Paradise on Skis – La Plagne

A Piece of Peace on Piste



At the heart of the exquisite Tarentaise Valley, La Plagne’s 225 km of masterfully maintained slopes connect three of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region’s most picturesque districts (Aime-La Plagne, La Plagne-Tarentaise and Champagny-en-Vanoise). ‘Most picturesque’, you may be thinking, is a fairly packed statement, but breathtaking uninterrupted views of the Mont Blanc massif from the delicately crafted village of Montchavin aside, we’re confident you won’t find any reason to disagree with our appraisal.


There’s a number of reasons the resort’s popularity has steadily increased since its opening in 1961; world class skiing, jaw dropping setting, high altitude, majority ski-in ski-out accommodation, snow-sure, luxurious yet characteristically charming villages and residences, not to mention the erection of the Vanoise Express (one of the fastest double decker cable cars of its kind, travelling at over 40km/h), linking it with Les Arcs resort in just four minutes. Why should that excite you? Well, La Plagne and Les Arcs are part of the Paradiski group’s ski-connected resorts. They have a number of ski pass offers with Les Arcs access options, and that’s another 200 km of archetypal descents to be explored. Bonus.



For the thrill seeking among you it may also be of interested to know that La Plagne boasts 37 black runs and a mammoth off-piste area, including one of the Alps’ most famous descents, Bellecôte’s legendary North Face. It’s also home to its very own Olympic (Albertville, 1992) Bobsleigh run, now a popular tourist attraction offering a number of thrilling bobsleigh experiences, one being the chance to ride with Olympic bronze medalist and World Champion Bruno Mingeon! Fast is a matter of subjectivity, but if the thought of speeds of up to 130km/h makes your feet and hands tingle, this may be the activity for you.


Skiing holidays aren’t all about fast paced downhill activities… ok, they basically are, but there’s certainly a number of other factors that contribute to a good one. La Plagne is renowned for being the quintessential family resort, which means it maintains a certain level of peace and tranquility that many resorts simply can’t offer. A combination of that and the overwhelmingly beautiful nature on display here has been known to cause serious side effects in the past; these can/may include; joy, bliss, contentedness, wonderment, serenity and awe. Whilst 86% of pistes are blue and red (great for exploring the mountains and another factor which adds to the attractiveness of the resort as a family destination), stronger skiers need not despair; there’s plenty of challenging skiing including the super speedy Carina Run and epically bumpy Vega. Oh, and don’t forget Les Arcs and all that off-piste mentioned earlier. Anyway, back to the point, skiing holidays aren’t all about skiing…


We’ve always loved La Plagne here at Skiworld, so we’re understandably thrilled to announce the addition of seven brand new Superior (4+ and 5*) chalets to our already extensive collection. In keeping with tradition, each has been created in stunning Savoyard style, utilising stone and wood to blend respectfully in with the natural surroundings. The design brief for all seven stressed a combination of both luxury and practicality, ensuring style didn’t compromise comfort, something we truly believe has been successfully achieved. Among numerous other features; every chalet is within striking distance of the piste and under floor heating works tirelessly to provide daily welcome home parties for your feet and toes. As with all Superior chalet bookings, top of the range food and drink make the après portion of your skiing holiday all the more delicious. Sit back and unwind with a large glass of premium quality plonk, next to the warmth and crackle of a tremendous wood fire. It’s no wonder the majority of holidaymakers, particularly those on family trips, have no qualms swapping nights out for nights in here.


Those that are looking for nightlife, again, don’t despair! Although a much quieter resort than many others, La Plagne has a number of well established bars to keep you both lubricated and entertained on your trip. Belle Plagne offers the highest concentration of well trodden night spots, including; La Tete Inn – always a warm a jovial atmosphere, and, Saloon – providing the floorfillers for those looking to boogie their way into the early hours. Cosy Bar and Showtime Cafe in Bellecôte also come highly recommended. A free bus service and late night pedestrian chairlifts ferry visitors between the resorts, and interconnected tunnels and walkways between chalets and resort buildings mean the bitter evening chill is thankfully kept at bay.



We also know ‘going out’ doesn’t necessarily involve bars and nightclubs – so here we welcome La Plagne’s incredible restaurants. Not only does the high altitude of the resort’s villages mean stunning views are basically a given, but the fact that most are ski in/ski out lends itself perfectly to on-mountain dining without the on-mountain price tag. Le Refuge (La Plagne’s oldest restaurant) serves up exemplary French cuisine in Plagne Centre, whilst Le Chaudron and Le Metairie have your favourite French fromage classics down to a T. For those looking for something truly special, La Mine in Plagne 1800 is known for its ‘serious’ food and elegant decor, whilst a jaunt to Le Forperet, a ‘charmingly rustic’ old refuge above Montalbert, is an absolute must (book in advance!).
It’s hopefully becoming clear why so many are not only choosing but returning to La Plagne each year. It’s one of our favourite resorts in France and one that offers something for all the family, both on and off the slopes. Fantastically designed for both group excursions and individual exploration alike, what really sets it apart from the rest is the sheer sense of calm it imbues, a reflection of the powerful silence observed in the formidable surroundings. Need we say more?



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Inspiration for your Christmas Wish List


With Oxford Street putting up their Christmas lights this week, you know the festive rush will follow shortly… Christmas tunes on the radio and the Coca-Cola advert are inevitably just round the corner. Now I’m just as festive as the next person… if not more so, however even for me this is a little premature to be indulging in Christmas antics. Having said that, it is never too early to start thinking of presents and what’s going to be on your wish list this year.


So we’ve decided to have a slightly self-indulgent look at what new ski gear has been launched for this season; discovering all the new fads, what’s new, what’s improved and what we can no longer live without (thanks Oxford Street for the cue).


Our Top 3 New Ski Gear Products This Season


  1. Atomic Hawx Ultra 130

Approx. £370

It seems everyone is talking about Atomic’s latest ski boot in the lead up to this ski season but what’s so great about them? Well there are a few key features which seem to have created a buzz. Number one is its “progressive shell”; basically this new outer case means that it is lighter whilst at the same time giving the user greater agility in the boot.

