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Night skiing is exactly what it says on the tin – skiing after the sun goes down, with floodlights or torches to light your way. It started as a way for resort staff to get in some slope time at the end of the day, but now loads of resorts open up night skiing to customers too.
Why is night skiing good?
Whether you’re a skier or boarder, we can all agree that there are never enough slope hours in the day – so having extra time to hit the piste is always a bonus. The mountain is usually quieter at night too, and you’ll be surrounded by beautiful views of starry skies and twinkling lights across the town. Even better, night skiing is often included in the cost of your normal lift pass.
Drei Zinnen, Italy
What time does night skiing start?
Night skiing kicks in after the normal lift closing time and generally finishes between 8pm and 11pm, but exact times vary between resorts. It doesn’t usually run every night of the week though, so it’s worth checking when it’s on before you go.
What do you need to wear for night skiing?
Temperatures drop quickly once the sun goes down, so layer up. As well as your insulated ski jacket and salopettes, make sure you wear a couple of extra base layers (merino wool’s great for keeping in the heat), as well as a buff or neck warmer and a hat. Glove liners will add an extra layer of warmth for your hands too.
Even though there’s no sunlight to shield against, you’ll still need goggles to protect your eyes from snow and ice. Pick ones with clear lenses to let in the most light, or go for yellow lenses to make it easier to see contrast in the terrain.
La Clusaz, France
Resorts where you can ski at night
Not all resorts offer night skiing but it’s becoming more and more common, so pretty much every country has it somewhere. Here are some of our favourites…
Night skiing in France
Alpe d’Huez: One of the sunniest resorts in the Alps embraces the dark during school holidays, with night skiing on various slopes. Experts can join in torchlight descents on the famous 16km black run, La Sarenne.
Courchevel: This chic resort in the massive Three Valleys ski area hosts a night-time party on the piste every Wednesday, with floodlit skiing and music.
Serre Chevalier: Families visiting in school holidays can have fun with tree-lined night skiing and kid-friendly activities in this traditional resort.
Serre Chevalier, France
Night skiing in Austria
Alpbach: One of the prettiest villages in Austria looks just as striking when it’s lit up at night. Get the best view as you ski fast reds on the Reither Kogel peak.
Obergurgl: This high-altitude resort offers weekly night skiing on a blue run. Even if you’re not taking part though, come along to watch the ski school instructors put on a show and demonstrate their skills.
Söll: Get your fill of night skiing four times a week in Austria’s second largest ski area, with 10km of floodlit piste to play on after dark.
Night skiing in Italy
Drei Zinnen: Trendy San Candido, one of five villages in Drei Zinnen, opens up 3km of local blue and red runs twice a week, for a bit of laid-back cruising.
Passo Tonale: Beginners can have a go at high-altitude night skiing on four evenings every week – two in Passo Tonale and two over the mountain in Ponte di Legno.
Sestriere: Once host to the Winter Olympics, Sestriere also staged the first world cup night slalom in 1994 – and now that same course opens up to challenge the public every Wednesday night.
Make the most of your mountain time and see the slopes in a new light next winter.
Sitting among the dramatic, UNESCO-protected Dolomite mountains is Drei Zinnen (also known as Three Peaks Dolomites). It’s made up of a handful of small, family-friendly villages like San Candido and Sesto, with high-quality hotels and easy access to the slopes. On the Italian side of the Italian-Austrian border, Drei Zinnen blends together the language, food and traditions from both countries.
Ski area: Drei
Km of easy
intermediate slopes: 53km
difficult slopes: 12km
What’s the skiing like in Drei Zinnen?
The ski area is split into smaller areas across five mountains, all easily accessed from the villages of Sesto, San Candido, Dobbiaco, Villabassa and Braies. An improver and intermediate playground, over half of the piste is made up of well-groomed blue and red runs – while the gentle slopes are well suited to families and beginners. Seasoned skiers can even take on Italy’s steepest black slope, the Holzriese, with its nail-biting 72% gradient.
Haunold Baranci ski area
Take the lifts from San Candido up to this small ski area,
full of easy options for kids and beginners making their first few turns. At
the top, you’ll bump into a family of giant snowmen and, if you’re lucky, spot
the only wild herd of reindeer in the Alps. If you fancy heading up the hill
after dark, the ski area also opens for night skiing twice a week.
