Cheap powder skiing in Switzerland – the Val d’Anniviers

Cheap powder skiing in Switzerland really does exist and we’ll let you in on the secret destinations. The Val d’Anniviers area in Switzerland is a well kept secret but for those ‘in the know’ it offers everything you could possibly want from a ski region. The high altitude mountain valley is made up of five beautiful, traditional villages which are situated in a plateau far above the main Rhone Valley below. Each village has its own separate ski area (two of these areas are connected by ski lifts) and all five offer a unique ski experience.

Skiing in Switzerland,Val d'Anniviers, Chandolin, St Luc

St Luc and Chandolin looking pretty in the evening sun.

St Luc (1,655m) and Chandolin (1,936m)

These are the highest villages in the area, and in my opinion two of the most beautiful and traditional resorts in the Alps. The tiny streets, hardly wide enough to drive a car through, are lined with traditional mazots, century old chalets, a few hotels as well as a pretty family run 4 star hotel called the Bella Tola . The Ski area is relatively small – St Luc and neighbouring Chandolin which is linked have about 75km of pisted runs between them but they also plenty of easily accessed off-piste terrain. This offers great touring possibilities off the back side of the mountain as well as access to skiing over 3,000 metres. However, the real bonus is getting away from other skiers. During your week you might well find that you have the entire mountain to yourself and certainly it is quite normal to ski two or three runs without seeing another skier at all – a unique experience these days!

Accommodation in the Val d'Anniviers
From top clockwise: Hotel Bella Tola, Chalet Charr and Chalet Edelweiss – all in the Val d’Anniviers

There are a couple of good local bars and restaurants in town and plenty to keep you going for a shorter stay. There is also a lovely catered chalet here which provides an experience quite unlike anywhere else in the Alps. Forget the crowds of the Three Valleys, the rowdy Brits in Val d’Isere, the poor snow in the Portes du Soleil. At the Chalet Charr you can truly escape from everyday life, forget about work and just relax, you are in the mountains and it’s blissfully quiet.

We have become somewhat desensitized as to what a ski holiday can really be. All the best holidays I have been on have been about connecting with friends or family, enjoying the skiing, the snow and indulging in great food. A stay in Chalet Charr combined with the skiing of St Luc / Chandolin delivers this special ski holiday experience which would be suitable to any skier.

Cheap powder skiing in Switzerland - freeride, Chandolin, St Luc, Grimentz, Zinal,
Ben getting excited – ready to drop in

Grimentz (1,553m) and Zinal (1,600m)

These two villages are about 20 minutes drive from St Luc and are covered under the same lift pass. Here you have access to the largest connected ski area in the Val d’Anniviers region which makes the skiing here more suitable to those looking to do some piste cruising. Although the off piste here is also excellent it does tend to get tracked out rather more quickly than in St Luc and Chandolin. This is partly due to the influx of Scandinavians which the resort has seen in recent years. However, these days all of the best freeride and powder resorts in Europe have a Scandinavian presence, in effect giving the resort a seal of approval if you are after some challenging skiing. Although the off piste tracks out a little quicker here there is still plenty of snow to go around and it stays fresh a lot longer than in most parts of the Alps.

Narrow and traditional streets in Grimentz and Zinal
Beautiful traditional streets in Grimentz and Zinal

This area is still relatively undiscovered by the UK chalet market and although there are quite a few self-catered chalet options here there is only one catered chalet which is worth looking at. This is the Chalet Edelweiss which is run by an English couple, Penny and Eric Kendall. These guys really know their ski resorts and after 10 years travelling the world and testing out ski areas as ski journalists they decided that the Grimentz and Zinal area was the best of the lot. They run a spacious 10 – 12 person chalet just outside the centre of Zinal called the Chalet Edelweiss. The chalet is sold on an exclusive use basis for high season weeks but by the room at other times of the season. You can expect a warm and friendly welcome, excellent food and plenty of space to relax. Eric will even take you out for piste orientation on two mornings, and if your lucky he will also point out the best routes for some epic off piste skiing!

Grimentz, Zinal, Chandolin, St Luc
Amazing terrain in the Val d’Anniviers

Finally you have Vercroin (1,330m) which is a small beginner and intermediate ski area at the front of the Val d’Anniviers region. I have not actually skied here yet but Nick from Backcountry Adventures tells me that this is where you can find the best tree skiing in Europe. Apparently it’s the best place to ski when it is snowing as the entire area is covered in perfectly spaced trees.