This off-the-shelf boot has so many customisable adjustments that allow you to tailor the boot to you in a way that only a boot fitter would normally be able to achieve. Elements include flex and forward lean and even canting.




  1. Uvex Snowstrike Variotronic Goggles

Approx. £300

Although transition lenses have been around for a little while, Uvex appear to have taken the next step with these goggles. Arguably the main difference is that they offer you 4 different lens-types in one goggle, without actually changing the lens…

The lens holds a special liquid crystal technology which affects the tint and light transition levels which the user experiences. The user can choose between automatic and manual… the goggles have an in-built system which assesses the light conditions you are in and switches to the ideal lens; although there is also a function which allows the user to manually change the lens to their personal preference.

The various lens options allows the user to pick the optimum lens a variety of different conditions, from overcast to bright sunshine. If all that wasn’t impressive enough, the lens takes just 0.1 second to change.




  1. Warmthru Luxury Heated Socks

Approx. £130

These always appear on my Christmas wish list; however at around £150 for a pair I kind of understand why they aren’t considered your standard Xmas socks stocking filler.

Heated socks have to be the ultimate luxury and would just make the whole skiing experience that much better.

These particular socks are compression socks too which means that they improve circulation and therefore increase the amount of oxygen getting to your muscles, decreasing muscle fatigue and the chance of cramp due to reduced lactic acid build up.




As an overview, the focus for this season is weight. A lot of the manufacturers are keen to make their products lighter whilst maintaining or even improving their performance levels. This has been managed largely through the materials they are using as well as being more efficient with the materials they currently use. You can see this practice across wide range of new skis but also with ski boots.



Think we’ve missed something out? Let us know what’s on your wish list this year.


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Non-Ski Activities



Unique in France and one of only 7 tracks of its kind in Europe, the bobsleigh/luge track in La Plagne is available for members of the public to use during the winter at the end of each afternoon. Built for the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympic Games, the course allows you to achieve speeds of up to 120 km per hour if you sign up for a Bob Racing package which sees you accompanied by a pro driver (€122). Alternatively try a Bob Raft, self-steering and breaking but at lower speeds (still around 80 km per hour), great fun for 4 people (€45). Speed Luge is also available, one person half-sitting half-lying feet first. A great way to get some downhill thrills in the mountains if skiing isn’t your thing (€109).



Spa Days

The main purpose of any holiday to the mountains should always be just that, to have a holiday. Relaxation is a key part of that, and what better way to relax than to be pampered and massaged in a high end spa. Many resorts have top hotels with spa facilities which are often accessible for a reasonable daily fee to non-residents. As well as the usual saunas, steam rooms and outdoor pools, why not try some more left field treatments which are gaining popularity in many resorts such as infra-red rooms, hot stone massages, body wraps and colour therapy. Where: Hotel Zermatterhof, Zermatt, Switzerland – 50 minute full body massage: CHF 145, 80 minute hot stone massage: CHF 240.




For some people the main event of any day on the slopes, it is more than possible to make it through a ski week merely by flittering between various après-ski hotspots; it may not actually be technically accurate to call them après-ski hotspots if you haven’t done any skiing, but to let you in on a secret, these places are just as fun if you have spent the day watching everyone else ski from the safety of a slope side deckchair. An itinerary for a day of “après-ski” may run thus: 08:30 breakfast in chalet, back to bed until 10:00, followed by long bath. 11:00 lift up to a café for mid-morning hot chocolate. Recline until 12:30, at which point the skiers in your party may be starting to think about a lunch break. Find restaurant, bag table by 13:00, await skiers. After leisurely meal enjoy sight of skiers faffing with helmets and goggles before they leave, remain sunbathing on restaurant terrace until afternoon après bars warm up at 15:00. Lift/stroll to après bar of choice, buy a round for skiing members of the group who arrive shortly after, cold beer awaiting them on the table, and you are everyone’s favourite. Enjoy outdoor live music and dancing, nod along attentively to your friends’ daily ski anecdotes, back to the chalet in time for dinner, back to a bar, back to the chalet, sleep, repeat. You will never know how anyone finds time to fit in skiing around such a busy schedule.




Ever popular with non-skiers, this is the best way to get around on snow and see the mountains up close without the aid of skis or snowboard. The whole mountain is open to you; snowshoe users can catch the same lifts as everyone else, meaning access to the same amazing scenery. Some resorts have specially allocated walking trails, so you can even visit places which are off limits to the skiing and snowboarding community. Snowshoeing is a practise which has been around for thousands of years (you will probably see some of the vintage tennis racquet style snowshoes of yesteryear adorning the walls of a traditional restaurant in resort) but designs have developed to make them lighter, more manageable, and a super easy way to get the most out of your trip to the mountains. Where: Snowshoe rental with Skimium, Val d’Isere (mid-season): 1 day €8.20, 6 days €44.20.



Ice driving 

If you aren’t looking to ski or snowboard, but still want to go in search of adrenaline on your holiday, you may like to consider one of the ice driving courses available in various resorts. Val Thorens, for example, has the highest ice driving circuit in Europe at 2200 metres where you can either take lessons in ice driving techniques, or just hurtle round a smaller ice carting track for fun. One school even gives the option to ride along with a professional at full speed and see how it is really done. Where: Val Thorens Ice Driving Academy, prices from €99 for 15 minutes, €180 for 30 minutes, and €300 for 60 minutes.



Dog Sledding

Experience the all-natural pulling power of a pack of huskies on your holiday this winter. For many, just being in the company beautiful and friendly animals would be entertainment enough, but factor in that you get to be outside enjoying breath-taking scenery and accessing secluded parts of the mountain landscape, and this really could be the activity of a lifetime. The speed is steady and can be just a little more than walking pace, so dog sledding is just as much for nature lovers as it is for those after the thrill of the ride, truly something for all the family. Where: La Rosiere, Evolution 2 offer multiple options perfect for children accompanied by an adult: 2 person 20 minute excursion €90, 3 person 20 minute excursion €120.




