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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.
View more about Klosters
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!
View more about Meribel
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.
View more about Verbier
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.
View more about Zermatt
View the Ten Most Exclusive Ski Resorts in the World
This weeks top 5 comes from Krystelle, our Marketing Executive. Having worked in various ski resorts, she is the perfect person to tell us her top 5 ski resorts in France. Here is what she had to say:
J'adore la France, I love the food, I love the après and most of all I love the ski areas. It is all about the mountain for me, it has got to have an amazing ski, or should I say snowboard, area to keep me busy all day, everyday. These resorts have it all. If you are looking for the perfect ski holiday, you cannot go wrong with these incredible resorts.
5. Les Deux Alpes
The higher the resort, the better in my opinion. With an impressive snow record, the resort sits at 1650m and the ski area peaks at 3600m! Les Deux Alpes has an extensive ski terrain and snowboard friendly, with one of the best boardparks in Europe. Top tip: Hire an expert and explore the legendary off piste.
4. Flaine, Le Grand Massif
The Flaine Bowl is the perfect place to catch some powder without venturing too far off track. It may be a small town, but if your all about shredding and face shots then you have an extraordinary playground right here. Visit the Flying Dutchman for the liveliest night that you won't remember!
3. Meribel, Three Valleys
Ideally situated in the middle of the largest linked ski area in the world, Meribel is a fascinating resort for all. It is one of the most attractive ski areas, with its tree lines pistes and also has one of my favourite après spots, the Rond Point. I recommend staying in the higher village of Meribel Motteratt for stunning views of the mountains and ski in-ski out.
2. La Plagne, Paradiski
It's not just the family resort it's made out to be! I've had some of the best apres moments dancing on tables in La Plagne. It's a spectacular resort, packed with beautiful blue runs and Les Ars is just a stones throw away over the Vanoise Express with longer runs and a wider choice of red pistes. Stay in the village of Belle Plagne for the most stunning sunsets and skiing straight out on to the piste.
1. Tignes, Espace Killy
Tignes has everything, a huge range of slopes, a killer park, loose après, and beautiful mountain views. The more traditional alpine village of Val d'Isere just over the hill giving guests a massive 300km of piste to play on. With guaranteed snow on the glacier, your guaranteed an epic time in the Espace Killy ski area.
However much we all talk about trying somewhere new — skiing in North America or joining the growing trend that is heading back to our former favourite skiing destination, Austria — most of us will go skiing in France next year. Whether it's the cheap flights, the large selection of chalets, or maybe we just love to visit our neighbours, for some reason we can't help but go back.
So, if we are going to ski in France next season — which nearly a million of us will be — what should we do while we are there? Cruising motorway pistes and heading to snowsure glacial resorts is the norm, but surely there is more to France than that?
Those who ski in North America will tell you that tree-lined skiing is one of the best ways to spend a day on the mountain; they will also tell you tree skiing in France is terrible. Well, they'd be wrong — about the skiing in France bit. Though France doesn't boast gigantic trees and a lot of the skiing is above the tree-line, there are some fantastic spots for tree skiing to be enjoyed — you just have to know where to look.
Tree skiing is great for a whole variety of reasons, but on white-out days, when many people are rolling around on the piste or sat in their chalets, it comes into its own. The trees break up the snow and offer definition, meaning you can see where you are going. They offer protection from the elements while holding the snow — which also means you can find powder stashes days after a dump, if you know where to look.
Tree-lined skiing is also accessible for skiers of all levels. For beginners and more casual skiers there are resort like Les Gets and Serre Chevalier, which offer tree-lined piste skiing, and for the hardened skier there are plenty of resorts offering some great off-the-beaten-track tree-lined back country skiing.
So, with the office filled with dedicated skiers, where do the Iglu ski specialists recommend for the best tree skiing in France?
Easy peasy, Lindaret Treesy — Portes du Soleil:
Anyone ‘in the know’ skiing the Portes du Soleil starts their powder days at the Ardent Gondola. It’s about a 20 min bus schlep from Morzine, but the views along the way — where you see the ice divers in the frozen lake to your right, and then ice waterfalls on the left — more than make up for it. The Ardent gondola takes you to my favourite spot in all the area, the Lindaret plateau. If you are quick enough you can beat the masses heading over from Avoriaz by taking the Lindaret express quad for the best trees run in the northern French Alps. The area is so good that Burton put The Stash — a park built from natural features — right through the middle of it. The Stash alone is a great tree run, but it runs alongside the lift to make sure the park-rat posers get maximum exposure. That’s not the Iglu way. At the top of the quad, traverse high skiers left, go above and passed the big rocks as far as you dare before dropping into the steep, but well-spaced trees. It looks like a dead end from the top, which keeps the tentative away, but there’s lots of little glades to aim for when the trees get tight and some tasty drops for the well insured to have a go at.
