100 holiday ideas for 2010: Snow
Sunday 03 January 2010
If you fancy hitting the slopes for the first time in 2010, head to Avoriaz (avoriaz.com), in France. The resort is cordoning off a mile-long ski run for adult beginners – one that gets sunshine all day and offers great views – for a new Première Glisse (First Glide) course, which claims to make you competent on the slopes after only three days.
Experienced skiers bored with the Alps should try Lebanon, where the tour operator Black Tomato (black tomato.co.uk) is offering three-day holidays for the first time. The skiing is at the Cedars resort – 45 minutes from Beirut and the Mediterranean.
Alternatively, try heli-skiing on Mount Olympus in Greece this spring with Heliski Greece (heliskigreece .com). Under normal conditions, runs will range from 1,000 to 1,500 vertical metres but, if there is a lot of snow, it may be possible to ski to sea level.
Or try the new Snow & Watersport Challenge at Leukerbad (skischule- leukerbad.ch) in Switzerland, on 27 March. Competitors will race down the 126-metre flume at the Burgerbad thermal spa, before tackling a giant slalom course on the snow. Indeed, 2010 is a good year for whacky ideas from the Swiss, because another pretty resort, Grimentz (grimentz.ch), is offering Woopy Jump, a new snow sport that involves "flying" down a special piste while harnessed to an inflatable delta wing.
Snow resorts are always diversifying, hence Val d'Isère (valdisere .com) in France is adding a superb new Aquasports centre for the coming year. The 5,000sq-metre facility has two pools, climbing walls, a sports hall, weights room, squash courts and wellness lounge with saunas and a Turkish bath.
Several new music festivals have been announced for the ski season, including the Little World Festival (littleworldfestival.com) in Méribel, France, from 13-19 March, which comes the week before the popular comedy festival Altitude (altitude festival.com). Organised by the headlining band The Feeling, some 40 acts also include Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
Head for Alta Badia in Italy, at the heart of the world's second-biggest lift-linked area, centred on the Sella Ronda circuit of the Dolomites. This year you can hit the slopes before the lifts start by making a snowcat ascent of Col Alto, the Corvara ski slope where Italy's first ski lift was built in 1947. Get up for the 6.50am ascent on Tuesdays and be rewarded with first tracks down, plus a South Tyrolean breakfast at the Col Alt refuge (rifugiocolalt.it).
Sweden's Åre (skistar.com) resort celebrates its centenary in 2010 as one of the world's original ski destinations. One new idea here that parents of young children will like is free childminding at the Snöflingeklubben nursery in Björnen.
Finally, plan ahead for Christmas 2010 and New Year's Day 2011, both on Saturdays. The UK's biggest ski tour operator, Crystal (crystalski .co.uk), is offering departures on Mondays and Tuesdays over the festive period to Austrian, French and Swiss resorts.
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