The Half Term Family Ski Holiday that did not result as planned

My youngest son at Maison Vielle- with the majestic Mont Blanc behind. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. The Half Term Family Ski Holiday that did not result as planned.

The Half Term Family Ski Holiday that did not result as planned

Our Family Half Term ski holiday is always decided one year in advance. Pretty much we always go to the Aosta Valley, as my youngest boy does not want to change location. I see it with my family, and I’ve seen it with many people over the years (even with myself when I’ve started skiing while much younger!)

You go to one resort, you get familiarised with it, and you don’t want to change! All is easy, and just changing to another resort, makes it too challenging. I see it as using an old pair of jeans, that you don’t want to change for something else!

So, we were set to leave the Friday before the half term- as my husband is the sole driver (for me it was too difficult changing sides of the road when I’ve moved from Argentina to the UK, that I daren’t do it again!)

Getting up early pays off - usually. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. The Half Term Family Ski Holiday that did not result as planned.
Getting up early pays off – usually. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. The Half Term Family Ski Holiday that did not result as planned.

Our car has been acting funny since September, when the Turbo went off. Then it started revving between 2nd and 3rd gears and we’ve took it twice to the mechanics. The first time we were said it was solved, but it was not, and I’ve took the car back in the garage two weeks before leaving. I did not have the car until the Wednesday of the week we were leaving – we were leaving at 4 AM on the Friday of that week and I was already very nervous about it and seeing if we could rent a car in the UK to cross to the continent.

Apparently, you can do so with Hertz and Avis, but obviously these cars do not bring roof rack, nor winter tyres or chains. So, I was budgeting all that just in case. My husband was saying that if we did not have our car back, we were staying and cancelling the trip, and my kids and me were completely distraught at the thought of it.

The car came out off the garage so then we were going to be ready to go. The night after taking our dog to some friends to look after him, my husband told me that the revving was still there, but that I should not worry. He was sure that this was not going to be anything.

Off we went with our skis, helmets, ski boots, all the paraphernalia you take when you go skiing. We set out in good time and at the Eurotunnel we were given a crossing one hour earlier, so we had time only to go to the bathroom and pick up some coffee and croissants to eat in the car.

We had a very good driving. Last year there was snow from home all the way to Folkestone and from Calais all the way to Italy. This time all the roads were clean, and the weather was beautiful, pretty warm too. This was not the best snow year for the Alps – (Austria and Eastern Switzerland got lots of snow, as well as other Eastern European countries like Romania), but for France, Italy and Western Switzerland the snow was ok, but just.

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Shred-Dog stands for High Performance Kids’ Snow Gear with Incredible Value.

Shred-Dog stands for High Performance Kids’ Snow Gear with Incredible Value. Photo courtesy of Shred-Dogs.

Shred-Dog a brand for High Performance Kids’ Snow Gear with Incredible Value for their Parents.

As a parent of growing kids that loves to go skiing and exposing them since little, one thing you recognise is that they grow out of their clothes too quickly. If you do not buy clothing a bit large, you will need to purchase another kit the following ski trip!

So, when I was contacted by the people of Shred-Dog I’ve thought that this was something interesting. As they are a direct-to-consumer brand from Colorado, Shred-Dog focuses exclusively on Kids’ Gear – offering a mix of performance, technical features and great value.

As a winter sports lover, I know that if you kit your kid with average winter clothing, they might be cold and cry a lot when you are outdoors and ruin the day for everyone. I do believe in having good kit for them, but the renown technical brands are too expensive for a growing kid.

This reminds me in how you can buy intelligently ski boots for your kids and have them for some years with Roces Ski Boots.  (Roces Ski Boots expand with your kids’ feet! – another brilliant idea!)

So Shred Dog launched its first collection of high-performance winter apparel for boys and girls from three to fourteen years old.

Marc Dietz with his son Ryker with the Flatirons near Boulder. Courtesy of Shred-Dog. Shred-Dog stands for High Performance Kids’ Snow Gear with Incredible Value.
Marc Dietz with his son Ryker with the Flatirons near Boulder. Courtesy of Shred-Dog. Shred-Dog stands for High Performance Kids’ Snow Gear with Incredible Value.

What’s Different about SHRED DOG™?

Premium Features: SHRED DOG products include premium features typically found only on adult gear, including higher waterproof/breathability ratings, full seam-taping, thigh and underarm vents, 3M™ Thinsulate™ body-mapped insulation, and more.

Adjust-a-Fit System™: The company has also introduced an industry-first innovation called its Adjust-a-Fit™ system. Unlike one-way adjustments on the market that require ripping a seam, SHRED DOG jacket sleeves and pant legs can extend to grow with the child but also retract for hand-me-downs to a younger sibling or simply customizing the fit.