Giro delle Cime circuit
Ideal for intermediate skiers, this 34km ski circuit takes
you up, down, across and around all five mountains. Like its famous cousin, the
Sella Ronda in the Dolomiti Superski area, you can ski it in either direction
and take in the incredible scenery as you go. Can you complete both loops?
Things to do in Drei Zinnen
The wild reindeer are the stars of the show in Drei Zinnen, roaming
around the Croda Rossa-Rotwand mountain – the closest mountain to Sesto village.
And they’re certainly not shy. Head there at feeding time and you can help
yourself to a mix of Icelandic moss and cereal to tempt them over – they may
even stick around long enough for a selfie.
With top-quality hotel spas, you can take your pick and switch
between warming up in saunas and soaking in pools. Some even have outdoor pools
where you can swim surrounded by fabulous views of the snowy Dolomites.
Eating out in Drei Zinnen
Meat, meat and more meat is the name of the game at this San Candido spot. The farmhouse-like restaurant, decked out in wood panelling, is well known for its generous cured meat plates and homemade sausages and bacon.
This intimate Michelin-starred restaurant in Dobbiaco has
just five tables. The menu is simple yet exquisite, with dishes like porcini risotto
and chanterelle tart all made from local ingredients. If you’re struggling to
just pick one, opt for the surprise tasting menu for the chance to try a bit of
Après in Drei Zinnen
Based in Sesto, this authentic wine bar is perfect for
after-dinner drinks. It has the look of an Austrian stube, with wooden walls
and low ceilings, and has a cosy and relaxed feel. Park yourself at one of the
tables under the arches and get a round in – it’s open until 1am, so you don’t
have to head to bed too early.
This trendy bar is located in San Candido’s Hotel Post. Order
from a selection of fruity cocktails, dry wines or crisp beers and settle down
in their comfortable lounge area to catch up on the day’s events.
Where to stay in Drei Zinnen
Bad Moos, Sesto
Head straight out onto the slopes from this high-quality ski-in, ski-out hotel. The décor is a mix of rustic and sleek, and each of the dining rooms has a different design, from the gothic room to the panoramic restaurant. And there’s a heavenly spa to dip into before dinner – complete with four saunas and a sulphur plunge pool.
Villa Stefania, San Candido
The family-run Villa Stefania is located in the centre of the village, just a few minutes’ walk from the lifts. Charm and character are at the heart of the hotel, and each room is individually decorated. When you want some downtime, head to the wellness area for a swim in the indoor pool or some shut-eye on the relaxation terrace.
Secure your spot on the slopes in Drei Zinnen to see a different side of the Dolomites.
Alana: It’s the one time of the year that the whole family gets together and gets to spend the whole week doing what we love most – ski! We’d pick it over a summer holiday every time.
So who goes on these trips?
Alana: We did our first holiday back in 2010 with just my immediate family of four. But the group’s grown over the years and now there’s about 30 us – grandparents, cousins, even family friends, ranging from 18 years old to 62. Having everyone along makes it even more special.
Where’s your favourite place to go?
Alana: We’re all skiers and there’s a mix of abilities from beginners to experts, so the quality of the skiing is the top priority when we pick a resort. We love going somewhere different every year, from Avoriaz in France to Selva Val Gardena in Italy. But our favourite country is Austria – and not just because it’s the capital of après-ski. It’s got high-altitude resorts, good snow and lots of challenging runs. I especially love Saalbach because the Skicircus area offers so much variety for a big group, as well as things like snow parks, floodlit pistes and toboggan runs.
Alana: We always aim to go in the first two weeks of March because of the promising snow cover and bluebird skies – this is the highlight of our year so we want the best conditions possible. It helps that there aren’t any kids in our family so we’re not limited to school holidays.
What kind of accommodation do you stay in?
Alana: Chalets and self-catering apartments are great for big groups but we usually stay in half-board hotels. Everything’s taken care of for you, there’s lots of facilities and buffet meals can be more flexible for people with dietary restrictions – our group’s requirements include gluten-free and vegan. We just need to book early to make sure we can get all the rooms we need (especially single rooms, which can fill up fast). I’m keen to try a self-catered cabin one year though, where we could all take turns cooking.
What does your typical ski day look like? Do you all stick together?
