Those who have never taken the plunge and tried a skiing holiday might have got it into their heads that your options are pretty limited once you’re above the snowline. If you think a chalet trip is limited to ski and, well… après-ski, you couldn’t be more wrong. Ski resorts often have a wealth of alternative activities on offer, which are enticing whether you’ve got a ton of experience on the slopes or are still firmly in snow-plough mode.
Seeing as our range of luxury catered ski chalets is so big, there’s a huge choice of alternative things to do, from the daring to the downright lazy. Here’s 10 of our suggestions for things to do that’ll make your skiing holiday one to remember – and there’s even one or two that haven’t got a thing to do with snow.
1) Well, there’s skiing (obviously)
Let’s get this one out of the way early. You’re on a skiing holiday after all, and even if it’s never appealed to you before, it’s worth at least trying to see what the fuss is all about. Rent yourself some equipment for the day and book a beginner’s lesson – you never know, you might find yourself with a brand new passion after only a morning! Resorts such as Val d’Isere and Chamonix have built themselves around a love of skiing and are well-equipped for skiers of all abilities.
2) Swap high altitudes for the high street
Tempting as it is for the newbie to think of ski resorts as little more than a few log cabins and an awful lot of snow, the biggest and best resorts are often more like self-contained towns. As such, you’ll often find some great opportunities if something chic is more your style than salopettes, with everything from high-end designer boutiques to weekly markets to satisfy that craving for a wander round the shops.
3) Strap on your snow shoes…
Sticking with a more sedate theme, you can still strap something to your feet and enjoy some Alpine altitudes without going at a speed more suited to a small car – and it’s called snowshoeing. As one of the world’s fastest-growing winter sports it’s the perfect time to get into it, and it’s remarkably cost-effective compared to other activities on offer. It’s versatile too, and can be anything from a gentle ramble through the landscape to a gruelling, cross-country race.
4) …Or go totally off-piste
On the other side of the coin, if you’ve mastered every black run you’ve come across and laugh in the face of death cookies it’s time you upped your game. Heli-skiing in Chamonix doesn’t need much of an introduction, chiefly because there’s a bit of a clue in the name. Hop in a helicopter and take a ride up to the top of the mountain with the promise of some immaculate powder and views the average visitor can only dream of. Check out Chalet Poudreuse as a potential base!
5) Become a leader of the pack
Many resorts offer the opportunity to try your hand at riding a husky sled, so for animal lovers, adventurous families and those who simply want to experience an ancient and exhilarating way to travel, it’s a great way to have a brand new experience on your skiing trip.
6) Flip the seasons round
You might think that a ski resort wouldn’t have much to offer in summer, but when it’s too warm for the snow to settle a whole different side to the landscape is revealed. Stark white gives way to lush greenery, and mountain-biking, hiking trails and mountaineering abound in the surprising warmth of an Alpine summer. The resorts will be a lot less crowded (with accommodation being potentially much cheaper), and you’ll be privy to a side of the mountain life that’s only ever usually enjoyed by locals.
7) The Incomparable Mountaintop Hot Tub
If there’s one thing on this list that everyone has to try, it’s kicking back in a gorgeously warm hot tub in the open mountain air. Throw a cheeky glass of fizz in there and you’ve got the perfect antidote for those aching limbs after a day on the slopes! Many of the chalets available on our portfolio come complete with a hot tub (some have saunas too, but don’t put money on finding one of them outdoors) such as Chalet le Cloche. And while we’re on the subject of pampering…
No other way to put it really. Skiing can be pretty punishing on the body, but even tucked up under a hat and goggles your skin can take a bit of a beating – which is as good an excuse as any to get your spa on. As well as having some premier health and beauty treatment centres in the resorts themselves, it’s far easier (and let’s face it, more decadent) to have the pampering come to you, with massages, facials and a host of therapeutic stuff all available in-chalet.
9) Hit the ice
Many resort towns are home to ice rinks (after all, they’ve got the weather for it) so there’s always opportunity if you fancy sharpening your skates and heading out onto the ice for a graceful afternoon trying not fall over. But skating isn’t the only thing you can do on an ice rink, and it’s well worth joining the locals and taking in an ice hockey match – certainly an experience!
10) And take a dip!
Considering we’ve already covered the hot tub we’re not talking about that, or even some of the pretty swanky pools that come with some of our chalets. No, cliché it might be, but a fondue to accompany your après-ski is just the ticket when it comes to a filling, delicious and enjoyable meal. More usually associated with Switzerland, skiing and fondue are now fairly inseparable across resorts around the world, and whether you’re going for a cheese or chocolate version it’s sure to get your energy right back up for another day of mountain fun.
Oliver’s Travels has an ever-expanding portfolio of gorgeous luxury catered ski chalets in some of the world’s choicest resorts – with such quality accommodation you can be sure of some top-class service, so if there’s anything we can do or help arrange to make your trip with us a little out of the ordinary, just send us a quick message or give us a call on 0800 133 7999.
Related Articles:Julien Haler via Flickr, Snowshoeing photo courtesy of Bruce McKay on Flickr, Manicure photo via Yellow Sky Photography on Flickr, Hockey photo via Frederic Bisson and finally, Fondue photo via Pedro Cerqueira on Flickr