All about the Epic Pass

Vail Resorts Epic Pass Banner
 

Why is it ‘epic’?

 
The Epic pass is by far one of the best passes offered on the market for skiing. The fact that it covers 11 US resorts and also allows 5 consecutive ski days in Verbier, The Three Valleys plus Niseko in Japan is a good start. Vail have also been very crafty and developed a lot of sub passes under the umbrella too. All are season passes and costs do vary, however they cater for people who do not necessarily want all the features of the full Epic pass. A great example of this is the ‘Tahoe local’ pass which covers skiing in the Lake Tahoe region only. The full Epic pass is currently £450.00 per person with other variations coming in quite a bit lower. Generally, with whichever resort you are staying in to ski, the season pass will pay for itself in just over 5 days.
 The Epic Pass - jump!
 Park City is now featured on the Epic Pass with Vail Resorts’ acquisition of this iconic mountain resort, proving that this pass has no limit! – “The addition of Park City to the collection of world-class mountains on the Epic Pass is a game-changer for skiers and riders,” said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. “We continue to provide even greater value and variety in skiing and riding with the Epic Pass and significantly invest in the guest experience at our mountain resorts, including new chairlifts, on-mountain dining options and innovative snow making expansions for the coming winter.”
 
Vail Resorts Experience of a Lifetime 
Canyons chairliftWith the recent acquisition of Park City Mountain in Utah, Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass now offers unparalleled access to 22 legendary mountain resorts and more than 32,000 acres of the best skiing and riding in the world. The full Epic Pass provides an ideal option for those who hit the slopes more than once on a regular ski holiday and also for short breaks throughout the season.
 
As well as being great value for money the pass has some rather pioneering benefits. You can link your credit card up to the pass so you can pay for items such as your lunch on the mountain without needing to carry cards or cash. The ‘Epic Mix’ feature is fun, interactive and in all honesty genius! It tracks where you have skied on the mountain, you can collect pins for doing things such as riding chair lifts or skiing a certain amount of distance. It adds a whole new dimension to skiing and of course it can get quite competitive too! The other really cool feature is the ‘Epic Mix’ photographers littered across the mountains in US resorts. You can stop and get a photo on the mountain, which they then link across to your pass and you can share on social media platforms or even purchase to frame at home.
 
With its unprecedented ski access to world class destinations and an innovative take on pass features, we can clearly see why it has been named the ‘Epic’ pass!
Park City Trees
 

For more information on the Vail Resorts Epic Pass and to see our promotions in association with Vail Resorts please click here…

 
We love to hear from you! Please get in touch with us below:

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We are ‘Made in the Mountains’!


 

Skiworld: Run by skiers and boarders, for skiers and boarders…

 
We are ‘Made in the Mountains’. The staff at Skiworld are all passionate skiers and snowboarders and virtually all of us have worked in the mountains. We’ve asked the staff to share their ski knowledge and a few funny experiences with you!
 

So, let’s hear it…first one up,… “What’s yer name and where do you come from”?
 

Tom – Group Sales


‘joker, incredible skier, joker, group sales booker, joker, impressive beard!…’

 
1. What’s the funniest thing you’ve done, heard or seen on the slopes?
Funniest/most painful moment has to be coming through the trees in Park City in some beautiful untouched Pow, I failed to see a mischievous young tree in my path and proceeded to straddle said tree. Needless to say I had an uncomfortable ski home much to my friends’ amusement! Check out the tracks below…
 

 
2. What is your favourite ski resort?
In Europe, Zermatt! A ‘chocolate box’ style resort with a good sting in its tail! Massive ski area linked with Cervinia in Italy, great après at the Hennu Stall and some of the most expensively kitted out skiers you will ever see! Oh and of course a little thing called the MATTERHORN! In North America, Park City UTAH. Head up to the Jupiter Bowl for some great steep bowl skiing through the trees. And when you’re done go and sample one or ALL of the locally brewed ales and crafts beers in town! Polygamy Porter!
 

