At Ski Lifts, we’re excited for one of the most important days of the year. That’s right, it’s International Mountain Day!
What’s International Mountain Day?
Celebrated each year on the 11th December since 2003, the U.N. designated the day to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable mountain development and mountain communities, with 15% of the world’s population living in mountains.
The particular areas that the U.N. wants to highlight are the mountains’ importance in disaster risk reduction, providing water, tourism, food, youth, indigenous peoples and biodiversity.
Why is it necessary?
Covering around 27% of the earth’s land surface, mountains play a critical role in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth.Mountains are under threat from land degradation, exploitation, natural disasters and climate change which has ramifications on both a local and global scale.
In fact, mountainous areas are particularly sensitive to the effects of climate change. For example, in The Alps temperatures have risen by just under 2°C over the past 120 years, which is almost twice as much as the global average, with researchers predicting this will continue to rise.
This can have serious consequences for the flora and living environment of the area, as can be seen by the loss of the Pizol glacier earlier this year. And of course, could make it more difficult for future generations of skiiers and snowboarders.
Is there a theme?
This year’s International Mountain Day focusses on how ‘Mountains matter for Youth’ and draws attention to younger generations as active agents of change, who will be the mountain custodians of tomorrow.
It’s also an opportunity to educate children and young people about the vital role that mountains play in supporting billions of people globally.
How can the ski industry help?
As a whole, the ski industry is aware of the impact it has on the environment, particularly as it is most often pronounced in mountainous areas such as the Alps. As a result, many companies including us, are looking at ways we can minimise our impact and effect positive change.
For example, at Ski LIfts we actively decided to offer train station transfers as well as airport transfers to offer our customers a more accessible way to reach the Alps. We also recommend shared transfers where possible, as not only are they cost-effective but they also reduce the number of vehicles on the road. Moving forward, we are hoping to add more zero-emission transfers to our portfolio of suppliers.
More directly though, in celebration of International Mountain Day, and as part of a wider initiative towards offsetting our carbon emissions and driving a positive impact for the industry, we have donated towards the planting of 500 trees through Team Trees.
In collaboration with the NGO the Arbor Day Foundation, Team Trees aims to plant 20 million trees in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way, with studies showing this is one of the most effective ways of combatting global warming as trees remove carbon from the atmosphere.
With mountains and their sustainable development being integral to many lives on Earth, there is still plenty to be done. To achieve sustainable mountain development, it is essential that all concerned stakeholders are involved and that awareness is raised about mountain ecosystems, their fragility and prevalent problems, and about ways of addressing them. For more information and to find out how you can get involved, click here.
Your time is valuable when you’re on holiday and there’s skiing to be done. No one wants to be wasting time on a transfer from the airport to the ski resort, especially when time isn’t on your side.
Here at Ski-Lifts, we ensure that your transfer is seamless, so if you only have a short amount of time to spend on your ski break, get an instant quote today and book a hassle-free transfer with Ski-Lifts, to one of these ski resorts with short transfer times.
Morzine is one of the resorts across the Portes du Soleil ski area in France, which stretches up the France–Switzerland border. With 52 hotels and 41 bars and restaurants, there is no shortage of facilities. With that being said, Morzine still manages to pull off that genuine mountain village vibe. When it comes to the slopes, Morzine is a perfect ski resort for beginners and intermediate skiers, with plenty of gentle pistes.
Even if you’re not a dedicated skier, Morzine is one of those ski resorts where there is an abundance of other activities to fill up your holiday while everyone else is whizzing down the slopes. These adventurous activities include; ice-diving in a lake, nature discovery tours, snowmobiling, tobogganing, snowshoeing and of course, shopping. And we can get you there!
Chamonix town in Chamonix Valley is bustling with life, thanks to the 9,000 permanent residents and plenty of tourists. While Chamonix could hardly be classed as a tranquil alpine retreat, the surrounding cliffs and tumbling glaciers of the Mont Blanc massif makes a stunning setting. The town’s old buildings have kept their authentic look and also now that Chamonix centre is traffic-free, it offers pleasant walkways, with cafés looking over the river Arve’s torrent and no shortage of quirky shops – galleries, bookshops and speciality food, along with classic souvenirs and the latest ski and snowboarding gadgets.
Verbier is the main resort in the 4 Valleys, the largest Swiss ski area. Verbier’s success is due to a combination of a sunny, scenic location, brilliant terrain and a lively bar scene. Verbier has been a long-time favourite of the young and sporty clientele. The fact that Verbier is so easy to access from Geneva Airport has also helped with the popularity.
Thanks to the altitude of the ski area and the snowmaking, Verbier is a safe bet when you’re booking for early or late season. The resort itself sits at 1,500m, however, heights of more than 2,700m can be reached by a couple of gondola rides, which only take around 11 minutes altogether. At 2700m you can bet your house there will be abundant snowfall. Get an instant quote online today to see how much your speedy ski transfer could cost.
Much like Chamonix, located on the French side of Mont Blanc in Chamonix Valley, upmarket Courmayeur is one of the great ski and climbing towns in the Alps. The Italian side of Mont Blanc has a totally different weather pattern to that of the French side. In the winter Courmayeur gets much more sunshine than shady and chilly Chamonix. The centre of Courmayeur village is pedestrianised and lined with high-end boutiques, lively bars, quality restaurants and even antique and homeware shops. The main ski area is reached by cable car from the centre of the village. The top lift reaches a maximum height of 2,755m and the bottom of the slopes lay at 1,224m. Get a hassle-free quote for your ski transfer in Italy online today.
