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Top 5 once in a lifetime ski experiences

clock 19th August 2014 | comment2 Comments

As summer slowly starts making an exit and the nights start getting colder, we are reminded that winter is just around the corner and we can finally go on our next ski holiday (woop!) When choosing the next skiing trip our mind often wonders to those extraordinary bucket list destinations. Here are our top 5 once in a lifetime ski experiences to get your imagination running wild.

5. Heli Skiing in Alaska

For incredible alpine scenery and breath taking untouched landscapes, there is nothing that rivals a heli-ski adventure in Alaska. The Alaska ranges have been made famous by extreme ski and snowboard films – remember those opening scenes in Art of Flight? This was Alaska's Tordrillo mountain range.



Heli skiing and snowboarding in Alaska is the ultimate freeriding adventure; the varied terrain and epic snowfall will guarantee that adrenaline rush you’ve been craving for. The last frontier is so vast you will feel like the first person discovering a new mountain. There are a large amount of heli ski operators across the Alaskan ranges that run singles days as well as multiple day trips.

Alaska Heli ski runs are long, so you will get lots of skiing mileage during your trip, much more than other ranges in North America. Resorts in Alaska receive huge amounts of snow, with the highest parts of the mountains averaging 20-25m per season

4. Ultimate bragging rights in the 3 Valleys

Can you ski the 10 main resorts of the largest ski area in the world in 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. What better way to brag to your friends, than saying you’ve skied the 600km of the largest linked ski area in the world, Les Trois Vallées.

Our Sales Director, Adam Johnson took 3 Iglu team mates on a mission to conquer the French giant. AJ takes us through their epic day...

3. Magical landscapes in Finland

Skiing in Finland is unlike any other Alpine ski holiday. If you want to ski in breath taking, peaceful scenery surrounded by ice-sculpted forests and frozen lakes, coupled with uncrowded pistes and resorts, a ski holiday to Finland offers you a very refreshing alternative.

Skiing in Finland is varied, with a variety of runs suited for all abilities, but the ski areas are smaller than what we are used to in the Alps and ideally suited to beginners and intermediates. One of the fantastic reasons to come to ski in Finland is to experience one of the many unique activities at your fingertips. Enjoy meeting the animals and learning about their way of life on either the Reindeer safaris or the Husky dog sledding trips or for adrenaline junkies, you can get your pulse racing on one of the exhilarating snowmobile adventures and a magical visit to Santa is an absolute must for the whole family.

If you are very lucky you may even catch one of the most amazing natural wonders of the world, the Northern Lights. Head away from the town and bright lights and you should be able to see the lights at certain times throughout winter.

2. Epic Luxury in Val d’Isere

Everyone deserves a spot of luxury in their lives, which is why one must experience the ultimate luxury ski holiday in a stunning chocolate box chalet in one of the finest resorts in the world, Val d’Isere.

Well-stocked wine cellars, gourmet cuisine, private cinemas, chauffeurs, outdoor hot-tubs, a roaring log fire... luxury chalets are all about being pampered to the max. Good food is an essential part of a luxury ski holiday. The talented chefs are experienced and creative artists, producing modern and traditional cuisine to tantalize your taste buds. Everything in the luxury ski chalets are designed to make you feel relaxed, pampered and special.

Val d'Isere offers one of the world's best ski areas, the Espace Killy, along with accommodation for everyone and anyone. If you are looking for a luxury private chalet then look no further than Chalet Lafitenia, run by Val d'Isere's most exclusive chalet operator and offering the standards of accommodation, food and service that you would expect from a luxury chalet in a world class resort.

1. Riding powder in Niseko

Japan is home to the powder your dreams are made of. You may find it surprising that ski resorts in Japan get some of the deepest snow in the world. Located in the northern island Hokkaido in the Abuta district, Niseko is one of the most famous ski resorts in Japan. With an average of 11m of snow fall a year it is regarded as one of the snowiest ski resorts in the world. Niseko is made up of five interlinked areas, Annapuri, Higashiyama (Village), Hirafu, Hanazono & Moiwa. Hirafu is the main resort where you will find the majority of the town and accommodation.

The terrain at Niseko is varied; the main ski area offers great ‘ski-what-you-can-see’ terrain with easy to access to fun off piste between the main ski runs. The legendary tree runs are in the strawberry fields and Miharashi with steep runs at the super alpen course and under the Kogen gondola.

I was lucky enough to be in Niseko for a few months of the 2013-14 season and can guarantee that nothing will compare after a trip to this ski mecca. The trip does require a 13 hour flight to Tokoyo, followed by a domestic flight to Sapporo and then a 2-3 hour coach transfer straight to the resort, but once you’ve had that first day in fresh, waist deep champagne powder you will forget all about that journey to this dream destination.

There may be a ton of snowfall in Niseko but bad weather doesn’t have to mean bad visibility with the bounty of tree runs and off piste forests to ski through. If you are lucky enough to get a clear day on the hill then you can marvel at the stunning view of Mount Yotei and views of the ocean if you get high enough. If you live for powder days and fanaticise about white snowscapes that your favourite skiers and snowboarders go year after year, then start planning your trip to the land of the rising sun and make your ski dreams to come true.


By Krystelle

View our board on Pinterest here



Top 5 Green Ski Resorts

clock 10th June 2014 | comment0 Comments

The Best Eco Friendly Ski Holidays

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:

 

5. Kaprun

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.

 

4. Anzère

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.

 

3. Avoriaz

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.

 

2. Jackson Hole

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.

 

1. Saas Fee

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

View our board on Pinterest here



Top 5 Reasons to Book Your Winter 2014/15 Ski Holiday Early

clock 27th May 2014 | comment0 Comments

Ski season may have just finished but plenty of people are already looking ahead and booking their spot in the mountains for next winter. The UK ski travel industry is reporting increases in early bookings for ski holidays for winter 2014/15. 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.

5. Getting your place on peak dates

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 Offers

Most schools in England and Wales begin half term on February 14th, which 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. Early bird Half Term Deals

Next year Easter falls on a more suitable date to take advantage of the last of the ski season, on April 5th. After 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. Fantastic Easter Savings

4. Low deposits


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.


3. Peace of mind

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.

2. Extra offers

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 savings of up to £180 pp.

We offer fantastic deals to over 100 ski resorts in 20 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.

1. Securing your favourite spot on the mountain

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.


By Krystelle


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