3. Which accommodation would you like to stay in for 2014/15?
Chalet Madeleine, Val D’Isere. 5 star chalet with an outdoor hot tub in the world famous ski resort of Val D’Isere, not sure what else needs to be said!
 

Lounge area at Chalet Madeleine, Val d’Isère

 
4. …and just for fun – Imagine you’re heading up a long 4 man chairlift – in the other 3 spaces, who would you choose to sit next to you (famous or not, dead or alive)?
I would share the Lift with an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman………hilarity would ensue.
 
 

Mick – Finance

 

Mick in Bolivia (circa 1988)

 
‘A former ski rep who, 11 years after finishing his last season, would still prefer to be out in the mountains, but can’t hack the lifestyle anymore!’
 
1. What’s the funniest thing you’ve done, heard or seen on the slopes?
My first season in 1988 was a Leap Year. At the time, the resort of Tignes had the slogan ‘Ski 365 days a year’. We persuaded another company’s rep that this meant that Tignes had to close for the 366th day that year! Choosing April 1st as the day that everything had to be closed, all the other company reps and the lift pass company were in on the joke. The rep in question (who was very gullible) fell for it hook, line and sinker!
 
2. What is your favourite ski resort?
Les Arcs because, for some strange reason, it tends to get ignored. Everybody charges up to Tignes, Val d’Isere or The Three Valleys. I never find the slopes to be crowded and the powder can still remain for a good few days after it has snowed. It has unparalleled views, from the top of the mountain including Mont Blanc and its surrounding peaks and also right down into the valley.
 

Les Arcs

 
3. Which accommodation would you like to stay in for 2014/15?
The Chalet Stoanerhof, Mayrhofen – as its one of two European resorts in our programme that I haven’t (yet) skied (Zermatt being the other).
 

Snowy exterior of the chalet Stoanerhof, Mayrhofen

 
4. …and just for fun – Imagine you’re heading up a long 4 man chairlift – in the other 3 spaces, who would you choose to sit next to you (famous or not, dead or alive)?
Franz Klammer (winner of the 1976 Olympic Downhill and the guy who I first recall seeing skiing on TV), Mary – not that I am at all religious, but being the mother of Jesus must have been somewhat interesting and Emma Watson – having two males and females on the chair will make very interesting discussion on the breaking down of gender barriers!
 
 

Torie – European Sales

 

 
‘A fearless snowboarder and all round adrenaline junkie with an impeccable knowledge of European resorts!’
 
1. What’s the funniest thing you’ve done, heard or seen on the slopes?
At the end of season, we all decided to do a ‘valley rally’ in fancy dress, the theme being alcoholic beverage brands. A friend of mine had spent all night crafting a 3D life size Jagermeister bottle from cardboard, which of course made it near impossible to ski in. Sitting at the Loop bar in Tignes, watching the final teams descend down the Troll and onto the beginners slopes, my friend following closely behind tumbles and lands head first, continuing to travel all the way down to the finish line on their front, whilst wiping several small children out along the way!
 
2. What is your favourite ski resort?
Val D’Isere – Some of the most incredible views, with insatiable snow all season allowing for the most perfect conditions for both skiers and boarders. The après is second to none with something for everyone and is all set within a quintessential alpine village.
 

View of  the main street in Val d’Isère

 
3. Which accommodation would you like to stay in for 2014/15?
Hôtel Des Trois Vallées in Courchevel. With a modern twist on 1950’s vintage décor, you could almost picture the likes of old-time Hollywood movie stars sipping a John Collins, all draped in silk perched at the lobby bar. If you’re a foodie like myself, the hotel centres itself around meal times, whether it’s canapés and champagne on the terrace or a decadent BBQ lunch you won’t be disappointed. With a fabulous spa, including a Turkish bath and massage facilities, it would be difficult not be relaxed after a long day’s skiing. I saw this Hotel recently and I absolutely fell in love with it. With ski-in/ski-out access and incredible value for money, whilst still boasting a central location in Courchevel 1850, what’s not to love?
 

