With the exciting news of the Royal baby being born, we couldn’t help feeling patriotic here at Iglu. With this in mind it gave us an excellent idea for this week’s top 5… Top 5 Royal Resorts. The British Royal family are famous for heading to the slopes each winter and their holidays are often heavily publicised in the press.
A ski holiday is the perfect time to feel like royalty. Here are our top 5 resorts that are fit for a king:
Klosters has acquired international status from the presence of Royals. This picturesque luxury Swiss resort is said to be Prince Charles’ resort of choice and Kate’s relationship with William was first publicised when she was invited to Klosters with the royals in 2005. The Royal Family have a long history at Klosters and would be the most likely destination to bump into them on a chairlift. If you want to stay where the Royal Family have stayed, Charles favours the 5* Walserhof hotel.
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Situated at the heart of one of the world’s premier ski areas it is no surprise that the Royal Family love it in the Three Valleys. With the fantastic ski schools in resort, will this be where Kate and Will will bring George on his first ski holiday!
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This year Verbier was the chosen resort for Prince Harry and Prince Andrew’s ski trip where they stayed in a luxurious chalet. The resort isn’t as romantic as Klosters but has world class skiing and world class private chalets to match that cater for the super-rich.
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Lech is a popular holiday destination for both Royals and celebrities. The resort is renowned for its 5* hotels, exclusive bars and fancy restaurants and is often seen as the Courchevel of Austria. Being linked to neighbouring resorts Zürs , St Chrisoph, St Anton and Stuben it is becoming one of the world’s greatest ski destinations.
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Zermatt is one of Switzerland’s top ski areas and is often counted in the world’s top 5. WWith guaranteed snow, sun drenched slopes, skiing up to 3500m and beautiful views of the Matterhorn, it is no wonder that this resort in a firm favourite with the Royals. The wintery fairy tale wonderland offers so much more than just a prime ski location. How about visiting the Igloo village, relax on a sunny terrace of a gourmet mountain restaurant or après in a boutique lounge or champagne bar? This traditional resort is one of the most stunning resorts you will ever visit and is definitely a resort fit for Royalty.
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View the Ten Most Exclusive Ski Resorts in the World
Where did you manage to ski or snowboard this year? Did you go to a French favourite, maybe Tignes, Les Arcs or 3 Valleys? Or did you venture to Austria in search of the best après? Or do you crave powder and ventured off to Canada, Japan or a secret gem? Hundreds of thousands of UK holiday makers head to the slopes each winter, but what resorts are the most popular? We have looked at our customers this season to find out. Did you know we work with over 50 ski tour operators so we can offer ski deals in over 200 ski resorts in 16 different countries? This huge selection of holidays gives us the top variety of ski deals anywhere so we can find our customers the perfect getaway. With so many ski holidays to offer we send customers to a tremendous range of ski properties and resorts all over the world. Being able to do this gives us a brilliant insight to the UK market’s favourite ski destinations. We have looked at where you have chosen to ski and snowboard this winter and put together the top 10 ski resorts of this ski season.
Val Thorens, France 10. Courchevel This exclusive resort in the 3 Valleys is a firm favourite with customers with the 600km of pistes on its doorstep, the beautiful alpine village and the stunning mountain restaurants. There may be seven Michelin-starred restaurants and two 6-star hotels in resort, but there is still accommodation for all budgets, including apartments and chalet hotels. View ski holidays in Courchevel 9. Alpe d’Huez Alpe d’Huez has so much to offer; 250 km of varied pistes, from the green areas surrounding the resort to the longest black run in Europe; incredible bars to keep you partying from après through to dawn; so many non-ski activities to do, you don’t even have to think about skiing (ermmm...) and super high peaks to give you access to great snow throughout the season. I visited this brilliant ski resort in March 2015, read my 10 reasons why I love Alpe d’Huez.
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The Peak of the longest black run in Europe (La Sarenne) 8. La Plagne This massive resort is made up of 10 ski villages, all offering a colossal range of accommodations and amenities. From the abundance of apartments in Belle Plagne, to the ski in-ski out hotels across the resort to family ski chalets with onsite crèche facilities, La Plagne has something for everyone. View ski holidays in La Plagne 7. Les Deux Alpes A popular option if you are looking to go on a ski holiday at the start or end of the season. With skiing up to 3600km it is a snow sure resort that is even open to skiers and snowboarders in the summer months. Les Deux Alpes has an extensive ski area, vibrant après scene and a range of budget priced properties making it a top option for groups. View ski holidays in Les Deux Alpes
6. Val Thorens
The village of Val Thorens was purposely built to give guests the best access to the slopes making this an ideal location if you love hitting mountain first thing in the morning. Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe, with the village sitting at 2300m and the pistes peaking at 3200m and is illustrious for its excellent snow conditions.
