There are few things better than gliding down the Alps amidst a picture-perfect winter scene, snow underfoot and the sun on your face. Or collapsing in front of a roaring fire, happily exhausted after a day of skiing, with a warming beverage in hand. There’s nothing quite like a rejuvenating skiing holiday to boost your spirits in winter, whether you’re an expert on the slopes or just a beginner. So this year, why not swap out the winter sun destination for a rustic mountain village dusted with snow and replace activities on the sand and surf with the thrill of skiing or snowboarding?
A number of ski resorts have seriously upped their game for winter 2018/19, so here’s the Flexicover team's pick of the places with new and improved facilities for the upcoming season.
Hunter Mountain, USA
Hunter Mountain is one of the most accessible ski resorts from New York City - around a 2.5-hour drive - and it’s just got even bigger. A $9 million expansion project has seen the resort’s skiable area increase by 25 per cent, while its glade skiing area has expanded by a whopping 800 per cent. Five new trails have been added to the mountain, separated by four large gladed areas. A new high speed six-pack chair will take skiers to the top of the new trails in a speedy 3.5 minutes. Better still, Hunter North has been given its own entrance, including car parking and a satellite base lodge.
La Rosière, France
La Rosière in France has also increased the size of its ski area, adding two new chairlifts and a network of red pistes to open in December. The addition of tougher slopes will make La Rosière more attractive to advanced skiers, while also giving the resort a higher and more snow-sure top altitude. Skiers will also find they now have easier access to the resort’s massive off-piste area. And there’s a brand new panoramic glass-bottomed walkway with spectacular views towards Mont Blanc - Europe’s highest mountain. Kids will love the Petit Saint Bernard Funcross: a 1km adventure piste in the woods, dotted with St Bernard dogs in the form of tunnels and statues which hold gongs for you to bang as you whizz by.
Whistler Blackcomb is a favourite among Brits and it’s announced a number of upgrades for the upcoming season. The ski lift upgrades will see the time it takes to travel across the mountain dramatically reduced, meaning you get to spend longer on the slopes. Vail Resorts have invested CAD$66 million (£38.6 million) on a new gondola and two new chairlifts in the heart of Whistler Blackcomb. The ten-person gondola will deliver skiers straight to the Peak 2 Peak, meaning it will be easier to access the Whistler side of the mountain. Meanwhile, the Catskinner chairlift will be upgraded to a high-speed quad and the Emerald Express chairlift will be transformed into a six-seater mechanism in order to slash wait times for the Family Ski Zones.
Just in time for added flights from the UK to nearby Innsbruck, Kitzbühel has made some serious updates in their offering. As well as better snow-making facilities to guarantee a soft, white ground, they have two new chairlifts which are the ultimate in comfort (they’re made of leather) and safety (they feature mechanical safety bars). Those who don’t love the wind while on a chairlift will be impressed with the new wind stabilisers, and the nervy will also appreciate that their 10-seater gondola has reduced travel time from 11.7 minutes to a mere 3.6 minutes. Tempted? A six-day lift pass is £221.50 for an adult and half price for kids.
Val Thorens, France
Nestled in the French Alps, Val Thorens added a new gondola and blue piste for the last ski season, but has even more improvements lined up for winter 2018/19. Ahead of the grand opening on November 25th, the resort is adding almost 4km of new pistes. Skiers and snowboarders will have access to a new blue piste from the top of Cime Caron, measuring 3.2km with a vertical drop of 570m. Meanwhile, a new black run will be launched in the Boismint sector. Snow-making equipment is also set to be upgraded, and a thrilling 1,600m double zip line will be strung up high in the mountains.
If you’re planning on hitting the slopes this winter Flexicover Winter Sports insurance* can either cover a Single Trip or you can add it onto an Annual Multi-Trip policy for a small additional premium. Visit Flexicover Travel Insurance to find out more.
Wherever you’re heading for that well-earned break from the norm it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.
*Winter Sports cover available up to age 70.