Why we love La Plagne

This post was first published on October 17, 2016. We’ve updated it to tell you more about how the Mountain Flower chalets have been received.

 

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 and last season we were thrilled to introduce seven brand new Superior (4+ and 5*) chalets to our already extensive collection, dubbed the ‘Mountain Flower’ chalets. In keeping with tradition, each was 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 following your feedback throughout the season. 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.

 

Find out more about each of the Mountain Flower chalets by clicking the links below:

 

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?

 

If you’re interested in a La Plagne ski holiday, click here to see our latest deals!

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Diaries of a Snow-Camp Apprentice

Snow-camp trip to Tignes 2017

 

Written by Aimee Hudgell,

Skiworld’s apprentice from the charity Snow-Camp, who recently spent a week in Tignes working at the Delancy British Ski and Snowboard Championships.

 

Monday 27th– On arrival after a long day of travelling, I was tired with excitement. I haven’t been on many holidays abroad, especially away from my family. The chalet was beautiful and had everything to fulfill our needs. The living area was placed towards the back of the chalet with a balcony, which displayed an amazing view of the mountains and racing track for the skiers. I was a little nervous as I had no idea what kind of day to expect in the morning. I just knew it was going to be exhilarating.

 

 

Tuesday 28th– On the first day we rose early at 6:30am to be ready on the slope for 08:00 after collecting our ski equipment, all of the Delancey team were super friendly and welcoming. I normally feel really anxious when I’m around people I haven’t met before. Instantly I was relaxed and enthusiastic about the day ahead of me.

 

Me and Lewis (Fellow Snow-Camp apprentice) were asked to go to the top of the race track to help out at the top, on the way up, again I began to feel really nervous but soon came to realize what an experience this week will be for me. James explained I was going to be helping the team put flags out, check the racers were in the correct order, had the correct numbered bibs, and also mark them off the list as they went down.

 

What a fab day it had ended up being? When we had all finished work, we got on a train to the top of the mountain, and then a Gondola to the top of the Grande Motte (which btw is 3032m high)!! It was out of this world up there, I was scared to ski down as the slopes were so steep and bumpy, but I persevered and had a blast conquering what is now my lifetime favorite run. By this time I was feeling mind blown, Italy and Austria had nothing on Tignes especially because I was with the team! Can I live here forever please?

 

Snow-Camp trip to Tignes Group Photos

 

Wednesday 29th– It is swap over day, which means myself and Hamza (Fellow Snow-Camp Apprentice) will be at the bottom of the slope today helping to post the finishing times for all to see. At first this was a little daunting as the speaker was difficult to hear above all the noise from the chatty crowd. I soon adapted and was careful not to write any of the times down incorrectly.

 

The day was incredibly busy but I experienced firsthand how excited and nervous the racers are before their race, how supportive they are towards each other even though they are in competition and how lucky I am to have experienced this. I mean it’s not every day you get an opportunity to work in Tignes (France) with the Delancey British Ski and Snowboard Championships.

 

During the evening we dined at the La Pignatta restaurant with the Delancey team, Sir John Ritblat and Lady Ritblat were also attending. I’m not quite sure what the main course was, Pork with vegetables in a pot with what looked like cheese and mash as a side. I can tell you for sure it definitely wasn’t potato mash, or cheese, but it wasn’t for me and so I won’t be having it again. However, the pork and vegetables were delicious.

 

Snow-Camp Trip to Tignes Racing Photos

 

Thursday 30th– Day 4, I cannot believe it’s Thursday (one of the busiest days of the week).

Honestly, I have no idea where the days have gone! It feels like I only arrived yesterday and yet I’ll sadly be leaving in two days. I have had my first interview with the BBC today, well my first interview on camera in fact. I have always been so held back and reserved; I’ve never liked being center of attention and try to avoid it at all costs. It just makes me feel uncomfortable, but after the week I’ve had I was more than happy to speak to Mike (BBC Interviewer). As everyone does, when the interview had finished I had thought of many more things that could have been said but I’m still happy with how it went and was just thankful that I didn’t swallow my tongue.

 

After another day on the mountain, I am getting ready to go to the Delancey Cocktail party held at the Les Suites Du Nevada Hotel and Spa. Gavin (Snow-Camp Program Manager) and Dan (Snow-Camp Founder/Director) told us there will be a massive Saint Bernard called Igloo! I adore dogs, they are such loving, loyal animals and they don’t receive enough in return from us Humans. Word has it; Prince Edward will be there too! How exciting?

 

What a pleasure it was too meet Prince Edward, I previously imagined finding it hard to speak to him as we come from different back grounds but it was in fact the complete opposite. There was an easy flow of conversation between us all (proves you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover). Prince Edward was also interested in hearing about Snow-Camp and we managed to give him a leaflet to read and take home detailing the support Snow-Camp provides for young people across London. This gave me a certain joy because if Snow-Camp didn’t exist I wouldn’t have been standing there speaking to him about my recent mountain experiences.

 

 

Friday 31stWell isn’t Tignes just fabulous, the whole atmosphere is magical. I’m sad to know we’ll be on our journey home tomorrow, but I still have one more whole day to make the absolute most of it.

 

For the first few hours of my day will be myself and Laquan (Fellow Snow-Camp apprentice) writing down the timings for our last time, followed with prize giving to the racers. It was wonderful seeing their faces light up when they were given their trophies and medals.