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5. Les Arcs
The only ’non-mover’ in the top 10. Les Arcs is an all-round resort which is popular year after year with families, groups and couples alike. The variety of the ski areas and the villages appeals to beginners on their first ski holiday, and even offers enough to keep a seasoned skier or snowboarder entertained all week.
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Positioned perfectly in the heart of the largest ski area in the world, Meribel is in an ideal location to make the most of this renowned region in France. The tree lined runs and chocolate box style village charm make it one of the prettiest ski resorts in France.
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3. St Anton
The legendary après of St Anton draws in the crowds year after year and is consistently our top selling Austrian ski destination. Ski holidays in Austria have been dramatically popular this season; we have seen huge jumps in numbers year on year to some of the popular Austrian resorts, including Mayrhofen, Lech and Ischgl.
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2. Val d’Isere
Last year’s champion has been knocked off the high spot by its ski neighbour. The Espace Killy ski area is a favourite with our customers and ski team every season. The first rate ski area provides a large variety of terrain for all abilities and a snow-sure glacier making it one of the most attractive destinations for a ski holiday.
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With the largest share of customers choosing Tignes as their ski holiday destination this year, you have made this outstanding resort the top ski resort in winter 2014/15. With the poor start to the ski season, Tignes would have been a safe option because of the high altitude skiing with pistes up to 3400m on the Grande Motte glacier. With its fantastic snow record it is no wonder why thousands flock to Tignes year after year.
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Grande Motte, Tignes
Top 3 France
1. Tignes 2. Val d’Isere 3. Meribel
Top 3 Austria
1. St Anton 2. Mayrhofen 3. Lech
Top 3 Italy
1. Sauze d’Oulx 2. Cervinia3. Selva
Top 3 Canada
1. Whistler 2. Tremblant 3. Banff
Top 3 USA
1. Breckenridge 2. Jackson Hole 3. Killington
Top 3 Andorra
1. Soldeu 2. Arinsal 3. Pas de la Casa
Top 3 Switzerland
1. Zermatt 2. Verbier3. Wengen
Want to see who came out on top last season? Take a look at the top resorts from winter 2013/2014
View 2015/16 ski holidays
What a season it has been! It may have not been the best start to the season, but the snow at the end certainly made up for it. Staff and customers have relished in the top snow conditions during the past month leaving lots of happy faces at the end of our favourite season.
The staff here at Iglu Ski have travelled to some brilliant ski resorts this season and we wanted to share with you our favourite moments from this epic winter.
Where have you been this season? Tignes (with a day in Val d'Isere and Val Thorens), Verbier and Mayrhofen. France, Switzerland and Austria in one season, might be a first for me!
What have been your highlights? Staying in the amazing Chalet Cosy Corner with Ski Armadillo in Verbier, waist deep powder on the Hintertux glacier and the amazing pork knuckle I had for dinner one night at the Hotel Perauer in Mayrhofen.
Where would you like to go next winter? Next winter I want to head back to Austria and try Ischgl, or perhaps Livignio in Italy.
Nick in Mayrhofen
Where have you been this season?Les Deux Alpes, Verbier and Tignes
What have been your highlights?Catching a bluebird powder day on a 3 day trip to Verbier, sometimes you just get lucky! Also, soaking up some late season skiing and sunshine in Tignes with good friends on our end of season trip.
Where would you like to go next winter?I really want to go to Ischgl next year, after doing a season in St Anton I hear that the only après that compares is Ischgl’s. Also I really want to arrange a trip to Japan for some epic powder, in the 2012 season Niseko had 21 meters of snow!
Top - Jake in Les Deux Alpes. Bottom Left - Late season slashes in Tignes. Bottom Right - Fresh snow and blue sky in Verbier
Where have you been this season?Val d’Isere/Tignes
What have been your highlights?Returning to skiing after 10 years of snowboarding was immensely rewarding and lots of fun. Hitting small mile stones of progress through the week was terrific with the real highlight coming with an incredible blue bird powder run towards the end of the week. Whilst snowboarding will always have a place in my heart it’s great to know my ski legs are still kicking!
Where would you like to go next winter?The Dolomites. Great skiing, beautiful scenery and delicious Italian food and wine – ticks all the boxes. I have already booked Club Med Pragelato to take advantage of the early booking discount!