St Anton is, Arlberg is situated in the western part of the Austrian Tyrol region, the town has always been well known for its natural beauty, reliable snowfall and the excellent condition of the slopes. The large networked lift system in St Anton includes the neighbouring resorts of St Christoph and Stuben and a St Anton ski pass also covers the resorts of Lech and Zurs. Although the town does lay low, luckily there’s a good range of skiing from 1200m to almost 3000m. The ground is grassy and below 2000m, so there’s no real need for a large snow base to make the runs skiable. However, well over a metre of snow is needed to cover the rocks above the treeline. Early on in the season, lower resorts are likely to have more runs open.
Skiers and snowboarders have been hitting the slopes by Mayrhofen for more than a century and for the locals, providing hospitality, is a way of life. The Zillertal, where Mayrhofen lies, is also famous for being one of Austria’s most musical valleys – almost every member of local families can boast of being a member of a band. The musical theme extends to all the way to the mountain, where music can be heard across the slopes from every mountain hut. Mayrhofen boasts 136km of runs and 57 lifts, a reputation for consistent snowfall throughout the season and runs which sit between 1,650m and 2,500m. Mayrhofen is packed full of red runs and suits versed intermediates perfectly. For those experts, Mayrhofen is home to Austria’s steepest slope, the Harakiri. For your speedy 60-minute transfer, get an instant quote online at Ski Lifts.
La Clusaz is an authentic mountain village that boasts a rustic and Gallic charm. Due to the proximity to Geneva airport, La Clusaz attracts a tonne of weekend visitors. The local slopes are all below 2500m, so snow conditions can be unpredictable, however, there is a lot of snowmaking to make up for that. There are steep black runs and bumps, as well as decent off-piste when conditions allow. There are also challenging but wide blues, as well as gentle nursery slopes up to the mountain. La Clusaz is home to rustic huts throughout, and a few lively bars to keep you occupied.
Solden is home to some challenging red pistes and exceptionally long top-to-bottom runs. For those who love the lively bar scene, Solden is the place for you. The ski area in Solden is not enormous. However, the runs go high and all sectors offer serious vertical and also some long runs. Snowmaking spans across 67% of the area, including all slopes on Giggijoch. Even in a generally poor season, you can usually count on coverage, even down to resort level.
This medieval silver-mining centre deserves its reputation as one of the most picturesque ski towns in the Alps. Old coaching inns which have now inevitably been converted into four- and five-star hotels compete for space in the medieval streets alongside expensive fashion boutiques and fancy cafés. The town stands at 800m and the top lift at 2,000m. For guaranteed snow, head to Kitzbuhel between the end of January and the majority of February. Although Kitzbuhel may look like one of the most expensive resorts in Europe, surprisingly prices fail to reach anywhere near the heights of Courchevel or Zermatt.
Innsbruck is a city, not a ski resort, right? Our answer to that is, take a look at the map. Innsbruck is a place surrounded by mountains. To the north lies the Nordkette. South-east of Innsbruck city centre is the Patscherkofl, while to the south you will find the east-west ridge of the Alps and the slopes of the Stubai Glacier. To be precise, there are nine ski areas surrounding the city, covered by the same lift pass. These ski areas offer a brilliant variety of terrain.
If you’re heading to one of these ski destinations with a short transfer time, don’t forget to book your airport to resort transfer with us here at Ski-Lifts! We offer transfers to over 200 resorts across Europe and America, whether you’re an individual, couple or a group – and booking online is hassle-free. Once your transfer has been organised, you’ll be able to start planning for your ski trip. It’s that simple! Get an instant quote today.
If you love the mountains as much as we do here at Ski Lifts, you’ll agree that there is no better way to bring in the New Year than spending your time skiing and partying late into the night at one of these resorts in the Alps!
Think huge parties in the streets, live music and late openings – that’s exactly what St Anton is like on NYE. Head down to the pedestrianised centre of the town and you can enjoy one of the rowdiest countdowns in the Alps, with fireworks exploding in every direction above you. What could be better than staying in a catered chalet with your hosts rustling up a feast? All you have to do is relax!
It may come as no surprise, but the slopes around St Anton on 1st January are usually pretty empty until midday, so if you fancy some early morning skiing, this is the perfect time! Of course, you’ll need every second to explore the 350km of slopes in St Anton and the surrounding resorts.
Pas de la Casa
Pas de la Casa stands at Grandvalira’s highest point at 2100m and opens at the end of November, so there will more than likely be a good covering of snow come New Year. Pas de la Casa, like most Andorran resorts, is known for being cheap, so it may come as no surprise to hear that this resort is a fantastic place for big parties and small prices. There’s no time to be twiddling your thumbs in this resort, with 210km of slopes and 3 snow parks. Pas is up there with the best when it comes to après. Think free shots, cheap beers everywhere and constant happy hours, that’s what you’ll get here. The perfect recipe for NYE celebrations when pubs and clubs usually stay open until the early hours of the morning.
You don’t need to break the bank this New Year when heading to the Alps. Sauze d’Oulx can do everything that the neighbouring Swiss and French resorts can do – for much cheaper. You certainly won’t be compromising when it comes to parties and pistes. You’ll be spending your New Year skiing on the 400km slopes of the Milky Way, which link over to Montgenevre, on the French side of the border. Sauze has some of the liveliest bars in the Italian Alps, which is perfect for anyone wanting a party on the 31st! Not forgetting, Sauze is only an hour’s transfer from the nearby Turin Airport.
