Winter wonders: part two
Looking for an unforgettable winter holiday experience? Ski Solutions, the longest established specialist ski tour operator and travel agency in the UK, shares five fabulous ways to to experience the mountains, with CD-Traveller readers
It’s a Family Affair – Saas Fee
Treat the family to the authentic Swiss skiing experience with a holiday to Saas Fee. The original chocolate-box village oozes alpine charm with its traditional wooden chalets and church spires, surrounded by 4,000m peaks and glaciers. As a welcoming and family friendly place to let the kids really enjoy themselves, it can’t be beaten. The traffic-free streets are safe to wander and the gentle, sunny nursery slopes are perfect for making those first tentative tracks on. If they outgrow the beginners’ area, there are 100km of slopes to explore and for something a little different there’s a whole separate mountain to play on that’s dedicated to tobogganing. When enjoyed under moonlight, it’s a real adventure and the whole holiday will keep your kids smiling for weeks after.
California Dreaming – Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is a spectacular destination. Set in the heights of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, 22 miles of deep blue water stretches from north shore to south. Nestled among those mountains are 14, varied and enticing ski resorts waiting to welcome you. Straddling the California / Nevada border, some of the best skiing in the United States can be found around this beautifully blue piece of water, and what better way could there be to spend a fortnight than by touring them all? This is the ultimate destination for your California ski safari!
Start at the southern end of the lake with Heavenly, one of Tahoe’s biggest and highest resorts. By day, explore the mainly wooded slopes with breathtaking views of the lake; by night take in the lively entertainment. While you’re down south, check out Sierra at Tahoe and Kirkwood too, before heading round to the north shore and continuing your epic adventure. Check out Squaw Valley, home of the 1960 Winter Olympics, Northstar at Tahoe and nine more amazing resorts. Soak up the views of the lake, the snow-capped peaks and the California sun. With such outstanding scenery, it’s a good job the skiing’s first class too.
Partying at the Folie Douce – Val d’Isere
If there’s one place you should stop for refreshments on the slopes above Val d’Isère, it’s the Folie Douce. It may look like any other mountain restaurant, albeit a smart one, but linger into the afternoon and BOOM, the party starts, and the huge terrace comes alive with music, dancing and many smiley, happy people.
Entertaining the crowd with a unique mix of house music and live musical accompaniment are several singers, a saxophonist and a DJ, led by the exuberant Kely Starlight. As the beats warm the crowd up, the band mingle among the dancing throng, leap up onto the bar and can even be spotted on the roof, doing whatever it takes to entertain the international crowd.
Come snow or shine, champagne flows, particularly in the VIP area where if you click your fingers a bottle arrives by mini cable car straight from the bar. Dance anywhere near Kely and you’ll no doubt be covered in a spray of bubbles many times throughout the afternoon – it’s one of his favourite tricks for the up for it crowd. The party crescendos to a climax at 5pm but don’t despair, return tomorrow and the Folie will be in full swing, ready to welcome you with open arms again.
No friends on a powder day – Vail
If you’re a believer in the mantra “no friends on a powder day”, you could be friendless in Vail pretty much your whole stay. With a staggering average snowfall of 8.5 metres each winter, Vail gets more than its fair share of fresh, fluffy snow over its 5,289 acres. With its endless, adventurous terrain and seven vast treeless Back Bowls to explore, you’re onto a safe bet for some truly epic days.
In a resort the size of Aspen, it’s easy to get away from it all and find some space for just the two of you. Skiers and snowboarders are spread across four mountains and 5,305 acres so if it’s a love ski you’re after, it’ll feel like you’ve got the place to yourselves.
Whether it’s romance you seek or just an aphrodisiac for life, enjoy a day on the slopes, gliding through the trees or cruising the groomers Why not unwind in one of the spas, tuck or into a glamorous five-star dinner in town and then round the Aspen experience off by relaxing in front of a log fire. We’re confident you’ll fall in love with Aspen in no time.
The experiences are taken from Unparalleled. The charity inspired book costs £9.95 and is available through all Ellis Brigham stores or by visiting www.skisolutions.com. All profits from the sale of Unparalleled will go towards fulfilling the dreams of seriously ill and life-limited children supported by Make-A-Wish Foundation.