Filling the lungs with fresh mountain air and being outdoors in the sun and snow all day is a fantastic tonic. But combine this with yoga, thermal baths and massage, and you have a potent cocktail, of a very different sort to that one you mixed last weekend… Here are five ski holiday ideas, with a wellness twist.
Soulshine Snow Yoga and Ski Adventure
Yoga has gone mainstream – everyone’s at it. And with its many health benefits it’s easy to see why. Combining a ski trip with yoga classes is a natural fit and Soulshine have got the combination just right. The day begins with a one-hour dynamic flow yoga class to warm up and strengthen, then there’s a full day of skiing, rounded off with a soothing restorative practice and yoga Nidra (a type of guided meditation to promote sound sleep).
Their seven-night retreats run from January to April in a beautiful dedicated chalet in the Tarentaise Valley with a sauna, hot tub and wellness area. Breakfast and dinner combine healthy, locally sourced ingredients and vegan, veggie options are in plentiful supply.
Make it happen: Seven-night packages begin on Sundays and start at £1090pp. For all of the details visit www.soulshineretreats.com or call 0808 189 0279.
If it’s good enough for Caesar…
The pools in the Grands Bains de Monêtier Spa in Serre Chevalier are fed by natural thermal springs and have been here for at least 2,000 years. It’s said that Caesar’s soldiers used them when they were in the area, so it would be rude not to visit if you are.
The pools are the perfect way to unwind after a hard day skiing and you can choose from naturally heated indoor and outdoor pools, as well as separate rooms with water temperatures ranging from 17° in the aptly named frigidarium (brrr), to a gloriously warm 40° in the caldarium. There is also a super relaxing Grotte Musicale, which allows you to lie in water on a shallow shelf and listen to music underwater. Don’t expect heavy metal though… The heat from the thermal springs is also used to heat the building itself.
The attached spa has 12 treatment rooms including 3 double rooms for couples and friends. The cost for treatments includes the use of the spa area.
Make it happen: For more information on the resort visit our Serre Chevalier resort guide. The Grands Bains de Monêtier Spa is open for all ages from 10am till 9pm. Prices start from €19.20 (adult) and €8.80 (child) for a two hour session. The resort shuttle bus stops regularly right outside the spa and is free with your lift pass. Find out more here www.lesgrandsbainsdumonetier.fr
Ski Safari’s Norwegian spa trio
Combine skiing with time to relax and unwind at three of Norway’s most luxurious spa hotels. New from Ski Safari this season the trip starts and ends in Oslo. From there you can take things at your own pace and enjoy a self-drive journey to Geilo, a resort ideal for beginners or a gentle start. Stay at the ski-in ski-out four-star Vestlia Resort for three nights with its lovely adult-only spa.
Then drive to Norefjell, a tranquil ski area were you can carve from the summit (1188m), all the way down to the fjord below (Norway’s greatest vertical drop), taking in spectacular alpine views en route. Stay at four-star Norefjell Ski & Spa for three nights (a triple prize winner in the 2015 World Travel Awards no less). Finish your ski safari in Oslo, and stay at the five-star spa hotel, The Thief, for two nights before heading home – 100% refreshed.
Make it happen: Ski Safari’s Ski & Spa Ski Safari costs from £1,485pp (two sharing) for an eight-night journey. Price includes return flights (London to Oslo), accommodation, half board in Geilo and Norefjell and car hire. Other meals, ski pass and ski hire extra. For more information visit www.skisafari.com or call 01273 224 068
Thermal spas of the French Pyrenees
Almost all of the main ski resorts in the French Pyrenees have a thermal spa either in the village itself or just below the ski areas. Many of these harness the healing waters which occur naturally in the area, ideal for relaxing tired muscles after a day on the slopes. Just below the ski resorts of Peyragudes and Val Louron in the Louron Valley region of the Pyrenees is one of the biggest spas in the area – Balnea.
Skiers from Val Louron or Peyragudes can head down to Balnea, in the small town of Loudenvielle, for some après ski in this giant complex of thermal baths. From the inside ‘Amerindian’ area with its warm jets and currents to the outside Inca area, children can have a really relaxing and fun time. Adults can explore the super warm Japanese outdoor water zone where the water temperature increases from 33, to 37 to 40 in different sectors (over 12s only).
There is also a quiet zone for the ultimate escape. The views from the outside pools across the valley and up to the Pyrenees are simply stunning.
Make it happen: Tour operator Erna Low offers ski holidays to the French Pyranees, including to Peyragudes – for more information visit the Erna Low website. Prices at the Balnea spa start from 16,50 euros for adults, and 9 euros for children.
The Grand old spa hotels of Switzerland
With its soothing Alpine beauty, healing mountain air and luxurious spa hotels, Switzerland has long been known as a place to come and recharge or recuperate.
Fans of director Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty) can follow in the footsteps of Michael Caine’s character in his 2016 film ‘Youth’, and visit the two grand spa hotels featured in the film – the 19th-century spa hotel Waldhaus in Flims and the Belle Époque Hotel Schatzalp near Davos.