 

We enjoyed the weather by having a well earnt afternoon ski with Jack Gower, one of the racers we became really good friends with. We finished our afternoon by trying our first ski cross track and Jack was really encouraging as I wasn’t feeling confident about doing it, but it was so enjoyable I wanted to do it again. There were six rollers in a row which was my favorite part of the whole track. It has been an amazing day, but time to head back to the chalet and have a nice relaxing evening of pizza and films.

 

Snow-Camp Tignes Trip Hotel

 

Saturday 1stDay 6, time to go home unfortunately, such a shame we can’t all stay for another week. Tignes has by far been my favorite holiday, for more than one reason. I’m proud of myself and the others, to have worked hard over the last year during my apprenticeship with Snow-camp to of earnt this opportunity and also grateful to Jamie Ritblat and Snow-Camp making it happen. My personality, self-esteem and confidence have grown so much during this time and I realised it a lot this week. If I think back to myself, this time last year, I would have been really nervous to speak to the BBC or be at the top of the slope working with people I didn’t know. It was a really eye opening week for me, I met incredible people and I learnt so much more about the snow sports industry. I’m so thankful for the week and was sad to say good bye to the Delancey team and everyone else I spent the week with.

 

 

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How to Ski: Ski Tips for Beginners

 

 

Learning how to ski can seem quite daunting to the beginner, among all the thrills, so we have a few skiing tips for novices to take with you to the slopes, because even the Olympic slalom champ had to start somewhere. It’s worth taking time to read such advice in order to master a wonderful sport that will take you to some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes.

 

Ski tips for beginners

 

  1. Pick a resort that caters for novices.

Look for a place with lots of green (complete beginner) and blue (beginner/intermediate) slopes. La Rosière in France has an excellent reputation for helping those new to skiing, with its many welcoming green and blue runs totaling some 160km in length. Also in France, Val d’Isère attracts thousands of families to its 300km of high-altitude slopes, and Val Thorens offers a snow guarantee, as part of a 600km Three Valleys ski area perfect for novices. Check out St Anton in Austria – and Méribel and La Plagne (with its lovely blue runs and easily reached slopes) in France, too.

 

For our last-minute ski deals and beginners’ resorts:  www.skiworld.co.uk/ski-holidays/beginner

 

  1. Insuring you have a good time

Before you even leave home, you must have the proper travel insurance to cover all your skiing activities (for example, off-piste, heli-skiing or snowboarding). You’ll need the standard package to cover illness, lost luggage and any medical expenses, but extra winter sports cover is essential. Make sure that every day of your trip is covered and that the insurance is tailored to your level of ability. Always carry your insurance documents with an emergency contact number on you.

 

 

  1. Make a checklist of what you’ll need

When packing for the trip, make sure you have your insurance and travel documents, the local currency (enough for the first two days) and your passport. Lip balm with UVA/UVB and sun cream are essential as the reflecting snow intensifies the rays. You’ll also need goggles (you can’t always rent these), sunglasses, a ski jacket, ski pants, sturdy walking boots, thermal underwear, several pairs of ski socks, a hat, gloves and scarf. Think layers. You’ll depend upon a small backpack to bring to the slopes – fill it with a water bottle, spare goggles, tissues, plasters and an energy bar. Hire your ski equipment on your first trip, but if you’re bringing your own gear, find out what the surcharge is from the airline for your wheeled ski bag.

 

  1. Find a good tutor

You’ll no doubt feel a little frustration when on skis for the first time, so it’s best to put your faith in a professional instructor, rather than a loved one. A trained professional will have taught hundreds of beginners like you, so it will be money well spent and you’ll be in very safe hands. Enquire about package deals via MySkiworld, so you can save money on the lessons, the skiwear rentals and the lift pass.

 

 

  1. Pick the right skis

If you are hiring these at the resort, you’ll receive all the help you need, but you may have your own skis or a borrowed pair. Beginners should pick short, wide, flexible versions when learning how to ski. Check the underside has no deep holes and scratches – the tops will get scratched anyway as you’ll cross your skis. It’s preferable, therefore, to hire them on the slopes; ask the staff how you should carry them.

 

 

  1. Every beginner needs good boots

It will take a while to get used to the feel of them, but try not to go for a looser pair immediately; they’ll soon be comfy. Bend your knees and lift each heel off the ground in turn. If there is any slip when you plant your heels and then your toes on the floor, you will need to try on another pair, for your foot controls your ski and can’t be shifting even a few millimeters inside your boot. This will result in soreness at the end of your day of skiing, as your muscles overcompensate for your foot’s sliding. Just be sore from smiling.

 

  1. Stick to the right terrain

Most skiers seek out the powdery snow as it’s thrilling to ski through and soft to fall into, but beginners will find themselves getting stuck in its heavy fluffiness. The novice should stick to terrain with consistent pitch and surface that has been prepared for them to practice their technique on, before enjoying the deep powder.

 

 

  1. Putting your skis on

First of all, find a flat area in the beginners’ area, where you can concentrate on getting ready to enjoy skiing. Set down your skis parallel to one another across the slope. Checking each boot is clear of snow, slip your toe into the front of the binding and then kick your heel backwards into it; there should be a click once secure. Use your ski poles or a friend to help you balance.

 

  1. Make sure your knees bend and go slowly

With your helmet on, make sure you are leaning forwards as you set off. Your balance will increase if you flex your knees, since it forces you to lean forward and keep control of your skis. Slide them so that your weight is on the one that is gliding forward as if rollerblading or skating. Take it slowly.

