Great Group Skiing Tips

tips for group ski trips
 
Whether you’ve got a group of 7 or 67, Skiing as a group with Skiworld is one of the best ways to experience the best bits of a chalet holiday. Sharing a week of laid-back lodgings, delicious food, plentiful wine and mountains of snow (literally) with your friends, you’ll come away with a ton of memories that will make you want to book next year’s trip even before you set foot on the transfer bus home! Whether you’re an experienced booker or a first-timer, our TOP TIPS FOR GROUPS below will keep you on the straight and narrow, making sure your trip is organised with minimum effort but creates maximum enjoyment!
 

Click here to get the inside edge on group ski holidays with skiworld…

 

The Tips

 
- Book Early – We’ve had prices available for next season since January. You’ll get the widest choice of chalets with the best features for your group if you get in early.
- Know Your Numbers – Having a firm idea on how big your group is will make searching for a property SO much easier. It just saves a lot of back-and-forthing, which can be stressful.
- Collect Deposits First – If you get people to commit to the idea by giving you a deposit up front, you’ll be ready with the cash to strike when a great deal presents itself
- Prioritise – Making a list of the key features you want in a chalet will narrow down your search before you start. You can give this list to a Skiworld groups consultant and they’ll do the hard work for you, returning a list of the best chalets matching your criteria.
- Know your group – Make sure you know if anyone in your group has any specific requirements such as allergies or more importantly a disability which might restrict your chalet choice.
- Which resort? – Being aware of the different abilities in your group will enable you to choose a resort that will exhilarate everyone, rather than just the experts.
- Ask For A Deal – You may find that you can get a specific group deal if you ask… For example, if you fill a whole chalet with Skiworld you can save up to 20%pp!
- Follow The Leader – Ensure that the role of group leader is assigned to one person. The buck stops with them. It saves any confusion, especially with finances.
- Facebook Me – Set up a Facebook group and add everyone in your group to it. It’s a great way to keep in touch and for the rest of the group to get to know each other before the trip.
- Go All-In – When you get quotes and book, add on lift passes, ski hire and ski carriage at the same time. It makes it easier to organise, and the group will appreciate one easy fixed price to pay off when the balance is due.
- Banking – It’s a good idea to dedicate a bank account for holiday payments. You can keep track of who owes what, and pay your balance by BACS transfer over the internet. Easy!
 

The Chalets

 
Following on from the tips, our Groups Team (Tom and Gavin) have handpicked a selection of chalets below which have come up trumps for the dozens of groups they’ve booked this season:
Chalets Roussette & Altesse – La Plagne – Excellent if you are on a budget, and there is a variety of room types to suit a mixed group.
Chalet Karl Riml – Solden – Another excellent value chalet in an underrated resort with a huge and varied ski area. There is a pub attached and a ‘bar room’ downstairs!
The Aigle Lodge – Tignes – A cracking location for such a big chalet, with the benefit of hotel-like facilities such as a private indoor swimming pool and bar.
Chalet Louisa – Alpe d’Huez – A lovely freestanding chalet to call your own with luxuries such as a private hot tub and sauna.
 
 

click here for some great group skiing offers with skiworld

 

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Say Cheese!


 
Lucy Cufflin – chef, foodie and self-confessed Cheese Queen shares her supreme knowledge of Alpine cheese with us. I’m now salivating for a Tartiflette! You can find some stunning recipes (some featuring these cheeses) in Lucy’s excellent cookbook, available from Amazon
 

Switzerland

Possibly the home of all things cheesy in the Alps. Here are two of my very favourite cheeses:
 
APPENZELLER – Similar in style to Gruyere but I think much better in both texture and flavour. It is made in the region of its name in the North East of Switzerland and has been made there for over 700 years.
Classic Appenzeller is about 4 months old and aged or ‘extra’ is over 6 months. It is a hard cheese with a distinct nutty flavour – perfect addition to any fondue or simply melting on a baked potato!
 
SBRINZ – About as close to Parmesan as you will find anywhere – same strength and texture. Made only from cow’s milk and aged to be strong and crumbly. Produced in 42 licenced dairies in Switzerland, it was believed that this was a regional cheese but it’s not. After a successful campaign by the Swiss tourist board a region called Sbrinz was in fact created! The Swiss take their cheese and tourism very seriously and understand they go hand in hand. A great cheese for topping local fresh pastas and soups.
 