Dallas Moore enjoying the outdoors - Photo courtesy of Shred-Dogs
Dallas Moore enjoying the outdoors – Photo courtesy of Shred-Dogs

Direct-to-Consumer Pricing – SHRED DOG’s model of selling directly to the consumer enables the company to finally deliver the perfect balance of elite performance, kid-centric features, and a lower price previously not available in the outdoor apparel market for kids.

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Ski this Easter with your family in ‘snow sure’ Obergurgl-Hochgurgl and Sölden.

Innerötztal - Sölden with Obergurgl / Hochgurgl / Vent and Sölden. Ski this Easter with your family in ‘snow sure’ Obergurl-Hochgurgl and Sölden with The-Ski-Guru TRAVEL

Ski this Easter with your family in ‘snow sure’ Obergurl-Hochgurgl and Sölden with The-Ski-Guru TRAVEL

Planning your ski holiday later in the season? The best you can do is to think in high-altitude resorts to be sure of having snow. This year Easter is falling late, so this is even more important to think where to go.

Top of the Mountain Obergurgl-Hochgurgl. Ski this Easter with your family in ‘snow sure’ Obergurl-Hochgurgl and Sölden with The-Ski-Guru TRAVEL
Top of the Mountain Obergurgl-Hochgurgl. Ski this Easter with your family in ‘snow sure’ Obergurl-Hochgurgl and Sölden with The-Ski-Guru TRAVEL

Here I want to focus on two resorts in the Ötztal Valley: Obergurgl-Hochgurgl and Sölden:

Obergurgl-Hochgurgl. The “Diamond of the Alps” –

Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, high up in the Ötztal Valley in the Tirol, is a snow-sure resort. With a vertical drop from 1800 to 3080 metres above sea level, Obergurgl-Hochgurgl is one of the first resorts in Austria to open the season in mid-November, offering 25 mountain lifts and 112 immaculate km of slopes for skiing, snowboarding and free-riding. The resort closes by the end of April.

For a family of four (2 adults and 2 kids of up to 10 years old), for the week of April 7-14 you can ski for EUR 5,422.00 and you get:

7 nights including half board

6 days Ötztal Superskipass

6 days ski rental (ski, boots, poles)

free shuttle bus within the ski areas e.g. Sölden & Obergurgl-Hochgurgl

6 days group ski lessons incl. lunch and child care over the lunch hour (for the two kids)

Obergurgl-Hochgurgl. The Diamond of the Alps

Hotel Alpennausicht in Obergurgl ****. Ski this Easter with your family in ‘snow sure’ Obergurl-Hochgurgl and Sölden with The-Ski-Guru TRAVEL
Hotel Alpennausicht in Obergurgl ****. Ski this Easter with your family in ‘snow sure’ Obergurl-Hochgurgl and Sölden with The-Ski-Guru TRAVEL

Hotel Alpenaussicht****

1x double, Zirmkogel“ Typ F 50 m²

total costs Euro 5,422.00

Continue reading “Ski this Easter with your family in ‘snow sure’ Obergurgl-Hochgurgl and Sölden.”

Why Stubaital is a great region for the entire family.

It's well known already that kids up to ten years of age do not pay for a skipass in Stubai! Why Stubaital is a great region for the entire family. Photo: Stubaier-Tirol Werbung.

Stubaital is an area that suits the entire family well. The area has received many awards as the Alps’ most family-friendly skiing region.

The mascots of the BIG Family Stubaital welcome young visitors in winter. The resorts itself cater well to families and offer free rides for children under the age of ten when accompanied by a paying parent, as well as many very good ski schools. All ski instructors know how to engage the little ones in your family, making the adults have a care-free holidays knowing they are well catered for.

At the Skicamp on the Stubai Glacier Kids learn skiing under the best circumstances.Why Stubaital is a great region for the entire family. Photo: Stubaier - Tirol Werbung.
At the Skicamp on the Stubai Glacier Kids learn skiing under the best circumstances.Why Stubaital is a great region for the entire family. Photo: Stubaier – Tirol Werbung.

