Brexit: Book an All Inclusive ski deal to beat the falling pound

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This year, due to Brexit and the fall in the value of the pound, many ski companies are offering some excellent deals this season. The best ones on the market have to be the all-inclusive ski deals, which offer excellent … Continue reading

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Our Guide To Who’s Offering the Best Early Booking Ski Deals

Are you still looking for the best Early Booking Ski Deal for 2016?

Don't Miss out! Early Booking Ski Deals for 2016

You may already be aware of the fact that we deal with over 100 ski chalet operators many of which offer some very attractive early booking ski deals for 2016. The only problem is they all tend to offer something different, which can be confusing to even the most savvy wheeler dealer. To make things a little easier for you we set out below some of the early booking deals we think you should consider.

SKI TOTAL – one of the larger chalet operators on our books with 101 chalets.

Early Booking Ski Deals
New Year – This is a 9 night holiday departing on 30th December 2016. GET 2 FREE NIGHTS as you only pay for 7 nights. 2 FREE DAYS lift pass (8 days for the price of 6). 2 FREE DAYS ski hire (8 days for the price of 6). £100 pp New Year Special discount valid for limited period as well.
During the rest of the season – SAVE – 50% on ski & boot hire and FREE GROUP PLACES – Up to 1 in 5 travels free and finally, Buy one adult lift pass and get the second one at half price.

ALPINE ACTION – have 14 very good, value for money chalets in Meribel and chalets in La Tania.

Early Booking Ski Deals 
Christmas – 20-27 December – Get £250 off brochure price.
FREE LIFT PASS for the party leader when booking a whole chalet.

LE SKI – 31 chalets in Courchevel, La Tania and Val d’Isere. Great food and service.

Early Booking Ski Deals 
Fill any chalet and ALL guests get a FREE LIFT PASS (Guests must take a Le Ski charter flight).

MERISKI – the Meribel specialist with 9 fabulous chalets.

Early Booking Ski Deals
Pay for your chalet in full by 30th September and receive a 10% discount on the price.
Free private transfers when booking certain chalets and weeks.

SKI CUISINE – Another Meribel specialist and favourite operator of Alpine Answers have 7 chalets.

Early Booking Ski Deals
Book a chalet for the week 7-14 January and get a 15% discount
Book a chalet for the week 4-11 February and get a 10% discount
Book a chalet for the week 11-18 March and get a 10% discount

SKI OLYMPIC – 11 chalets in 4 top French resorts

Early Booking Ski Deals
Christmas – 20-27 December – FREE LIFT PASSES for all guests.

SKI VAL – 28 chalets in 3 of the best resorts in the Alps.

Early Booking Ski Deals
Pay a double deposit and receive a 5% discount.

SKIWORLD – The largest independent chalet operator in the UK. 138 chalets in many of the best resorts.

Early Booking Ski Deals
Get £50 to £100 off per person in all their chalets subject to availability.
BOGOF ON LIFT PASSES for various January departure dates.

VIP SKI– Have 68 luxurious chalets in many top resorts.

Early Booking Ski Deals
Book by 31st October and get £100 OFF per person on January weeks as well as the 12th March week.

CONSENSIO HOLIDAYS – One of the UK’s premiere chalet operators with 13 of the highest spec chalets on the market.

Early Booking Ski Deals
22-29 January 2017 – get a 15% discount on 3 of their finest chalets.
12-19 March 2017 – get a 15% discount on 3 of their finest chalets.

CLUB MED – The foremost All-Inclusive operator.

Early Booking Ski Deals
Are offering some amazing early booking deals with many of their hotels, especially in January selling for under £900 all inclusive!

Need help finding the best Early Booking Ski Deals?

The above are just a sample of the kind of early booking ski deals we can offer you. To save you a lot of time and trouble trying to find yourself the best deal out there, call us on 0207 7801 1080 to ensure you get the best Early Booking Deal deal possible. Click here to search all our chalets 

We are here to help and look forward to helping you get the most out of your next ski holiday.

Happy skiing from all the Alpine Answers team.

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Christmas and New Year Departure Dates 2016

Christmas and New Year departure dates 2016 have been thrown into some confusion for the Winter 2016 as Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are on a Saturday in December 2016. We explain how the ski holiday industry is getting around this issue.

