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:
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 »