At the Stubai Glacier, Austria’s largest glacier ski area, the mascots B.BIG and Mini B. welcome their protégés to the BIG Family Children’s and Youth Ski Camp, where children from age four can learn how to ski in the Mini- and the Kinderland areas. Even during lunch, kids are well looked after in the Kingdom of Snow. In addition to the colourful BIG Family Kinderland, the BIG Family Kindergarten and the spacious BIG Family Children’s Restaurant are also part of the glacier’s family offer. The weekly snow cat rides and the exciting ice rally through the ice grotto, a fascinating tour directly in the eternal ice, will make your kids’ eyes sparkle. Blue ice, mysterious holes and fascinating layers – 30 metres below the ski slope the mountain looks weird and fascinating at the same time. Skiing fun and action can be experienced by young and older guests alike on the BIG Family Boarder Cross trail with wave tracks and steep bends, the BIG Family Slalom or on the one-kilometre BIG Family Fun Slope. NEW this winter is the BIG Family Slopestyle area at the Gamsgarten, where the freestyle stars of tomorrow show their first jumps.

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Switzerland is giving away 12,770 ski passes for kids.

Switzerland. get natural. Skiing fun for the whole family in the ski resort of Meiringen-Hasliberg in the Bernese Oberland. Above the sea of fog in brilliant winter sunshine, the area provides an opportunity for various winter sports activities. Switzerland is giving away 12,770 ski passes for kids. Copyright by: Switzerland Tourism - By-Line: swiss-image.ch/Christian Perret

With Kids4free, kids get the chance to ski and snowboard for free for 6 days in Switzerland. In total 44 winter sports resorts support this initiative. From 7 November, adults can enter a competition on Myswitzerland.com for a child up to 12 years. Winners can use the 6-day ski pass within the winter season 2018/19. The closing date to enter is 2 December 2018.

Kids4Free: get the kids on the slopes
In collaboration with the University of St. Gallen (HSG), Switzerland Tourism conducted a winter tourism analysis and identified ten opportunities in which to develop the season. One of them being that the family holiday has an influence on whether kids ski in the future. The aim of Kids4free is to get families excited for winter sports holidays in Switzerland and is an initiative of Switzerland Tourism and the Swiss mountain railways and cable ways.

Switzerland. get natural. Skiing fun for the whole family in the ski resort of Meiringen-Hasliberg in the Bernese Oberland. Above the sea of fog in brilliant winter sunshine, the area provides an opportunity for various winter sports activities. Switzerland is giving away 12,770 ski passes for kids. Copyright by: Switzerland Tourism - By-Line: swiss-image.ch/Christian Perret
Switzerland. get natural. Skiing fun for the whole family in the ski resort of Meiringen-Hasliberg in the Bernese Oberland. Above the sea of fog in brilliant winter sunshine, the area provides an opportunity for various winter sports activities. Switzerland is giving away 12,770 ski passes for kids. Copyright by: Switzerland Tourism – By-Line: swiss-image.ch/Christian Perret

How to enter
The competition can be entered via MySwitzerland.com/kids4free. Until 2 December an adult can enter on behalf of one child up to 12 years of age. The winners will be informed by 7 December and can use the 6-day ski pass at any time during the 18/19 winter season, starting 22 December 2018.

More information can be found here: MySwitzerland.com/kids4free

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Crans-Montana Must–Read Guide

Denis Emery - photo-genic.ch- Courtesy Crans Montana Tourism Office.

Crans-Montana Must-Read Guide

This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.

Check no more! Here is your must-read guide to Crans-Montana:  Crans-Montana is a world-renown ski and summer resort in the Valais area of Switzerland, celebrating its 125th year this year. Easily accessible by train and a funicular, the resort has two big towns, Crans and Montana that are almost now linked into one bigger town.

Crans-Montana is a lively town, with lots of people that live there year-round. This is not the classic resort that opens only for the season and then nothing happens anymore; it is pretty big and busy.

Crans-Montana unique selling point is its vista and the sunny terrace where the valley is sitting.
Crans-Montana unique selling point is its vista and the sunny terrace where the valley is sitting. Your must-read guide to Crans-Montana.

Crans and Montana are located in a wide sunny valley, perched at 1500m, with magnificent south views of the mountains of the Rhône Valley in Valais, from the Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn- 19 peaks over 4,000 meters are facing Crans-Montana.  Hotels and condominiums are dotted in town amongst hotels, from 3 stars to deluxe 5 stars with all the services.

Crans-Montana has been a magnet for stars, from Roger Moore who had a house there, Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo, who used to stay at the Grand Hotel du Golf & Palace. The Kennedy’s family and Mr Bourvil used to holiday in Crans Montana. Also David Guetta comes for a discreet winter holiday to Crans-Montana.

People go to Crans-Montana for the vistas, they are magnificent; for it’s skiing, with nice sunny pistes to all type of skiers, and in the rest of the year for its golf. With an 18-hole golf course by Severino Ballesteros and a 9-hole by Jack Nicklaus, and many hotels offering direct access to the golf course (or the cross country trails in winter), it is the best you could get in Switzerland! Plus the biking is pretty big now, lots of hiking and water sports around, to make it a year-round resort.