Zermatt is a stunning village with its timber buildings, famous church spire and cobbled streets, all overlooked by the marvellous Matterhorn. The standard of food in the lavish gala dinners that most hotels throw is sky high. There are lots of local traditions that happen here in Zermatt on the 31st – everyone gathers in the church square to enjoy fireworks, music and drinking from the outdoor bars, which accompany the countdown. There’s a huge amount of area to cover when it comes to skiing around Zermatt, with 200km of slopes covered by the local lift pass alone.
A favourite amongst the Brits and for good reason as well, a New Year celebration in Meribel is high on any skier’s bucket list. The NYE celebrations usually start with a family-friendly torch lit descent into the Chaudanne area. Following that, the amazing firework display begins, with roaring and colourful fireworks launching in every direction in the sky. For a true alcohol-fueled New Year, it is recommended to head to legendary Le Rond Point, on the only night of the year it is open until the early hours. Of course, there is always the option of an early night and getting up prior to midday to explore the near-empty 600km of slopes across the Three Valleys.
There are a few options when it comes to celebrating New Year in Mayrhofen. One of these options is to jump on the New Year’s Eve train, where the Zillertal Railways will take you from Jenbach to Mayrhofen, whilst stopping for entertainment at each of the train stations along the way. There’s always the option to head to one of the rowdy and heaving bars in the resort. Then on New Year’s Day, there’s usually a horse-drawn carriage procession leading to the racecourse, where you can place your bets and see if your year will get off to a lucky start.
Book your ski transfers for NYE in the Alps with Ski Lifts
If you’re planning on seeing the New Year in with a fun-filled ski trip to the Alps, make sure to get a quote from Ski Lifts for your airport transfers. We specialise in providing a safe and professional transfer service, specifically for ski holidays. Simply fill in one of our online forms and receive an instant quote for your upcoming ski trip!
Did you know that Europe and Canada are home to many unknown ski resorts? You may have heard of Tignes and you may have heard of Chamonix – but the line doesn’t stop there! From Bulgaria to Switzerland and Andorra – there are many hidden ski resorts that are nestled away in the snowy mountains. Luckily for you, we have compiled a guide of the top ten quiet ski resorts that you need to visit. Read on!
1. Soldeu, Andorra
As the largest ski resort in Andorra, you might not expect to see Soldeu on this list of the top ten unknown ski resorts. However, due to Andorra’s proximity to the likes of France, Italy and Switzerland, this small country can often get overlooked as a skiing destination.
Why go skiing in Soldeu…
Well, for one, this Andorran ski resort has been voted one of the best cheap ski resorts in Europe. This has undoubtedly been helped by Andorra being duty-free! However, the duty-free status does not bring many party goers, so Soldeu is one of the best quiet family-friendly ski resorts in Europe.
2. Borovets, Bulgaria
Bulgaria is one of Europe’s top destinations when it comes to finding undiscovered ski resorts – take a look at Borovets!
Tourism in Borovets can be traced back to the 19th century, making it one of the oldest ski resorts around. This Bulgarian resort is one of the best quiet ski resorts for beginners and includes internationally renowned ski instructors in the resort, who generally speak English. There’s plenty of choice when it comes to après ski in Borovets. Those who do know the resort would be familiar with the cheaper alternatives available to the much more expensive alpine bars elsewhere.
3. Les Houches, France
You might not expect to see Les Houches being named as one of the hidden ski resorts in France, especially with it being 6km from the hugely popular ski resort Chamonix.
The village is typical of the Savoy region in France. The quaint resort is made up of hamlets which are scattered over the 5000 hectares that Les Houches covers. The exceptional backdrop of Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc and the stunning panoramas of Les Houches ski area, truly set this resort apart. As one of the best quiet ski resorts near Geneva, you might be wondering why you’ve never been here before.
4. Pamporovo, Bulgaria
Pamporovo is set in beautiful picturesque pine forests and certainly stands out on this list of top ten unknown ski resorts.
You might expect one of the advantages of skiing in Bulgaria is that everything is much cheaper than Western Europe, and you would be correct to assume this. Pamporovo is no exception to this rule, so you can ensure that you won’t be spending a fortune on your ski holiday here. The ski area itself isn’t massive, but the number of green and blue runs make Pamporovo excellent for beginners.
5. Serre Chevalier, France
The extensive resort of Serre Chevalier is made up of four different villages and towns, which go by the names of; Briancon, Chantemerle, Villeneuve and Le Monetier-Les-Bains.
When it comes to finding the best hidden resorts in France, look no further than this place. Serre Chevalier is definitely one of the most underrated and quiet ski resorts near Grenoble. Despite its hidden status, skiers at this resort also have the option of using their lift pass at the nearby resorts of Alpe d’Huez and Les Deux Alpes. As well as this, the laid-back style of this resort, friendly locals and cheaper prices than some of its neighbours will leave you coming back for more.
6. Obergurgl, Austria
Situated in the Tyrol region of Austria, Obergurgl sits right by the Italian border. This increasingly popular, but still relatively quiet ski resort is near Innsbruck Airport.
This small, family-friendly Austrian ski resort is a favourite amongst those who have visited previously. However, it remains one of Austria’s most quiet ski resorts. It’s difficult to understand why Obergurgl isn’t more popular, to be honest. It’s snow sure, there’s a quaint village with a traffic-free centre, and it hosts reputable ski schools. What more could you ask for?
7. Grindelwald, Switzerland
This lively, but relatively unknown Swiss ski resort is perfect for skiing and active summer holidays. Grindelwald sits under the north face of the Eiger and is surrounded by the Wetterhorn, Monch and several other glaciers. The picturesque surrounding scenery is a draw for lovers of Grindelwald, as well as for those wanting to find the best undiscovered ski resorts.
