Karen M and Adam from the Ski Independence team had the pleasure of visiting a huge number of our featured luxury hotels and residences in the Tarentaise ski resorts of Val Thorens, Tignes, Val d’Isère and Les Arcs in December, as well as sneaking in a couple of days on the slopes. Karen sums up the trip below.
5-Star Experience – First stop: Val Thorens
We arrived in Val Thorens on the afternoon of a beautiful sunny day at the start of December to begin our mini-tour around the Alps. Neither of us had been here before so it was great to see it for the first time on such a lovely day. After quick lunch we started our visits around to a few of the luxury hotels Val Thorens has to offer. Read the rest of this entry »
Voted the best place to live in America in the 2016 US News and World Report, Denver is sophisticated and diverse, boasts a great climate, is packed full of cultural attractions and has a thriving restaurant scene. Our Senior Ski Specialist Karen visited Denver on an educational trip in December 2016. Here are her thoughts on her experience in the Mile High City.
A Denver City Stopover might just surprise you!
I’m not going to lie, Denver, in my head, was an industrial sprawl providing infrastructure for the Rockies, but little else. How wrong I was – downtown Denver is clean, walkable, safe and full of interesting architecture and quirky independent boutiques. Hipsters have well and truly taken over here – it’s virtually impossible to buy a drink that’s not in a jam jar. And if you’re not serving hand-ground-artisan-coffee-beans-personally-sourced-from-an-indigenous-community-in-the-woods then you’re not selling coffee in this town!
Our group stayed at the Crawford Hotel. Part of a new (2 year old) refurbishment of Denver’s Union Station, dating from 1881, it’s an awesome building and there are lots of bars, restaurants and shops on the ground floor. Every outlet is independently owned and local – no chains here. Hotel guests get given a discount card when they check in: this gives you a free coffee, a scoop of ice cream, a beer and discounts in the stores. Entry level rooms are small, but really stylish and comfortable.
Why this hotel is of particular interest, though, is its location. The tram from Denver Airport arrives right at the back door of the hotel and we got from the plane to the hotel in just over an hour! The tram goes every 15 minutes from the airport terminal, and takes just over half an hour. Read the rest of this entry »
Short breaks or ski weekends are becoming more and more popular so we thought we’d put together our top 5 short break tips for skiers.
1. Be flexible; To get the best price and the best availability have a bit of flexibility in your dates. We can book from many local airports in the UK but the prices tend to rise from Thursday to Sunday (as does accommodation cost sometimes) so if you’re looking for the best price then mid-week might suit best.
2. Avoid school holidays; There are very few hotels or apartments that will accept short stays over the Christmas / New Year holidays or the February holidays (that stretch in to March on mainland Europe) so keeping clear of these dates will give most flexibility. Read the rest of this entry »
The whole team at Ski Independence would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. If you need to get in touch with us please call 0131 243 8097 and please find details of our festive opening hours below.
Festive Opening Hours 2016/17
- Monday 19th December to Friday 23rd December: 9am – 5.30pm
- Saturday 24th December, Christmas Eve: 9am-12.30pm
- Sunday 25th December, Christmas Day: Closed
- Monday 26th December, Boxing Day: Closed
- Tuesday 27th December – Friday 30th December: 9am – 5.30pm
- Saturday 31st December, New Year’s Eve: 9am – 12.30pm
- Sunday 1st January, New Year’s Day and Monday 2nd January: Closed
The 2016/17 winter season is officially underway! Here is a short roundup of recent news and images to inspire your next ski holiday. From early resort openings in France and Canada to record snowfalls for the time of year, we can’t wait to get out there and ski! The first of our resort visits for the season start today – our Sales Manager, Gareth, is off to Verbier whilst Ski Specialist, David, is heading out to Colorado.
Whistler Blackcomb Open Ahead of Schedule
It has been nothing short of a brilliant start to winter for British Columbia’s ski resorts, with huge snowfalls early on. Whistler is celebrating its biggest November snow base in 6 years. Watch this video from Whistler’s opening day:
>> Find out more about Making the most of Whistler Blackcomb
Also Open for Winter 2016/17
- Banff and Lake Louise: Lake Louise Ski Resort has been open since Friday 18th November and the famed Delirium Dive at Sunshine Village is now operational too. These superb Alberta ski resorts are off to an incredible start to the season, with yet another storm system passing through this weekend.
Snow Photos – our latest selection
Welcome to the first in our series of galleries for Winter 2016/17. Our partners in resort have shared a whole range of inspiring and ‘make-your-friends-jealous’ images with us, which just make you want to get out there and ski!
Keep up to date with recent snowfall as it happens in the USA, Canada, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Japan. Check back here for updates throughout the season & don’t miss the Ski Independence Instagram page!
Get in touch with our team of Ski Specialists for more advice on where to ski this winter and to book your tailor-made ski holiday now. Call the team on 0131 243 8097 or request a tailor-made quotation online.
Hitting the slopes has never been easier with our new lift pass service!
Here at Ski Independence we know how important it is to be able to maximise your time on the slopes. That’s why we are delighted to unveil our new lift pass service which is available in a number of our French resorts. If you pre-book your lift pass(es) in one of the selected resorts, we will send your tickets to you before you travel*, saving you time and hassle in resort. Simply place the hands-free lift pass card in your jacket pocket and you’re ready to go! No queuing at the ticket office – just get on the first ski lift that takes your fancy.
We are offering this service in some of our top resorts this season: Val Thorens, Val d’Isère, Flaine, Samoëns, La Clusaz, Les Gets and La Plagne – and we plan to add this service to a number of additional resorts in winter 2017-18. Read the rest of this entry »
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!
November 2016: news just in – Val Thorens has been named the World’s Best Ski Resort 2016 at the World Ski Awards!
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: