In December 2015 Peter, Marco and George took to the sunny slopes of Tignes for their start of season ski trip with ski holiday partner Ski Total. Ski Total provide affordable ski chalet holidays in many of Iglu Ski’s top selling ski resorts, including a brilliant selection in Tignes and Val d’Isere.
Peter talks us through his time in Tignes and Val d’Isere, what he thought about the slopes, what he got up to off the slopes and much more in his account of his trip to the mountains in mid-December...
Tignes, togther with Val d'Isere forms the Espace Killy ski area in France
It was the Chalet Alaska that was to be our home for the duration. A 24-26 person property, built into the hillside in Tignes Le Lac and just a couple of minutes’ walk to the lifts the Alaska is warm and comfortable chalet, equipped with sauna and hot-tub (I don’t go anywhere these days unless there is a hot-tub). After a bit of a rocky start to the trip involving a ‘misplaced’ passport and subsequent missed flight, I finally arrived in resort at 22:30. I tipped out of the transfer bus at the resort headquarters, Maison de Tignes, where colleague Marco came to my rescue and marched me up the road to the Alaska where I dumped my bags before heading straight out to ‘Loop Bar’, a popular and lively apres venue in the resort centre, right by the bottom of the piste, at the end of Promenade du Tovière. It was here I met the chalet staff, Marcus and Annabelle, who had been kind enough to plate me up some soup, duck and sticky toffee pudding that the others had been able to enjoy at dinner time while I was still battling my way, alone, to the Alps. But I found this out when I arrived at the bar.
Peter at the Grande Motte Glacier in Tignes
After a surprisingly comfortable night’s sleep it was time to hit the slopes. Where the rest of Europe had been suffering from a poor start to the season, with plenty of green on the mountains where it should be white, Tignes’ altitude had enabled it to retain the covering of snow it had received weeks before, giving way to some of the best early season skiing on the continent. A morning carving ensued as we gradually made our way across the Espace Killy area over to the neighbouring resort of Val d’Isere, where the conditions continued to be nothing short of awesome, considering we were only a week into the season.
Marco and George, Iglu Ski Sales Experts
Val d’Isere is home to Ski Total's new flagship Chalet Hotel Le Savoie; part of their exclusive and high end Platinum range located on the main drag, only 3 minutes from the Solaise chairlift. Having formerly been an independent 5 star hotel, the beautifully decorated and charming Chalet Hotel Le Savoie boasts an array of lavish, modern and spacious suites; an airy dining area complimented by an extensive bar and a conservatory; an in-house ski hire shop and a spa area with an indoor pool, two whirlpool hot-tubs, two saunas, a steam room, a modest fitness area and massage treatment rooms that provide a haven for achy, post-skiing muscles. The children’s play room even has a Playstation.
With the day’s formalities over, the rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the vast Espace Killy area before being treated to night-time tobogganing and hot vin chaud by resort staff, followed by a generous buffet dinner at the nearby Italian restaurant, L’Escale Blanche.
Top: View of Val d'Isere from Chalet Hotel Le Savoie. Bottom: Tobagganing by night
The evening was spent in the Marmot Arms pub, a friendly establishment on Rue de la Poste, where the barkeep embroiled us in a Jenga ‘tournament’. Except, by the time our table finally knocked down our monstrous 34 layer tower (narrowly missing the pub record of 38 layers), everyone else had got bored. I won by default and was awarded with a pint.
The first order of business the next day was a visit to Chalet Arktic and Chalet Atlas, located next to each other on Chemin de Crouze, 150m from the Chardonnet lift and piste.
The team in Tignes Val Claret with the Grande Motte (Glacier) Funicular in the background
Chalet Arktic is a fantastic, polished property that, like the Savoie, benefits from being part of Ski Total’s Platinum range. As well as an enhanced menu, extras such as fluffy bath robes, luxury toiletries and slippers add that little bit of sparkle to an already superb holiday.
With its ideal location, modern interior design and really quite excellent indoor pool and outdoor hot tub facilities, it’s not difficult to see how this is one of the most popular chalets in Tignes. The floor-to-ceiling windows and the terrace on which the hot-tub can be found afford stunning views over the lake, Lac de Tignes, from which the village gets its name. The coffee table in the lounge area is particularly interesting (as coffee tables go); an entirely unique and hand-made piece, made from parts of a dismantled cable car, it’s a curious assortment of cogs and gears laminated between two sheets of glass. Next door the Chalet Atlas, which shares the same breath-taking views as its Platinum counterpart, again has a sun terrace, outdoor hot-tub and sauna. Also benefitting from being a few metres closer to the lift and town!
