You know winter is just around the corner when the ski and snowboard film trailers begin to drop across the internet. After the epic snow conditions in North America last winter you can be sure that the edits this year will be filled with powder scenes and backcountry antics. There’s no better time to start thinking about your winter 2017 ski holiday!
Red Bull - The Fourth Phase
Level 1 - Pleasure Warren Miller - Here, There & Everywhere Matchstick Productions - Ruin and Rose Good Company - Vice Versa
Nitro Snowboards - Boom
Field Productions - Supervention 2
Shades of Winter - Between Teton Gravity Research - Tight Loose
Can't wait to get on the slopes? Take a look at the latest ski holiday deals
Getting away and hitting the slopes on a big group ski holiday is a fantastic way for family and friends to get together and enjoy quality time in each other's company. During the summer months is the best time to start thinking about organising a group ski holiday as there are many early booking offers available for groups, including half price lift passes, ski all in packages, off peak saver weeks and low deposits from £99 pp.
Here are the top 5 ski resorts that any group of friends or family will love for their winter 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 resort sits at the centre of the Grandvalira ski area with access to a fantastic 210 km of pistes, enough variety to satisfy even 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.
The place to stay: Hotel Bruxelles & Hotel Del Clos
Snowboarding in Soldeu
Alpe d’Huez is one of the ultimate all-round ski resorts. This extensive ski area boasts 250 km of pistes, 2 snowparks, 50 km of cross country trails and the longest black run in Europe. The huge town will have something to suit every taste with the massive variety of bars and restaurants on offer. If you still have energy after a full day on the slopes and a night on the tiles, there are lots of activities in the town to discover, including ice skating, swimming, snowmobiling, dog sledding, parapenting, ice diving and much more. Iglu Ski has ski deals to over 40 properties in Alpe d’Huez, with chalet, hotel and apartment options to cater for all types of groups. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert skier, you will love the variety that Alpe d’Huez has available.
The place to stay: Chalet Le Lac Blanc
High altitude slopes in Alpe d'Huez
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.
The place to stay: Chalet St Lukas & Chalet Stoanerhof
Mayrhofen's beautiful village at the foot of the slopes
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.
The place to stay: Chalet L'Armoise
Friends enjoying Tignes
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.
The place to stay: Chalet Le Valentin
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Our friends over at Ongosa have put together this handy guide to assist preparing for skiing and snowboarding off piste. It is super important to stay safe doing this sport we love so following some basic rules and hiring a guide will help you enjoy your day on the mountain to the max!
4 preparation essentials before you ski off piste: Powder days seem a faraway dream for the moment, but while you spend your summer getting ski-fit (that’s what we’re all doing right?!), here’s a list of four essential things you’ll need to have prepped, before you even leave the chalet.
Any skier on the mountain is at mercy of Mother Nature. On the piste, however, risks are assessed and managed; off piste the decisions are yours. To be able to plan a trip to the backcountry, monitoring the weather and snow conditions is one of your best tools. Make note of recent activity: avalanches, cracking, whoomping (that strange rumbly noise snow makes when it’s scrunched or moving), sudden rises in temperature or strong winds. All these things should make you question your trip, or at least look at how you can manage the risks they will present.
Speak to a local, or hire a guide who will have detailed knowledge of what the conditions have been like all over the mountain. They’ll be able to tell you if your ideas are safe or silly. In addition to what’s been going on recently, look up a detailed forecast. Again, any predictions of high wind, heavy snow or rising temperatures should flash a red light, however if it’s a forecast for bluebird powder days, it could be your signal to rally the troops!
There are optional items to take skiing off piste: fancy technical jacket, weird-tasting energy sachets, Go Pro paraphernalia, the list goes on! And then there are the essentials: beeper, shovel and probe. Skis or snowboard too yes, but let’s not split hairs… You don’t have to immediately invest in a beeper (transceiver), shovel and probe if you’re new to skiing off piste.
If you head out with a guide or off-piste instructor and they’ll often have kit to lend you, or point you in the direction of a hire shop. Furthermore, you should be taking a map, compass and first aid kit. First aid kit for yourselves, and for your skis that is; imagine being stuck up at 3000m with the breaks jammed on your skis and no way of fixing them… no thanks! This may sound like stating the obvious, but check and double check that all your kit is functioning and fully charged. It will not only be dangerous if you’re stuck with faulty kit, but you will have carried that dead weight for nothing.
The conditions are looking good and all your kit is tip top. Now the human factor plays its part. An ideal group size is between two and four people, of the same fitness and skill level. This is so important because it means your goals and attitude are likely to be the same too.
It’s vital that everyone has the same level of risk perception, ie. no one person is going to push others outside of their comfort zone. It will become clear if you’re all on the same page when you plan how to tackle certain ascents and descents. If you know the area, and conditions, this shouldn’t be a problem. If not, hire a local guide who will help to put together your itinerary, and show you the most amazing routes you’d never have found. Either way you’ll be preventing the need for snap decisions on the hill (some of course, are unavoidable).
