Today marks the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and many of the countries fighting it out to be the winner of the World Cup are also some of the finest countries in the world to ski in, so in true Iglu Ski style we have been pondering which countries would win in a battle of the best ski resorts. First up is Group B teams Chile VS Australia with a clash to find the best of the southern hemisphere resorts. We will look at the 3 top factors of a leading ski resort (the slopes, the après and the cuisine) in an endeavour to crown the winner of Chile VS Australia. Perisher, Australia
Chile Skiing in Chile is often regarded as a once in a lifetime opportunity due to its location in South America and the legendary off piste. The country offers 20 ski resorts which are located in the south with ski lifts peaking at 3500m. The Andes provide the perfect playground for adrenaline seekers and adventurers wanting to heli-ski with its 1 million acres of untouched powder. The Andes is the second highest mountain range in the world with the summit of Aconcagua sitting at 6950m. One of the best reasons to visit Chile is for guaranteed snow due to the high altitude. The resort of Portillo averages 24ft of snow as well as plenty of sunshine similar to spring skiing in the Alps. Resorts in Chile are smaller than its European counterparts and lifts can be quite dated but slopes are quiet and Portillo even limits tickets sold so there is never a busy day on the mountain. Valle Nevado is situated in the heart of the largest ski area in the southern hemisphere and snow is guaranteed by the height and the considerable size of the terrain. This season, Valle Nevado opened 2 weeks early, on Friday 13th June, due to fantastic early snowfall. Ski Pucon is situated on a volcano and is popular with freestylers due to the natural half pipes formed by lava. Chile famously featured in the Art of Flight with Travis Rice and Scotty Lago sending it off a 12ft kicker in the pristine South American backcountry. This put Chile on the map for many snowboard enthusiasts, including myself! AustraliaWith winter kicking off down under this month, many ski resorts in the Southern hemisphere are starting to open… with or without snow! Unfortunately it hasn’t been the best start of the season in Australia and many resorts are still looking green on opening weekends. Resorts have to rely on snow guns to get some snow on the slopes, but with temperatures gradually dropping, it is expected to dump very soon. Australia is famously known for its sun, sea and surf, but it is also a ski lovers paradise. Most ski resorts are found in the two states of New South Wales and Victoria. Perisher is the largest ski area in Australia, located in the picturesque Kosciuszko National Park neighbouring Thredbo just up the road. Mt Perisher peaks at 2054m, with the highest chair lift reaching 2034m. One of the most visited Australian resorts is Thredbo, the resort has the steepest terrain in Australia and also the longest runs including the 5.9km Super Trail. Further South sits Mt. Hotham and Falls Creek which are linked by a helicopter ride. Falls Creek freestyle park and pipe consistently wins awards as well as playing host to many high profile snowboard events throughout the winter. Cross country skiing is available in most resorts where visitors can take advantage of the long groomed trails through the forest. Winner: Chile
Chile Due to the small villages nightlife is limited in many resorts. Valle Nevado has the largest concentration of restaurants and bars and Portillo offers live music in a local bar and an all-night disco Australia Most of the resorts in Australia are well developed with large villages. Some tourists even come mainly to party with may be some skiing thrown in on the odd day. With 4 villages, Perisher is known for bars and restaurants becoming very active in the evening once the lifts have closed. Falls Creek has 28 bars and restaurants but if you are looking for a quiet evening there are spa options or places to sit in front of an open fire. Winner: Austalia
Mt. Buller, Australia
Chile Traditional Chilen food may be hard to find in ski resorts. In large hotels you will probably encounter high quality international food and in budget accommodation you will find simple foods. Chile produces a bounty of fine fruit and vegetables which are easily found around resorts. Typical Chilan food is normally meat heavy with plenty of slabs of meat and fish in restaurants, where breakfast is more of a sweet affair with biscuits, cakes and tarts. Australia As Australian resorts aren’t very high and villages are easily accessible the food is general to what you find all over Australia. Many villages have a range of restaurants from fine dining to better value options. A traditional lunch on the mountain would be a burger/hot dog and chips but many resorts are starting to extend their ranges to include healthier options. If you are able to travel just outside the ski area to sub-alpine villages in Victoria, you can treat yourself to a feast of flavours including local beers and fresh produce Winner: Chile
We love snow and the more snow the better. The Australian ski season can be variable with bad years having barely any snowfall. Australia does have many great resorts and features to make a fantastic week on the slopes, but Chile has it in the ‘back of the net’ with its epic backcountry and snow sure resorts.
