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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Travis Rice shredding in fresh, hip deep champagne powder. Get us to Japan!
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Read a previous blog on Tree Skiing in France
It can be difficult choosing a ski holiday, especially if you can only travel at certain times of the year. Skiing at Christmas and New Year can be a risk as it is often one of the first weeks of the season for many ski resorts, and we often get asked what ski resorts would be best for late season skiing in March or April. Choosing a high altitude ski resort gives you the best chance for great snow conditions for your ski holiday whatever time of the ski season. France continues to be our top selling ski country, with 9 out of 10 of our top selling ski resorts being located in France. France is often favoured because of the high ski areas, the variety of slopes, and snow-sure ski resorts.
We are very lucky in Europe to have a large range of fantastic world-class ski areas that receive large amounts of snow year after year. Here are 5 of our favourite snow sure ski resorts in Europe:
Cervinia has one of the best snow records in Italy, making it the perfect option if you looking for a change from a ski holiday in France or Austria. Located in the Aosta Valley, this high altitude ski area also links to Zermatt in Switzerland giving skiers and snowboarders access to a huge 350 km of piste on just one lift pass.View ski holidays in Cervinia
Plateau Rosa in Cervinia, the highest skiable are in Italy
The Portes du Soleil is one of the largest ski areas in the world with over 650km of piste between the 12 ski resorts. Avoriaz has the highest point in this district with a summit of 2466m, allowing the resort to receive the best snow cover in the region.View ski holidays in Avoriaz
Avoriaz ski resort in Portes du Soleil
When skiing in Sölden you have access to 2 glacier ski areas, Rettenbach & Tiefenbach. Snow is guaranteed in this high altitude ski area where all of the slopes are between 1350m and 3340m. Sölden is Austria’s only ski area that has 3 skiable peaks that are reach heights of over 3000m: Gaislachkogl (3058m), Tiefenbachkogl (3250m) and Schwarze Schneide (3340m).View ski holidays in Sölden
Skiing in Solden in Austria
Val Thorens was purpose built to make use of the fantastic snow conditions in this part of the 3 Valleys. 99% of the ski area is positioned above 2000m which ensures the best quality snow during its long season.
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Val Thorens ski resort in France
With a summit reaching up to 3600m, the altitude and aspect of Saas Fee means this is one of the snowiest ski resorts in the Alps. The beautiful, traffic-free village sits at 1800m and is surrounded by magnificent snowy peaks. Snow conditions are so good in this Swiss resort that the ski area is also open during the summer months. View ski holidays in Saas Fee
Saas Fee village and ski area
Other snow-sure favourites include... Tignes / Val d'Isere Les Deux Alpes Zermatt
Imagine sitting with an ice cold drink, on a sun drenched terrace, overlooking the most awe inspiring mountain views after a day on the slopes. Sounds like paradise doesn't it? Whenever the sun comes out in the UK we cannot help but remember our favourites winter days soaking up the sunshine in the snow. Here at Iglu we’ve had our fair share of sunny days on a mountain restaurant terrace (after a hard day skiing of course!) so the competition was tough but we’ve narrowed it down to our favourites.
Here are our top 5 sun terraces on the slopes in Europe:
Perfect for a Swiss fondue This sun soaked restaurant is well priced for Switzerland and dominated by magnificent mountain views from the middle of the 4 Valleys. Combatseline is located at the top of 63 Novelli chairlift from Siviez, right between Nendez, Veysonnaz and Verbier.
Photo: My Switzerland
Perfect for people watching This large, swanky, sunny terrace overlooks the Courchevel Altiport and is an ideal spotting celebrities and millionaires. It is the perfect place to make the most of the sunshine, just don’t forget a bundle of cash!
Perfect for a long lunch This large restaurant terrace is perfectly located at the first DMC stop overlooking the stunning Alpe d’Huez ski slopes. Once you sit down and tuck into your substantial Croque Monsieur, burger or salad you’ll find it had to leave this sun trap whilst surrounded by the glorious vista.
Perfect for a quick pit stop A great spot if you have just skied the Harakiri (the steepest slope in Austria) and you need a beer to calm your nerves (exactly how I came across the bar!) Located in the Penken/Horberg bowl by the Vans Snow Park, surrounded by pistes, this huge terrace is a great place for a quick drink, a spot of lunch or a chill out in the beanbags in the sunshine.
