Paris sari is making headlines in India. It costs RS 4.5 lakh.

Priya Sachdev who owns and runs the multi brand fashion collective, Kitsch, plans to open stores in Ludhiana and Chandigarh this year. Kitsch retails labels such as Lanvin, Gaultier, Stella McCartney and Diane Von Furstenberg. “We’ll have to discover how adventurous customers are. In April last year,
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Aurangabad placed an order for 150 Mercedes cars worth Rs 65 crore. The consortium of industrialists which bought them wanted to position Aurangabad as an economic powerhouse and if judged by media coverage, it succeeded.

Unlike China, where luxury brands have tapped into social nuances of esteem and class, the average wealthy Indian customer resists the equation and perhaps needs a cultural nod. “The market is still shallow,” says Neelesh Hundekari, principal of the luxury and lifestyle practice at AT Kearney. “Certain brands have acquired a regional prestige, but only jewellery is really made to order. Global brands are still not doing enough to customise for India, which is why there’s low penetration.”

That process has begun. The Hermes made in Paris sari is making headlines in India. Along with the Knot India minaudiere by Bottega Veneta, the Canali Nehru jacket, and Prada’s Made in India slippers, it’s at the vanguard of the new incursion.

Each Tier II city, of course, has its own set of aspirations, and specific socio cultural customisation will make the decisive difference in how a luxury brand performs. In Surat, where 92 percent of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished, locals are looking to add some shine to their cars. While Ludhiana likes to wear its wealth on its wrist, Visakhapatnam is still watchful with its conspicuous consumption. Jalandhar likes its luxury to come with logos that everyone can see. We spotlight eight cities emerging in their own right,
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as consumers and purveyors of luxury.

best mont blanc pen Skiing with the Snowhawks at Mont Olympia in the Laurentians

cheapest mont blanc pens Skiing with the Snowhawks at Mont Olympia in the Laurentians

But it wasn’t the destination that made my trip special so much as the company I made it in.

The company? Who would that be?

I went with the Snowhawks. It really is a company, but it functions more as a club of friends who love skiing and want to try out different destinations. This trip was the group’s first to Mont Olympia, but all 60 or so people who made it agreed it should not be the last.

But Piedmont is just under 200 kilometres from Ottawa. Couldn’t I easily get there myself?

You could, but then you would miss out on the comfortable bus ride (pickups and drop offs at five locations across Ottawa and one in Gatineau) with free early morning coffee, and the proffered glass of wine or beer and munchies (we had deli meats, cheese, fruit and crackers, and previous trips have included pizza) on the two hour ride home. Plus you wouldn’t get the benefit of skiing in a small group with others of similar ability under the friendly, laid back guidance of a Level 2 or 3 instructor certified by the Canadian Ski Instructor Alliance.

Ski instruction? That sounds intimidating.

I thought so too, but Harvey Brodkin, who owns Snowhawks, has a philosophy: “We’re not here to remake (our clients). We take what works for them and try to make minor adjustments to make them more efficient, a little more comfortable, a little less tired at the end of the day,” and do it in a “fun filled environment.” And they’ve been doing it since 1988 in Ottawa and 1984 in Toronto, where the group began.

OK, that sounds good. But how will they know how well I ski?

They don’t,
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but you do. Skiers self assign based on Harvey’s descriptions of what each group will tackle (from easy beginner runs to advanced technical runs and everything in between). The groups then take a trial run and are further split into small groups of five to seven skiers, each with its own instructor guide for the day. After that you ski for the morning and afternoon, with the occasional stop for some pointers from the instructor and a lunch break.

What if I snowboard?

Snowboarders are welcome too and the same information applies.

You also mentioned destinations. Where else do they go?

This year the Wednesday group has also skied at Mont Blanc and Saint Sauveur. Remaining dates are: Feb. 5 Mont Tremblant; Feb. 12 Mont Blanc; Feb. 19: Bromont.

What is the Wednesday group?

Snowhawks offers as much variety in its programming as it does in its destinations.

The Wednesday group is made up mostly of retirees; this group skis six Wednesdays at locations in the Laurentians and the Eastern Townships. But there are also chaperoned programs for children and youth aged six to 18 that operate on weekends and during school breaks (the kids are bused in the same way the Wednesday group is). These programs take place at local resorts Vorlage, Mont Ste Marie and Mont Cascades, or at Mont Ste Marie, Calabogie Peaks, Mont Tremblant, Mont Blanc and Saint Sauveur. In addition, Snowhawks runs evening programs for 17 area schools three nights a week at Vorlage and Mont Cascades.

Snowhawks also offers longer instructor guided getaways. Every year there is a three day trip (this year’s is to Killington, Vermont) and a week long trip (this year to Heavenly Resort in South Lake Tahoe, California).

What do people like about Snowhawks?

Here’s what intermediate level skier Lorraine Dumoulin of Orleans says: “I can go down a hill I wouldn’t go down on my own. I’m confident having an instructor all day, and I have people to ski with and have fun with. Plus it is so nice to be able to park your car and then hop on the bus and have a cup of coffee, then get to relax on the way home.”

What does all this cost?

All six Wednesdays cost $698, plus HST,
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or you can pick four Wednesdays for $488. Harvey says he can offer price adjustments on the remaining three Wednesday trips depending on how many trips a new customer wants to take. Prices vary for the getaway packages and youth programs.