Top Five Talking Points for the 2018/19 Ski Season

With the 2018/19 ski season rapidly approaching we wanted to give you our top 5 points to help you book a successful holiday.

1. Which weeks to book next ski season?

This year‘s booking patterns are really no different to what we would expect;  the peak weeks are selling well and although there is still some availability for New Year, Half Term and the Easter weeks, your choice will be limited as many of the popular resorts and chalets have already been booked.

If you can go at Christmas as opposed to New Year you can certainly book some great chalets at reasonable prices. January is always a good time to go skiing, as the slopes are not busy and the conditions are generally great, albeit you will require an extra layer.

The week before half term is also a great week for adult groups as it never sells well and there are always plenty of bargains. Late February or early March is a very popular time of the season, so we recommend booking early to get your choice of resort and chalet. Mid-March weeks are generally weeks that you can pick up a late deal. Keep an eye on our Chalet Deals closer to the time.

If you prefer the warmer weather and a chance of a tan on the slopes then the week starting 7/8 April seems to be the main Easter week. If you can escape the weeks before or after you will make considerable savings on your holiday. Always travel high for the best snow conditions this late in the ski season!

Hotel Airelles Courchevel
Hotel Airelles Courchevel

2. New Season, Try a New Resort

The resorts our clients consistently book are without doubt some of the best resorts in the world; Val d’Isere, Courchevel, Meribel, Chamonix, Verbier, Zermatt, , St Anton, Lech, Madonna di Campiglio, and Selva Val Gardena. These resorts have everything from great skiing, excellent après ski, superb accommodation with spectacular scenery, however I suspect many of you have been there, done that and are wondering where else to go. We have the answers, hidden gems, incredible views and something for everyone!

Alpine Answers resorts to try in 2018/19

3. If you want to impress!

We have some fabulous Luxury Chalets and Hotels that will most definitely take your breath away and make you want to come back year after year.

Chalet Maldeghem Klosters
Chalet Maldeghem Klosters

Great Luxury Chalets and Hotels for 2018/19 Ski Season

4. Something for the weekend?

The weekend ski break has become an ever popular choice with our clients over the years. There is no better way to get some extra bounce in your step, as the buzz of a weekend stays with you for a few days after you return back to your desk or normal routine. We have some great places to stay that are convenient to the airports as well as the slopes. If you are thinking of getting away for a few days let us know and we can help you no matter what your budget is.

Ski Season in Chamonix
Skiing in Chamonix

Here are our top ski weekend destinations

5. Want to take the family skiing?

There can be no doubt that one of the best family holidays is a ski holiday. Enjoying the sport together is so much fun and seeing your children progress as they get older is incredibly rewarding. A large portion of our clients are families, so we know this market well and have a dedicated Child Friendly Chalets section. Whether you have first timers who need special attention or teenagers who want to tear it up we have something for you.

Chalet Hotel St Anton Pepi Gabl
Chalet Hotel St Anton Pepi Gabl

These are our favourite family places to stay

 

 

What’s new in Val d’Isere for 2018-19

As always, the premier ski resorts of the Alps are constantly updating and upgrading themselves. So, what’s new in Val d’Isere for the upcoming winter season of 2018-2019?

France’s highest hotel comes to Val d’Isere

The Solaise cable car has not been in operation for many years and the old pylons were removed sometime ago. However, the large station buildings at the bottom and the top of the old lift have remained stoically in place – a reminder of a bygone era for the resort. The top station has now been redeveloped into a luxury ski in ski out spa hotel. At 2,551 metres altitude Le Refuge de Solaise is now France’s highest hotel. It offers a unique accommodation experience in Val d’Isere with 34 bedrooms, luxury apartments and even a 23 metre pool (open to the public) with stunning mountain views . Guests will not only enjoy the tranquil mountain setting and fabulous sunsets but also first access in the morning of a fresh powder day to some of Val d’Isere’s best off piste terrain.

