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Travel Checklist

March 31, 2013 in Travel Checklist

Here’s the scene;

You’re stuck in the nearest accessible airport in the boring dreary country that although provides financial stability (supposedly) for you and your family , but does not cater for the adrenaline fix that you can only find on a the freshly groomed pistes of the worlds finest resorts. So understandably your excited by the prospect of not only your boss not being able to reach you on your blackberry on the flight but what also awaits you after your transfer to the resort.

But you’re there, at what seems like the most industrial hurdle between you and your trip away, the check in desk. The gate keeper, the overly cheery check in lady (for 7.30 am) is secret smiling on the inside as you rummage around your newly purchased Northface back pack complete with empty platypus and all.  You’ve forgotten the 4 year olds passport. You’re partner is horrified you didn’t check when they asked the last 5 times before closing the door almost as an ultimatum (as the eyes rolled) . Of which they are now burning into the back of your head. Your better  half can picture the money poured away… wasted, it could’ve gone on treating the in laws or paying for a pampered a weekend for you two, but instead its just being buried in the mountains of embarrassment that you could’ve been carving up.

So after recent experiences not too dissimilar from the above… what could I’ve done to prevent this… find the Checklist, one that I will be taking with me from now on (or else).

SkiAndBoarding Travel Checklist

Tignes Ski Resort – Review

May 31, 2011 in France, Resorts, Reviews

Tignes Ski Resort – Review

tignes summer ski

 

 

Tignes, France
Tignes is the highest ski resort in Europe. Thanks to this there is always snow, even after the first resorts close their slopes. Tignes is part of the Espace Killy Ski Area, which provides skiers with more than 300km of slopes made for everyone. Beginner skiers even have 120km of trails just for them.

In Tignes, everyting is big. Snowboarders can access the biggest snowboarding area in Europe: The Palafour Comb where jumps, half pipe and a free ride zone are offered. But both expert skiers and adrenaline junkies will be thrilled with the number of black trails available, plus the off-piste routes are excellent. In the Espace Killy Ski Area, there is also a moguls run that is considered as one of the hardest in the world.

Ski in summer
Thanks to its incredible geographical situation and proximity to the glacier, it is possible to go skiing during summer in Tignes. The resort reopens in June for great days in the sun and snow. You need to be an early bird but, the good thing about it is, after you’ve finished skiing you can go into the resort and try one of the summer activities available too.

Apart from ski and snowboarding
Besides skiing and snowboarding, Tignes has a whole range of activities, in winter and in summer. Snowmobiling, dog sledding, snowshoeing, ice climbing, ice karting, ice driving, ice skating or ice diving are one of them. In summer, you can also enjoy great days golfing, biking or even hiking in the area around. There is plenty to do in Tignes any season.

Events in Tignes

This year, for the 2nd time, Tignes held the Winter X-Games Europe, in late March. This is probably one of the biggest events there is in the ski freestyle world. The Games will be held there again next season, so don’t miss it. But this is only one of the numerous events that Tignes organises each year.

Après-ski in Tignes
In France, “Après-ski” can be anything that happens after a day of skiing: a nice meal in a restaurant, cinema, a spa session or even clubbing. And Tignes has plenty to offer and is surely the French resort offering the most affordable après-ski evenings. You can eat delicious tapas at Corridor or, if you’re looking to dance all night, then go for a walk to Les Caves du Lac, with DJ sets and surprises galore! You won’t regret it!

Tignes is, without a doubt, one of the best place to go on ski holidays, in winter and in summer. Once you have tried it, you’ll have only one wish: to go back again.

Saas-Fee Resort Review, The perfect Swiss Town

February 8, 2011 in Resorts, Reviews, Switzerland

The perfect Swiss ‘chocolate box’ town, this resort is a favourite, especially in summer.

On the slopes Rating

Snow reliability ❄❄❄❄❄ Parks ❄❄❄ Off-piste ❄❄❄

Off the slopes

Après ski ❄❄❄❄ Nightlife ❄❄❄❄ Eating out ❄❄❄❄ Resort charm ❄❄❄❄❄

The Resort

The village of Saas-Fee does not feel, as many do, like a functional resort built purely to support the winter sports; it is a magical place that you can easily fall in love with. The unique atmosphere is traditional and romantic, and the entire town is surrounded by 13 imposing, 4000m peaks, including the highest mountain in Switzerland, the Dom (4545m above sea level).The traffic-free town and the chalet-style buildings contribute to the relaxing pace of this charming glacier village, and it manages to provide a varied and rich nightlife. In the winter the village can be very cold; conditions are best for autumn or spring skiing when there is plenty of sun and snow. Saas-Fee is also the perfect resort for summer skiing on the glacier.

The Mountains

Height: 1800–3600m

Ability Rating

Expert ❄❄❄ Intermediate ❄❄❄❄ Beginner ❄❄❄❄❄ maintained in the summer.

Saas-Fee - Getting about

Take two Alpin Express cable cars to Felskinn at 3000m. From here you can either enjoy some long, sweeping red runs back to town or take the highest underground funicular in the world, the Metro Alpin to the Mittelallalin glacier (3500m). When visibility is good you can apparently see the lights of Milan. It will take you around 40 minutes to reach the top.

Winter

There are 100km of marked pistes in Saas- Fee in the winter, most designed for the beginner/intermediate skier or boarder. The 32 runs comprise 13 blue trails, 14 red and 5 black. Saas-Fee has a great reputation for maintaining the runs in tiptop condition, allowing the intermediate riders a great base from which to push themselves to the next level. The unprepared mogul piste under the Längfluh chairlift puts those knees to the test.

Summer

The glacier provides 20km of ski slopes for summer skiing, geared to high-standard riding. It is best to get out early, as the glacier closes some time between 12pm (in high summer) and 2pm. The runs are pretty good, but if you’re not doing slalom training or hitting the park, you may end up twiddling your thumbs. If you are hitting the park, you will not be disappointed. Get used to the T-bars and draglifts; chairlifts are difficult to manoeuvre and so are not practical with the moving glacier.

The Park

There is a park in the winter, but it is far better now. It is one of the first resorts to put real money in to develop the park and skier/boardercross. It is, therefore, renowned for hosting many of the major competitions such as the Rip Curl Challenge and the World Cup Half Pipe events. Professionals often train here in the summer, and ski and board manufacturers are regularly spotted testing their products.

The park is changed regularly but always consists of a super half pipe, 3 big kickers ranging from 6m to 12m gaps and a huge range of rails. There are plenty of table-top jumps for learning and practising new tricks, before stepping it up to the bigger ones. The atmosphere in the park is superb; a DJ often plays at the bottom and photographers and cameramen are frequently spotted filming for the latest movies.

Off-piste and backcountry

It is wise to be cautious when exploring the off-piste around a glacier due to the crevasses and concealed dangers. However, this does not mean that there aren’t any off- piste opportunities to be had. There are 3 pistes that are marked as yellow or off-piste runs, but there are a few more. The absence of glacier on the Plattjen makes it a great place to find fresh tracks through the trees. The trees also shelter the snow, so it stays in good condition all day. Be warned though: this area can be quite challenging!

‘A great place to find fresh tracks through the trees’

The Maste 4 is another good place to keep you out of the way of crevasse dangers. It is a relatively easy powder run – a perfect place for cruising. From the top of the Alpin Express you can find the Morenia, great if you like the steeps, and it’s hardly ever touched. It is very important only to attempt this after a good snowfall and, even then, it must be done early in the morning. The Hannig, at the other side of town to the Alpin Express (used for hill-walking and sledging), is a great place for an early morning hike. There is a lift from the bottom of the resort, but they won’t let you on with your board or skis so it is a bit of a trek. If you fancy a backcountry adventure, set off early from Brittania Hutte and enjoy the legendary, 1.5-hour freeride down to Saas-Almagell. This is pretty challenging, especially at the beginning, and is only recommended with a guide.