The last thing that you must have agreed before you head out and up, is what to do in an emergency avalanche situation. Besides having the local snow patrol’s number and being equipped with all the (fully functioning) kit, you need to be extremely well practiced and comfortable using it. Even if one person in the group’s knowledge is slightly lacking, it puts the whole group in a higher position of danger.
This goes for using your shovel and probe as much as the transceiver. Effective probing and shovelling techniques can make or break a rescue. Using a transceivers and shovelling are both more efficient activities when you work in a team, so make sure you have your plan decided before you reach the snow. Plenty of resorts have transceiver training parks with beepers buried for you to find. Or, on a bad-weather day, why not hire an off-piste instructor and spend a couple of hours getting some tips, and hunting out their beeper, to refresh your skills.
Find out more about Ongosa
Ongosa is a helpful tool to assist you with finding the best instructor or mountain guide. It allows you to search through some of the best ski and snowboard professionals in Europe. All of the instructors and mountain guides have been handpicked for their experience and qualifications in order to provide the best service. All you have to do is tell Ongosa your holiday dates and requirements then they find the best matches for you that are available to book.
For those who have only skied in the European Alps, a trip to North America will be a fantastic surprise. The excellent all round skiing and spectacular scenery, combined with top service, fantastic facilities, spacious pistes, no lift queues and outstanding lift systems will make this an unforgettable experience. Many people even rate skiing in USA and Canada as the best skiing available in the world. The Iglu Ski team are big fans skiing and snowboarding in North America. Last season we managed to visit some of our favourite ski resorts in the USA and Canada, including Whistler, Jackson Hole and Sun Peaks. Read more about Iglu Ski’s adventures in North America.
Sales experts Phil and James in Sun Peaks
Whistler is Iglu Ski’s best-selling North American ski resort. The Canadian resort is favoured by many Britons due to the huge range of varied terrain, the impressive scenery and the excellent snow fall. The Whistler-Blackcomb has everything you would want from a North American ski adventure: Wide open bowls, gladed tree runs, steep chutes and more! Paired with the modern, efficient lift system and attractive village with a wide range of top accommodations, Whistler makes an ideal choice for your first ski encounter across the pond.
Find out more about Whistler
Vail is one of the largest ski resorts in North America boasting over 5200 acres of ski and snowboard terrain. Freeride enthusiasts will enjoy the legendary seven Back Bowls that span across seven miles. Foodies will love Vail’s diverse and exceptional culinary scene. The 10th is a fantastic gourmet experience on the mountain and Matsuhisa’s is a highly regarded restaurant that serves Japanese cuisine with a South American Flare. The best value lift pass for ski holidays in Vail is the Epic Pass which gives you unlimited access to Vail, Beavercreek, Breakenridge, Keystone, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar and more.
Find out more about Vail
Breckenridge is one of the larger ski resorts in the Colorado area with 5 high peaks across the 2900 acres of terrain. The ski quality here is excellent thanks to the super high slopes that peak at 3962m and the high levels of snowfall (25 feet of snow on average each season). The massive snow parks attract pro-riders and freestyle enthusiasts from across the world. There are 4 parks and a 22 foot superpipe in Brekenridge: Freeway is a park for pros with 4 massive jumps, the superpipe and lots of rails and boxes. Park Lane is the ‘local’s park’ with heaps of fun features. Highway 9 is perfect for skiers and snowboarders looking to hit the park for the first time and Trygve’s is a snowpark for children.
Find out more about Breckenridge
Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise make up the world class ski area of Banff National Park. Just 45 minutes from Banff Town, the excellent ski areas provide access to 8000 acres of skiing and snowboarding terrain with incredible snow sure slopes. Banff – Lake Louise is the perfect place to encounter Canada’s breathtaking wilderness and scenery. From the towering mountain peaks to the stunning glacier-fed lakes, the landscape of the Canadian Rockies is nothing like what we have in Europe.
Find out more about Banff and Lake Louise
The ski resorts in Lake Tahoe cover over 22,000 acres of terrain across the 9 resorts. Our favourite and best-selling resorts include Heavenly, Squaw Valley and North Star. Keen and experienced skiers and snowboarders will love Heavenly’s endless pistes and diverse mix of terrain. Enthusiasts can enjoy the 34 miles of wide pistes, the extreme cliff drops, the gnarly tree skiing and the unlimited freeride routes.
Find out more about Lake Tahoe
Thinking about a ski holiday to the USA or Canada for winter 2016/2017?
Speak to the Iglu Ski experts about a North American ski holiday and we'll put a package together specific for you. Early booking discount start to end from 31st July 2016 so call us now on the number above for the best deal for your North American ski adventure!
View ski deals to USA | View ski deals to Canada
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