The new gondola lift in La Daille

new in Val d'Isere
The new gondola cabins manufactured by Poma

Opening December 2018, a new 10-person luxury gondola will replace the old 4-person egg lift from La Daille to the Folie Douce/Fruitiere. The journey time will be halved and the lift capacity increase to 2,800 passengers per hour. This will mean less queuing time for those wishing to ‘download’ from the mountain after a heavy session at the Folie! This new La Daille lift will be the first in France to feature the latest Premium Symphony 10-passenger cabins manufactured by Poma.  In total there will be 50 new cabins as well as one VIP cabin, all are bright, comfortable and feature heated seats as well as giving passengers panoramic mountain views.

Read more about Val d’Isere in our resort guide.

 

 

It might be a scorching summer this year but we have seen more clients than ever before booking early for next season – particularly the peak weeks. As the more comfortable chalets and hotels get booked up early it is important to start your holiday planning early.

Many operators in Val d’Isere have great deals on in July, with free lift pass offers and extra free places for group bookings. These early booking incentives can make a big saving! So, if you’re now thinking about where you might like to go this winter please do get in touch. We would be delighted to help you find the perfect ski holiday for next winter.

An Extensive Courchevel Guide by Alpine Answers

The Courchevel Valley is one part of the ever-popular holiday destination the Three Valleys. This resort has always held a reputation for being the more glamorous section to this part of the Alps. However, this Courchevel guide shows that Courchevel offers something for every kind of holiday experience.

Visitors are spoilt for choice and can pick between a range of areas to in which to stay. There is the traditional and luxurious Courchevel 1850, and the favourite among younger groups Courchevel Moriond. A little further down the mountain, there is also the family and budget-friendly Courchevel Village. Also included in the ski pass is the traditional Le Praz, and the quaint La Tania. 

Once skiing finishes for the day there is a free bus shuttle service between the different villages and even one that links to Meribel, meaning you are spoilt for choice.

The Courchevel Guide to Skiing
The Courchevel Guide to Skiing

The Skiing in Courchevel Guide

  • Nearly 100 slopes with just over half being green and blue, making it perfect for learners
  • Easy access to the rest of the Three Valleys, providing a total of 600km of pistes
  • Many north-facing slopes, normally ensuring the snow stays late on into the season
  • Free beginners lifts to help reduce costs of learning to ski
  • Verdons by Night, a weekly event where the main green slope into town remains open, providing a new skiing experience

The Ultimate Guide to Après Ski in Courchevel

Courchevel provides a range of après ski options, ensuring you are kept busy throughout your holiday. It often has a reputation for being more of a mellow resort, but we have found visitors still have a variety of choices, from live music to clubs. Here is just a selection, and then check out our main website for a longer list.

Chez Gaston Located in the centre of Courchevel 1850, this western themed bar and restaurant offers a spectacular view over the slopes. Enjoying a vin chaud need not break the bank either with their relatively reasonable prices. If you cannot imagine a ski holiday without a night out the bar transforms into a club in the evening. They then stay open late into the night.

La Folie Douce – Courchevel provides easy access – on or off skis – to Meribel’s La Folie Douce – an iconic bar that could trick you into thinking Ibiza had moved to the Alps. The Saulire lift provides a lift back into the Courchevel Valley. This is the perfect location for pounding music and performers like no other.

Pub Le Ski LodgeFound in the heart of La Tania, this perfect if you are looking for live music, a hearty meal, and unrivaled range of beer. Live bands play every weekday, with some of the most iconic bands in the Alps frequenting the pub. Whether on the heated outdoor terrace or kept cosy inside this is a must-visit for après.

Nokken – If glamourous nights out are your thing, then look no further than Nokken. This is the ultimate place to continue après into the early hours of the morning. It is located in Courchevel 1850, and while a little pricier, L’ARC provides an unforgettable night and certainly justifies its price.

The Courchevel Guide to Activities
The Courchevel Guide to Activities

Activities Off On Offer in Courchevel for Thrill Seekers

While it is easy to fill your time in Courchevel with simply skiing and après, you would only be scratching the surface of what is available to do there.  If your perfect holiday involves constant activity and new things, then Courchevel has more than just skiing.