The highlight of the trip followed that afternoon when we ventured up to the top of the Grande Motte glacier. With the pistes being relatively quiet anyway, by patiently waiting a few minutes for everyone else to disembark the gondola and set off, we had the slopes entirely to ourselves. With amazing scenery and no-one but Marco and George to see when I inevitably stacked it, we had an enjoyable ride back down the slopes all the way into Le Lac. At the bottom of the run we met up with the others at Tignes Cusine, next to Loop Bar, and enjoyed an incredible chilli beef burrito, which I heartily recommend. A quick jaunt that evening to nearby Tignes Le Lavachet, via the efficient and free bus service, and a visit to the cleverly branded ski hire and clothing shop, ‘Tignes Spirit’, yielded a hooded top that I am proudly wearing as I type.
The Grande Motte Glaceir in all it's glory at 3100m
The trip drew to a close after a quick pint at the Marmot Arms and a (relatively) early night in anticipation of the 04:30 transfer pick-up. Having spent just two days in Tignes it’s clear that there is so much more the resort has to offer. There is a reason why people go back year after year; the vastness of the Espace Killy ski area is astounding, and the presence of the Grande Motte glacier bears some of the best early season skiing you’ll find this side of the Atlantic.
Words by Peter Fleckney, Iglu Ski Sales Expert
View Ski Holidays in Tignes | View Ski Chalet Holdays in Tignes | View more Iglu Ski Team Blogs
As the UK’s largest online ski specialist, we work with over 50 ski tour operators so we can offer the widest range of ski properties and holidays to help find our customers the perfect ski holiday. Alpine Action is one of the tour operators we work with who offer 14 catered ski chalets in the 3 Valleys. The ski chalets offer quality accommodation run by very experienced staff. In December 2015, Alpine Action took 3 of our ski experts, Seb, Ian and Rufus, to Meribel to discover the Alpine Action ski experience. Here is Seb’s account of his trip:
Alpine Action run a very slick operation in Meribel and La Tania - everything was done to ensure we had a relaxing time. We were transferred quickly and efficiently to Chalet Serpolet in a brand new coach and we were treated to a drinks reception upon arrival by our two chalet hosts (who were very friendly and helpful throughout our stay). Alpine Action boast an impressive portfolio of chalets, all of which have their own character and style - they range from the traditional cosy chalet (Chalet Cote Coeur), the modern (Chalet Toubkal) and the retro (Chalet Rosalie with it’s smashing 70s bathroom). What the chalets all have in common is that they certainly fall into the more luxurious end of the market - our chalet featured an outdoor hot tub, sauna, games room and a spacious living area (very comfortable sofas).
Rufus, Ian and Seb
The Meribel chalets are all located within walking distance of the resort centre, but Alpine Action employ several drivers that whisk guests straight from their chalet door to the lifts in private minibuses. Once you return from the slopes in the evening, you simply give a driver a call and he will take you straight back to your chalet. Evening meals were always an interesting experience - first up were canopies (mozzarella on a shortbread base), accompanied by sweet wine and the warm glow of the log fire. We were then served served with some of the best chalet food I have come across (the salmon and the duck were particular highlights). Dinner was followed by a cheese board and port (and beer pong).
The duck dinner, Chalet Cote Coeur & the salmon meal
The resort of Meribel is centrally located in the 3 Valleys, so it serves as a great base from which skiers can explore Courchevel and Val Thorens. We were shown around the ski slopes by the Alpine Action boss, Ian, whose knowledge of the 3 Valleys is second to none. He took us on a ski trip over to Les Menuires and then up to Val Thorens (there was some great powder snow there), before he treated us to a meal in Pizzaria Du Motteret (where I would thoroughly recommend the Hawai Pizza). We also spent a morning skiing into Courchevel (although the snow was a bit icy here), before venturing down towards La Tania, where there was some relaxing tree skiing (and another fine pizza at the end). The run down from the top of the Saulire Express down to Meribel (with some spectacular scenery in the dying light of the day) was a highlight for me.
The town of Meribel is great for those who enjoy apres skiing. Some of the best bars we went to was the Rond Point Bar (good live music in there) and the Meribar (ideal for a quick drink while waiting for your driver). For those wanted to experience some good nightlife I would recommend Barometer (try out the Mutzig beer in here) and Jacks. If you wish to dance the night away, look no further than O’Sullivans (formally known as Dicks T Bar). The great thing about Meribel is that all the bars are located around the town centre, so you never have to walk very far from one to another.
The Alpine Action experience is certainly memorable and it is one I would certainly recommend for people looking for high end accommodation, good food and great customer service.
By Seb Mearman
Chalet Trois Coeurs
Chalet Rosalie One
Chalet Rosalie Two
Chalet Cote Coeur
Chalet Toubkal One
Chalet Toubkal Two
Winter is here and December is the time where the Iglu Ski staff head out to the mountains all over Europe to refresh our ‘ski heads’ by testing the slopes, discovering new additions in resort and viewing our best-selling accommodations so we have all the expert knowledge to recommend the perfect ski holidays to our customers over w. You can follow the Iglu Ski team’s antics on social by #igluinthesnow
There were multiple groups from the ski team staying in Tignes from 12th – 17th December. Krystelle & Scotty were staying at Chalet Hotel Aiguille Percee, hosted by Mark Warner; Alice, Ella & Megan were staying at Chalet Alaska with Ski Total as their hosts, and Marco stayed with Inghams at Chalet Camille. After the large snowfall at the end of November the slopes in Tignes were still in good condition thanks to the high altitude and snowmaking facilities. In the early mornings and late in the afternoon some of the slopes were a little icy but during the day the skiing felt great. There were plenty of runs open with barely any brown patches on piste at all. The Espace Killy ski area has fantastic snow making facilities which helped considerably during this dry December.