If you are looking for the thrill of skiing without any of the effort or strain on the legs, you may enjoy allowing an instructor to steer you down through the clouds, above the pistes and along valleys. It is a unique way to experience the mountains to be hovering high amongst the peaks and be able to see the already awe-inspiring landscape in an even more breath-taking way, without any obstructions and no windows or walls to separate you from the elements. Where: Alpe d’Huez, beginner’s tandem paraglide from €170.



Ice Skating 

The vast majority of resorts will have an ice rink for people to use, skates can usually be rented there or at one of the many ski rental shops in town. Many people may have been ice skating back at home, however indoor rinks are no substitute for being surrounded by serene mountain landscape, in the open air, with the potential for a few snowflakes to fall around you as well. Many rinks also host ice hockey matches in the evenings during the winter season, if you don’t fancy getting out on the ice yourself you can always take a flask of something warming, sit in the stands and enjoy the game. Where: Outdoor ice rink, Les Arcs 1800, open every day from December 14th to March 20th, skate hire: adults €7, children €6.

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The High Life – Vail


Vail is unlike anywhere else in the world. Think Aspen meets Courchevel then add a dash of Verbier for good measure. Starting to build up a picture? Well, it’s unlikely to even come close to the reality of what is widely considered the world’s ultimate ski resort. With over 5,000 acres of perfectly manicured slopes, it’s the largest of its kind in the US, and is home to seven truly legendary back bowls, revered across the planet.


Attracting over one and a half million visitors a year, a large part of Vail’s popularity has to be down to its ability to effortlessly accommodate skiers of all abilities, meaning families, individuals and groups are all generously catered for. Advanced skiers find paradise in the endless steeps and bowls that make up over fifty percent of the skiable resort, whilst Blue Sky Basin contains some of the most shrewdly conceived and exciting intermediate runs in the US. Top that off with an internationally acclaimed ski school, superb entry level off-piste, liberally wide runs, a skipark and super-pipe, and it soon becomes clear that not only have every level of skiers’ wants and needs been considered, but snowboarders have similarly had their deepest desires unsparingly indulged.



Vail’s seduction, however, lies not only in its incredible skiing. By design its chic streets, infamous nightclubs, eminent restaurants and vast boutiques lure society’s unabashed elite in their masses. It’s what you might call an ‘adults playground’, where Budgets and Restraint drop off the kids and take a long uninterrupted vacation. Obviously not everyone who visits Vail has pockets deeper than the Atlantic Ocean, but the sheer size of the resort allows for a number of reasonably priced accommodation options in the Lionshead area. Vail Village is where you’ll find the most opulent and exclusive hotels and condos, with everything in between in both East and West Vail. Even though it’s huge, the size of the resort need not deter even the most impatient, for high-speed lift systems and a highly efficient shuttle service mean navigating the resort and slopes is satisfyingly simple.


All of this combined makes Vail magnificently subsuming, with every aspect of the resort harmonised to symphonic perfection. It’s certainly no mistake either; multi-ski-resort giants, Vail Resorts (who own Vail), are the world’s second largest ski resort operator. Expanding exponentially, the American powerhouse (on top of owning more than ten ski areas in the US) have recently purchased Perisher (Australia’s largest ski area), the iconic Whistler, and have Japanese territory locked firmly in their sights. Whatever the formula is, it’s working, and, of course, it doesn’t end there. Vail Resorts have recently introduced the ‘Epic Pass’. Sounds dull right? Wrong. Season ticket holders used to gain unlimited access to all of their resorts, but they decided that wasn’t enough. In a game changing manoeuvre, a significant number of Europe’s best loved resorts have been added to what was already the world’s most popular ski pass. Let us break that down a little:


Starting at just £623 per person (until 9th October 2016), Epic Pass holders unearth unrestricted access to not only all eleven of Vail Resort’s US division (Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Park City, Heavenly etc.), but also all of Les 3 Vallees, Paradiski and Tignes-Val d’Isere in France, Skirama Dolomiti Adamello Brenta in Italy, 4 Vallees in Switzerland, and Arlberg in Austria. Marinade in that for a moment. Les 3 Vallees, Paradiski and Tignes-Val d’Isere alone provides access to five glaciers, 391 ski lifts and over 1200 km of marked runs within a 50 km radius. Verbier, part of the 4 Vallees in Switzerland, is widely regarded one of the top ‘off-piste’ resorts in the world, and its highly celebrated nightlife is no less legendary. La Plagne, part of Paradiski, is one of France’s most popular family resorts and home to Bellecôte’s infamous North Face. Everyone and everything has been covered by the Epic Pass. Literally. It. Is. EPIC. It’s not even the main focus of this piece, and yet it deserves all the attention it gets and unquestionably cements Vail Resorts position as one of the industry’s biggest and most innovative players.



Back in Vail, activities such as ice-skating, sleigh rides, snowmobiling, tubing and ski-biking make for a great alternative use of (on average) 348 inches of snow and 300 days of sunshine a year. Of course, no expense has been spared when it comes to the children’s play areas either. Set up around the mountains, these include a formidable fort and stellar tepee village, providing hours of endless entertainment to tens of thousands of children each year.


As has been previously touched upon, Vail is also home to more than a hundred shops and boutiques, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. The quality of hospitality is absolutely unrivaled, and when it comes to fine dining, La Tour’s exquisite food, atmosphere and attentive service ensure it’s ever the topic of Vail goers culinary conversations. Whilst the village is lavish, its sympathetic design maintains an elegant Alpine charm, and the pubs offer good, hearty, reasonably priced food in a traditionally rustic atmosphere. On top of that, weekly street concerts are a welcome addition to the already extensive nightlife, with numerous exclusive clubs, relaxed lounges and live music venues dotted around the resort.


To end on an analogy, one might say people both takeoff and land in Vail’s tree lined runs and streets, mimicking jets on commercial runways. A sensational ski paradise that has become a literal interpretation of what is commonly known as ‘The High Life’. Whoever, whatever, wherever you are, you’re not living until you’ve taken flight in the phenomenon that is Vail.



