What’s new for the 2014/15 ski season – Telegraph.co.uk
New Folie Douce to liven up Megève
Megève (megeve.com) is
one of France’s oldest and most exclusive winter sports resorts. It was
developed in the Twenties as a counter to Switzerland’s St
Moritz, and as such it retains a traditional, rustic-chic feel, with
plush hotels and a charming car-free centre at the foot of its large,
prettily wooded intermediate ski area.
But this season Megève’s quiet and sophisticated après scene is going to get
something of a shake-up: at the top of Mont Joux the latest branch of the
Folie Douce is due to open, introducing the chain’s trademark Austrian-style
afternoon party scene. This will be the fifth in the Folie Douce chain,
which started in Val d’Isère and spread to Val Thorens, Méribel and Alpe
d’Huez. Quite what the much more chic clientele of Megève will make of it
remains to be seen.
La Folie Douce, pictured here in Alpe d’Huez, will add another dimension
to upmarket Megève
Big new gondola in Ischgl
In Austria’s Tirol, Ischgl
(ischgl.com) offers an
unusual combination of extensive intermediate slopes at altitudes higher
than the Austrian norm – which means reliable snow – and a traditional-style
valley village with very lively après. It also has one of the Alps’ best
lift systems, with lots of fast chairs and powerful gondolas. The system
will get even better this season when the old four-seat Pardatschgrat
gondola – one of three gondolas out of the village – will be replaced by a
new 28-seat one, increasing capacity by more than 1,000 passengers per hour
and cutting peak-time queues from the village.
Sun Peaks (sunpeaksresort.com)
has sprung from the drawing board in the past 20 years. What started life as
a local hill for the residents of nearby Kamloops now has a cute, largely
car-free, family-friendly little village at its base. The ski area has
expanded hugely and with another 500 acres being opened up for this season,
it will become the second-largest ski area in Canada – Whistler is the
biggest – and has terrain for all standards.
Red Mountain (redresort.com)
has long been a cult resort for expert skiers who can handle its steep
terrain and tree skiing. It has some recently built lodging at its base but
a more compelling place to stay is funky little Rossland, an old mining town
2.5 miles away and served by free shuttle-buses. This season the resort will
be expanded by the addition of almost 200 acres of avalanche-controlled and
patrolled cat-skiing of almost 500 metres vertical, costing just £5.60 per
run. That follows an expansion last year of almost 1,000 acres by opening up
Grey Mountain for the first time for lift-served skiing.
Val Thorens continues to climb upmarket
Val Thorens (valthorens.com)
is the highest resort in the Alps. It has always combined reliable snow and
ski-from-the-door convenience with more stylish buildings than is common in
purpose-built resorts, but these days it has other attractions, too – an
ever-improving lift system, and increasingly swanky lodgings. For 2014-15
two quads are being replaced by six-seat chairlifts, both specially designed
to cope with high winds. This follows three new fast lifts last season. And Val
Thorens now has three five-star hotels with the opening last season
of the Koh-i Noor at the top of the resort; there is a similarly smart
apartment residence next door, too.
A new Club Med resort in Val Thorens is just one of many additions
The big players
The UK holiday market is dominated by three firms – Crystal, with its sister
brand Thomson, Inghams and Neilson provide about 70 per cent of the winter
sports packages sold in Britain.
has a programme covering an impressive 135 resorts – five of which are new,
including Maria Alm and Nauders in Austria, and San Vigilio in the Italian
Dolomites. There are seven new flight routes, including Bristol-Innsbruck,
Southampton-Chambéry and Geneva flights from Bournemouth and Cardiff.
covers 90 destinations with 10 new resorts, including several in Austria,
Arosa in Switzerland – newly linked to Lenzerheide – San Vigilio and San
Cassiano in the Italian Dolomites and La Rosière in France. The company has
added two more hotels in the French resorts of Méribel and Morzine to
its Ski Inclusive range – where the price includes your lift pass and
equipment hire, lunch vouchers or picnics, and wine with dinner – and six
new properties to its catered chalet programme.
Neilson (neilson.co.uk) has
added a hotel in El Tarter, Andorra, and a brand new chalet in Montgenèvre
to its portfolio of catered chalets and chalet-hotels, now branded the
Mountain Collection. Other additions to the Neilson programme are hotels in
Lech and Zürs, Austria’s most swanky resorts. It has also added flights from
Edinburgh and Bristol to Grenoble.
Ski Total (skitotal.com),
now one of the biggest operators of smart but affordable catered chalets and
chalet hotels, moves into two major resorts this season. It becomes the
first operator to feature catered chalets in Flaine in France with three
places, two with access to a pool and a spa. It has also taken over a smart
four-star hotel in Champoluc in Italy’s Monterosa Ski region and is running
it as the resort’s first chalet-hotel.
Over in Austria, in the fashionable resort of Lech, where there are hardly any
catered chalets, it will be opening its fourth chalet-hotel, complete with
pool, sauna and steam room.
Ski Esprit has added Whistler, Canada, to its programme this season (Mike
Ski Esprit (espritski.com)
is the biggest family-specialist tour operator in the UK and goes to 10
French resorts, two in Austria and one in Italy. This season, for the first
time, it is running family holidays to Whistler in Canada. It is also
starting special “Baby and Toddler” weeks with free infant places and
half-price child care.
is one of the biggest independently run operators and has added 23 chalets
in French resorts, plus a fabulous penthouse chalet-apartment for six in St
Anton in Austria, with a sauna/steam room and a hot tub on the balcony
enjoying stunning views.
Ski Safari (skisafari.com)
specialises in out-of-the-ordinary, tailor-made holidays. For this season,
it features South Korea (host of the 2018 Winter Olympics) and the resorts
of Yongpyong and Phoenix Park. You can combine this in a Ski Asia Safari
with Niseko in Japan and add on a city break in South Korea’s capital,
Seoul. Ski Safari is also introducing Alyeska in Alaska, which can be
combined with Whistler or Mammoth and Los Angeles or Seattle.
Scott Dunn (scottdunn.com)
has two new chalets in Val d’Isère including one sleeping 14 with a pool,
infinity waterfall, sauna and steam room. In Switzerland, it is also
featuring Verbier for the first time and offering a new three-centre holiday
with stays in Zermatt, Andermatt and St Moritz, using the Glacier Express
train for transfers.
has a luxurious newly built chalet in the Nasserein area of St Anton, which
combines a traditional Tirolean exterior with a sleek contemporary interior.
It is made up of three apartments sleeping six or eight which share a pool,
hot tub, sauna and steam room. They can be catered for separately or one
large party can take over the lot and all eat together.
features only the most sumptuous of chalets and its new Chalet Mont Blanc
overlooking Megève looks to be the plushest of all – sleeping 12 adults and
up to four children in a separate bedroom. It has all the extras, such as
infinity pool, cinema and helipad. Yours for a mere €160,000 (£128,000) a
week for much of the season.
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What’s new for the 2014/15 ski season – Telegraph.co.uk
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