Lift passes

Check the latest prices at www.saas-fee.ch

Instruction

Eskimos Snowboard School

This is a well-known school with courses that range from basic to freestyle/carving. 0041 (0)27 957 49 04 www.eskimos.ch

Saas-Fee Ski and Snowboard School

This school comes highly recommended by locals – not that there is a huge amount of choice. All instructors speak a variety of languages.

0041 (0)27 957 23 48 www.skischule-saas-fee.ch

British Freeski Camps

These run for 3 or 4 weeks in the summer every year, and are organised by Warren Smith. You can sign up for the whole time or any 1 week. On the camp, you have the choice of hitting the park, perfecting the skier cross course or improving your technical skills. The top professional skiers in Britain gather together for these camps, some coaching (Andy Bennett, Dave Young, Pat Sharples, Paddy Graham and James Woods) and others training, so it’s a great place to introduce yourself to the British ski scene. 0044 (0)1525 374757 www.britishfreeskicamps.com

Popcorn shop

www.popcorn.ch For buying or renting snowboards or freestyle skis we highly recommend this shop/bar, located right in the centre of town near the clock tower. They always have the latest equipment and clothing and are also happy to offer their expert advice.

Other activities

Always ask if there is a discount with a guest card, obtainable from your hotel or apartment landlord.

Winter and summer Bobsleigh: The Feeblitz Bobsleigh is a 900m long toboggan run – great fun for all the family. It can be adapted to suit the adrenaline junkie – although not ‘officially’ recommended, it has been known for riders not to apply the brakes and keep their eyes closed. We didn’t tell you to do it though. Ice grotto: Visit the Allain Ice Pavilion – the biggest ice grotto in the world. It can be accessed from the Metro Alpin top station hall at 3500m above sea level. Mountain climbing: The mountain climbing schools offer a number of activities for keen climbers, or those who fancy giving it a go. Rock and ice climbing, canyoning, glacier trekking and mountaineering are available for both beginners and advanced climbers. For a James Bond-type activity, the ‘Alpine Gorge’ is an opportunity to be seized. This is a mountain descent from Saas-Fee to Saas- Grund, where you make your way down with the aid of a guide, fixed steel ropes, ladders, 3 Tyroliennes and a suspension bridge. A final option is to conquer 1 of the 3 Via Ferratas (secured climbing routes). The Mittaghorn is fairly easy and good for families, the Jägihorn is pretty difficult and should be undertaken with a guide and the Via Ferrata del Lago is recommended as a 2-day tour.

For further information contact Saas-Fee Guides Climbing School (0041 (0)27 957 44 64 www.saasfeeguides.ch) or Active Dreams (0041 (0)78 825 82 73, www.weissmies.ch). Tennis and badminton: There are 2 indoor tennis courts and 4 indoor badminton courts available.

Wellness centre: If you’re looking for a good way to while away a bad weather day look no further than the Bielen Wellness Centre (0041 (0)27 957 24 75, www.super-dome. ch). There is a 25m swimming pool, as well as a sauna, solarium, whirlpool, steam bath, solar sun bathing, fitness room, table tennis

and table football. The 5-star Hotel Ferienart contains the Paradisa wellness centre (0041 (0)27 958 19 16, www.ferienart.ch) where non-residents can pay for a day’s spa pack- age. We’d love to tell you what it was like but we couldn’t afford it.

Summer only Adventure forest: You can swing from tree to tree using rope swings and zip wires and walk across hanging bridges. Crazy golf: A fantastic way to pass an hour or so! Not a course to be sniffed at, it really is quite difficult and should be taken very seriously. Golf: A 9-hole alpine golf course can be found just behind the Kalbermatten sports field. Hiking: There’s loads of hiking to be had in and around Saas-Fee. Contact the tourist office for all the details. Mountain biking: Bikers will be in their element in the summer, as there are around 70km of trails. The marked trails suit a range of abilities. Contact the tourist office for a detailed mountain bike map. Sports: The Kalbermatten sports ground offers football, basketball, volleyball, a mini skate ramp for skateboarding and in-line skating and tennis courts. Pit-Pat (a weird combination of snooker and crazy golf) is located nearby, at the Hotel Waldesruh.

Winter only Heliskiing and snow touring: These are definitely worth checking out later on in the season. Contact Active Dreams (see Mountain climbing for details). Husky tours: These run several times a week and can be booked at the tourist office. Ice skating: The natural ice rink is open 8am–10pm from mid-December to the end of February. Sledge run: A 5km sledge run can be found at Hannig. On Tuesdays and Thursdays (6–9pm) you can sledge at night. There is also an 11km run in the nearby town of Saas-Grund. Snow shoe trekking: This is organised daily. Contact the tourist office.

Snow tubing and air boarding: This and occurs several times a week. The snow tube lift in Saas-Grund is open 3–5.30pm and 8–10pm.

Events

Saas-Fee is a very popular venue for a wide variety of events because the height of the glacier pretty much guarantees snow all year round. The FIS World Cup in November has been held in Saas-Fee for many years, with disciplines for skiers and boarders in the half pipe and skier/boardercross. The Dutch and British Championships have also been held here over the years. The Saas-Fee Ride takes place every summer, usually at the end of July, and many of the best freestyle skiers in Europe turn up for the event. If you fancy your chances at entering the competition or if you just want to improve your style, why not book on to the British Freeski Camps (www. britishfreeskicamps.com) that take place in the few weeks running up to the Saas-Fee Ride.

The Ice Climbing World Cup in February is one of the biggest events in Saas-Fee. The world’s best ice climbers strut their stuff on a 30m high wall of ice in the car park of Saas- Fee. At the end of April is the last event in the famous TTR (Ticket To Ride) tour.

‘The world’s best ice climbers strut their stuff on a 30m high wall of ice’

Saas-Fee Accommodation

There are a variety of packages available to suit all budgets. Renting an apartment is often a good option. Bear in mind that the north end of the village is a bit of a hike from the lifts, so always make sure you check the location before you book.

For a funky, unique, well-placed and friendly hotel call the Dom Hotel (0041 (0)27 957 77 00, www.uniquedom.com). The PS2s in every room and the friendly staff make this hotel our top pick for the younger clientele. The rooms are minimalist and funky

with wooden floors, and the balconies have stunning views. The hotel also contains the hugely popular Popcorn bar and the Living Room, a stylish chill-out bar.

If being near the slopes is of utmost importance to you, check out La Gorge Apart-Hotel (0041 (0)27 958 16 80, www. lagorge.ch). It has a beautiful location sitting above a deep creek and contains a charming restaurant. It is only 100m from the lifts and is also close to all the facilities of the town. The rooms are fairly basic but contain a little kitchen so you can save money on food.

For a luxury apartment at a decent price check out the 5-star Shangri-La Apartments (0041 (0)27 958 15 15, www.rhone.ch/zumlerch). The apartments are huge (47–83m2) and contain Sky TV, a DVD player, internet connection, a coffee machine, a dishwasher, a washing machine and a massive balcony, and there is a sauna and whirlpool room for the use of guests.

If price is no object and you enjoy fancy hotels, it has to be the 5-star Hotel Ferienart (0041 (0)27 958 19 00, www.ferienart.ch). It has all the charm and splendour and prices that you would expect, with 6 restaurants, a piano bar, dance hall and beauty spa. The spa and beauty salon are very nice.

‘Dramatic views that can be enjoyed from comfy deckchairs’

Eating out

On the mountain

The world’s highest revolving restaurant is at the top lift station on the Mittelallalin glacier. It spins all the way round about once an hour. The views are stunning, the food is tasty and we think it’s pretty good value too. It’s definitely worth doing at least once and you should book if you want a table by the window (0041 (0) 27 957 17 71).

Other restaurants to check out are the popular, rustic Gletschergrotte, (0041 (0)27 957 21 60, www.gletschergrotte.ch) halfway

down from Speilboden and the more trendy hangout, Popcorn Plaza at Längfluh (0041 (0)27 957 21 32), which has dramatic views that can be enjoyed from comfy deckchairs on the huge terrace.