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Why Take a Short Chalet Break?


For the First Time Ever…
This year Skiworld are offering an alternative to the week-long chalet ski holiday and giving skiers the opportunity to experience a short chalet ski break. Historically the weekend break has been predominantly facilitated by hotels and apartments; however for this season, our catered chalets are being made available for a unique 4 night duration! So, in 2017 with Skiworld, you can enjoy the age-old tradition and firm favourite of the British skier, the chalet ski holiday, but at a fraction of the price.


What is the Short Chalet Break?
The short chalet break is a four night ski holiday, departing on the 3rd January. Included in the package price are the flights, transfers and 4 nights’ accommodation (chalet board). You can choose any chalet from across our European programme within France, Switzerland and Austria.



What are the advantages?
Contrary to the usual weekend or short break, we have managed to ensure the cost per day is less than the equivalent week-long ski holiday. Plus, it’s great for anyone who is keen to go skiing after the festive period, or indeed add the 4 nights onto the end of a Christmas week trip! You can of course also add to the first full week of January too, creating an 11 night break.


With the added value, you could get more for you money. Our selection of Superior Chalets offers an enhanced skiing experience adding that touch of luxury to your ski holiday. The chalets are more comfortable and have more facilities as well as a superior menu.
The short break is also a great opportunity for beginners to try a skiing holiday for the first time without having to commit to a full week off work.
Equally this break is a great opportunity for accomplished skiers to try something new. For those who have always opted for a hotel or apartment, or consistently venture to the same resort, why not use this as an opening to try something new?


Looking to the slopes, the beginning of January is typically a good time for snow in the Alps with large snowfalls historically falling in New Year’s week and through January. Plus being out of school holidays, the lifts are also quieter.


Our Short Chalet Breaks start from £311pp – click here for our full range of chalet offers.

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Why take a Christmas holiday with Skiworld this year?


The Most Wonderful Times to Travel


This year, we at Skiworld are adjusting our usual travel dates to get you up the mountain first, and make Christmas as perfect for you and your loved ones as can be.


Rather than our usual Saturday to Saturday holidays, we are running Christmas holidays in 2016 from Tuesday 20th December until Tuesday 27th December. We believe there are several benefits to this change. If we were to run our Christmas week as we would normally, from Saturday to Saturday, it would mean flying out on Saturday 24th December, yes… Christmas Eve. We believe that one of the most magical days of the year should not be spent in motorway traffic or queuing up at a check-in. A 7 night holiday departing on a Saturday would also mean returning on Saturday 1st January, again yes… New Year’s Day. No one wants to spend the New Year’s hangover zigzagging along mountain roads on a transfer coach.


The benefit of these altered travel dates is further complemented by the fact that other Tour Operators are sticking to the Saturday to Saturday programme, meaning all their guests will be rushing around at the airport in each other’s way on Christmas Eve, whilst you are already snug in your chalet or out enjoying…


Emptier slopes! The peak week traffic not arriving until Saturday 24th means that for 4 ski days you will have less busy pistes and shorter lift queue times than you could usually expect during Christmas week in resort, which you will know is a real bonus if you have skied at this time of year before.


Skiworld’s Christmas week dates have another great benefit, which is that Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th are both bank holidays; even though you beat the crowds and get up the mountain days before other festive holidaymakers, you are still travelling over the public holiday, so do not need to take time off work for those two days. 6 days of leave for the price of 4, no brainer!




You Won’t Miss Out on a Traditional Family Christmas


Many people who have reservations about going away for Christmas feel like they will miss out on a traditional family Christmas, when really this is not the case. Rather than just spending the one big day together, you get 7 days uninterrupted quality time with your nearest and dearest. Also, gone is the argument over who is hosting this year, or the hassle of travelling to the other side of the country and back in the Christmas weekend traffic.


For some, leaving the comfort of one’s own home is the biggest wrench, at one of the times of the year when people traditionally seek the comforts of home more than any other. Well, the whole point of a ski chalet is to be your home from home, and they never come into their own in this regard more than over the Christmas period. Your group can take a whole chalet to yourselves to get that true family Christmas feeling. Did you know, over Christmas we put up a Christmas tree and full Christmas decorations in all our chalets? So, far from missing out on these homely comforts, you get the surprise of walking into your own Christmassy grotto, where all the work has been done for you. We even leave a little gift under the tree for all our Christmas guests aged 2-11 years.




Speaking of all the work being done for you…


One of the many highlights of the festive period is all the food and drink. However the biggest downside to the festivity can be the cooking and washing up which comes with putting on that kind of spread. Well we have the perfect solution, if you stay in one of our catered chalets over the festive period we provide a Christmas menu of seasonal fine dining, and clear up all the gravy stained pots and pans, so you don’t have to worry about anything other than enjoying the feast.


During Christmas week you can expect the following added bonuses in our chalets, which you wouldn’t necessarily get during other weeks of the season:

  • A welcome drink of mulled wine on the day you arrive
  • Midnight celebration of mince pies and sparkling wine on Christmas Eve
  • On the big day, enjoy smoked salmon and Buck’s Fizz for breakfast, and vin chaud and mince pies for afternoon tea
  • Rather than just in the evenings as is usual in chalets, indulge in free flowing wine all of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
  • Traditional Christmas dinner with turkey and all the trimmings, including canapés, aperitifs and Christmas crackers
  • All our chalets come with the option of wine upgrades, but this week more than any other you may wish to sample the very finest; Silver, Gold, and Platinum wine packages available to add another layer of decadence to the merriment



One final reason to let Skiworld take care of you this Christmas is the amazing value of a week away. Take a look at the deals we currently have on offer for 20th December departures. Treat Yourself.

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Good News: 8 reasons to be excited about the 2016/17 season

…both from Skiworld, and from all across the world of ski.



3 Kings to Arrive in Courchevel this December

Over the course of the 2015/16 season we were finishing work on three stunning new 5+ Signature grade chalets in Courchevel Village, which will lord it up among our very finest quality accommodation. This winter is the first full season that chalets Samuel, Benjamin and Jacques will all be available for booking, don’t miss the chance to sample the high life in these brand new luxury kings of our collection. All three are newly built in local stone and reclaimed timber, are blessed with a ski-in/ski-out location moments from the lift, and come with the added indulgence of their own private hot tub.