Ski holidays don’t have the greenest of reputations, but many resorts across the world are making efforts to be more eco-friendly and conscious of the environment. We all love escaping the bustling cities for the serene mountains during the season that fuels our passions. Even though we feel closer to nature, ski resorts use a lot of energy all over the mountain and villages. To prevent climate change and preserve our mountains so that generations can ski for years to come, we need to act now. All over the world there are already signs of what global warming is doing to our ski areas, therefore over the past few years ski resorts have begun to combat this and starting to be more environmentally responsible. As well as ski areas enforcing eco-friendly processes, there are many organisations getting involved with the fight against climate change. If you are interested in further information on this subject I recommend you take a look at the Protect Our Winters (POW) campaign which was started by pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones. Here are 5 resorts that are changing the future of ski holidays:
Austria remains popular due to the lack of purpose built ski areas, and alternatively each beautiful alpine village has been carefully developed over time to benefit the environment. One of the largest energy uses in a ski resort is operating gondolas and chair lifts. Kaprun has led the way by becoming the first in Austria to be ISO-certified and receives 5 star ratings across the board when it comes to green valuations. The Kitzsteinhorn lifts uses renewable energy to operate all systems, including solar power. There is a comprehensive free bus network that operates across the resort and to Zell am See. Additional, trees are planted using eco-friendly techniques and there is a 11km sewage pipe system in place to prevent pollution on the mountain and glacier.
This maybe just a small Swiss village, but Anzère prides itself in doing its part to keep the alpine air clean by implementing Europe’s largest eco-friendly heating system. It is saving 1.5 million litres of oil a year and provides energy for 600 apartments, 2 hotels, a new outdoor pool and spa. With only 50km of piste, Anzère will never rival its resort neighbours Verbier or Zermatt, but it is becoming more popular with the likes of families and ecologists, especially with the upgrades in lifts and its amenities.
Avoriaz won the Environmental Award for Ecological Developments at the recent World Snow Awards in London. Since opening in 1966 it is the only resort in France to be pedestrianised since its beginning. It is also the first ski resort to design holiday accommodation with features such as insulation, balconies with thermal break and roofs built to hold snow for further insulation. Construction of a dual-energy central heating plant provides 11 holiday residences and the new Aquariaz water park, with heating and hot water. Plus snow production is sourced from the natural environment and the production is optimised to use as little water as possible.Additional there are actions in place to reduce, sort and process waste and special care to protect plants and wildlife.
In 2011 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) won the Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence, which is one of the greatest honours in the world for green ski resorts. JHMR has a number of resort wide environment pledges to combat climate change, with hopes to reduce all carbon emissions, domestic water consumption and waste by 10% by 2015. The resort has heavily invested in upgrading its facilities including converting energy resources so that now Jackson Hole is one of the only ski areas to be 100% wind powered. More efficient skimobiles have replaced the traditional models creating less pollution, plus JHMR features eco-friendly ski chalets that combine luxury with an environmentally friendly function.
The ‘Pearl of the Alps’ is often regarded as one of the greenest resorts in the world as it is famous for being car-free. They are committed to being sustainable and environmentally friendly tourism. Saas Fee has been awarded ‘Energy Town’ status with its leading example of how collective efforts of the community can both improve the quality of life and help protect the climate. With considerable investments in sustainability, the town aims to play a pioneering role in ecological alpine tourism and in the long term hopes to attain carbon neutrality. With a large scale installation of particle filters in wood burning heating systems, Saas Fee is preventing the battle with soot particles and is well on the way to become the first fine dust-free community in the European Alps By Krystelle
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It may feel like ski season has only just ended but plenty of people are already looking ahead and booking their spot in the mountains for next winter. With plenty of early booking offers available for all group sizes, it’s never too early to start dreaming of next winter’s ski trip. Here are our top 5 reasons why you should start thinking about securing your ski holiday sooner rather than later.
With recent legislation prohibiting parents from taking children out of school in term time, there is even more demand for holidays during peak dates. The festive period is popular for groups and families alike as the mountains create the perfect backdrop for the best Christmas and New Year getaway – is there anything better than waking up to fresh snow on Christmas Day? View Top Christmas Deals and New Year OffersWhen most schools in England and Wales begin half term in February it also conflicts with school holidays in Paris, ‘Zone A’ regions of France, and Belgium. Any families that take their ski holiday in half term knows how busy this week can be at airports and in the larger resorts so it is even more important to book early to get the best choice of flights and accommodations to make your week as squabble-free as possible. With hiking flight prices around these dates, the best offers are through package deals. View Early Bird Half Term DealsAfter the incredible snowfall at the end of this winter we are expecting Easter to be a very popular date for keen skiers and snowboarders that want an end of season fix. View Fantastic Easter Savings
As well as securing the best accommodation in your favourite resort, if you book now you can pay a low deposit from just £99 pp and pay off the rest over the summer.
