There's plenty to look forward to this coming 2014/15 winter season, whether you’re staying put in the UK or taking a holiday to the mountains. If you’re eager to swap the summer sun for snowy pistes, then start your countdown now and get planning your next adventure.
Here’s a look at what’s to come…
We used to get festival blues when they all finished for the summer, but now we don’t have to. The popular festival Ibiza Rocks heads to the mountains each year bringing a host of DJ’s and live bands with it. Get your party on and enjoy live music, plenty of snow and wild après. We can’t wait!
Spring 2015 will welcome another year of this well-loved comedy festival, which last year saw comedians such as John Bishop and Al Murray perform. From live stand up to musical parodies, you’ll always find plenty to keep you entertained in-between your time spent out on the pistes. Plus, there’ll also be beer. Lots of beer!
This festival, held in Mayrhofen, Austria, showcases a mixture of new emerging talent and well-established artists. There are also ski and snowboard lessons on offer, plus contests and of course – optimum opportunity for après fun times. To give you a taste of what to expect, last year’s line-up featured The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, DJ Yoda and Foxes.
January 2015 will see another year of the X Games in Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado, with contests in skiing, snowboarding and snowmobile. Previous years of the games have seen our very own Jenny Jones claim gold three times (yes Jenny!). With coverage provided by ESPN, you can enjoy the all the action from the comfort of your sofa.
This December, Breckenridge will play host to Dew Tour to celebrate its tenth anniversary. There’ll be athlete meet and greets, live music, plus snowboard and ski contests in superpipe, slopestyle and streetstyle. Expect to see the likes of Torah Bright, Sage Kotsenburg, Rowan Cheshire, Jenny Jones and Aimee Fuller compete.
The Freeride World Tour stops at various resorts across Europe and North America, offering top skiers and snowboarder the chance to compete for the World Champion title. If you’re on holiday at the time, be sure to stop by at one of the events and check it out – some of the resorts visited along the way are Chamonix, Verbier and Mammoth Mountain.
The 2014/15 season will see the opening of a new 4 Trident Club Med hotel in Val Thorens – Val Thorens Sensations. The hotel is all-inclusive (including ski & snowboard lessons) and is due to open in December 2014. With a fantastic ski-in ski-out position and a display of exceptional mountain views through its huge panoramic windows, the hotel also features a new innovation - Wi-Fi on the slopes! If you’re a Club Med fan, we recommend you try this one out.
Read more about Val Thorens Sensations here.
Opening on the 5th July 2014, the ‘For Friends Hotel’ is situated in Mösern, Austria. The hotel offers stunning views across the surrounding mountains and valleys and is situated 20km from Innsbruck. The hotel will feature an infinity pool, a spa which offers sound therapy and the chance to rent the luxurious For Friends Roof Top Suite.
Located in Zell am Zee, Austria the Mountain Lake Resort will offer 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom apartments and penthouses, each boasting their own mix of traditional Alpine design mixed with a contemporary twist. Keep cosy and warm with comforting underfloor heating plus a steam room and sauna for winding down after a long day. The hotel also features floor to ceiling windows so you can really make the most of the surrounding mountain scenery.
Our featured offer for Mountain Lake Resort.
With over 60 lift constructions under way in Europe and North America, lift systems look to be improved in many resorts next season. Many of these new builds will be effectively upgrading the current lift systems and there will also be a few brand new ones to look forward too as well. In Scheffau, Austria one of the most expensive chairlifts in the world is currently under construction. The chairlift will hold 8 people and will featured cosy heated seats, weather hoods, foot rests and a conveyor belt system for ease of entry.
At the end of July 2014, the 1456m high Jakobskreuz viewing platform will open in plenty of time for the winter season. It will feature five viewing areas which offer displays of the beautiful surrounding mountain landscapes and will be the setting for various lectures, seminars and workshops.
The world’s longest suspension bridge for pedestrians will open in Reutte, Austria later this year. The Highline 179 will rise 110m from ground level and is certainly not for the faint of heart! If you’re looking to take a little break from the day’s skiing or boarding, then certainly give this a try.
You don’t have to go to the mountains to enjoy snow-related events. From the 30th October – 2rd November 2014 the Ski and Snowboard Show will take place in Earls Court, London. Here you’ll find a huge range of activities and stalls; ski and snowboard taster lessons, an ice rink, curling, tubing, après activities, an Austrian themed stand and much, much more.
London will play host to another Freeze Festival this year (dates TBC), with live music, mountain drinks, comforting cuisine and snow-themed fun in Clapham Common. Last year saw live performances from DJ Fresh and Idris Elba as well as international ski and snowboard rail jams, film screenings and even a Christmas jumper world record attempt.