Snow sports gaining popularity in China ahead of 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing

We are always glad to see skiing and snowboarding on the rise across the globe, especially if it gives us the chance to ski new areas in amazing settings. So we are glad to report that since winning their Olympic bid in July 2015, the growth of winter sports in China is such that by 2022 there could be more that 1000 ski areas in the country, with the Chinese government aiming to use the games to inspire 300 million of its citizens to get involved in snow sports. One of the many new resorts we could be able to visit as a result of the Olympics-inspired boost in the Chinese ski industry is the proposed new highest resort in the world – near the city of Lasha in Tibet, one of the highest cities in the world at 3,490 metres. China already lays claim to the highest lift in the world, a gondola peaking at 4,843 metres in which oxygen masks are provided.



Skiworld Now Offering Austrian Hotel Holidays

As well as moving our weekly Austrian departure days from Sundays to Saturdays, in alignment with our French programme, we are now also pleased to introduce hotels into our Austrian holiday packages this winter, where previously we had only offered chalets. We have 2 new hotels to try, Hotel Zur Pfeffermuehle, traditional and family run with a personal service, and Hotel Schwarzer Adler, furnished with luxurious facilities and timeless elegance, complete with gourmet restaurant and spa.


Mountain Skies Aid Relaxation

More great news from St Anton, we are excited to announce we have three stunning new 5+ Signature Grade luxury chalets in this amazing resort this winter; our ‘Mountain Sky’ Chalets, Cirrus, Stratus, and Nimbus, are in a great location for accessing both the lifts in the morning and the town centre at night. These unbelievable chalets are amongst the most opulent in our collection, perfectly balancing traditional alpine comfort with cosmopolitan contemporary design. Whether you’re an après-ski fanatic or prefer a dip in the pool and a lengthy sauna, these chalets are an ideal luxury retreat, and a fantastic addition to our programme for 2016/17.


Brand New Canadian Resort Gets Go-Ahead

Approval has been given for an entirely new Canadian resort to be built from scratch near Jasper in British Columbia. The building of Valemount Glacier Destination Resort will cost an estimated $175 million, and the result will break the record for the biggest vertical drop of any resort in North America. A statement from the developers said “The resort will provide public access to high alpine glaciers for the first time in North America for sightseeing and year-round skiing”. Reaching elevations of over 3000 metres, the resort will be built in three stages and first lifts should be starting to operate for the 2017/18 season.


Our Biggest Chalet Just Got Bigger

For 2016/17 we are refurbishing what is already one of our most in-demand properties, the ever-popular Lodge in Val d’Isere. Anyone who has stayed in the Lodge will know of its top location, close enough to the action to make the most of this world class resort, whilst enjoying just enough distance from the main street to find a little peace and quiet. The location may be the only thing you find to be the same when coming back for a second stay however, as our largest chalet property is now being enlarged to include new bedrooms, with all existing rooms also being refurbished. The new Lodge will sleep 74-86 guests. There will also now be an entirely new reception, bar, living area, and dining room. Other facilities include a brand new massage room, with treatments payable in resort, a steam room, sauna, hot tub and a large terrace for sunny afternoons. An 8-10 person penthouse catered chalet-apartment has also been added to the Lodge, for those who prefer a more secluded stay for their group, but still wish to enjoy full access to all of the Lodge’s fantastic bar and spa facilities.


First Five Star Hotel in Les Arcs Opens This Winter

Les Arcs will this season offer 5 star hotel accommodation for the first time. The new Taj I Mah hotel in Arc 2000 opens in a resort which has traditionally seen more apartments and family friendly accommodation, but which can now be considered as a high-end destination, along with the likes of Courchevel and Lech (ok, still some way to go to match the numbers of 5 star residences there, but it’s a good start). The hotel features a lounge bar, two restaurants, and a 400 square metre spa area with all the necessaries for a truly luxurious stay.


From La Rosière With Love

Situated in a stand-alone building in Les Eucherts, the newly developed area of La Rosiere 1850, we have three spacious Superior grade chalet-apartments to offer for the first time this season; while the chalets may be quintessentially French, their names all take inspiration from a true British institution: James Bond. Daniel, named for our favourite Bond so far, Tomasz, named for the man we hope is the next to take up the mantle, and Beretta, named for 007’s weapon of choice in the first five Fleming books (purists, you see), all provide the perfect retreat after a day evading arch villains on the slopes; all have open-plan living and dining areas with plenty of comfortable seating, wood burning stoves, flat screen TVs and balconies. Grab a glass of something, yank that bow-tie undone and kick back with a loved-one in these inviting homes-from-home.





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Europe is Epic!

Epic Pass Launch


Europe is Epic! Vail Resorts Adds Iconic European Ski Resorts in France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria to Its Industry-Leading Season Pass.

  • The Epic Pass is the ONLY multi-resort pass to offer significant access to European resorts
  • The Epic Pass also features unlimited, unrestricted access to world-class resorts in Colorado, Utah and Tahoe for just £623 per person until the 5th September (we can sell the pass only)
  • Epic Pass holders now have access to the best skiing in six countries
  • The deadline for the lowest price is Monday, Sept. 5, 2016


Vail Resorts have packed yet more value into their Epic Pass for the 2016/17 season! In addition to the current bounty of North American ski resorts – Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Park City and Heavenly – today Vail Resorts announced it will add Les 3 Vallees, Paradiski and Tignes-Val d’Isere in France, Skirama Dolomiti Adamello Brenta in Italy, 4 Vallees in Switzerland, and Arlberg in Austria to the line-up! The world’s most popular ski pass just got even more Epic!


