Image credits: Innovation Norway
Joanna Booth looks at what's new in the ski and snow market this season
From new regional flights to new chalets, hotels and even countries featured by operators for the first time, we take a look at what’s new to the ski market – and what incentives are on offer to help you get clients booking – as it gears up for another season.
What’s new? Scottish passengers on Balkan Holidays’ Bulgarian ski breaks will now fly from Glasgow – a charter flight will replace the present Edinburgh to Sofia service on December 22, continuing through to March 30. Departures are also available from Heathrow, Gatwick, Bristol, East Midlands, Manchester and Newcastle.
The operator has new accommodation in Pamporovo – half-board breaks at the three-star Hotel Dafovska and Hotel Prespa, and self-catering at the four-star Grand Monastery Apartments.
Seal the deal: Free lift passes are on offer in Borovets and Bansko, with free ski and board storage in the latter. There is 50% off full ski and board packs (including elements such as equipment hire, life passes and tuition) in selected hotels in both destinations. For children, there are free child places and deals on snowboard packs in Pamporovo and Borovets.
What’s new? Val Thorens is due to open during the winter 2013 14 season and will be the future flagship of Club Med’s snow resorts. It will be a four-star resort in the Three Valleys ski domain of Savoie, with direct access to more than 370 miles of pistes. Planned as a young, modern resort, it will have a range of sports and activities on offer day and night, including an indoor climbing wall in the atrium.
This follows the opening of Pragelato Vialattea last season, in Italy’s Piedmont region, which hosts the full range of kids’ clubs and a new feature, the Snow Garden, which allows children to discover snow sports in complete safety.
Seal the deal: Early booking offers can save up to £1,200 per family. Group discounts of up to £150 per adult are available for parties of eight or more.
What’s new? After a successful introduction to ski last season, Cosmos has entered the market with its first dedicated brochure this year.
Ski and snowboard holidays in resorts across Austria, France and Italy are on offer, packaged with Monarch scheduled flights operating to Munich, Friedrichshafen, Innsbruck, Verona, Venice and Grenoble from airports including Gatwick, Manchester, Luton, Leeds Bradford and Birmingham.
Holidays are seven nights, except in Italy where short breaks are available too. All include resort transfers, with equipment hire, lessons and ski passes bookable at extra charge.
Seal the deal: Book before September 30 for half-price ski or snowboard carriage. Early booking deposits of £59 per person are available.
What’s new? Crystal’s 2013-14 brochure covers three continents, 13 countries, 132 ski resorts and departures from 21 UK airports.
Norway is new to the programme, with resorts including traditional chocolate-box village Geilo, the biggest ski area in the country, Hemsedal, and family friendly Beitostølen. There are 13 new flight routes.
There will be a greater choice for families as Crystal endorses 70 family hotels, chalets and apartments, and recommends childcare in 22 resorts – in addition to the seven resorts where it offers Crystal-run childcare.
Seal the deal: A wide range of savings include free child places and free first time ski or board packages, available in 11 resorts during selected weeks in January and March when booked by November 15. Holidays booked before September 30 can take advantage of offers including credit of up to €100 per adult in 42 hotels, and a ‘fill a chalet’ offer of half-price lift passes if you book a chalet for a minimum of 10 people. Wi-Fi is free at all European chalets.
What’s new? There are six new routes on offer with Esprit Ski, including Heathrow to Geneva and Friedrichshafen, Edinburgh to Chambery and Gatwick, and Birmingham and Manchester to Turin.Gressoney in Italy’s Monterosa ski area is new for this winter, with stays in Chalet Hotel Valverde, which has Esprit childcare rooms.
In La Rosière, Chalet Oliver is new, and in Tignes, Chalets Chamois and Aiglon. The last two are clustered with other Esprit family chalets and are near dedicated childcare rooms.
Seal the deal: Free Wi-Fi is on offer in all chalets and hotels.
What’s new? Moving into its 79th year of operating winter holidays, you’d think there was nothing left to be new for Inghams, but Winter 2013-14 brings nine new resorts and six new flights routes.
Axams, Going, Götzens and Kirchberg are new in Austria; Pyhä in Finland; Jasper in Canada; St Gervais and Valmorel in France; and Crans Montana in Switzerland. Ski-inclusive packages are available at the last two resorts.New flights are from Cambridge, East Midlands, Guernsey, London City, Liverpool and Luton, taking the number of UK airports to 28.
There are eight new chalets in France and two new chalet hotels in Tignes and Cortina.
Seal the deal: Inghams Plus offers and savings can be as much as £700 per couple, including early booking discounts, lift-pass deals, free après-ski snacks, free sleigh rides, free spa vouchers and free child supervision in selected hotels.