Alana: We start early with a big breakfast and then head straight out to take advantage of the fresh powder and quiet slopes, splitting into groups based on our different ability levels. We ski all morning – maybe with a quick stop for a hot chocolate with Baileys – and then we all try and meet up for lunch in a mountain restaurant. Nothing beats catching up on the day’s triumphs and falls over a plate of traditional Tiroler gröstl. Later on, the parents and grandparents relax back at the hotel. But for the younger crowd it’s all about the après, so we always look for a resort with lots going on, from little local bars to lively clubs.
Have you got any holiday planning tips?
Alana: Organising a holiday for a big group with lots of different ages is always a challenge, so as soon as we get home from one trip, we start planning the next one. We’ve all still got that holiday buzz so we’re eager to get next year’s confirmed as soon as possible. And booking early means we’ve got a better choice of hotels too. I recommend keeping everyone involved in the planning process and being really clear about the details, and it’ll be sorted before you know it.
Ready to make winter part of the family and hit the hill en masse? Check out our latest deals and give us a call on 020 8610 3123 to speak to one of our group holiday experts.
Gliding down snow-covered mountains, surrounded by trees, wildlife and crisp fresh air – ski holidays let you to get up close and personal with nature. And with climate change at the forefront of our minds, a lot of resorts have invested in eco-friendlier ways to cut down their carbon footprint and help preserve the Alpine landscape for years to come.
Söll is well known for its green heating initiative. Instead of gas or coal, they burn wood chips to make fuel to heat the entire bottom lift station – an ideal form of renewable energy that creates fewer pollutants.
And as for the snow, the 906 snow cannons dotted around the
resort are eco-friendly too. Local reservoirs are filled over the summer with
rainfall and snowmelt, which is then turned into the precious white stuff once
The whole of the wider SkiWelt area is also hot on sorting
waste. There are recycling bins at all lift stations, so you can do your bit by
putting your rubbish in the right one.
Zermatt is the world’s first pollution-free town. It’s a totally car-free resort, so people use horse-drawn carriages and electric taxis to get around instead. The local wildlife – like deer, marmots and chamois – are also protected by marked no-go areas for humans.
Up on the peak, there are award-winning solar panels on the
Matterhorn Glacier Restaurant. The panels collect the cold air outside and turn
it into heating for the restaurant and kitchen.
Zermatt is at the top
of its game when it comes to recycling equipment too. A 23,500-foot cable taken
from an old gondola was used to build 20 bridges in Myanmar and Indonesia, which
are used by thousands of people every day.
Ruka has been a carbon-neutral resort since 2018, with hydroelectric and wind energy powering lots of its accommodation. Other buildings are heated with biomass fuels made with wood chips, or geothermal energy using heat formed underground.
On the slopes, the resort has cut down on snow cannons by building fences to collect snow on the fell during the winter. It’s stored under sawdust and felt sheets over the summer and then used to open a handful of runs before the next winter season officially starts – sometimes as early as October.
Named one of Canada’s greenest employers, Whistler Blackcomb has its fingers in lots of eco-friendly pies.
The resort generates enough hydroelectric power to run 17
restaurants, 28 ski lifts and over 300 snow cannons. And since 2000, it’s
lowered its landfill input by 70% ̶ helped by the annual mountain clean-up day in
April, when staff head to the hill to pick up litter.
Whistler’s hotels are stepping up too. With a rooftop herb garden and beehives, LED lightbulbs, in-room recycling and biodegradable food containers, the luxury Fairmont Chateau Whistler is helping tackle climate change for the resort.
Val Thorens, France
Working in collaboration with Mountain Riders – a team of passionate eco-warriors – Val Thorens has upped its green game. Low-energy street lighting is dotted around the resort and hydroelectric power is used for snow cannons and ski lifts. And 200,000 extra trees have been planted in the last 20 years alone.
The resort has also declared battle against cigarette butts, many of which are found hidden under the snow at ski lift stations, by putting up posters about the dangers of littering. And pocket ash trays are sold in the tourist office to discourage skiers from throwing rubbish on the ground.
Zell am See, Austria
To cut down the number of cars on the road, Zell am See is linked to neighbouring Kaprun by regular free ski buses, as well as lifts.
The Kitzsteinhorn Lift Company was also the first in Austria to be ISO-certified, meaning it’s met the requirements for reducing its impact on the environment. The lifts are powered by hydro energy and they even have solar panels on the roof of the Alpincenter – the top lift station on the Kitzsteinhorn mountain – to heat its restaurants and bars.