For non-skiers, Grindelwald is home to 100km of winter footpaths. This Swiss ski resort near Zurich is also home to the world’s longest toboggan run.
8. Crans Montana, Switzerland
Situated in the heart of the Swiss Alps, Crans Montana is one of Europe’s quiet ski resorts, but is becoming more popular with skiers and summer activity seekers. On a visit to Crans Montana, you’ll have access to 140km of pistes, including Pointe de la Plane Morte, and a glacier reaching 2,927m.
If you follow the Alpine Ski Racing World Championships you may recognise the name, Crans Montana, as this was the venue for their 1987 championships.
9. Golden, Canada
Located just above the picturesque town of Golden in Canada is the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. This resort is known (to some) for its distinctive views and legendary terrain. In Canada, Banff and other large resorts can often overshadow some of their smaller neighbours.
However, when it comes to finding the best hidden ski resorts in this country, you shouldn’t pass up on a trip to Golden. Never mind the best unknown ski resorts in North America, Golden is up there as being one of the best resorts in North America.
As well as world-class skiing at this quiet Canadian ski resort, you can enjoy; skating, tubing, snowshoeing and direct access to snowmobile tours and heli-skiing.
10. Arabba, Italy
Set at an altitude of 1600m, Arabba is one of Italy’s quiet ski resorts that is located in the heart of Dolomites. You will be assured to have an unforgettable ski break at this hidden resort.
Even without mentioning the skiing, the view of Portavescovo Mountain will leave you in awe. However, the skiing at Arraba is always the number one priority. As the resort is home to some amazing technical pistes, you will not be disappointed here. Also, those wanting to learn to ski will be pleased to know that there are some perfect nursery slopes lower down the mountain.
Now you know the top ten undiscovered ski resorts, book today!
We’re sure you LOVE skiing as much as we do, so why be stuck somewhere with weather like this …
When you can ski somewhere like this…
Early season can be a great time to go on a skiing holiday and there’s plenty of great offers around for ski holidays in the run-up to Christmas. No one wants to book a ski holiday when there isn’t going to be promised snowfall, which is why we have put together some of the best ski resorts for guaranteed snow.
Tignes/Val d’Isere, France
If you’re looking to sharpen up your technique, Tignes is the place for you. This French resort is full of English speaking ski schools which are open in November. Having the glacier means there is a long winter season and even a summer season for skiing and snowboarding. With its great snow record and the highest lift standing at 3450m, you are sure to have a great time on the mountain in Tignes.
Val d’Isere has the largest artificial snowmaking plant in the whole of Europe. Le Snow Factory could cover Wembley Stadium to a depth of half a metre in just one hour. Impressive! Even in ‘bad’ snow years, Val’d’Isere and Tignes remain accessible, meaning the snow conditions are hard to beat.
Situated in north-west Italy in the Alpine resort of Valle d’Aosta, Cervinia is one of the world’s best ski resorts for guaranteed snow. Breuil-Cervinia has a particularly long season and is known for its snow-capped mountains, including the pyramid-shaped Matterhorn.
Cervinia’s glacier allows the resort to stay open throughout the summer, but the winter season starts in October. Cervinia stands at 2,050m, with lifts going up to 3,480m. The joint ski area with Zermatt is the highest in Europe, ensuring snow cover is guaranteed in these resorts between November and early May.
Situated in the Tyrol region of Austria, Solden is the largest ski resort in the Otztal Valley. There are plenty of bars and clubs at this famous party resort – popular for skiers who like to play hard and ski hard. However, if you are looking for something quieter, don’t worry! Away from the main strip, there are several ski-in ski-out hotels on the edges of town.
With two high-altitude glaciers, 150km of pistes, and a park – the range of skiing and snowboarding on offer cannot be overlooked. We recommend getting up early and making the most of the area. If early starts aren’t for you, there is always night skiing. When it comes to Solden being one of Europe’s best ski resorts for guaranteed snow, it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Solden opens in late November, but the 10 lifts on its two 3,250m glaciers ensure that snow cover also runs through the autumn.
Fun fact: did you know that the hit James Bond film ‘Spectre’ was shot here? After the release of this film, visitor numbers at this resort have shot up. The association with Bond has indeed proved positive for Solden as they try to change their image from an international to a luxury Austrian resort.
Val Thorens is a purpose-built resort in the Belleville Valley situated above the resorts of Les Menuires and St Martin De Belleville. On a stunning day, the positioning of Val Thorens offers an incredible winter panorama.
Val Thorens is the highest ski town in the Alps and its great altitude guarantees a longer season than many other ski resorts. This means doorstep skiing and snowboarding is possible in the resort from November to May! Val Thorens is also part of the infamous Three Valleys Ski Area in France. With its great snow record, well-linked lift system and 600km of pistes – the Three Valleys is a must-visit destination for any ski and snowboard enthusiasts.
Summit County, Colorado has a high elevation, making it a popular choice for December skiing. Copper Mountain can cover 331 acres with its snowmaking operation. It also has three distinct sections for different abilities and enjoys a higher base elevation (9,712 feet) than most other resorts in the area.
With a relaxed family-friendly vibe, this purpose-built resort village has three linked areas and the free shuttle bus takes just five minutes to travel between them. Centre Village is the main focal point for bars and restaurants. For those wanting an even bigger selection, the small town of Frisco a six-mile shuttle ride away.
Having opened in 1946, Les Deux Alpes was one of the first French Ski resorts and has grown in popularity throughout the years. Home to Europe’s largest skiable glacier, Les Deux Alpes is perfect for skiers and snowboarders. Les Deux Alpes is split into two areas – the Valley Blanche and Glacier side. Within the resort, there is an extensive ski terrain, modern lift system and a great amount of sun with south-facing slopes.