In town La Ferme (0041 (0)27 958 15 69) is a superb restaurant in the centre of town. It has a traditional, rustic and charming atmosphere and all the staff don the traditional dress. It’s not cheap, but is good value as the food is fantastic.

The Bodmen restaurant (0041 (0)27 957 20 75, www.waldhues-bodmen.ch) takes 10–15 minutes to walk to along a beautiful woodland path and is well worth the trip. It’s a beautiful place to sit at lunchtime in the summer as the huge terrace has marvellous views and goats scuttle in-between the tables. In the evening it’s not too formal and has great food, from fondues to fillet steak. If you wish, you can request the table next to a glass panel with views into a barn so you can see lots of chickens and other farmyard animals strutting their stuff while you eat. It’s not advisable to ask for this table if you fancy tucking into a chicken dish. To find the restaurant, walk past the Alpin Express lift station, in the opposite direction to town, and you will see a sign pointing you towards the Bodmen.

The Fletschhorn restaurant (0041 (0)27 957 21 31, www.fletschhorn.ch) is highly recommended, is highly expensive and has 18 points in the Gault & Millau gourmet guide. Boccalino’s (0041 (0)27 957 17 31) is a great pizza restaurant on the main street serving pizzas, pasta and risottos. Probably the best value in town, this is a great place to eat if you’re on a budget.

‘This is a great place to eat if you’re on a budget’

Bars and clubs

Saas-Fee has a very good night scene. The laws are such that there is no specific time at which a bar should close; if it’s busy they will open until it’s time to hit the slopes again. Dangerous stuff.

The Popcorn bar in the Dom Hotel (see Accommodation) is definitely at the centre of the action with good après ski, European DJs, live bands and the odd ‘Diva Night’ when they play all the classic cheesy music. Dressing up is optional. It’s not cheap here though. The younger crowd tend to hang out at the Happy Bar (0041 (0)27 957 38 96), at the north end of town, where the drinks are cheaper, especially during happy hour.

If you are in the 25+ category you might favour the Living Room in the Dom Hotel (see Accommodation), which is more of a chill-out bar with sofas and candles. If the mood takes you later on, you can always head downstairs to the Popcorn for a drunken boogie. Poison nightclub (0041 (0)27 957 50 51) is popular and good fun. Again, it’s more for the 25+ age group. Opposite the Popcorn is the Alpen-Pub (0041 (0)27 957 38 28), which has live music in the winter and on quieter nights is a great place to have a cosy beer and a game of darts.

If you intend to do your partying indoors, watch out for the ‘hush police’ who parade the streets after 10pm and can collar you into a fine if they think you’re making too much noise.

Getting there

By car

From Calais, it will take around 10 hours to drive to Saas-Fee. Enter Switzerland above Lausanne and from there follow signs for Sion, and then Brig, where you are signed to Saas-Fee.

The village itself is car-free, so you will have to use the car park (open air or covered). The car park price per day decreases the longer you are staying and is cheaper if you have a guest card, which can be obtained from your hotel or apartment owner on arrival.

There are free phones in the unloading areas to call your hotel for a free lift or to call a taxi (free phone numbers are by the phone).

By plane

Geneva (234km) Transfer from Geneva is approximately 3 hours by car. If transfer is by train, change in Brig (or Visp) for the postbus, which takes you right to Saas-Fee. There are hourly connections from Brig from 06.15 to 20.05 and from Visp from 06.35 to 20.25. Reservations may be necessary with the post bus (0041 (0)27 958 11 45).

Zürich (246km) There are regular transfers to Brig or Visp. The transfer is approximately 3 hours.

By train

Take the Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris, then an overnight train, changing at Zürich, to Brig, and then a local bus (57 minutes) to the resort. Contact Rail Europe (0870 830 4862, www.raileurope. co.uk) or European Rail (020 7387 0444, www.european rail.com). Bus tickets are purchased on the bus. (For people booking through European Rail to Swiss resorts, the rail fare includes the bus connection to resort, so there is no need to pay for a bus ticket.)

Useful facts and phone numbers

Tourist office

T: 0041 (0)27 958 18 58 F: 0041 (0)27 958 18 60 W: www.saas-fee.ch

Direct reservations

T: 0041 (0)27 958 18 68 F: 0041 (0)27 958 18 70 W: www.saas-fee.ch

Emergency services

• Police: 117 • Police station (by the car park): 0041

(0)27 958 11 60 • Ambulance: 114 • Breakdown service: 140 • Weather information: 0900 57 30 70

(CHF1.49/min)

Doctors

• Stefan and Stephanie Kuonen, Saas-Fee: 0041 (0)27 957 58 59

• Medical Centre, Saas-Grund: 0041 (0)27 957 11 55

• Pharmacy, Saas-Fee: 0041 (0)27 957 26 18

• Dentist, St Imseng: 0041 (0)27 957 20 52

Electro-taxis

• Ambros: 0041 (0)79 439 10 29 • Taxi Anselm: 0041 (0)79 220 21 37 • Bolero: 0041 (0)27 958 11 35 • Center Reisen: 0041 (0)27 958 11 33 • Imseng: 0041 (0)27 957 33 44

SkiAndBoarding GIve thanks and recognition to the following for this review:

This review is from the Which Ski Resort Book which can be found at: http://www.foulsham.com/product1201.htm

ISBN 9780572036317 and price £10.99.

SkiAndBoarding are extremely happy to work together with other Snow Enthusiasts to help bring you the best information and reviews online!

Here is some information about the book:

Which Ski Resort? – Europe

This review is taken from Which Ski Resort? – Europe, a useful and comprehensive book containing reviews of 50 top resorts for both skiing and snowboarding. As well as information on the style of the resort, the mountains and the skiers it caters for, you’ll find all the practical data: phone numbers, how to get there, and so on. Plus there are run-downs on where to find instruction, the best accommodation, eating out and enjoying yourself. It also rates the top 5 results for apres ski, parks, guaranteed snow, romance  and various other categories. Click here to get your copy.

Zermatt Skiing and Snowboarding Resort Review

February 6, 2011 in Resorts, Switzerland

Zermatt A cosmopolitan town with

amazing skiing, boarding and nightlife – love it!

On the slopes Rating:

Snow reliability ❄❄❄❄❄

Parks ❄❄❄

Off-piste ❄❄❄❄

Off the slopes:

Après ski ❄❄❄❄

Nightlife ❄❄❄❄

Eating out ❄❄❄

Resort charm ❄❄❄❄

The Resort

One of Switzerland’s finest resorts, Zermatt provides everything that you might want on a ski holiday. The chalets are all built in typical Swiss ‘chocolate box’ style and the town is car free, with only electric cars and buses whizzing around. There are hotels, bars and restaurants to suit all tastes and visitors come from all over Europe and beyond, creating a fabulously cosmopolitan atmosphere. Ski bums and billionaires – everyone feels comfortable in Zermatt.

On the mountain there are some great challenges with moguls, off-piste and heli- skiing on offer. There are also plenty of flattering blues and lengthy reds to suit the travelling intermediates. The lift system has been massively improved recently, linking the Klein Matterhorn and Gornergrat areas and making travel between the 2 areas far easier than it has been for those staying in Zermatt and also for visitors coming over from Cervinia.

Zermatt’s trademark, the 4478m high Matterhorn, and the other 37 4000m high peaks make for an impressive backdrop. Zermatt also offers the highest glacier palace

in the world – take the lift to the glacier palace, walking in through an ice tunnel that is almost 15m below the surface of the glacier.

Zermatt Piste Map

The Mountains

Height: 1620–3899m

Ability Rating:

Expert ❄❄❄

Intermediate ❄❄❄❄

Beginner ❄❄

Getting about

There are 394km of marked runs and acres of backcountry terrain.There is something for everyone, except perhaps for the complete beginner. In Zermatt alone there are 18 black and yellow pistes (70.5km), 33 red pistes (106km) and 19 blue pistes (17.5km); if you include the runs from Zermatt to Cervinia in Italy (mostly red pistes), you get a total of 394km of marked runs.

