Morzine Ski Resort

Morzine ski resort is one of the most popular places to ski in France due to its convenience from Geneva (less than one hour’s drive from the airport), links to one of the biggest ski areas in Europe and its alpine charm. It is the best base to explore the Portes du Soleil. Morzine ski resort is a busy, picturesque and vibrant town. It is only an hour transfer from Geneva making it a great resort for short breaks and self drive trips. Morzine rests in the bottom of a mountain valley whereby you can ski either side. The Pleney side offers gentler terrain, with plenty of wide tree runs. The other side of the valley, the Super Morzine area, links to Avoriaz and also to the Swiss section of the Portes du Soleil where there is plenty of skiing for all abilities. There are often concerns that Morzine is too low a ski resort for good snow conditions. However, with direct access to Avoriaz which offers high snow-sure skiing late into the season there will always be snow to ski on. There has been a lot of investment in snow-making over recent years which has also improved snow sure reliability.

Morzine Ski Resort – A short checklist of things to do

1. If you want a real challenge, the ultimate feared run in Europe is ‘The Swiss Wall’. This is a mogul field whereby if you fall – you will fall a long way. The moguls are sometimes huge and often reach the height of an average person!

Morzine Ski resort - the nororious Swiss Wall!

Morzine Ski resort – the nororious Swiss Wall!

2. After a long hard day’s ski, right in the centre of town there is a little crepe shack called ‘Chez Martine’ which quite simply makes the best crepes in the alps – I have tried and tested many.

Morzine ski resort - Chez Martine for wonderful crepes

Morzine ski resort – Chez Martine for wonderful crepes

3. Most weeks there is an ice hockey match held in the resort centre and it’s great fun for all the family to go and watch. The Morzine Penguins are a big team in the Haute Savoie region and there is every chance that a local derby match with another local team will degenerate into ‘fireworks’.

Morzine ski resort  - The Penguins ice hockey team

Morzine ski resort – The Penguins ice hockey team

Morzine Ski Resort – Where to stay?

Morzine ski resort is spread along the valley floor so if you don’t have your own car then it’s best to try and stay close to the centre as public transport here is not as efficient as other ski resorts. There are many catered chalets in Morzine as well as self catered chalets and apartments. Catered chalets in Morzine are mostly run by smaller, independent holiday companies offering wonderful food and personal service.

Morzine ski resort - Chalet Ferme du Lac

Morzine ski resort – Chalet Ferme du Lac

Morzine is great resort for families as there are so many things to do. Whether it’s a short break, a trip with your friends, or a family ski holiday, simply call the Alpine Answers team and we will be able to provide the perfect ski holiday to Morzine.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7801 1080 www.alpineanswers.co.uk

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Catered ski chalets Austria

Catered ski chalets in Austria have traditionally been focused in the world famous Arlberg, primarily in ‘party central’ St Anton and more recently in the swanky Lech and Zurs areas of the region.  At Alpine Answers we work with just under 100 ski chalets throughout Austria and 75% of the catered chalets are in St Anton – indicative of the general distribution of chalets in Austria. It may come as a surprise to many but the European chalet market has not always been so franco-centric.  During the 1980’s Austria was a dominant force and the place to look for catered chalet holidays, and the market is currently enjoying a resurgent Indian summer; Austria now makes up 28% of the British ski holiday market (compared with France’s 34%).

Catered Ski Chalets Austria – St Anton

St Anton is the home of catered ski chalets in Austria, and as such offers fantastic variety.  The resort is home to some ultra-luxury chalets; the Chalet Artemis has its own private cinema and swimming pool and the Chalet Illimani with its luxurious spa facilities.  St Anton also caters for mid-range options, with well located chalets like the Eagles Nest, a short bus ride or walk downhill to the vibrant nightlife or uphill to the world famous après scene. (also one of the few options with a hot tub in St Anton!).

Catered ski chalets Austria - St Anton

Catered ski chalets Austria – St Anton

Catered Ski Chalets Austria – Lech

Lech is slowly breaking into the catered ski chalet market and now can offer both mid-range options like the Chalet Alpenland or the recently opened Uberhaus, with its outdoor hot-tub, hammam/steam room, gym, and sauna along with a ski in/ski out location.