What’s more, the snowmobiles used for excursions are run
using biofuel made entirely from renewable resources. And throughout the
summer, grass and trees are planted across the mountains to give back to
Zell am See, Austria
Ready to go green? Check out our other sustainable ski resorts by selecting the ‘Eco Aware’ filter on our deals page.
Sitting on the frosty shores of Lake
Zell in Austria, this high-altitude ski area has an excellent snow record and
sensational views. And there’s plenty to do and see off the slopes too – narrow
cobbled streets lined with 19th-century buildings lead to bustling
squares filled with shops and cafés.
Easy pistes: 60km
Intermediate pistes: 55km
Difficult pistes: 29km
Snow range: 762-3,029m
Resort height: 762m
Ski areas: Zell am See – Kaprun 138km
Pronunciation: Zell – am – zay
Transfer time: 2 hours from Salzburg
WHAT’S THE SKIING LIKE?
Zell am See is a favourite with
families and intermediates. The horseshoe-shaped ski area is made up of wide, scenic pistes, which
start out open at the top and are lined with trees lower down into the valley. And there’s plenty to ski across both
the Zell and Kaprun areas – all linked by bus and covered by one lift pass.
Several nights a week, you can ski
under the stars on the magical floodlit piste 6 above the town. Spot the lights
twinkling along the edge of Lake Zell.
Known as ‘Sun Mountain’ for its
south-facing reds, Sonnenalm is an intermediate’s paradise. And in
poorer weather, there’s always great visibility on the long, wide, tree-lined
THINGS TO DO
Watch the local Zeller Eisbären
team on an action-packed night at the rinkside. Or lace up your skates and get
on the ice yourself.
For a touch of class, take afternoon
tea at the lakeside Grand Hotel. Taste exquisite cakes and fresh strudel with impressive
views of Lake Zell.
THINGS TO SEE
The Elisabeth Chapel
Dating back to 1904, this small but
perfectly formed chapel sits at the top of the Schmittenhöhe summit and houses a
memento of the empress herself.
Kitzsteinhorn Glacier summit station
Catch the new lift from Kaprun straight up to the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier at 3,029m and step out onto the suspended panoramic platform above the Hohe Tauern National Park.
WHERE TO EAT
There are several scenic lunch stops sprinkled across the mountains,
all easy to spot on the piste map. Pop in to one of these mountain huts for a
quick hot drink or catch up over an unhurried lunch of Austrian dishes, made
with the freshest local produce.
Eder Hütte on Red 8
For a true Pinzgau lunch on the slopes, this characteristic restaurant sits at 1,800m on the Schmittenhöhe mountain. The regional specials change daily, while favourites like the flammkuchen flatbread and spinaltknödel – spinach dumplings – are often on the menu. Or grab a drink and watch the skiers go by from the outdoor terrace.
Ebenbergalm on Blue 5a
Walking inside this homely wooden hut, you’re greeted with mouth-watering aromas of freshly cooked foods. Book in advance for their famous spare ribs and pork. Or try the satisfying classics like Tiroler gröstl and kaiserschmarrn – the traditional chopped-up pancake served warm with fruit compote. A scrumptious lunch ahead of an afternoon on the slopes.
NIGHTLIFE IN ZELL AM SEE
Cosmopolitan Zell am See
is home to some excellent nightlife. Start your après early, dancing in your ski boots in
one of the slopeside bars – then head to a club in town to party the night
away. Or go for something more relaxed and catch up with friends in a cosy café
Price of a drink in Zell Am See
Bottle of house wine
Glass of coke
Best bars in Zell am See
Pick your favourite from over 450 different
gins and every kind of tonic you can imagine. Not sure what to go for? Join gin
tasting or go on a ‘round the world’ cocktail-making session in this quirky,
Wrap up on the rooftop terrace of the Hotel
Heitzmann. Sip a glühwein and take in the view of Lake Zell and the Kitzbühel
Alps. And it’s the best spot for watching Wednesday’s ski show of freestyling,
music and pyrotechnics.
Where to party in Zell am See
Villa Crazy Daisy
With a chilled après vibe on the
terrace from 3pm, live bands, DJs and ski bar games keep the party going inside
until the early hours.
Après at Dorfschenke
Want to experience proper après? At the
bottom of the Red 4, Dorfschenke’s known for its Austrian pop music, dancing on
tables and steins of beer.
