We’re becoming a nation of snow lovers, lastminute.com has found, and are spreading our wings and trying new things on the slopes, eager for something more exciting than fumbling around on the blue slopes.
Since it made its first appearance at the Olympics, skiers have been booking at resorts that have ski cross courses – where those in search of adventure on the pistes head down a course of man-made and natural hills, banked curves and jumps. Often against the clock with two or more skiers competing head-to-head. Top resorts include Alpe d’Huez, where a training course has been set up, while Courchevel has created a Snow Cross trail on its La Loze piste.
lastminute.com has 7 nights three-star in Courchevel at Chalet Hotel Les Anemones from £579 on a Chalet Board basis. Offer is based on two sharing and includes return flights from Manchester, Birmingham Intl, Stansted Airport or London Gatwick. Travel available between Saturday 15th and Saturday 22nd January 2011*
Feeling the wind in your ears as you are pulled along by a team of yelping huskies, dog sledding adventures is the second major trend that lastminute.com sees becoming big this year. In North America, the best tours on offer take in the Canadian Rockies with some of the best near the Banff National Park and through Ontario’s Algonquin Park. Nearer to home, the best sledding adventures are to be had in Norway where, after an hour’s instruction, you are let loose to mush your own team of six dogs through the wilderness – on some tours camping out over night in the snow with your pack.
lastminute.com has 7 nights three-star based in Banff staying at the Banff Inn from £618 on a bed & breakfast basis. Offer is based on four sharing with access to all spa facilities throughout and includes flights from London Gatwick. Travel available between Saturday 8th to Saturday 29th January 2011*
While snowboarding has been the adrenaline junkie’s sport of choice, those looking for a bigger challenge are booking Nordic ski breaks according to lastminute.com. While it’s still early in the season, based on sales for the 2010 skiing season, lastminute.com expects this to be a growth area in winter travel. For beginners, a week’s course might culminate in a 10-15 km ski across gently undulating wilderness (try Seefeld and Wildchonau in Austria for the best beginner’s courses). For those who are altogether more serious about their sport, try tackling the 250 km to 300 km tours across the back country on offer in destinations such as Winter Park in the US Rockies or Kaprun in Austria.
lastminute.com has 7 nights two-star based in Niederau in Autria’s Tyrol staying at the Niederau Guesthouses from £175 on a bed & breakfast basis. Offers include flights from London Gatwick or Manchester International Airport. Travel available between Saturday 8th and Saturday 29th January 2011*
Skidooing and Snowmobiling
For those who really want to get away from it all, but don’t feel confident going off-piste, lastminute.com’s ski experts recommend skiddoing or snowmobiling, which it expects to be big this year. Top destinations for those who want to travel as the locals do and hit the nearest thing to a motor bike the snows have to offer are the wilderness of Finland, a trip across Lapland (including a stop-off at the legendary Ice Hotel) and Chamonix.
lastminute.com has 7 nights three-star based in Levi, Lapland staying at the Crazy Reindeer Hotel from £459 on a bed & breakfast basis. Offers include flights from London Gatwick or Bristol between Sunday 9th and Sunday 30th January 2011, or from Manchester International Airport between Sunday 16th and Sunday 30th January 2011*
Tunes on the Slopes
Led by Snowbombing – the ski season’s ultimate music festival, which takes place in April 2011 in the Austrian resort of Mayrhofen featuring Fatboy Slim, Professor Green, The Prodigy and a host of other big names – festivals on the slopes have become a bigger part of the snow season. The TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival which takes place over four days in mid-April 2011 is the biggest festival of music on the slopes. Also worth considering are Derby de la Meije in France’s La Grave (30 March 2011) and Zermatt Unplugged – which last year was headlined by Billy Idol along with acts as diverse as Lionel Richie and Newton Faulkner.
For details see snowbombing.com, TELUS (www.wssf.com), Derbydelameije.com or Zermatt-Unplugged.ch