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Planning your ski trip

Heavenly gondola. Photo by: The-Ski-Guru. Heavenly is another of the resorts that will roll out Emma later this season. Emma, the World's First Digital Mountain Assistant, Kicks Off the 2018-19 Winter Season in Beta at Keystone Ski Resort.

When should you start planning your ski trip? For me it should be at least six months in advance to your trip, more if you are planning to travel in school holidays.

If you are travelling in the shoulder season (low season), such as early December – before the 20th), January, March in Europe (not in the US and Canada as they have Spring Break) and April (outside of Easter weekend), you can plan a bit more on top of the time and maybe see how snow conditions are.

Ski Touring Vallée de Saint Bon - Les Trois Vallées.
Ski Touring Vallée de Saint Bon – Les Trois Vallées.

For me, I need to know I have a trip in sight to be able to cope with routine. I always have my winter trip arranged by July (we go skiing with the family in February), and I do reserve the flat we use year-on-year as soon as we leave the place when our week is finished- so I book it one year in advance! That is because I have such a great deal, and my kids love going back to the same place, that is a no-brainer.

So where to start for planning your ski trip?

Well, you can try to start thinking where you want to go. Talking of the Northern Hemisphere- if you live in the UK as we do – are you going to drive (so that is only Europe and it would be France, Switzerland, Italy and maybe the Pyrenees’ or Austria, or fly, where you can add also the US, Canada or Japan. You can see the different websites with information on resorts and try to sort what resort is for the type of skier/boarder you are, or which one caters a diverse group.

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Get your IKON season pass at the lowest available rate until May 1st.

www.Mattpowerphotography.com January 21 2015. Aspen Mountain to Open with Skiing and Riding Memorial Day Weekend.

The newly launched IKON season pass from the Alterra Mountain Company has its lowest available rate until May 1st. On that date, rates will increase by USD 100.



Booking.com


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Last part of our family half term trip – Picture-perfect Courmayeur Mont Blanc.

Waiting for the funicular to go down into Courmayeur- Courmayeur Mont Blanc- Picture perfect Courmayeur. Photo by The-Ski-Guru

So we left Pila that afternoon, came down the gondola to Aosta, drove to our house in Charvensod and packed the car. Off we left when the sun was setting down and said goodbye to Aosta, ready for our next adventure on our family half term trip– Courmayeur Mont Blanc.

Picture perfect Courmayeur - Plan Chécrouit. Photo by The-Ski-Guru. Last part of our family half term trip – Picture-perfect Courmayeur Mont Blanc.
Picture perfect Courmayeur – Plan Chécrouit. Photo by The-Ski-Guru

We were not going to be long in Courmayeur, only a couple of nights. I have been there previously with the family every year having breakfast the last Saturday of the week, and recently visiting in November for a couple of nights during a working trip.



Booking.com

But I wanted to be feeling what is to be there, staying overnight and sharing it with my family. We arrived in Courmayeur and we had a reservation in the Edelweiss hotel, a 2* hotel right in the middle of town. As this was carnival week, it was extremely difficult to find a place where to sleep, more for only two nights, when the hotel owners could sell the full week. But thanks to some contacts within Courmayeur, I’ve got this hotel, which is very simple, but really nice. I would say it is more a 3*. Maybe the breakfast is simple and that gets it down to a 2*, plus the restaurant does not open for lunch and dinner (it opens for all meals only in the summer), and that might affect the star count.

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Why going to Brides-les-Bains could be a good choice for you, your family and your wallet, if wanting to go to Les Trois Vallées

The village of Brides-les-Bains- Photo Brides-les-Bains Tourism Office.

If you look at a ski map of Les Trois Vallées (3 Valleys of France)- the largest ski domaine you see in the middle of the map Meribel, which is known as the heart of Les Trois Vallées. This could be a great resort where to base yourself if you want to ski all over the three valleys. But maybe you should look a bit lower, at 600 meters, it is an easy way to get to, and is connected to all the rest of the three valleys. I am talking about Brides – les – Bains.

Sauna cabin at Brides-les-Bains- Photo by Brides-les-Bains Tourism Office.
Sauna cabin at Meribel- Photo courtesy of Brides-les-Bains Tourism Office.

Maybe not thought as much as a place to stay, but Brides -les -Bains is a town that is opened 11 months of an year, instead of only some months in winter and a couple in summer. Therefore, this makes a bigger population of all-year residents, and prices are much cheaper. They do not need to make in three months their year’s earnings. Rates are between 30 to 50% lower than at the high-altitude resorts in the Three Valleys.

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