 

France

 
BEAUFORT – Being a fan of strong flavoured hard textured cheese, the top of my list has to be Beaufort. Made from milk from cows of the Savoie region in France that graze solely on the summer mountain pastures that lie underneath the ski slopes in the winter. This cheese is made from some of the most luxurious milk in the world. Ripened for months it has a strong but nutty flavour. Splash out and look for the ‘Beaufort d’ete’ – made from the first milk produced in the summer, the very best and well worth it. Excellent for cheese sauces, additions to fondues, great on a cheese board or as part of a pack up.
 
ROQUEFORT – I know a little predictable but because this sheep’s milk cheese has a unique strong saltiness that other blues do not have I have to have it my top 10. Mentioned in writings as far back as AD79 it is certainly one of the oldest named cheeses. History suggests that a shepherd boy left his cheese in a cave or under some rocks when distracted by a girl and coming back some months later his ordinary sheep’s cheese had transformed into the blue cheese we know today. True or not this cheese remains one of the best known blue cheeses in the world and there is good reason for it – it tastes just fabulous!
 
REBLOCHON – From Northern Savoie – The word ‘reblocher’ meaning to ‘re-block’ – gives this cheese its name as the peasant farmers in ancient times were charged rent on the land according to the amount of milk produced by their herd. The canny farmers blocked their cow’s udders during the first milking to reduce the quantity then returning for a second milking later in the day – they made their cheese from his second milking and it richness contributes to the strong and nutty flavour of this soft unpasteurised cheese. The rind is the really tasty part so it is best baked , rind upwards so it crisps. To increase sales of this lesser known French cheese the Northern Savoie Tourist board renamed a classic peasant dish of potatoes, cheese, smoked ham and wine and created a ‘local speciality’ – they were extremely successful. ‘Tartiflette’ was born in the late 70s and has become a mountain classic increasing the sales of Reblochon cheese over 100 fold!
 
MONT D’OR – Made in the Jura region of France and also over the border in Switzerland. Made between September and March when the cows come down into the valleys and there is not enough milk produced to make Comté (a classic hard cheese similar to Emmental). This is a soft cheese with a salty rind and packed into a wooden box so it looks like a deep Camembert. You simply remove the lid and bake and enjoy it as you would a cheese fondue – who said the French don’t do ‘fast food’!
 
Lucy Cufflin
 
 

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Where’s the Snow Been This Winter?

Which resorts had the best snow in the 2013/14 season?
 

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT OUR POWDERCHASERS PAGE FOR THE LATEST SNOW INFORMATION


 
There’s less clouds in the air and more and more of us are replacing thick winter coats and scarves with t-shirts and sunglasses. Winter, it seems, is well and truly over for another year.
As snow in the resorts slowly turns into this summer’s streams and rivers, we take a look back on the 2013/14 snowfall and see how some of the top resorts faired this ski season…

 

Val d’Isere

One of Europe’s premier resorts and a favourite with British skiers, Val d’Isere is a resort which holds snow well. The 13/14 season started slowly for the Savoyard town with a light flurry of snow in November not materialising into much more than a dusting. Skiers and boarders were made to hold out until around Christmas where holiday makers enjoying the New Year were treated to 60cm of fresh, crisp snow.
February saw the best snow for Val with nearly a metre and a half falling throughout the month. But so far this season, snowfall isn’t looking as good as last year. Just over 4 metres have fallen so far this season compared to nearly 6 metres last year… Maybe the clouds have got one more snow dump left in them before the resort closes?
 

Alpe d’Huez

If you were lucky enough to be a Southern Alps skier this year, you were treated to arguably the best and freshest conditions of any of the big European resorts. Both Alpe d’Huez and Les Deux Alpes did well this season with February being notably bountiful; over a metre and a half of snow falling in the last week of the month, setting up some perfect spring conditions.
Overall, nearly 5 metres of snow has fallen this season ‘down south’ and is holding well under the spring sunshine with nearly all the lifts still open. Looks like Alpe d’Huez is the resort to be in this Easter!
 

Whistler

Renowned for its regular snowfall and deep powder, Whistler didn’t exactly live up to expectations at the beginning of the season. The snow cannons worked hard through November and December but when heavy snow fell at the beginning of January, things were looking up… For a short while anyway.
Unfortunately for Canada’s premier resort, that was the last of any meaningful snow for another month. But then, in February, as though the snow gods had been holding it back as a teaser for Whistler skiers and boarders, the snow started to fall and forgot to stop for 15 days straight when 2 metres of snow fell in 2 weeks!
March’s snowfall went 28cm better and Whistler ended up receiving nearly 4 and half metres of snow in 2 months. Better late than never.
 