AJ, Iglu's Head of Sales and self appointed ski guru.
Prodains Cable Car — Portes du Soleil:
An easy path followed by undulating pistes that looks innocent enough, before the drop to the right into a densely packed tree lined section underneath the cable car. Usually void of any other tracks bar four legged footprints, this section is as picturesque as it is challenging. No 50 metres are the same, some turns so tight a complete standstill is required, some drops so vertical it's like walking into an empty lift shaft. The gradient and ultra narrow gaps between the trees ensures turning at will mandatory. The only respite is the clearing at the end in front of the lift station and welcoming sight of the Hotel Les Lans.
Thomas Moulton, Iglu's actual ski guru.
Les Arcs' Ultimate Tree Run — Les Arcs 1600
Up the Mont Blanc two man chair then take the Deux Tetes Button lift. Head down (skiers' left) off the button below the Deux Tetes Rocks (a real Kodak moment) and enter the ultimate tree run. You end up on a cat track above and (skiers' right of 1600), on the edge of the ski area boundary. Nicely spaced trees, natural jibbing opportunities and only locals know about it. There is a pretty substantial cliff line half way down, so you need to pick route carefully.
Nick 'Action' Jackson, Iglu's Les Arcs expert.
Le Fornet Cable Car — Val d'Isere
There are a number of reasons why this is the best tree run in France, not only is it steep, but the hill is quiet and the trees are relatively spread out. Plus there's nothing too hard to knock you out. Obviously, if you're going off piste you'll need to be doing this with a guide or with someone who knows what they are doing, but the specific spot is called Le Lievre Blanc or the White Hare. It's been prone to avalanche in the past and the trees that were knocked down have regrown and are relatively young. Therefore there is plenty of space to get some rhythmic powder turns in, top to bottom in one hit... man up and give it a go!
Adrian 'Scotty' Scott, one of Iglu's former ski instructors.
The OK — Val d'Isere
Catch the first ascending Funival with resort personnel at 8.15 to the near empty Bellevarde. Gunning it over the rolling cruisers the Folie Douce rapidly comes into view. The little wall after the legendary restaurant is sufficiently steep to warrant a turn or two but still wide enough to allow any mistakes to go unpunished. This leads to the narrowing tree lined piste G and Raye. Landmarks go by in a blur including the Triffolet restaurant and terrace complete with the smell of 'steak frites' and busy with skiers who by now look as if they're going backwards. The compression three quarters of the way down keeps the mind focused followed by the moguls of decent size and gradient. With the sheltered light and clearly visible terrain, this section offers the most fun regardless of the weather. Cheers from skiers on the chairlift above a bonus, at the very least you'll finish this satisfying run eager for plenty more.
Thomas Moulton, one another of his favourite runs.
If cruising around gentle to intermediate pistes is more up your street, then head to Les Gets. Pretty much the entire area is filled with trees and winding slopes. There is a great loop I'd often do with my girlfriend while working in Morzine, you head up the Pleney, then take the Belvedere chair lift, from there you cruise down the Granges piste, at the bottom we'd take the Charniaz Express chair, then head down either the Fenerets of Amresalles pistes. You then head up the la Rosta chair, head right of the lifts, then drop back into the main bowl taking any line through the tress that takes your fancy. We'd then head to the Choucas piste and round to Nyon, but there are more little tree runs to play with, than I'd have time to describe.
Another favourite of mine — but one I've only ever done a couple of times — is from the top of Le Loze in between Courchevel and Meribel, back down to La Tania through the trees. For this run you head right off the Dou Des Lanches chairlift, then off piste along where the snow blast cannons are — this area is a route that definitely needs a transceiver and a local guide — from here you eventually hit the tree line, which follows the Folyeres piste into town. Following a village local through the trees will take you on a fun-filled schlep all the way back into La Tania.
Having given you a few gems to consider, it's clear to see there is plenty of tree skiing to play with in France, as we haven't even looked at Serre Chevalier, St. Foy, Risoul or the runs from Tignes down to Brevent. Tree-lined skiing in France may not be as obvious as across the pond in North America, but that's not the say there isn't some cracking skiing to enjoy on your yearly pilgrimage to Britain's favourite ski destination.
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"I was so impressed with the way Laura handled my initial call that as soon as I got home I decided to forget all of the other agents and companies and call her straight back and book the holiday. Thank you again Iglu for being so user friendly and more importantly thank you to Laura for being such an asset to your company and the sales profession."