In travel industry parlance (particularly regards chalets) the ‘changeover’ day is the day that guests are expected to leave and new guests are expected to arrive. Chalet operators will want to ensure that as far as possible every bedroom is occupied throughout the season without gaps in their reservation planning and given that the accepted holiday duration is 7 nights the easiest way to achieve this is to make sure that all guests arrive and leave on either a Saturday or Sunday. This then allows bookings to be dove tailed together ensuring maximum occupancy, efficiency and revenue.

New Year Departure Dates 2016

New Year Ski Holidays in Megeve

For those chalet tour operators that also have an ATOL licence to enable them to include flights as part of their chalet holiday packages the fixed change-over day of either Saturday or Sunday also helps them to arrange contracts with their charter airline partners.

In a normal year a Saturday or Sunday changeover day suits everyone – chalet operators get to fill their properties without gaps and guests are happy to travel weekend to weekend as it best suits their work commitments and holiday entitlement. However, this season Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fall on a Saturday (Christmas Day and New Year’s Day on a Sunday).  As guests would be very unlikely to want to travel on the key days of the festive period alternate changeover days were required. However, in dropping the normal weekend changeover days the ski holiday industry has opened Pandora’s Box.  With so many possible combinations of stay durations available to the chalet operators over Christmas and New Year the ski holiday industry has ended up in something of a muddle. Choosing a chalet with the correct changeover days over Christmas and New Year to suit your specific needs has all become rather complicated this season.

Luckily we are here to help. With 25 years of experience and dealing with well over 150 different ski chalet operators covering all shapes, sizes and prices of properties we are uniquely placed to give a round up (as far as this is possible) on the differing changeover days offered for Christmas and New Year ski holidays this season. We look at 40 different chalet companies to spot the more common durations/changeover days on offer and explain the relative merits of each.

Christmas Ski Holiday changeover days

Saturday 17th – Monday 26th December (9 nights)

Ski Amis is one of only a few chalet companies offering a Christmas ski holiday which starts Saturday 17th December. This allows them to offer holidays of a 9 night duration (priced at their normal 7 night price) which end on Monday 26th December.  Ski Amis offer cheaper priced chalet holidays in some of the best French ski resorts and represent great value, especially if you are driving out to the Alps. The dates above account for under 3% of the chalet market.

Sunday 18th – Monday 26th December (8 nights)

Just under 10% of the chalet holiday market, the most notable players being Club Med, Consensio, Mountain Exposure, Scott Dunn and YSE, are offering an 8 night Christmas duration from Sunday 18th to Monday 26th December. These companies offer flight inclusive chalet holidays from mid market to high end.

Monday 19th – Monday 26th December (7 nights)

Just over 10% of the market offer these dates. The most notable are Cimalpes, Tasty Ski and VIP Ski with the latter also including flights and transfers in their packaged holidays.

Tuesday 20th – Tuesday 27th December (7 nights)

35% of the market is offering Tuesday 20th to Tuesday 27th December and are those that ordinarily would have Saturday as their changeover day. These companies include: Alpine Action, Bramble Ski, Chardon Mountain Lodges, Le Ski, Mountain Rooms & Chalets, Neilson Ski, Ski Cuisine, Ski Olympic, Ski Val and Skiworld, and they cover the full price range with most holidays packaged with flights and transfers.

Wednesday 21st – Wednesday 28th December (7 nights)

Just 4% of the chalet market is offering this duration with companies including Purple Ski, TG Ski, Kaluma and Ski Hiver all with chalets available.

Friday 23rd – Friday 30th December (7 nights)

33% of the market is offering Friday 23rd to Friday 30th December and given the late arrival of the snow for the last two winter seasons one could argue that this later arrival for the Christmas period offers the best chance of good snow. Three days may not sound much but as the weather in the Alps can change very quickly during December arriving in resort on the 23rd rather than the 20th might make all the difference to the skiing conditions. The main holiday companies offering these dates are: Alpine Infusion, Fish ‘n’ Pips, HIP Hideouts, Inghams, Mark Warner, Meriski, Mountain Heaven, Ski Armadillo, Ski Blanc, Ski Esprit, Ski Famille and Ski Total.

Saturday 24th – Saturday 31st December (7 nights)

Although there are a handful of other smaller operators Ski Beat is one of the very few larger companies which are offering the standard Saturday to Saturday stay at Christmas. The later arrival will maximise the chances of best snow but arriving on Christmas Eve and returning back to the UK on New Year’s Eve may not be to everyone’s liking. Ski Beat offer very competitively priced chalet holidays (with flights and transfers included) to the main French ski resorts of the Espace Killy and Three Valleys ski domains. 5% of the market is offering the dates above.