Vail

Vail probably gets the award for the steadiest snowfall for the season this year. It started coming down in December and just seemed to get topped up every week, leaving skiing conditions about as good as they could be. Goggle tans and powder have been the order of the season.
The only really heavy snow came at the start of January and end of February, when Vail-ites struggled to see the sky for a week.
Like the fable of the tortoise and the hare, the snow kept falling steadily rather than in sporadic dumps, and all in, Vail’s snowfall sits at an impressive 609cm for the season.
 

Zermatt

Zermatt always does well with snow and this year was no exception. Heavy snowfall in late Autumn and early winter when over 2 metres fell helped keep the base layer at the top of the resort nice and deep all season.
December was looking quiet as far as weather goes in Switzerland before a metre of the white stuff came down in time for the New Year’s holidays. Snow fell at a steady rate all season in Zermatt and kept conditions perfect for skiers and boarders. At just shy of 4 metres so far this season, it’s a vast improvement on recent years for the chic Swiss resort.
 

St Anton

Poor poor Austria. It’s struggled for snow this year and its flagship resort didn’t help bring up its snowy status. There was a severe lack of snow before Christmas with just 30cm falling before the New Year in St Anton.
With the rest of the European resorts benefitting from heavy February snowfall, Austrian resorts waited patiently across the border but unfortunately this season, it just didn’t happen for St Anton.
The picture sounds worse than it was, there was enough snowfall to cover the resort and a late flurry in March made for some excellent spring skiing conditions but so far this season, St Anton’s total snowfall sits at a disappointing 270cm compared with 425cm last year.
 
So there you have it. An on and off season across the board. But despite any weeks with little or no snow, everyone seems even MORE excited to be skiing this year. We’ve had some excellent feedback from all resorts, proving that skiing and snowboarding is just as infectious as ever. We’ve certainly all still got the bug!
 
 

Click here for more info on the latest snow: PowderChasers

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Snow Festival Season

Snow Festivals | Skiworld Blog
 
Some die hard skiers love nothing more than layering up in as many thermals as they can squeeze into, strapping on a face mask and slipping on sheepskin lined gore-text uber mittens before heading out skiing in the deepest winter months… But for some, a ski holiday is just as much about the sunshine and long afternoons in the alpenglow as it is about being cold and up to your eyeballs in snow! Here are some great festivals that are taking place in the Alps in the coming weeks so you can make the most of your spring ski trip.
 

Altitude Comedy Festival, Mayrhofen, 31 March-4 April

Normally it’s the legs which ache after a ski holiday, but Altitude makes sure your stomach muscles get a good work out with the level of comedy they bring to the slopes. Based in Mayrhofen it boasts some of the biggest names on the comedy circuit including John Bishop, Al Murray, Tommy Tiernan and Terry Alderton appearing this season.
 
There’s a multitude of shows available throughout the week from apres ski, stand up and even musical comedy which when mixed with the famous Austrian party vibe guarantee memories made off the slopes are just as memorable as on the slopes.
 
“Laugh until you cry with the best comedians – there’s no better way to get over a hard day on the slopes than the distraction of the funniest stories told with perfect timing.” – SH
 
 

Zermatt Unplugged, Zermatt, 8-12 April

Described as “a meeting point for fans of unadulterated sounds” with a slightly more ‘adult’ feel this is a festival with an acoustic/jazz theme, played in amazing venues in both the town centre and on the mountain. There is a sophisticated feel to the line up with musicians including Tom Odell, Katie Melua, Mick Hucknall and Jamie Cullum featuring in 2014, plus the New Talents stage gives up and coming bands exposure to an international audience.
 
“…listening to amazing music with the sun setting over the Matterhorn after a whole days skiing in Zermatt, cant really beat that! ” – Oli DLV
 
 

The Brits, Tignes, 29 Mar-5 Apr

Going 25 years strong The Brits is the original winter festival and clearly doing something right with the crowds that return year after year. Calling a world-famous resort its home means the ultimate combination of skiing and off-piste entertainment with a lineup for this season including Tek One, Starsky, Sunset, The Dominos, DJs TonyB, Lukey P and Demo Mode.
 