Laura in Val d'Isere
Where have you been this season? Whistler, Peisey Vallandry and Valmorel
What have been your highlights? In Whistler I stayed at the Pan Pacific Mountainside, my best bits of the holiday was the zip wire trek between Blackcomb and Whistler mountain, and going on the amazing Peak to Peak gondola – it’s so high up! Plus Canadian people are a lot of fun, which made my stay even more enjoyable. In Peisey Vallandry I stayed at Les Chalet Des Deux Domains which is in an excellent location just a stone throw from the first lift. The chalet staff were brilliant, the child care was fantastic and the quality of the food was way better than I expected. Plus we had loads of snow! It was a great week. In Valmorel we stayed at the All Inclusive Club Med Hotel. The evening show was the best I’ve seen in a Club Med Village. The location is ski in – ski out, you can almost ski to the bar! The food and drink at Club has to get a mention every time. The Club Med Valmorel is the best family village; the facilities for the children can’t be beaten. There is access to a soft play room and early dining for children if wanted, plus there is a baby room available in the evenings if you have a baby booked in. Nothing is a problem when you stay here.
Where would you like to go next winter? Has to be the Dolomites, maybe Selva. I love food, mountain views, great skiing and staying in high end hotels. Otherwise Ischgl, Obergurgl, Vail and Breckenbridge are on the list next.
Scottie in Peisey Vallandry after fresh snow
Where have you been this season? Mayrhofen, Alpe d’Huez and Tignes / Val d'Isere
What have been your highlights? Going to Snowboxx festival in Alpe d’Huez was amazing. I love après and watching live music so being able to go to the events after a day on the slopes was so much fun. You can have plenty of late nights in Alpe d’Huez! When in Mayrhofen I plucked up the courage to snowboard down Harakiri, Austria’s steepest ski slope, plus I conquered Sarenne in Alpe d’Huez, the longest black run in the World.
Where would you like to go next winter?A large group of friends and I have already booked Chalet Zita in Ischgl for March, and then I’d like to go to somewhere I haven’t been before, maybe Les 2 Alpes, Val Thorens, Livigno or Sauze d’Oulx.
Top - Krystelle on Harakiri. Bottom Left - Apres at Folie Douce in Alpe d'Huez at Snowboxx. Bottom Right - Val d'Isere slopes
Where have you been this season? I’ve been to Tignes, Val d’isere, Val Thorens, Hinterglemm and Zell am See
What have been your highlights?Apres at the Goat Bar in Hinterglemm and the night tobogganing.
Where would you like to go next winter? I would like to go to Alpe d’Huez next year. I went there over 10 years ago and really enjoyed the resort so would love to go back. Otherwise I’d like to try Canada and combine it with a city break for a few days.
The Goat Bar, or 'Goaßstall', and ski slopes in Hinterglemm
Where have you been this season? Mayrhofen, Valmorel (with a day in Val Thorens/Les Menuires) and Tignes
What have been your highlights? All three are top notch resorts, so I won’t go on about the skiing too much. I’m lucky to have been able to go for 3 weeks in total this season, all with plenty of good snow. Mayrhofen: Harakiri, Austrian Après – you can’t beat the Europop, the Iglu White Lounge bar, Bus Warten Schnapps and Bruck’n Stadl. Valmorel: Club Med are great, every single one of them I’ve been to have been fantastic. The fondue in the specialty restaurant and some Veuve Clicquot was the perfect way to celebrate my birthday in style! Skiing with 3 of the best skiers in our office made this trip the most challenging skiing-wise. A short drive over on the sunniest day for some great powder skiing in Val Thorens was very much worth it. Tignes: I’ve been to the Espace Killy loads before, but this time with the best crew! It was the Iglu Ski end of season trip and a large group of us stayed in the brilliantly located Chalet Hotel Curling. The lowlight on this trip was when I managed to pop my knee out on the Piste “A” on our way back to the village, the highlight when I potted 2 balls with a train in pool that NOBODY saw!
Where would you like to go next winter? Japan in December if I can afford it, Austria in March (maybe Saalbach) and then somewhere high in France in April, I’d love to go back to Val Thorens or Alpe d’Huez as I’ve not been there before.
AJ and Linda in Val Thorens
Where have you been this season? Tignes, Val d’Isere, Val Thorens, Whistler, Niederau, Kitzbuhel, Park City, Deer Valley and Morzine.
What have been your highlights? New Year in Val d’Isere was really fun; I had an amazing powder day in Kitzbühel with a local guide and finishing the season in the sun in Morzine was perfect.
Where would you like to go next winter? Colorado, the snow parks in Breckenridge and Keystone are two of the best in the world.
