Cheap ski holidays in hundreds of ski resorts worldwide.
We were inspired by this topic after a question on our ski blog. Taking a gondola maybe preferred by groups with beginners, families with young children, anxious skiers or anyone that prefers to keep out of the cold (why are you skiing?) Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but for the majority of us we just choose whatever gets us up the mountain quick enough. So for a bit of fun we decided to take a look at which ski resorts you can access the most ski area without having to sit on a chairlift. Here are our top 5 ski resorts to avoid chairlifts.
From Val d’Isere you can take the Olympique cable car to the Rocher De Bellevarde peak at 2827m where there is a huge selections of ski runs from the top. There are green, blue and red run options all the way down to 1785m where you then have the benefit of taking the funicular at La Daille back to the top. From here there is the blue Santons and black Face de Bellevarde which you can ski all the way back to Val d’isere. On the otherside of the valley, the Solaise cable car gives you access to another green beginner area, plus the red run Plan that forms the black Rhone-Alpes or red Piste M. In neighbouring Tignes, it is possible to take the Funiculaire Grande Motte and the Grand Motte cable car all the way to the glacier at 3456m before skiing all the way back down to Val Claret on a choice of blue and red runs.
Levi is a fantastic resort for beginners; the small ski area mainly consists of blue and red runs which are great for anyone new to ski, particularly with the quiet slopes and lack of queuing. What is also great for beginners is that there is only one chairlift - you can access the 43 pistes in Levi using the 2 cabin lifts, 1 chair lift, 14 T-bars, 6 drag lifts and 4 rope lifts.
Similar to many of the large resorts, there are many chairlifts in Alpe d’Huez but there is a surprising amount of bubbles, gondolas and telecabins where you can access all over the ADH ski area. From the village in 1860m, the 1st and 2nd Troncon can take you all the way up to 2700m where there is an assortment of green, blue and red runs that take you back to ADH. Otherwise you can carry on and take the Pic Blanc cable car up to the glacier at 3330m. If all lifts and runs are open, from 2700m you can follow the blue runs Couloir and Boulevard des Marmottes to Plat des Marmottes and take the Marmottes 2 and 3 up to the glacier as well. From Oz en Oisans at 1350m there are the Poutran bubbles to get you back over to ADH or there is the L’Alpette bubble that takes you up to 2050m, with green, blue and red runs to ski, or the Alpette Rousses cable car to 2800m at Dome des Petities Rousses with fantastic red runs that came take you all the way back down to Oz en Oisans or ADH.
From Verbier village at 1500m you can get all the way to Mont Fort at 3330m using la Chaux bubble, plus the Gentianes and Mont Fort cable cars. Verbier is home to some of the most challenging skiing in the Alps, including the runs from Mont Fort. There is a fantastic variety of tough reds and exhilarating blacks from intermediates and advanced.
La Plagne has a huge 225km of ski area across the villages; yes there are mainly chairlifts to access the whole expanse but you maybe surprised how much you could access without having to touch a chair. From the Grande Rochette ‘Funitel’ Gondola in Plagne Centre there are a variety of blue, red and black runs to ski down. From the top at 2505m you can head left to pick up the black Rochette or the leisurely blue run Mira back down to Centre, or if you head right at the top you can access the red run Carina which leads into a few blue options plus the Colorado Park. Also from the top you can access the back of this mountain where you can head all the way down to Champagny at 1250m, although to get back to Plagne Centre you will need to take a bubble and 2 chair lifts. At Plagne Bellecotte you can ride the Roche de Mio bubble, which makes a stop in Belle Plagne, to the peak of Roche de Mio at 2700m. From the top you can take the blue run Tunnel back down to Belle Plagne and Bellecote, or you can choose my favourite run in La Plagne, the red Sources which leads in to blue runs back down to Bellecotte at 1930m. Also from the top you can access the back of the mountain on the fantastic blue run Levasset, plus the Bellecotte bubble up to the glacier. Even non skiers can take in the views at 3417m on the glacier as it is completely accessible from Bellecotte with the 2 bubble lifts. If you did want to completely avoid chairlifts, you can take the ski bus between Bellecotte and Centre, otherwise the Colosses and La Bergerie chair lifts can take you between the two ski areas quickly.
Getting away and hitting the slopes on a big group ski holiday is a fantastic way for family and friends to get together. Here are our top 5 resorts that will keep any group of friends or family happy throughout their ski 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 resorts sits at the centre of the Grandvalira ski area with access to a fantastic 210 km of pistes, so there is enough variety to satisfy 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.
Les Deux Alpes has an extensive ski terrain and is snowboard friendly, with one of the best freestyle parks in Europe. With an impressive snow record, the ski area peaks at a huge 3600m so is guaranteed snow throughout the season. This mixed ability ski domain lends itself to all levels of skiers and snowboarders alike with endless fun to be had both piste side as well as village side in the bars, restaurants and other sports facilities that this fun filled town has to offer.
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.
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.
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.
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Skiing can bring such enjoyment for the whole family and with a little preparation in advance while booking your ski holiday, you and your children will love the whole experience more and they will end up being keener than you by the end of the week. Here are our top tips to think about when planning your exciting adventure.
Choosing your ski accommodation is a big decision for any ski holiday, and is even more important when deciding for your family trip. There are many factors that can make your week on the slopes an easier and more enjoyable experience so you can make the most of your time in the mountains. Being near the slopes and ski school meet point is paramount and makes the mornings less hassle when getting the kids, plus equipment, to ski school on time. There are some resorts and accommodations with childcare that take care of your children throughout the ski day so you can head for first lifts and the child care team will take the little ones to ski school and pick them up again after so you can stay out till last lifts. A catered chalet or club hotel provides the perfect setting for any family ski chalet holiday. Cosy surroundings, an intimate level of service and professional childcare all add up to a perfect week on the slopes. There are plenty of holiday options with childcare available in your chalet or hotel so you can enjoy peace of mind during your week. Childcare services include qualified English speaking nannies, exclusive ski school classes, variety of services depending on ages and flexible care. In selected resorts there is evening child care available which is perfect for children who aren’t quite ready for bed when it is time for the adult only dinner. Evenings are normally themed with a variety of games, storytelling, quizzes or even a mini disco! Resorts in France with evening childcare
Many resorts have an array of ski schools available but some of our ski holidays have the added bonus of exclusive small ski classes just for selected accommodations. With classes with no more than 8 children per instructor, you can have peace of mind that your children are having a safe, enjoyable time on the mountain whilst learning to perfect their turns.
Ski schools in France & Switzerland
For complete satisfaction on your family ski holiday, you cannot beat the services from an all-inclusive Club Med holiday. For 40 years Club Med has been running clubs for infants through to teenagers and has adapted its facilities so that kids can discover the pleasures of winter sports, as well as the fun of skiing. Some family holidays do not cater for teenagers, but at Club Med your youngsters will love their winter getaway with ‘Special Teenager Ski Programmes’ that gives them a chance to experience all techniques of alpine skiing, from freestyle to slalom and ski jumping. Read about our family trip to Club Med Valmorel
Igluski are pleased to offer a wide range of family ski holidays that can cater for children as young as 3 months. The correct childcare is key to a good family ski holiday and rather than packing all the toys and kit you need for the week we can help you find the perfect family location that will have basic childcare equipment already in resort, such as cots, monitors, bottles and much more.
Little Skiers are our favourite supplier of kids ski wear. It’s a family business, run by parents who love to ski, so they really know what they’re talking about when it comes to figuring out what to pack for your first ski trip with the family, along with what sizes you will need . They are a one-stop shop for everything from skis to helmets and jackets, so if you’re thinking about preparing for next season, head over to their website. We recommend taking an extra pair of gloves to avoid expensive purchases if they are misplaced, plus a good base layer as the kids will enjoy their day on the slopes much more if they are warm. Tess and Chris from Little Skiers have been kind enough to offer us £100 worth of Lucky Bums ski wear and equipment – enter the competition by liking this picture on Facebook, or retweeting it here. Winner announced Friday 27th June.
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