 

  1. Look 10ft ahead, not at your feet

When you first put on your skis, the temptation will be to look down at them to ensure they don’t touch, but you must look ahead for any skiers or drop-off ahead of you. If you keep your eyes 10ft in front of the ski tips, you will be able to glimpse your skis as well as your immediate terrain.

 

  1. Practice stopping and turning

These two techniques are vital to your safety when learning how to ski. When you have found a flat surface, plant your skis in a V position (the snow plough), with the tips touching and the backs apart. If you put more weight on one leg when performing the snow plough, you will begin to turn.

 

 

 

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The Best Places to Eat Lunch in the Alps

 

 

With 35 years in the ski industry and having employed thousands of seasonaires over the years, who have spent literally millions of hours on the slopes, we’ve managed to build up some pretty comprehensive knowledge of where is best to eat in the Alps.

 

After much debate we narrowed our favourites into a top five… taking into consideration the food (obviously), ambiance, location/views and even the journey to the restaurant. We’ve included a decent range of culinary destinations from the well-known to darn right obscure.

 

This isn’t in any order of preference… more of a recommendation to add all to your bucket list.

 

 

Floor to ceiling windows in the restaurant

 

Albergo Maison De Neige – La Thuile, Espace San Bernardo

You can find this restaurant in the largely untapped resort of La Thuile, Italy on the other side of the mountain from La Rosiere (both resorts make the Espace San Bernardo area). When you choose to eat at Albergo Maison De Neige you’ll soon discover that your experience starts before you even get there. At the point of booking they’ll arrange a unique pick up service for you… from the piste, they’ll tow you to the restaurant behind a snow mobile or piste basher.

 

Unique tow to the restaturant

 

Once there you’ll immediately appreciate the stunning views on offer (both from the veranda and restaurant which has floor to ceiling windows) both areas look over the Col De Petit Saint Bernard. The kitchen serves fantastic Italian dishes which are complimented by a comprehensive wine list. They pride themselves on fresh seafood dishes and the salmon carpaccio starter and pappardelle (broad pasta) with lobster are two of the best… although it’s not easy to say no to the roasted beef fillet after a tough morning skiing.

This is a wonderfully secluded part of the Alps and a great place to relax. The Albergo Maison De Neige is a small four star hotel so you could stay there overnight and do some snow shoeing on the wild side of Mont Blanc.

 

http://hotelmaisondeneige.it/restaurant_winter.html

 

 

A unique veranda - perfect place to let your food go down

 

Das Bergrestaurant Muttjochle – Sonnenkopf, Arlberg

Our next place is our European Operations Manager’s favourite place in the Alps and is one of those hidden gems that you just wouldn’t naturally stumble across. It is hugely popular with locals and those in the know, nestled in the far corner of Arlberg ski area, in the resort of Sonnenkopf and as such requires a bit of effort to get to. Sonnenkopf is the only resort in the Arlberg region which is still not linked to by the new ski lifts at the beginning of this season. To get to Sonnerkopf you have to either have to drive or ski to Stuben (easily accessible from St. Anton) and get the bus across, the restaurant is at the top of the resort.

The journey is made worthwhile however as the views on offer are second to none and no matter how active you are Instagram, you’ll want to snap a few pictures here. The restaurant overlooks the Austrian National Parks which look incredible, especially covered in a white blanket of snow. You can eat on the restaurant’s veranda or have drinks and chill out in one of the many deck chairs available.

 

 

Something which enhances this restaurant is the quality of skiing in the area. If you like your powder skiing then you have to head over to this part of the Arlberg, it has plenty of ski routes and the powder skiing in-between runs is the best in the area.

 

This place is so under the radar that it doesn’t have a website and the only digital footprint we could find was its location on Google Maps >

 

 

 

La Fruitiere – La Daille (Val d’Isere), Espace Killy

La Fruitiere is an über chic venue located in the Folie Deuce in Val d’Isere. It produces a high class dining experience with a menu which has taken local ingredients and regional classics and raised them to another level.  For sheer indulgence, it takes some beating with classics such as foie gras, duck confit and beef tartare as well as a few foreign invaders like their Iberian bellota ham, squid-ink linguine and posh fish and chips. Equally if you’re just looking for a light lunch then there’s always oysters and champagne.

However it is not just the food coma which will make it hard for you to leave. To say the drinks menu is enticing is simply an understatement; they stock pretty much every big name wine from France, ranging from the big reds of Bordeaux and Burgundy to the fruity Sancerre’s and crisp Poilly Fumés of the Loire valley.

After eating here your skiing for the day is over, and if the food doesn’t get you then the booze will… in this eventuality you can take a bubble lift back to La Daille. That is providing you manage to avoid getting sucked into the entertainment emanating out of The Folie Douce… which may seem less weird after a couple of bottles of Margaux.

 

http://www.lafoliedouce.com/en/folie-douce-spots/val-d-isere-tignes-en.html

 

 

Sunny benches...

 

L’Armailly – Le Brevières (Tignes), Espace Killy

Located at the bottom of one of the best mogul runs in the world (the mighty Sache), L’Armailly offers the perfect place to stop and refuel. It is particularly good for groups as it has a lively atmosphere with long tables on the sunny terraces outside or cosy benches inside.