There’s also a strong emphasis on skiing and snowboarding since The Brits hosts the annual British Snowboard and Freeski Championships, as well as freestyle demonstrations from the best UK boarders and skiers. Following up from the success of the games in Sochi this is likely to draw in big numbers.
 
Snow festivals offer a new experience to dance and sing on the snow instead of the grass! And great scenery!” – CH
 
 

Snowbombing, Mayrhofen, 7-12 April

Snowbombing is a festival of fun filled days and nights, melding into one crazy week on the slopes. It’s one of the biggest and for good reason – on the bill this year are The Prodigy, Chase and Status, The Chemical Brothers, Groove Armada and Carl Cox amongst others.
 
There’s a full roster of activities throughout the week, so whether it’s spending time on the slopes working on the goggle tan and enjoying the breath-taking ski area or donning a fancy dress ensemble for the Lederhosen Street Party there’s no dull moments to report.
 
“My two favourite things in life are snowboarding and music festivals, so I couldn’t think of a better combination… snowboarding all day with the sun shining followed by partying all night to the best DJs…” Nicky
 
 

get to the alps asap by calling Skiworld on 08444 930 430 now!

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Family fun in the snow

Family Ski Holidays with Skiworld
 
Your annual ski holiday can be the highlight of the year. A wintery retreat away with your partner, friends, workmates…but how about the children? It can be a daunting prospect to think about swapping your ‘first lift’ morning dash and après afternoons with ski school planning and snowman building competitions but is that really such a bad thing? We think sharing your passion for the piste with your little ones might be the best decision you’ve ever made and here’s just a few reasons why:
 
Pass it on – If you love skiing, chances are your children will too! Everyone remembers their first few ski trips and how fun it was so why not give your little ones the chance to master the snow plough and get their very first goggle tan to show off in the playground.
 
The next James ‘Woodsy’ Woods or Jenny Jones – With so much excitement surrounding British snow sports right now, there’s no better time to introduce your little ones to the mountains; we all have to start somewhere and who knows, you might have a future superstar under your roof!
 
Child friendly chalets – It’s easy to associate chalet holidays with good food and boozy evenings but many Skiworld chalets come with bunk beds, connecting rooms and offer high tea and games to make the youngsters feel just as welcome.
 
Deals! – Depending on how old your kids are, they can enjoy everything from free lift passes to discounted chalet places depending on what time of year it is so don’t rule out taking the whole family away because of price; it may be a lot cheaper than you think.
 
If they don’t like skiing, that’s fine too! – Whether it be hot chocolate drinking, snowman building, sledge riding or snow angel making, a family ski holiday can be a great chance to introduce your children to all the excitement a ski resort can bring.
 
Taking the children away for the first time may not exactly be skiing as you know it but it could be the start of something pretty special. Many resorts have child friendly development areas on the piste and specialist ski schools so you know your little ones will be in safe hands. And you never know, give it a couple of years and they could be the ones shouting at you to keep up!
 
 

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Blog Competition

enter to win prizes
 

Skiworld Competition – How to Look Good on the Slopes

 
Calling all powder-hounds! If you’re planning a (or another) ski trip this year, or you just fancy upgrading your skiwear steez then take a look below, as we have a competition that may perfect for you!
 
We’ve collaborated with blogger network ‘The Bloggers’ Lounge’ to offer the chance to win an awesome Salomon hoodie – worth £50! What’s more, the selected winner will also be featured both on our blog and on the Bloggers’ Lounge website.
…Interested?
 
How to Enter
We want to know how you’s style yourself for a day on the mountain and why. What would you wear? What other bits would you accesorise your look with? And also your ideal choice of skis or board… TELL US ABOUT YOUR PERFECT SKIING STEEZ!
 
Be creative! Written descriptions should be no more than 300 words. How about creating a mood board of all the things you’d wear and use with captions to boot? It’s up to you! Post your submission on your blog – you MUST mention Skiworld to be eligible – and email a link to your entry to luke@bloggers-lounge.co.uk
 
Also, if you’re Tweeting about your competition entry, don’t forget to mention @ski_world and @Blogger_Lounge, and include the hashtag #SkiworldStyle.
 
Entries close on the 26th March so you’d better get your skis on!
 
 
Terms and Conditions
The competition opens on Wednesday the 26th of February and closes on Wednesday the 26th of March.
Skiworld and The Bloggers’ Lounge will be judging the winners. A winner will be selected on the basis of the quality and content of their post.
The winner will be awarded a Salomon hoodie will be contacted within a week of the closing date via email. The prize must be claimed within 10 days of notification.
This competition is closed to relatives of those at the Bloggers’ Lounge and Skiworld.
No purchase necessary.