Put your deposit down and look forward to your next adventure in the mountains. We all love a countdown, so you can start getting excited and begin counting down the weeks till ski season (we’ve started ours already!) If you love planning, you can now start to think about other ways to make the most of your ski holiday and start thinking about the best ski areas, top restaurants and the greatest après to make your week away the best ski trip ever.
You may be surprised that some super early booking discounts have already finished. But there are still plenty of early bird deals available on a range of ski holidays from free group places to buy one get one free lift passes to hire equipment offers and extra savings. We offer fantastic deals to over 200 ski resorts in 16 countries in chalets, hotels and apartments, so whatever your group size we can find a top deal to your favourite ski resort. Take advantage of these great offers, combined with low deposits and getting the best choice of accommodation for your next winter adventure.
Booking early means getting the best choice of accommodation in the finest locations in resort. This is extremely important for families who are looking for their own chalet for the week, or a group of friends desiring a hot tub, or if you are like me and have to have a ski in – ski out accommodation so you can make the most of your time on the mountain.If you are thinking about next season's ski holiday, take a look at last season's most popular resorts
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There’s one thing both skiers and snowboarders can agree to hate. Summer. We all love a blue bird day on the hill, but once the days start getting longer, our snow starts fading away and our favourite season melts away for another 6 months. Now we’ve had the hottest day of the year, how are we going to make it through the rest of summer when all we can think about is our next snow fix? Do you keep making excuses to avoid packing your skis away? Do you reach for your ski coat at the smallest breeze? Can you not stop watching snowboard films even though it’s over 20 degrees outside? You my friend have the highly contagious seasonitis. The only cure is winter, but after years of practise trying to settle that itch here are my top tips to help any ski or snowboarder get through these summer months.
Wherever you are in the world, whether you live in the city, the countryside or lucky enough to be by the beach, you can pick up a board sport anywhere. Surfing, skateboarding or wakeboarding are some of the top activities that’ll give you that familiar adrenaline rush you long for. Embrace nature, visit exciting new places and have fun adventures this summer with another board sport. If you’re not sure where to start, look up your local skate park or centre for camps over the summer and hang out with likeminded people or venture to the beach and get a surf lesson.
The one place you can get that proper snow fix on UK soil is at one of the indoor snow domes. Whether you’re a season pro or looking for some extra lessons after your first ski holiday, the snow domes have a huge, varied list of snow activities to keep you keen till the mountains open again. From lessons for all ages, to freestyle nights, to ski cross camps to testing next seasons equipment at demo days. Follow your local snow dome on Facebook to keep up to date with events over the summer or head to Go Ski Go Board for information and advice on your nearest snow sports venue.
Bring the party of the mountains into the city, the only difference is you will not being able to knock off the hangover with some fresh alpine air in the morning. Enjoy the exhilarating sub-zero temperatures of the Icebar while sipping a tasty cocktail from your own ice glass. Be transported to an Austrian style alpine lodge at Bodo Schloss and indulge in the delicious traditional Austrian cuisine while drinking a ski boot cocktail. Or experience an authentic german bar at the Bavarian Beerhouse, serving ice cold beers in huge stein glasses and offering ‘oompah-tainment.’ Prost!
While it’s summer in Europe, it is winter in the southern hemisphere. If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford a long haul flight then go chase winter and head to Australia, New Zealand, Chile or Argentina to take advantage of the ski season down under. If you have ever considered doing an instructor course or you are thinking about working as a ski instructor on your gap year, we work with the International Academy that is one of the first British companies to specialise in providing courses leading to ski and snowboard instructor qualifications. The academy offers a range of courses at guaranteed unbeatable prices; some courses also have guaranteed work afterwards for successful students. If you don’t fancy doing the full instructor course, there are dedicated improver courses available in Canada and France. For more information call us on 020 8544 6006 If you are craving the mountains, but want to stay closer to home, many European glacier resorts stay open over the summer. Slopes may only be open for a few hours a day, but many sports camps, instructor courses and adrenaline seekers take advantage of the quiet pistes during the warmer season to ski a few runs in the morning, then mountain bike during the afternoon. Read our top 5 glacier resorts for freeride and summer skiing
This may be my favourite option! Invite all your ski friends over and have an alpine themed dinner complete with tartiflette, fondue, cured meats and germknodel, you can even put a summer twist with a bbq full of the finest frankfurters and bratwurst. Put on your ski holiday edit in the background and look back at the amazing winter you’ve just had and start planning for an even better one next season
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"Just home from Christmas in Val d'Isere... this was the best ski holiday I have ever been on. Val is stunning, the hotel fabulous, staff sensational and skiing out of this world. We booked through Iglu. They were fantastic. Peter had great ski knowledge, offered advice and went the extra mile. " - Pamela (Dec 2015)