Ski holidays 2010/11 Print
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Tuesday, 07 September 2010 23:00
Ski holidays 2010/11 The best ski holidays 2010/2011 (photo: Thinkstock)

Wednesday, 08, Sep 2010 10:25

Let's face it, a ski holiday is a pricey pleasure but which ski and snowboard enthusiasts can resist their annual fix of Europe's snow-capped mountains?

Get good value for money with Travelbite.co.uk's top tips for the best ski holidays in the 2010/11 ski season:

How to get there

Rail travel to the ski slopes has so much going for it in terms of comfort, convenience, carbon footprint and, nowadays, even price. There's no extra cost for carrying your ski gear and no waiting around at baggage reclaim.

Return rail fares from London to Geneva start at £105 in standard class booking with Rail Europe. Or take the sleeper train from Paris first class return (there are only four berths per cabin rather than six as in second class), which costs from £130.

Eurostar is running its popular direct day ski services from St Pancras International and Ashford International to the French Alps again this year for ski holidays in the 2010/2011 season.

The high-speed passenger train provides weekly direct services calling at Moûtiers, Aime-La-Plagne and Bourg St Maurice, offering easy access to top ski destinations in the French Alps such as Courchevel, La Plagne, Tignes, Meribel and Les Arcs.

If you must fly, there are some useful new ski flight routes for the 2010/11 ski season. Jet2.com has expanded its ski offering from Edinburgh and Newcastle with new services to Geneva for the 2010/2011 winter sports season.

Ski flights specialist Snowjet has announced increased frequency on its Stansted-Sion route in the winter 2010/2011 season timetable. Sion is a very efficient Alpine airport in the popular Swiss Valais Region and is the fastest route to some of Switzerland's top ski resorts, including Zermatt, Verbier, Saas Fee, Crans Montana, Nendaz and Veysonnaz. Snowjet also flies from Gatwick, Stansted, Bristol and Manchester to Chambery in France for transfers to Meribel, Val d'Isere and Courchevel.

Ski away from the madding crowd

Skiing at the less well-known resorts in Europe is a good way to find a good value ski holiday. Many ski resorts have great facilities and quality accommodation, and are as equally snow-sure and challenging as the traditional haunts of British skiers.

Many resorts are not just cheaper and more pleasant to stay in than their more famous 'big name' neighbours, but also have queue-free, high-speed lift links to the major ski areas. With groceries, bar drinks, restaurant meals, ski school and equipment hire all cheaper, the savings can be significant.

For example, Zenith Holidays is offering ski holidays in value for money ski and snowboard resorts such as Orelle, St Jean Montclar, Les Deux Alpes, St Lary, Pra Loup, Morzine and Font Romeu in France, Pitztal and Matrei in Ost Tirol in Austria and Jasna in Slovakia. At 3,440m Pitztal is Austria's highest glacier ski area, offering skiing from September until May.

And Peak Retreats offers self-catering ski holidays (including a FlexiPlus Eurotunnel car crossing) in many unspoilt traditional resorts such as Morillon (linked to the larger ski area of Flaine) and Aussois.

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Ski holidays 2010/11 (photo: Natasha von Geldern)

Share the fun

Planning skiing holidays is never simple, especially as a single skier or a solo snow boarder. People cancel at the last minute and there can be varying levels of ability among a ski holiday group.

Ski*Pals is an exciting new website which lets skiers and boarders find new friends to spread the costs and share the fun of winter sports holidays.

Solo skiers can kiss goodbye to nasty single supplements and team up with a Ski*Pal to cut the cost of their holiday. Membership doesn't cost a penny and members can post their requests and chat online free of charge.

Advertise and rent out that spare room in the chalet, find a new ski friend to join an extreme ski adventure or sell a last minute cancellation in the group.... The website will help you contact and connect with other solo skiers and boarders so you can attend everything from a ski show to skiing games, to finding and organising transfers together.

First time skiers

If you have long fancied having a go at skiing but thought it too expensive, Fresher's Ski Week 2011 could be your big opportunity, as the Association of Snowsports Countries (ASC) massively reduces the cost of venturing into the sport.

Fresher's Ski Week in 2011 will be the weeks beginning either January 22nd or March 19th 2011 and offers a chance to learn to ski for free in one of more than 25 great resorts in Andorra, the Aosta Valley in Italy, Canada, Finland, France, Norway and Switzerland.

This amazing offer of free tuition, free lift passes and free equipment hire is open to more than 745 genuine first timers, on a first-come-first-served basis. There is also a prize draw to win a free ski holiday for the following ski season.

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Skiing in the Swiss Alps

Time your run (when to go)

Timing your ski holiday with one of the many mountain festivals and events can add a certain something to your ski holiday. The French Alps are well known for great food and great nightlife, but many resorts also host internationally renowned festivals from comedy events to extreme sports competitions and showcases of hot new bands. Snow-fanatics will be spoiled for choice in the Alps during the 2010/2011 ski season.

Visitors to the French resort of Val d'Isère this ski season will find something familiar in the air as the 55th edition of the Critérium de la Première Neige brings the Best of British to the slopes. Think Geri Halliwell circa the 1997 Brit Awards, Winston Churchill, red telephone boxes, fish and chips on a blustery beach. the Queen. This winter Val d'Isère is going brilliantly British from December 5th to 19th 2010.

Or how about combining a ski holiday in New Zealand with Queenstown's annual Gay Ski Week? It's the biggest gay alpine party in the Southern Hemisphere (September 4th to 12th) and entertainment includes the Veuve Clicquot welcome party (red carpet darling), cowboy dinner (more meat than greet) and a crazy play day (think bungee jumping and skydiving, not skittles and croquet). Book with Austravel.

Family ski holidays

Many ski resorts have child care options these days but if you want to avoid the hassle of nursery drop offs and make the most of each moment of your ski holiday you need a specialist alpine family holiday company with an on-site creche.

At Chilly Powder in the French resort of Morzine, Francesca and Paul Eyre have designed a family ski holiday where the adults get a holiday and the kids get a holiday and the whole family is happy.

A new entrant on the family ski holidays scene is VIP Ski, who are opening their first hotel on the piste in the Les Gets ski area of Les Chavannes in December 2010. Altitude Lodge will have family rooms and a games room for the children, a facility for sterilizing bottles and VIP Ski's flexible childcare arrangements.

By Natasha von Geldern

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