This is the place that you go to for good food with minimal fuss, there’s nothing too fancy here just hearty food that hits the spot for a group of hungry skiers. On their menu you can find a range of top notch pizzas or for meat lovers they have La Braserade (a grill where you cook thin strips of beef)… a great option for groups and a bit of fun too. They also have Raclette and fondue which fits the same bill. If you’re not up for sharing, they have a range of tasty dishes from popular options like the grilled ribs of Aberdeen Angus beef to the more adventurous, lamb sweetbreads. For those with a sweet tooth they have the classics including tart tatin, crème brulee, tiramisu and French chocolate pud.

 

...Cosy long tables inside

 

This restaurant is as well known for its wine cellar as its food and atmosphere. Alternatively you can book a discovery experience which includes wine and accompanying meat and cheese if you are looking for a more refined experience here.

 

http://armailly.com/Restaurant-UK.html

 

 

Unassuming outside - great food inside

 

Chateau Branlant – Courmayeur, Aosta Valley

Our guys in Chamonix heard of this restaurant’s reputation and made the journey across to Courmayeur with a mountain guide. It’s a world famous off piste route from the top of the Aguj de Midi (France) down into Italy.

This one is one for the foodies, with a completely unassuming exterior you could easily mistake this restaurant for a rundown alpine bar… but as every foodie knows, it’s what comes out of the kitchen that counts and this place really delivers. The reports from our staff is that this is the place to get the best Italian pasta. Being Italian they are incredibly passionate about food they produce and wish to ensure that you have the most enjoyable experience possible. They offer a series of set menus options, currently there are 10 different options… so you’ll hardly be stifled for variety. Aside from some great pasta dishes (such as pappardelle with game or speck ragu, leeks and soft cheese or ravioli with cheese fondue, butter and marjoram to name but two) there are a number of risotto dishes as well as meat and fish options (the fillet steak with chanterelles, potatoes and rosemary is worth singling out).

 

http://www.chateaubranlant.com/welcome.html

 

 

Without a shadow of a doubt we have over looked some great restaurants… if we’ve missed out your favourite place to eat, let us know why it should be in our list and we’ll look to add it.

 

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Where To Ski In April: Our Top Ten

Easter Ski Holidays

 

A couple of months into the working year, the skier’s thoughts turn to where to ski in April. The best late-season skiing results in fewer people on the runs or waiting for the lifts, warmer temperatures for young families, who want to avoid the cold, and less expense involved, with great ski deals as the resorts compete for your custom. You’ll also enjoy more time on the slopes or doing other daytime activities as the days are longer in April.

However, the decline in snow quality means that, when picking where to ski in Easter, you should choose a high-altitude spot (it’s colder the higher you go, meaning the snow lasts longer). The best Easter ski resorts will guarantee lots of the white stuff.

 

With more likelihood of warmer temperatures and clear blue sky’s it adds another element to the ski holiday; lounging on a deck chair, surrounded by stunning mountain views, sipping on a Gluvine – bliss.

 

Easter Ski Holidays

 

We have drawn up a list to guide you through the very best of late-season ski resorts. Remember always to check the snowfall records and the weather nearer the time.

Where to Ski in April?

 

  1. Zermatt, Switzerland.

This famous name always comes near the top of the best ski resorts at Easter, especially in late April, when snow is almost certainly guaranteed. There is also all-year-round skiing on the glaciers, Triftji is revered for its moguls, and the Snowmaker is of the highest quality. Only Val d’Isère/Tignes rival Zermatt for the sheer amount of Alpine high-altitude skiing on offer, but the southern Swiss resort boasts Europe’s highest ski-lifts. Best suited to intermediate/advanced skiers.

Height: 1,600-3,900m (Klein Matterhorn)

Average April temp: 2 deg C

 

  1. St Anton, Austria.

Among the very best late-season resorts, the “cradle of alpine skiing” boasts an excellent snow record, thanks to an abundance of north-facing slopes and the use of more than 50 snow machines on the south-facing runs. There are reduced prices on lift tickets during Snow Crystal Week in early and late season, and the resort is (in)famous for superb après-ski.

Height: 1,300-2,810m

Average April temp: 6 deg C

 

  1. Verbier, Switzerland.

This lauded resort has a fine record for late-season snow, although its slopes face south. The key is a strong commitment to innovative snowmaking, especially on the lower runs. There is always the Mt Fort glacier for excellent late-season snow. Split into four ski areas, – Medran, Les Savoleyres, Mont Fort and Bruson – it is one of the world’s best off-piste resorts.

Height: 1,500-3,300m

Average April temp: 7 deg C

 

Easter Ski Holidays

 

  1. Méribel, France.

This resort forms the central part of the Three Valleys, which is handy for access to good snow in April. It hosted the 1992 Winter Olympics. Méribel has 76 well-groomed runs, with the Altiport and Yeti Park perfect for beginners. The Rond Point is a hugely popular après-ski spot, perhaps the finest in the Three Valleys, with the Méribel Folie Deuce as entertaining back-up.

Height: 1,500-2,950m

Average April temp: 11 deg C

 

  1. Lech, Austria.

This stalwart ski village boasts the finest conditions in the Arlberg region in late season; it is common for at least 7m to have fallen by late March. The north-facing runs at Warth mean this accumulation of snow sticks around into late April. For adults, the Eisbar has a peerless reputation for open-air parties in the evening sun, while the kids can expect free treats from the Easter bunny.

