It might be one of the hottest months of the year, but most of the talk was about skiing and snowboarding last week when representatives from the Savoie Mont Blanc area of France visited London to spread the word about new attractions in the their resorts for the coming season. Here are some of the highlights (for more info on the resorts, click on the names):
Visitors to Avoriaz this season will find a huge igloo in the heart of the resort complete with an ice bar and bedrooms.
Families with children under 12 years old can take advantage of the ‘Free Kids package’ on Christmas week.
A baby snowboard class is available for children from three years old and for teens there are freestyle camps.
One of the area’s historic buildings, The Grand Hotel du Montenvers (1913m), which was originally built in 1880 has been restored to its former glory. The luxury mountain refuge has 20 rooms, suites and dormitories and overlooks the Mer de Glace and the Drus peaks.
The Via Ferrata des Evettes offers an exciting Alpine route in the Aiguilles Rouges mountains, overlooking the Mont-Blanc Massif.
Club Med has unveiled plans to open a new resort in Les Arcs 1600 in December 2018. It is part of a stepping up in the pace of the company’s global development which in the next three years (2017-2019) will see Club Med open 15 new resorts worldwide and upgrade nine existing resorts.
This also includes the opening of Grand Massif Samoens in December this year.
The Haute Maurienne Vanoise valley includes the five ski resorts of Val Cenis; Aussois; La Norma; Val Frejus; Bessans and Bonneval sur Arc, plus 10 picturesque villages. It is sheltered, to the north, by the beautiful glaciers of the Vanoise National Park and, to the south, by Mont Cenis, a gateway to Italy.
The 360 is a new restaurant at the top of Plagne Montalbert where Michelin-starred chef Jean-Michel Bouvier will be creating a menu based on local products.
The ski-in ski-out 4-star family hotel, Araucaria, in Plagne Center is changing to a new modern style and offering new services this season.
La Plagne is formed of 10 resorts and is part of Paradiski. The ski area claims to have the only bobsleigh track in France plus it offers a wide range of après-ski activities including fatbike, zip wire, sledging, and dog sledding.
A new Hyatt Centric in La Rosière will be the first of its kind in a ski resort and in fact the first of its kind in France. The hotel will have 69 rooms and guests will be able to take advantage of the resort’s link to La Thuile in Italy.
Other new attractions for this season include VIP first tracks with the pisteurs and during Christmas week, it skiers and snowboarders are not happy with the quality of the snow they can get their money back.
Looking to the future, there will be an extension to the La Rosière ski area in 2019 which will include two new chairlifts and five red slopes.
The family friendly resort of Les Carroz, which is in the heart of the Grand Massif, will have plenty to keep children entertained this season.
During school holidays, families can use the Kid O Ski service which includes having your children taken to the ski school at Les Loupiots Club and back. Les Carroz’s creche takes children from six months old.
And the ‘icing’ on the cake is the Ice Age Experience which is unique in France. The heroes of the Disney film can be found around the resort and children can get photos with the different characters. