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December/January Ski + Snowboard Events in Popular Resorts

clock 13th December 2013 | comment0 Comments
Ski Events Calender Dec 2013/Jan 2014

1st-21st December 2013
Advent Magic in the Park - St Anton, Austria


Escape the Christmas rush this year and visit the picturesque resort of St Anton in the mountains of Austria instead. The start of the month saw St Anton don wonderful Christmas decorations, complete with open fireplaces and wonderful themed areas, getting visitors into the festive spirit. After a hard day out on the slopes, visitors can take part in a selection of fun activities such as designing greeting cards, indulging in delicious festive cookies and listening to recitals of traditional Austrian Christmas stories and poems. This event is perfect for adults and children alike with plenty to keep the little ones entertained – namely a festive trail and craft workshops with the resident elves!

To see our ski holidays in St Anton click here


Week 1: 14th–21st December 2013, Week 2: 8th-15th February 2014, Week 3: 29th March-5th April 2014
Ibiza Rocks The Snow – Meribel, France


Enjoy a touch of Ibiza on the slopes this winter, with the organisers of the infamous Ibiza Rocks music festival. Combine skiing and snowboarding with some wild après ski and cracking live music over the 8 day festival. The festival runs three times over the season starting on December 14th and finishing on April 5th 2014 with performances from artists such as Kissy Sell Out, Mistajam and Clean Bandit.

To see our Ibiza Rocks the Snow deals click here
Igluski Blog: ‘Ibiza Rocks Is Bringing the Heat To Meribel’
For more information and to buy tickets click here


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16th December 2013-14th April 2014
Kissy Sell Out - Various Resorts, France


Looking for some wild après ski? Then look no further – electro DJ Kissy Sell Out will be playing at various resorts around France this season. The tour kicks off with an appearance at Meribel for Ibiza Rocks the Snow, followed by further appearances at Les Deux Alpes, Val Thorens and Val d’Isere.

For a full list of dates and to buy tickets please visit individual resort websites. To see our ski holidays in Les Deux Alpes click here
To see our ski holidays in Meribel click here
To see our ski holidays in Val Thorens click here
To see our ski holidays in Val d’Isere click here


21st December 2013
Synchro Ski World Cup – St Anton, Austria


Watch skiers from around the world compete in this entertaining competition in which competitors much complete each run in pairs. The full competition runs from morning till evening, beginning with qualifiers and ending with the final run.

To see our ski holidays in St Anton click here


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21st December 2013
Ice Skating Gala “Les Etoiles De La Glisse” - Courchevel, France


Elegant figure skaters from around the world will gather to perform in this spectacular ice skating gala at one of our favourite resorts. Watch the performers execute graceful moves while donning wonderful costumes against a backdrop of impressive lighting effects. Perfect entertainment for all the family!

To see our ski holidays in Courchevel click here


21st-27th December 2013
Christmas, A Magical Week – Courchevel, France & Magical Xmas – Val Thorens, France


Spend a magical Christmas abroad in France this year, with plenty of festive entertainment to keep you occupied in between riding the slopes at both the Val Thorens and Couchevel resorts. There will be workshops for the little ones, live music and shows, torchlight descents and to top it all off, a visit from Father Christmas himself.

To see our ski holidays in Courchevel click here
To see our ski holidays in Val Thorens click here


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22nd December
World Snowboard Day – Les Deux Alpes, France


Celebrate World Snowboard Day this season at the fantastic Les Deux Alpes resort. Spend 24 hours exploring breathtaking backcountry runs, carving up the slopes and trying out some jibs in the freestyle park.

To see our ski holidays in Les Deux Alpes click here


25th December 2013
X-Mas Events – Les Deux Alpes, France


Fancy spending Christmas somewhere a little different? Spend your days riding the slopes, then relax with a glass of mulled wine, a great choice of festive food and epic fireworks to wind down the day. There are also a selection of Christmas markets and a special street parade on Christmas Eve, complete with a visit from Father Christmas.