New Year Departure Dates 2016 – Ending 01st – 04th Jan (60% of market)

This is where the fun begins! Most of the chalet holiday market (60%) is offering a 7 night stay over New Year.

20% of the market has chosen the dates Monday 26th to Monday 02nd January and these companies include: Cimalpes, Club Med, Consensio, Mountain Exposure, Scott Dunn, Ski Amis, Tasty Ski, VIP Ski and YSE. 37% of the market is offering Tuesday 27th to Tuesday 03rd January (Alpine Action, Bramble Ski, Chardon Mountain Lodges, Le Ski, Mountain Rooms & Chalets, Neilson Ski, Ski Cuisine, Ski Olympic, Ski Val and Skiworld). 2% of the market offers a 7 night stay from either Sunday 25th or Wednesday 28th December.

Longer New Year Ski Holidays: Ending 07th/ 08th Jan (40% of market)

18% of the market offers the Friday 30th December to Saturday 07th Jan (8 nights) and these companies include Fish ‘n’ Pips, HIP Hideouts, Inghams, Mountain Heaven, Ski Blanc and Ski Famille. However, the longer 9 night duration from Friday 30th to Sunday 08th Jan offered by the likes of Ski Esprit, Mark Warner, Meriski, Ski Armadillo and Ski Total may prove to be more popular. These 9 night duration holidays are beginning to be marketed at a 7 night price which makes them very good value. 16% of the market is offering these 9 night dates but there is a small 2% of the market that offers 9 or 10 night durations starting on either Thursday 29thor Friday 30th December. 6% of the market (the most notable being Ski Beat) offers a 7 night stay from Saturday 31st December to Saturday 07th January. However, arriving on New Year’s Eve may be too late for most.

Very Early January Ski Holidays: 4 – 11 nights

The 60% of chalet operators that offer a New Year holiday ending very early in January are then offering a short break holiday to get them back on track with the normal 7 night weekend to weekend duration holiday which would start on either Saturday 07th or Sunday 08th January.  There are lots and lots of variations on the short breaks on offer during this period but the most popular dates and durations on offer are as follows:

Monday 02nd – Sunday 08th Jan (6 nights)

16% of the market: Club Med, Mountain Exposure, Scott Dunn, VIP Ski and YSE.

Tuesday 03rd – Saturday 07th Jan (4 nights)

22% of the market: Alpine Action, Mountain Rooms & Chalets, Neilson Ski, Ski Cuisine, Ski Val (Val d’Isere) and Skiworld.

Tuesday 03rd – Sunday 08th Jan (5 nights)

7% of the market: Chardon Mountain Lodges, Le Ski, Ski Olympic and Ski Val (St Anton)

Bramble Ski which is a large company offering a wide range of luxury chalets in Verbier, Lech, St Anton, Gstaad, Tignes and Zermatt are offering a 7 night holiday from Tuesday 03rd to Tuesday 10th January to coincide with the Russian New Year holiday period at the start of January. Consensio which is also aimed at the international luxury market is also offering a holiday to fit with the Russian New Year period. They have a great collection of luxurious chalets that are bookable for a 9 night holiday from Monday 02nd to Wednesday 11th January. Both companies then offer a short break from Tuesday 10th or Wednesday 11th to Sunday 15th January to get back on track with the normal weekend to weekend rotation of guest arrivals and departures. Together these two companies offer nearly 8% of the chalet market.

Have you got this far? Still confused?

See, I told you it was a bit complicated. To make life easy on yourself all you need to do is call us and tell us roughly what you are looking for in your ski holiday (budget, number of people in your party, type of resort and accommodation etc) and then also let us know if you have any dates that you are bound by. Perhaps you have a family Christmas planned at home with people to stay, or maybe you need to get children back to school in Early January. Just let us know these little issues and we will do the rest.

We have been dealing with the ski holiday market (especially chalets) for 25 years and know exactly what will work and what will not work for you. So don’t tie yourself in knots trying to work out which Christmas or New Year departure dates 2016 suit you best – instead let us do all the figuring out for you. Alternatively why not make a great start by viewing all our Christmas chalet holidays or our New Year chalet holidays here.