The slopes are well-groomed and there are many long, scenic runs, perfect for cruising. It used to be a big grumble that you could not always ride back to the resort, but snow cannons have now been installed all the way to the bottom so it doesn’t matter if it has been a little short on snow.

The lift systems in general are not great; on sunny days and weekends there are usually pretty nasty queues to get on to crammed gondolas that will leave you hot, flustered and unable to move. This would be a big setback but, luckily for Zermatt, the memories of the horrendous lift journeys are soon forgotten.

Zermatt consists of 3 separate areas:

215

SWITZERLAND

216

The Sunnegga area (including Blauherd and Rothorn) is reached by the underground funicular, located about 5 minutes’ walk from the station.

The Gornergrat area (including Hohtälli and Stockhorn) is linked to the Sunnegga area by a 125-person cable car linking Gant to Hohtälli. Gornergrat can be reached directly from Zermatt by trains (Gornergrat–Monte Rosa railway, GGB) that leave every 24 minutes and take 30–40 minutes. The views from this train are definitely worth a look if you’re not in a hurry. The red runs from Gornergrat and Hohtälli to Gant are beautiful and Stockhorn is home to 15km of mogul runs.

‘The red runs are beautiful and Stockhorn is home to 15km of mogul runs’

The Klein Matterhorn area (including Trockener Steg and Schwarzsee) is the highest region and includes the glacial area used for summer skiing. A huge bonus to the ski area is the cable car link between Furi and Riffelberg connecting the Klein Matterhorn and Gornergrat areas. This cost CHF19 million and can carry 2400 passengers per hour. The Klein Matterhorn also gives you access to Cervinia in Italy (see Cervinia chapter, page 140) – for which you need to buy an international pass or pay a daily supplement on your lift pass. The Klein Matterhorn glacier (now called the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise) is the highest summer ski area in the Alps. It consists of 36km2 of pistes, 6 in total, and is at a height of 2900–3900m. There are also 6 drag lifts and a cable car. The glacier is open until 2pm, depending on snow conditions.

Park

There are 2 parks in Zermatt, as well as a separate pipe at the Gornergrat that benefits from a bar in the shape of an igloo. The Gravity Park is above the Trockener Steg in the Klein Matterhorn area and the other

slightly lower down, used more in the winter as it can get very cold at the top. The parks contain some great rails from easy wide 5m rails to some 8m kinks. Unfortunately there aren’t many jumps, but the couple of table tops that there are are always in good condition.

Off-piste and backcountry

The glacier does limit the extent to which you can freely explore the backcountry terrain on the mountain tops but there are plenty of areas to check out.

At the top of the Höhtalli lift is an amazing area for freeride. This always has great snow, and you can get fresh tracks 3 or 4 days after a snowfall. The best moguls around can be found on the slopes between Höhtalli and Gant, at Triftji, where the Triftji bump bash is held each year, organised by the local pros. Above the Höhtalli and Triftji areas is the Stockhorn region, which has been designated as a freeride area. The runs are marked, but not prepared, and not checked at the end of the day. However, the Stockhorn area often doesn’t open until around February.

The Rothorn area has diverse terrain and there are loads of amazing and challenging faces to ride. There is a hidden valley in the Rothorn area, but you should hire a guide or local who knows it well if you are going to check it out.

A guide is definitely recommended if you want a full day of adventure on the Schwarzsee tour. It is a good 1.5-hour hike round the back of the glacier and 3–4 hours of non-stop riding back down.

‘Zermatt is also famous for its extensive heliskiing opportunities’

Zermatt is also famous for its extensive heliskiing opportunities with trips up to the Monte Rosa at 4250m (a fantastic run down through stunning glacial scenery to Furi), the Alphubeljoch at 3728m and up to the Plateau Rosa at 3479m.

Lift passes

Check the latest prices at www.bergbahnen. zermatt.ch

Instruction

Independent Swiss Snowboard Instructors 0041 (0)27 967 70 67 www.issi.ch

Stoked AG Ski and Snowboard School This school offers ski, snowboard, freestyle, telemark, guiding and progressive instruction. 0041 (0)27 967 70 20 www.stoked.ch

Summit Ski School

0041 (0)27 967 00 01 www.summitskischool.com

The Swiss Ski and Snowboard School 0041 (0)27 966 24 66 www.skischulezermatt.ch

Other activities

Bowling: There are 4 bowling alleys, darts and table football. Call 0041 (0)27 966 33 80. Cinema: This is located at Vernissage (see Bars and clubs).

Climbing: Ice climbing is available on a wall that is suitable for all levels or on a tour on steep ice for good climbers only. Alternatively, the Gorge Adventure is a dynamic secured climbing route in the Gorner Gorge. Contact the Alpin Centre (0041 (0)27 966 24 60, www.alpincenter-zermatt.ch).

Fitness centre: Contact the tourist office for more information. Heliskiing: Extensive heliskiing is available in the area (see Backcountry and off-piste). Ice grotto: The grotto at the Klein Matterhorn Glacier is the highest glacier palace in the Alps at 3810m. It contains various sculptures and information about glaciers, geology and climbing. Special events can be held in the ice grotto. It is open in both summer and winter. Ice skating and curling: There are both natural and artificial skating rinks and a

curling rink. Contact Obere Matten sports arena (0041 (0)27 967 36 73). Moonlit skiing/boarding: This can be arranged from the Rothorn area.

Night in an igloo: The igloos on Gornergrat are decorated with artistic sculptures by a local Inuit, and can be rented for the night (see Accommodation).

Night skiing/boarding: This requires headlamps and takes place from Schwarzsee. Paragliding: Contact Paragliding Zermatt (0041 (0)27 967 67 44, www.paragliding- zermatt.ch). Flights take off from Rothorn and land at Sunnegga, Zermatt or a mountain restaurant of your choice!

Saunas, solariums and massages: These are on offer at a number of hotels at various prices. Hotel Arca (0041 (0)27 967 15 44, www.arca-zermatt.ch), Hotel Christiania (0041 (0)27 966 80 00, www.christiania- zermatt.com) and Mont Cervin Palace (0041 (0)27 966 88 88) are good places to start looking. Zermatterhof’s wellness centre, Vita borni (0041 (0)27 966 66 00) includes a pool, whirlpool bath, sauna, steam bath, fitness room and private spa for couples. It is open to the public if treatments are booked. Sledding: There are 2.5km of sledding runs. Sledding can also be done at night, with a number of additional options such as a party at a mountain hut or a fondue party. Squash: Call the Hotel Alex (0041 (0)27 966 70 70).

Swimming: There are indoor swimming pools at various hotels including Hotel Christiania (Roger Moore’s hotel of choice! – see above) and Hotel Eden (0041 (0)27 967 26 55, www.hotel-eden.ch).

Tennis: Both indoor and outdoor courts are available. Torchlit skiing: Ski at night by the light of flaming torches, then move on to a fondue party.

Winter hiking: There are 30km of prepared paths.

Summer only Climbing: Contact the tourist office for more information.

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Hiking: There are 400km of marked hiking paths. Mountain biking: There are 80km of mountain bike trails.

Sports field: Football, volleyball, basketball, tennis and unihockey can all be played here. Contact Obere Matten sports arena (0041 (0)27 967 36 73).

Events

The Triftji Bump Bash mogul competition (www.bumpbash.com) is held every year on the infamous mogul runs.

Accommodation

In 1838 the local surgeon opened the first guest house that could accommodate 3 people, called the Hotel Mont Cervie (which was later changed to Monte Rosa). Zermatt can now accommodate 14000 guests in 112 hotels (6800 beds) and around 2000 holiday apartments. There are 3 5-star hotels, 36 4-star, and 45 3-star. The other 28 hotels are 2-star or less.

You should take care when choosing the location of your hotel/apartment as the resort does sprawl a long way. The best location is probably near the Gornergrat and Sunnegga railways, as here you are close to 2 of the lifts and the main street. You will need to take a bus to the Klein Matterhorn lift from here unless your hotel offers a free shuttle.

