What's Hot This Ski SeasonPosted on: 19 November 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
The lowdown on the hot resorts, hotels, courses and gear for the New Year and 2009 ski season.
To make sure you don’t get caught cold at the wrong resort, we give you the lowdown on the best new resorts, accommodation, courses and gear for the new ski season.
If Meribel and three valleys aren't enough, you could try Formigal and its four valleys. It is Spain's largest resort, with 85 miles of piste.
Formigal has invested more than £79 million on new lifts, restaurants and other infrastructure. It's a little cheaper than nearby Andorra and is quicker to reach - transfers from Huesca, which has charter flights this year for the first time, are an hour and ten minutes.
In France, Le Grand Bornand is new this year and hosts a number of tour operators, including Peak Retreats. It is a traditional Savoyard village, an hour out of Geneva, and has 90km of piste, catering for all levels of ability.
A week's self-catering in a four-person apartment at MGM's new Village de Lessy development resort costs from £1,027 a week, including one Eurotunnel car crossing.
Hotels & Chalets
Opening up this year in the resort of Laax - well known among UK snowboarders - is the Rocks Resort, a complex of 11 enormous eco-cubes.
The buildings have been designed to be sustainable and only local and natural materials have been used. The buildings are energy efficient and use a climate-neutral heating system.
A week, room only, with Crystal Finest costs from £515 per person based on four sharing.
Flaine Montsoleil is the new European village by Intrawest, the developers behind Whistler and Arc 1950. The first phase of the development opens this winter and gives ski-in, ski-out access to the Grand Massif network.
A week's rental of a four-person apartment on a self-catering basis costs from £655 with Erna Low, including car crossing by Eurotunnel.
Aspen's newest hotel, Limelight Lodge, has been built on the site of the former lodge. The hotel is aimed at families and anyone trying to ski Colorado's glitziest resort on a restricted budget.
In low season the enormous rooms at the new 126-room property start from £111 a night and only reach £195 a night in high season which, by Aspen standards, is an absolute bargain.
Anyone who has ever skied with the affable Warren Smith at his Ski Academy in Verbier will want to try out his five-day course in Hokkaido, Japan, operated in conjunction with Inghams.
The course is aimed at intermediates. Ten nights' half board costs £2,573 per person on a twin-share basis, including flights and the cost of the course.
Ski Freshtracks is running a freeski week in the off-piste paradise of Andermatt in Switzerland from 7th to 14th March. Try out the latest Salomon freeski gear and ski with freeski-legend Pat Sharples.
A week's half board on a twin-share basis costs £950, not including flights.
Whistler gears up for its hosting of the Winter Olympics in 2010 with the opening on 12th December of the Peak2Peak gondola, which will link the tops of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.
The new link smashes the record for the longest unsupported span - 3km - and also for height above the valley floor - almost half a kilometre. The journey will take 11 minutes.
In Austria, the resort of Westendorf will be integrated into the SkiWelt network with the opening of a new eight-person cable car, which will take skiers who arrive at Brixen im Thale up to the top of Choralpe.
The British skiwear brand E+O has stylish women's jackets this season. The Ashcroft (£380) has a detachable faux-fur collar - good for the slopes and the bar later on, while E+O's Rowling jacket/gilet combination features a flower print.
Big, bold colours are in. Combine a black Ace jacket (£540) and shocking-orange Performance pants (£340) from Norway's Kjus brand.
Salomon customised outer shells are still a hit. The ski shop heats the shells, you step in and they mould to your feet. Salomon Falcon CS Pro costs £325 from Snow+Rock.
Are you going skiing in 2009? Where will you be heading? Do you know any secret skiing tips you can pass on?
Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below, or share your thoughts with other readers in the 50connect forums.
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