AquamotionThis is a favourite of ours, and we would really recommend paying this leisure centre a visit. Located between Courchevel Moriond and Courchevel Village, Aquamotion offers indoor and outdoor pools, a spa, and an indoor surfing experience! Perfect if you are looking for some time off from the slopes.

The Luge – This heart-racing activity is a must for thrill seekers paying Courchevel a visit! The Luge has only recently opened and we can see why it is already so popular. This fast-paced track is 3km in length, with a 450m descent. The track even splits into two, upping the competition if you try it as a group!

Paragliding – If you feel brave enough there is no better way to view the Alps than from the skies! This adrenaline packed experience is a popular one, with multiple companies running in resort, providing some of the highest and longest flights in the Three Valleys.

The Courchevel Guide to Activities
The Courchevel Guide to Activities

Courchevel Guide to relaxing Activities

Spa – If nothing else, Courchevel’s ultimate attraction off of the slopes is their unbeatable range of spas. These are mostly focused in Courchevel 1850, in local hotels. They also provide access to the public, making it the perfect way for everyone to find a way to unwind and relax.

Pedestrian PassThe slopes are not just open to those on skis or snowboards – the popularity of exploring the resort on foot is clear due to their introduction of a ‘pedestrian pass’. You can reach some of the highest parts of the resort this way, with incredible views for miles.

Conclusion

Courchevel is a great choice for holidays of all types since it provides access to the Three Valleys. It is particularly beginner-friendly – perfect for families or big groups of varying abilities.

  • Check out Courchevel 1850 for luxury ski chalets
  • If location is important for you then try Courchevel Moriond to have access to skiing, nightlife, and other activities
  • Why not try Courchevel Village for more budget-friendly options
  • Take a look at La Praz to get that alpine-feel atmosphere
  • We also have a variety of chalets in La Tania

We would be happy to talk through the different options both in Courchevel and other resorts, just give us a call: 020 7801 1080

The Complete La Plagne Guide

La Plagne is one of those resorts which people come back to year after year – when you’ve visited once you’ll find yourself wanting to return time and time again. Looking at the resort it’s easy to understand why. This La Plagne Guide will show you why you should consider it for your next holiday.

La Plagne offers an expansive ski area, being a part of the Paradiski area. It has a reasonable amount of après options, and while it may not suit the party hard crowd, it’s easy to enjoy your evenings in this relaxed resort. With the laid-back atmosphere comes laid-back prices – La Plagne is partly loved because of the great value it offers visitors.

While the scale of the resort, with its 6 main villages, might put some people off, you are far from isolated to one area. The resort offers a free shuttle bus service, so as long as you stay in one of the main villages, you have the freedom to experience the different personalities of each village.

La Plagne guide to skiing

The Skiing in La Plagne Guide
Paradiski Piste Map
  • Access to 2 glaciers ensuring you can ski on better snow, later in the season
  • Easy access to the Paradiski area, with 425km of pistes
  • 70% of the pistes are above 2000m, perfect if you want a snow-sure resort
  • The longest boardercross in Europe for the adrenaline junkies
  • A good range of different slopes, with enough for everyone from beginners to advanced skiers

La Plagne guide to off the slope activities

While La Plagne is most visited for its ski area, there is so much on offer once the lifts shut. There’s something for everyone, from adrenaline junkies, to families, to couples. This is just a selection, and you can see our full guide on our website.

BobsleighArguably La Plagne’s most well-known attraction, this Olympic Bobsleigh in Plagne 1800 will take you to speeds you could only previously imagine. Whether you want to go in a group, alone, or with a professional driver, they offer something for all tastes. If you want an unforgettable experience and something with which to wow your friends, make sure to check it out.

The Activities in La Plagne Guide
The Activities in La Plagne Guide

Le Forperet FarmThis is the best place in La Plagne for a chilled out activity for families. You truly feel like you are in the mountains, as the farm is found in the little village of Montalbert. Both a farm and a restaurant, they offer pony rides, and the chance to learn how Savoyard cheese is made. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, feast in their traditional restaurant, and indulge in some Fondue.