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Ski the USA this Spring


 
With some outstanding recent snowfall across the continent creating some excellent skiing conditions, there’s no better time to head over to North America for your annual ski trip. Whilst European resorts are undoubtedly enjoying another good season, there’s something about the urge of skiing stateside that shouldn’t be fought. It’s not only the snow that sets high standards; levels of hotel service, dining and aprèsoptions, activities for non-skiers and also city stop-over options make ski destinations in North America the choice of the discerning traveller.
 
The pound has had somewhat of a renaissance against the dollar recently, meaning you’ll get some of the best value in 3 years with your exchanged currency. Furthermore, food and beverage prices tend to be a lot lower in resort and on-mountain than many European resorts. A lift pass in most top resorts like Vail, Aspen or Banff will give you access to multiple mountains at no extra cost, and travel to and from in many cases. Of the ‘big resorts’, it’s only Whistler that doesn’t, but with over 8,170 acres, why would need any more! So, if you can stick out the longer flight (and let’s face it you’ll be travelling all day even if you go to Europe) you’ll be well set for an experience on a North American ski holiday that you will NOT want to end!
 
Our product executive Brendan Croft lets you in on what he’s been daydreaming about for years…
 
When heading off skiing each year I find it‘s just as much fun planning the destination as actually being there. I’ve spent a lot of time skiing in North America and although European resorts are certainly starting to stack up on my list, I tend to look stateside first when I’m planning a trip. A little while ago I wrote down all the resorts I wanted to ski next and have been spending time crossing them off. Places like Aspen, Vail, St Anton and Zermatt all feature in the top 10 and as I’ve crossed them off, #1 has always eluded me.
 
California has always been a favourite destination of mine. When I say California, people always think Hollywood, Disneyland, sun and beaches; not really skiing. But for me, Lake Tahoe is the place I long to go to most. I think it is the appeal of carving down runs that look like they finish in a huge lake and the really laid back vibe where everyone treats you like a local! There’s so many resorts to choose from around the lake (7 of them are on the same lift pass), and with a rental car you can explore them all. A drive round the lake only takes about 90 minutes, so the proximity of the resorts to each other is so convenient for a tourist looking to make the most out of a trip. I’ve spent long enough watching snow reports and videos of amazing powder, perfect conditions and the ideal blend of sunshine and snow… It’s high time I got a slice for myself!
 
Next week I am finally heading out to fulfill my lifelong dream and ski in the Golden State. To be honest I have been a little apprehensive over the last month as the Sierra Nevada mountain range has been very dry, warm and sunny. This all changed last week however, with the classic California storms that generally hit in November finally arriving. Better late than never I say! What was looking a little desperate snow-wise has now transformed into a mecca of fluffy snow… Paradise!
 
The other great thing about California as a ski destination is that it offers so much else other than just snow sports. My significant other doesn’t really share the same passion and excitement for the slopes as I do, and while she can snowboard (and enjoys it) it generally isn’t her first choice for a holiday. California ticks all her boxes. While I’m skiing the mountains I’ve been dreaming about around Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain, we will also be checking out the famed Napa valley wine country and San Francisco with a little bit of Las Vegas (a day’s drive away into Nevada) thrown in for good measure.
 

Skiing in Heavenly

Skiers survey the perfect snow and breathtaking views from Heavenly Mountain, California


 
 

Sample some North American skiing for yourself!

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An EPIC trip to St Anton

Katie wins an EPIC ski holiday
 
As our EPIC competition winner KATIE STEVENSON found out; one week in a ski resort is simply not enough! (Lucky for her, she won TWO ski holidays in our competition!) Here’s her story…
 
Opening an email on a Tuesday morning in early November the last thing I expected to find out was that I was the winner of Ski World’s Epic Ski Holiday Competition. I wasn’t too sure of exactly what I had won and had to double check the Facebook page and Skiworld.co.uk several times in order to be sure that the grand prize was actually not just one but TWO ski holidays.
 
It took several days for the reality of the prize to sink in. Not just one ski holiday, but two, and for two people! Ironically I was working in a ski resort pre-ski season and doubted that I would be able to go skiing at all this year… But now I had won a competition that would allow me and my boyfriend to ski in some of the top ski resorts in both Europe and the USA, with an Epic season pass for Vail resorts thrown in for good measure!
 