WHERE TO STAY
Right in the centre of Zell am See, the Hotel Tirolerhof combines stylish elegance with friendly hospitality from the Posch family. Step in from the slopes, choose from the complimentary afternoon snacks and then cosy up in front of the open fire in one of three lounges. The hotel’s luxurious spa is perfect for a little me-time – there’s an indoor pool and rooftop relaxation room with roaring fireplace. To round off your day, tuck in to an indulgent evening meal in the smart and sociable dining room.
If you’re keen for a fun-packed adventure, start planning your trip to Zell am See.
Pick a ski-in, ski-out hotel or apartment to get straight to the slopes – just step out the door and hop onto the lift, or clip in and schuss off. Add in excellent restaurants, spas and entertainment, and you’ve got some unbeatable places to stay.
WHAT MAKES AN ACCOMMODATION SKI-IN, SKI-OUT?
Our ski-in, ski-out accommodations are right next to a lift or piste. So you can ski to and from the door, or to within 50 metres of it, when there’s decent snow on the ground.
The Crystal Lifestyle Hotel, Obergurgl, Austria
Don’t let the cosmopolitan styling fool you – Austria’s loved for its traditional hospitality, and this hotel is right up there. Ski back on the blue or red run in time for afternoon snacks at the bar. And in the evenings, the chef’s changing menu is always locally sourced and beautifully prepared. Pad down to the spa before dinner: there are enough saunas and steam baths to try a different one each day. Or chit-chat beside the spa fireplace and look out across the mountains from the outdoor hot tub. Bliss.
The Crystal Lifestyle Hotel
Hotel Sport Village, Soldeu, Andorra
First lifts are a breeze in this slopeside hotel, based in the same building as Soldeu’s main gondola. All marble bathrooms and mountain views, it’s a high-end option in Andorra’s intermediate-friendly Grandvalira ski area. There are hotel-run kids’ clubs onsite and the junior suites are ideal for families too. While the kids are happily entertained, treat yourself to some me-time in the spa baths, saunas and whirlpools of the hotel’s excellent Sport Wellness Mountain Spa.
Hotel Sport Village
Les Terrasses d’Helios and d’Eos Apartments, Flaine, France
These twin apartment buildings are some of Flaine’s newest and nicest, perched at the top of its bowl-shaped valley. A gentle piste links you to long blues and reds, and straight to the main lift over to the Grand Massif’s lower resorts. Each apartment’s an Alpine treat, with plenty of room for families and groups. And for those cosy nights in together, there are restaurants and a well-stocked shop onsite, and panoramic mountain views from the pools and spas.
Les Terrasses d’Eos Apartments
Hotel Planibel, La Thuile, Italy
Right next to the main gondola and chairlift, the Planibel is a world of its own – and has a loyal band of visitors who return year after year to their mountain home. Crystal Childcare will keep little ones happy with playtime and ski fun while parents hit the piste. And when you get back, the hotel is your oyster. Splash around in the huge indoor pool, browse the shops for souvenirs and sports gear or sing along to an evening show at the theatre. See you again next winter?
Are you the lucky winner of a Crystal ski holiday? We asked you to share your best snow moments to be in with a chance of winning an unforgettable trip. Drum roll please… find out the winning picture along with some of our favourites from this season.
Charlotte Lambeth Whittaker in Ruka, Finland
Ally Nicoll in Mayrhofen, Austria
@Prestontimmy in Avoriaz, France
@Tillymilnes in Sauze d’Oulx, Italy
@harrymoore63 in Val d’Isère , France
@lexiehockaday in Mayrhofen, Austria
@lexiehockaday in Mayrhofen, Austria
Holiday Winner: Louise Molloy
@molloy.louise in Avoriaz, France
Congratulations to our winner – you’re off to the slopes!
Didn’t win? No worries – check out our latest deals and you can still hit the hill next winter.
Families, beginners and intermediates love the Paradiski – a huge, high-altitude ski area in France. The resorts of La Plagne and Les Arcs are made up of almost a dozen villages, from purpose-built hubs with a mix of bars and restaurants, to quieter, more traditional hamlets.
The Paradiski is known for variety – it’s mountains are home to a vast range of tree-lined runs and open, bowl-shaped slopes.
Fun slope, Plagne Bellecôte: Bank round turns, crest bumps, dodge flags, straight-line through the tunnel and high-five the giant hand – you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy France’s longest fun slope.
Aiguille Rouge run, Les Arcs: Head up to 3,226m, the highest point in the area, for this 8km run. Part black and part red, it’s a steep and technical challenge for confident intermediates.
