The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis is a magnificent natural phenomenon that lights up the night sky with a stunning and eye-catching display. This natural wonder attracts spectators from all over the world and it’s easy to see why a northern lights sighting features high on many people’s bucket lists. For centuries the Aurora has baffled, bewildered, terrified and delighted mankind. Appearing around the northern polar region in a spectrum of illuminate colours from green to yellow, red and even purple. The lights are best seen around midnight and can appear as a static glow or a pulsating dynamic dance amongst the stars. Certain countries are blessed with frequent visits from the Aurora due to their geographical location with some better than others for optimal sightings. Select ski resorts can also enjoy spectacular displays when the timing is right; and a combined ski holiday with a once in a lifetime northern lights sighting is a trip to be treasured for a lifetime. Try something different for your next ski holiday and venture to one of the top 5 resorts below who have reported good Aurora activity in the past. Harstead, Norway – For Cross Country Skiing
Nearby Tromso, Norway
Nearby Vik, Iceland
Sunshine Village, Banff View ski holidays in Banff image ©Dan Dolson
Levi, Lapland (Finland)
View Ski holidays in Levi
Fairbanks, Alaska – For Ski Touring
Dalton Highway, north of Fairbanks, Alaska
Fun Facts -The Aurora Australis are the southern counterpart for the Northern Lights and can be spotted from Tasmania, Antarctica, Argentina and more. -The Aurora are named after the ancient Roman goddess of Dawn who goes by the same name. -Native American legends tell how they were able to summon ghosts and spirits by whistling at the lights.
Live the celebrity lifestyle for a week and discover some of your best-loved A-lister’s favourite ski destinations. Many celebrities set aside a week of their busy schedules each winter to go skiing in their preferred ski resorts. These chic ski towns are filled with designer shops, ritzy hotels, glamorous bars and swanky restaurants. You don’t need to be a millionaire to experience these fantastic ski areas, we offer great value ski holidays to these resorts* so you can go skiing on the same slopes as Posh and Becks without the hefty price tag. Take a look at top celebrity ski destinations:
St Moritz, Switzerland
Nestled at the heart of the largest ski area in the world, Meribel is no stranger to hosting famous people. There are very few hotels here so celebrities can enjoy the privacy of their very own luxury ski chalet holiday. The restaurants and bars aren’t as glitzy as neighbouring resort Courchevel, so this is perfect for anyone wanting some quality time with friends and family away from the crowds. You may have to look a little harder for celebrities here but many have their own properties in this charming village in the 3 Valleys. Emma Watson purchased a luxury chalet in 2008 for £1 million and now the demand for property in Meribel has increased so much that it is now rumoured to be is worth between 3-4 million. Celebrities spotted in Meribel: - Prince William and Kate Middleton - Natalie Imbruglia - Sophie Ellis-Bextor
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Left to Right: Meribel ski resort. Sophie Ellis Bextor in resort, photo: The Mirror. Prince William and Kate Skiing, photo: Rex Features
Switzerland is one of the first-rate ski countries in the World. Home to iconic mountains, the most peaks over 4000 m and an elite ski scene fit for the rich and famous.Settled under the illustrious Matterhorn, Zermatt is a picturesque alpine village filled with gourmet restaurants, cosy ski chalets and world-class skiing. Celebrities spotted in Zermatt:
- Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt - Phil Collins - Vanessa-Mae and Frida Lyngstad (Abba) have homes in here
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Zermatt ski resort
With over 600 km of pistes on its doorstep, Courchevel is certainly rich in ski terrain. 1850 is the most chic of the villages which is home to six star hotels, Michelin star restaurants and glamourous shops. At peak season uber-rich Russians doned in fur lined ski wear fill the resort and can be spotted sipping their Dom Perignon at apres. This elegant ski town is full of alpine charm and a favourite of many of the Iglu team and the stars. Celebrities spotted in Courchevel: - Leonardo DiCaprio - Posh and Becks - Pippa Middleton - Geri Halliwell
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Left to Right: Courchevel ski resort. Posh and Becks, photo: Daily Mail. Leonardo DiCaprio in resort, photo: EOnline