To see our ski holidays in Les Deux Alpes click here


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31st December 2013
Tignes Fire Mix Party – Tignes, France, Val Tho Crazy Night – Val Thorens & NYE – Les Deux Alps, France


What better way to see in the new year than on the slopes, combining adrenaline fuelled runs with wild après ski. This New Year’s Eve, Tignes will play host to the Fire Mix Party, featuring a range of top class DJ’s, fireworks and an open air nightclub. It’s time to don those thermals and party into 2014! Val Thorens will also play host to some great NYE entertainment with plans for torchlit descents, ski and snow freestyle shows, live music and fireworks to see in the new year. Finally, Les Deux Alpes will also be spending NYE in style. With a giant firework (and champagne cork!) display and plenty of lively evening entertainment, this celebration provides the perfect end to a day out in the snow.

To see our ski holidays in Val Thorens click here
To see our ski holidays in Les Deux Alps click here
To see our ski holidays in Tignes click here


31st December-20th February 2014
Night Carnival – Val D’Isere, France


Experience beautiful illuminations, spectacular ice carvings and comforting hot drinks between your skiing and snowboarding adventures at this winter festival in Val d’Isere. With plenty of market stalls to explore and a host of evening entertainment, you’ll never be stuck for something to do.

To see our ski holidays in Val d’Isere click here


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4th-25th January 2014
Ladies First – St Anton, Austria


Take advantage of a range of wonderful off-piste skiing, ladies-only concessions and plenty of goodies during this ladies week at the St Anton resort. Some of the great offers available include one day of lessons completely free of charge if you book a ski course with Arlberg Ski School. The resort are also offering 20% discount on all ladies slopewear and sportswear. Finally ladies, pick up your special voucher book from any of the Tourist Offices around St Anton for a range of surprises and further special offers, including the chance to win a week’s summer holiday for two!

To see our ski holidays in St Anton click here


5th January 2014
Savoie Snowboard Tour – Val Thorens, France


Why not take a break from carving up the slopes of Val Thorens to watch this regional 8 circuit snowboard competition. Local competitors under the age of 20 will participate in this event which aims to promote promising new talent as well as the sport of snowboarding.

To see our ski holidays in Val Thorens click here


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7th-9th January 2014
X Speed Tour – Tignes, France


The X Speed Tour is a celebration of high speed skiing and is organised by the world record speedskiier, Xavier Cousseau, who made the headlines when he achieved a top speed of 131.89mph. Watch the thrilling ski demos and if you’re up for it, then you can even have the chance to try and beat the record yourself!

To see our ski holidays in Tignes click here


12th January 2014
Moguls French Cup – Tignes, France


Visit Tignes on the 12th January for a chance to watch some spectacular skiers compete in the French Mogul World Cup. With breath taking jumps, tricks and high speed runs fins some inspiration from these talented thrill seekers!

To see our ski holidays in Tignes click here


19th January 2014
World Snow Day – Les Deux Alpes, France


January 19th plays host to World Snow Day and what better way to celebrate than with a day spent carving up the slopes at Les Deux Alpes. With a Snowboard half-pipe competition, sledging, free of charge skiing lessons and a chance to try a jump onto the Big Air Bag, amongst other things, you’d be mad not to join in! After a day spent exploring all of the adventurous activities, take some time to relax with hot wine and live music from one of the many bars on the resort.

To see our ski holidays in Les Deux Alpes click here


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Next month: Fun Festivals, the Freeride World Qualifier and an attempt at the World’s Longest Jump!





Can you Ski the 10 Main Resorts of Les Trois Vallées in just one day?

clock 25th October 2013 | comment0 Comments

In March of last year Igluski's Sales Director, Adam Johnson took 3 Iglu team mates on a mission to conquer the largest linked ski area in the world, Les Trois Vallées, in France. AJ takes us through their epic day...

Can you Ski the 10 Main Resorts of Les Trois Vallées in just one day?

The answer is yes, and it’s an excellent day out that gets you to all the corners of this massive ski area. We started our ambitious mission in the most central resort of the largest ski area in the world, Méribel {1}, in the middle Les Allues Vallée. We were staying with Total Ski in the lovely Chalet Cedre Blanc in the Mussillon area above Dick’s Tea Bar. Around the dinner table in the Chalet, my team and I had planned our whole day travelling anti-clockwise on the map around the 3 Valleys the night before. However, there was a hitch from the moment we opened the curtains in the morning. It was a Powder day above 1600m! And as everyone knows, the 1st casualty on any Powder day, is the plan! On a day like this you need to be up with the sparrows and queuing for the 1st lift. My IGLU veterans crew of Scotty on K2’s with Telemark bindings, Boyd on Volkl Grizzlies, Damian on some heavy rubbish he hired, and myself on Stöckli Coral Snakes, were more excited than 6 year olds on Xmas morning.

Kick off at 8.30am at the Chaudanne

The plan called for us to head for St Martin de Belleville {2} at the bottom in the next Vallée that leads up to Val Thorens. The quickest way up was to take the Tougnete 1 Gondola and then the Express 6 seater, Tougnete 2, which would very swiftly take us from 14520m to 2434m. At the top we skated off right looking for the Seasonaire’s favourite Red run, Jerusalem. This is a long fast banking red that never gets too steep but has oodles of tempting powder stashes left and right. And here in lies our 1st error. Scotty got so excited by the depth of the Pow that he stayed on the right hand side of the piste for too long and ended up on the Blaireau Red piste taking us back to the Tougnete 2 express chair. OK, not much of a detour except that the crowds had caught up to us so we had an annoying 15 min wait. Back at the top we were away again and this time we frolicked in the pow on the left of the piste heading to Jerusalem and had a ball. Freshies all the way to St MdV. It’s a Village that most visitors to the 3V never get to and that’s a shame. It’s a sweet little Savoie village with more character than its neighbouring purpose built resorts and it hosts some lovely restaurants like Le Montagnard owned by Eric Suchet a local cheese maker, and just down the road at St Marcel is Chef Rene Meilleur’s Michelin starred La Bouitte. You can ski there off-piste or call for a lift from St Martin.

The main street of St Martin de Belleville

Already, at only 10am, we were late and behind plan. We quickly got on the St Martin #1 Gondola and then the St Martin #2 (painfully slow) quad chair. Once back up at the Tougnete peak we jumped on the long flattish blue piste Gros Tougne down to Les Menuires {3} at 1850m. Not a lot to look at in Les Menuires but it is incredibly popular with families who like the convenient village, slopes and cheapest prices in the whole ski area.

Les Menuires looks better at night ;)

We skied through the crowds in central Les Menuires to the short Doron Chairlift which gave us enough elevation to ski to the fast Bruyéres Gondola. You can stay on this from 1850m all the way up to the Col de la Chambre at 2850m. We peeled off to the right and skied down the skiers left* of the 4 Vents red piste and joined onto the Mont de la Chambre blue for a speed tuck straight through Val Thorens{4} the highest ski resort in Europe at 2300m, for the 3 Valleys #1 chairlift. We had planned to have a break in VT and the drinking terraces did look inviting but time was getting away from us. It was past 12 midday already and we had a long, long way to go. The 3 Valleys # 1 chairlift is quite fun. You travel through town at around the 3rd floor level looking straight into the apartments on either side (not that we peaked through the curtains) and at the top of the chairlift you can see one of the great on-piste parties of the skier’s world. The new for last season La Folie Douce, the same crew as the original Val d’Isére Folie, passes right by within touching distance of the table top dancing girls and was ever so tempting. But we were on a mission, so we jumped straight onto the Bouquetin Gondola for a fast ride back to the Col de la Chambre.

*For the uninitiated, skiers left or right is always the view looking down from the top. Not the tourists view from the bottom which is the opposite.