Vanoise Express cable car: An essential ride for anyone skiing the Paradiski, this double-decker lift links the pistes of La Plagne and Les Arcs. Feeling brave? Peer through the glass floor at the 380m drop to the valley below.
Tunnel run, Belle Plagne: Dancing lights and disco music cheer you on your way through the 136m-long tunnel, halfway down this popular blue.
Vanoise Express cable car
THINGS TO DO
Olympic bobsleigh, Plagne 1800: Hurtle round 19 bends at up to 120km/h. Try steering yourself in a bob raft, go flat-out in a speed luge or let a pro pilot take the wheel in a proper bobsleigh.
Village Igloo, Arc 2000: Explore halls of animal sculptures carved out of snow and ice, and sip a frosty shot or hot coffee in the ice bar.
THINGS TO SEE
Yurts, Arc 1950: Look out for a little piece of Central Asia in Les Arcs – two traditional Mongolian yurts. Big and round, with pointed tops and gold-patterned doors, these tents are hard to miss. They’ve been used as homes by nomadic tribes for over 3,000 years. But here, they play host to special Savoyard meals once a week.
WHERE TO EAT
Le 360, top of the Montalbert gondola: Point your skis towards this giant glass cube for lunch on the slopes. The café beckons you in for juicy rotisserie chicken and freshly made pasta. Or you can opt for the fine dining restaurant, where creamy Swiss chard risotto is a popular pick.
Belliou La Fumée, bottom of the Pré Saint Esprit 39 chairlift: A warren of little dining rooms inside a 500-year-old building, once a hunting hut owned by Italy’s King Emmanuel II. Lunch on French favourites like pan-fried snails, grilled duck and îles flottantes – light-as-air meringues floating in a pool of custard.
Union, Plagne-Montalbert: Twice-baked Beaufort soufflé and rice pudding with génépi and pear give a high-class taste of local flavours here – thanks to the Michelin-starred chef who runs the kitchen. Top things off with a glass of crisp Savoie wine.
Le 360 restaurant
NIGHTLIFE IN THE PARADISKI
Each village has its own personality, but the liveliest hubs are Belle Plagne and Arc 1800. It can be tricky to get around after the slopes close, so get your après in before last lifts. Or if you’re out late, you can always catch a taxi home.
Price of a drink in La Plagne and Les Arcs
• Small beer €4 • Bottle of house wine €15 • Glass of coke €4
George’s Wine Bar, Arc 1950: Grab a glass and sing along with landlord George’s guitar solos – or take a turn in the spotlight on karaoke nights.
La Mine, Plagne 1800: Picture an old mine turned into an English pub, with lamps and tools hanging on the walls and a low tin-plated ceiling. Even some of the tables are made of mine carts.
WHERE TO STAY
Hotel Belle Plagne 2100, Belle Plagne: Waste no time getting on the slopes – just click into your skis at the door and off you go. Inside, classic Alpine style has been given a modern upgrade, with lots of pale wood and neutral colours to keep things chic but cosy. Spend your downtime snuggled by the fire in the bar, sipping a hot mulled wine or speciality cocktail.
Arc 1950 Apartments, Arc 1950: Get the convenience of a self-catering apartment with all the perks of a hotel – this complex has its own pools, spa, restaurants and bars. The traditional décor and cheery colours are a welcome sight at the end of the day. And you can even skip the cooking by opting for half board.
Chalet Carlina Hugo, Belle Plagne: Light browns, greys and pops of turquoise give the Hugo a contemporary feel throughout. And the outdoor hot tub, flatscreen TVs and underfloor heating are the icing on the cake. Speaking of cake, there’ll be afternoon tea waiting for you when you get home – just the thing to celebrate a great day’s skiing.
Chalet Carlina Hugo
Get a taste of paradise in the Paradiski. See you on the slopes.
Clicking into your ski boots, gliding down perfectly groomed
runs and sipping creamy hot chocolate on a slopeside terrace…it’s hard to
imagine a world without skiing. Here’s how our favourite winter sport started.
How was skiing
Skiing was first invented around 3,000 BCE as a way of
walking long distances in snow – wearing skis spreads out your weight and stops
you from sinking into deep drifts. So it was more like modern cross-country
skiing than the downhill type that most people do now.