Although I have spent plenty of time working in ski resorts during two seasons in France doing almost every job possible I have never had the opportunity to be a guest in a chalet. So I was supremely excited to spend an epic week in Chalet Gretl in St Anton last week. Luckily the Epic pass gave us five free days of skiing in St Anton too!
 

Chalet Gretl, complete with Alice the host


Chalet Gretl is a beautifully modern chalet and our chalet host Alice only added to the experience. Her exquisite cooking filled our hungry bellies every evening as we chatted with the other guests around the table. Staying in a chalet is always an exciting experience as you are never quite sure who the other guests are going to be. Our co-guests were as good as you could wish for. An Irish couple and their brother who had perfect comedy timing kept the laughs flowing as much as the wine. Andy and Juliette kept everyone entertained with their outrageous stories of travelling and we discussed everything from the slopes of the day, to middle child syndrome.
 

The meat eating contest


Unfortunately our rep Lee was ill for the first few days but he quickly bounced back and popped up to make sure everything was going as epically well as it could for us. He kindly booked us into the Rodelstall for an evening meal when our lovely host Alice had the evening off. After a slow ascent in a piste basher, a meat eating contest followed – with the males trying their best to score the most ‘man points’ possible by eating the most pig knuckle (pig shin for the less squeamish, basically a huge hunk of meat on the bone, really great if you are vegetarian – I am). Following a quick dance to the German versions of the latest pop hits played on a keyboard by a man in lederhosen it was time to jump on a toboggan and race down a beautiful tree lined run with the stars shining brightly overhead.
 
The trip wasn’t just about evenings spent around the dinner table with a full wine glass, skiing was obviously the most important thing on the agenda. Every day we rose, ate a fine breakfast and headed up in the lift to hit the slopes. St Anton is simply epic for skiing, it’s a huge resort that caters for all levels, from beginners who shout abuse at their partners in frustration for taking them down a difficult slope to experts who rip up the extensive off-piste.

 

On top of the world…


 
A missed turn and accidental journey on a bus led us by mistake to the smaller and quieter ski area of Zurs on what turned out to be the most epic day of the week. The sun was shining, there was fresh powder, and to top it all off, the slopes were deserted. What a day! On studying the piste map, we realised that we could catch the bus to Lech and then ski back to Zurs, cruise some more slopes and then take another bus, and ski back into the centre of St Anton never retracing our steps. An average ski day was turned into an epic adventure of discovering alternative places to have coffee, carving down new pistes, seeing different resorts and most importantly managing to end up at our favourite après spot the Mooservirt.
 
St Anton is probably as famous if not more for après than skiing. Even stopping for ‘just one drink’ at the Krazy Kangaruh, Taps or the Mooservirt will encourage the most reluctant of partyers to ditch their skis and join in the crazy fun; singing along to the cheesy Austrian pop music, drinking Jagerbombs and making best friends whilst dancing with your table neighbours. Bumping into your co-chalet guests just makes the evening even more fun – Andy makes friends with everyone, Val dances like mad and to top it all off, our chalet neighbours brought their nine month old baby Freddie – probably the biggest-smallest party animal there! Unfortunately a few too many drinks for us led to very sore heads the next day haha. One tip – don’t forget your ski gloves at the Moosewirt and then climb back up the piste to fetch them – it’s probably better to just grab a taxi or buy some new ones.

The legendary Mooserwirt!


 
Finding one word to sum up this trip isn’t easy.
 
1. Excellent – the service, the food, the chalet, the snow…
2. Exciting – it was but it’s not enough,
3. Exhilarating – skiing all day
4. Eventful – partying all afternoon
5. Entertaining – with Irish in your chalet, obvious
 
There’s only one word left: EPIC – epic chalet, epic snow, epic après, epic guests! EPIC SKI WORLD!
 
All that is left to say is thanks for this EPIC experience Ski World! I wish we could have stayed for the whole season and cannot wait for our next Epic Adventure to Breckenridge and Vail in March!

Katie. She felt EPIC!


 
 

click here if you want your own epic adventure in St Anton

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Great British Skiing Hope!

One British freestyle skiing star; Edinburgh born Murray Buchan is preparing for his first Olympics after taking up skiing at his local dry slope at just 8 years old. Skiworld caught up with the talented young Scot to see how he got into the sport and what he’s looking forward to in Russia.”
 