Bar in the Hôtel Des Trois Vallées, Courchevel

 
4. …and just for fun – Imagine you’re heading up a long 4 man chairlift – in the other 3 spaces, who would you choose to sit next to you (famous or not, dead or alive)?
That’s easy! David Attenborough, because he is my hero and could commentate throughout the entire journey with his soothing tones. Dolly Parton, so she could provide the perfect backing track and safety airbags if we come to a sudden holt. And finally, Danny Davis in case I (definitely) need someone to keep me warm.
 
 

Garth – North America and Tailor Made Sales

 

 
He’s one of our North America and Japan Specialists, a long time suffering Newcastle United fan and an all-round great guy (so, he says!?)
 
1. What’s the funniest thing you’ve done, heard or seen on the slopes?
I was ski guiding a group of experienced skiers in Alpe d’huez and they fancied tackling some serious mogul runs. For some reason, I reluctantly agreed. I took them to the black mogul runs on the Auris side of Alpe d’Huez. Whilst trying to act like the big time skier (I believed myself to be), I jumped off a few moguls and starting showing off ever so slightly! On the last set, I landed a little too hard, popped out of my skis and flew face first into an icy mogul. I broke my nose pretty severely. The worst part; after everyone had witnessed that, I had to ski down the rest of that black run – Big time skier indeed!
Just take a look at this pic!…
 

 
2. What is your favourite ski resort?
In Europe, Alpe D’Huez. L’ile du soleil! Underrated resort in the Southern Alps. Great off piste, longest black run in Europe, a Folie Douce and more days of sunshine per year than any other resort in our programme! The spring skiing dream. In North America, Snowbird UTAH. The ‘keeno’ skier paradise, nothing in the town but ski bums and professional skiers and characters. Pure Skiing Mecca. Huge snowfall and some really steep and deep runs. Spent all day shooting through the trees. Take me back.
 
3. Which accommodation would you like to stay in for 2014/15?
Probably the Four Seasons in Whistler for unrivalled luxury. The only 5 diamond hotel in Western Canada! The ski concierge service sounds incredible, pretty much giving you a piggyback to the slopes and fitting your boots for you!
 

Bedroom in the Four Seasons Hotel, Whistler

 
There are so many to choose from in North America on my list; The Lodge at Vail, Alta Peruvian Lodge, Fairmont Banff Springs, the Limelight in Aspen or maybe our catered chalets in Vail and Breckenridge! You can’t go wrong with any of them!
 
4. …and just for fun – Imagine you’re heading up a long 4 man chairlift – in the other 3 spaces, who would you choose to sit next to you (famous or not, dead or alive)?
Alan Shearer – top Premiership goal scorer of all time, Newcastle United legend and the sexiest bald man around in football. David Attenborough – the chat would be unreal, the diction unrivalled and we’d all learn something. Rik Mayall (as Lord Flashheart) – If the chairlift can take an ego as big as his, then we’d all be in stitches – my favourite comedy character of all time.
 
 

Click here to visit out website for more information on the ski holidays we offer

 
 
Do you have any hilarious ski moments to share? Or a favourite resort? We love to hear from you! Please tell us tells us yours below:
 

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Down with the kids? Why do they love skiing at Christmas?

Family skiing at Christmas
 

See what the real experts think… the kids!

 
We know the reasons why we love to spend Christmas in the mountains, but we decided to get the perspective from our younger customers. It is hardly surprising that their reasons for a love of skiing at Christmas didn’t differ much to ours…
 

 
“Every Christmas I wish for it to snow and the best thing to do with snow is to ski! I love the Christmassy feel in ski resorts with the twinkling lights and decorations. Staying in a chalet at Christmas is great because I can be with all my family and my Mum can relax and not have to cook!”
 