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The Alpine Answers Top 5 Ski Resorts

If you have ever wondered which are the favourite resorts among clients of Alpine Answers, then wonder no longer. Here we look at the top 5 ski resorts from last winter.

Top 5 ski resorts: 5th place – Morzine

In fifth place last season was the pretty, traditional, French resort of Morzine, which is part of the enormous Portes du Soleil ski area. It is easy to see why it is so popular. It has access to hundreds of kilometres of pistes, linking with Les Gets in one direction and Avoriaz in the other. The skiing is especially well suited to beginners and intermediates, making it ideal for families. It is also a very short transfer from Geneva, which is important for its appeal as a weekend destination. Added to that, we have a large range of catered chalets and hotels with some great value options such as The Grange. See more in our resort guide to Morzine.

Chalet The Grange in Morzine

Chalet The Grange in Morzine

4th place – Tignes

The fourth most popular resort in 2015/16 was the high and snow-sure skier’s paradise Tignes. We would all agree that snow quality and quantity is a vital component for a successful skiing holiday and nowhere does better for snow than Tignes. Linked to Val d’Isere to form the Espace Killy, Tignes also boasts a huge amount of terrain to explore, on and off-piste. Tignes is a purpose built resort, resulting in ski convenience and we have a number of ski-in ski-out chalets in Tignes, a good example being Chalet Annapurna 1. See more in our resort guide to Tignes.

Chalet Annapurna 1 in Tignes

Chalet Annapurna 1 in Tignes

3rd place – St Anton

The only non-French resort in our top five last winter was the Austrian resort of St Anton. A long time favourite of ours, St Anton combines a pretty, traditional village which is renowned for its lively après-ski with an extensive ski area best suited to intermediate and advanced skiers. The Arlberg ski area that St Anton shares with Lech, Zurs, St Christoph and Stuben will be further improved next winter with new lifts connecting Zurs and Stuben, which means you can access the full area without the need to go off-piste or take a bus. St Anton has an abundance of catered chalets, including some with early booking discounts such as Chalet Hochkar. See more in our resort guide to St Anton.

Chalet Hochkar in St Anton

Chalet Hochkar in St Anton

2nd place – Val d’Isere

For several years our biggest selling resort has been Val d’Isere but last season it was surprisingly edged into second place. That still makes it enormously popular and the reasons are clear to see. Of course it shares the huge, snow-sure Espace Killy with Tignes but it is also a pretty town with improving après-ski, buzzing nightlife and plenty of other activities and facilities away from the slopes. Val d’Isere also has a huge variety of hotels and catered chalets – there is something for everyone, just one example being the fabulous Maison du Rocher. See more in our resort guide to Val d’Isere.

Chalet Maison du Rocher in Val d'Isere

Chalet Maison du Rocher in Val d’Isere

1st place – Meribel

Top of the charts in 2015/16 for Alpine Answers clients was Meribel. Ideally situated in the centre of the Three Valleys, the biggest linked piste network in the world, Meribel gives the best access to the whole area. You can quickly reach Courchevel going one way or Val Thorens in the other direction. It is perfect for skiers of all levels, with its gentle nursery slopes, mile after mile of pistes for intermediates and some excellent off-piste to keep advanced skiers entertained. Meribel is also an aesthetically pleasing village, having been built in traditional style and boasts an après-ski scene and nightlife options that are popular with British skiers. We have an unbeatable selection of catered chalets in Meribel, many of which have hot tubs like Chalet Bellevue. See more in our resort guide to Meribel.

Chalet Bellevue top 5 ski resorts

Chalet Bellevue in Meribel

Just under half our clients chose one these top 5 ski resorts last winter. We know them better than anywhere and we’re ready to help you find your perfect holiday for next winter.

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Best ski resort in Italy

Much has been written about which is the best ski resort in Italy, after all it comes down to personal taste and experience. So let me tell you about my own experience and why I rate Champoluc as the best ski resort in Italy.