On a budget there are few decent places to stay. There is a youth hostel in Zermatt (0041 (0)27 967 23 20), located about 400m from the main lifts in the centre of town. This is fairly cheap and offers half- board accommodation.

The Admiral Hotel (0041 (0)27 966 90 00, www.hotel-admiral.ch) is a very friendly 3-star hotel, with lots of character and charm. The rooms are cosy and have fantastic views of the Matterhorn from their balconies. The hotel is located right next to the Sunnegga-Rothorn lifts, and 5 minutes’ walk from the centre of town. The bus stop for the Klein Matterhorn is a few seconds’ walk away.

The Omnia (0041 (0)27 966 71 71, www.the-omnia.com) is gorgeously modern, elegant and a member of www.designhotels.

com Weirdly, rooms are not numbered, but listed A–Z. For sheer luxury, book yourself into the stunning, 5-star Mont Cervin Palace (0041 (0)27 966 88 88, www. montcervinpalace.ch) in the centre of town.

For a bizarre experience, stay in an igloo village (0041 (0)41 612 27 28/0800 11 33 55 (in Switzerland), www.iglu-dorf.com) below the Gornergrat, at 2700m! There are romantic suites for 2 people, or group igloos sleeping 6. There is also a whirlpool to relax in whilst enjoying the awe-inspiring views above Zermatt.

Eating out

On the mountain

There are 38 restaurants on the mountain, with nearly every one having a reputation for serving excellent food. It is also difficult not to have beautiful scenery on the mountains of Zermatt – even the couple of ugly concrete restaurants have stunning views. At Findeln, below Sunnegga, are several busy, rustic and atmospheric restaurants. Of these, Chez Vrony (0041 (0)27 967 25 52, www. chezvrony.ch) is the most widely esteemed. Between Furi and Zermatt is another hamlet of restaurants including Simi (0041 (0)27 967 26 95) and Zum See (0041 (0)27 967 20 45, www.zumsee.ch), which are both fantastic. Also at Furi, the Farmerhaus (0041 (0)27 967 39 96) is a beautiful, traditional rustic chalet with a big log fire inside. Outside you will find a large terrace with a bar and pizza hut. This place really comes into its own after 4pm for après ski when the live music starts. The food ranges from pizzas and crepes to pastas and steak. To get to this cluster of restaurants you need to take the red run from Schwarzsee to Furi. This is a very scenic route through the trees and there are cannons to make sure that there is always decent snow cover.

Further down the mountain is Hennu Stall (0041 (0)79 213 36 69, www.hennustall. ch), another great place for loud live music during après ski. The hotel restaurant at Schwarzsee (0041 (0)27 967 22 63, www. zermatt.net/schwarzsee), right at the foot of the Matterhorn, has a massive terrace with incredible views of the Matterhorn and glacier. Booking is recommended.

In Town

There is no doubt that Zermatt is an expensive place to eat. If you are on a strict budget then you should hit the supermarkets (or even McDonald’s – not that this is particularly cheap). However, as there are around 100 restaurants in Zermatt with a huge range of cuisines, it would be rude not to indulge a little.

Grampis (0041 (0)27 967 77 55, www. grampis.ch) is right in the centre of town; you can’t miss it for the sparkling fairy lights. It has a funky bar/club downstairs and serves good pizzas and pastas upstairs at decent prices. The Brown Cow Snack Bar (0041 (0)27 967 91 31, www.hotelpost.ch) in the Hotel Post serves good burgers and sandwiches and always has a busy, fun atmosphere.

Hotel Albana Real (www.hotelalbanareal. com) contains 2 restaurants: Rua Thai (0041 (0)27 966 61 81) and Fuji (0041 (0)27 966 61 71), a Japanese restaurant where teppanyaki dishes are prepared in front of you. For something very different, Restaurant Al Bosco (0041 (0)27 966 05 07, www.riffelalp.com) at the 5-star Riffelalp hotel produces pizzas in the shape of the Matterhorn – 10 points for originality go to them.

The 5-star restaurants have posh nosh if you fancy it. Try Prato Borni in the Zermatterhof (0041 (0)27 966 66 00, www. zermatterhof.ch) and the restaurants at the Mont Cervin Palace (0041 (0)27 966 88 88, www.montcervinpalace.ch). These restaurants are no doubt a gourmet treat but are the same as other 5-star restaurants that you would find anywhere around the world. For superb food in very smart but cosy surroundings, Le Mazot (0041 (0)27 966 06 06, www.lemazotzermatt.ch) is the place. The owner’s pride in the restaurant and dedication to service make it really stand out above the rest. The cuisine is dominated by lamb, the restaurant’s speciality. To complement the dishes is a menu of 150 different European wines. You should book a few days in advance.

Bars and clubs in Zermatt

Zermatt has 44 bars and a buzzing, year- round nightlife.

For a good après ski scene, try Papperla (0041 (0)27 967 40 40, www.papperlapub. ch) where the club downstairs is popular with the workers. The Country Bar (0041 (0)27 967 31 74, www.elite-zermatt.ch) offers the internet, karaoke and a game of pool. If you fancy drinking and eating with the seasonaires, The North Wall bar (0041 (0)27 966 34 10, www.northwallbar.com) hosts numerous fancy dress nights (Faschnacht). Sunday and Tuesday are the nights to be with the locals, while Saturdays are more touristy.

The bar hosts numerous ‘

fancy dress nights ’

For getting drunk quickly, Z’Alt Hischi (0041 (0)27 967 42 62, www.hischibar. ch) pours the biggest measures ever. For drunken partying later in the evening, Hotel Post (0041 (0)27 967 19 31, www.hotelpost. ch) has loads of bars and restaurants to check out, but the main partying tends to occur in the cave-type club at the bottom of the building, the Broken Bar. Everyone should go to the über-cool Vernissage (0041 (0)27 967 66 36, www. vernissage-zermatt.com). Its bizarre décor really works, with chandeliers made out of chains, loads of candles, and comfy sofas. It serves food at night and downstairs you will come across an art gallery and cinema! You can take your drinks downstairs for the film and later on the chairs move away, a DJ gets on stage and it turns into a club.

For the more discerning drinker, Pink at Hotel Post (0041 (0)27 967 19 31, www. hotelpost.ch) has live jazz music every night and a great atmosphere. It’s also in the same building as the cheesy parties, so when you’re done being civilised you can join in the carnage. Elsie’s Bar (0041 (0)27 967 24 31, www.elsiebar.ch), opposite the church on the main street, is tiny but atmospheric. It tends

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to attract the 25+ age group, who have enough cash to splash out on a decent bottle of plonk. Elsie’s also serves as a restaurant with fresh oysters every day.

Getting to Zermatt

By car:

The drive time from Calais is 10 hours (1070km). From Geneva, take the N1/N9 via Sion to Sierre. Then take the E62 to Visp, where you will turn and head towards Zermatt via Stalden.

Cars have to be left in a car park in Täsch in open-air or covered car parks. A shuttle train runs from the car park to Zermatt every 20 minutes (www.mgbahn.ch). If you would prefer a taxi to pick you up from the car park there are a number of options – try Taxi Eden (0041 (0)27 967 64 44) or Taxi Schaller (0041 (0)27 967 12 12).

By plane

Geneva (244km) Transfer by bus (around 4–5 hours) or train (4 hours, see www.rail. ch), or car (3.5 hours). Zürich (248km) Transfer is 5 hours by train, 3.5 hours by car.

Milan (234km) Transfer is nearly 4 hours by train, 3 by car. You can take trolleys on to the train up to Zermatt and wheel them off the other end, which can save a lot of hassle. Your hotel should arrange an electric car to pick you up from the station; just give them a call on the free phones at Zermatt station. If not, taxis are available (see opposite).

By train

Take the Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris, then an overnight train, changing at

Zürich and Brig to arrive at Zermatt station in the resort. Contact Rail Europe (0870 830 4862, www.raileurope.co.uk) or European Rail (020 7387 0444, www.europeanrail. com).

