by Isabel Conway –
From learning new cooking skills in Switzerland to rocking the pistes at one of the many music festivals at ski resorts around Europe, or perhaps an exploration of Japan’s fantastic ski destinations next season , Travel Times brings you some ideas for springtime hitting the slopes. Check out Ireland’s ski holiday specialists, Crystal and Topflight for late season deals. As well as lower prices you’re taking advantage of longer days, bluer skies and sunny warm ski terraces.
Learn delicious dishes and essential cooking skills with the new Mountain Thyme Cookery School in Verbier, Switzerland
New this season, Mountain Thyme Cookery School teaches guests the fundamentals of cooking delicious dishes as well as honing their culinary skills. Set in the idyllic alpine town of Verbier, Switzerland, the school has a variety of different courses from Swiss Alpine Classics for an insight into local cuisine to the Round the World course, visiting a different corner of the globe each week for some internationally-inspired meals. Cooking courses aside, Mountain Thyme also offers a private dining service which hosts up to 12 guests in the dining room and up to 20 on the sunny terrace. Guests have the option to curate a bespoke menu with Mountain Thyme as well as watch a cookery demonstration as part of the experience.
The Swiss Alpine Classics course, which runs from 18:30 to 21:00 on each Wednesday of the month (until 24 April 2019) costs CHF 90/ £70
The Round the World course which runs from 18:00 to 21:00 on each Thursday of the month (until 25 April 2019) costs CHF 125/ £97
Tomorrowland’s first winter edition will be held in Alpe d’Huez grand domaine Ski from 9-16 March 2019
The famous Belgium music festival has chosen Alpe d’Huez grand domaine Ski for its first winter edition. Set up in Belgium in 2005, Tomorrowland has grown to be one of the biggest electronic dance music festivals, attracting more than 400,000 people eager to dance the nights away. From 9-16 March 2019, the festival will be heading to Alpe d’Huez grand domaine Ski for the first time and transforming the resort into a musical playground. Combining extravagant décor, gourmet food and world-renowned DJs, the festival promises to be a grand and unique event. With more than 250 km of slopes, Alpe d’Huez is the destination to go to in March for those wanting to incorporate great skiing and snowboarding whilst enjoying unrivalled festival vibes. A four-night package, from 12 March 2019, costs from €1,256 / £1,100 pp (two sharing) including self-catered accommodation, four-day ski pass and a festival ticket.
Alpe d’Huez grand domaine Ski: www.alpedhuez.com/en/winter
New flight route makes skiing in Japan easier than ever, with Ski Safari
A new flight with Finnair that significantly cuts travel time to Sapro, Japan, has been announced. The new flight, operating from 15 December 2019 to 27 March 2020, will run twice a week from London via Helsinki, reducing travel time by a minimum of three hours. The new flight facilitates access to Ski Safari’s The Green Leaf Hotel in Niseko, a ski-in, ski-out hotel with a host of on-site amenities. From the rotenburo, an outside bath, to the range of treatments available in the spa, The Green Leaf Hotel is a tranquil abode for guests keen on exploring the world-class ski terrain and elegant culture of Japan. A trip up the mountain finds visitors at the heart of Japan’s largest ski resort, famous for its abundance of fresh powder across 644 acres of ski area. A seven-night stay, departing 9 January 2020, at the 4* Green Leaf Hotel costs from £1,795 pp based on two adults sharing a deluxe room on a B&B basis. Price includes return flights from London Heathrow with Finnair and transfers.
Ski Safari (01273 224 060, www.skisafari.com)
Don’t miss the Streif Vertical Up on 24 February 2019, in Kitzbühel, the Austrian Tirol
Considered the ‘Super Bowl of Skiing’, but in reverse, the Streif Vertical Up sees hundreds of competitors pulling on their head torches and powering up the famous World Cup run, with 860 metres of vertical gain to conquer. Now in its eighth year, the night race features multinational competitors from across Europe and many different types of equipment, from cross-country skis to spikes. Join in with the fun Backpack Event or the challenging Speed Event, plus, there’s also a fancy-dress competition… Registration costs from €35. Topflight (www.topflight.ie) offering 3 * Kolpinghaus apartments, Kitzbuhel flying from Dublin or Cork. Topflight offering 7 nights with return flights and half board from €952 Park Hotel, Kirchberg, close by Kitzbuhel with more reasonably priced accommodation. Phone 01-2401784.