Lech - a luxury ski resort in Austria

Lech – a luxury ski resort in Austria

Catered Ski Chalet Hotels in Austria

Larger chalet hotels are often the port of call for those looking to enjoy their chalet comforts in outside of the Arlberg and operators run properties for up to 60 guests in resorts such as Hinterglemm, Ischgl, Kuhtai, Mayrhofen and Obergurgl, among others.  Properties like the fantastically located Chalet Hotel Elisabeth in Kuhtai, offer ski in/ski out convenience combined with a snow-sure and family friendly resort, all under an hour’s drive from Innsbruck.

Catered ski chalets Austria - Kuhtai

Catered ski chalets Austria – Kuhtai

A great asset of Austrian alpine charm is that the resorts have all developed organically and can offer the authentic charm of the Tyrolean ski-hut.  These warm and charismatic chalets and chalet hotels bear little resemblance to the purpose built monstrosities that have enveloped French resorts such as La Plagne, Tignes and Avoriaz over the past 25 years.  The catered ski chalet in Austria is slowly taking control of the British ski-holiday market and with friendly locals and ferocious après; there is reason to think that the trend will continue unabated for 25 years to come.

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Catered chalets in Meribel

Meribel is undoubtedly one of the world’s best ski resorts – apart from being right in the centre of the massive Three Valleys ski area and one of the highest and most extensive in Europe the resort has an extensive après ski scene and thriving nightlife, as well as plenty of activities off the slopes and a charming main village with plenty of shops and restaurants. There is also a vast array of catered chalets in Meribel to choose from.

Catered chalets in Meribel

Meribel Centre at night.

Visitors tempted here by the resort’s reputation and snow record have a fantastic choice of accommodation with almost 100 catered chalets in Meribel to choose from, scattered across the different villages. From simple apartments with basic catering to luxurious, top-of-the-range chalets with exclusive chefs and tailored menus, there is a catered chalet in Meribel to suit every budget and skier.

Catered chalets in Meribel: A chalet that has it all.

The Chalet Bambis really is an all-round player in the league of catered chalets in Meribel. Sleeping 8-10 people, this characterful chalet boasts a ski in/out location (rare in Meribel) as well as being located only 150m from the centre of town. If this is not enough, there is also a shared driver service between 8am and 10pm for guests to make their way around resort comfortable and quickly. Four of the five bedrooms are fully en-suite, and there is also a sauna in the chalet to relax in at the end of the day. A high standard of food and service can be expected, with a cooked breakfast to start each day, full afternoon tea and then four course dinner with complimentary wines, beers, and soft drinks, plus coffee, port and chocolates to wind down the evening. No travel is included with this chalet (Alpine Answers can help to arrange flights and transfers) but childcare is available on request in this chalet.

Catered chalets in Meribel

Chalet Bambis: Catered chalet in Meribel

Catered chalets in Meribel: A chalet that is great value for money.

The Chalet Petite Silene is primarily notable for its fantastic value for money, especially in Meribel. With four en-suite twin/double bedrooms this contemporary chalet is spacious and very comfortable. Located just 100m from the centre of Meribel and 300m from the ski slopes, the location is ideal for families and groups who prefer convenience and ease of access. There is a small outdoor hot tub and sauna which are great additions, and the food is of a good standard without being fussy (wine, beers and soft drinks are all included).  Again no travel is included, but for between £600 and £700 per person per week the Chalet Petite Silene is an extremely well-priced catered chalet in Meribel – we suggest that you snap it up before anyone else does.

Catered chalets in Meribel

Chalet Petite Silene: Catered chalet in Meribel

Catered chalets in Meribel: A chalet that is perfect for children. 

When you have little ones in tow on a ski trip, the main concerns when choosing a chalet tend to include location, childcare, and being well-looked after as adults once the children are asleep. The Chalet Ardour fits this bill perfectly; the operator is well-established in Meribel and provides excellent crèche and private nanny facilities to its clients, with ski school runs, children’s lunches and high teas, toys and equipment and babysitting all very well organised. On selected weeks of the season childcare is free (subject to availability), which can make a sizeable difference to the overall cost of a holiday as well as removing the hassle from arranging independent childcare and ski crèches. The Chalet Ardour itself sleeps up to 10 people in five en-suite bedrooms, and is just 200m from the ski slopes and centre of town. For the adults, the delicious food and complimentary wines, beers and soft drinks alongside the outdoor hot tub and spacious, double-height lounge with log fire, should make for a relaxing week away.