Phil in Whistler
Where have you been this season? St Anton, Lech, Morzine, Park City, Canyons, Tignes/Val d’Isere and Verbier.
What have been your highlights? Trying Austria for the first time was a great experience. America was awesome although the snow this year was far inferior to Europe this season. I love Morzine and the Portes du Soleil, so going back is always top of the list for me.
Where would you like to go next winter? Love to try Japan in December or the Dolomites is high on the list.
Top - Beautiful blue bird day in Verbier. Bottom Left - Fresh tracks in Morzine. Bottom Right - Out of Bounds in Park City
Panoramic alpine views, flamboyant dancing, stunning sunshine, high mountain peaks, vibrant coloured flavoured rum, world class skiing, scrumptious fondues, late nights and a humongous list of activities off the piste, is just a small taste of what to expect on a ski holiday in Alpe d’Huez. Alpe d’Huez is one of our most popular ski holiday destinations. This all-round-resort boasts 250km of ski runs, 2 snow parks and 50km of cross country trails. The height of the resort and ski area means snow is guaranteed throughout the season and is a popular choice for late season holidays.As the UK’s largest independent ski travel agency we work with over 70 ski tour operators to offer you the widest range of ski holidays and find the perfect trip for you. Inghams is one of the largest operators we work with and invited Iglu Ski along on a trip to Alpe d’Huez for Snowboxx festival where we stayed at the popular Chalet Hotel Les Cimes.
With so much to do in resort, here are your 10 must-dos in this amazing ski town:
Last season the famous French après chain extended into Alpe d’Huez, to what may be my favourite location of all. Try to imagine dancers dressed in black feather wings, men in leather high heels, champagne showered down from an elevated DJ booth and a saxophonist prancing around on the bar as you purchase drinks. It’s like something out of a Baz Luhman film and an excellent way to way to get the party going. Après may have only started at 2, but by 2:15 there are already people dancing on the tables and making the most of their short time in this spectacular cosmos. In addition to the epic party that the Folie never fails to deliver, you go weak at the knees staring at the stunning views off the dance floor balcony.
Top left and bottom photo: Gregory Ke Photographie
Appropriately labelled as ‘The Best Fondue in the World,’ La Fondue En Folie was of course our first choice for dinner on the chalet staff’s night off. How good was it? Well, how often do you get to the bottom of a cheese fondue... Never? We polished off it all. And the meat fondue too. Plus we were still infatuated enough with cheese the next day to stomach a round of Croque Monsieurs at lunch. There is an extensive menu filled with various meat and cheese fondue options. The restaurant size is modest so booking early in the week is recommended.
La Fondue En Folie: When the tables are full, food is placed in hangers above!
Alpe d’huez is a glacial resort that offers high altitude skiing and some of the longest descents in the Alps. The 3330m Pic Blanc glacier summit is the start of the longest black run in Europe, Sarenne that has a 2220m descent over the 16 km piste. On a clear day you can spot the peaks of Mont Ventoux, Taillefer, Belledonne, Chartreuse, Mont Blanc and the Aiguilles d'Arves. As a high ski resort, snow conditions are great throughout the winter season and there is even skiing on the glacier during the summer months. Yes the skiing is fantastic up on the glacier, but what really took my breath away was the astounding vista. There are panoramic mountain views as far as the eye can see and the ocean of clouds make you feel like you are on top of the world.
Views from the peak of Pic Blanc
When you think of the perfect mountain eatery, what do you imagine? Large sun-soaked terrace overlooking the ski slopes, an extensive selection of your favourite alpine foods, and a large chilled beer in your hand? All the boxes get ticked at this lunch stop. Perfectly located at the first DMC stop, near the snow park and the green pistes, it is easy meet point and accessible for everyone, non-skiers and beginners included. The hefty menu has all the alpine favourites of cheese and meat combinations including croque monsieurs, tartiflette, burgers, pizzas and salads. The calzone and montagne croque monsieur (raclette cheese) were our top picks after an active morning ski.
The fantastic large sun terrace
Les Cimes is a great value hotel for this fantastic resort. The large accommodation is brilliantly situated less than 100m from the slopes, taking you to the Grande Sure chairlift and straight up to fantastic Signal pistes. Perfect if you are keen to get out on the slopes first thing. The south facing positioning means the sun terrace gets the sun in the afternoon and the front bedrooms have an incredible view of the alpine landscape.
