Archive for September, 2008

Les Houches to remain closed for the 08/09 Season?

September 27th, 2008

This is an interesting article from

The contracts to run the ski domain of both SEPP (Bellevue lift) and the LHSG company that runs the Prarion lift (Compagnie du Mont Blanc + Cachat family) have been recommended to be cancelled by the government commission at the tribunal of Grenoble, potentially making it legally impossible to open Les Houches for skiing this winter.

The Les Houches ski area has had concessionary issues with its ski domain for many years. The current situation is that the ski area sits between two communes, Chamonix and St Gervais, and two main families (Hottegindres of SEPP and Cachat of LHSG) one of whom (LHSG) has a principal partner/investor based in Chamonix (The Compagnie du Mont Blanc).

Each year disagreements on the division of revenues has resulted in delays in knowing when, if and how the Les Houches ski passes would be available to clients, often until nearly opening day. The director of the Office of Tourism in Les Houches, Didier Josephe, laments this situation, saying that it makes it impossible to do pre-season promotions and advertising aimed at clients. This reduces the potential winter revenues for everyone involved with the ski area.

This year SEPP (Bellevue lift) did not allow LHSG, which runs the Prarion lift, to cross any of its land to reach LHSG pistes, effectively stopping LHSG from operating. The Compagnie du Mont Blanc were aware of this tactic last Spring and have already thrown in the towel, telling clients that Les Houches would not be on the ski pass for this season. Instead they have struck a deal with Verbier in Switzerland to allow Mont Blanc Unlimited season pass holders unlimited ski days at Verbier as compensation. They are also continuing to develop relations with the Courmayeur ski area in Italy.

Now, the contract to run the ski domain of SEPP (Bellvue lift) has been recommended to be cancelled by the government commission at the Grenoble Administrative Court. Normally the conclusion of the commision is followed by judges, therefore we await the contracts of both groups to be officially annulled, and this would lead to the impossibility under French law to have enough time to renegotiate the contracts before the start of the winter season, effectively closing the hill for both lifts.

The Mayor of St Gervais was interviewed on Radio Mt Blanc saying he had asked the Prefecture what sort of help they were going to give to the towns since they have basically taken away their livelihood in this move …

The Dauphiné Libéré has speculated that the Compagnie du Mont Blanc and LHSG have actually welcomed this action because although it will be bad for this winter, it seems to bode well for the future.

In the Dauphiné Libéré, they suggest this will lead to the formation of a Sivu (Syndicat a vocation unique or Union into a single operator). A Sivu is thought by many to be a more practical legal body for the ski domain, allowing the communes to have one authority to deal with running the domains.

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Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding News, General News, Ski & snow news

All Mountain Ski Holidays – Helping you to beat the credit crunch

September 18th, 2008

Here at All Mountain Holidays, we like most people in the UK, are starting to feel the pinch of the credit crunch. So what are we going to do about it? Simple, we are helping both holiday makers and property owners make their money go further.


1) For holiday makers – it is a simple formula. If you find and book you accommodation direct with the owner or independent operator, you cut out the middle man and you save money. Simple.

2) For property owners – it is free to advertise unlimited properties on this site. No strings attached. Just free advertising.

As a famous supermarket likes to say….”Every little helps”.

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General News ,

How to book a catered chalet holiday

September 13th, 2008

Useful tips from

When you book your ski chalet holiday, if you follow these steps, you are more likely to choose the best chalet in the best location…


Research where you want to go based on the ability/experience of your group. If you are all beginners, choose an area renowned for beginners. If you are all experts, go somewhere which offers extensive steep off piste opportunities.


Take time to talk to your group in order to understand everyone’s requirements. There is nothing more frustrating than booking a chalet for a group of 10, only to discover that the other nine members of your group aren’t happy with your efforts. Being the group leader can be a thankless task!


Once you’ve researched area and group requirements, visit some of the ski chalet property portals to locate a chalet which fit the bill. By booking direct with the owner, you cut out the middle man and save money.


Once you find a suitable looking property, make sure you get the full picture with regards to layout. Find out exactly how many bedrooms, how many bathrooms, are the bathrooms private/en suite, are the bedrooms all of equal quality/size? It can be tricky if you turn up with your group who have all paid the same amount, and someone has to go in the small room under the eaves with no private bathroom!


Make sure you feedback your holiday requirements to your chalet hosts/owners, especially with regards to dietry requirements.


Finally, double check what is involved in the price. Especially look out for extra costs such as airport transfers, lift passes, ski hire etc.