Epic Pass EU Resorts


“There is nothing in the ski industry today that can compare to the value of the Epic Pass,” said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. “The value of the Epic Pass is giving skiers and snowboarders the flexibility to ski when they want and the choice to ski where they want, and the variety of experiences our resorts offer, whether it’s the iconic slopes of Vail or Park City, or the grandeur and tradition of Europe, which should be on the bucket list of every skier or snowboarder. Whether you ski five days or 100, no pass is tailored to the way skiers and snowboarders actually want to access the best mountains in the world like the Epic Pass.”


Les 3 Vallees, Paradiski and Tignes-Val d’Isere alone provides access to five glaciers, 391 ski lifts and over 800 miles of marked runs for all ability levels within a 30-mile radius. The three areas combine high-altitude skiing guaranteeing quality snow from November to May with stunning views of Mont Blanc and a 360-degree panorama of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. Resorts include; Les Arcs, La Plagne, Val d’Isere, Tignes, Courchevel, Meribel. Val Thorens.


Verbier, part of the 4 Vallees ski area, is the largest resort in the Swiss Alps, is acknowledged as one of the premier “off piste” resorts in the world, and is home to a number of professional freeride competitions. Above and beyond this reputation, Verbier is well-known internationally for its electrifying, cosmopolitan nightlife, and the resort is proud of its legendary apres-ski and its lively clubs. While skiers and snowboarders from all over the world rave about this off-piste paradise and fun evenings, families also appreciate the resort’s social atmosphere and family-friendly offerings.


For decades, the mountain range between Tyrol and Vorarlberg, which is home to Arlberg and the resorts of Lech, Zurs, Stuben, St. Christoph and St. Anton, has been a highly sought-after metropolis for international ski and snowboard enthusiasts. Arlberg is widely considered the cradle of modern skiing and in December 2016, thanks to the opening of four new cable cars, it will be Austria’s largest linked ski area. Also the birthplace of champions, athletes from Ski Club Arlberg have garnered an incredible 83 medals at various Olympic Games and World Championships.


Access to the European ski areas is described below:


Les 3 Vallees, Paradiski and Tignes-Val d’Isere France Six (6) days of free skiing with two (2) days of skiing at each resort area Includes:

  • Les 3 Vallees (Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel, Brides les Bains, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Bellevelle, Val Thorens and Orelle), Paradiski (Les Arcs, Peisey-Vallandry and La Plagne), and Tignes-Val d’Isere
  • 2016/2017 Epic pass holders are required to present their valid Epic Pass hard card and a valid photo ID to the lift cashier in each resort to redeem their lift access
Skirama Dolomiti Adamello Brenta Italy Three (3) days of free skiing Includes:

  • Madonna di Campiglio, Pinzolo, Folgarida-Marilleva, Peio, Ponte di Legno – Tonale, Andalo – Fai della Paganella, Monte Bondone and Folgarida – Lavarone
  • Details can be found at
4 Vallees Switzerland Five (5) consecutive days of free skiing Includes:

  • Verbier, Nendaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon
  • Offer valid when booking in-resort lodging (details and participating hotels can be found at
Arlberg Austria Three (3) days of free skiing Includes:

  • Lech, Zurs, Stuben, St. Christoph and St. Anton
  • Epic Pass holders must book their lodging directly with the property and the property will deliver the passes to the guest upon confirmation of their Epic Pass


Season Pass Insurance


Vail Resorts encourages guests to purchase pass insurance. All of the Company’s season pass products are non-refundable and non-transferable; however, pass insurance covers pass holders in the event of unexpected circumstances including sickness, injury and job loss.


The Epic Pass - £623 per person until the 5th September


Call our Ski Gurus on 0330 102 8004 for more information and book

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Skiworld Olympics



In light of the imminent Olympics we decided to run our own Olympics looking at the best of what skiing has to offer.


We’ve chosen four elements (events if you will) that are common considerations that affect people’s decisions on where to go skiing. So, here you are, our medal winning resorts for snow, cuisine, families and ski-in/ski-out chalets.







When choosing a resort you tend to look at a number of factors and snowfall tends to be at the top of most people’s list. As a result we’ve named our top three resorts for snow (based on last years’ snowfall) with a top resort from France, Austria and Switzerland so that we have representation from each country.


So with that in mind, our flag bearers for the opening ceremony are as follows:


From France; Val Thorens had the best snow for the duration of this past season. As shown in the graph below, Alpe d’Huez and Tignes out performed Val Thorens in places during the season, however the snow that Val Thorens displayed over the Christmas period (90cm compared to Alpe d’Huez (56cm) and Tignes (61cm) respectively) and towards the end of the season rewards the highest resort in Europe, Val Thorens with the gold medal.




From Austria; St. Anton consistently outperformed its Austrian rivals this past season. Lech was its closest rival for snow especially when looking at upper and lower piste levels, Lech’s height helped see the resort to well over 100cm of snow on the lower piste from mid-January all the way through to the end of March. However St. Anton took gold due to its volume of snow on the upper piste which throughout the whole season was higher than all the other Austrian resorts topping out at 242cm in the first week of March compared to 215cm in Lech and 122cm in Mayrhofen. St. Anton and neighbouring Lech also saw little drop off in snow levels towards the end of the season and actually had better snow in April (average of 200cm) than they had in January (average of 126.5cm)  thanks to a late flurry.




From Switzerland; Zermatt was our overall winner. Like Val Thorens, other resorts had better snow at times but Zermatt had fantastic snow on the upper piste from before the season even began. Having the snow that Zermatt had for the peak dates of Christmas (125cm) and New Year (133cm) almost made it the automatic winner and as the resort performs consistently well year-on-year, it’s a great choice for those looking for a Christmas ski holiday.








When selecting a ski resort, food is a real variable for each individual in terms of how influential it is on your decision. For some people any holiday is another opportunity for a gastronomic pilgrimage, whilst to others food is fuel… to keep you on your skis all day. Wherever you feature on the culinary barometer, we’ve got you covered – after all you can’t run on Jagermeister and schnapps all day although many have tried… and many failed.




The Gold Medal; Lech/St Christoph

As Lech is home to more award-winning restaurants than any other village in the world, our choice was pretty much made for us. In a country which champions quality food, Lech sits atop them all as the king of gourmet destinations, offering a fantastic range of mountain and village establishments serving both international and local cuisine to cater to everyone’s palate.