With the UK still feeling the hype from this year’s successful Winter Olympics, our engagement in snowsports has never been better. After Jenny Jones’ bronze medal win, snowdomes and dry slopes were full to the brim, regularly finding themselves fully booked and even running out of rental equipment. The Go Ski Go Board campaign was launched alongside the Olympics to encourage more people to give snowsports a try. The campaign is set to run for the next four years, meaning that there are plenty of ongoing opportunities on offer for pre-holiday lessons, taster sessions and improvers courses at reduced prices. This is an exciting time to get involved with UK snowsports – you can even start your season early and get some practice in before the first resorts open their doors.
What’s more, if you’re serious about skiing or boarding, there are more and more opportunities cropping up to apply for sponsored positions at your local snowdome. Olympian, Rowan Cheshire, started off as a member of the Chill Factore freestyle club in Manchester and fellow Olympians Aimee Fuller, Ed Drake and Jamie Nicholls are all members of The Snow Centre’s pro club in Hemel Hempstead.
One of our favourite things about the winter is the festive season and what better way to get that festive feeling than spending it in a ski resort surrounded by heaps of snow. With the disappointing lack of snow in the UK this year, at least we know we’ll get our snow fix out in the mountains. With local parades, activities for kids, sleigh rides, Carol concerts and festive food and drink, you’ll be feeling Christmassy in no time. New Year ’s Eve also plays host to some spectacular firework displays at most resorts, as well as some fantastic parties to see in the New Year.
Visit the Canadian resort of Whistler for the chance to experience a range of exciting festive activities for both families and adults alike. Watch athletes perform tricks through hoops of fire, sip a hot chocolate (or something a little stronger) around the bonfire or don your fancy dress for the Dress Like Santa Day.
See 2015 in with a bang at the Tignes annual Fire Mix Party featuring live music, DJ’s and lots of outdoor partying. Grab your friends, wrap up warm and start 2015 off right. What’s more, there’s nothing more refreshing than a day out on the mountain to settle that sore head…
Drink mulled wine, listen to carols, browse the Christmas markets and get yourself in the Christmas mood this year. With guaranteed snow (unlike here in the UK!) and plenty of beautiful seasonal lights, we couldn’t really think of a more magical way to spend the festive period.
The end of the season is almost here, meaning closing parties and events aplenty throughout the majority of resorts. This brings the chance to indulge in plenty of last minute treats you’ve come to associate with snowy mountain holidays – glühwein, fondue, ski shots! There’s also been some pretty amazing snowfall for this time of year, meaning that the later opening resorts will be able to offer good conditions well into May. If you’re keen to try out a bit of last minute spring skiing, or even a bit of summer glacier skiing, you can see our blog on top late-opening resorts here. If you won't be heading out to the mountains again until next season then think of this as a list of suggestions for things to do in the 2014/15 season - many of the activities mentioned below will repeat again next year and of course, alpine food and drink will always be available!
Quite possibly the most famous chain of bars on the après scene and the host of some of the best end of season parties in Europe. The resorts of Val d’Isere, Val Thorens and Alpe d’Huez are still open, meaning you still have a chance to experience some of the fantastic music, food, drink and partying on offer.
There are a handful of festivals and closing events happening between the end of this month and the beginning of May. What a better way to add to your mountain experience than by watching exhilarating contests, taking part in fun events and dancing until you drop.
Here are our top suggestions:
Combining Harley rides with spring skiing and plenty of après action. Enjoy the stunning mountain views on a series of unforgettable tours, followed by plenty of partying.
An end of season celebration featuring the White Lines Rail Jam, a treasure hunt, pub quizzes, the Monster Energy party and more!
Celebrate the end of season with a dance contest, DJ’s, fancy dress and plenty of food and drink, all while surrounded by the beautiful Swiss mountains.
The Dutch head to France for a week of après ski parties, lunch time concerts, sunshine and snow, all in celebration of their Queen’s anniversary. On Sunday 27th April, there’ll also be the chance to test next season’s equipment at the Test & Ride Center.
Watch the Monster riders take part in the Hip Jam contest over the course of two days, followed by a huge after party on the last evening. Plus, on May 3rd it’s also the Bikinis for Breast Cancer event where all ladies are invited to ski or snowboard down the course in bikinis and ski pants to raise money.
Prepare yourself for next season and book yourself a last minute ski or snowboard lesson. While the resorts are quiet and the prices cheaper, you might as well make the most of the empty pistes!
Val d’Isere are offering some late ski clinics between the 28th April and the 2nd May. The sessions are spread across five half days and are aimed at skiers who are comfortable with black and red ski runs.
Many glaciers offer skiing throughout July, giving you the perfect combination of hot sunshine and snowy mountain scenery. What’s more, you can also try out other activities such as mountain biking, white water rafting and rock climbing in between skiing.