Over the Moon If romance is what you are looking for, there is no better place in the resort than this experience that will make you feel ‘over the moon’! While piste bashers aren’t traditionally romantic, this one has been transformed and parked at 2000m. Once you’ve arrived in your private transfer, you have a cosy cabin for two, complete with a spa bath, complimentary breakfast, and panoramic windows to make you feel like you are sleeping under the stars. This is truly the ultimate romantic experience!

The Après Ski in La Plagne

La Plagne is perfect for après ski if you like cosy little bars, packed with character and ambiance, where the owners will know you by name by the end of the week. Here are some of our favourites, and we have a full list on our website.

Scotty’sThink après ski in La Plagne, think Scotty’s. This piste-side bar in La Plagne Centre is the most well-known in resort. You can find live music every weekday, a filling range of food, and events on all the time. Packed with people dancing in their boots, head down here for a drink after your day skiing.

La MineLocated in La Plagne 1800, this English style pub might make you think you were back home, if not for the relaxed alpine atmosphere. They offer live music and sports game screenings too. Conveniently located right by the bus stop, why not stop by here before heading back to your hotel for dinner.

The Apres Ski in La Plagne Guide
The Apres Ski in La Plagne Guide

The Rhumerie Hidden away in the smaller village of Aime 2000, this bar will still deliver a memorable night. Famed for their range of rum flavours, you can have a dance to live music and mingle with the locals.

Spitting FeathersThis British-style pub excels in food as much as après. Tim and Anna offer curry, and fish and chip nights, as well as a range of drinks. What they do best is atmosphere, you’ll feel right and home, and feel free to ask any questions about the ski area.

Bowling BarA little unconventional, but this bar is next to a bowling alley in Belle Plagne, complete with pool tables. Perfect if you want to unwind while the kids enjoy some activities, or as a starting point for a bar crawl.

Conclusion

La Plagne is the perfect choice for people who want quality skiing, a range of things to do off the slopes, and all for a reasonable price. It is known for being particularly good with families, and people describe feeling like they grew up in resort!

  • For stronger skiers, make sure to take advantage of the huge ski area
  • As long as you are brave enough, check out the Bobsleigh Run
  • For a truly alpine experience, you have to pay a visit to the Forperet Farm
  • Make the most of the friendly atmosphere in the bars and pubs in the evenings

We would be happy to talk through the different options both in La Plagne and other resorts, just give us a call: 020 7801 1080

The Underrated ski resort | Serre Chevalier |

Serre Chevalier is not a single resort but 4 distinct and separate villages; Briancon, Chantemerle, Villeneuve and Le Monetier all of which link into the ski circuit and offer a whopping 250km of piste.

We like Serre Chevalier as a refreshing change from the big resorts like Val d’Isere, Tignes, Courchevel, Meribel and so on. In particular the pretty, tree-lined pistes as well as the charming restaurants on and off the mountain. We also love the fact that Serre Chevalier retains a Gallic atmosphere where speaking a bit of French goes a long way. The lower prices are also a big plus.

Serre Chevalier’s ski area is quieter, prettier, and more forgiving than many of the larger super stations.

Ski resort Serre Chevalier
Piste map of Serre Chevalier

PLUSES ABOUT THE SKI AREA

  • 250km is a fair old size and only 50km less than Vald’Isere and Tignes put together.
  • Lots of tree lined runs –It’s unusual to find so many on the slopes of a French resort.
  • Large parts of the ski area are North facing. This is a good thing as the slopes tend to be colder for longer, and hold their snow well.
  • The resort also offers something that sets it apart from other resorts in Europe – Les Cols’Porteurs. These are free 90-minute guided tours of the ski area, every day of the week. Generally only offered to red-run skiers.

WHO BENEFITS MOST?

Intermediates will love Serre Chevalier!