Height: 1,400-2,800m

Average April temp: 10 deg C

 

  1. La Plagne/Les Arcs, France.

These are two of the very best late-season ski resorts. The slopes in the Paradiski area reach up to 3,200m and cover some 425km in total, so you can ski with your heads literally in the clouds. Skiers have a huge choice, from Alpine sorties among the trees to glacier runs at high altitude. The villages near the top of each resort are the best if you want to guarantee snow.

Height: 2,000m

Average April temp: 11 deg C

 

 

  1. La Rosière, France.

This resort enjoys good snow in late season, although it is smaller than its neighbor Val d’Isère, with 150km of runs. However, l’Espace San Bernardo (which includes a long lift to La Thuile in Aosta Valley in Italy) covers all abilities, so this, and its quietness, makes it very family-friendly. In April, try skiing on the top towards Italy because snow holds for a bit longer on the predominantly north-facing slopes.

Height: 1,850-2,650m

Average April temp: 3 deg C

 

  1. Val d’Isère/Tignes, France.

Both areas in L’Espace Killy possess huge strengths: Val d’Isère has many north-facing slopes, and Tignes’ 3,400m Grande Motte glacier is open for nine months a year. There are 300km of runs in total, providing something for everyone, and good snowfall in late season is guaranteed.

Height: 1.850m/2,100m

Average April temp: 3 deg C

 

  1. Andermatt, Switzerland.

This resort comes into its own in spring, with a microclimate that is perfect for snow and an assortment of lofty north-facing pistes hidden from the fiercer sun. Even advanced skiers will find the Gemsstock a challenge, but there’s the friendly Nätschen area anyway, and both offer excellent off-piste options.

Height: 1,450-2,950m

Average April temp: 6 deg C

 

  1. Val Thorens, France.

This is the highest major resort in Europe and offers a snow guarantee, since most of its runs are above 2,000m. It is a part of the Three Valleys ski resorts stretching out across 600km, but only Val Thorens is open into May. The nursery slopes are very easy to reach and to navigate.

Height: 2,300-3,200m

Average April temp: 8 deb C

 

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Skiworld Ski Hacks: Making Your Life Easier

Here at Skiworld we are really passionate about skiing and over the years, as a collective, we’ve picked up a few useful tricks for life on the mountain.

 

 

Mobile Phones

The use of mobile phones on the mountain has shot up in recent years and we’ve learnt a few top tips that will help keep yours working. Whether you’re looking to capture that perfect Instagram moment or just using it to keep in contact with your group, make sure you’re not left with a dud phone at the top of the mountain.

 

The battery: Cold weather is a nightmare for smartphones. It hammers the battery on your phone and also makes them prone to crashing. To combat this, keep your phone in an inside pocket and as warm as possible. For the diminished battery life you could also use a USB battery booster.

 

Waterproofing: Sandwich bags are a simple and effective solution for keeping your electronics dry… and it’s pretty affordable compared to specially designed covers. You can also use the bags to store piste maps, first aid items etc.

 

Using touchscreen phones: Touchscreens really struggle in cold weather or when there is moisture on your fingers and/or the phone itself. To get around this you can now buy touchscreen inner gloves which can be worn under your ski gloves.

Alternatively you can buy Salomon ski gloves which come with touchscreen capability, so you’ll never have to take off your gloves. They are available from £85 a pair. They use Gore-Tex technology; it is breathable material which also ensures hands stay dry… and therefore warm.

 

 

What to Wear

The vast leaps in sports technology and performance have translated into the progression in ski clothing. For example, something like Gore-Tex is now standard piece of clothing technology for alpine (and even urban!) life.

 

Multiple, thin layers: The key to maintain a good body temperature is well chosen clothing. Despite what you might naturally think picking out big, heavy items won’t be the best for you. Instead wear multiple, thin layers ensuring that it is breathable material. This way as you get hot you can strip individual layers as opposed to one big layer which would see your core temperature drop dramatically and merely result in you needing to put the layer back on during the lift back to the top. This breathable clothing applies all the way to your ski jacket and picking one that will allow you to subtly control your body temperature will be invaluable. Keep your eyes peeled for ventilation sections of the jacket.

 

Rucksack: Alongside needing somewhere to put additional layers it is imperative that you take a few essentials with you on the mountain. Skiing is highly active and you will need additional water and sustenance in between stops. A rucksack with a few highly nutritious snacks and a bottle of water will have you skiing for longer.

 

Multipurpose clothing: Something like a buff can be extremely handy whilst on the mountain, especially as the temperatures can change dramatically during your day – from resort to the top of the mountain, time of day or just natural changes. A buff is a stretchable circular tube. It can be worn in 13 different ways from a scarf to a balaclava, a beanie to an ear-warming head band.

 

 

Saving You Money

Ski holidays are not renowned for being cheapest type of holiday and even if you got the best ski deal, you wouldn’t want to add additional expense to it or incur unnecessary charges. There are a couple of pieces of sage advice we’ve learnt to make sure you don’t get caught out in resort.

 

Lost lift pass: As soon as you receive your lift pass, take a photo of it. Most resorts will replace a lost lift pass for a minimal charge if you have the serial number for the card, if you don’t you may have to pay full price for a new one. An easy way of keeping this number is simply to take a photo of your pass as soon as you get it.

 

Disappearing skis: We’ve all been there, or know someone that was, whether it was a couple of demi-peches over lunch and a “they look like my skis” or a simple same-model issue. Whether the culprit or victim, it’s an easy one to avoid. If you don’t have a ski lock, simply swap one of your skis with a friend to avoid them being taken. Lock the two mixed skis together as normal and for added security; place the set away from each other.