So, all in all, this magical place has something for everyone, be it hard core freeride, chilled out piste cruising or learning to ski on empty slopes. It doesn’t have the nightlife or après ski scene of larger resorts but the Val d’Anniviers is such a beautiful, unique and calming place that it would be totally ruined if it did.

Let us help you organise some cheap powder skiing in Switzerland for your next trip to the mountains. Telephone: +44 (0)20 7801 1080

Fernie, Canada. Escape the crowds

After my sister disappeared to do a season in the relatively unknown Canadian resort of Fernie, I decided I had to check it out, escape the crowds and to see what all the fuss was about. And I was not disappointed! A small mining town with a mountain most suited to intermediate/expert skiers, there is so much to love about Fernie – not least the epic amounts of snow it gets most years (more about this below).

View from Fernie looking down the main valley
View from Fernie looking down the main valley

I stayed at Lizard Creek Lodge which is right by one of the main chairlifts that whisk you up into the mountains. It was a fantastic choice of accommodation with hot tubs for each building, as well as an outdoor pool (heated!) and an ice bar for vodka tasting. There is also a ski hire shop on site, so no need to trudge over to the centre of the village.

The skiing in Fernie is something else – I was there in late March/early April 2017 and was treated to three significant snowfalls during my 10 day visit – my holiday was a powder skiing nirvana! Most of the runs are for intermediates and there are plenty of expert runs that go through trees and down gorges and chutes – these runs are un-groomed but are still patrolled by SOS making it some of the most adventurous ‘on-piste’ skiing I’d ever encountered. For beginners, there are plenty of green runs around the base of the mountain and there is a small freestyle park and ski cross course as well. Like many Canadian resorts, the lifts are all open chairlifts so wrap up warm if you’re there between December and March!

Escape the Crowds - Fernie's wild landscape!
Escape the Crowds – Fernie’s wild landscape!

Another great thing about Fernie is the amount to do off the slopes (I would recommend hiring a car for the duration of your trip). Being only one hour from the USA border, we took a trip to Whitefish, Montana to experience some skiing over there – it was only 2 hours total drive from Fernie and it was great to be able explore another resort in a different country!

I also took a trip up to Island Lake Lodge, a beautiful wooden lodge high in the mountains that is only accessible by snowmobile or piste basher. Most people travel up here to do cat-skiing but we decided for the more gentle approach of snow-shoeing and a leisurely lunch which was absolutely delicious and so peaceful none of us wanted to leave! In town, there is a local brewery that does tours and beer tasting as well as walking trails along the river – although you may see warning signs about aggressive moose!

'The moose are loose!'
‘The moose are loose!’

If you are looking for a ski experience that is completely different from a European holiday then I couldn’t recommend Fernie more highly – I’ve never experienced anything like it. From all the incredibly friendly locals to the epic snow, I can’t wait to go back!

The price for a group of 4 adults travelling to Fernie for 10 days in January 2018, staying in a 2 bedroom condo at Lizard Creek Lodge (room only basis), with return flights from London Heathrow and private resort transfers is £1,540pp. Why don’t you escape the crowds next season?

Staff ski trip April 2016 – Club Med, Val Thorens

There are good reasons why we love skiing in April which we can share with you! Here are a few photos from our end of season staff ski trip April 2016 in Val Thorens.

The weather in April

The great thing about skiing in April is that the weather is, most of the time, offers bluebird sunshine and warm temperatures that make skiing so much more pleasant by comparison to the arctic conditions of January. The weather no doubt has an effect on everyone’s mood and I find skiing in the warm sunshine one of the most enjoyable things about April skiing. The days are also longer which means après ski is made more enjoyable by drinking outside in the warmth rather than still wearing all our layers and not being able to feel your hands. The longer days mean you can ski until later in the day (as resorts keep their lifts open for longer around April) and also make for some spectacular sunsets.

Just look at that view
Why we love April Skiing – just look at that view

The quality of snow in April

the warm weather doesn’t mean that the snow is always melting or slushy. Last season the snow came down heavily in April and our office end of season trip to Val Thorens saw two days of bluebird powder skiing as the snow fell overnight and the clouds cleared each morning. The combination of powder skiing and warm sunshine is more common than you may think in April, especially in the high altitude ski resorts of Val Thorens, Tignes, Zermatt and Les Arcs.