Great Britain is taking its biggest ever team to The Winter Olympics this year, ready to hijack the medal tables with young British talent. Hoping to rival their current best of 4 medals at the inaugural games in Chamonix in 1924, 2014 is going to be a big year for British winter sports.
 
Freestyle skiing is set to be one of the most popular events in Sochi with the snowy gymnastics display a real crowd pleaser and thankfully for us, an event where Great Britain’s got a few medal hopefuls. It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the UK and with dry slopes and indoor snow centres across the country producing some world class athletes, it’s easy to see why there’s talk of silverware (or maybe even gold-ware!) in Sochi.
 
 

Olympic skier Murray Buchan (photo credit Nick Atkins)


 

The Interview…

 
So Murray, how did you get into freestyle skiing? – “I first started skiing about 8 or 9. My Mum and Dad got the whole family into it so we could do something together. I remember getting totally hooked the first time I went over a jump aged 9. From then I spent all my free time at Hillend ski area in Edinburgh.”
 
What’s your favourite ski resort and why? – “I first went on a ski holiday aged 9 to Les Arcs with my family. I remember that being pretty amazing at the time, but I’d have to say my favourite resort is either Cardrona in New Zealand when the weather’s good, or Breckenridge, Colorado because the park is so incredible.”
 
Do you have any heroes? – “First I would have to say my Dad. He’s done so much for my career and gave me the opportunity to have all these experiences in my career. I wouldn’t be doing this without him. Specifically skiing though, I’d say Jon Olsson, even though he’s an alpine skier now and it kind of takes the shine off! He was an inspiration when I was growing up. Definitely the one to watch in the park and try to emulate as a kid.”
 
What would be your perfect first date? – “First date? Wow. Well I guess I’m not really a fan of the cinema or something like that because it’s not very sociable and you’re just sat there. So how about a trip to the zoo? Yeah, and then a nice lunch somewhere and a coffee.”
 
If you had the choice would you rather have been a Ghostbuster or an Olympic Skier? – “Now THAT is a tough question. Well I wouldn’t get to travel around the world as a Ghostbuster but it would be cool. I’ve not actually been an ‘Olympic’ skier yet, but I think as it’s something I’ve been working towards for so long I’ll have to put Ghostbuster’s on the to-do list and be a skier.”
 
What do you do to keep in shape? – “I’ve been training in the gym and in the pool a lot recently, but I spend a lot of time on the trampoline practicing tricks. Diving at the Commonwealth pool in Edinburgh has been great for spatial awareness too. I’ve practiced on the 3m spring, and the 5m platform mostly… 10m is pretty daunting!”
 
How do you motivate yourself to get up and get out? – “It’s the drive to succeed. I have to do well to be able to continue doing what I love and the only way to succeed is to keep practicing and improving. I’m lucky enough to have sponsorship and funding to support me and I don’t want to lose that, so that keeps me going.”
 
Do you go through any rituals before a run? What goes through your head before dropping in? – “I get in zone by visualising my run. By the time the competition’s on I’ve practiced and hopefully perfected my run so I’ll be stood at the gate imagining myself doing the tricks. You might see me bobbing and shifting my head around while I’m stood there as I’m going through the motions in my head. Other than that, I like to have some music playing to get in the right frame of mind (my coach doesn’t though!). At the moment I’ve been listening to a bit of Chromeo – Fancy Footwork!”
 
Do you find it hard to keep up with the training in summer? – “I train all year round. As much skiing as possible. It’s the best way to train as well as some trampoline and gym sessions for strength and technique. There are always days when it’s terrible out and you just don’t want to go, but rest days are important too. If you’re tired, take a day off. Your body needs to recover and helps prevent injuries.”
 
Who is your biggest rival? – “I don’t really have a specific person, but Team GB have a friendly rivalry with the Swiss team most of the time. We’re either chasing them or they’re chasing us. It’s good for the sport. But yeah, we’re all friends so I wouldn’t really call it a rivalry.”
 
Who’s your Olympic roommate in Sochi? – “I don’t actually know yet. All the Team GB skiers and riders will be in a big house together though. There are about 30 of us in total. In fact many of us train and live together too so we’re used to each other’s company and there’s a really good team spirit. We took over four houses in Breckenridge in the early season training camp, so we’re definitely used to the camaraderie.”
 
If you had to compete in any other event besides any skiing discipline, which would it be and why? – “And I can’t snowboard either? Hmm. Well I guess one of the sliding events. Probably the skeleton. It’s super-fast and the fear factor is really appealing to me. The scarier the better.”
 