Useful facts and phone numbers

Tourist office

T: 0041 (0)27 966 81 00 F: 0041 (0)27 966 81 01 W: www.zermatt.ch

Emergency services

• Fire brigade: 118 • Police: 117 • Ambulance/rescue service: 144 or Air

Zermatt ambulance service: 0041 (0)27

966 86 86 • Police station: 0041 (0)27 966 22 22

(community police), 0041 (0)27 966 69

20 (cantonal police) • Mountain Guide’s Office: 0041 (0)27 966

24 60 • Avalanche situation: 187 (excluding

foreign mobile phones)

Doctors

• Dr Ch Bannwart: 0041 (0)27 967 11 88 • Dr P Brönnimann: 0041 (0)27 967 19 16 • Dr E Julen: 0041 (0)27 967 67 17 • Dr D Stoessel: 0041 (0)27 967 79 79 • Hospital in Visp: 0041 (0)27 948 21 11 • Hospital in Brig: 0041 (0)27 922 33 33

Electric taxis

• Taxi Zermatt: 0041 (0)848 11 12 12 • Taxi Schaller: 0041 (0)27 967 12 12,

www.taxischaller.ch

SkiAndBoarding GIve thanks and recognition to the following for this review:

This review is from the Which Ski Resort Book which can be found at: http://www.foulsham.com/product1201.htm

ISBN 9780572036317 and price £10.99.

SkiAndBoarding are extremely happy to work together with other Snow Enthusiasts to help bring you the best information and reviews online!

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Which Ski Resort? – Europe

This review is taken from Which Ski Resort? – Europe, a useful and comprehensive book containing reviews of 50 top resorts for both skiing and snowboarding. As well as information on the style of the resort, the mountains and the skiers it caters for, you’ll find all the practical data: phone numbers, how to get there, and so on. Plus there are run-downs on where to find instruction, the best accommodation, eating out and enjoying yourself. It also rates the top 5 results for apres ski, parks, guaranteed snow, romance  and various other categories. Click here to get your copy.

Meribel Resort Review

December 22, 2010 in Resorts, Reviews

Meribel Ski Holidays

Meribel has a fantastic location right in the heart of the 3 valleys. Ski chalets, apartments and hotels are all available to book for those perfect Meribel ski holidays. It is without doubt one of the finest and largest linked areas to ski in the world. The area has plenty of snow cannons, a good snow record and a virtual guarantee of skiing from Christmas through to Easter. The main village is built on a west facing hillside and is mainly made up of wooden chalet style buildings so a pretty village compared to some of the newer French purpose built resorts. As Meribel was founded in 1938 by a Scotsman called Colonel Peter Lindsay, there is still a strong British influence to be found. The satellite resort of Mottaret located a couple of miles up the valley is centrally placed offering easy access to Courchevel, Val Thorens and Les Menuires.

Meribel Skiing and Boarding

Meribel suits all standards of skiers and has a highly efficient lift system on offer. Most of the slopes are above the tree line and there are still some tree runs available for those white out days. With 150km of piste on offer in Meribel and 600km throughout the 3 valleys you really can rack up the miles if you want.
There is something for everyone with cruisy blues, bumps, steep blacks and fantastic off piste to keep all varieties of skiers and boarders occupied.
Beginners will be happy learning at the Altiport where there are wide green runs to play on through the trees.
Intermediates will just love the mileage available that will keep any piste basher happy and more advanced skiers will love the Ladies Olympic downhill.
Off piste adventurers should hire a guide and try some of the couloirs on offer or the likes of the powder on Saulire.
Why not trek out for some fresh tracks? Snowboarders return year after year to Meribel for the varied terrain. Most lifts are chairs or gondolas which saves the hassle of the drag lifts! There is also a snowboard park for some fun.

Meribel après ski

The best place to start the après ski in Meribel is of course the Rond Point. There are live bands on the terrace and always plenty of fun before the final ski and board down to the village. Jack’s Bar and the Cactus bar near the main lifts are popular as well. There are a few bars around the main square at the tourist office that are good for a drink before dinner such as the Taverne and the Pub just across the road. It also has a pool table and sometimes has live music. If you still have the energy to head out of your chalet after dinner then Dick’s Tea Bar will keep you dancing and full of amazing cocktails till the early hours.


Apart from all the partying there is still plenty to do as there is an ice rink, swimming pool, climbing wall and a spa. There is also a good few marked walks throughout the altiport area and down to Les Allues.  The market comes once a week giving you the chance to sample delicious cheeses and sausages. There are also plenty of shops, boutiques and patisseries to explore.

Meribel Lift Passes

Adult Local Area Pass £172

Adult Full 3 Valley Area Pass £208

Child Local Area Pass (5-12yrs) £120

Child Full 3 Valley Area Pass £157

Review from www.skieuropeonline.co.uk for www.SkiAndBoarding.com

Ski Europe Online dedicates their time to you and booking your perfect ski and snowboarding holidays in the Alps. Check our website or call 01350 728869

Aspen

October 20, 2010 in Resorts

Aspen Ski Holidays

Aspen was once a booming silver mining town in 1892 but when the price of silver dropped, the residents pretty much moved out until the first ski lift was opened just after the Second World War. Aspen hasn’t looked back since and has grown to become one of the most well known and popular ski resorts in North America. Favoured by many celebrities who tend to keep a low profile and enjoy themselves you will definitely feel at home here in this picturesque old mining town. The town itself is made up of the usual grid section of streets lined with traditional Victorian buildings. There are direct flights to Denver then a small connecting flight drops you off right in Aspen which means no long transfers. Families will also enjoy Aspen as there is plenty to do such as the Tree House Kids Adventure Centre.

Ski Aspen

Aspen is made up of three main ski areas called Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands. There is also Snowmass which is 19Km away from Aspen and easily reached with the regular bus service.  Aspen Mountain has lovely long cruisy blue runs and some challenging steep black runs off the ridges. Buttermilk is the smallest of the 4 areas and is best suited to beginners. Aspen Highlands has a great mixture of easy and intermediate slopes and some very steep black runs at the top. There is also a bowl that is graded double black. Snowmass is a huge area over 3000 acres of piste to play on and something to suit all gradients. Aspen was home to the Winter X games until 2010 so has a different type of terrain park on each of its ski areas. It does boast a park that claims to be the longest in the world at 3Km long. Beginners will be best suited to learning on Buttermilk. Intermediates will find most of the runs on Highlands and Snowmass to be the best. Snowmass certainly has the most variety to suit intermediates. For more advanced skiers and boarders all of the mountains except Buttermilk offer fantastic challenges both on and off piste. It is a good idea to join one of the organised groups if skiing or boarding the area for the first time to take advantage of the best places to ski.

Aspen Apres Ski

When the lifts start to close there are a few good bars at the foot of the slopes. Iguanas at the Highlands and the Ajax Tavern in Aspen are good. The dinner/bar scene in Aspen is great fun to be part of and you never know who you might bump into in the evening as there are plenty of celebrities who favour Aspen for their ski holidays. For fantastic fresh seafood and great wine try the Pacifica. The Elevation restaurant also comes highly recommended for its great food and bar. If you fancy a pint with the locals then head to Coopers bar as it is well priced and good fun with great burgers as well! There is something for all budgets with plenty to do off the slopes, however, if you plan on a spot of shopping definitely bring your gold credit card as the prices are high. There are various art galleries to meander around and plenty of shops and jewellery stores to spend your dollars in or just to window shop.

Aspen Ski and Snowboard Schools

Children ages 6yrs and under ski FREE at Aspen and Snowmass

The Ski and Snowboard School in Aspen has something for absolutely everyone. They have children’s classes, preschool, adult’s lessons, telemarking, mountain explorers, women only and speciality programs designed for you. Full details can be found on AspendSnowMass’s website.