After skiing in La Thuile over the New Year week and a couple of weeks later in February I definitely had the urge to go skiing in Italy again. Never had I eaten so well, had such good snow and experienced a resort so empty of skiers. Next on the list was another ski area in the Aosta valley called the Monte Rosa which encompasses three main resorts, Champoluc, Gressoney and the “freeride paradise” Alagna.  Over the last two years some of the larger English tour operators have cottoned on to the appeal of these lovely Italian resorts and they have sold particularly well. There is the Breithorn chalet hotel which was privately run as 4 star superior hotel in 2014 but has recently been taken over by an English tour operator. As this is one of the first years being managed by this English operator prices are still at an introductory level and as you can see from the rates on our website these are very reasonable for the standard of accommodation. The food and service here will be to a good standard, you have some great spa facilities and it is only a short walk from the centre of town and the slopes.

Snowcat - the road up to the Hotellerie Mascognaz is not suitable for cars

Snowcat – the road up to the Hotellerie Mascognaz is not suitable for cars

The best ski resort in Italy has a secret luxury hotel

There is some great accommodation to suit all budgets, in all three of the main resorts in the Monte Rosa. However, there is one hotel which I really want to talk about which is the Hotelliere de Mascognaz. After hearing a couple of stories of this idyllic 13th century hamlet tucked away in the forest above Champoluc, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t desperate to go. When driving up to Champoluc and even into town you would be none the wiser about the hotel albeit for a little wooden sign on the side of the road and an oddly located car park but I suppose that is part of the charm. The hotel is only accessed by one of the hotel’s many off road vehicles, be it the skidoo, snow cat or the impressive Landrover with attached caterpillar tracks!

One of the traditional buildings making up the Hotellerie Mascognaz

One of the traditional buildings making up the Hotellerie Mascognaz

It is about 7 minutes by one of these vehicles up the mountain and through the forest to the hotel where the trees open to reveal a hamlet of old farmers’ huts and stores. It looks tidy and beautiful but maybe not a 5* hotel? However, what is not totally apparent from the exterior is that these buildings have each been lovingly restored to create something quite spectacular.  The owner of the Village, Paolo Vitelli, has a lot of experience on how to create a luxury space from many decades creating the most exclusive yachts on the planet through his company, Azimut Benetti. Throughout this project Vitelli has maintained the beautiful facades that has been there for centuries. However, the interiors are another matter, this is definitely a 5-star hotel finished with rustic furniture combined with modern luxury touches and exclusive art. There is a main building with a spectacular restaurant with a cosy bar above, a further large building containing an impressive wellness area (pool, sauna, steam bath, etc.) with the most fantastic views and, strewn around the whole area, various large accommodation chalets.

A secluded 5 star hotel experience

The Hotellerie Mascognaz – a truly secluded and personal 5 star hotel experience

The team at the village really are the epitome of classic Italian service, these are some of the most attentive, polite and happy staff I have ever come across in a ski resort and it is a refreshing change to what you can sometimes experience in France. On the hotel’s website there is little description about the food on offer at the hotel but this was a real highlight for me. I am a big fan if Italian cuisine but the Hoteliere de Mascognaz  took this to another level. Each evening we were treated to an amuse-bouche followed by four light and delectable courses, definitely enough to fill you up but not too much that you would struggle to ski the next day. This was paired with excellent local wines from the Piedmont which were particularly good value for money considering their quality.

Heli-sking in the best ski resort in Italy

Many people staying in the hotel will take advantage of the fantastic heli-skiing in and around the Aosta valley and it is something that I would definitely recommend. Heli-skiing here is some of the cheapest in Europe and with prices starting around €145pp per drop you can use the money you have saved by coming to Italy and experience endless untouched powder. If you’re more into cruising on the slopes then the Monte Rosa delivers again. There are 200km of slopes here which will keep even the keenest piste skier occupied for a week with plenty of good red runs and some challenging blacks. In the Champoluc Valley there are three notably charming mountain restaurants providing high quality, locally sourced food in beautifully renovated farm buildings. My favourite was the Rascard Frantze just below the Champoluc mid station but both L’Aroula and Stadel Soussun are very good as well.

Heli-skiing in the best ski resort in Italy - Champoluc

Heli-skiing in the best ski resort in Italy – Champoluc

It seems the Monte Rosa is still a relatively well kept secret and those in the know want to keep it that way. Having shared a chairlift with a local ski instructor in Champoluc we got chatting and after having explained what it is I do she was horrified to hear that I would be promoting the resort on my return. However, how can I keep the best ski resort in Italy a secret? Sorry Helen, it’s just too good not to share!

For more information and to book your ski holiday in the Monterosa area of Italy please telephone and speak to John Fish: +44 (0)20 7801 1080.

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