What's New On The Slopes For 2019/20
It may seem like quite some time before you next strap into your ski boots or board, but winter is fast approaching and now’s the ideal time to get planning. We’re introducing you to some of the latest changes on the slopes this winter to help you plan where to hit the pistes. New slopes, new chalets, and self-driving shuttle buses (yes, really) are just some of the latest developments this season.
Meribel is stepping up its game this season with a number of new features in preparation for the 2023 World Alpine Ski Championships. Not ones to leave things to the last minute, they added two new chairlifts in last season and improvements are coming thick and fast for 2019. With two new red pistes, a ski tunnel under the Roc de Fer piste, and five new slopes featuring snow making facilities, the biggest ski area in the world just keeps getting better.
We’ve got loads to offer when it comes to accommodation in Meribel, with Chalet Hotel Les Grangettes and Chalet Ophelia at the top of our must-visit list. Make the most of the seasonal improvements in resort by booking a winter break with us. With the whole of the three valleys at your fingertips, Meribel is a solid short break ski holiday option.
A new lift from the centre of Kaprun is about to change the whole ski scene around Zell am See. With direct access to the glacier, the town of Kaprun is expanding its horizons for winter 2019. The brand spanking new tri-cable gondola will whisk snowsports enthusiasts from Kaprun town centre to the mountain station on the Kitzsteinhorn via the Maiskogel. This 12km ride has been awarded the title of ‘longest continuous gondola axis’ and also ‘greatest elevation rise in a gondola’ (at 2261 metres of ascent). Pretty impressive stuff.
We recommend staying at the 4* Das Alpenhaus for its epic 1000m² spa after a leg burning day on the glacier.
Zell am See, Austria
Guests of Zell am See and Kaprun now automatically get Saalbach included on their lift pass thanks to the new lift connection between Zell am See and Saalbach-Hinterglemm, taking the total skiable area from 140km of pistes to over 400km.
The connection does require getting a short shuttle ride from the bottom of the new lift to the Saalbach lift but this runs every 10 mins and it's also possible to ski back to the new lift which will take you back to Zell. We recommend a full day at least to do the Saalbach area. This is a huge bonus for guests of the area.
Stay at the Boutique Hotel Steinerwirt which is just 200m from the City Xpress gondola.
Brand new for the 2019/20 season the first of two new cable cars will open later this year. Christened the V-Cableway project, this new resort improvement is said to considerably reduce the travel time from Grindelwald Grund (just below the village, where you ski down to at the end of the day) to the Männlichen ski resort. They’re also said to be introducing a new gondola from the main village up to Eigergletscher, decreasing your upload speed from 35 to 15 minutes. All of this equals more time to enjoy the mountains and less time spent huddled in a gondola clutching your icy equipment.
Stay in 4* Hotel Belvedere for an eco-friendly hotel with top-notch service.
Les Arcs, France
The après scene of Les Arcs is about to get a lot more colorful. In December 2019 La Folie Douce will be opening its doors in Arc 1800. Think famous DJ’s, table dancing and more Champagne than you can shake a ski pole at.
Les Arcs offers an extraordinary amount for intermediate and advanced skiers with 52% of the slopes made up of blue runs, 29% red, and 14% black. Make the most of the resort’s long, tree-lined runs and high altitude pistes (70% are above 2,000 metres) during the day before heading back to Chalet des Cascades for afternoon tea and cakes, pre-dinner canapés and a four-course evening meal with wine.
With a new gondola replacing the Fleckalmbahn lift (which was built in 1984) from Kirchberg, Kitzbuhel now boasts even more convenient connections. Carrying 10 passengers in each gondola and featuring heated seats, you’ll be able to ski down to Kirchberg from Ehrenbackhohe and ascend again without missing valuable mountain time.
Stay at the 4* Q! Hotel Maria Theresia for quirky but cosy interiors and a central location.
Val Thorens, France
Offering hands down the most space-aged addition this season, Val Thorens is launching the first four-wheel self-driving electric resort shuttle bus in the world. Seating 15 passengers, the (frankly, adorable) shuttle bus named ‘Berto’ will be operating around the village of Val Thorens. The village is usually car-free during the week, so this is certainly a big step forward for anyone who ordinarily struggles to navigate the area on foot.
VT is also introducing an electric one-seater tracked vehicle, the Z-Green, to help disabled people easily access the slopes from their accommodation. You can book these from the Tourist Office and there are two vehicles available to be hired free-of-charge.
Stay at the 5* Hotel Fitz Roy for luxurious accommodation with unbeatable service.
Known for being one of the pricier ski destinations out there, Courchevel is putting its money where its mouth is with new €27 million development, L’Alpinium. Touted as a ‘multi-service building’ this space will provide an indoor car park with 500 spaces, the new Le Praz cable car, new lift pass office, welcome area, and children’s play area. Helping Courchevel to live up to its moneyed reputation and giving you a bit more bang for your buck this 19/20 season.
Stay at the 2* Hotel Courchevel Olympic to be as central as possible in Courchevel 1850.
Finally, we’ve got a new offer for winter at The Loft at 272. New for the 2019/20 season, we're offering all sole-occupancy stays the chance to save £20 per person per night by opting for B&B catering. If you're looking for chalet accommodation without being compelled to dine in every evening this offer will give you the freedom you're looking for.
There's so much variety in Chamonix when it comes to restaurants. We'd suggest Munchie for impressive pan-Asian fare, Casa Valerio for rustic stone-baked pizzas or Chez Constant for a classic mountain meal. This deal can be used on all or some of your stay days, offering true flexibility on catering.