The 3 Valleys #1 lift and VT Folie Douce

Now we were heading back into the middle Les Allues Vallée and the next stop was Mottaret {5} at 1600m, the slightly cheaper, slightly uglier and quieter, but far more convenient resort for ski in/out than it’s close neighbour Méribel. Our plan had been to hit the Famous (Seasonaire’s secret) Mottaret Montagne Burgers. I was sure I was smelling a Montagne burger as we came shooting down the skiers right of the Venturon red piste under the Cote Brune chairlift. FYI: As we splashed around in the piste side pow, we noticed a few guys hiking up the slope to our skier’s right. We took note of this and did the same hike, scrambling over the little terrain park entrance 6 times the next day. An awesome little painless hike for the deep untracked. By this time of the day we were famished but to our great despair the Montagne Burger café had a queue of scruffy, woolly hatted chalet staff about 20m long.

Damn I wanted that burger!

I sought consolation in Boyd’s hip flask of mighty fine skiing single malt and headed for the Pas du Lac Gondola to the famous Saulire peak at 2738m and entry to the 3rd Vallée called St Bon. We still had 5 more resorts to visit in the Courchevel area. At least we knew Courchevel has a plethora of awesome mountain eateries. We were just slightly wary of the usual wallet melting bills that go with it. From the top of the Saulire we had to forgo the usual skiers left dip into the thrill and spills that are the Courchevel Couloirs. On a day like this they would've been awesome. Instead we decided to go as far out to the boundaries of the area as possible so the rest of the trip would be coming back towards home. So we zoomed down the Marmottes red run and jumped on the Chanrossa chairlift. It was about now that I had an inspiration, perhaps brought on the Boyd’s medicinal administrations. I remembered the Ski Instructor’s favourite restaurant in Courchevel, The Bel Air. Still not cheap, but within our budgets and a cracking south facing terrace. The food is great and the service somewhat mindboggling. How do those waiters move so much food and drink through the crowds at such speed and accuracy?

Luckily for us the service at the Bel Air is famously fast and we appreciated getting in and out in under 45 mins. Now it was 2 pm and we still had 5 resorts to go. 1st on the list was 1650, now known as Courchevel Moriond {6}. We had a nice little romp down through fluffy white stuff under the Ariondaz Gondola all the way to town. We couldn’t stay so we were straight onto the Ariondaz and zipped up to high enough to get over to the Aiguille du Fruit chairlift. We could’ve jumped on the Gravelles and skied across the Altiport, but why would we waste an opportunity to bomb the Suisses Black run on a powder day. The lads larked about and jumped off anything they could find and this got me worried for time. I cracked the proverbial whip and chased the crazy fools all the way down past the Altiport, down the Bellecote, and through Courchevel 1850 {7} only stopping for a photo.

Next stop was after a thrilling but icy Brigues Red piste down to Courchevel La Praz at 1300m {8} the lowest point of our circuit. La Praz is another little gem of a resort. The Ski Jump from the Albertville Olympics stands proudly over the entrance to the village. This village is more like a Savoie town than a ski resort and although it’s pretty quiet it has some really nice Restaurants like the Michelin starred Le Bistrot du Praz. But no time to waste here. Another photo and away we go on the Praz Gondola. We really should've gone to 1550, Courchevel Village 1st but we missed the turn off. Now we were running it damned close for getting all resorts done.

Courchevel Village at 1550m {9} is the workers village of the St Bon Valley. Lots of staff from the Hotels, chalets and ski schools live down here. This makes the town a lot of fun and very functional. The bars and restaurants cheaper and well suited to looking after the young people that really make the Valley work. There is a selection of well-priced accommodation down here for the British market and it’s ideal for being able to have a drink in Courchevel 1850 before either sledging or skiing straight down the Tovets blue piste to get home in the dark. You’ll see lots of workers doing exactly that all night long. By now it approaching 3.30pm and we still had to do 4 long lifts to get back to the Col de la Loze peak that would enable us to ski all the way back to Méribel. We jumped on the Grangettes Gondola and nervously watched the minutes tick by. At the top we ran onto the Chenus lift as the clocked seemingly flew past 4pm and then 4.15pm.