Home to slopes from 3,570m to 1,650m, you can enjoy early Autumn skiing here. However, the resort is officially open for the winter in December.
When it comes to finding the best ski resorts for guaranteed snow, The Austrian village of Ischgl is certainly worth paying a visit. It has a good snow record and long history dating back over 1,000 years. The ski resort has something for everyone. It is the perfect location for a holiday with a selection of beginner, intermediate and advanced pistes, parks and pipes and night skiing.
Ischgl is known for the energetic après activities it hosts every year, and not to mention its massive mid-mountain concert featuring world-class headline acts. It also includes the charm and sophistication of resorts like Kitzbuhel, and promises nightlife that rivals St Anton. The slopes in Ischgl best suit eager intermediates who enjoy covering as much ground as possible each day. Ischgl is not your typical snow-sure candidate. The village itself has an altitude 1,400m and a maximum height of under 3,000m.
Les Arcs is part of the huge Paradiski ski area and includes many areas such as Bourg-Saint-Maurice, Arc 1600, Arc 1800, Arc 1950 and Arc 2000. Each area is situated at different altitudes all with their own character and atmosphere.
Les Arcs would be a good choice for those wanting to find the best ski resorts with guaranteed snow. The high altitude resort is home to the infamous speed skiing course. It has 425km of pistes, a lift at 3250m, a varied terrain, and a great snow record. These features make Les Arcs the perfect resort for beginners all the way through to experts.
When you purchase a whole area lift pass, you’ll also be able to explore Les Arcs’ sister resort of La Plagne. La Plagne is home to its very own glacier and a further 225km of pistes.
Lech is a typical Austrian ski resort popular amongst the rich and famous. With chocolate box chalets, snowy mountains, luxury hotels and high-end restaurants – choosing to ski at this resort would definitely would be a good choice.
There is ample skiing for everyone as Lech is accessible to its neighbours St Anton and Zurs (around 276 KM worth of pistes).
Lech has a brilliant snow record, with a 60% snow cannon coverage. This makes the resort earn the title of being one of Europe’s best ski resorts with guaranteed snow. The Lech also offers a fantastic array of off-piste opportunities and is one of the only Austrian resorts to offer heli-skiing.
Closest airport – Our Lech ski transfers from Innsbruck Airport take approximately 1.5 hours.
Verbier is one of the Alps’ most famous and best ski resorts for guaranteed snow, attracting celebrities such as The Beckhams and Richard Branson. The resort itself is renowned for its combination of scenic views, exciting terrain, and lively nightlife.
Skiers and snowboarders of all levels will be entertained for as many weeks as they have spare. The exciting terrain on Verbier’s doorstep has given rise to thrilling spectator events, and the Patrouille des Glaciers is a gruelling ski touring race from Zermatt.
Verbier has 80 lifts which access more than 400km of runs and is the main resort in Switzerland’s largest ski area, The 4 Valleys. The altitude of the ski area and its extensive snowmaking means that it is safe to book early season.
Now you know the best ski resorts for guaranteed snow, book today!
If you are headed off to the slopes this winter, make sure that you take note of the above. At Ski Lifts, we offer a variety of airport transfers to thrilling ski resorts around Europe. If you do decide that you want to stay at any of the resorts we have mentioned, be sure to get an instant transfer quote online.
If you have any questions regarding our airport transfers, feel free to get in touch with our team. We’re more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
Alternatively, visit our FAQs page where we have provided answers to many queries we frequently receive.
The best time of the year is just around the corner. The 2019/20 ski season opening dates for most North American resorts have now been released. It can often be difficult to trawl the internet to try and find ski resort opening dates so we thought we’d make it easier by doing the work for you. Below is a list of the opening dates for the most popular ski resorts in North America.
Just take a look at the list below to find out when the ski season starts in Canada and the USA.
Your end-to-end guide to planning your first ski holiday
So you’ve decided you want to book your first ski holiday? Excellent choice! Now you’re wondering where to begin though. It’s true that booking and planning a ski holiday gives you plenty to consider, from the gear you’ll need to which resort is best for you. Your first skiing holiday is always going to be a bit of a learning curve with so much to plan, so here’s everything you need to know to make your first memory of the slopes a happy one.
Choosing where to go on your first skiing holiday can be a daunting task. You maybe haven’t even considered yet that different resorts are perhaps better for beginners. As it’s your first ski holiday, you’re going to need a resort with good, easily-accessible slopes.
The first thing to do is to work out what anyone you are going with wants from the holiday and the practical considerations.
Is scenery important or do you just want to be near to the slopes?
Will you all be travelling from the same place?
Is this everyone’s first ski holiday or do others have more experience?
Which type of accommodation will suit your needs? Do you want a hotel or chalet? (See “Where to Stay“)
Are you purely going for skiing or is downtime/nightlife important too?
What are your budgets?
When would you ideally like to go?
If scenery is important to you and you want somewhere picturesque then some of the more purpose-built resorts in the likes of France may not have the same appeal as some of the quaint resorts you’ll find such as Kitzbühel in Austria or Cortina in Italy.
Whether it’s just you and your partner, your family or a larger group, there will be resorts more suited to your needs. If you are travelling with children, there will be resorts better-tailored for families and some that will even let kids ski for free. If you’re travelling in a group and have different levels of skiing experience, then a resort catering for people of all abilities is going to serve your needs better. Also, as it is your first ski holiday, resorts that have dedicated nursery areas, blue runs and novice-friendly lifts such as button/drag lifts or, even better, gondolas are going to be less daunting.
