Top 10 non-ski activities
BY - Tim Latimer, 22 August 2019, ARTICLES
BY - Tim Latimer, 22 August 2019, ARTICLES
Perhaps the surrounds of stunning mountain scenery and alpine ambience appeals but skiing just isn’t your thing, or maybe you just feel like trying something a little different on your luxury ski holiday.
The Alps are much more than just a skiers paradise, and there are plenty of activities to keep those who aren’t into gliding down the slopes busy too. From adrenaline-fuelled activities to pampering or simply relishing the magical character of a charming alpine village.
1. Husky Sledging
As you venture across the snowfields with the only sound coming from the swoosh of the sleigh, husky sledging feels like a real adventure and is a unique way to enjoy the mountain scenery. For those who learn to ride, steer and break you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment and maybe you’ll even make a new canine friend or two.
Available in many resorts, husky sledging is an activity that all ages can enjoy.
2. Speed down the new super-charged luge in Courchevel
Taking tobogganing to a new level, the brand new luge at Courchevel 1850 spans a whopping 3km of pistes. With a gradient of up to 25% in parts you’ll fly down the run, taking F1 worthy turns under a total of 8 tunnels. Starting at the Ariondaz Bubble in 1850, this is one for those who have a need for speed!
3. Pamper yourself
With so many of our chalets featuring extensive private spas, you don’t even need to step foot outside to indulge in a little R+R on your luxury ski holiday. In fact many have large pools, hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms all under one roof and there are plenty of opportunities for yoga and pilates instruction for a real wellness retreat.
The spa at Chalet Lhotse in Val d’Isere is heavenly and no doubt the skiers will pop back early from the slopes to make the most of it. Float into tranquillity in the pool with film screen above, surrounded by luxurious fur covered day beds and candlelight. Then head to the sauna and hammam before slipping into the Jacuzzi.
We can also arrange for beauty therapists come to your chalet for the full range of spa treatments without leaving your alpine home.
4. BMW ice-driving track at Val d’Isere.
Learn how to handle the snow and ice whilst staying in control at the wheel. At over 1850 metres it’s the highest ice-driving track in the world with 800 metres of circuit and 16 different turns. If you’ve come looking for an adrenaline rush, it’s safe to say you won’t be disappointed! For a slightly gentler ride why not try the karting track where you can race friends and family in some friendly competition.
If that sounds too much, there is also a race-driving simulator where you can get your practice in before trying the real thing!
5. Ride one of the most famous cable cars in the world
Reach heights of up to 3,842 metres from the famous Aiguille du Midi cable in Chamonix and you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. An attraction in itself, it’s the closest you can get to the summit of Mont Blanc without climbing or hiking, whilst it also holds the world record for the highest vertical ascent.
The views from the top are like nothing else, with 360 degree panoramas of the Swiss, French and Italian Alps. On a clear day it is even possible to see the Matterhorn in Switzerland and the Grand Combin range. If you are brave enough, step out onto the glass platform, you may not want to look down!
If you prefer to make a day of it, it is possible to walk from the Plan d’Aiguille to the Montenvers Train Station and Mer de Glace and take the train back down to Chamonix.
6. Shop till you drop in Courchevel 1850
Often referred to as the St.Tropez of the Alps, of course the most glamorous ski resort in the world wouldn’t be complete without an array of boutique shops and the big names in luxury couture.
In the centre of town along Avenue Montagne and Place du Tremplin you’ll find everything from ski gear to casual wear, shoes and jewellery where you can get made to measure designs. There are brands such as Bulgari, Chanel, Burberry, Moncler, Dior, Luis Vitton… you get the idea.
So, if you can happily while away hours browsing the rails, Courchevel 1850 is for you.
Set off into the hills onto untouched white powder, across sparkling snowfields and through pine forests. Snowshoeing is a great way to feel part of nature at your own pace and you’ll be able to explore areas that are often inaccessible to skiers. Alternatively, thanks to a machine that flattens the snow, walking is made easy and many resorts have dedicated winter walking paths.
Your expert guide will be able to show you the best tracks, and at the end of the day, stop for a warming vin chaud or hot chocolate before heading back to your luxury ski chalet.
8. Explore the local towns
From quaint villages bursting with charm to buzzing town centres full of life and plenty of bars, cafes, shops and hotel lounges to relax, there is always somewhere to watch the world go by with a warming drink in hand on a luxury ski holiday, if you’re not on the slopes. Many resorts are part of larger connected ski areas too, so there are plenty of other places to explore outside of the resort in which you are staying.
Often once traditional farming communities, many resorts have a longstanding history, which is evident in their Savoyard architecture and traditional style buildings. Meandering around or visiting a local museum you’ll get a real feel for how life used to be and topped off with a sprinkling of snow, it’s magical. Verbier in particular is a delight to explore, with twinkling lights illuminating the resort come twilight and pretty chalet style buildings lining its streets.
Most also have a lively events calendar throughout the year too which are a great excuse to coincide your trip with, from music festivals, to ski spectator events and comedy shows.
9. Helicopter flights
Take in the view from above and get up close and personal with some of the most iconic mountains in the Alps. You might find yourself scaling up soaring cliff faces as you hover right beside the Matterhorn or Mont Blanc for example, not to mention the miles of glacial scenery in the background. Whether you’re taking a flight as part of a transfer or as an experience in itself, it’s certainly something to boast about.
10. Dine like a king
When you’re not wining and dining in one of our luxury ski chalets and if you can squeeze anymore in, there are some fine gourmet eateries scattered across the Alps.
Zermatt in particular has become known as a foodies paradise with no less than three Michelin star restaurants as well as some lovely examples of high quality local food, both in the village and on the mountain.
Meanwhile, the gourmet scene in Courchevel goes hand in hand with its glamorous reputation. The stand out option has to be Le 1947. Located within Hotel Le Cheval Blanc , it’s the only three Michelin starred restaurant in resort and is just as much about the art as it is the food.
We couldn’t not mention the cheese too, a trip to France or Switzerland wouldn’t be complete without it. Why not head to a local restaurant to try tart Reblochon; a Savoyard speciality or let us arrange a private wine and cheese tasting night and you won’t even have to leave the comfort of you luxury chalet.
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