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

 

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.

 

Mountain Flower, Iris Bleu. No caption needed!

 

 

Nick, Resort Host ‘gazing’ into the distance

 

 

The (new & improved) Lodge

 

 

Getting some perspective in Chalet Martine

 

 

Wish we were here- Chalet Silene, La Plagne

 

 

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.

 

 

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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Christmas and New Year Alpine Events

 

The ski resorts in the Alps are great at throwing events during the Christmas and New Year holidays. In the lead up to Christmas and all the way through to the New Year there is a lot going on. Each resort is different and there is a diverse array of events from one resort to another.

 

If you know where to look, you’ll be able to find some amazing family activities, great for getting the kids and the whole family into the festive spirit. There are also some quaint pursuits around such as listening to festive classics sung by local choirs. And for those looking to see the New Year in with a bang, there are some sensational firework displays around.

 

 

Festive Celebrations

 

La Rosiere

Christmas Forest - 19th – 30th December (open between 4pm – 6pm)

As mentioned every resort is different, so it’s unsurprising that the actively family-friendly resort of La Rosiere has pulled out the stops this year. From the 19th – 30th December there will be a Christmas Forest (the kingdom of Santa’s elves) which is an event space full of Christmas activities with loads of prizes on offer for the kids. Within the forest there is a wish tree and a post box so that Santa can receive special requests, on top of that there’s a special visit from the big man in red on Christmas Day.

 

Les Deux Alpes

Christmas Activities – 21st – 25th December

Les Deux Alpes gets the whole family involved too with a whole host of Christmassy activities. There are craft workshops where the children can make Xmas decorations as well as a variety of entertainment including decorating the elves’ forest, storytelling and ice sculptures.

 

 

Tignes

Christmas Parade22nd December

Father Christmas Parade24th December

In Tignes they have a Christmas Parade as part of their seasonal festivities. This is a really fun event for the kids with people dressed up, hot chocolate at hand and a general buzz about resort. It has also been tradition to see a zealously jolly appearance from Papa Noel and his incredibly well-lit sleigh. There are also stories and fireworks as part of the event in Le Lac. Throughout the month of December there is also Christmas markets and spectacular torch lit descents.

 

La Plagne

Torch Lit Descent – 22nd December

The event which makes La Plagne really special is the torch lit descent; the difference between this descent and others is that children are encouraged to get involved and ski as part of the procession. It is held in Montchavin Les Coches and led by the local ski instructors. It’s a great event for the whole family to watch and be a part of.

 

 

Val d’Isere

Christmas Show and Fireworks - 21st December

Children’s Lantern Descent – 22nd December

Santa on the Slopes – 23rd December

Santa’s Visit – 24th December

Being one of the largest resorts, Val d’Isere has a lot going on including their annual Christmas show (which includes skiing demonstrations and a torch lit descent) and fireworks display.

However what separates Val d’Isere from other resorts is the slalom competition.

Dual Slalom Competition – 23rd December

It is a knockout ski competition and with three categories; men, woman and children. It is free to enter and there are a set of skis to be won for the winners. Un-missable for the competitive ones in the family… and probably a much better option compared to the traditional game fight of Monopoly.

 

 

 

New Year Celebrations

 

St. Anton

Ski Show with Fireworks (Schneetreiben) – 30th December

St. Anton is well known for being the champion of après ski in the Alps which makes it a great destination for a New Year ski holiday. Having said that St. Anton is very much a chameleon of a ski resort and can be whatever you need it to be – whether you are a group, a family or a couple. A clear example of this is the Schneetreiben which is an incredible spectacle for everyone. It is an incredible multi-media show with fireworks and some sensational skiing from the ski instructors and local ski club.

 

 

Tignes

The Haribo (Ski) Challenge – 30th December

For families Tignes has the Haribo Challenge… something any sober parent would keep their child well away from. However, despite the slightly deceptive name, it is not a sweet eating challenge but a series of ski challenges so has somewhat the reverse effects of Haribo. It’s a full day of competition and a really great day for the kids, especially for those who like a bit of a challenge.

New Year’s Eve with Fireworks – 31st December

If you fancy a party in Tignes for New Year’s then head down to Le Lac snow front. This year it is being held by a French radio station who will be busting out pop and rock classics from 11am, pausing for a huge fireworks display at midnight. It is one of the biggest free New Year concerts in Europe with a huge stage and DJs throughout the night. It has a massive carnival atmosphere and those in the know travel from far and wide specifically for this event.