Austrian Tirol: www.visittirol.co.uk
Rock The Pistes in Morzine, south-eastern France, 17-23 March 2019
Rock The Pistes is the ultimate music and snowsports festival held in the Portes du Soleil ski area of the French Alps. Spread over several resorts across the region, the festival welcomes some of the world’s best singers, bands, rappers and DJs to perform on the impressive slope-side stages. Now in its ninth year, past acts have included Rag’n’Bone Man, the Klaxons and Pete Doherty, with revellers able to literally ski from one performance to the next. For those looking to make the most of this year’s festival, taking place 17-23 March 2019, the popular resort of Morzine makes for the perfect base. Situated at an altitude of more than 1,000 m, the beautiful town is home to one of the key festival sites and is within easy reach of all the other participating resorts. What’s more, Morzine is just an hour and a quarter from Geneva Airport and offers an abundance of quality and affordable accommodation options during the festival period.www.vip-chalets.com)
Enjoy a short, spring, skiing break in Morzine, with AliKats Mountain Holidays
Ferme à Jules, located in the charming French resort of Morzine, is a divine converted barn rated in the top five chalets on Trip Advisor for the whole of the northern French Alps. This expansive property sleeps up to 26 people in 10 delightful en-suite rooms. Guests can enjoy exquisite meals at the large dining table, unwind in the comfortable living area and admire the views from the series of balconies. They can also take advantage of the private chauffeur service to the lifts, so they can have even more time exploring the Portes du Soleil ski area. This expansive ski domain offers 650 km of pistes, which spans across 12 resorts and two countries. After a day on the slopes, guests can soothe sore muscles in the outdoor hot tub, help themselves to a beverage from the honesty bar or cosy-up around the roaring log fire. Dedicated chalet hosts will provide outstanding food and drink and ensure standards are nothing but excellent. A three-night catered stay, arriving 20 March 2019, costs from £565 pp based on two sharing. Price includes champagne and canapés on arrival, breakfast, afternoon tea, four-course evening meals, private chauffeur service in-and-around Morzine (08.00-22.00), use of the hot tub and sauna and committed service from AliKats’ team throughout the stay. Return flights, transfers and lift passes extra.
AliKats (www.alikats.eu) Daily flights ex Dublin to Geneve.
Save more than 25% when staying at the Alpina Lodge in Val d’Isère, France, with Ski France
With the slopes reaching an altitude of nearly 3,400 m, the charming alpine village of Val d’Isère boasts incredible skiing across 300 km of slopes as part of the world’s highest extended ski domain, which links with neighbouring resort Tignes. This renowned resort is also home to awe-inspiring scenery and insane aprés-ski. The 4* Résidence Alpina Lodge, which offers a selection of comfortable and spacious self-catered apartments, is the ideal accommodation choice. The apartments provide breath-taking views of the mountains and have fully-equipped kitchens for absolute convenience. Raclette grills are even available upon request to ensure guests have the ultimate alpine experience. The residence is ideally located in the town centre, close to shops, bars and restaurants, and the main ski lifts are only 500 metres away. A seven-night self-catered stay at Ski France’s 4* Résidence Alpina Lodge, departing 30 March 2019, is priced from £285 pp (£569 total – was £798 total, saving 28%) per one-bedroom studio apartment that sleeps up to two people. Accommodation only. Return flights, transfers, lift pass and food extra.
Ski France (0203 475 4756, www.skifrance.co.uk)
Val d’Isère: www.valdisere.com
Save 10% at Résidence Les Temples du Soleil, Val Thorens in France with Pierre & Vacances
Residence Les Temples du Soleil in Val Thorens makes a fantastic choice for groups and families. From spa treatments to play spaces, the accommodation offers an extensive range of facilities. As well as easy access to the slopes, ski-in, ski-out Les Temples du Soleil boasts exquisite mountain views. Why not bring the grandparents, or even the dog, so that they can enjoy the buzz of central Val Thorens too? Situated next to a mini market and the hub of the village, families will find it easy to explore the restaurants, shops and bars. A seven-night self-catered stay at Résidence Les Temples du Soleil, in an apartment that sleeps up to four people, arriving 23 March 2019, is priced from £705 per apartment saving 10%). Flights and transfers extra.
Pierre & Vacances (0870 0267 145, www.pierreetvacances.co.uk)