Aspen ski resort is playground for millionaires and superstars. This ski haven is renowned for its exclusivity and harbors some of the most expensive properties in the US. With designer shops like Dior and Gucci amongst the delectable bistros, it’s no wonder this is a hot spot for the A-listers. A top location to spot a celeb is in the chic 5 star hotel The Little Nell. Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia are regular visitors to the resort, having spent 3 previous Presidents’ Day weekends skiing in Aspen. Other celebrities spotted in Aspen: - Mel Gibson - Kate Hudson - Mariah Carey - Paris Hilton - Jay Z and Beyonce - Antonio Banderas - Ben Fogle
Aspen ski resort
Famed for its annual snow Polo World Cup on the frozen lake of St Moritz, this prestigious event started more than 30 years ago and draws in more than 12 000 spectators and a host of top celebrities. At peak times, the resorts very own airport brings in more than 40 private jets a day so the rich and famous can enjoy the Swiss slopes or a ‘designer’ getaway to enjoy the fine amenities of the resort. With designer shops, exclusive sporting events and superb spas, St Moritz is always at the top of the exclusivity lists. You’ll find the biggest names in fashion here including, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Roberto Cavalli and Versace. The best places to spot a celeb in resort are Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, Break 7, Roo Bar, Hanselmann tea room and the Polo World Cup. Celebrities spotted in St Moritz: - Robbie Williams - Claudia Schiffer - George Cloony - Charlie Chaplin - Alfred Hitchcock - John Travolta - Robert De Niro - Elizabeth Hurley - Tina Turner- Naomi Campbell- Boris Becker married his model wife here
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Left to Right: St Moritz at night. Naomi Campbell, photo: Daily Mail. Boris Becker getting married in St Moritz, photo: OK
Klosters - The Royals Deer Valley - Dustin Hoffman, Bruce Springsteen and John Travolta Telluride - Tom Cruise and Oprah Verbier - Richard Branson Val d’Isere - Jamie Oliver Obertauern - The Beatles filmed ‘Help’ here Champéry- Noel Gallagher Crans Montana - Roger Moore Cortina d'Ampezzo - Peter Sellers and Frank Sinatra
Have you ever spotted a celebrity on the slopes? Tell us on Twitter @igluski
*We do not offer ski holidays in Aspen
Try something totally unique for your next ski adventure and upgrade your skiable country conceptions to include some truly life changing terrain. You’ve likely been to France, Austria, North America and skied the slopes of some serious big hitters, either that or your friends have and consistently remind you of how uh-mazing it was. Go bigger and better with some superstar ski facts on where you plan to conquer next, how about Hawaii for starters?
National Park Torres del Paine, Chile
Picture Hawaii and you’re probably seeing swaying palm trees, fire side hula dances and somewhat of a surfers paradise. But look beyond the tropical front line and you’ll also discover Mount Kea, Hawaii’s skiable White Mountain reaching 4205m high. Not for the faint of heart, this dormant volcano allows for some seriously high skiing, plus the lack of resort facilities mean only the adventurous need apply.
Rising up as an escape from India’s soaring summer temperatures, Gulmarg is a hill station of Kashmir which now boasts India’s most famed ski resort. High up in the Himalayas, this resort provides astonishing mountain views and also plays host to Asia’s highest gondola. With strong expectations of snow-sure seasons and the bonus of towering terrain, Gulmarg feeds the urge of those needing a completely new adventure.
Gulmarg ski resort, India
A cultural explosion and sensory wonderland, Japan is a popular destination for many reasons. No stranger to snow fans, Japan hosts in excess of 500 ski resorts, unparalleled scenery and pure powder. Rusutsu resort in Hokkaido is fast becoming one of Japan’s most popular resorts. Comprised of three skiable mountains and combining top class skiing with quirky Japanese conventions. Be sure to ski through the abandoned theme park for an unforgettable run.
Ski through a theme park in Rusutu. Photo from Japan Ski Experience
Powder lines in Niseko, Japan
Five hours drive from Johannesburg and sitting pretty in the Maluti Mountains lies Afriski. This snow coated South African wonder is best for skiing and snowboarding during June and July, meaning you can still get your fix outside of the typical ski season. All levels are catered for, from the top class tuition for beginners to Lesotho’s notable passion for adventure. Their après ski game is strong with unique drink challenges and the highest restaurant in Africa.