 


La Plagne

Red Pompom Night – 31st December

It’s not really apparent why it is called the Red Pompom night; however for those looking for a little bit of a boogie on New Year’s Eve, then this is the event to come to. The dance floor is the snow front at Plagne Bellecote and offers a unique way to see in the New Year.

 

 

Val d’Isere

Airstar Night Light - 31st December

Val d’Isere angles it’s celebrations towards families with an impressive light show which happens all along the main street in resort. There is also live music and ice carving as well as complimentary hot drinks including hot chocolate and vin chaud.

 

Lech

Acoustic Fireworks Display – 1st January

For something a little different you may want to consider Lech as your destination this year. In previous years they have matched their fireworks to various themes including Woman of the 80s, Rock Classics, Michael Jackson and Queen… this year has yet to be announced – it could be David Bowie!

 

 

 

In summary, there are mountains of incredible events going on across the Alps, so many that we simply couldn’t include them all. However if you think we’ve made a massive faux pas and missed your favourite one out – let us know and we’ll look at adding it to this blog.

 

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Snowvember News

 

Snow news is always good news and we have bucket loads to report on to get Winter 2016/17 off to a cracking start…



Some of our first overseas staff are out in resort training but have managed to find the time to send some envy inducing snaps, and the resorts are looking more than all white!


There has been a flurry of activity on social media from most of the European ski resorts, all fighting to show off their first good dumping off snow. Courchevel and Alpe d’Huez were amongst several resorts to opened their doors early- always a good sign. This makes it even more tempting to be one of the first on the mountain this season…

 

Sensational St Anton

 

Very Tempting Val Thorens

 

 

Magnificent Meribel

 

 

 

 

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Reasons to be cheerful not fearful

 

Everybody wants to enjoy the festive period but as everyone knows, it can but just as much hard work as it is it fun. This however shouldn’t be the case when you are on holiday. A Christmas or New Year ski holiday has all the potential to give you an amazing experience, creating that memorable occasion and this year we’ve gone even further to ensure everyone has a great time during the festive period.

 

 

One of the first things we looked at for this season is the travel date. Most travel companies, including us, typically depart on a Saturday… however this year the Saturday falls on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and as a result we decided to move the departure date to make it more convenient for you.

 

Now no one wants to be travelling on Christmas Eve, least of all if you are travelling with children. We believe that it is a time for relaxing, some mild indulgence and a drop of merriment… and there’s no place for travelling in that equation! Equally New Year’s Eve is a time for celebration and being tired from a long journey simply isn’t an option.

So our altered travel dates this year for Christmas is Tuesday 20th December 2016, rather than the Saturday 24th, and for New Year it is Tuesday 27th December 2016 instead of Saturday 31st.

 

 

This way you can be in resort rather than grappling with the dreaded festive period congestion. Being one step ahead of the crowd comes with its own rewards; you can relax in the comfort of your own chalet – feet up, mince pie in one hand, glass of vin chaud in the other

 

Also as a bonus for skiers travelling on Christmas and New Year’s, both ski breaks have additional bank holidays so you won’t have to take as much time off work. Christmas gets the luxury of the 24th – 27th December 2016 off whilst New Year’s has the 31st December 2016 – 2nd January 2017 off.

 

 

Spending Christmas, or New Year, away from home doesn’t mean you’ll lose any of the magic of the festive period. Far from it, imagine having Christmas, with all the trimmings, without any of the effort and hassle that comes with it – no cooking or washing up! Add that to the fact that you are in a bona fide winter wonderland and you’ve got a Christmas to remember.

And as for New Year Eve, well there can be few locations which are better to see in the New Year than in the heart of the Alps… especially when many resorts put on special events.

 

The festive season is a wonderful time of year and we look to make it as special as possible with a couple of well-placed festive treats.

 

With Christmas and New Year ski trips you’ll be greeted on arrival with a festive tipple; mulled wine for Christmas and sparkling wine for New Year. The chalet will already have been decorated, Christmas tree and all, so that you don’t have to perch perilously on the edges of chairs putting up lights. For the duration of your stay you can have afternoon tea with mince pies and mulled wine.

 

 

Food and general gluttony is for me a huge part of this time of year, and don’t worry we have you covered on that front, on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day there will be a breakfast of smoked salmon and Bucks Fizz, followed by canapés and aperitifs before the main Christmas or New Year meal. The Christmas meal is a festive three course Christmas meal finished with a traditional Christmas pud. There is also free flowing wine on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day… and the usual Christmas Day chef should take full advantage of this!