Perfect for après Le Rond Point is a popular spot that offers great food, ski in-ski out sun terrace and lively après ski. Asthe ‘Ronnie’ is located on the sunny side of the valley it is in goggle tan heaven and the ultimate location whether you are looking for a quick refresher drink, or an afternoon of live music and toffee vodka! With regular live music you’ll be rocking in your ski boots throughout après before attempting to ski back to the village.
Photo: O'Sullivans Bar
Panorama Alm, Kitzbuhel At Panorama you are really sitting in the ‘front row seat in the Alps’ with the incredible 360 degree mountain views. Located on Pass Thurn Mountain there is a huge sun drenched terrace with tasty and reasonable priced food. Las Vegas Lodge in San Cassiano A jewel in the Dolomites, the beauty of this place is remarkable with its wooden décor, bordered by the finest ski slopes and totally immersed in unforgettable panoramic views. Chez Vrony, Zermatt Priceless views and exceptional food. This beautiful terrace has spectacular views of the Matterhorn and the Vrony burger is a must try!
I recently recovered from my first ever ski holiday with the Iglu Ski team in Tignes, France. I had such a great time that I am definitely hooked and can’t wait to go again next year.
I learnt so much along the way, I thought I would share my new-found knowledge, from one non-skier to the next.
When you’re up in the mountains, you’re at a very high altitude and much closer to the sun. This means whether the sky is blue or grey, you are still being exposed to high intensity UV rays; so whilst you think you may not be affected, there might just be an unsuspected goggle tan creeping up on you.
Try to wear Factor 50+ on whatever skin is exposed. It might also be a good idea to get a lip balm with an SPF. Bring moisturiser and after sun too – just in case you only realise before it’s too late!
When you face such weather and temperature extremes, it’s difficult to know what to pack. I would recommend anything and everything, here, we have a breakdown of essentials; but what people don’t tell you is – the wackier the better.
To those that plan to snowboard – this is irrelevant, but to the skiers amongst you – snow ploughing will become a way of life. For some, parallel skiing may come naturally, but once you’ve got this move down, the rest of your week is set.
Ski boots are not the most comfortable footwear. Non-skiers might be familiar with the cramp feeling you get from ice-skating boots – imagine this, and then imagine wearing and dancing it out in these all day. Take plenty of comfortable ski-socks with you – they’re worth the investment!
Allow yourself at least 3 half days for ski lessons. This is enough time to learn the basics and build your confidence; private lessons and group lessons both have their benefits – it depends what sort of holiday you are looking for.
This means you have been working hard, plus, an element of fearlessness goes a long way. Falling over is all part of a beginner skier’s day’s fun so don’t let it knock your confidence.
Helmets, goggles, sunglasses, heavy jacket, light jacket, ski socks, sun-cream, gloves, salopettes (not trousers) – they all offer protection. Stay safe. Do as Jonah says.
When considering your holiday costs, don’t forget to account for your lift pass hire. Once you arrive in resort you still need to get up the mountain to learn how to ski down. For beginners, you may not need a full 6 day hire; 3-5 may suffice.
Beginners lifts are available in most resorts and these are often free – reference your local piste map or resort representative. If you are taking lessons, your instructor will take you through the basics.
If not included in your holiday package, you can often buy a pass by day or half day – depending on your mood. Pre-holiday, your travel agent can help you arrange this. You can also purchase this anywhere in resort or from your chalet representative. Recommended ski resorts for beginners.
Gently rest your bottom on the button lift as it gently pulls you along; sit down too comfortably and it might take you back into the air!
In your first few days, you might not want to go for a full day’s skiing. Why not take a pedestrian pass and enjoy the piste on foot?
Once lessons are over, it’s down to you to navigate your way around the slopes. I spent the first half of my week thinking everywhere looked the same, a piste map will help keep you on the right track. Normally, the difficulty of the slopes is signposted very clearly.
Remember: Green, Blue, Red, Black
It’s not all about skiing or boarding, it’s about creating memories with your friends and family…or potentially losing them due to excess apres. There are hundreds of bars on the slopes and in resort for you to enjoy. With DJs, live music, dancing and great food to suit all tastes. Best ski resorts for apres ski.
More often than not and depending on which chalet or hotel you are staying in, you will be spending a lot of time with the same chalet staff throughout your stay. They will be with you at breakfast, dinner and afternoon tea. Look after them and they’ll look after you – a sure guarantee that there won’t be an empty wine glass in sight at dinner.
During a week’s stay in the average chalet, there will be one day of rest for the kitchen and chalet staff. You will still get your usual continental breakfast but this means no cooked meals. Take advantage of this day to go out and experience some traditional local food – think fondue, tartiflette, steak amongst anything else you might not expect to see on the menu.
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