There’s a bit of debate about this and no one really knows who first came up with skiing. Chinese wall paintings hint at skis being used 5,000 years ago, but there are several other places that could have invented skiing – it’s been used for thousands of years in Canada, Alaska and Russia. Scandinavia usually gets the credit for inventing modern skiing though.
When was alpine
Alpine (or downhill) skiing wasn’t developed until the 18th century – the Norwegian and Swedish military used to organise ski exercises to test their soldiers’ skill and stamina. Fast-forward to the 1850s and Norwegian legend Sondre Norheim designed the first skis with a camber and sidecut – that’s the classic arched shape with a narrow centre and wider tips that we still use today.
When was the first
Chamonix hosted the very first Winter Olympics in 1924, with
sports like curling, ice skating and cross-country skiing. But downhill skiing
wasn’t included until the Garmisch-Partenkirchen games in 1936. Since then, it’s
been split into two different types of event – speeding straight down a slope
at over 80mph in the downhill races, or dodging between poles on the slalom
When was freestyle
Freestyle skiing is the kind you do in snow parks or on mogul
runs, with jumps, twists, flips and spins. Ski acrobats have been freestyling
since the 1930s – but it was officially recognised as a sport by the International
Ski Federation in 1979, and debuted at the 1988 Calgary Olympic Games.
Now you know where it comes from, check out our deals to find a ski holiday that’ll go down in history.
Who doesn’t like to treat themselves to a touch of class while on holiday? With elegant décor, delicious cuisine and impeccable service, our Finest collection of hotels will make your trip extra special.
From stylishly modern to boutique chic, here are some of our favourites…
Best luxury hotel in France
Hotel Le Val Thorens in Val Thorens
Framed postcards hang on every bedroom’s velvet feature walls, and a colourful chandelier sparkles around an atrium-style lobby full of mismatched sofas and cow-hide rugs. Upmarket, bright and full of artistic touches, this slopeside hotel definitely doesn’t hold back on decoration.
And forget self-service evening meals, as both onsite restaurants are à la carte. Le Val Thorens brasserie – also open for breakfast – serves up market-fresh dishes like salmon tartare and foie gras terrine, while La Fondue does exactly what it says on the tin – cheese, cheese and more cheese.
Best luxury hotel in Austria
Hotel Alpina in Obergurgl
This spacious, modern hotel overlooks the town of Obergurgl, and has direct access to and from the slopes. And après doesn’t have to be about dancing on bars when you can kick back in the 1,300m² Alpina Mar spa. A dip in the bubbling hot tub is partnered up with panoramic views of the slopes, while a handful of hot, dry saunas and fragrant steam rooms are found around every corner.
Then there’s the hotel lounge. Plush armchairs and sofas
encircle a roaring open fire, making it perfect for a nightcap and a catch-up
on the day’s mountain stories.
Best luxury hotel in Andorra
Park Piolets Mountain Hotel & Spa in Soldeu
Family friendly and fashionable, this 4-star foodie hotel has fabulous views of Soldeu’s slopes. Tuck in to stylish rooms – complete with tartan cushions and low-hanging lamps – many of which have superb views of the mountains. The tablets can stay in the suitcase too, as the kids can lark about in their very own soft play area or enjoy family time in the comfy lobby bar.
Days are rounded off at the 1817 restaurant – a scrumptious buffet with show cooking zones and pleasant views of Grandvalira’s slopes. For something a bit different, sample Chinese haute cuisine at Kao – think dim sum, noodles and crispy apple tempura.
Best luxury hotel in Italy
Hotel Tyrol in Selva Val Gardena
A 4.5-star hotel rooted in local culture, with superb wellness facilities and delectable cuisine. Founded in 1966, this opulent hotel has become quite the family-run success. Here, the local Ladin culture is ingrained through wood cladding and natural stone décor. If you look carefully, you’ll spot plenty of rare relics dotted about too, like the old, ornate stove in the aromatic sauna.
Tyrolean and Ladin influences are also carved into the food. Under the direction of Chef Allesandro Martellini, the Suinsom and Ty Bistro restaurants theme their dishes around the majestic Dolomites, using unique flavours from smoked deer tartare to fermented black garlic.
What’s included in Finest?
Our Finest collection is made up of four and five-star luxury hotels. They all have relaxing spa facilities – from pools and saunas to steam rooms and whirlpools – and highly rated restaurants when you stay bed & breakfast or half board. You can even slip in a few extra outfit changes into your case, as holidays to these hotels include 23kg of hold luggage on TUI flights.