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
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
This ultimate bucket list destination is bigger and better than ever this season as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. Jackson Hole is synonymous as the pinnacle of extreme skiing and is often regarded as the nation’s best ski resort.
This is the birthplace of big mountain skiing, home to many snowsport pioneers and features in some of our favourite extreme videos including The Art of Flight, Almost Ablaze and Jeremy Jackson’s Higher.
Jackson Hole is located in Wyoming neighbouring the stunning Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park’s. As well as discovering this authentic American cowboy town you are also treated to the unique wildlife and wilderness in the region. The ski resort was created to rival European ski area and is now compared to Chamonix, Verbier and St Anton.
There is plenty of terrain to keep an expert rider occupied for the whole season, but there are also many runs for the non-advanced. Beginner and intermediate pistes make up half of the ski area since a new high speed lift opened up the Casper area last season.
In just 50 years Jackson Hole has evolved into a world class resort where passionate skiers and snowboarders can dare to live the dream. Take a look at the new video celebrating Jackson’s 50th
The 50th anniversary is the perfect time to remember how amazing this ski destination is and why it is at the top of many ski bucket lists. Here are the top 5 reasons why Jackson Hole should be next on your list:
Jackson Hole town has preserved its American west roots so that visitors can still experience the cowboy lifestyle. If you’re not visiting during rodeo season there is still plenty on offer to forge your own frontier memories.Once you are off the mountain, don you cowboy boots and discover the superb boutiques and saloons on the wooden cladded boardwalk shopping area. Seek out a true cowboy’s fuel and enjoy Wyoming made Whiskey and world class beers in one of Jackson’s many bars.If you are looking for something more unique, get behind the reins of a traditional horse drawn carriage and ride into the sunset across the beautiful snowy valley.
Famous home grown whiskey
With stunning scenery everywhere you turn, a ski holiday in Jackson Hole will feel like the ultimate adventure. From elk in Grand Teton National Park to bison in Yellowstone National Park to natural hot springs in the Bridger Teton National Forest, there are a wondrous amount of wildlife and wilderness on your doorstep.
The Grand Prismatic Pool at Yellowstone, Elk at Grand Teton National Park & Lake Jackson
There is over 1200m of epic vertical skiable terrain on offer at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The legendary backcountry zones and bounty of fresh snow makes this a focal point for advanced skiers in search of glory and adventure. The Mountain Resort is known for high alpine steeps, long runs and an open gate policy allowing riders to access the backcountry playground.Jackson Hole is home to some of the top freestyle athletes in the world including Travis Rice, Tommy Moe, Max Hamer and Jess McMillan. An extreme adventure wouldn’t be complete without an attempt at the infamous Corbet’s Couloir. As you cruise up on the tram you can take a glimpse of the scary peak before you come face to face with it. No other resort in North American has a chute so legendary that skiers and snowboarders come from all over the planet to tackle this ultimate ski run. Find out more about the thrill seeking terrain here.
Discover your inner cowboy at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in the heart of Jackson. As well as western style dancing, live bands, wooden cladding and animal mounts, the bar stools are genuine saddles! This famous bar is a reminder of what the wild Wyoming west was, and still is.
Million Dollar Cowboy Bar
To celebrate this special occasion there are lots of exciting new additions to the ski area. Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy the new mountain restaurant, Piste Mountain Bistro.The new Teton quad lift opens up access to an intermediate area and 3 pistes including, expanding the Wide Open piste, creating the steep Kemmerer run and the Crags Run along the northern ridgeline. Just for this memorable year, Jackson Hole have a selection of lift pass offers for this season. There is a limited edition 10 day pass that is available all winter, the 50th anniversary Gold Pass will come with 4 ‘buddy pass’ vouchers (50% off 1 day lift passes), and if you hold a season pass to anywhere in the world you can receive 50% off Jackson Hole passes between Jan 11-31st.
View Jackson Hole's 50th video series
View ski holiday packages in Jackson Hole: The Lodge Cowboy Village Log Cabins Ranch Inn Snake River Lodge & Spa The Wort Hotel Snow King Resort Inn at Jackson Teton Mountain Lodge Spring Creek Ranch Parkway Inn
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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)