ski resorts for christmas and new yearA festive treat in Val Thorens…

For a real lunchtime treat ski into the Hotel Koh-I Nor, Val Thorens for a bite. You can have a true fine dining lunch in their panoramic La Diamand Noir restaurant. They will even help you take your ski boots off, provide slippers and warm your boots, gloves and coat while you dine. The food is exquisite and you get three wonderful courses for just 39€ each – allow some extra notes for wine though!

Dan Fox, MD of Ski Weekends

 

A magical resort for a kids’ Christmas ski holiday…

Christmas ski holiday tipsMy two sisters and I spent Christmas and New Year in Wengen, Switzerland when I was about 6 and I have very fond memories. I haven’t been back in many years, but everything was magical – from the train ride up the mountain to the guy who’d meet you to take your luggage to the hotel.  It’s a car free resort and there was something really special to a 6 year old about the horse-drawn ‘sleighs’ that made me feel like I was in Lapland. Hearing the bells jingle on the horses, the fresh alpine air and the Christmas lights, made for a really authentic winter wonderland. I must go back with my kids one day so they can experience the same magical atmosphere. And, of course, those sensational views.

Mark Brigham, Marketing Director at Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports

 

Where to celebrate New Year in Morzine…

richard_transferI’ve lived in Morzine for 10 years and have tried various places for New Year. In my opinion there is only one place to go – Restaurant L’Etale. Right in the middle of town, it’s the place to be – if you can get a table booked. Even though it’s a big place, it will be full, which lends itself to a lively atmosphere. Come midnight, the party really gets going, with music and the tables pushed to the side for dancing. The beauty is that you can enjoy a good meal with your friends and afterwards there’s no need to move on anywhere else to enjoy the party.

Richard Smith, Director of Ski Lifts – Offering airport transfers to over 200 ski resorts. MadDogSki readers will get a 5% discount via this link.

 

The ultimate Christmas lunch in Zermatt…

Christmas ski holiday At any time of the year Zermatt is a magical place, but during the December holiday period it is particularly special.  It’s a real village with a tradition for welcoming guests that goes back over 150 years. Combine this with fantastic Swiss organisation, great facilities and consistently excellent restaurants (both on the mountain and in the village) and you have an unbeatable place for a Christmas ski holiday. Let’s not forget too that whilst so many Alpine resorts have an unreliable snow record during the festive period, Zermatt can guarantee good skiing, as can neighbouring Cervinia. Together these two form the highest integrated ski area in Europe.

Since we moved to Zermatt four years ago, a tradition seems to have developed for having Christmas day lunch at the restaurant at Blatten. Run by the most local of local families, the Taugwalders, this is a thoroughly traditional venue with a reliably high standard of cuisine and friendly service. It’s also most conveniently located on the home piste down from Furri, which means a very short run back to the resort after a long festive lunch.

Ed Mannix – Director of Matterhorn Chalets lives and runs his business in Zermatt, Switzerland

 

Real festive France in the Pyrenees…

rob_mason_mountain_bugThe Christmas holidays don’t get more festive than at the Etape du Berger restaurant in the Grand Tourmalet ski resort, French Pyrenees. Situated above the clouds at 2146m, this wooden cabin has phenomenal views of the snow-lagged Pyrenees and a warm, rustic atmosphere.

Celebrate New Year with a “vin chaud” and a generous hunk of roasted lamb, served up with steaming garlic-potatoes. Watch beret bedecked Eric-the-Shepherd as he slices a homemade “saucisson”, deftly pulls a beer and banters with the skiers in his thick local accent. Surrounded by rows of dry-cured hams and enormous sheep-bells hanging from the ceiling, here you are deep in authentic France.

This haven of tradition sits beneath the mighty Pic du Midi de Bigorre (2877m) and looks down on the Col du Tourmalet in the largest ski resort of the French Pyrenees. Prices are around 1/3 cheaper than in the Alps, so escape to the mountains and enjoy crowd-free skiing and hearty French cuisine without breaking the bank.

Robert Mason of Mountain Bug – Mountain adventure holidays and ski chalet accommodation in the French Pyrenees

 

From tots to teens – the best resort for a festive family holiday…

Christmas ski holiday tipsArc 1950 is one of my favourite ski resorts.  I have been privileged to see it grow from nothing to a mature ski-in, ski-out five star ski resort. I’ve spent countless holidays here with my children, in winter and summer alike. Even though they are now out of their teens they still want to visit, especially over Christmas and New Year. When they were younger Santa appearing by zip wire was always a highlight, and now they are older there are bars they love, but not so many to worry about them not being safe. It is so high – as it says at 1950 m and above, so it is a really snowsure choice for December. Also, you can never run out of skiing with the massive Paradiski ski area linking it with La Plagne in the winter.

Joanna Yellowlees-Bound – CEO at Erna Low

 

Courchevel for a first-rate festive lunch…

olly_courchevelSkiing in Courchevel is a safe bet for great snow over Christmas and New Year. It’s north facing and has excellent artificial snow making facilities. You can be confident that most runs will have good snow cover, regardless of whether there has actually been any real snowfall or not.

There are plenty of great options for lunch here. My favourite restaurant is La Soucoupe – the views are incredible and the menu has a great selection of grilled meats that are accompanied by one of the best gratin dauphinois I have ever tasted. Inside it feels like you’re in a Christmas grotto and is a great choice for a Christmas or New Year lunch. It’s also one of the few restaurants in Courchevel that offers true value for money.

Olly Robinson, ski instructor and co-founder of Maison Sport – the online marketplace to book ski and snowboard instructors

 

Cocktails and dancing – welcome the New Year in style…

sam-scott-european-snowsportHands down, the best resort to see the new year in has to be Verbier. The perfect place to spend New Year’s Eve itself is the Etoile Rouge nightclub. With its understated glamour, world renowned DJs and outstanding hospitality, any night spent in the opulence of the ‘red walls’ is sure to go off with a bang!

New Year’s Eve is nothing short of spectacular and with tunes playing into the hours of the early morning, you will be sure to leave this Place Centrale location wondering where the night has gone. I can tell you, from personal experience, it will have been spent ‘throwing some moves’ on the dance floor and sipping one of the elegant cocktails on offer. In my mind there is no better way, or better place, to see out the old and ring in the new.

Sam Scott (Scotty) Ski Instructor at European Snowsport – offering ski and snowboard lessons at all levels in Verbier, Zermatt, St Moritz and Chamonix.

 

Swap Christmas lights for Northern Lights in Alaska…

Christmas ski holiday tipsMy top pick for New Year’s Eve dinner is the Four Diamond award-winning Seven Glaciers Restaurant in Alyeska Resort, Alaska. There are two reasons for my choice – the first is that it offers truly incredible fine dining, Alaskan style, with sumptuous entrées and an extraordinary wine list. The latter arrives shortly after you step off the iconic Alyeska Tram, 2300 feet above sea level.

The second reason, and for me the most important, is that you are in Alaska! You’ve embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Chances are you will see the Aurora Borealis dancing above your heads as you enjoy your cheese fondue. If not the views of the Chugach and the Turnagain Arm are to die-for. And it goes without saying you will be enjoying the steepest and deepest skiing and snowboarding of your life…

Andy Knight – Ski Safari Sales supervisor for North America.