In the past few years I've turned into a bit of a fair weather rider and found myself choosing the sunny month of March over the earlier months. Peak December is too expensive, January is too cold, February too busy so I find March to be the perfect month for a ski holiday. If you can only fit in one ski holiday and need to decide what time of the season to go, choose March. By the time March comes around snow bases have built up enough over the season so the slopes are in the best condition for an excellent week of skiing or snowboarding. The days get longer in the spring so you get more ski time for your money, which also means you can take advantage of long lunches in the sunshine whilst still fitting in a few more hours of skiing after. There is also still a good chance of fresh snow, but when the snow does fall it is often just for a short period (overnight or just 1 or 2 days) so there is a good possibility of a perfect bluebird powder day during your ski week. And the best thing about skiing in March… après sessions in the sunshine!
Here are the top 5 ski resorts for skiing in March:
Austria is beautiful whatever the season, whether it's covered in a blanket of snow or the foot of the mountains and villages are surrounded my green grass and budding flowers. As many ski villages in Austria sit at a much lower altitude compared to on top of the mountain, in March you can already see spring coming to life in Mayrhofen village. This means you can spend the day up on the Penken mountain shredding the slopes up to 2500m and then retreat down the mountain to mild temperatures and pretty Austrian scenery for the evening. I was on a group ski holiday in Mayrhofen in March 2015 and had a brilliant week; we even had fresh snowfall 2 out of the 6 days!
White Lounge mountain bar at Ahorn in Mayrhofen
Alpe d'Huez is a brilliant all-round ski resort that caters for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. The town sits at 1860m and the ski area peaks at 3330m up on the glacier allowing high altitude skiing and guaranteed snow. The Pic Blanc glacier is so high that on a clear day you can see one-fifth of France! There are plenty of bars and restaurants on and off the mountain for you to soak up the sunshine at any time of the day, and there is even a large open air swimming pool in the middle of town if you feel like a break from the snow.
Skiing in March is all about the beautiful weather and awesome ski conditions, and La Plagne has some of my favorite scenery in France. Sunrises and sunset views from Belle Plagne are magical and heading up the Roche de Mio to take in the vast expanse of the stunning Tarantaise valley is the best start to the ski day. On a clear day (most days in March) you can see the Courchevel and the Altiport across the valley from the top of La Grande Rochette at Plagne Centre.
Belle Plagne in the distance, the top village in La Plagne
Head to the swanky ski resort of Courchevel in the magnificent Three Valleys ski area and enjoy the abundance of mountain sun terraces. At the far end of the budget try the nautical themed Le Cap Horn next to the altiport for the best seafood and sushi in resort. Bel Air in Courchevel 1650 is located in a stunning spot on the mountain. Les Verdons is ideal for a beer break in a deckchair. Bouc Blanc has a huge sun terrace and Le Panoramic wins for the best views!
When the sun is blazing down it always encourages you to stop for a quick cheeky pint or head to an outside bar after skiing. What’s the best place for après?… ST ANTON! Ski hard all day across the epic Arlberg ski region then retire back to St Anton for a legendary session and Krazy Kangaruh or Mooserwirt.
Mooserwirt bar. Photo: Mooserwirt.at
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Here is AJ to tell you more about why his favourite time of the year to ski is March:
Meribel is one of the prettiest large ski resorts in France which is why it attracts thousands of Britons each season. Combined with its central positioning in the largest ski area in the world, its charming tree lined ski runs, abundance of alpine ski chalets and lively après scene, there’s no surprise that Meribel is one of the most popular ski resorts in Europe. Here’s the lowdown on the on the best things to experience on a ski holiday in Meribel.
Attractive village with tree lined ski runs
A trip to Meribel isn’t complete without an outing to Le Rond Point. The ‘Ronnie,’ as locals call it, is open all day long with a delicious restaurant open for lunch, a huge terrace and snack bar for afternoon beers and chilling out in the sunshine and live apres bands 7 days a week between 5-7pm. Le Rond Point is unquestionably the best apres bar in Meribel.
The bar is situated in a perfect sun trap of the slopes which makes it the best bar to be in during good weather. The fantastic piste side location allows you to ski back down to Meribel after a wild apres sesh.
Meribel is fortunate to accommodate 2 large snowparks. The Moon Park is open to skiers and snowboarders of all levels. This park is brilliant for beginner to intermediate freestylers with some jumps specially designed for beginners, and well as tables, rails and boxes for all abilities. DC Area 43 (the Plattieres Park) is one of the best snowparks in Europe. It is well maintained by a team of professional park shapers and attracts top level freestylers from around the world. The park is 1200m long, has 2 half pipes and is served by 2 lifts allowing easy access for skiers and snowboarders.
DC Area 43 Snowpark
Dance around in your ski boots at the best après party in the Alps. The vibrant mix of DJs and performers creates a unique party experience exclusive to France.
Photo: La Folie Douce Meribel Facebook
Your lips will never forgive you (even if your hips do) if you don’t try one of the infamous Montagne Burgers in Meribel Mottaret. Discover the best lunch in Meribel with the perfect combination of a burger and raclette in a bun the size of your head! The shop is located in the centre of Mottaret, next to the Sherpa supermarket.
Take advantage of being situated in the heart of the largest ski area in the world and visit neighbouring resorts Courchevel and Val Thorens. If you are an experienced skier, why not try ticking off all 8 ski villages in 3 Valleys during your ski holiday in Meribel?
If you are still wanting more after a day exploring the 600km of piste, Meribel has plenty of non-ski activities for the evenings, a day off the slopes and for non-skiers. As well as Husky sledding, paragliding, skidooing and snow shoeing excursions, the Olympic sports Centre is filled with activities to enjoy some down time. There is ice-skating, swimming, a climbing wall, ten-pin bowling, a gym and spa with a sauna, steam room and treatment rooms which offer a range of massages and beauty treatments.
Meribel is one of the best all-round ski resorts, making it an excellent options for beginners to experts, to snowboarders and groups with non-skiers.
How to get there? View the largest selection of ski accommodations and Meribel ski holiday deals
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
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