Staff ski trip April 2016 - just look at that powder!
Why we love Skiing in April – just look at that powder! Dave (left) and Alex (right)

The April closing parties

One of the great things about skiing towards the end of the season is the après ski. The sun is out for longer and dancing in the sun is much more enjoyable than dancing in a blizzard. Most après bars also put on incredible closing parties during the last week of the season. The Folie Douce pulls out all the stops with dancers, performers and a themed two day closing extravaganza. If après ski is an important part of your holiday then you will love skiing in April as much as we do.

Skiing in April is great value

The back end of the Easter holidays is the cheapest time of the whole winter to go skiing. So if you are planning a family ski holiday and want a great deal then the latter two weeks of the Easter holidays are definitely ones to consider. Most chalets and hotels offer fantastically low prices for the last few weeks of the season, so you could have the most fantastic week’s skiing for a fraction of the cost compared to a peak season week.

Enjoy empty slopes

This is the best thing about April skiing – the slopes are quiet and you can often find yourself being the only one on a run. This is obviously worlds away from the cheek by jowl skiing of Half Term or New Year. Nothing beats skiing down an empty slope in the April sun.

Why we love skiing in April - there's no one else there
Why we love skiing in April – there’s no one else there. Dom (near) and Simon (far)

It’s no wonder why we love skiing in April so much. So, if you haven’t been on an April ski holiday then it’s high time you did. However, it is important to pick the right resort so please do give our office a call. We would be delighted to talk you through the best options. T: +44 (0)20 7801 1080.

Book your 2017/18 ski holiday today and get the best savings…

Although this season has several weeks left to run we are already taking a lot of ski holiday bookings for the 2017/2018 ski season. So, why the rush?  Now is the best time to book your next ski holiday as booking early gives you the greatest choice of properties to choose from, plus you can also grab yourself a great early booking deal on ski holidays including peak dates like Christmas, New Year and Half Term.  At Alpine Answers we believe it is never too early to start planning your next ski holiday!

Ski Holidays 2018

Group Savings

We recommend booking early if you are a group to ensure you find the perfect group ski chalet to fit you and your group’s requirements. What’s more there are various early booking group discounts available.

Family Chalets

Book your family ski chalet holiday in advance and take advantage of such offers as free childcare, discounted child places and other offers, even on peak holiday dates. The chalets featured in our family chalet section all have bookable childcare options (either private nannies or creche care).

BOGOF & FREE lift passes – Christmas and January dates

Peak dates are always considered the most expensive time to book a ski holiday, so a FREE lift pass is a welcome saving at this time. This deal applies to both full area and local, and in all resorts. Not only that, in some cases you can combine lift pass offers with other Early booking offers to make an even greater saving!

Chalet Tolima in Val d’Isere, France

SAVE up to £150pp PLUS BOGOF Lift Pass
Christmas prices from £1,150pp

Chalet Tolima val d'Isere
Chalet Tolima val d’Isere

Chalet Orchidee in Courchevel, France

FREE Lift Pass for all of January 2018
Prices in January from £775pp

Chalet Orchidee - Courchevel
Chalet Orchidee – Courchevel

FREE lift passes – Group Leaders

If you are a organising a group trip then you will benefit by booking early and you can also bag yourself a free lift pass for all your hard work!

Chalet Chez Menor in Meribel, France
FREE Lift Pass for Group Leaders January 2018
Prices in January from £899pp

Chalet Chez Menor
Chalet Chez Menor – Meribel

Save up to 15 % on All Inclusive Club Med Holidays

If you are a family, or group, and all-inclusive holiday where everything is pretty much included, that means lift pass, ski school, food etc. Club Med is fantastic value for money and has properties in great selection of properties in top ski resorts.

Club Med Avoriaz in Avoriaz, France
All-inclusive Half term Price: Save £244pp Now £1,313pp

Club Med Avoriaz
Club Med Avoriaz 

Looking to book your 2017/18 ski holiday?

There are many Early booking deals being added all the time, so we suggest you call our Ski Experts on 020 7801 1080 to help you search through all early bookings available to ensure you make the best savings on your next ski holiday.

*Please note that prices may change and offers are subject to availability

There is more to a ski resort than just the skiing!

