Snow report: Gay, green, Christian – this is the year of the niche ski trip
Sunday 10 January 2010
Ski carriage supplements, terrorist attacks, added airport security, strike threats, a weak pound, snow upsetting Eurostar trains – it has not been the ideal start to the ski season.
Yet skiers and boarders are such a hardy bunch, and so desperate for their annual fix that the vast majority will consider these inconveniences par for the course and take their annual ski break regardless. Indeed, the joy of escaping the daily battle with travel chaos in Blighty gives us strength to run that final gauntlet of greedy airlines and blocked roads and railway lines to reach snowy peace in the mountains.
The good news is that once we get there, ski resorts have never functioned better. There's the ongoing upgrading of ski lifts, some with heated seats and weather-protection hoods. And the replacement of cramped mountain apartments with comfy four- and five-star facilities, including the French MGM chain (pv-holidays.com/residences-mgm .php) in 10 top resorts, which has 15 to 25 per cent discounts all season.
There has also been a rise in niche choices with more packages tailored to women skiers, older skiers, single skiers, gay skiers, and Christian skiers. The Ski Club of Great Britain caters for several of these groups through its Freshtracks programme (020-8410 2022; skifreshtracks.co.uk), while Christian skiers should opt for Oak Hall Holidays (01732 763131; oakhall.co.uk). A dedicated Gay Ski Week kicked off yesterday in the Swiss resort of Arosa (arosa-gayski week.com) with more to follow in North American resorts.
Green skiers used to have a hard time finding chalets but there are now dozens of choices. Karibuni (01202 661 865; karibuni.co.uk) operates a green chalet, near La Clusaz in the French Alps, that recycles everything and has solar panels for heat and hot water. There's also the new "eco ski lodge" La Source (0033 633 346803; sourcealps.com), in the Alpine resort of Samoens. It's a great retreat for the eco-conscious skier, complete with wood-fired hot tub, organic bed linen, ski-yoga classes and wholesome organic breakfasts and dinners.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...
£27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...