Although skiing and snowboarding are going to be the activities you’ll look forward to, it’s worth thinking about different experiences too, such as ice skating and other activities besides the slopes. Some resorts will have a larger selection of amenities, such as Avoriaz, which has a large indoor water park or Canillo, home to one of Europe’s biggest thermal spas. If nightlife is important to you, party resorts known for their aprés ski such as Tignes or Alpe D’Huez might appeal, whereas if drunken shenanigans aren’t your scene, you might consider a smaller resort that might be more tranquil.
If budget is a factor then you might be enticed by resorts in Southeastern European countries such as Bulgaria or Slovenia. These countries tend to have smaller resorts that would suit a beginner and typically cost less than the larger Alpine resorts.
Choosing when to go
Flexibility will certainly work in your favour when it comes to choosing when to go. If you haven’t been skiing before then you might not know the best times of year for hitting the slopes or even when it’s ski season. For example, early season skiing (which is considered November/December) could mean you get a great deal and that wherever you go won’t be too busy. It could also put you in the festive mood. However, more experienced skiers in your group might be dismayed by the lower levels of snow.
In contrast, skiing in February can be a much busier time, especially if you choose a French resort due to half-terms. It also means flight and accommodation prices might be inflated and you’ll have to endure long lift queues. However, it’s also a great time for snow due to the peak season so if February appeals to you, book well in advance to get the best possible deals.
March and at Easter could be a perfect time for booking your first ski holiday as resorts have been getting more snow later in the season recently and prices are usually more favourable.
Late season skiing (April – June) has similar downfalls as early season, with higher chances of slushy snow but it’s also the best chance for skiing in the sun.
When it comes to your first skiing holiday, planning ahead is better but the more experienced you become, the easier it will be to go on a spontaneous last-minute trip to chase the snow.
Where to stay
Where you stay will be determined by your resort of choice and what time of season you want to travel. In most resorts, you will have a choice between catered chalets, chalet-hotels and self-catered apartments.
Catered chalets are a very British staple and a foreign concept in much of the rest of Europe. They’re typically staffed private houses or ski apartments and can vary widely in terms of luxury. The staff on hand largely depends on how much you would like to pay, with most chalets being run by seasonaires. At the other end of the market though, professional hospitality staff who work in hotels or villas can be on-hand and there is usually a full-time chef.
They can be ideal if you are travelling as a family or a group of friends. The chalet experience can be as much a part of your first ski holiday as the actual skiing, whether it’s with people you know or through forming new friendships. An additional benefit of staying in a chalet when you are a first-time skier is that staff and veteran skiers can be on-hand to offer advice and guidance.
Chalet-hotels are a bridge between the locally-run hotel and the typically British-run chalets and are essentially chalets on a grander scale. They’re normally either locally-run or overseen by a tour operator and have a similar feel to a chalet, with a more relaxed atmosphere than a formal hotel. They also work well if you will be travelling in a larger group or you would like to mingle with other holidaymakers.
In fact, one of the main benefits of the chalet-hotel is that you can flit in and out of social activities, such as the in-house bar and social dining services. Most chalet hotels will offer social skiing to build a sense of rapport over the course of your stay. Chalet-hotels can also include more services such as a pool or restaurants.
Self-catering ski chalets/apartments can greatly reduce the overall cost of your trip and can cost as little or as much as you like. Some of them can be cramped so it’s important to research them thoroughly before you book.
Many resorts will rent out individually-owned apartments through the local tourist office and their website is a great place to start looking for the latest accommodation.
Jargon Buster – the basics
Aprés Ski – Literally French for “after ski”, it’s generally used to refer to the socialising (read: drinking) that takes place after a day on the slopes.
Backcountry/off-piste – Skiing on unmarked or unpatrolled areas that can be either inside or outside a ski resort’s boundaries. Not recommended for newbies.
Blue run – An easy slope for beginners that isn’t usually very steep.
Black run – An advanced, difficult slope more suited to expert skiers and snowboarders.
Lift pass – A ticket or pass permitting the use of a ski lift to ski in certain places.
Piste – A marked ski run or path down a mountain, synonymous with “slope”.
Salopettes – Trousers designed specifically for snowsports, normally with a high waist and a bib that braces can be attached to.
Seasonaire – Someone taking up seasonal work in a ski resort.
How to get there
There are a plethora of ways that you could get to the slopes. If you book a package with a tour operator then this will usually include flights and shared coach transfers from the airport to your accommodation and the resort. For a first-time ski holiday, this may appeal as everything is done for you.
However, more people are now opting to book their ski holidays independently rather than choosing a package holiday as this gives them more variety. If you are flying then your options are:
Dedicated airport transfers
Booking a dedicated ski resort airport transfer can ensure that all the stress is taken out of your journey. At Ski Lifts, we offer a variety of airport transfers to suit all group sizes and budgets and we’re usually cheaper than public transport, car hire and local taxis.
Another option for getting to your ski resort is to take a public bus or train. These should operate fairly regularly from airports during peak season. This could be an option for those on a tight budget but obviously can be a significantly longer journey than an airport transfer and carrying your luggage can be an additional challenge.
Some people prefer to hire their own car as this can give them more flexibility. If you are considering this option then it’s worth bearing in mind that roads can be tricky, especially in extreme weather conditions. You’ll also need to check the rules on snow chains and winter tyres in your country of choice.
Picking a lift pass
When it comes to booking your first ski holiday, lift passes should be a top consideration, as they can be expensive depending on the resort. For instance, pass prices in Eastern European countries and smaller, less-popular resorts are going to be lower than more recognisable Alpine resorts.
