Now us Brits love a good chalet holiday. Those of us who frequent the Alps have probably been to Europe's big super-resorts and huge ski areas such as Meribel, Val d'Isere, Les Arcs and St. Anton. There is also a rather large proportion of us who find ourselves going back to the same resort year on year. I'm as guilty as anyone with three trips to Morzine in the past two winters.
With this in mind I'd thought I'd take a look at the forgotten gems of chalet holidays. There are a mixture of world class resorts and hidden gems here, and though you may argue some of these resorts are not exactly forgotten, in terms of chalet holidays, not hotels, we all forget about them.
Zermatt, with the iconic Matterhorn, is among the most famous and revered resorts in the Alps, though it is not a typical chalet holiday resort. The resort may boast a great selection of chalets but it is better known for its 5* hotels and luxury accommodation. The Matterhorn and the Gournegrat offer some fantastic skiing, and with Cervinia the other side of the valley offers great motorway pistes and affordable Italian mountain restaurants. Zermatt chalet holidays are a great way of staying in this über luxury resort.
The chocolate box resort is again better know for its luxury hotels, ski in/out village and the glacier, but it also offers a couple of incredibly popular chalet hotels. With only a handful of chalet hotels to choose from this picturesque resort often falls under the radar from the masses, yet offers a world class snow record and beautiful Swiss village-style resort. Whether you are skiing with your partner or going away with your family, Saas Fee chalet holidays offer great value in one of Switzerland's finest, snowsure resorts.
Ischgl is one of Europe's finest resorts, yet remains largely undiscovered to Brit skiers. With two of the biggest parties in the Alps, the resorts opening and closing festivals, a great apres ski scene and superb skiing, this is a resort we have somehow forgotten about and really shouldn't have. Okay, so along with the likes of Zermatt, Lech and Courchevel it is one of the more exclusive resorts full of 4* and 5* hotels, but with the addition of the Chalet Hotel Abendrot you can enjoy a more affordable Ischgl chalet holiday and make the most of this fantastic resort.
Obergurgl is my token purpose-built resort, though some people are not fans of the high rise buildings and lack of trees, these resorts were built with one thing in mind - the skiing. Not as unattractive as Val Thorens or Tignes, and offering a slightly more chilled feeling compared to the usual Austrian apres madness, Obergurgl is great for families and intermediate skiers. With loads of glacier skiing, Hochgurgl only a cable car away and Solden a short bus journey, there is more than enough on offer here to fill your week. With Obergurgl chalet holidays making a come back, this is a resort for families to flock too.
Quaint, French and friendly are not three words that some skiers will use to describe the Tarantaise Valley. Though a fan myself, the Three Valleys' vast pistes and crowds are not to everyone's liking and La Rosiere is anything but busy. This great little resort is a family skiing haven, yet also offers un-tracked off-piste and the chance to ski over to Italy thanks to being linked with La Thuile. If a more French & relaxed feel, among one of the most famous skiing valleys in the world, is what you are looking for then La Ros is perfect. Most of the accommodation on offer is chalets therefore a La Rosiere chalet holiday is the way forward to enjoy this hugely under-rated resort.
We may be creatures of habit, but if you fancy a change of pace from the hectic skiing in the Three Valleys and Espace Killy or a resort with more of a village feeling to purpose built ski resort, these are all worth a look.
If you want to escape the Euro-zone then Zermatt's Matterhorn offers incredible views from the rotating restaurant in a star studded resort, or Saas Fee offers a romantic and picturesque feel. If Austria's love of sausages and um-pa-pa apres ski is more up your street then try out the world renowned Ischgl or more family-friendly, though purpose-built Obergurgl. And last, but by no means least, if you have a love affair with the French skiing scene head to La Rosiere for its quieter slopes, fantastic terrain and relaxed atmosphere.
As a Meribel and Morzine addict I am looking forward to trying somewhere new this year, with Ischgl at the top of my list!
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"Just home from Christmas in Val d'Isere... this was the best ski holiday I have ever been on. Val is stunning, the hotel fabulous, staff sensational and skiing out of this world. We booked through Iglu. They were fantastic. Peter had great ski knowledge, offered advice and went the extra mile. " - Pamela (Dec 2015)