For many years the main purpose of going on a ski holiday was to ski as many runs as possible followed by some apres every day and return back to the office with a glorious goggle tan and a few unwanted pounds around the middle (no amount of skiing could ever burn off a Raclette feast!).  Could this be about to change? According to recent ski travel trend reports, more travellers are looking to broaden their experiences while on holiday, with a growing percentage of people heading to the mountains in winter to enjoy alternative activities other than skiing. This could well be the reason why more and more ski resorts are offering a broader range of activities suitable for skiers and non skiers alike. Here is a round up of some of the alternative activities that can be enjoyed as part of your ski/winter holiday…

Ice Driving/Ice Karting

Top of the activities list is ice driving, which has seen an increase in participation over the past few years. Skid and slide on the ice and learn how to drive in extreme conditions. A perfect choice for those seeking a new kind of adrenaline rush. If you want to have some fun with a groups of friends then definitely try snow karting. The karts are specially designed for the snow with lots of safety features which make it a suitable activity for older children.

Available in: Courchevel  Val Thorens  Val d’Isere

ice driving_karting
Ice karting and driving popular ski resort activities

‘Fat’ Snow Biking 

A fairly recent craze from the US, Fat (named fat due to the very wide tyres) biking has become a popular snow activity. In many resorts you can hire fat bikes quite easily to take out for a play around or you can join organised tours with a guide who can teach you the more technical aspects of Fat biking.

Available in: most main ski resorts

Fat Biking in the snow
Fat biking with a view

Zip Wire

The most famous is the La Tyrolienne in Val Thorens. Starting at Orelle (3,230) and finishing at Col de Thorens (3,000), this zip wire is the highest in the world. The journey is 1,300m,  and we have  no doubt you will feel like an Eagle in full flight. The ultimate choice for the true adrenaline junkie!

Ice Diving 

Although this is not a speed junkie kind of sport, ice diving is more a wild adventure with plenty of adrenaline. Discover a whole new winter world under the water with the help of professional instructors, there is no need to have been diving before.

Available in: Tignes  Morzine


It seems that ski holidays are becoming less about indulging on raclette and hot chocolate and more about fitness and wellbeing! According to findings by Club Med’s  2016/17 Ski Report,  there is an increasing demand for ski holidays to be all encompassing, providing action and excitement alongside wellness, relaxation and health. Many ski resorts and hotels offer wellness centres. Le Chabichou Courchevel 1850 a rustic-chic alpine retreat in the heart of Courchevel is renown for its wellness centre.

The Chabichou Hote Spa in Courchevel
The Chabichou Hote Spa in Courchevel

Activity Complexes/Water Parks

Families, particularly those with young children, know the on-going challenge of keeping children entertained on a family ski holiday. Unlike adults, children do not always take to skiing all day and everyday, so many families search for resorts that provide long periods of entertainment. If you are looking for something more state of the art then the Aquamotion in Corchevel, the largest European Water Park in the mountains! An area  of 10 000 m2 indoor – 5 000 m2 outdoor  consisting  of an Aquafun area, Aquarelax area, Aquawellness area and a Aqua Sports Activities. You will find that many resorts offer sports/activity complexes specifically built for families in mind.

Aquariaz in Avoriaz
Aquariaz in Avoriaz

 Snow Shoeing

What better way to explore beautiful remote parts of the mountain and take in the unspoilt scenery, whilst keeping fit than with a brisk walk on a pair of snow-shoes. Great fun and exercise for all ages!

Available in: most ski resorts

Snow-shoeing - a great way to see the stunning landscape.
Snow-shoeing – a great way to enjoy the stunning landscape.

Husky dog sledding

Enjoy the mountain landscape with with a team of dogs pulling you along on a sled. It’s a great family activity.

Available in: many ski resorts

dog-sledding in verbier
Dog-sledding in Verbier


We have only listed a few resort activities, just because we couldn’t list them all – there are so many! Should you require a full list of activities, you can find comprehensive list and details of all activities for your chosen resort by visiting the relevant tourist board website. Go-on try something new on your next ski holiday…

Need help finding your perfect ski holiday?

To save you a lot of time and trouble trying to find yourself the perfect ski holiday, call our Ski Experts on 020 7801 1080. We can happily tailor make you ski holiday to your requirements and book flights and transfers where required.

Click here to search all our chalets