A weeks stay on half board chalet catering basis starts from £503 pp which includes accommodation, transfers and flights. A six day lift pass costs £189 per adult (aged 13-64) when pre-booked through us and ski and boot hire costs from £105 per adult when pre-booked. View more information and ski deals at Chalet Hotel Les Cimes
Top - the amazing views at sunset from the front rooms. Below - the hotel exterior and large breakfast selection
Head to the Underground Bar for a brilliant night you will probably end up not remembering! The super friendly staff create a welcoming and fun atmosphere that is a favourite amongst the seasonaires in resort. If you are like me and prefer a cider over a beer, well great news, they have it on tap here! Most nights the owners band plays live music so expect to keep dancing into the small hours. Our other favourite night venues in Alpe d'Huez included Sphere bar, L'Etalon Rum bar and Igloo bar
Lots of different flavours of homemade rum at the pirate themed Etalon bar
If you like long lasting ski runs, there are 5 pistes in Alpe d’Huez that add up to an impressive 10 000m of height difference. L’Enversin d’Oz (2205m), La Villette (2035m), Oz en Oisans (2000m), Huez (1880m) and La Serenne (1830m). As much as I loved being at the peak of the glacier, my favourite ski runs were on the other side of the mountain at Signal and the ski runs down to Oz and Vaujany. If you are a fan of long ski runs then this is the side of the ski area is for you. Get first lifts up to Signal and enjoy the stunning, wide, corduroy pistes down to the TSD Le Villarais chairlift. This area is normally quiet first thing as the crowds head to the main ski lifts around the green slopes. For more lengthy slopes you can take the runs from 2100 at the first DMC stop or from 2050 at L’Alpette down to Oz en Oisians at 1350 or Montfrais, towards Vaujany, at 1650m.
Top of Signal
This wondrous festival turned Alpe d’Huez into a spectacular wonderland for an entire week. The popular ski resort is already known for its varied and vibrant nightlife, but Snowboxx came into town and took the party to the next level. At every moment of the day you had the opportunity to join in with the festivities, from a waterslide competition or disco dodgeball in the day; to Meat Horse Disco at Folie Douce for après on the mountain or an afternoon terrace party back in the town; to evening events including tropical tea parties, pool parties or joining the headliners 2 Many DJS, Eton Messy and Jungle at huge open air gigs. The possibilities were endless, but you were guaranteed to have an awesome time wherever you ended up. The festival crowd was fantastic fun; there was always a sea of fancy dress and smiles to get you in the mood to party, even if you are still brushing off the hangover from the night before. Snowboxx has now sold out for 3 years in a row, and I cannot wait to see what they have in store for the ski crowds in 2016.
Snowboxx festival 2015. Top - Fun at Folie Douce. Bottom - 2ManyDJs
Discover an unforgettable experience whilst on holiday in Alpe d’Huez and conquer the legendary 16km Sarenne by moonlight. This brilliant evening takes place every Wednesday which fits in perfectly with chalet staff night off. After taking up the last cable car at 4.30 pm to the peak of Pic Blanc you watch the sun set over the breath-taking panoramic view at 3330m whilst sipping on a vin chaud or hot chocolate. When nightfall’s the group is joined by qualified ski instructors and ski patrollers as you ski down the 16km piste by moonlight (and supplied headlights). The run takes about an hour to ski down and once you have reached the bottom you are rewarded with a 3 course mountain dinner at the Auberge de la Combe Haute. After a cheese filled evening you ski back to the village and a shuttle service is provided from 10:15pm to transport you back to resort. The excursion is subject to good snow cover and weather conditions. You must be a good skier or snowboarder to take part and you are advised to book early. Cost is approx 75 Euros. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for bookings.
Panoramic views at the top of Sarenne
With every 6 day lift pass you can benefit from 1 entry to the swimming pool, ice rink and the sports centre. So after a day on the slopes you can head to the outdoor pool for a relaxing afternoon or if you fancy just a half day on the mountain, you can head into town for lunch and a skate on the ice rink, all for free!
This is what’s great about Alpe d’Huez, it’s so much more than just a ski resort. There are plenty of ‘off-piste’ activities to keep any children or adults occupied if their ski legs are feeling tired. Other entertainment includes: Dog sledding, snow mobiling, paradliding, helicopter rides and ice driving.
Snowboxx festival, is without a doubt, been the highlight of this ski season. It was the best fun to experience a music festival in a ski resort whilst surrounded by the iconic views of Alpe d'Huez. March is a perfect time to visit this stunning ski resorts as you get to enjoy the brilliant spring skiing conditions, and the snow was still good enough to make it to the end of Sarenne! View more photos from this ski trip.
View ski holidays in Alpe d'Huez
For more information on Alpe d’Huez Grande Domaine Ski please visit www.alpedhuez-granddomaine-ski.fr
For more information on Snowboxx visit www.snowboxx.com
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