Each year the iconic cycling race passes through some of our best loved ski holiday destinations as cyclists push their abilities to the maximum and tackle the extreme mountain ascents. Thousands of spectators gather the streets and tune in on TV across the world to view the famous race. Watchers of the Tour de France admire the beauty of the French landscape as much as the race itself. We love seeing our favourite French ski resorts in full bloom and this makes us remember the fun times we have in these fascinating regions at winter. Some of our senior ski experts can point out our ski chalets along the tour! As the Tour hits the mountains this weekend, here are the top 5 ski resorts on the Tour de France route.
Morzine is hosting the last leg of the Tour de France on 23rd of July before the final stage in Paris. This part of the tour will take riders 146km from Megève to Morzine on terrain varying from 537m above sea level to 1691m. Morzine is a popular destination throughout the year, but it truly comes alive in winter when the enormous Portes du Soleil ski area gets transformed into a stunning winter wonderland. There are some of the best tree-skiing routes and prettiest villages in the whole of the Alps here which makes Morzine a top ski holiday haven.
After climbing up to the Col des Aravais at 1487m, the cyclists descend into La Clusaz before tackling the next ascent of Col de la Colombiere to 1618m. La Clusaz is a beautiful hidden gem in the Haute Savoie region in France with 84 varied pistes, totalling 125 km of skiable terrain. Due to its excellent location, La Clusaz receives some of the best snow in France which makes it a great destination for off piste skiing and snowboarding.
Along the Megève to Morzine route, the Tour de France athletes pass through Samoëns in Le Grand Massif. Samoëns is an attractive alpine village near Flaine, Les Carroz and Morillion with 148 linked slopes between the villages. The high altitude and large amount of north facing slopes give Le Grand Massif exceptional snow conditions throughout winter making it great for beginner and expert skiers alike.
Megève is the starting point for Stage 20 in the 2016 Tour de France. Cyclists will begin the 146 km journey at 1050m in the beautiful old town of Megève. This is one of the most picturesque resorts in France in the winter with its charming medieval style square and spectacular tree lined slopes.
One of the most famous points along the Tour de France is the extreme ascent of the 21 hairpin bends up to Alpe d’Huez. The alpine views on this part of the journey are magnificent and you can see right across the valley beneath the Grandes Rosses massif. The climb is 14km long with an average gradient of 7.9%. As well as being the Mecca of the Tour de France, Alpe d’Huez is one of our best-selling ski destinations in France. The resort has an exceptional ski area, brilliant snow conditions throughout the season, high altitude skiing and a vibrant après scene. After 29 historic appearances in the Tour de France, Alpe d’Huez isn’t featured in the 2016 as they test out some new climbs this year.
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Getting away and hitting the slopes on a big group ski holiday is a fantastic way for family and friends to get together and enjoy quality time in each other's company. During the summer months is the best time to start thinking about organising a group ski holiday as there are many early booking offers available for groups, including half price lift passes, ski all in packages, off peak saver weeks and low deposits from £99 pp.
Here are the top 5 ski resorts that any group of friends or family will love for their winter holiday:
If you love the choice of skiing and attractions of large French resorts, but seek for a more cost-effective alternative then look no further than Soldeu. The attractive Pyreneean resort sits at the centre of the Grandvalira ski area with access to a fantastic 210 km of pistes, enough variety to satisfy even the most demanding skier. With large properties, numerous restaurants, shopping and bustling night life there is plenty to do off the slopes as well. Andorra is well known for its duty free status and drinks are not served in uniform measures but by the amount that you want. This all helps to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere on ski holidays in Soldeu.
The place to stay: Hotel Bruxelles & Hotel Del Clos
Snowboarding in Soldeu
Alpe d’Huez is one of the ultimate all-round ski resorts. This extensive ski area boasts 250 km of pistes, 2 snowparks, 50 km of cross country trails and the longest black run in Europe. The huge town will have something to suit every taste with the massive variety of bars and restaurants on offer. If you still have energy after a full day on the slopes and a night on the tiles, there are lots of activities in the town to discover, including ice skating, swimming, snowmobiling, dog sledding, parapenting, ice diving and much more. Iglu Ski has ski deals to over 40 properties in Alpe d’Huez, with chalet, hotel and apartment options to cater for all types of groups. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert skier, you will love the variety that Alpe d’Huez has available.
The place to stay: Chalet Le Lac Blanc
High altitude slopes in Alpe d'Huez
Set in the beautiful Ziller Valley, Mayrhofen has long earned its place as one of the world's top ski and snowboard resorts. The ski area is large, varied and high.