Between the 5th and the 7th July, Les Deux Alpes will play host to Kumi Yama, a Japanese event to kick off the summer season. Featuring slopestyle jams and photo contests set to the backdrop of beautiful snowy mountains and warm summer sun.
If you haven’t samples some of the food or drink below, then do it now! And if you’re already a seasoned connoisseur of mountain cuisine, then now’s your time to indulge in more before it’s too late. No need to worry about ruining that summer beach body – skiing and snowboarding are great forms of exercise and you’ll burn off more calories than you might think.
Also, if you want to drool over pictures of delicious Tartiflette, then visit our Tartiflette Club page. You can join our club by tagging your Tartiflette photos on Twitter with the hashtag #tartiflette.
Our friends at SnowAngel have put together a great blog looking at the top aprés ski bars for a 3pm beer. As a site dedicated to visiting, reviewing and sharing the best venues in the Alps and North America, they boast a pedigree of knowledge that even AJ, our Sales Director, would approve of. So, here are SnowAngel's best bars for a sunny 3pm beer...
We stumbled upon Pano Bar in Les Deux Alps accidentally about two years ago, just before we took the last run of the day, and believe us when we say there's no way you'll miss it. You might have to weave your way through a sea of boards and skis to get to it, but it's totally worth it. This is Ibiza-style après, expect two for one beers, a DJ, some serious raving and even the odd topless dancer. By 5pm you'll be locked and loaded and ready for your last run of the day — a black run — back down into resort! Our tip — get there for 3pm to get a table — you'll be dancing on top of it by 5! If you're feeling a bit shaky you can always slide your way back down to the resort.
Now, Austria has a firm place in our hearts for its après scene, and if you happen to be in Lech this season, then you should definitely head to the Balmalp. This place has panoramic views of the mountains, which you can enjoy from the huge sun terrace. Enjoy a Bombardier while you listen to the resident DJ spin the tunes until way after 7pm most days. If you don't mind a bit of night skiing then you can ski back to resort once you're all après-ed out. Leave late enough and the steady blue back into resort will have already been bashed, so it's as good as the first early bird run of the day — what's not to like about that! If you've indulged in a little too much glühwein, the owner will take you home on his skidoo — if you ask nicely!
A few of the Iglu team enjoying the Pano Bar in Les Deux Alps.
Now, if we think about Jack Wills, onesies and Jägerbombs, then the Mooserwirt in St Anton is never far from our minds. Attracting a mixed crowd, but definitely a firm favourite with the uni crowds, this place really needs no introduction. The music gets pumped through the speakers on to the sun terrace and it's as lively inside as it is out, on a blue sky day. The waiters carry impossible numbers of pints on trays around with them, so you can just grab one and pay, no queuing at the bar here — genius! And they'll bring you Jägerbombs if you ask nicely too. It's heaving here by three so, if you're in a group and want a table we recommend settling in from lunch time.
Meribel's has been firmly on the après map for as long as we can remember, with more and more Brits flocking here year on year. If you're heading here, do not leave without paying Le Rond Point a visit. The sun terrace is always jam packed and there's live music most days and the obligatory happy hour of course!
Tucked away on the main street in Morzine, Bar Robinson serves one beer, and one beer only. And it's no ordinary lager, this bad boy is 7.3%! The owners of the bar, two ladies and a gent all over 70, recommend you drink by the half pint. And you really should take heed, because this stuff is rocket fuel. Not that you'll have time to settle in until last orders, as the bar closes at 8pm.
If posh is your thing, then where else would you be heading this season but Verbier. It's refined here, but don't expect the après to be any less raucous. We'd recommend heading to Le Carrefour and the Wax bar, they're next to each other and you can ski back down into resort. It gets busy though, so get there early if you're looking for a table. If you're feeling flush order champagne on ice and a kangaroo steak.
The Folie Douce in Val d'Isere is a regular haunt of ours.
When angels ski, we are always in the market for a bit of sunshine, and with an average of 300 days of sunshine a year, it's safe to say Serre Chevalier is pretty sun-sure. And if it's sunny then a huge terrace is always the order of the day. La Grotte in Villeneuve is the place to head straight from the slopes. You'll get the last rays of sunshine and there's a different happy hour every day. If you get a little bit too comfortable, then don't worry its just as busy later in the evening with theme nights, DJs, live music and games.
Pas de la Casa is probably more famed for its nightlife than it is for its skiing — they really know how to party here. At the hub of the action, the Milwaukee is the resort's largest bar with a two-for-one happy hour which kicks off when the slopes close. If you're a sports fan then there's a big screen and Sky Sports here too, as well as live music and pretty good food to boot.
Last, but by no means least, we couldn't talk about straight from the slopes après ski without mentioning La Folie Douce in Val d'Isere. This is possibly our favourite place in the world to après, DJs, a live sax player and champagne galore. There's nothing understated about this ski hut. Head here at about 3pm if you want to grab a table as by 4pm you won't get a look in. It really is the Rolls Royce of après ski!