Many of the larger resorts will have passes that cover their whole area but as a beginner, those won’t be much use to you. In fact, beginner lifts can often be free and give you enough terrain until you’ve learnt the basics. Once you have, a local area pass is likely to be more than enough for a week of fun-filled skiing on your first trip.
It might be worth asking your ski instructor/school for their advice before purchasing a lift pass as they’ll know which areas you’re most likely to use and if you need to, you can usually buy an upgrade to your pass on a daily basis if you want to explore some of the more challenging runs.
Do you need lessons?
The short answer is yes, you’ll need skiing lessons if this is your first time, at least for the first week of your trip. Even if there are experienced skiers in your group, don’t let them teach you as they’re not going to know the correct teaching methods, they may have picked up bad habits and they’re never going to help you progress as fast as an instructor can. In fact, they would probably still benefit from a few lessons too.
Lessons may not be cheap but they’re the best way to learn. There will usually be an option for group ski lessons or private ski lessons.
Group lessons are usually less costly and can either be for a half- or full-day. You’ll normally be put into groups of similar ability on your first morning then stay with the same group for the week. This can be a fun way to learn and meet people but of course your instructor’s time will be divided between the group so you are unlikely to get many dedicated pointers. It’s also worth checking that the ski school has English-speaking instructors, such as Maison Sport, which operates across 250 ski resorts in France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria.
Private lessons can vary in length depending on your needs and can be fairly intensive, although it is probably the best way to progress. Because they can be tiring, it’s worth factoing in some rest time too.
It could also be worth taking one or two lessons at a local dry slope or snow centre so you can build up some confidence before your holiday and hit the snow running.
What gear will you need?
As with most activities or hobbies, it’s probably better to give skiing a go first before you invest too much in gear. For your first skiing holiday, it makes more sense to try and borrow or hire as much as you can. Resorts will have boots, helmets, skis and poles that you can hire and booking these in advance can normally get you a better price. The gear you need will normally be matched with your height and ability and be sure that your boots are the right fit because if they’re uncomfortable you won’t have a very pleasant experience.
Of course, you’re going to need some clothing for the cold weather. As it’s your first ski holiday, you may be able to borrow some things from others, such as goggles, a warm jacket or salopettes, until you’re sure that skiing is your thing. Take a look at our handy guide to what you need to pack in detail.
Do I need to be fit?
It might not have crossed your mind but skiing can work your muscles pretty hard and the altitude can make it a little more gruelling, so it’s a good idea to try and build up your fitness beforehand. It also can help prevent you from getting an injury on the slopes or needing an afternoon nap (although they never hurt).
Here are some exercises you can do to prepare you for your first time. Even trying to fit in a couple of sessions a week in the build-up to your holiday can make a big difference. If you are the pinnacle of health and fitness, then you may still be surprised as skiing can awaken a couple of muscles you didn’t know you had.
Should I get insurance?
You’ll absolutely need insurance, especially as it is your first skiing holiday and the risks are slightly higher. Even more so if you opt for snowboarding, which is generally considered a little riskier.
It hopefully won’t happen but you don’t want to be caught out in the unfortunate event of an accident, especially if you are skiing in the USA. The remote locations of the majority of ski resorts can also prove costly when it comes to emergency medical transport.
Normal travel insurance doesn’t usually cover accidents as a result of winter sports so you will need specialist winter sports cover, that can also cover stolen or damaged equipment. It’s also worth checking the fine print to make sure it covers everything that might crop up, including things such as going off-piste.
Skiing can be a seriously rewarding and incredibly fun holiday choice and with all going to plan, your first ski holiday will leave you hungry for more. It might seem daunting but with some planning and consideration, your first ski holiday will be a breeze.
Here’s how to take the stress out of your next ski holiday
Although it seems counterintuitive, going on holiday can be a pretty stressful time. From delayed flights through to forgetting to pack the essentials, there are a million things that can cause undue stress.
Almost all airlines now let you check in ahead of your flight, allowing you to print or download your outbound and return boarding passes before you leave, meaning you can skip standing in a long check-in queue if you don’t have luggage. If you can’t avoid the check-in counter though…
It’s true that waiting around can be one of the most frustrating parts of flying but giving yourself plenty of time can avoid the need for anxious rushing and long check-in queues. Who knows when there will be motorway incidents or unforeseen circumstances.
If you can, staying overnight close to the airport can mitigate any panicking, meaning you can get a good night’s sleep and removes the stress of driving to the airport and parking.
Organise parking in advance
If you are planning on driving to the airport, booking a carpark space in advance is the best way to save time and money and the sooner you do it, the more you’re likely to get a good space close to the shuttle bus or terminal.
Be sure of baggage allowances
Baggage/luggage allowances can differ vastly depending on who you fly with so it’s best to double-check the guidelines for weight restrictions to save yourself the stress of having to pay for excess weight or repack your cases in front of everyone!
It’s also worth being sure of the hand luggage rules too. Skyscanner has a handy guide to restrictions by airline.
Be prepared for security
With 46% of those surveyed stating passing security as the most stressful part of air travel, it pays to be organised. Don’t be one of the poor souls sorting their hand luggage at the entrance to the security checkpoint.
Try to pack your carry-on luggage in advance, with your liquids stored in an approved transparent bag, your devices at-the-ready for putting them in a tray.
It also helps to plan your outfit, avoiding boots you’ll need to remove and belts, which can be stored in your bag until after security (unless your trousers are hanging around your ankles).
Once you are through security, take your time! Most stress comes from feeling that we need to rush to avoid holding people up but once you have collected your tray, relax and find a quiet table to reorganise yourself.