Sarina – aged 12 years 0 months from Hertfordshire

 

 
 
 
“You go skiing at Christmas because it is a great time for your family to get together and have lots of fun! Also Santa Clause will visit you and come and give you presents. It is great if you like fireworks because there are always fireworks for Christmas and New Year’s Eve!”
 

Tane – aged 12 years 2 months from London

 

 
 
 
“It was great – no school! I actually like ski school though, we would go all the way to the top of the mountain, but my sister had to stay at the bottom! – na, na, na, naaaaa.”
 

Joe – aged 7 years 10 months from London

 

 
 
 
“I loved going on holiday in the winter time. Father Christmas came to the chalet and he gave me a lovely little present. I also went ice skating on a real ice rink!”
 

Clara – aged 5 years 2 months from London

 

 
 
 
“I loved all the lights, and getting to see the mountain at night time. It is also really fun being in the snow over Christmas. I remember the horse drawn sleigh up the mountain at night time and there was a disco every day!”
 

Lucy – aged 4 years 8 months from Bedfordshire

 
 


 
 
Please tell us yours here, on Facebook or on Twitter
 

There are fantastic Christmas celebrations in all our resorts. Find out all about Christmas ski holidays here…

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Skiworld Style

Skiworld Blogger Competition Winner
 
Our recent competition “How to Look Good on the Slopes” is now closed and we’re delighted to announce the winner; fashion and lifestyle blogger Amy B of amyxi.blogspot.co.uk!
 
Amy created a mood board of skiing clothes and accessories and added some great reasons why she chose each piece. You can take a look at her entry above along with the snap she tweeted in her prize, her new favourite Salomon hoodie!
 
Thank you to everyone who participated, the standard of entries was fantastic and we loved checking out your ski style!
 

 
 

Click here to check out Amy’s super stylin’ blog

 

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The Skiers’ Bucket List

the skier's bucket list
Here at Skiworld, we like to think of ourselves as the experts of all things snowy and mountainous. You want to know where the quiet lift queues are, we can tell you. You want the perfect North American Powder Tour? We’ve got the guys to get you there but yet, even with all of our extensive knowledge of all things ski, there are parts of the world which all of us still long for.  Between everyone here at Skiworld, we must have taken hundreds of chairlifts, hiked our way through miles of mountains and skied our way through thousands of acres of snowy goodness but there are still places which set our imagination racing. So keeping that desire to return to the mountains burning, Ladies and Gentlemen, we present The Skiworld Bucket List!
 
Alaska, Northern Japan and The Gothics in Britsh Columbia – Heli skiing in some of the world’s last true wildernesses! – Tony (guest)
 
The Haute Route between Chamonix and Zermatt – Surely this one is on every real skier’s Bucket List? 6 days of hiking and skiing – Alex (guest)
 
Ski the Hahnenkamm downhill run in Kitzbuhel - Top to bottom with no one on the slopes (hopefully without falling!) – Rob (guest)
 
Val d’Isere, France – Getting first tracks on the ‘La Face’ run when it’s been freshly groomed – Sarah (guest)
 
Laila Peak, Pakistan - It may not be the first to mind but I would love to hike up and ski the steep Laila Peak run in Pakistan. If you haven’t seen it, you should check it out! – Michael (guest)
 
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA – Purely to NAIL S & S couloir and Corbet’s Couloir. – John (marketing)
 
A powder day at Treble Cone, New Zealand – Still to this day, the best and most challenging resort I’ve skied but never was lucky enough to get decent snow!
 
