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Ski Blog

Top 5 snow-sure ski resorts in Europe

clock 12th May 2015 | comment0 Comments

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 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:

 

5. Cervinia, Italy

Winter 2014/15 snowfall: 977 cm

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

4. Avoriaz, France

Winter 2014/15 snowfall: 690 cm

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

3. Sölden, Austria

Winter 2014/15 snowfall: 695 cm

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

2. Val Thorens, France

Winter 2014/15 snowfall: 596 cm

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.

View ski holidays in Val Thorens



1. Saas Fee, Switzerland

Winter 2014/15 snowfall: 1166 cm

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

 

Other snow-sure favourites include...

Tignes / Val d'Isere

Les Deux Alpes

Zermatt



Top 5 sun terraces on the slopes

clock 7th May 2015 | comment0 Comments

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:

5. Restaurant Combatseline, Nendaz

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 credit: myswitzerland.com

4. Cap Horn, Courchevel

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!

 

Photo Credit: CAP HORN Courchevel

3. Chantebise 2100, Alpe d’Huez

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.

 

2. Grillhof Alm, Mayrhofen

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.

 

Photo credit: grillhofalm.at

1. Rond Point, Meribel

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.

The runners up... 

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!



By Krystelle



Discover Soldeu

clock 24th March 2015 | comment0 Comments

Andorra is a hidden gem in the skiing world and is often overlooked when choosing a ski destination. Located between France and Spain, the Andorran ski resorts have just as good slopes as the French Alps but without the lift queues and ridiculous bar tabs.

In March 2014 I booked a last minute ski holiday to Soldeu in Andorra. Like many skiers and snowboarders, I had never thought much about skiing the Pyrenees when we have the wealth of popular French and Austrian resorts at our fingertips.

The perfect week in Soldeu, Andorra

My curiosity got the best of me when a friend that was working in the resort kept on saying how amazing the skiing was and her stunning snowy photos filled up my Facebook feed for most of the winter. As my planned week off quickly approached I decided to discover a new ski destination, so I booked a last minute ski trip to Soldeu.

 

Going up in the TC8 gondola from Soldeu

Andorra is a hidden gem between France and Spain, with just as good slopes as the French Alps but without the lift queues and ridiculous bar tabs. The resort of Soldeu is situated in the middle of 210km of pistes in Grandvalira with linked access to 5 other ski villages including Pas de la Casa.

As Andorra is tax free, alcohol prices in the shops are amazingly cheap. This is great if you are looking for a cheap ski holiday as apartment accommodation prices are very reasonable and you can eat and drink cheaply so you should have no problem with over spending on your trip.

 

On the slopes in Pas de la Casa


There are regular ski events throughout the season in Grandvalira from professional skiing events to freestyle competitions. Recent events include the Speed Skiing World Championships at the Grau Roig Riberal slope, Alpine Skiing European Cup on the Àgila slope in El Tarter and the Total Fight Master of Freestyle competition held at the El Tarter Snowpark.

The Andorran ski resorts have had incredible snowfall the past few seasons, with snow levels even topping our favourite French ski resorts. During the winter 2014/15 ski season Pas de la Casa recieved 734 cm snowfall, Soldeu had 715 cm and Arinsal got 608 cm.  Does it all sound too good to be true? Why don’t more holiday makers make Andorra their ski destination of choice?

 

Fresh snow and quiet slopes on a powder day in Soldeu


I didn’t believe it until I experienced it myself and I had one of my favourite ski weeks ever. I was extremely lucky and encountered a perfect week of snow conditions whilst staying in Soldeu. For the first 3 days I woke up to nearly a foot of fresh snow everyday so I was able to make full use of my new Nitro powder snowboard, and then for the second half of the week we had beautiful bluebird days. I couldn’t have prayed to the snow gods for a more superb ski holiday.

How to have a great week on the slopes

 

To start your week off there are plenty of blue runs around the Soldeu and El Tarter ski area allowing you to easily warm up your ski legs before venturing on to any intermediate or advanced pistes. Each of the villages are well linked with hardly any need for traversing which is great for snowboarders.

 

Fantastic wide pistes with stunning views

As you progress through the week head over to Grau Roig and Pas De La Casa for a superior choice of wider and longer blue and red runs. The black and red runs on the face in Soldeu are fantastic and are easily accessed straight from the gondola or the TSD 6 man chairlift.