The Grangettes Gondola up to Courchevel 1850 from 1550

At the top of the Chenus Gondola we jumped in our skis in record time and just tucked it for La Tania {10}. We weren't popular as we raced past (or through) groups and families having a lazy last run on the red pistes Bouc Blanc and then Moretta Blanche, but we were on a mission that could go very wrong, very soon. If you miss the last lift back to your own Valley the Taxi drivers rub their hands together with glee and start assessing you for how cash all of you can get out of the nearest cash machine in one go before setting the fare. There’s not a lot you can do as the public transport doesn't go from Valley to Valley and 4 wild eyed and desperate men with big skis hitching is almost impossible. After scaring a few dozen La Tania guests and ourselves at around 100kph we hit La Tania just after 4.30 and we still had 2 long lifts. Would the Dou des Lanches Chairlift still be open when we got to the top of the La Tania Gondola? They were closing the Gondola as we arrived but the Lifty knew from our sweaty and desperate faces that there was no way weren't getting on that Gondola. We were the last on.

We hoped that they would always take the last skiers on the Gondola onto the Dou des Lanches chair to make sure Méribel guests got home but we weren’t sure of it. As we approached to the top we prepared to argue for all our worth to get on that chair but there was no need. I think the Lifty was expecting us and he hurried us on and off we shot for the Col de la Loze and enough elevation to get us all the way back home. We broke out the celebratory hip flasks and toasted our achievement. Now that the pressure was off it was time to decide which of the 2 main sunny south-facing on-piste après ski bars of Méribel to go for, the new upstart, La Folie Douce or the long standing favourite, The Rond Point. I’ll spare the blushes and not mention the ages of my IGLU crew but when we pulled up to La Folie Douce and looked across the vast sea of table dancing and champagne fueled smiling faces, and noticed that very few of them were born before 1990 we realised that this might not be the scene for us. Off we went to the Ronny for a few Jugs of Mutzig and to relive a most excellent Trois Vallées adventure.

Top tips for making the circuit

1.Take a packed lunch
2. Don’t do it on a powder day
3. Don’t take someone trying on Telemark bindings for the day (thanks Scotty) or any boarders, bladers or monoskiers
4. Try and get as much done before lunch as possible. Afternoons seem to slip away
5. Do your talking in the Gondolas or on Chairlifts. Leave the piste-side chats to the instructors and awed bystanders

Apologies to the resorts that some would consider to be part of the 3 Valleys like Brides Les Bains and Orelle which have gondola access to the ski area but aren't possible to ski to in late March.



A Change of Scenery — Skiing in Luxury: Europe

clock 7th October 2011 | comment0 Comments

Having taken a look at alternative resorts in the last couple of weeks, with Austria and Italy, I thought I'd take a look at where to enjoy a luxury ski holiday next.

Luxury ski holidays can mean something different to all of us, for some it's sitting in one of Chardon Mountain Lodges chalets in Val d'Isere, enjoying fabulous food and Perrier Jouët on tap, for others it's about staying in one of Courchevel 1850's exclusive hotels, or enjoying the champagne ice-bars that accompany the après ski scene in Lech.

Luxury skiing is also about the resort you stay in, the mountain you ski and, of course, where to eat, drink and shop. As mentioned everyone want's something different on their ski holiday, so here are a few of our favourite European destinations to burn a hole in your wallet with.

Courchevel 1850

Courchevel 1850 has been synonymous with luxury skiing holidays for longer than I've been alive and will no doubt out live me too. The resort offers the world's largest linked ski area in the Three Valleys, some fantastically flattering pistes around the resort itself and is stunning.