The Lyngen Alps, Norway – Stay in a log cabin on the water’s edge of a fjord, take a boat to a new mountain each day, hike to the top and ski home. Who doesn’t want to ski Norway?! – Alex (group sales)
 
Heli skiing in Revelstoke, Canada – Staying at ‘The Bighorn’ (trust us on this one… search it for yourself!) – Charlie (sales)
 
Japan – Skiing on volcano mountnains in bottomless powder, immersed in a unique and interesting culture… and eating sushi for lunch every day! – Lilly (operations)
 
Whistler, Canada – A totally different level of powder snow with impeccable Canadian hospitality thrown in… plus a couple of days in Vancouver for good measure (maybe a bit of whale watching for something totally different?!). – Brendan (product)
 
3 Vallees, France – With a difference – A road trip staying a few nights in Val Thorens, Meribel and Courchevel and living the dream partying, hot tubbing and goggle tanning with best friends! – Sarah (marketing)
 
St Anton, Austria – Revered for its après scene as much as the HUGE and incredible ski area. – Jess (marketing)
 
Alaska, USA – Skiing the huge mountains via a helicopter like a ski movie hero. – Ryan (marketing)
 
Antarctica – Kite-boarding amongst the penguin colonies in the planet’s final frontier! – Ben (sales)
 
Kashmir, Northern India (Himalayas) – Start of in the resort of Gulmarg before taking on a multi-day heli-tour in an ex-Russian army chopper, skiing in some of the planet’s deepest, most untouched and perfect snow, away from all the crowds. – Tom (sales)
 
Valle Navado, Chile – Escape the summer heat for some southern hemisphere skiing in the Andes. Ski in the morning, then drive to the coast in the afternoon and surf in San Antonio! – Gavin (sales)
 
Snowbird & Alta, Utah, USA – Spectacular mountains, and on a powder day you feel like you’re floating on air in the world’s deepest, driest snow. You may need a snorkel! – Nicky (agency sales)
 
La Grave, France – Epic, wilderness and untouched. One lift. That says it all. – Miles (sales)
 
Alta Badia, Italy – Incredible food & wine on and off the mountain. Your waistline might not want you to return…
  – Diane (director)
 
 

Our bucket list seems endless but what’s on YOUR bucket list? Visit out Facebook page here and tell us about it!

 

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Ski New Year 2014/15!


 
 

Summer’s around the corner… That means we’re half way to New Year’s Eve!

 
With that in mind, we’re already thinking about the best way to bring in the new year, and there is nothing quite like New Year’s Eve in a ski resort! With so many to choose from we decided to give you a helping hand by picking some of our favourites. If you have any suggestions of your own please share them with us here, on Facebook or on Twitter
 
 
Gavin – European Sales
Tignes
The best New Year I have spent in the Alps was definitely one in Tignes. In Val Claret there was a resort-wide power cut for a few hours with only log fires and candles providing heat and warmth. There was an amazing atmosphere in the bars and when the power did come back on there were some great bands providing a fantastic soundtrack to party the night away with! Tignes has several villages too, so whether you fancy a chilled out New Year, or you really like to let your hair down… you can be sure there’s a party for you.
 
Brendan – Product
Whistler
I spent the New Year in Whistler a few times! The family friendly evening celebrations in the Village are fantastic. It finishes off with a HUGE firework display from the village plaza making a very memorable new year. For a more lively time, Tommy Africa’s New Year party gave me one particularly memorable night… which I pretty much forgot! All in all, spending New Year in Whistler was so amazing I had to do it more than once!
 
Tom – European Sales
Zermatt
Easy – Zermatt for Christmas AND New Year! The resort is absolute picture-postcard perfect and there’s plenty of welcoming bars for when it’s time to party. Most importantly the skiing is incredible! I don’t think I’ll ever forget the memory of waking up to a new year of fresh snow and the iconic Matterhorn in the disctance.
 
Jess – Marketing
Tignes
There’s always a big party on the piste, often with well know DJ’s and a half an hour firework display which is one of the best I have ever seen! It’s great because you have all the entertainment right outside in resort so there’s no need to spend too much money. If you do get too cold standing outside there is always a great party going on at Loop bar!
 