Aspen Lift passes

6 day Adult pass (18-64yrs)

Low season £211

High season £263

Mid season £242

Value season £183

6 day Youth pass (13-17yrs) / Senior (65-69)

Low season £187

High season £211

Mid season £194

Value season £166

6 day Child pass (7-12yrs)

Low season £142

High season £176

Mid season £159

Value season £124

Low season departs 11th – 16th Dec, 4th Jan-8th Feb and 25th Mar-3rd Apr

High season departs 17th Dec-3rd Jan

Mid season departs 9th Feb-24th Mar

Value season departs 4th Apr – 18th Apr

Review from www.skiamericaonline.co.uk for www.SkiAndBoarding.com

Ski America Online dedicates their time to you and booking your perfect ski and snowboarding holidays. Just call 01350 728869 or check out the website for full details.

Les Arcs

October 11, 2010 in Resorts

Les Arcs Ski Holidays

Les Arcs is located above the town of Bourg St Maurice and is made up of four modern resorts. Ski chalets in Les Arcs are a popular choice for ski holidays. Arc 1600 was the first resort to be built and is connected by funicular with Bourg St Maurice so access from the Eurostar is easy. It is a small friendly resort and is good for families and quiet in the evenings. The largest village is Arc 1800 and is made up of lots of apartments with chalets within. Arc 2000 has good access to the highest skiing and is made up of hotels, apartments and the Club Med. Check out the likes of Chalet Vanoise in Arc 2000 for an idea of what is on offer. The new mini village of Arc 1950 sits just below Arc 2000 and is very well laid out. It is a traffic free resort that has been developed by the Canadian company Intrawest so a high standard of accommodation is to be found here.  At the Southern end of Les Arcs lies Peisy-Vallandry which is where the cable car link to La Plagne originates. This is made up of a cluster of villages that have a good standard of chalets and some with childcare. Peisy is 1000 years old and has lots of character.

Les Arcs Skiing and Boarding

The mountains are varied in terrain with good snow sure high resorts and lower runs with trees for bad weather days. The Vanoise Express cable car links to La Plagne from Plan-Peisy accessing yet another huge ski area. Beginners are best suited to Arc 1800 or Peisy Vallandry. However, in all sectors there are good beginner runs to be found. Intermediates will love the woodland runs above Peisy and the bumps on Cachette down to 1600. There is a huge amount of blues and reds to keep mixed ability intermediates happy for a holiday. Experts will just love Les Arcs as there is so much to offer with a number of steep blacks above Arc 2000 and vertical drops of 2000m. For those looking for some off piste, hire a guide and explore the couloirs. Snowboarders and skiers who like the parks will enjoy the Apocalypse Parc above Arc 1600 as it is on par with Avoriaz. There is also a half pipe at Arc 2000 and boarder cross below Col de la Chal.  The best cross country to be found in Les Arcs is at Nancroix where there is 25 miles of terrain.

Les Arcs Chalet Picture

Les Arcs Chalet Picture

Les Arcs Après Ski

The best place for Après ski is Arc 1800 as this has the JO bar open until the wee small hours. The Red Hot Saloon has bar games and live music or visit the Jungle Cafe for cocktails. In 1600 the Bar des Montagnes has pool and live bands. In Arc 2000 the Red Rock is popular with seasonnaires so will have lots of atmosphere and at 1950 Chalet de Luigi has a bar and nightclub. The O’Chaud stays open late and has live music. Basically there is something to suit all tastes throughout the area. Off the slopes there are spa facilities at 1950. In Arcs 1800 there is bowling and skating. The cinemas show weekly English films and you could also go shopping in the town of Bourg St Maurice. There is also an ice grotto on the Transarc.

Les Arcs Lift Passes

Adult full area pass £217

Adult local area pass £182

Child aged 6-13yrs full area £163

Child aged 6-13yrs local area £137

Review from www.skieuropeonline.co.uk for www.SkiAndBoarding.com

Ski Europe Online dedicates their time to you and booking your perfect ski and snowboarding holidays. Just call 01350 728869 or check out the website for full details.

‘Resort images supplied by Les Arcs tourist office’

Banff Ski Resort

October 5, 2010 in Resorts

Banff Ski Holidays

Banff began in 1928 with a single log cabin built by the Canadian Pacific Railway for horse trekkers travelling through. In 1934 the first owners of Sunshine, the Brewster’s built the first lift and haven’t looked back since. Banff has a spectacular setting surrounded by stunning peaks. The town of Banff is made up of a main street and the usual grid style of side roads with a good selection of bars, restaurants and shops. Frequent buses travel through the town to the slopes of Sunshine and Norquay. If you plan on staying longer than a few days a Tri-area pass is a good idea as this covers Lake Louise as well. There is a good variety of accommodation to choose from in Banff. If you fancy a wee bit of luxury then head to the world famous Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. If you are travelling with your family and are looking for more of a condo then Douglas Fir Resort is highly recommended.

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Banff Ski Passes

Adult (18-64yrs) 6 day pass £285

Youth (13-17yrs) 6 day pass £253

Child (6-12yrs) 6 day pass £94

Lift pass covers all lifts at Mount Norquay, Sunshine and Lake Louise as well as the shuttle bus

These lift pass prices are guide prices.

Ski and Snowboard Banff

Banff is just 15 minutes away from Sunshine Village where over 30 feet of snow snows throughout the year. There is over 3,300 acres of terrain here alone and with your Tri-area pass you can access Norquay and Lake Louise to play in 7,748 acres of piste! The regular shuttle buses will transport you easily between the different ski areas. This is covered by your Tri-area pass. When staying in Banff you will probably find that most of your time will be spent at Sunshine Mountain. Beginners will find that there is a good area at the village of Sunshine and some lovely, green runs to progress onto. Norquay also has a good nursery slope area. Intermediates will just love the variety of terrain on offer as over half the runs on Sunshine are perfect for intermediates. Experts will enjoy the open runs above the treeline on Sunshine and there are some awesome double black diamond runs to test your nerve on. Take a guide and head into the backcountry along the back of the Wawa ridge where you will head through a river valley. Snowboarders will always feel at home in Banff as there is some brilliant freeriding to play on. For those looking for an adventure, pack the right kit and head to Delirium Dive, Silver City and Wild West for some heart stopping fun!

Banff Apres Ski

There are only a few bars on the mountain as most of the après ski will be found in Banff itself. The Mad Trapper’s Saloon at the top of Sunshine gondola is a popular haunt at the end of the day for people before heading back to town. Back in Banff Coyotes is always popular and the two main live music venues are the Rose & Crown and Wild Bill’s. Off the slopes there are plenty of walks to see the local wildlife, snowshoeing, dog sledding, skating and snowmobiling. There is also natural hot springs that you can visit.

Banff Childcare

Tiny Tigers Day Care for children aged 19 months to 6 years
Tiny Tigers Ski and Play for children aged 3 to 6years
Kids Campus for children aged 6 to 12 years

reservations@skibanff.com

Banff Ski and Snowboard School

Learn to Ski and Ride Workshops aged 13yrs plus
Performance Workshops aged 13yrs plus
Delirium Sunday’s for an extreme off piste experience (for experts only)

reservations@skibanff.com

Review from www.skiamericaonline.co.uk for www.SkiAndBoarding.com

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‘some images are supplied from Banff tourist office’

Morzine Avoriaz, France

September 16, 2010 in Resorts

Morzine Avoriaz, France

Location: Rhone-Alpes Region, Part of the Portes du Soleil ski area (French Side), France

Nearest city: Cluses

Vertical: 2466m

Skiable terrain: Pistes of 650km

Runs: 288

Longest Run: Unknown

Ski season: Start of and end of season snow dependant (19th December-End of April)

Lift System: 212 lifts – 117 surface lifts, 81 chairlifts, 10 gondolas and 4 cable cars – 235,828 people per hour

Terrain Parks: 9 snow parks 5 boarder crosses

Morzine’s terrain makes it a fantastic place for beginners or those who haven’t skied in years. The laid back attitude of the locals in the restaurants and the friendly lift staff make it the perfect place to for a long weekend getaway. With the flight from London Gatwick taking an hour and 15 minutes its a short hop across the channel to Geneva airport, and then an easy hour and a half journey by car to Portes du Soleil.

