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
We all deserve a little luxury in our lives, and what better way to treat ourselves than to indulge in an exquisite chalet setting for our yearly ski holiday. Luxury ski chalets aren't just for the rich and famous, we have a wide selection of affordable luxury properties in Europe, USA and Canada. A luxury ski chalet is how you would dream your ideal ski retreat, with opulent alpine furnishings, spectacular spa facilities, gourmet food and fine wines. The expert and professional staff will match that of 4 and 5 star hotels. They will cater for all your needs and enhance every detail of your stay so you will experience the finest week of your life. Excellent food is at the heart of a ski holiday. At a luxury chalet or hotel, an exceptional menu and cuisine is an essential part of the service. Chefs will tantalise your taste buds and cook to your likes and dislikes. From a hearty breakfast, to a gratifying afternoon tea after skiing and a dinner banquet fit for royalty. Expect canapés and aperitifs followed by a 4 course meal, then coffee and treats to bring the night to a close. Each luxury property will have its own unique features, from saunas and steam rooms, to private cinemas, hot tubs, gyms and even wine cellars. Iglu Ski has a large selection of luxury ski holiday options, including all-inclusive holidays. Take a look at our 10 favourite once in a lifetime ski chalets to inspire your next ski adventure and speak to our expert ski sales team to discuss your dream options.
Chalet Lafitenia, Val d'Isere, France
Chalet Sirocco, Verbier, Switzerland
Chalet Uberhaus, Lech, Austria
Chalet Ambre, Tignes, France
Chalet Maria Schnee, St Anton, Austria
Hotel Kaila, Meribel, France
Hotel Carlina, Courchevel, France
Hotel Fitzroy, Val Thorens, France
The Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff, Canada
Club Med Val d'Isere, France
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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
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