Catered chalets in Meribel

Chalet Ardour: Catered chalet in Meribel

Catered chalets in Meribel: A chalet with flexible catering. 

Sometimes on holiday, especially on a ski holiday, you just want to relax and enjoy a meal in the comfort and privacy of your own chalet, whether cooked by yourself or your chalet host. Sometimes, however, you want to try the local Savoyarde specialities or that exclusive new restaurant that everyone is talking about. The Chalet Etoiles allows its guests to do just this; breakfast and afternoon tea are included daily but the evening meal is completely flexible at £25 per person per night. This is ideal for skiers who like to mix things up a little, catering-wise, and who aren’t quite sold on the idea of a fully catered chalet in Meribel. This modern chalet-apartment is less than 100m from the nearest piste and has private parking for 2 cars as well as a heated boot room and TV den, so would work well for a self-drive semi-catered holiday as well as a fully catered option.

Catered chalets in Meribel

Chalet Etoiles: Catered chalet in Meribel

Catered chalets in Meribel: A chalet where ‘the sky is the limit’.

One of the most exclusive and expensive catered chalets in Meribel is the stunning Chalet Brames, a wonderful property tucked away in private grounds yet just 150m from the main lift station. Deserving of its 6 stars on the Alpine Answers website, this six bedroom luxury chalet has a large garden, private office, cinema suite, billiard room, extensive spa with hammam, ice plunge pool, massage room and outdoor hot tub, and not one but two chauffeured 4 x 4 vehicles at the beck and call of guests. The quality of catering is extremely high, with a professional chef to create exquisite meals suiting the party’s tastes and preferences, daily champagne and canapés, carefully selected wines from the extensive cellar, special children’s lunches and dinners, and an open spirit bar to top it all off. All of this comes at a price, ranging from £1,600 to £5,600 per person per week excluding travel, but if money is no object then the Chalet Brames is definitely ‘The One’.

Catered chalets in Meribel

Chalet Brames: Catered chalet in Meribel

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Are you a skier that likes to sail?

Are you like me? Are you a skier that likes to sail? Growing up I always lead an outdoor life. Until my early teens my father was a farmer so much of my childhood was spent mucking about on the farm. There was the dairy herd to look after, as well as wheat to grow and harvest, so there was plenty to get involved with. I lived with my parents and my younger sister in a Kent village which was only 10 minutes drive from the South coast. With the sea close to hand and a father that liked sailing it was a natural thing for sailing to become very much part of our lives (although not part of my mother’s). My father was one of those men who built a yacht in the back garden – one which we did eventually crane over the house, put on the water and sail at weekends. The Summer holidays especially were spent either on the farm or messing about in boats. My father sold the farm in the late 70′s and later set up a yacht brokerage business which he managed until he retired. Boats were constantly in my life until I graduated from university and moved to London in 1987.

Yachts and sailing did not feature again until 1995 when I decided, almost out of the blue, that I would like to get into yacht racing. I attended a Royal Ocean Racing Club (in St James’s, London) crew finding evening and touted myself about as a semi useful addition to someone’s crew. Following that late summer evening I spent the next four years campaigning on half a dozen racing yachts based on the Hamble River, Hampshire, competing in both inshore and offshore races, culminating in the 1997 Fastnet. I served in crew positions all around the yacht starting as some muscle on the winches and finishing on either bow or spinnaker trim. However, the back of the boat (the helm, navigation and tactics) were always reserved for the yacht owner or his cronies.

Now I am in my (ummmm) late 40′s I am thinking that it would be fun to charter a yacht, perhaps in the Med or in the BVI’s, and take my family sailing. Who knows, perhaps my daughter who is currently dinghy sailing as a 12 year old will get the sailing bug like I did? So recently I set about looking into a bare-boat yacht charter in the Med for the summer holidays. Pretty soon I realised that I needed to produce an ICC (International Certificate of Competence) before I could bare-boat charter a yacht. Despite a childhood spent in dinghies and on dad’s small yacht, and my early 30′s spent racing on larger yachts I had never thought to obtain an official qualification. So there was only one thing I could do and that was to go back to school. I needed to get my RYA Day Skipper Practical exam, the minimum qualification required to then obtain an ICC.