Jen – European Sales
St Anton
All of the hotels in St Anton have firework competitions so there are literally fireworks going off all around you! Then there’s a massive street party into the early hours with DJs on the balconies of the buildings on the main street and speakers all down the road. Spending New Year with a group of friends, checking out all the different music all through this incredible Austrian resort is… AMAZING!!
 
 

There are fantastic New Year’s eve celebrations in all our resorts. Find out all about New Year ski holidays here…

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Pistes for Pennies



 
If you’re going skiing, you’re going to need a lift pass; it’s a no brainer but how do you know if you’re getting good value for money? Sure, Espace Killy is a pretty grand old ski area at 300km of piste but a pass for Val d’Isere and Tignes will set you back nearly £210 for 6 days. The Milky Way spans both France and Italy and has surely got to be one of the best value ski areas around with 400km of runs for just £170 in high season but are you getting enough piste for your pennies? If you’re the type of skier or boarder who wants value for money with your lift pass and you spend your ski trips eating up those kilometres, you’re going to want to know what to know about the best value lift passes around; you may just be a little surprised…
 

5 – The 3 valleys | Lift Pass £227 | 600km of piste | 38p per KM

It’s an enormous ski area of nearly 600km covering Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel, Bride les Bains, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville, Orelle AND Val Thorens and at £227 for a 6 day pass in high season, whilst seemingly pricey, you’re getting a lot of downhill for your dollar in a world class ski area. Advanced skiers will get serious value for money taking on the steeps and chutes in VT whilst beginners and intermediates will love the abundance of cruising blues and sweeping red runs around this vast ski area.
 

4 – Portes du Soleil Pass | Lift Pass £196 | 650km of piste | 30p per KM

The three main resorts or Morzine, Avoriaz and Les Gets span a huge area covering both France and Switzerland with 650km or slopes to ski and snowboard. Enjoy croissants for breakfast in France before skiing into Switzerland for a traditional fondue lunch and at just 30p a kilometre for your lift pass, you may even be able to get an extra bottle of wine in with dinner!
 

3 – Zillertall Super Ski Pass | Lift Pass £185 | 649km of piste | 29p per KM

It’s not an a ski area that everyone will automatically think of simply because the ski areas aren’t all connected by lifts but this Austrian super pass covers all local resorts including Mayrhofen meaning you can experience a brand new ski area every day of your holiday for less than 30p a killometre. Plus, with your travel between resorts on a local bus service covered by your lift pass, The Zillertall Super Ski Pass is one of the best value lift passes around.
 

2 – The ‘Epic’ Pass | Lift Pass £433 | 2012km of piste | 22p per KM

It’s pretty self-explanatory but to clear it up for you, ‘The Epic Pass’ is, well, EPIC meaning you can ski 2012km of piste all on one piece of plastic. Ski Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Afton Alps, Mt Brighton, Arapahoe basin in North America, Niseko in Japan or even Verbier in Switzerland or the 3 Valleys in France and it’ll only cost you 22p a KM. Surely the best value lift pass around..?
 

1 – Dolimiti Superski Pass | Lift Pass £216 | 1220km of piste | 18p per KM

It’s true. Italy is home to the best value ski pass on the planet. 4 times the size of Espace Killy and more kilometres of piste than every American resort on the Epic pass added together. This Italian giant offers heart-stopping scenery, exceptional eateries and superb skiing at a bargain price. Sometimes over-shadowed by more well-known resorts, The Dolomites ski area is gargantuan and at just 18p a km, it’s also the best value resort around.
 

Click here to explore all the EPIC resorts next season!

 

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Great Group Skiing Tips

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

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

 

The Tips

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

The Chalets

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

click here for some great group skiing offers with skiworld

 

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Say Cheese!


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

Switzerland

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

France

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

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Where’s the Snow Been This Winter?

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

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

 

Val d’Isere

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

Alpe d’Huez

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

Whistler

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

Vail

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

Zermatt

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

St Anton

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

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