The resort is traditionally very popular with families because of the nature of the skiing in and around the village area. However if you need a challenge just hop up to Avoriaz a 20 minute drive or 5 minute cable car journey from the Prodain bubble car into the heart of the Avoriaz Village where you can test yourself with a selection of black and red runs including the infamous ‘THE WALL’ run (not for the faint hearted).

If you get board (no pun intended) of all the slopes offered to you in Morzine and Avoriaz the Port du Soleil ski pass also incorporate the nearby village of Les Gets which has a good couple of days challenging skiing on Mont Cherry as well as some easier runs near the ski school in the centre of town. If France isn’t your cup of tea in the Port du Soleil why not pop over to Switzerland. As long as you’ve purchased the Port du Soleil lift pass the slopes are yours to roam. Just be careful not to get stuck there when the lifts close for the day!

‘THE WALL’

Ski Passes

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Duration From 19/12/09 until 03/04/10 Before 19/12/09 and after 03/04/10
Adult
16+ yrs
Child
5-15 yrs
Senior
62+ yrs
Adult
16+ yrs
Child
5-15 yrs
Senior
62+ yrs
Half Day (until 1pm or from 12 noon) 30 € 20 € 24 € 26 € 17 € 20 €
From 11am onwards 36 € 24 € 29 € 31 € 20 € 25 €
Full day 40 € 27 € 32 € 34 € 23 € 27 €
1 day and a half 69 € 46 € 55 € 59 € 39 € 47 €
2 days 78 € 52 € 62 € 66 € 44€ 53 €
3 days 111 € 74 € 89 € 94 € 63 € 76 €
4 days 143 € 96 € 114 € 122 € 82€ 97 €
5 days 173 € 116 € 138 € 147 € 99 € 117 €
5 x 1/2 days 150 € 100 € 120 € 130 € 85 € 100 €
5 x 1 day 200 € 135 € 160 € 170 € 115 € 135 €
6 days 205 € 137 € 164 € 174 € 116 € 139 €
7 days 230 € 154 € 184 € 196 € 131 € 156 €
8 days 254 € 170 € 203 € 216 € 145 € 173 €
8 days non-consecutive 240 € 160 € 192 €
9 days 277 € 186 € 222 € 235 € 158 € 189 €
10 days 297 € 199 € 238 € 252 € 169 € 202 €
11 days 315 € 211 € 252 € 268 € 179 € 214 €
12 days 332 € 222 € 266 € 282 € 189 € 226 €
13 days 349 € 234 € 279 € 297 € 199 € 237 €
14 days 364 € 244 € 291 € 309 € 207 € 247 €
Season Pass 760 € 509 € 608 € 646 € 433 € 517 €
Residents Pass 600 € 402 € 480 € 510 € 342 € 408 €

Resort Map

Ski Hire

Typical ski hire and boot is between 20 Euros a day and 60 Euros a day, obviously dependant on the quality of kit hired and the provider. Whilst boards are a little more expensive at 25 Euros a day.

Ski hire shops are situated throughout the centre of Morzine Avoriaz and Les Gets, however it may be wise in peak season to pre book some equipment just in case.

Accommodation

Because of the relatively affluent area which it resides accommodation during peak times can be expensive however, look hard enough and you will always find a bargain.

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Nightlife

The nightlife for a particulary family orientated resort is reasonable. There are plenty of friendly bars and clubs in the centre of morzine with more and more springing up all the time however the downside to the tourism is that drinks aren’t cheap with a cheap pint being 4 euros.

In Summary

What’s Great

+ Part of the vast Portes du Soleil lift network

+ Larger local piste area than other Portes du Soleil resorts

+ Good nightlife by French standards

+ Quite attractive old town – a stark contrast to Avoriaz

+ Few liftlines locally (but see minus points)

What’s Not-So-Great
– Takes a while to get to Avoriaz and main Portes du Soleil circuit

– Bus-ride or long walk to lifts from much of the accommodation

– Low altitude means there is an enduring risk of poor snow, though increased snowmaking has helped

- Low altitude or inconvenient beginner slopes

– Not a great resort for experts

– Weekend crowds

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Deer Valley

March 1, 2009 in Menu, Resorts

Location: Wasatch Range, Summit County, Utah, U.S.
Nearest city: Park City, Utah
Vertical: 3000 ft (914 m)
Top elevation: 9570 ft (2917 m)
Base elevation: 6570 ft (2003 m)
Skiable area: 2,026 acres (8.20 km2)
Runs: 100
Longest run: 2.8 miles (4.5 km)
Ski Season  December to April
Lift system: 21 (1 Gondola, 11 High-speed quad chairlifts, 2 Fixed-grip quad chairlifts, 5 Triple chairlifts, 2 Double chairlifts)
Lift capacity: 46,500 skiers/hr
Terrain parks: Yes
Snowmaking: over 560 acres (2.3 km2)

Deer Valley is where skiers come to be cosseted, pampered, and indulged. The 5 star service starts the moment you arrive and you are relieved of skis by an attendant, who then stores them for you courtesy of the complimentary day and overnight ski storage.

Deer Valleys Peaks Towering

The slopes are perfectly groomed as is expected from this genteel ski resort, but Deer Valley is opening up some challenging off-piste terrain, and has a trail map designed for experts. Yet it is one of the world’s few remaining ski resorts that prohibit snowboarding.

Flagstaff Mountain has everything for the skier, easy slopes, and some great tree skiing for experts.

Deer Valley uses more grooming equipment than other Wasatch ski areas, and limits access to avoid overcrowding; as of 2006, the resort limited ticket sales to 6,500 per day. Deer Valley’s total uphill lift capacity of 46,500 skiers per hour is approximately 50% higher than the capacity of its larger neighbors Park City Mountain Resort and The Canyons. Deer Valley has 21 chairlifts, including 11 high speed detachable quads and an enclosed 4-passenger gondola.
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Ski Passes

Adult pass 1 day     67 USD
Adult pass 6 days   348 USD
Child pass 1 day     36 USD
Child pass 6 days   168 USD

Ski Hire

Ski hire prices range from place to place but a good range of prices can be found below .

Junior Package: 12 and under

FULL SET SKIS ONLY BOOTS ONLY
Full-day $36 $28 $24
Afternoon only* $26 $23 $20

Enthusiast Package: Beginner – Intermediate

FULL SET SKIS ONLY BOOTS ONLY
Full-day $49 $41 $29
Afternoon Only* $39 $31 $23


Performance Package
: Intermediate – Expert

FULL SET SKIS ONLY BOOTS ONLY
Full-day $59 $52 $29
Afternoon Only* $49 $39 $23

Premier Package: Intermediate – Expert

FULL SET SKIS ONLY BOOTS ONLY
Full-day $69 $62 $29
Afternoon Only* $59 $52 $23

Ski Season: December to April

Transport

The resort is located 36 miles from the Salt Lake City International Airport. Unfortunately at current there is no regularly scheduled public transportation between Salt Lake City and Park City.

Reservations are recommended for shuttle services  however many will also accept walk-ups at their counters, adjacent to the baggage claim in the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Local Attractions

Nearby Attractions: Summer wildflowers and hiking trails through the magnificent Rocky Mountains, as well as a Bowling Alley, Sports centre, Gym, a Swimming pool, and an Ice rink all go to making Deer Valley the top resort in the USA. Nearby Salt Lake City provides some excellent sightseeing as well.
Aprés-Ski: The Lounge provides great apres ski with live entertainment over weekends, and the 21 other restaurants and bars help fill the void, but for real partying head for Park City where the fun and the music is steaming.

Piste Map (click to enlarge)

piste map

The combination of great skiing, great diversity and superb apres-ski have led to Deer Valley being awarded the best ski resort in the United States 3 years running now!

To see more reviews click HERE