Our latest blog post comes from Jenny Hyndman, Community Manager at Ongosa, who specialise in searching and booking qualified mountain guides and snowsports instructors. Here are Jenny’s thoughts on the best resorts in which to hone your skills this coming winter.
This is the season to take your skiing up a level!
It should be very difficult to progress in a sport when you only spend a couple of weeks (or days!) a year practising it. Therefore, any improvements that skiers make, year-to-year, are remarkable. Most skiers have been at the same level for years; everyone’s comfort zone will be slightly different, but most commonly, good weather, comfy boots and a fulfilling breakfast contribute to enjoyable skiing. However, this season we want to move up a gear and improve! Hopefully this list of tips and ideal European skiing locations will help beginners, confident skiers and off-piste skiers to take their skiing to the next level. We’ve included suggestions of where to go, and even what you can do at home.
Beginners, move off the blues and learn about your turns
Val Thorens’ list of superlatives is endless. To name a few, it wins the accolade for being the highest ski resort in Europe (with 99% of its terrain over 2000m no less), the highest part of the 3 Valleys ski area (which also happens to be one of the biggest linked ski areas in the world), as well as for having the longest toboggan run in France, the highest 2-Michelin starred restaurant, the highest ice driving circuits in Europe and the highest mountain zip wire in the world!
The resort of Val Thorens has been undergoing something of a revolution in the last decade, at times seeming unrecognisable from its former self. In the last 5 years alone, it has gone from having zero 5-star hotels to four, three of which were brand new and purpose built with the very best facilities. It’s easy to see why Val Thorens has become so popular as a (very!) high altitude snow-sure resort with a great range of accommodation, plenty of activities, and of course, awesome skiing.
Whilst all this this makes Val Thorens one of the most exciting ski destinations in Europe, the pace of these recent changes means it can be hard to keep up with what’s going on! So here’s a quick roundup of what we can look forward to in Val Thorens for Winter 2016/17. Read the rest of this entry »
117 days and counting…
It may feel like there’s plenty of time between now and the bells chiming the start of 2017 but we’ll be linking arms and trying to remember anything past the first verse of Auld Lang Syne before you can say Hogmanay.
Without wanting to wish away the autumn, it definitely pays to be organised and sort out your plans for the 31st December. And where better to see in another year than surrounded by mountains and enjoying some of the very best alpine hospitality? Not to mention a New Year’s Day spent on the slopes, where the effects of the night before always seem to be magically banished.
Here’s a few of our favourite resorts to enjoy New Year skiing in Winter 2016/17:
Two iconic mountains in the Teton range, legendary ski terrain and an authentic Wild West experience. Now easier than ever, Patrick Nelson from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort gives us the lowdown on getting to Jackson this winter:
While Jackson Hole has long been known as a Wild West outpost, it is actually really easy to access from the UK. Surrounded by National Parks and Wilderness and with the Elk, moose and bison population roughly equalling humans, you might not expect easy flights to Jackson Hole.
British Airways (American Airlines codeshare) and United continue to offer one-stop options through Chicago and Dallas, but new for Winter 2016-17 is a 3x weekly one-stop from Heathrow to Jackson Hole on Delta (Virgin Atlantic codeshare). This flight departs London Heathrow around noon and lands in Salt Lake City around 16:00 with easy customs and quick layover before the short flight to Jackson Hole. Jackson Hole is as remote as ever, but now easier than ever to get to. And the airport is only 15 minutes from the town of Jackson and 35 minutes from the slopes.
If you’ve never skied Jackson Hole, or haven’t been for a few years, it might be time to (re)visit “The Big One.” Read the rest of this entry »
Eating & Skiing our way across the Dolomites
Adding a new country to our European programme had been on my radar for some time and it became clear that many of our clients were keen to experience Italian ski resorts.
Known for extensive skiing, stunning vistas and good value, not to mention the food (more on that later), I was really looking forward to eating – and skiing – our way across three fantastic resorts in the Dolomites, in preparation for adding ski holidays in the Italian Dolomites to our winter 2016/17 programme.
Together with my colleagues Karen (Senior Ski Specialist) and Catherine (Ski Product Support and fluent Italian speaker), we flew into Venice Marco Polo airport in March and hopped into a hire car to make the two hour journey to our first stop of Cortina d’Ampezzo. Popular among well-heeled Italians with a penchant for fur, this resort really is the place to see and be seen in Italy. With many holidaymakers more intent on sashaying their way along the beautiful cobbled streets of the car-free, traditional town centre, we found that the slopes were relatively quiet.
Split into two main areas (Tofana and Valoria), we spent a great day on the Tofana side enjoying some lovely cruisy slopes and taking in the immense scenery.
Skiing in Italy: What’s good, what’s great, and why it’s now in my list of favourites!
Before this February my experience of skiing in Italy had been restricted to day trips taken from French resorts, but this winter an ambitious plan was formed to fulfil several wishes in one trip: Combining a trip to Rome, a 6 Nations rugby match (and a Scotland win!), a week of skiing and a stopover in Verona.
One of the nice things about visiting Italy is that it’s relatively small – and they have a super-efficient high speed rail system which meant we could get from Rome in the south, up to the Trentino region in a little under 4 hours. None of the ski resorts are accessible by rail, but we were able to get a transfer from the town of Trento to Madonna di Campiglio, which took about 2 hours.
Zip Trek Eco Tours are a hair raising pursuit come snow or sun, operating throughout the winter and summer seasons they provide the perfect après-ski activity for kids (6 and over) and grown-ups alike. My family, particularly my two teenage sons, were determined to try out this high flying adventure on our recent Summer holiday to Whistler – we weren’t disappointed! Read the rest of this entry »
The fantastic Big White Masters Ski Weeks are tailored specifically towards skiers and boarders aged 50+yrs, looking to meet like-minded snowsports addicts. These week long programmes include top ski coaching, a bit of après, some chat and plenty of social – surely a winning formula! Read the rest of this entry »
Ski Independence go skiing and what a season it’s been! The Ski Independence team have been getting their turns in on 3 continents, in 7 countries, in 44 different resorts. In total we’ve clocked up over 125 ski days between us! Below we share a few of our highlights (plus a lowlight) and top tips from winter 2015/16.
Managing Director, Michael, spent a week in Avoriaz with his family:
My top tip would be lunch in one of the restaurants in Lindarets, a small hamlet just down from the Lindarets and Proclou chairlifts. Read the rest of this entry »
Described by Fairmont as “our exclusive lifestyle hotel experience”, Fairmont Gold offers an extra dimension to the traditional yet relaxed luxury of Fairmont Hotels. Available in a wide range of our Canadian resorts, we wanted to give you more information about the superb levels of service and personal attention on offer with Fairmont Gold.
We could list off everything that is included – a private check-in desk, a dedicated Fairmont Gold team, a delicious continental breakfast served in the Fairmont Gold Lounge. We could tell you how big your room will be (at least 165sqft. at the Fairmont Banff Springs). Or, we could tell you what your view might be like – anyone for the Marquis De Lorne Suite at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise? Ok, so that’s quite a bit of information already! What really matters, though, is the experience itself. Our Ski Groups Specialist, Vikki, was lucky enough to experience the uniquely personal and discreet Fairmont Gold service in March 2016…