Afriski Mountain Resort
You might be inclined to head down under for beach fun, water sports, sizzling BBQ’s and a laid back lifestyle, but did you know that Australia also hosts some pretty awesome skiing? Snow fans and adrenaline junkies should head to the south west, stopping by New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania for a taste of Australian alpine life. Ski eucalyptus tree lined runs and experience a unique après the Aussie way. Popular ski resorts include Perisher, Thredbo, Falls Creek and Mount Buller.
Perisher, New South Wales
Hosts of the 2018 Winter Olympics, South Korea has been a favourite amongst ski stars for years; and now it serves a purpose to all wanting a winter adventure with a big cultural injection. Yongpyong in the Gangwan-do region is Korea’s largest ski and snowboard resort and quickly emerging as the most popular. The Rainbow slope comes equipped with plenty junctions and courses making it one of the best in Korea, whilst beginners can let loose and crash-free on the ultra-wide beginner slope.
Top of the Rainbow Lift at Yongpyong resort (Pyeongchang)
Chile offers a completely alternative ski/ snowboarding experience, with its diverse climate and lively Latin American culture. Chile’s snow coated resorts can be found high in the elevated Andean mountain range, providing ultimate dope slopes and views to die for. Get your thrills skiing steaming volcanoes before savouring their famous Chilean red wine to unwind.
Fresh powder in Portillo, Chile
DC Snowboarding in Chile
If you liked this blog, read our top 5 once in a lifetime ski experiences or top 5 hidden gems
For a powder-filled ski holiday next season try Canada or Japan
Everyone loves tree runs, whether it’s a tree lined piste in a lush alpine area or off piste terrain through the sloping glades. As well as tree areas being one of the most beautiful areas in a ski resort, these places are the best spots to head for when it is a white-out. Tree cover offers protection from the elements which allows you to see the slopes and surrounding better and lets you to carry on with your day instead of retreating back to your chalet. Tree skiing is fantastic as it is accessible for all abilities. There are ski resorts with plenty of tree lined blue pistes which are great for beginners and leisurely skiers, then experienced skiers can head off piste to weave through the powder and trees. North America and Canada offer the most extensive tree terrain as the mountains don’t reach the heights of Europe’s peaks. Even though tree lines are often low in some of the top European ski resorts, there is still some amazingly fun tree skiing to be had!
Also, take a look at our Top 5 Black Ski Runs
Lovers of tree skiing will adore Serre Chavalier as the resort is famed for its great snow conditions, freestyle terrain and wide trees to weave through. Experienced skiers will be captivated by the ski area around the secret chairlift (aka the Aguillette) over Chantemerle because of the fun off piste and trees to ski through near the 2800m Aguillette red piste.
Chosen by Lucy, Senior Sales Expert
Find out more about Serre Chavalier
Both the runs into La Daille and La Fornet in Val d’Isere are great when the weather closes in and easy to access from the pistes (and get back to the piste from) for those who aren’t too adventurous. Perfect after a huge dump of snow for laps of fresh tracks through the trees.
Chosen by James, Head of Ski Product
Find out more about Val d'Isere
Whistler has some incredible gladed tree runs off the back of Crystal chair on the Blackcomb mountain. On Whistler mountain you can also ski the famous A-line downhill bike track through the trees which feels a bit like a wooded boarder cross course. Chosen by Laura, Digital Marketing Manager
Plus the off piste Million Dollar Ridge in Whistler is popular with locals; make sure you have a guide in these places as the routes are not on the map. Chosen by Christian, Senior Sales Expert
Find out more about Whistler
There are extensive alpine ski areas and exceptional natural freeride terrain in Chamonix. Over the back of the Tete de Balme chairlift there are some great off piste lines through the trees. Then at the beautiful Les Houches ski area there is lots more skiable tree terrain including Aillouds which is a long, wide, easy going run, plus the red runs down to Saint Gervais take you back through the trees. Chosen by Krystelle, Digital Marketing Executive
Find out more about Chamonix
The Stash in the Lindaret trees in Avoriaz is one of the great tree runs of the world. My tip is to stay skiers left and go all the way down to Ardent on a powder day. Unbeatable. When the trees get too tight, try and aim for the open glades and look out for the fun drops!
Chosen by AJ, Sales Director
Find out more about Avoriaz
Travis Rice shredding in fresh, hip deep champagne powder. Get us to Japan!
Find out more about ski holidays in Japan
Read a previous blog on Tree Skiing in France
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