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

Spa/Wellness/Fitness

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

How ski resorts celebrate Christmas and New Year

There is nothing like spending Christmas and New Year in a ski resort, particularly as many ski resorts put on some fantastic festive events for all tastes and ages. Ski resorts tend to celebrate in their own way and you’ll find plenty of festive activities going on between Christmas and New Year.

Not all resorts are good at advertising all their events, as there are usually quite a few, so they generally advertise the main ones. More than likely you will stumble across a festive activity as you walk around the resort. Whatever, you can be sure of lots of family fun and a visit from Santa somewhere along the way. In the more traditional resorts, you can experience festive local events such as choir singing and Christmas markets. Most resorts organise torchlight descents, which are usually followed by spectacular firework displays. Go to the bigger resorts and you can expect a festival style knees up to see in the New Year with a raucous bang!

Here’s a brief list of events in a few top ski resorts in Europe

Val d’Isere – France

Father Christmas on the slopes 23rd December
Discover Santa Claus on skis at the lifts on Solaise. Join in some fun and games with Santa.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town!! 24th December
Get ready to welcome Father Christmas, along with his magical Christmas assistants. This year Father Christmas will be arriving on his sleigh with his fairytale helpers.
Torchlight Descent & Fireworks 29Dec
Val d’Isère’s ski instructors present their brand new show including  Torchlight descent,  Firework display.

Val d'Isere Events
Val d’Isere Events

St Anton – Austria

Advent Magic in the Park – throughout December
St. Anton am Arlberg is hosting Advent Magic in the Park for the fourth time this year – the polar opposite to busy crowds, market stalls and rush to buy presents, this is traditional markets, wooden toys, gluwein…you get the picture!
Wiltener Boys Choir Concert 28th December 2016
Skishow “Schneetreiben” with Fireworks  30th December

St Anton Festivities

Tignes – France

Christmas Parade 22th December : let’s celebrate Christmas
Christmas’ parade will take place in Tignes Val Claret and Le Lac.
Santa Claus Tour 24th December
Pop – Rock New Year’s Eve and Fireworks 31st Dec
Grab your down jacket and Moonboots and get ready to dance to the greatest POP-ROCK bootlegs on the highest dance floor in Europe!

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Tignes

Morzine – France

Street Theatre “Legrand bazar de balthazar”– 24th December
Illumination of a giant tree of fire decorated with a hundred candles  24th December
Arrival of Father Christmas surrounded by his “light’in riders” followed by fireworks. 24th December
Town Illuminations 31st December
Light and street theatre show with “Les Cyborgs” 31st December
Light’in riders torchlight descent followed by fireworks 31st December

Morzine
Morzine

Selva – Italy

Mountain Christmas: Music entertainment with the Alpine Horns 23rd December
The hills are alive with the sound of…horns! Traditional horn playing by the famous local band.
Christmas Carols by Music Band Selva 24th December
Explore snow covered forest paths with snowshoes 25th December
Grab some fresh air before Prepare yourself for your Christmas
New Year in Selva 31st December
A torchlight descent in Ortisei followed by New Year Party with music entertainment by the band “Urtijëi Brass” this is followed by New Year Pary in Selva where you can bop into the early hours!

Selva
Selva

La Plagne

Torchlight ski descent and meet Santa before he starts the rounds 24th December
Celebrate a White Christmas in La Plagne – 25th  December
Various of festive activities and events throughout the day
Red Pompom NYE party  31st December
Dancing extravaganza to see in the New year. See the video footage below…

We have only listed a few resorts and events, if your resort is not up there, it’s just because we couldn’t list them all, so don’t worry, you can be sure of plenty of festive fun and frollicks, whichever ski resort you are planning on visiting for Christmas or New Year!

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