Of the different sectors, Monetier is the most appealing and usually the least crowded. This is the best part of the mountain for accomplished skiers and riders. All the other Area’s offer fantastic skiing for beginners and intermediates.

Serre Chevalier has learnt much from our friends across the pond in North America offering a free ski hosting service called Les Cols’Porteurs. The Hosts take 90-minute tours of the mountain every day and – as long as you can manage a red run – you can join. As well as acting as guides, they’ll also teach you about ski safety and make your time with them fun as well as educational. The second North American influence is piste grooming which Serre Chevalier excels at. They even have their own Grooming School where, in a 20-minute session at the top of the Casse du Boeuf chair-lift, you can learn how to drive a piste-basher yourself.

Ski resort Serre Chevalier
Lots of trees in Serre Chevalier

VERY GOOD FAMILY FACILITIES

Serre Chevalier has good locally-run facilities. EurekaSKI can organise private (English-speaking) childcare for little ones from three months old. For toddlers in Chantemerle, Les Poussins accepts little ones from eight months to six years. Les Petits Aigles is a leisure centre with activities for three to six year olds. In Villeneuve, Les Schtroumpfs cares for children from six months, and Micro Creche takes non-skiers from three months to six years. In Monêtier, Les Eterlous accepts children from six months (18 months during French school holidays).

The ESF Jardin des Neiges in Briançon , Chantemerle , Villeneuve and Monetier  provides a mix of tuition and play for children from three years. New Generation offers a wide range of English-speaking classes for kids aged 4-13. Children’s lessons with Buissonniere ESI are also very good as is the ESI Generation in Chantemerle, which offers lessons for children aged 7 to 11 years.

A bus-service links the various villages: Chantemerle (1,350m), Villeneuve (1,400m) and the adjoining rustic hamlet of Le Bez, Monetier-les-Bains (1,500m), the garrison town of Briançon, and the hamlets of Puy Saint Andre and Puy Saint Pierre.

Chantemerle (at 1,350m) is the best base for families. This is the nearest village to Briançon. It has a pretty historic core as well as a fast gondola to access the slopes and a six-seater chair-lift provides fast access from mid-mountain to the top of the ski area.

Villeneuve (at 1,400m) has some of the best-value accommodation. It also has most of the nightlife, making it the base that attracts singles and groups.

Monetier (at 1,500m) has been a resort since Victorian times, but this is the base that has been most recently updated. It’s a good spot for couples who’d enjoy staying in a traditional farming village with skiing on its doorstep. However it has also been burnishing its appeal to families. It’s now home to a large ESF children’s club, nursery slopes with magic carpet, a newly developed lift base, a spacious restaurant and bar, and a thermal spa for the whole family. This is also where you’ll find the highly-rated British ski school New Generation.

Monetier is the place to stay if you’re an advanced to expert skier or snowboarder, as this end of the valley is where you’ll find the best off-piste.

Serre Chevalier
Traditional Village of Le Monetier

Briançon (at 1,200m) is a large, old walled town above the gondola station.

The town and commune is called Briançon, but the old walled town is actually called Cité Vauban. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site with considerable charm, but it lacks the atmosphere of a ski resort. However, the old town is changing and there’s a wonderful choice of restaurants, lots of apartments too. But it is less convenient than the new town for accessing the slopes, 10 minutes’ walk up or down the very steep hill.

Serre Chevalier is not a party resort. If you’re looking for non-stop nightlife in this part of the Alps, you’d be better off going to Les Deux Alpes or Alpe d’Huez. The scene consists almost entirely of local bars and the occasional very Gallic disco.

SPA

Les Grands Bains features indoor and outdoor thermal pools, saunas, steam rooms, treatment rooms and all sorts of imaginative extras!

Ski resort of Serre Chevalier
Thermal Baths in Le Monetier

TO CONCLUDE

We highly recommend Serre Chevalier as a ski resort that won’t cost the earth. It has some great skiing for all levels and is family friendly. If you are looking for something different, try Serre Chevalier!

Call one of our experts for some help if you would like to consider Serre Chevalier.