If you fancy discovering a couple of hidden gems, head towards St Christoph – you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the restaurants on offer here but in particular keep your eyes peeled for Hospiz Alm. Head Chef Daniel Rauter’s food his highly sought after by those in the know, he’s particularly au fait with lobster and scallops so this is definitely one for the seafood lovers. The plump wine cellar has a reputation which rivals the food and it attracts just as many people in its own right. The cherry on top is that this restaurant has a sun terrace so you can enjoy the great food and wine whilst also drinking in the incredible views.


If you want to rub shoulders with royalty and celebrities then the hamlet of Zurs (which harbours about 25 buildings) is the place to eat. Although a destination for the rich and the famous, our superior chalets offer great value skiing in Lech.



The Silver Medal; Zermatt

Zermatt is well known for being the best destination for culinary experiences in Switzerland and to be fair to the resort, it came within an entrée of gold medal. You’ll be spoilt for choice with the variety on offer; including authentic and traditional all the way up to very high end fine dining establishments… and few places will know how to do fine dining better.


There is undoubtedly a strong argument for Zermatt to be the top for culinary destinations and with a couple of Michelin starred restaurants (in the form of Le Capri and After Seven) it would be hard to object too strongly. Head Chef at Le Capri, Salvatore Elefante, specialises in southern Italian seafood and has been awarded one star for his food. His restaurant can be found in the Grand Hotel Mont Cervin Palace. After Seven’s Head Chef, Ivo Adam, has also been awarded one star for his creative European cuisine, you can discover his menu in his restaurant at the Hotel Backstage.


The Bronze Medal; Mayrhofen

A relatively small resort which packs a punch with regards to the food it has to offer. Austrian resorts tend to have a bias towards their own cuisine however Mayrhofen is slightly more diverse with a top Italian restaurant (Ciao) on the main street and a few places that offer pub grub. Mayrhofen has a lot of lunchtime retreats up its sleeve as well though and the hearty Tyrolean dishes can be found on the mountain side and in resort. A top choice is Schneekar, which can be found at the top of the Schneekar chair lift, it has an open fire for when you need to warm up and a large terrace to let you bask in the sun. This is a great place to go if you have a propensity for decadent food and fine wine.


There may be a small uprising against us for our decision not to include a French resort in our top three. The French are famous for their great cuisine, however, with French ski resorts you can get such a vast array of food –both in terms of cuisine and standard and that’s why we choose the resorts we did.








When asking the product team what our best chalets were for ski-in / ski-out I inadvertently opened up Pandora’s Box… the impassioned department had me scribbling down 30/40 chalets before I had a chance to say we needed a top three. Excitedly outdoing each other and weighing up the pros and cons of each chalet we eventually whittled down the extensive list to our top three ski-in/ski-out chalets.


The Gold Medal; Chalet Tetra

Les Arcs | Sleeps 12/13 | Superior Chalet

Located just above Arc 1800, you can ski-in/ski-out with utter convenience – ideal for those looking to waste no time hitting the slopes.

This superior class chalet also offers an enhanced service including the superior standard menu and wine offering as well as a few other perks… you can see what’s included in superior chalets here.




The Silver Medal; Chalet Morille / Chanterelle / Girolle

La Plagne | Sleeps 12 | Classic Chalet

These chalet apartments, named the mushroom chalets, are all part of the same complex. Based on the piste of Balcons de Belle Plagne you’ll have a great run before even coming to your first lift, a great way to start the day.

Each chalet sleeps 12 people and benefits from an open fire and all rooms have Jacuzzi baths in their en suites. The complex also has a sauna, pool and fitness centre for its guests to use as well as a bar, a ski hire shop and restaurants.



The Bronze Medal; Chalet Louisa

Alpe d’Huez | Sleeps 16/18 | Superior Chalet

Chalet Louisa is situated just above Les Bergers with runs straight into the excellent resort, this chalet is ideal for families as the ski school meet is in Les Bergers and the chalet has a family room (a standard room which can cater for children too). Plus we offer half price places for the kids too.

In terms of facilities the Louisa has a hot tub and sauna to help relax those weary legs after a long day’s skiing.








Going on holiday as a family can be like mobilising an army, so we’ve looked at the top three resorts for families and why they make your holiday as relaxing as possible. Some top tips for families would have to include choosing accommodation which is near a ski school (if the kids are heading that way). The usual school run is tough enough, but add wobbly morning ski legs, gloves, goggles, hats, sun cream… and the equation is far more complicated and, if you’re late and the ski school has set off you’ll have trouble tracking them down. So make sure you’re in striking distance. Also ski door-to-door is recommended; otherwise you’ll be the one lugging all of your gear and children to the nearest patch of snow.



The Gold Medal; La Rosiere

Whenever anyone asks, La Rosiere is always our number one destination for families, especially for those taking first time skiers. Boasting a fantastic ski school, it’s a great place for the youngsters to get started. We also have a number of chalets in resort which offer half price places for children (2-11 years old).


As a resort, it is well laid out for beginners with a high volume of blue and green runs and a well linked lift system. La Rosiere is quieter than the larger resorts and can offer a more pleasant skiing experience, especially for those starting out and a little unsure of their ski legs.


The best ski school in resort is Evolution 2; they are familiar with handling children of all ages (starting from 3 years old up to their Junior Academy which caters for children and teenagers). Their group sizes never exceed 8 students per instructor. For adults, they have a range of classes too as well as private clinics, off-piste guiding and heli-skiing.




The Silver Medal; La Plagne

Always near the top for being one of the best ski resorts for families, La Plagne has a real family-focussed atmosphere which will help make parents feel at ease. Because of this we have a large number of half price chalet places for kids. The Mountain Flower chalets in Plagne Soleil (which are newly built for this season) are a great option for families as the piste runs past the chalets… saving mum and dad from grappling with all the skis and poles.


In resort there is a huge selection of ski schools and over half of the runs are blue or green. Despite this La Plagne is regarded as a better intermediate ski resort than beginner – though with a great ski school system it is a great place to take kids of varying standards.