Today's blog is bought to you by AJ, Iglu's Head of Sales and keenest après ski participant.
We’re pretty keen on après ski action here at Iglu. So much so that it is one of the main factors that decides where we ski each season. We’ve even rated the best chalets for access to après ski. Some have great locations just a few stumbling steps from the best bars and some offer their own in-house bars that everyone else has to come to.
So, let’s start with the best located chalet in everyone’s favourite French resort, Val d’Isére.
The 5* Chalet Cherrier is slap bang in the middle of the action. I’ve stayed here and counted that it was only 16 paces from the front door to the Petit Danois bar. This is one of our early evening favourite bars with two pool tables and consistently hot Danish and Swedish bar staff. The rooms in the Cherrier are big and don’t suffer from noise after 9 pm.
If your budget is more Carlsberg and KP nuts than Krug Champagne and Beluga caviar then you might want to be above one of the most iconic bars in Val d’Isére, by staying at the Chalet Hotel Morris. This chalet hotel couldn't be more convenient, but if you choose one of the rooms at the front with the sunny balconies, you will hear some noise. At least no one will complain if you're a little noisy yourself.
The most famous après ski resort of them all is St Anton and this next chalet is right amongst the fun.
You can ski directly to this chalet from your après session in the Mooserwirt or the Krazy Kangaruh and you are only a few minutes from the main pedestrian area of central St Anton. The Chalet Alpenheim has a few convenient single rooms and if you have a group of four, than make sure you book the junior suite with two rooms and a kitchenette on the top floor! Here it is really worth paying the extra for a sunny balcony with lovely views.
Italian resorts are usually fairly laid back about après ski but there are exceptions. Cervinia, which links over to Zermatt, has a few lively bars and the liveliest of them all is in the Chalet Dragon right on the slopes as you come down at the end of the day. This place gives Cervinia its aprèsphere.
The rooms in the Chalet Dragon are sectioned off in a separate wing so you don’t get the noise of the bar. The chalet is also very well placed to appreciate all the other bars of Cervinia, being about 100m from the centre. The rooms in this chalet are large and this property was one of our biggest sellers last season, so get in early if you have a group.
The best party in Switzerland is undoubtedly in Verbier, and the Place Central is where it all happens.
Chalet Hotel De Verbier is so popular it’s usually sold out for peak dates long before the season starts. It is directly opposite the best that Verbier has to offer and one the all-time classic après ski bars, the Farinet. Live music, potent shakers, a buzzing dance floor and a sliding roof that opens to let the steam out every couple of hours, come together to provide the ultimate Swiss après ski experience.
Courchevel is the famous name in the world’s biggest ski area, but most people are put off by the prices of the extortionately flashy resort at 1850. To avoid the Ruskies and the €40 fondues, the UK market prefers to head to it's little brother just down the road in Courchevel 1650. The prices are better and the après is more convivial. This part of Les Trois Vallées is the most sun-facing and has the prettiest tree runs. Several of our most popular properties are in this resort like the Chalet Cascades and the Chalet Hotel Les Avals.
The Chalet Hotel Les Avals sleeps 70, so it’s already got a ready-made party on most weeks. The chalet hotel also hosts the best après ski bar in resort, Rocky’s. There is a live band on during après a couple of nights a week and it is well setup with TVs for any UK sport you may want to catch. Handy in February and March for the Six Nations rugby. It also does well priced snacks and lots of daily deals on shooters, shots, bombs and beers — as well as serving the legendary après ski beer, Mützig.
If you are looking for a bargain — with all the ingredients for a riotous week of partying — then look no further than the Club Hotel Les Airelles in Les Deux Alpes.
This property is cheap and cheerful so don’t expect The Ritz. This club hotel has hosted the Iglu April ski trip for the last three years and has never failed to deliver a good time. Our crew are mostly mid-twenties ex-seasonaires that like a party almost as much as deep powder.
Les Deux Alpes attracts a young crowd and is heavily favoured by boarders who appreciate the excellent terrain park. We love the super short transfer from Grenoble, the access to La Grave over the top of the glacier, the cheap bars, the €60 helicopter day trip to Alpe d’Huez, and the reliable snow above 2500m.
And finally, here’s a property that is the best placed in the Ibiza of the Pyrenees, Pas de la Casa.
Llac Negre is right in the centre of the main drag of Pas de la Casa. The town rocks all night and has plenty of great bars including the one in this hotel. The prices are great due to Andorra being a tax free principality. The resort is also at 2000m making it one of the highest in Europe. There has been lots of investment in the lift system of the Granvalira ski area and it now compares favourably with the big French resorts of the Tarantaise Vallée.
This is only a short list of some of our favourites but we have loads more to recommend for après ski action.
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