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Useful articles ,

Shakeups in the Ski Chalet Industry

September 8th, 2008

Catered Ski Chalet Operators in Verbier face toughest challenges and possible closure this season.
Skiers and Wintersports enthusiasts considering a Ski Holiday in Verbier this coming 08/09 season will be confronted by a number of changes in the way their favourite catered ski chalet is operated, if it has not fallen victim to the new and strenuous set of restrictions imposed by the Swiss Authorities on foreign operators, who were responsible for the phenomenal growth of “catered” ski chalets in the Alps and consequently the massive popularity of certain ski resorts; Verbier being the mother and father of them all.
The decision by the local government insists that foreign operators comply with a number of onerous conditions that include….
1. The requirement that a member of management of each recognised and authorised chalet operator in Verbier has an officially recognised ‘Patent’ (Hotel/Restaurant license) in order to open their doors this winter. This requires months of study and a very difficult exam until now only available in French and Swiss German. This restriction alone will cause the closure of over 50% of the existing ski chalet operators this coming winter.
2. The requirement that the actual Chalets and their facilities used to accommodate clients, and kitchens where food is prepared, are now for the first time having to comply with a  strict code of Hygiene and Safety Laws  that is required of  commercial establishments. Suddenly the private kitchens designed for regular family requirements are no longer acceptable, and the hygiene safety and fire escape requirements are being strongly enforced.
3. Great lengths are being taken to ensure that staffing of foreign companies are fully in compliance with local labour laws and staff are assured of minimum wage and maximum weekly work requirements.
All Verbier Chalet Operators have been contacted recently by the Verbier Tourist Office and their attention drawn to the fact that -” if they don’t have the authorization from the Police to operate for the 2008/2009 season then no work permits will be provided to the offending companies.”
This is the most blatant warning to date and evidence that the Swiss authorities are sincere in their efforts to clean up the act and ensure the greatest amount of protection, both financial and health-wise to the clients of the many “foreign ski operators” operating in the resort . What is more the authorities have the fullest support of the more established and experienced operators. Too long has the opportunity been available to abuse the system and over time there have been a number of fly-by-nights that have all too easily put the reputation of those more serious and competent chalet operators at risk.
Whilst there has been a scramble the past few months to achieve compliance, the Tourist Office by its recent communications is warning many of those operators who have not yet received authorisation, that the authorities are serious and that they will not be able to open their chalets to guests unless full compliance with the regulations can be proved and authorisation provided.

Anyone with an advanced booking or considering a ski holiday in a catered chalet in Verbier this 08/09 season would do well to ensure that the particular operators providing the accommodation and related services have the necessary authorisation, to avoid disappointment and inconvenience. 

This press release was supplied by Chalet Mont aux Sources.

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Ryanair launches new ski routes

September 7th, 2008
Ryanair launching more winter ski routes

Ryanair launching more winter ski routes

With budget airlines going bust, and warnings about rising costs and financial troubles, Ryanair is bucking the trend and increasing the number of routes it operates by 40%.

My importantly from our point of view, it has also extended its winter schedule until mid April 2009 to include the Easter holidays.

When announcing the new ski routes, Ryanair’s UK Sales and Marketing Manager Bridget Dowling said, “We guarantee the lowest fares and no fuel surcharges to Europe’s best ski resorts. With Ryanair’s low fares, even those feeling the pinch this year can still get away for their week on the piste.”

Some of the ski new routes include Stansted to Basel, Cuneo and Lourdes, Bournemouth to Turin, Bristol to Grenoble, Birmingham to Cuneo and Grenoble, Liverpool to Turin, Edinburgh to Turin and Grenoble, Glasgow (Prest) to Turin and East Midland to Turin.

For full details of this year’s ski routes, log on to

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Ski & snow news ,

Ski resort for sale

September 6th, 2008

Ever fancied owning your own ski resort? Well now you can, for 3 1/2 million pounds (the price of a chalet in some French ski resorts).

The owner and operator of Lysa Gora Ski Resort in Southern Poland is looking for investors/purchasers for the resort. The property is situated on the northern slopes of Bald Mountain in the district of Mordarka, 5 km from the center of city Limanowa and approx. 75 km from the city of Krakow.

Ski resort for sale

Ski resort for sale

The property includes the following:
1. Land area of 195,500 square meters (48.31 acres)
2. One Doppellmayer chairlift (4-person, 2000 person/hour)
3. Two ski lifts Sztokfisz
4. Complete snowmaking installation (with 7 snow cannons)
5. Water reservoir (capacity 10,000 cu. m) with pumping station
6. System of drainage of the slope
7. Parking, capacity 500 vehicles
8. Power transformer station (1320 kW) and complete lighting system of the entire property
9. Shell of a hotel building 2,800 sq. m. with infrastructure
10. A small pension/bar building on top of the mountain (shell closed, interior to be completed)

For more information visit:

Price option 1: The property excluding the land, the company and assumption of all liabilities:
PLN 8.5 mln (USD 3.75 mln, GBP 2.05 mln)

Price option 2: The property including the land, the company and assumption of all liabilities:
PLN 14.5mln (USD 6.40 mln, GBP 3.49 mln)

Why not give yourself a ski resort for Christmas this year?

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Ski & snow news

A sauna gondola…what will they think of next?

September 6th, 2008

Here’s an odd story. We all know that our Scandenavian friends are quite keen on their saunas. Well in the Finnish resort of Yllas, the world’s first ever sauna gondola will open this winter.

Essentially, the wood clad sauna gondola takes you up to the top station at 718 m, where there is a main sauna. Guests can rent the unique sauna gondola in groups of 4 while the rest of the group relaxes in the main sauna.

The worlds first sauna gondola

The world's first sauna gondola

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Ski & snow news

Australian Ski Area Extends Season

September 6th, 2008

Mt Baw Baw in Victoria, Australia has increased its snow depth over the past few days with the top of the Summit now buried 125cm (Four feet, two inches) deep. This snow is proving to be the best that Mt Baw Baw has seen in years and due to the current depth of snow [...]

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Ski and Snowboard News

Bluestone opens and promises snow at Christmas

September 5th, 2008

The long awaited bluestone leisure park has opened in Wales, the facility is due to add the country’s first indoor snow centre, although the timetable for that remains vague. However the park has announced that it will offer tubing on snow this Christmas.

Currently Bluestone contains over 180 hundred log cabins (the figure will eventually [...]

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Ski and Snowboard News

First Choice Put Onus on Families

September 5th, 2008

First Choice, one of the UK’s five biggest tour operators and now owned by the same company that owns Crystal and Thomson, has launching its biggest ever family programme and will introduce 11 new childcare facilities this winter, offering 13 crèches and nine Kids’ Clubs in total in the Alps.
The new crèches are in key [...]

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Ski and Snowboard News

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