A top choice ski school in La Plagne would have to be Lime Snowsports. A British owned school which prides themselves on being able to develop beginners in confidence and ability. They cater for all ages (again, starting from 3 years old) and abilities.



The Bronze Medal; Val d’Isere

There are loads of activities off the slopes for families and on top of that, new to Val d’Isere this year, is the picnic area which is a great place to gather for lunch. There’s a kid’s corner for the youngsters where there’s cushions and a TV showing cartoons and for the older kids there’s entertainment like table football.

Val d’Isere is great for families, even just for the variety of skiing alone. Whether you go as a small group or large, you can always be assured that every standard of skiing will be catered for and even the biggest snowheads couldn’t ski the whole area of Espace Killy in a week. There are 155 runs in Val d’Isere and Tignes; 58% are green and blue runs, 27% are red and 15% black.

If you’re looking at ski schools, New Generation is a great option; it is a British run school that caters for all ages and abilities – so they’ll be able to take care of the whole family. If someone from the family is looking to try out snowboarding their instructors are particularly good. They are well known and have been around for years now.





If you have children we recommend T4 Nanny, a nanny service that can come to your chalet to look after your children for the day – leaving you free to ski. They look after kids from four months to 12 years old and will put on a day of activities for them.

T4 Nanny operates in La Rosiere, La Plagne, Val d’Isere, Courchevel, Tignes and Meribel.





So there we have it, our Olympic entries. As mentioned, there is probably some cause for debate… and we would gladly welcome any comments or suggestions.

At the end of the day we can pore over stats and reference our own experiences, but it’s all subjective so please let us know what you think on facebook or twitter.


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Make Sure Your Holiday Is Protected


The high profile failure on 15th July of the travel company Lowcostholidays has caused many holiday makers to look again at the issue of financial protection.


The figures are big; Lowcost is said to have had 27,000 people in resort, 110,000 more with bookings and of all these it is reported that 77,000 are British holidaymakers. 120 staff in the Crawley based UK office have lost their jobs.



Tales are emerging of holidaymakers in resort being asked to pay again for their hotels. Those who have paid but not yet travelled may only receive around £7 back from the £1000s they have paid in good faith for their much-anticipated holidays and may not be able to travel at all.


The administrators Smith and Williamson and CMB Partners said that as well as stiff competition, Lowcostholidays were affected by uncertainty before and after the referendum and the fall in the value of the pound.


“The group experienced significant market headwinds in the run up to the EU referendum as holidaymakers delayed decisions. This was compounded by the leave vote itself and the subsequent fall in value of the pound,” said Finbarr O’Connell of Smith & Williamson.


“Regrettably, in these extraordinary conditions, the directors had no option but to place Lowcost Travelgroup Limited into administration.”



For many, a holiday is often one of the largest financial commitments of the year. So just what should you look for to avoid finding yourself in the same situation as the unfortunate customers of the Lowcost Travelgroup Limited?



The long and short of it is that a package holiday offers the best form of financial (and other) protection BUT you need to check that the company you are booking through is a member of ABTA and/or are ATOL protected.


In 2013 Lowcost moved their operations to Palma Mallorca and it was therefore registered with the Balearic Island authorities and not covered by the UK ATOL scheme.


ATOL stands for Air Travel Organisers License which is a UK government scheme run by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). It is designed to cover flight-based package holidays and protects around 20 million holidaymakers and travellers a year.



Companies with an ATOL have been checked by the CAA. If they go under you are protected; if you are on holiday when this happens ATOL makes sure you finish your break and get home as planned. If you have not travelled, ATOL will make sure you get a full refund and in some cases you may be able to continue with the holiday you had booked. In short ATOL covers:

  • Flight inclusive packages booked directly with a tour operator or through a travel agent
  • Flights and accommodation and/or car hire booked at the same time or the next day with a travel company
  • Flights booked with an ATOL travel company and you don’t get a valid ticket immediately


Companies that are ATOL protected will issue you immediately after you have paid with an ATOL certificate which you need to keep safe just in case. This is the proof that the holiday or flight that you have booked is protected.



ATOL does not cover all holidays so you are NOT protected if you book:

  • Just a flight and you get your ticket straight away
  • Just accommodation or car hire
  • Or a holiday with no flights


For more information visit or call 020 7453 6700



If you buy a land or sea based package (i.e. rail or car hire) ATOL will not cover you financially so you need to check that the travel company you purchase through is a member of ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents). ABTA will cover packages and Flight Plus holidays.


ABTA is the UK’s largest travel association and members consist of both tour operators and travel agents. Members abide by a code of conduct which helps ensure high standards and also provides recourse should your holiday arrangements go wrong. Importantly, if an ABTA company fails you are entitled to a refund if you are yet to travel and hotel and transport costs if you are abroad when it happens.


For more information visit


There is no doubt that ATOL and ABTA are the biggest and most well-known protection schemes but there are others. In recent years alternative organisations and consortiums have been set up which allow smaller travel companies to provide the same level of protection to their customers



Protected Travel Services (PTS) was set up to provide travel trade solutions for smaller tour operators and agents. They offer their members payment facilities, back office systems and a number of other tools to help run their business, but most importantly manage a trust account keeping all customers money 100% protected.


For more information:



There is also The Travel Trust Association (TTA); they work in a very similar way to PTS. For the customer, they are another trusted travel network who guarantees 100% financial protection.


For more information:



For those booking flights on their own The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing some 265 airlines or 83% of total air traffic. They support many areas of aviation activity and help formulate industry policy on critical aviation issues. IATA strives to maintain fair flight prices, ensuring that there isn’t price fixing. They also look at a number of different elements which effect customers such as baggage allowance and punctuality of journeys. They don’t offer any financial protection however.


For more information:



So, in many respects the UK package travel industry is unique in offering this level of protection in the event of a company failing. It simply falls to us, the travelling public, to make a few small checks to ensure the company we are travelling with is protected.


And bear in mind you may find prices cheaper with a non-bonded company…..but there is a good reason for that; your money may be at risk.


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