If you do want to avoid the queues, another option is to splash out on the fast-track lane for security if the airport provides one.
Have patience at the boarding gate
It’s more than likely nowadays that you will have allocated seating for your flight, this means you don’t need to queue unnecessarily to board. Take your time, rushing to get on board first means you’ll be cramped in your seat for longer. If you get anxious about having an overhead storage space, you could purchase speedy boarding and avoid queuing altogether.
Remember to enjoy your flight
Believe it or not, being in the air can be one of the least stressful parts of travelling via plane. If the thought of flying does make you anxious though, there are a few things you can do to help you relax. If you are travelling with children, bringing books and toys for them to play with can help keep them entertained.
Remember to download your favourite Netflix shows onto a tablet or your phone as well. And of course, there is ample time for snacking, because nobody wants to add hunger to their travel stresses.
Make your luggage memorable
It’s not surprising that baggage collection was the number one stress factor cited by those surveyed. We’ve all been there, being tousled around the carousel as people vie for the perfect spot. To help your baggage reclaim go as smoothly as possible, make sure your suitcase stands out.
Whether it’s a colourful case, tying bright ribbons or luggage belts or adding memorable stickers, be sure that your case is unmistakably yours. You can even install a luggage tracker if you really want to, to give you peace of mind in case your case does mysteriously vanish.
Book airport transfers you can rely on
Waiting on airport transfers can certainly add to holiday stress. Nobody likes getting to their holiday destination and then having to wait for ages for their transport. When booking your transfer, be sure to check the reviews of the transfer operator to ensure they are reliable. For example, here are ours:
Booking a private transfer can also ensure that when your plane arrives, your driver can be waiting to whisk you to your hotel or resort without making umpteen stops for strangers.
At Ski Lifts, we believe that your holiday begins with us. Our entire business model is based around offering stress-free and convenient airport transfers because we know that you have enough to worry about!
Now that you are hopefully less stressed, go ahead and book that next ski trip…
In case you hadn’t heard, today is UNWTO’s World Tourism Day! Commemorated every year on the 27th September, the day is designed to celebrate and raise awareness of tourism’s economic, social and cultural impact. This year the theme is ‘Tourism and Jobs: a better future for all’. With that in mind, here are five facts about the economic impact of ski tourism.
1. Jobs, jobs, jobs
There are over 2000 ski resorts worldwide, with over a third of these being based in the Alps. From seasonnaires to ski resort stalwards, resorts employ all manners of people, for roles from instructors, salespeople, technicians and chalet hosts through to cat drivers, chefs and photographers.
2. Resorts in 67 countries
Ski tourism is a global industry, with 67 countries worldwide offering outdoor ski areas according to research by Laurent Vanat. However, some countries have more ski areas than others, with Germany, for example, boasting an impressive 498!
3. 400 million annual ski visits
Although numbers vary within the industry, it is estimated that approximately 400 million skier visits worldwide, with just under half of those visiting the Alps! The second biggest destination is America (mostly North America), accounting for 21% of skier visits worldwide.
4. A multi-billion pound industry
Snowsports tourism is a massive revenue-generator boosting economies through everything from resorts and hotels through to equipment and gear and even supermarkets, bars and petrol stations. In the UK alone, 31,982 skis were sold to shops, rental operations and other organisations in 2016/2017, according to data by Statista.
Snow tourism is no joke and has a huge impact on global economies. Here’s hoping that it continues to contribute to the wider tourism industry as we work towards creating a sustainable snow tourism industry.
Today, Thomas Cook announced that it had ceased trading with immediate effect. With around 150,000 customers abroad right now, here’s how it might affect your ski holiday.
Currently on holiday?
Customers with ATOL protection will still be able to finish their holiday and fly home, although this may not be on a Thomas Cook plane.
What is ATOL protection?
Run by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, protection under the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) scheme means UK travellers who have booked an air package trip won’t be out of pocket or become stranded in the event their travel agent collapses.
Many charter flights are also covered, meaning if an operator collapses mid-trip, people can finish their holiday and still be flown home without incurring any additional cost.
If a company, such as Thomas Cook, collapses before a holiday, the ATOL scheme will make arrangements for a replacement holiday of equal value or offer a refund.
ATOL-protected holidays will have clear markings on documents.
Normally, any passengers who are not ATOL-protected would be required to find and pay for their own arrangements getting home. However, the Department for Transport has stated all Thomas Cook customers with a return flight to the UK within two weeks will be returned home free of charge as close as possible to their original return date, regardless of ATOL-protection or nationality.
It may be difficult but still try to enjoy your ski trip as there is no need to cut it short.
Booked a package holiday?
As above, any customers have paid for a package holiday will be ATOL-protected, meaning that your holiday will, unfortunately, be cancelled but you will be refunded.
All elements of the package, such as flights accommodation and excursions will be refunded. See here for how you can make a claim. If you have also paid for airport parking or airport transfers to and from your accommodation, you may need to make a claim with your travel insurer.
Unfortunately, flights are not offered the same level of protection as with a full package holiday and ATOL does not issue automatic refunds to flight-only deals.
However, you may still be able to make a claim through your travel insurance, usually under “Scheduled Airline Failure” coverage. Some policies exclude airline collapses so this may not be a given.
You may also be able to claim a refund from your credit card provider.
Booked a Ski-Lifts airport transfer?
If you have booked with Thomas Cook, it’s important that you contact our customer service team as soon as possible to see what we can do to help. All cancellations should be sent to by email or you can cancel your booking yourself by logging into your account. If you cancel more than 48 hours before your date of travel we should be able to issue a full refund at no additional charge, although we will have to look into each request on a case-by-case basis.