What’s new? The Aiguille Percee chalet hotel in Tignes has undergone extensive refurbishment in time for the winter season, with the addition of 13 rooms including interconnecting and family suites, plus an upgrade of the original rooms, which now have new bathrooms and TVs. The bar is larger and the restaurant has doubled in capacity, and there are two new treatment rooms, plus a steam room and sauna.
Mark Warner has 10 chalet hotels in seven resorts: Val D’Isère, Tignes, Les Deux Alpes, La Plagne, Courchevel 1850 and Meribel in France, and St Anton in Austria.
Seal the deal: Savings include up to £250 off selected holidays, free child places, half-price childcare and a sixth person goes free when you book five people – all on selected dates at selected resorts.
What’s new? Ski Independence has added two resorts in British Columbia, Canada. The operator recommends relatively new Revelstoke – in its sixth year of operation – for quiet slopes and challenging terrain, and as the only spot in North America to offer lift, cat, heli and backcountry skiing from one base. Its other new addition, Kicking Horse, is also great for experts and intermediate skiers, with 45% of the terrain being black diamond. It shares a lift ticket with three other resorts including nearby Fernie.
In Europe, family-friendly La Clusaz in France and luxury favourite Gstaad in Switzerland are new.
Seal the deal: Keep an eye out for the operator’s early booking offers on lift tickets, rentals and ski schools – there’s up to 70% off lift tickets in Whistler. Kids ski free offers are available in many resorts including Banff, Whistler, Steamboat and Winter Park. Kids get free rentals in France with SkiSet, and there are savings of up to 20% on self-catering properties in France during Christmas and February school holidays. Half-price adult and free child Swiss Rail transfer tickets are also on offer.
What’s new? Ski Safari heads towards 2014 with 14 new resorts on the books – eight of which are in Austria, an entirely new country for the operator. These include established favourites St Anton, Kitzbuhel, Obergurgl, Saalbach-Hinterglemm and Zell am See, plus lesser-known resorts Galtür and Sölden, and even city skiing from Innsbruck. In Italy, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Madonna di Campiglio and Santa Cristina are all new, and after a successful launch into Norway last year, Ski Safari has added the family-friendly resort of Trysil to its programme.
Across the pond, there’s a new two-week road-trip skiing adventure combining three of America’s most iconic ski towns, Crested Butte, Telluride and Aspen, and in Canada, the operator introduces Red Mountain and Whitewater, resorts in the Kootenay Rockies with great advanced skiing.
Seal the deal: On selected dates in December and January, guests booking a holiday to Saas Fee will received a free lift pass.
What’s new? Les Deux Alpes in France is new for this year, with two new-build chalets, Chalet Renard Blue and Loup Blanc. The Rosset chalet hotel in Tignes is new to the programme too, as are Chalet Rive Gauche and Chalet Ecureuil in Val D’Isère, and Chalet Columbero in Tignes.
Flight-wise, new routes include Heathrow to Geneva and Friedrichshafen, and Edinburgh to Chambery.
Seal the deal: Keep an eye out for Ski Total Savers deals, Swiss Savers – two-for-one lift passes in Saas Fee – and free private transfers for groups. Free Wi-Fi.
What’s new? One new country, 13 new flights routes and 63 new hotels – this is the new Thomson Ski brochure in numbers.Norway is the new destination, with the operator offering holidays in three resorts – Geilo, Hemsedal and Beitostølen. Thomson recommends Norway for first-time and intermediate skiers and snowboarders, with quiet slopes and other winter activities including dog-sledding on offer.
The new flight routes connect regional airports with European slopes. These include flights to Geneva from East Midlands, Liverpool, Southend, Southampton, Glasgow and even the Isle of Man.
Seal the deal: Up to €100 credit to spend in the bar or restaurant is on offer at selected hotels, and there are reduced prices on first-time ski and snowboard packages.
What’s new? Park City, Utah, is a historic resort with quaint facades on the Main Street, but it’s new to the Virgin ski programme this year. There’s a good balance of runs for all standards of skier, snow cover is reliable and additional activities include winter fly-fishing, ice-skating and bob-sledding.
Winter Park and Aspen are both new in Colorado – the latter a glitzy, foodie, social spot, the former lesser-known, but the resort that receives the most snow of any in the US, with a huge ski area over four interconnecting mountains and loads of non-ski activities. In the east, Stowe and Jay Peak join the Virgin Vermont programme.
Seal the deal: Book before September 30 and receive a £250 discount per couple, on all seven-night packages to the US and Canada departing December 1 and April 30. Free ski and board carriage is on offer with Virgin Atlantic.
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