For the freestylers, the snowpark at El Tarter is amazing and quick to get to from Soldeu. There is everything you need from fun features to huge kickers for all levels to enjoy.

 

Mountain restaurant stops in El Tarter

How to make the most at après

 

There is no lack of après and nightlife in Soldeu town. If you like a late night or two, this is a resort for you! Fat Alberts is a favourite and where you will end up if it ends up being a big night out. With live music and themed nights throughout the week, it is a popular spot for holiday makers and seasonaires.

 



The Aspen in the middle of town is one of the most popular bars. The bar staff are awesome, there is a huge choice of drinks, plus there’s also pool tables upstairs and you can watch popular sports events here.

The Irish bar, The Harp, is a top bar to hit for après and is often filled with the ski instructors as they finish their day of work. It is the perfect place to get the shots in after a day on the slopes and have some banter with the bar staff.

If you are looking for a late night venue to end your bar crawl, head to Pussycat that is open till 5am!

 

The end of an amazing week in Soldeu

 

View Ski Holidays in Soldeu | Ski Holidays in Pas de la CasaSki Resorts in Andorra

 

Words and photos by Krystelle



Will it be a bumper end to the ski season?

clock 26th February 2015 | comment1 Comments

In the past few weeks snow conditions this season have completely turned around. It may have been a slow start to the ski season after the warm December temperatures, but since mid-January things have been looking up. There has been a series of huge snow dumps teamed with a string of sunny days occurring over the last few weeks, dramatically building up the snow bases of ski resorts across Europe.


February Snow

The February half term was a perfect week for a ski holiday with up to 60 cm of snowfall on the half term transfer weekend then beautiful blue skies for most of the week after. View current snow conditions in our latest snow reports.

As the busiest ski week of the season came to a close, it was reported in the long range forecasts that we were in for one of the biggest snow storms of the season over the next 9 days, including up to 231 cm of snowfall in just a few days. The Alps may not have received the 2m foreseen but 120 cm in Soldeu, 98 cm in Cervinia, 82 cm in Grindelwald and 66 cm in Avoriaz was very welcomed by the post-half term skiers and snowboarders.

Snow bases and snow conditions are currently superb for the start of March. Particularly Austrian resorts are looking significantly healthy for this time of year (compared to last year): 

Resort February 2014 February 2015
St Anton 53cm / 128 cm 59 cm / 221 cm
Solden 12 cm / 270 cm 15 cm / 317 cm
Obergurgl 79 cm / 177 cm 61 cm / 205 cm
Lech 100 cm / 115 cm 96 cm / 171 cm

Lower pistes cm / top pistes cm

March Skiing

Skiing in March is one of the most best times of the year, as temperatures start to warm up you can enjoy the fantastic ski conditions in the morning, then by the afternoon you can embrace the après atmosphere on a sun terrace on a mountain top bar. With the current great snow depths in many resorts across Europe, a ski holiday in March will be excellent.

With even more snow storms on the horizon over the next 9 days, there will be no shortage of snow for the rest of the season. The snow conditions we have at present are the best so far this season and with Easter week just 4 weeks away it’s looking like there will be plenty of snow to enjoy this year.

After Easter falling so late in April last year, this wasn’t a great time for a ski holiday. With Easter Sunday falling on the 5th April this year, many families will be heading out to ski resorts for the first week of April to spend the Easter holidays in the snow.

Top tips when booking an Easter ski holiday

With temperatures rising towards the end of the ski season, your save bet is to aim for high resorts. It is always difficult to predict the snow conditions at the end of season so be sure to choose a ski resort with high altitude to secure the best snow conditions. You want enough snow to build a snow bunny don’t you?

 

Best resorts for end of season skiing

  • With the Grande Motte Glacier in Espace Killy open through till May and the highest ski lift peaking at 3450m you can guarantee good snow in Tignes and Val d’Isere for Easter.
  • Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe, as well as in the largest ski area in the world with over 600 km of piste in the 3 Valleys
  • Les Arc 2000 – the magic is in the name, as the village sits at 2000m, snow is still decent at this high altitude later on in the ski season and the ski area’s highest point is 3226m at the Aiguille Rouge.
  • If you prefer the Austrian side of the Alps, the Kitzsteinhorn glacier in Kaprun provides skiing or snowboarding almost all year round. Even if it is warm in the valley there will still be snow at 3000m on the glacier.
  •  

    View Last Minute Ski Offers and Easter Holiday Ski Deals



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