Winter wonders

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel tips & opinions

Looking for an unforgettable winter holiday experience? Ski Solutions, the longest established specialist ski tour operator and travel agency in the UK, shares 10 of the best ways to to experience the mountains with CD-Traveller readers

Glacier Express – Zermatt to St Moritz

Visit the world-renowned ski resorts of Zermatt and St Moritz deserve to be arrived at in style. So why not book a first class ticket on the Glacier Express, the elegant train that travels between the two, bringing a touch of old-fashioned glamour to travel. After all, these are two of the most classic of ski destinations in the Alps.
The seven and a half hour journey wends its way through the Swiss Alps, taking you back to the golden era of travel, by way of the heights of the Oberalp Pass, down to the depths of the Rhine Canyon, from the timeless elegance of St Moritz to the striking beauty of Zermatt, at the foot of the Matterhorn.
Enjoy panoramic views from the train carriages of mountain lakes, steep cliffs and pristine forests. Deep ravines and bizarre rock formations pass by, broken up by gently sloping meadows and chocolate box villages.
Having left one haven of Alpine royalty at the end of the railway line, it’s a joy to find another at your destination. As is always the case on the greatest trips; on the Glacier Express the journey itself is the ultimate destination.

Party in your ski boots – St Anton

You’ll no doubt hear the Mooserwirt before you see it. Ski round the last corner of the Blue No 1 piste approaching St Anton, and into view comes a large pine Tyrolean chalet with a packed terrace of people spilling onto the snow. Pounding Europop blares out of a sound system that wouldn’t be out of place at Wembley and before you know it you’ll have joined the hundreds of skiers stomping their ski boots on any available flat surface in appreciation of the DJ. This is the Mooserwirt, home to epic après ski and, as the legend goes, more sales of beer than any other bar in the Alps.
Step inside, if you can make your way through the crowds, by 3.30pm for the official start to the party – the ‘Final Countdown’ blasts out, the window shutters roll down and a dazzling light show plays out across the bar. Incredibly strong waiters bustle through the dancing crowds with trays laden with at least 40 beers and 24 shots resting on top. Have a Jägerbomb or two and beam back at the sea of smiling faces welcoming you. The authentic Austrian après ski experience has begun – let the good times roll.

Courmayeur Gourmet Experience

For a foodie experience to send you to seventh heaven, look no further than Courmayeur in Italy’s Aosta Valley. There must be something in the water of this small town, as a plethora of delicious, local produce and gourmet restaurants fill the place.
After a morning skiing the tree-lined slopes, either a pizza at the rustic and welcoming Rifugio Maison Vielle or a refined pasta dish at the smart Chiecco make a satisfying lunch. But save some space for later – dinner’s a big occasion here. Both the famous Fontina cheese and the mountain herb cured Jambon des Bosses are protected ‘designation of origin’ products from the area so the resort’s restaurants are full of gourmet treats. Meat lovers should try Al Camin, while the wine list at Aria is not to be missed. Good job there’s skiing to burn it all off!

Ski Sunday – the Hahnenkamm, Kitzbuhel

Claim your place in racing history with a run down the Hahnenkamm, the most notorious fixture on the World Cup calendar. The racing circuit rolls into Kitzbühel in late January, so join in with the massive party, the cheering and cattle-bell ringing as the pros tackle this beast of a run.
Once it’s over, it’s your chance to shine as the downhill course opens up to the public. Known as the Streif (the stripe), the 3.3km course tears down the Hahnenkamm peak, at gradients of up to 85° and over lips that can send you up to 80 metres through the air, before ending in a huge mogul field in full view of the resort. The racers reach speeds of up to 90mph on it – only the brave need apply.

Snow Monkeys – Nagano
, Japan

Japan is a land of many astounding sights, but none more so than the Japanese macaques, or snow monkeys, enjoying themselves in onsen, the natural hot springs found across the volcanic islands of Japan. Have your camera ready to capture them – as one of the most intelligent species on the planet, their expressive red faces and human behaviour, such as rolling balls of snow for fun and bathing in the pools, are images you’ll want to save forever.

And the pools are open to the public to take a dip in too. Surrounded by the fluffy powder snow that Japan is renowned for, the water is soothingly warm and the steam cocoons you. And, if you’re lucky, the snow monkeys may just clamber into the pool for a soak too.

The experiences are taken from Unparalleled. The charity inspired book costs £9.95 and is available through all Ellis Brigham stores or by visiting All profits from the sale of Unparalleled will go towards fulfilling the dreams of seriously ill and life-limited children supported by Make-A-Wish Foundation.

For five more fabulous winter experiences, don’t forget to log onto the CD-Traveller website this Friday (November 11).

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