Are you a skier that likes sailing?

Southwest Yachting – White Oryx IV

The Day Skipper qualification is a 5 day course (or two weekends) and covers the basics of: preparation for sea; deck work; pilotage; meteorology; rules of the road; boat engine maintenance and repair; victualling; emergency situations; yacht handling; passage making; night sailing and navigation (plotting course, understanding tidal heights and streams, use of electronic nav. equipment, use of way points etc).

To train and assess me for the RYA Day Skipper Practical I used Southwest Yachting. Martin Musgrove runs this and other training courses on board is Bavaria 42′, White Oryx IV, which is moored at the delightful Buckler’s Hard on the Beaulieu River, Hampshire. I can honestly say that his teaching methods and the organisation of 5 day course was without fault. In fact it made me wish that I had embarked on the qualification process 15 years earlier. Perhaps if I had then I would have obtained Coastal Skipper and then my Yacht Master qualifications. And if I had gone down that route 15 years ago I might have ended up ocean yacht racing instead of skiing. However, then I would not be here at Alpine Answers writing this blog.

Are you a skier that likes sailing?

Martin Musgrove – Southwest Yachting

Are you are a skier that likes to sail? Do you want to charter a yacht for your family’s next summer vacation? If you are like me and don’t have your ICC then I would thoroughly recommend you get yourself booked in with Southwest Yachting. Let Martin teach you through one of their practical courses. You won’t regret it.

 

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Ice diving in Tignes

Whether you are a complete beginner skier or an off-piste expert, a ‘quiet-night-in-cat’ or an ‘après-ski-tiger’, Tignes ski resort has a chalet or hotel for you. In fact, there really isn’t much, as a ski resort, that Tignes does not lend itself too. Even if you want to go ice diving in Tignes that’s no problem to arrange. While it may not be one of the most charming of resorts to head to in the Alps, there certainly is enough of everything you would expect from a ski holiday to make up for this! We set out to find a few unique pearls enclosed within the amazing oyster of Tignes ski resort.

Ice diving in Tignes

Ice diving in Tignes

Tignes Le Lavachet, Val Claret and Le Lac are all smoothly connected by a very efficient bus service running every 10-15 minutes. From all three of these points in Tignes ski resort you can then ski out and explore the vast Espace Killy ski domain, all 300km worth of pisted perfection.  For the non-skier still hoping to gain a thrill, then for 80 euros you can take the wheel of an Audi TT for 10 laps of the ice driving circuit! Or how about some scuba!  As a keen scuba diver I was astounded to find a diving centre in Tignes that offers a night dive experience under the frozen lake in the middle of the resort. A bone-chilling experience not to miss?

Ice driving in Tignes

Ice driving in Tignes

Although rather over shadowed by the party scene in Val d’Isere (the neighbouring resort) there is in fact a vast array of bars and clubs in Tignes – certainly enough to satisfy all but the extreme hardcore party-goer. An office favourite for an early evening drink is the Alpaka Hotel bar, Tignes Le Lac, and it’s not just because of the free shot you receive with every drink you buy on Sundays! The interior has a really cosy Alpine atmosphere and the cocktail list is comparable to something you’d expect to see in London bar. This combined with the owners’ huge but friendly Irish wolfhound, Oscar, who warmly greets all guests really does make it something different.

With any Alpine holiday it’s always worth trying out some of the local food. The Clin d’Oeil restaurant in Tignes Le Lac provides tasty fresh food and a great choice of local wines. Thierry and the rest of the front of house staff serve their food with passion and complete the package by wearing their traditional berets. A three course meal for 2 including wine will cost around 90 euros.

Chalets in Tignes

Where to stay you say? Chalet Aigle ticks every box under the sun – an ideal ski in and ski out location, a wellness centre to relax in after a long day’s skiing and well prepared 4 course dinners in the evenings.

Whether it’s a short break, romantic escape or a family ski holiday in Tignes ski resort, simply call the Alpine Answers team and we will be able to provide the perfect holiday options for you. Tel: +44 (0)20 7801 1080.

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