 

 

Making Life Easier

A holiday on the slopes is an amazing experience; however all it takes is a few things to go wrong for it to turn into frustration. Cold hands, fogged up goggles and blistering skin could easily sour a day’s skiing. So to make sure everything is working in your favour, here are a few more ski hacks to tip things your way and to make sure you have a great time.

 

Avoid cold hands: If you suffer from cold hands there are a few hacks you can use to beat the

cold. Sit on your gloves during breakfast (or lunch), this’ll warm them up so when you head outside your gloves will be nice a toasty. If they are really bad, unzip your jacket take off your gloves and warm them in your armpits, this is one of the warmest parts of your body and they will warm up quickly.

Another trick is when waiting in a lift queue you can circulate your arms like a helicopter, this action pushes blood to your fingertips and will help them warm up… it is best to be aware of children and other skiers before you engage in this activity and always remove your ski poles, otherwise its pandemonium.

 

Fogged up goggles: If your goggles are fogging up, fold up a paper towel and place it into the top section of the goggles (where the goggles meet the face, above the bridge of your nose so as to not cover your eyes).

 

Cracked or dry skin: When on the mountain, the extreme conditions will dry out exposed skin. Before this happens it’s worth using Vaseline, a Chap Stick or equivalent on your lips and face. This will create a barrier from the dry cold weather.

 

 

If you have any top tips from your experience which you think we should include… please get in contact and we’ll look at adding it into this blog so others can benefit too!

 

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Top 10 Head Turning Activities

We wanted to tell you about a selection of our favourite non-skier activities in the hope of raising your awareness and adrenaline levels to even higher levels on your next winter break. We guarantee that you won’t know about all of them and some of them will definitely make you sit up and take notice.

 

Across the Alps there are numerous activities, both traditional and new-age, and within this article we hope to cover the most accessible and inspiring.

 

 

1.       Speed-Riding – Most Resorts (including Les Arcs, Chamonix, La Clusaz…)

Speed-riding is undoubtedly as exciting as it sounds and wouldn’t be out of place in Point Break. It combines paragliding with skiing, alternating between them as the speed-rider chooses. Whilst you need to be a decent skier, you don’t need any paragliding experience although our guys in resort said you do need to be very fit. It’s an amazing experience and one that can challenge your sporting abilities. Paragliding equipment is provided alongside tuition gliding techniques, fundamental movements and flight mechanisms.

Price:     $95 for half a day

$125 full day (based on Les Arcs)

Available in: Les Arcs | Chamonix | La Clusaz

 

2.       Ice Diving – Tignes and Val Thorens

Ever wanted to be on the other side of the camera in one of David Attenborough’s documentaries? Well now you can – ice diving allows you to explore the frozen world under the surface of the lake in Tignes. Dive into the eerie tranquillity, devoid of noise and movement, to appreciate the natural beauty of the ice formations and mercury-esque air bubbles. Full equipment is provided as well as professional advice and safety.

Price:     Day dive – $95

Night dive – $130

Available in: Tignes | Val Thorens

 

 

3.       Ski-Joering – Alpe d’Huez and Les Deux Alpes

Ski what?!? Ski-joering, it was brought to our attention by our overseas team and needs further explanation… Think harness racing but instead of the horse pulling a two-wheeled cart, it’s pulling you… on skis. You control the horse through a special rig with reigns. Aside from it being great fun; it is a great way to see the surrounding scenery. It’s suitable for non-riders and beginner skiers as training and instructions are provided on the day.

Price:     $25 for 30 minutes

Available in: Alpe d’Huez | Les Deux Alpes

 

 

4.      Ice Climbing – La Plagne, Les Arcs, Tignes, Val d’Isere, Chamonix, Alpe d’Huez and Zermatt

Whether you fancy yourself as a bit of an explorer or whether you’re just a keen climber, ice climbing is a fantastic experience. Climb a frozen waterfall in full winter climbing gear adorned with harnesses, crampons and ice axes! This is available for various levels of climbers, from beginner to expert. All equipment provided.

Price:     $40 for 2 hours (based on La Plagne)

Available in: La Plagne | Les Arcs |Tignes | Val d’Isere | Chamonix | Alpe d’Huez | Zermatt

 

 

5.       Paramotor  – Most Resorts (including Courchevel and Val Thorens)

A paramotor is a motorised paraglide; the motorised element gives you far more freedom in terms of movement as you’re not restricted by thermals. You can also stay airborne for as long as you wish. There are two types of flight you can take, a leisurely scenic tour or a more exhilarating flight which would include some mid-air, stomach twisting acrobatics. Both options are tandem flights.

Price:     Scenic tour – $120 for 30 minutes

Acrobatic flight – $150 for 30 minutes (based on Val Thorens)

Available in: Courchevel | Val Thorens

 

 

6.       Sky diving – Courchevel and Interlaken

Sky diving is an incredible experience and there are some incredible places to do it, but as skiers we are slightly biased to a sky dive over the mountains. After several thousand feet of free fall, and a heavy dose of adrenaline, get the best view of the mountains as you cruise back down to terra firma. All jumps are in tandem and come with training as well as equipment.

Price: CHF 430

Available in: Courchevel | Interlaken

 

7.       Helicopter Ride – Tignes and Val d’Isere

Have a taste of luxury on your ski holiday and see what the lifestyles of the rich and famous are like, even if only for a few minutes. Soar above the peaks to where the air is rarefied and see the best views around, mixing scenery with a little touch of adventure. It’s also more affordable than you would think.