The terrain offers a good mix of cruisers and steeps and is well laid out for beginner skiers around the mid station of the Finkenberg. For advanced skiers there is the Harakiri piste, as well as some impressive off piste ski terrain. There are good quality and affordable accommodation options which makes Mayrhofen a top resort choice for families and large groups. Mayrhofen is famous for the legendary end of season blowout, Snowbombing and has some of the finest Austrian après bars to keep you entertained throughout your holiday.
The place to stay: Chalet St Lukas & Chalet Stoanerhof
Mayrhofen's beautiful village at the foot of the slopes
Skiing in Tignes in so vast, it is great for all abilities. Joint with the just-as-amazing resort Val d’Isere, the 300km Espace Killy ski area is one of the most loved circuits in the world. Tignes is perfect for adult groups with the large selection of accommodations and après across the resort, and families will love this ski area with the fantastic beginner areas and excellent ski and snowboards schools. Children will love the activities in Tignes, with ice skating, bowling, swimming pool and Husky rides on offer.
I have had amazing ski holidays in Tignes with both family and friends groups, and still consider it to be one of my favourite ski resorts.
The place to stay: Chalet L'Armoise
Friends enjoying Tignes
There is no surprise that Sauze d’Oulx is a firm favourite amongst British skiers. With over 400km of pistes over the extensive Milky Way ski area there is excellent skiing available for all skiers. From the stunning tree lined runs of Sportina to the black runs of Mount Motta and Mount Sises. With long hours of sunshine you can ski all day long then party all night long in the lively town. Down in resort, Sauze d'Oulx's original village has retained its old world charm, while the newer part provides all you need for a fun-filled holiday. The transfers are short, the accommodation is good value and the food is delicious.
The place to stay: Chalet Le Valentin
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For those who have only skied in the European Alps, a trip to North America will be a fantastic surprise. The excellent all round skiing and spectacular scenery, combined with top service, fantastic facilities, spacious pistes, no lift queues and outstanding lift systems will make this an unforgettable experience. Many people even rate skiing in USA and Canada as the best skiing available in the world. The Iglu Ski team are big fans skiing and snowboarding in North America. Last season we managed to visit some of our favourite ski resorts in the USA and Canada, including Whistler, Jackson Hole and Sun Peaks. Read more about Iglu Ski’s adventures in North America.
Sales experts Phil and James in Sun Peaks
Whistler is Iglu Ski’s best-selling North American ski resort. The Canadian resort is favoured by many Britons due to the huge range of varied terrain, the impressive scenery and the excellent snow fall. The Whistler-Blackcomb has everything you would want from a North American ski adventure: Wide open bowls, gladed tree runs, steep chutes and more! Paired with the modern, efficient lift system and attractive village with a wide range of top accommodations, Whistler makes an ideal choice for your first ski encounter across the pond.
Find out more about Whistler
Vail is one of the largest ski resorts in North America boasting over 5200 acres of ski and snowboard terrain. Freeride enthusiasts will enjoy the legendary seven Back Bowls that span across seven miles. Foodies will love Vail’s diverse and exceptional culinary scene. The 10th is a fantastic gourmet experience on the mountain and Matsuhisa’s is a highly regarded restaurant that serves Japanese cuisine with a South American Flare. The best value lift pass for ski holidays in Vail is the Epic Pass which gives you unlimited access to Vail, Beavercreek, Breakenridge, Keystone, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar and more.
Find out more about Vail
Breckenridge is one of the larger ski resorts in the Colorado area with 5 high peaks across the 2900 acres of terrain. The ski quality here is excellent thanks to the super high slopes that peak at 3962m and the high levels of snowfall (25 feet of snow on average each season). The massive snow parks attract pro-riders and freestyle enthusiasts from across the world. There are 4 parks and a 22 foot superpipe in Brekenridge: Freeway is a park for pros with 4 massive jumps, the superpipe and lots of rails and boxes. Park Lane is the ‘local’s park’ with heaps of fun features. Highway 9 is perfect for skiers and snowboarders looking to hit the park for the first time and Trygve’s is a snowpark for children.
Find out more about Breckenridge
Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise make up the world class ski area of Banff National Park. Just 45 minutes from Banff Town, the excellent ski areas provide access to 8000 acres of skiing and snowboarding terrain with incredible snow sure slopes. Banff – Lake Louise is the perfect place to encounter Canada’s breathtaking wilderness and scenery. From the towering mountain peaks to the stunning glacier-fed lakes, the landscape of the Canadian Rockies is nothing like what we have in Europe.