Courchevel is known for its superb hotels, designer shopping and, of course, the James Bond altiport — okay, so it's not actually called that, but you may recognise it from the opening sequence of Tomorrow Never Dies. Courchevel boasts lavish, exclusive hotels, for those who can afford them and also a handful of chalet hotels, for those who can't, but enjoy watching the Prada clad skiers/shoppers and the fantastic atmosphere.

As mentioned, Courchevel is renowned for great hotels, and though they currently seem to be filled with the Russian nouveau riche, there is still an elegantly Anglo-French atmosphere and plenty of wealthy Brits in town. The Hotel Annapurna has to be the reference point for Courchevel's hotels, it has been well established for 36 years and under the same management for the past 20 years — testament to it's reputation. The Annapurna is also closest to the altiport, important for those looking for helicopter transfers or mere James Bond fans.

The Hotel Les Airelles has been a celebrity favourite for years and it's regulars include Eddie Jordan, Mike Rutherford and Chris Rea, as opposed to reality TV stars. The relaxed atmosphere and lavished surroundings, as well as a great location, also add to it's popularity. Now, Le Chabichou, may only be a four star establishment, but boasts the world renowned, michelin starred, Michel Rochedy as it's restaurants head chef. The restaurant received its first Michelin star in 1979 and its second in 1984 and there aren't too many hotels in the Alps that can boast the same level of cuisine!

Lech

Lech has been referred to as the Courchevel of Austria, and though it's an exclusive resort, filled with luxurious hotels, offers world class skiing and is steeped in history, it is a very different resort to Courchevel. Courchevel is where the rich happily flaunt their money, Lech is the opposite of this.

Over the Christmas and New Year holidays you won't be able to find a room for love nor money, as many of Europe's elite have the hotels wrapped-up, and have done so for decades. You'll find the owners of Mercedes and BMW, along with their families taking over the resort during the festive season, and though there is always an air of wealth, there types of skiers in Lech never feel the need to show it.

With the big, open, motorway pistes of Lech and the more technical skiing of St. Anton to enjoy, along with this gorgeous, relaxed resort you can see why it is a former favourite of the late Princess Diana.

The Gasthof Post opened in 1937, and like the Annapurna in Courchevel, is the reference point for Lech, the family run hotel has stuck to the same recipe for years and remains a favourite of Lech's regular skiers. Other notable hotels in Lech include the Almhof Schneider, based a the foot of the Schlegelkopf mountain and the luxury chalet-styled, boutique hotel, Hotel Aurelio.

St. Moritz

Though Klosters can often take the limelight when it comes to luxury skiing in Switzerland — and when the Royal family are in town there's no surprise to why — St. Moritz is one of the world's most elegant resorts, boasting one of the most iconic hotels in the Alps, Badrutt's Palace.

St. Moritz is the original winter sports resort, if not the first true ski resort. It came to popularity with the Brits at the turn on the 20th century as skiing began to grow as a holiday activity for the wealthy, and has remained a favourite resort for generations since.

Though not as flashy as Courchevel with it's designer shopping, fur jackets & Range Rovers, it is not as understated as Lech. This is a resort that, again offers an air of wealth and chic surroundings. The shopping would be enough the break to average bank account and the skiing is comparable to Val d'Isere — in size at the very least. There are motorway pistes and flattering runs, for the more pedestrian skier and challenging off-piste for the adrenaline junkies out there.

The historic Palace Hotel in St. Moritz opened in 1896 as the successor to the first winter sports hotel, the Krup Hause. The hotel has recently changed it's name to the Badrutt's Palace, but remains one of the most recognisable hotels in skiing. The founder of hotel built the first bobsled run for his guests and the current owners have maintained the reputation of one of the leading hotels in the world.

There are so many great resorts for a luxury skiing holiday, with Val d'Isere, Davos, Klosters and Ischgl to name a few, but Courchevel, Lech and St. Moritz have long been at the top of most people's wish lists and will remain there for years to come. The question is which resort is the right one for you? Whether you are there for the skiing, the lavish hotels or the shopping.



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