Prices:   Espace Killy Tour – $85 (10 minutes)

Mont Blanc Tour – $250 (40 minutes)

Available in: Tignes | Val d’Isere

 

 

8.       Ski Kiting – Tignes

Think kite-surfing but substituting snow for water and you’re along the right lines. Ski kiting (also known as snow kiting) gives you the freedom to ski up and down the mountain as well as off the beaten track, exploring the surrounding terrain. You only have to be a confident beginner skier for this one and tuition is part of the activity.

Price: $170 for 3 hour lesson

Available in: Tignes

 

 

9.       Airboarding – La Plagne

Have you ever fancied sliding head-first down a mountain? Well then airboarding is/isn’t for you [delete as appropriate]. Airboarding is essentially body boarding for ski resorts; the airboard itself is an inflatable bodyboard. You slide down the mountain using your bodyweight to steer… which is made easier thanks to a grooved underside to the board. It is great for groups and families alike as you can all get involved at the same time.

Price:     Children – $27 for 1 hour 30 minutes

Available in: La Plagne

 

10.   Snow Yoga – Val d’Isere and Val Thorens

Yoga with a view, these sessions take place on the side of the mountain and have an amazing alpine vista as your backdrop. It’s an enhanced experience for an activity that is, under usual circumstances, already great for the mind and body. For those who like their ying and yang aligned… avoiding high octane activities after a full day’s skiing may be the way forward. For survival purposes the activity is carried out in your ski gear and there are classes to suit all abilities.

Price: $15 for a 1 hour 30 minutes class

Available in: Val d’Isere | Val Thorens

 

If there are any activities that you’ve think we’ve missed or are a little under the radar – let us know, we’d love to hear about them!

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Snow Update: The Next 48 Hours

Meribel

 

The next 48 hours in the Alps is shaping up to be pretty great for skiers with the top European resorts in line for some serious snow.

 

Four French resorts (Alpe d’Huez, Chamonix, La Rosiere and Les Arcs) are forecast to get more than 90cms of snow – or 3 feet in old money – in the next two days!

 

However these resorts are not hogging all of the snow, with the rest of the Alps getting much more than just a healthy dusting, with the main resorts in France all forecast to see over 50cms!

 

France
Alpe d’Huez – 91cms
Chamonix – 108cms
Courchevel – 78cms
La Plagne – 53cms
La Rosiere – 94cms
Les Arcs – 91cms
Les Deux Alpes – 87cms
Meribel – 76cms
Tignes – 78cms
Val d’Isere – 71cms
Val Thorens – 68cms

 

Austria
Lech – 72cms
Mayrhofen – 30cms
St. Anton – 66cms

 

Switzerland
Nendaz – 79cms
Verbier – 86cms
Zermatt – 80cms

 

Although Austria appears to have the least impressive snow forecast in contrast to the other countries, they’re hardly getting short changed. On top of the above snow, all the resorts are reporting healthy snow levels already (upper and lower piste levels: St. Anton 105cms/30cms | Lech 85cms/55cms | Mayrhofen 135cms/20cms).

 

Looking at the Swiss resorts of Nendaz and Verbier, they have welcomed 35cms in the past week with an additional 80cms or so on its way, with Zermatt due a rather ridiculous 172cms in the 9 day forecast!

 

 

 

Val Thorens

 

 

Tignes

 

 

La Plagne

 

 

Val d’Isere

 

 

All snow stats have been taken from Ski Club on 12/01/17.

 

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Picture Perfect | New Chalets Revealed

We came. We saw. We captured

 

2016 has been an exciting year for Skiworld with the addition of  21 brand new chalets, and some gasp worthy makeovers of your old favourites.

I had the pleasure of joining esteemed photographer Adam Johnston in capturing 16 of these properties in a mini tour of the French Alps at the beginning of the December. It took 1500 miles, 920 photos and 432 plumped up pillows (okay, maybe not quite) – lets just say it was a busy week!

Having an interest in photography I already had a basic understanding of composition and lighting, but I soon realised that taking the perfect photo takes the seamless balance of creative flair and technical procedure. Colour temperature is key- and who knew that a type of light bulb could make or break a photo!

 

Catching a decent photo of a particularly moment or event is one thing but taking a truly amazing photo of a room is another. I realised the trick is to capture either the focal part of an area to allow the viewer’s imagination to wander, or to get clever with perspectives to allow a room to be fully revealed.

 

They say the devil is in the detail and it’s never a truer phrase than with photography- too many items in a room can be just as detrimental as not enough. All chalets have their own unique detail whether it’s an original stone fire place or a stunning bespoke chandelier – focusing on aspects of the properties character allows a customer to find their perfect match!

 

Some of my highlights of the trip were getting to meet over 100 members of our resort staff and returning to what feels like a second home… Val d’Isere. I had a chance to sample most of the classic chalet menu over the week which really was top notch after a long days shoot and I was unbelievably impressed with the staffs ability and hospitality.

 

We covered 4 resorts in total; Alpe d’Huez, La Rosiere, La Plagne and Val d’Isere, and after MUCH deliberation I have picked out some of my favourite photos from our trip.

 

chalet iris bleu la plagne lounge area

Mountain Flower, Iris Bleu. No caption needed!