 

As for the children, don’t worry, they’ll get the festive treatment too as there will be sweets and chocolates available for them, dished out at the parents’ discretion of course and on Christmas Day there will be presents from Santa waiting for them under the tree (for children 2-11 years old).

 

 

With a festive bundle like this its hard to think of reasons not to getaway for Christmas or New Year. Also we’ve barely touched on one of the main reasons to go to the Alps over this period… the skiing! Traditionally it has been a good time for snow and this year there has already been a great foundation of snow. This year could see the best conditions in years. Taking Tignes as a decent barometer for ski resorts in the Alps it already had 50 centimetres on the upper piste according to Skiclub (which was last recorded on 3rd November 2016 – before the weekend snowfall).

 

Tignes (image taken over the weekend)

 

 

Looking at the long term forecast, accuweather is predicting more than 120 centimetres additional snowfall by the end of the month, and with an average temperature of -2.6 degrees Celsius. With this low temperature the snow should settle and lay a really great foundation ready for the start of the season, including Christmas and New Year.

 

And if you think that is good December is forecast to have over 160 centimetres for the month, with over 25 centimetres falling on Christmas Day! So it sounds like it’s going to be a proper white Christmas, with all the relevant tunes on the cards. And as with November, the average temperature is really low again (-5.8 degrees Celsius), so if everything goes to plan – there could be some amazing powder conditions by the end of December.

 

Snowfall from across the Alps

 

For the latest snow conditions in images… see our “Snowfall” album on Facebook

 

 

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Ski for less this season…

 

To most people the concept of jetting off for a weekend away on the slopes sounds amazing, I mean who wouldn’t?! It sounds like the sort of thing that James Bond would do when he wasn’t defeating his nemesis (probably with a well-placed judo chop). However whilst a ski break seems like a great idea, there are a number of issues which you come across which makes the whole thing less appealing… not least the expense of it all.

With our weekend ski breaks we can show you that you don’t have to own your own alpine chalet to be able to have a convenient, affordable getaway in the Alps.

 

 

 

As with anything you want to get value for money, however with a short break you usually pay over the odds for weekend accommodation rather than the whole week.

In addition to that, with a trip abroad, your flight time is cutting into your already limited leisure time and with skiing you also have to factor in a transfer time as you get whisked up to the mountain resorts.

 

 

With our ski breaks we have actively looked to remove the negative elements of a short skiing break and leave you with the kind of James Bond ski weekend that everyone wants, all the glamour and none of the worries.

We have two types of ski breaks available this year to suit your needs. The first is our short chalet break and the second is our weekend ski breaks. These breaks offer a great opportunity to go skiing especially if, like James, you can’t afford to be away from the office for too long.

 

The short chalet break is a unique opportunity to stay in one of our chalets for a 4 night break. It is available across France, Switzerland and Austria with just one departure date for the entire season – the 3rd January 2017. It is a great option for those who fancy a short ski break but don’t want to stay in a hotel or apartment. Also as opposed to the usual weekend or short break prices, we have managed to ensure that the cost per day is less than the equivalent week-long ski holiday.

For example you can stay in Maison Rose, Val d’Isere for just £65 per day, including 4 nights’ accommodation, flights, transfers and food (chalet board).

 

The weekend ski breaks have been revised and re-launched for this season, offering a revitalised approach to our short break programme and a fresh list of resorts, hotels and apartments. This year’s weekend ski break destinations have been hand-picked specifically to maximise your skiing time, actively selecting resorts with a short flight and transfer time.

Morzine for example only has a 1 hour 30 minutes flight (London Gatwick to Geneva) with just an hour transfer time. In fact you can get to 80% of our weekend destinations within an hour and a half from Geneva airport.

 

Having negotiated the best deals for the weekend accommodation we can offer a ski break which is also good value. We can also offer shared transfers which reduces the cost of an otherwise expensive private transfer.

The Hotel Pointe Isabelle, Chamonix is £582 per person for 3 nights compared to £994 per person for 7 nights (based on departing on Thursday 2nd March 2017).

 

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Unmissable Alpine Food and Drink

When skiing, no matter what new-fangled diet you are on, you will have to submit to some of the alpine delicacies. In part because they are delicious and you simply won’t be able to resist, especially when the smells from the kitchen hit you, but also because these dishes give you everything your body needs. You’ll need a different kind of diet to usual as you are going to be active all day on a cold, snow-covered mountain.