Krystelle, Marco & Scotty
Alice, Ella & Megan
View 2016 ski holidays in Tignes
Most of the team staying in Tignes also spend time over in Val d’Isere, below is Krystelle’s photos from their day over there. The pistes behind Solaise where in the best condition (even better than the Tignes side). The blue runs off the Glacier Express were fantastic at late morning before heading into Val d’Isere for lunch. Tilly and Ella were staying in Meribel with Powder White but came over to Val d’Isere for FIS World Cup. Tilly had this to say about her stay… ‘Val d'Isere has a vast area of skiing and lots of nightlife! We got up for first tracks and the snow was brilliant for early season. We were very fortunate to see the World Cup first hand, the atmosphere when the French were racing was incredible.‘
View 2016 ski holidays in Val d'Isere
Beth and Lisa were on a hosted trip by Madame Vacances of key resorts in France. Their Alps adventure took them to Alpe d’Huez, Flaine and Les 2 Alpes. Similar to other resorts, the snow wasn’t perfect but there was still enough to enjoy a brilliant day on the slopes in the December sunshine.
View 2016 ski holidays in Alpe d'Huez
View 2016 ski holidays in Flaine
View 2016 ski holidays in Les 2 Alpes
Laura and Josh joined Neilson Ski Holidays in Mayrhofen just before xmas week from 16th – 19th December and we’re lucky enough to be greeted by a fresh few inches of snowfall. Here’s what Laura had to say about their trip… ‘After good snowfall in November, the wide lower slopes had good conditions, firm corduroy piste in the morning that softened up by 11am for easy, enjoyable skiing for all levels. Once we reached 2000m the 15cm of new snow provided excellent skiing both on and off the marked piste. We were still finding fresh lines to ski when the lifts closed and apres began!‘
View 2016 ski holidays in Mayrhofen
Christian and James are based out in Morzine throughout the year and were keen to pop over to Avoriaz to check out the new Transition festival and see how the slopes were looking.
View 2016 ski holidays in Avoriaz
Seb, Rufus and Ian enjoyed a 3 Valleys adventure with Powder White from 14th-17th December. The snow was icy in parts in the first thing but by late morning softened up. The run down from the top of Saulire Express down to Meribel was a highlight of the trip. Read more about their trip in Seb's 'Alpine Action Experience' blog
View 2016 ski holidays in Meribel
View more about Sun Peaks
Meet the Iglu Ski Team | View 2016 ski deals | 2017 now on sale
Last week we ventured to Val Thorens in Les 3 Valleys for Iglu Ski’s first ski season trip. A large group from the Iglu Ski team was lucky enough to be invited by Club Med to visit their newest all inclusive hotel sited in the highest ski domain in Europe. The stunning Club Med Val Thorens Sensations is a large and contemporary hotel comprised of everything you need to live your day to the full. From extensive all inclusive menus at breakfast, lunch and dinner, to optional evening entertainment every night, to various activities around the hotel including a fitness centre, climbing wall and spa, as well as an ideal location next to the slopes for maximum mountain time. It’s not often we get the opportunity to ski in the first week of December, but after a huge storm in the Alps at the end of November the mountains were left with a lovely fat snow base. Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe, so it has altitude on its side making it one of the most snow-sure ski resorts in the Alps and the perfect option for an early or late season ski holiday. When we arrived in Val Thorens we were greeted with a 90cm snow base and brilliant skiing conditions. This time last year the mountains were still brown and waiting for their first snow covering. The great snow conditions gave us 2 days of glorious skiing and snowboarding before heading back to the UK. The sun was shining but it was still cold so the slope conditions weren’t affected by the blazing sunlight. Even though there hasn’t been much snowfall since, Val Thorens is still holding up its 90cm base on the top slopes and 50cm base on the lower slopes with snow making and the cold temperatures. It currently boasts one of the top bases in France and is the ideal destination for a last minute ski holiday in December. Here are some of our photos from Val Thorens:
James, Head of Ski Product:
Amazing conditions for so early in the season. The pistes were in perfect shape although it was a bit shallow for any off piste. I was there at a similar time last year and things are looking much better this year – it’s a proper base.
Phil, Sales Team Leader:
Great piste conditions, much better than the same time last year. Risky off piste at the moment if rocky, but a good base for when the next snowfall comes.
View more photos from our trip to Val Thorens | View Last Minute Ski Holidays | View Ski Holidays 2016
You do not currently have any holidays in your shortlist.
You currently have in your shortlist.
"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)