 

 

Nick, Resort Host 'gazing' into the distance

Nick, Resort Host ‘gazing’ into the distance

 

 

the lodge val d'isere triple bedroom

The (new & improved) Lodge

 

 

chalet martine alpe d'huez bedroom

Getting some perspective in Chalet Martine

 

 

chalet silene la plagne jacuzzi

Wish we were here- Chalet Silene, La Plagne

 

 

chalet guillaume la plagne exterior

The Guillaume – its back door is literally on the piste!

 

May I take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to Adam and all of the resort staff who helped us out during the week.

I hope our trip was worthwhile and you feel inspired by our collection of thoughtfully chosen new properties and accompanying new imagery.  With great prices across the season and next seasons prices coming very soon, we hope you get a chance to visit one of these fabulous chalets very soon!

 

Happy skiing and happy 2017! 

Caroline

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Snow Report: A Month of Heavy Snowfall

 

OVERVIEW

For those already booked on a ski holiday in January we are pleased to report some great news. There is a lot of snow forecast today, Wednesday 4th January, and all the way through January across the entire Alps. The Eastern Alps looks to be getting the best of it over the next 9 days; however the Western and Southern Alps will be by no means left out. They’ll be getting their fair share as in the extended forecasts it is predicted that many of the French resorts will receive more of the snow over the course of the month.

 

According to the reports from both SkiClub and AccuWeather there will be three snowfalls. One starts today, there will be another snowfall a few days later which is scheduled to peak on Tuesday 10th January and another later in the month lasting for around 9 days from the 17th January, depending on the resort.

 

january 14th ski deals

 

In addition to these snowfalls, we’re seeing on the short term forecast that the temperatures in resort are due to plummet just after the initial snow dump.  This will ensure the snow settles and builds upon the good base for the second and third snowfalls. Most resorts already have a decent foundation of snow on their slopes, so this will really help set the mountains up for the rest of the season.

 

Fear you may miss out? Fear not,  as we have savings of up to 65% on our remaining ski holidays in our Last Minute Ski Deals. Ski from under £200pp including flights, transfers and accommodation or choose a catered chalet from just £259pp.

 

A LOOK AROUND THE RESORTS

Val d’Isere and Tignes (total of 127cms to fall in Jan)

According to SkiClub both resorts have a decent foundation of snow with 130cms reported on the upper piste with Val d’Isere reporting 30cms on the lower and Tignes 40cms. They are forecast a further 6cms over the next couple of days starting today (4th January) with highs of -8°C and lows of -11°C (decreasing further on the 5th to -14°C and -15°C).The two resorts are forecast for a further 19cms around from the 10th – 12th January with similar sub-zero temperatures.

 

On AccuWeather’s extended forecast for the month, they are reporting similar patterns but with a greater amount of snow… almost 15cms on the 4th January, a further 15cms from the 9th – 11th and from the 17th – 25th they are forecast a real snow storm with over 97cms falling in 9 days.  All told AccuWeather are reporting around 127cms of snow for the rest of January.

 

Val d’Isere

 

 

La Plagne (total of 130cms to fall in Jan)

SkiClub reports 95cms of snow on the upper piste and 5cms on the lower piste. As with all the French resorts, La Plagne follows the same pattern in terms of snowfall dates. In the 9 day forecast SkiClub are reporting 19cms of snow on route, starting today (Wednesday 4th January).

In contrast AccuWeather forecasts almost 16cms for their 9 day forecast with 12.8cms falling on the 4th. In their extended forecast 83.9cms is due to fall in-between 17th – 25th January. In total over 130cms is forecast in January!

 

La Plagne

 

 

Les Arcs (total of 75cms to fall in Jan)

The snow report for Les Arcs is 95cms (upper piste) and 10cms (lower piste). SkiClub have forecast 35cms for the next 9 days.

AccuWeather are predicting less in their 9 day forecast – just shy of 20cms. Again, starting on the 17th they are forecasting a snowstorm with 55cms due to drop over the following 9 days – 75cms for the entire month.

 

Les Arcs

 

 

Verbier (total of 100cms to fall in Jan)

SkiClub’s report of snow on the ground is that Verbier has 80cms on the upper piste and 10cms on the lower. In the 9 day forecast Verbier is due 45cms with 12cms due on the 4th January.

AccuWeather’s report for the next 9 days is marginally less at 43.9cms but most those departing on the 14th January will be buoyed by the report of 35cms falling on the 13th. From the 14th – 20th guests will be pleased to hear that Verbier is forecast an additional 33cms of snow. All told AccuWeather are predicting almost 125cms by the end of the month.

 

For those skiing in Zermatt this month, they are forecast over 100cms of snow too with a very similar snowfall pattern (regarding snowing dates) to Verbier.

 

Verbier

 

 

St. Anton (total of 100cms to fall in Jan)

According to SkiClub’s reports there is currently 55cms on the upper piste and 15cms on the lower piste, so a decent foundation. As mentioned earlier in the post, the Eastern Alps are forecast to get the best of the snow in the short term and St. Anton is predicted to get 160cms over the next 9 days, with 64cms due to fall today (4th January).

AccuWeather are being considerably more conservative with their forecast, reporting over 66cms for the next 9 days and 48cms for the next two days. Their prediction for the month is that St. Anton will see just shy of 100cms of snow for the month.

 

St. Anton

 

 

Our stats have come from SkiClub and AccuWeather and for transparency have indicated where each piece of data has come from. Stats were taken on the morning of 04/01/17.

 

For more weather reports check out our snow reports page.

 

 

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