Find out more about Banff and Lake Louise
The ski resorts in Lake Tahoe cover over 22,000 acres of terrain across the 9 resorts. Our favourite and best-selling resorts include Heavenly, Squaw Valley and North Star. Keen and experienced skiers and snowboarders will love Heavenly’s endless pistes and diverse mix of terrain. Enthusiasts can enjoy the 34 miles of wide pistes, the extreme cliff drops, the gnarly tree skiing and the unlimited freeride routes.
Find out more about Lake Tahoe
Thinking about a ski holiday to the USA or Canada for winter 2016/2017?
Speak to the Iglu Ski experts about a North American ski holiday and we'll put a package together specific for you. Early booking discount start to end from 31st July 2016 so call us now on the number above for the best deal for your North American ski adventure!
View ski deals to USA | View ski deals to Canada
There’s one thing both skiers and snowboarders can agree to hate. Summer. We all love a blue bird day on the hill, but once the days start getting longer, our snow starts fading away and our favourite season melts away for another 6 months. Now we’ve had the hottest day of the year, how are we going to make it through the rest of summer when all we can think about is our next snow fix? Do you keep making excuses to avoid packing your skis away? Do you reach for your ski coat at the smallest breeze? Can you not stop watching snowboard films even though it’s over 20 degrees outside? You my friend have the highly contagious seasonitis. The only cure is winter... But after years of practise trying to settle that itch here are my top tips to help any ski or snowboarder get through these summer months.
How can I wait til next winter for my next ski fix?
Wherever you are in the world, whether you live in the city, the countryside or lucky enough to be by the beach, you can pick up a board sport anywhere. Surfing, skateboarding or wakeboarding are some of the top activities that’ll give you that familiar adrenaline rush you long for. Embrace nature, visit exciting new places and have fun adventures this summer with another board sport. If you’re not sure where to start, look up your local skate park or centre for camps over the summer and hang out with likeminded people or venture to the beach and get a surf lesson.
Surfing in Cornwall, UK
The one place you can get that proper snow fix on UK soil is at one of the indoor snow domes. Whether you’re a season pro or looking for some extra lessons after your first ski holiday, the snow domes have a huge, varied list of snow activities to keep you keen till the mountains open again. From lessons for all ages, to freestyle nights, to ski cross camps to testing next seasons equipment at demo days. Follow your local snow dome on Facebook to keep up to date with events over the summer or head to Go Ski Go Board for information and advice on your nearest snow sports venue.
The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead
Bring the party of the mountains into the city, the only difference is you will not being able to knock off the hangover with some fresh alpine air in the morning.
Enjoy the exhilarating sub-zero temperatures of the Icebar while sipping a tasty cocktail from your own ice glass. Be transported to an Austrian style alpine lodge at Bodo Schloss and indulge in the delicious traditional Austrian cuisine while drinking a ski boot cocktail. Or experience an authentic german bar at the Bavarian Beerhouse, serving ice cold beers in huge stein glasses and offering ‘oompah-tainment.’ Prost!
Ice Bar London. Photo Credit: IceBar London Facebook page
While it’s summer in Europe, it is winter in the southern hemisphere. If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford a long haul flight then go chase winter and head to Australia, New Zealand, Chile or Argentina to take advantage of the ski season down under.If you are craving the mountains, but want to stay closer to home, many European glacier resorts stay open over the summer. Slopes may only be open for a few hours a day, but many sports camps, instructor courses and adrenaline seekers take advantage of the quiet pistes during the warmer season to ski a few runs in the morning, then mountain bike during the afternoon. Find out more information on summer ski holidays to Tignes.
Perisher ski resort in Australia
This may be my favourite option! Invite all your ski friends over and have an alpine themed dinner complete with tartiflette, fondue, cured meats and germknodel, you can even put a summer twist with a bbq full of the finest frankfurters and bratwurst. Put on your ski holiday edit in the background and look back at the amazing winter you’ve just had and start planning for an even better one next season. View early booking offers on group ski holidays.
Or just embrace the sunshine and head to a new part of the world and create new adventures... but that’s just not as fun as the snow life! How about checking out the Holmenkollen ski jump in Oslo? Once the days start becoming colder and the nights start drawing in, look out for the latest ski and snowboard films to start dropping online and premiering around the country. Once October comes around don't miss out on the Telegraph Ski & Snowboard Show to check out the latest gear, watch ski competitions and experience apres ski in the heart of Battersea!
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