Who (other than yourself obviously!) is your top pick for gold in the half pipe in Sochi? – “For me, and maybe the bookies too, David Wise, the American is a good pick for the gold medal. He’s a great skier. Justin Dorey the Canadian is a close second.”
 
Let’s say you just had the run of your life in the half pipe final in Sochi. The announcement and scores come up and YOU’VE WON GOLD! How do you celebrate? – “Well… I probably can’t let you write what I’d actually do, but let’s just say it would definitely be a party that lasted a few days!”
 
And if you could invite three people, dead or alive to help you party… who would that be? - “On the spot. Hmmm. I’d have to say Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali and Marilyn Monroe. I think those 3 would definitely know how to celebrate” [Good choices on the spot! - Ed]
 
Well there you have it. An incredibly humble and committed young man. He likes zoos and high dives, would party with Marilyn Monroe while listening to Chromeo and if skiing was off the cards he’d either be Ghost-busting or hammering down the skeleton run! We hope you’ll all join us in wishing Murray all the luck for his Olympic campaign. Bring back the gold big man!
 

 
 

wave your flags and support Murray and our other Olympians in Sochi!

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A Good Year For Snow


 

“This year is not a good year for snow.”… I actually have to disagree.
 
For me, working for a tour operator, the conditions have been perfect.
 
At this time last season, it had started snowing at the start of December, and didn’t really stop until mid-February. We had about a 1.5m base and it kept coming down. It was deemed the best snow season in recent memory… It was certainly the most…
 
This year, it snowed very early, and there’s only been sporadic falls since late October. But the ski slopes are not only holding up well; above 1600m the conditions are exceptional. In my mind it has been snowing enough, but not too much that it affects normal operations. It’s coming down in regular and measured amounts. It’s just the right mix of enough but not too much.
 
The temperature in Bourg St Maurice where our overseas office is, it’s above freezing which means the ideal conditions for a tour operator. We have fantastic conditions for skiing which keep all of our guests happy, but we also have fantastic conditions for logistics too, so there have been no problems (except for traffic during peak season, with basically what felt like the whole of Belgium and Holland driving home on the weekend) in transferring our clients to and from airports. Plus our suppliers haven’t had problems delivering the fresh food (and wine!) to our chalets dotted around the Alps.
 
Before mid to late Jan normally I don’t get much chance to ski, and this year has been no different with today being the 2nd foray onto the slopes this season. I had looked at the weather forecast last week (and don’t normally believe it so far in advance) and I was hopeful, for once, that it was correct. It was forecast to be a bluebird day. It wasn’t UK/French/Belgian/Dutch or any other holiday so the slopes would be empty. My 11 year old favourite skis had been serviced and ready to go. It was the perfect storm.
 
Surely something would go wrong?
 
So waking up in the morning to see clear blue skies, complimenting the snowfall over the last few days there was only so long I could spend in the office before being drawn towards the slopes. Two minutes past midday… That was it… Only one thing for it… Aim for the 12.20 Funicular.
 
These conditions don’t come along too often.
 

The first chairlift up showed promise – glorious sunshine with crystal clear clarity. It was like looking at a brand new world which hadn’t been used before – or, I suppose, the more modern simile would be watching a Blueray rather than a Betamax? OK… Maybe not too modern!
 
The skis felt nice, slippery and sharp. I bought these in 2004, when they were cutting edge. They were stored away in my cupboard from 2006 to 2013 when I serviced them and took them for a blast round the mountain, just for a laugh. I haven’t used anything else since.
 
“Dear Salomon… Re-introduce these into your line-up! They are not skis, they are toys, and I’ve not found anything better for all mountain use. Kind regards, Paul
 
From the very first chair lift the day got better and better because it soon became clear that except for a couple of hot spots, the slopes were empty. This is what I call “Millionaire Skiing” – when there are no queues for the lifts, no ESF ski schools and you can use the whole width of the slopes, maybe throwing a bit of reckless speed into the mix.
 

Without a doubt the skiing right now is top notch with some amazing conditions to be enjoyed. Sure, it got a bit rocky down at the bottom of Vallandry, but stay above 1600m and the snow is sublime.
 
Oh, and the views are to die for… Happy Skiing!
 
 
 
Paul Kay, Skiworld
 
 
 
 
 
 

click here if you like the sound of skiing in Les Arcs right now

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