 

 

So now we’ve given you the premise for a suitable excuse, let’s not waste any time and just dive straight into the best and most decadent dishes… a lot of which appear to have melted cheese!

 

Tartiflette offers utter pleasure in one hand and a food coma in the other, all under the guise of an innocent looking dish.  Tartiflette, as you might have guessed, is not renowned for being overly healthy – there is an obvious lack of granola, kale or avocado for it to be considered in that category. What it does have however is the divine combination of potatoes, melted (Reblochon) cheese, bacon and onions making it a one-stop-shop for complete happiness. It is hugely popular and widely available across the French Alps.

 

 

 

We should give a special mention to Fondue whilst talking of melted cheese; however with our next pick we choose to go with Raclette, which is favoured over Fondue by many. The name comes from the French “racler” which means to scrape, although the dish originates in Switzerland and the Raclette cheese is Swiss too.

Raclette is a half wheel of cheese which is grilled; as it melts and browns, you then scrape (racler) it on to your food, covering it in a blanket of goodness.  Potatoes are a great choice for the “Raclette effect”, however its dealer’s choice.

 

 

Finally, the last cheesy dish which we simply couldn’t omit, the Swiss dish of Älplermagronen is a real crowd pleaser, especially on cold nights. It is essentially macaroni cheese on steroids. Take your classic dish and add potatoes, onions, bacon and a stewed apple… presumably so you get one of your 5-a-day. Whilst the apple may seem like a strange addition it is actually something welcome which cuts through an otherwise heavy dish.

 

 

Moving us away from the cheesy onslaught is the Austrian Wiener Schnitzel. Whilst the schnitzel may have similarities in appearance to the old school Turkey dinosaur; never has there been a clearer case that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The schnitzel is made from quality Veal; it is tenderised into escalopes, covered in a breadcrumb batter and then cooked. It is typically accompanied with a potato salad.

 

 

 

 

If you’re still hungry for more, the Austrians are top dogs in the Alps when it comes to deserts… although the French would probably have something to say about that.

 

Apple Strudel is as synonymous with Austrian cuisine as it could be… however ironically this dish originated in the Hungarian part of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. Regardless of history what we have is a desert which really warms the heart at the end of the meal. The harmony of apple, cinnamon and sultanas wrapped in warm, buttery pastry is simply unmissable… add to that vanilla custard and you’re on route to 7th heaven.

 

 

The literal translation of the Germknodel is yeast dumpling… however please don’t let that put you off. It is a light, sweet dumpling filled with plum jam. It is steamed in milk then served in a sauce of melted butter or vanilla cream, topped with poppy seeds and sugar.

 

 

 

Kaiserschmarren is a dish of shredded, fluffy pancakes which is often served with fruit, fruit sauce or nuts. The name itself is loosely translated to mean Emperor’s Mess. For those that haven’t had it, it’s not dissimilar to those small Dutch pancakes (Poffertjes) that you see at the Christmas market as the pancakes are light and spongy.

 

 

 

 

 

After all this rich, hearty food, you’ll need something to wash it all down with… or something to jump-start you out of your food-induced comatose state

 

Asking round an office of frequent skiers, it is clear that the Demi Peche is very much the marmite of the drinks world. Demi Peche is the French’s answer to a Lager Top, where instead of lemonade they add peach syrup. The result is quite sweet… which is at the heart of the love/hate comments, maybe it should be thought of as a lager-cocktail? Adding syrup to any alcoholic drink, for me, makes it a cocktail.

 

Whilst the jury is out on Demi Peche, Jager tends to tell a different story.  Jagermeister which literally translated means “Hunting Master” has strong hunting connections… which is interesting because I have never considered playing sport, least of all one with a weapon, after taking some of this stuff.

With 56 ingredients including a variety of herbs, roots and spices; it is probably closer linked to some cough medicines, yet for some reason it has become one of the most popular drinks on the après scene. It has a legion of disciples who will always order a round… in fact there’s probably one in your group of friends and if you can’t think of anyone, it’s probably you.

 

 

Universally known, Gluehwein / Vin Chaud often gets cracked out as a festive favourite. For those unfamiliar, its heated red wine stewed with a mix of spices including cinnamon, cloves, star aniseed, some citrus peel and sugar. It has to be one of the more efficient drinks out there, facilitating getting drunk at the same time as staying warm.

 

 

Let us know you thoughts on these Alpine delicacies and please let us know if you think we’ve missed a trick and omitted a treasured dish.

 

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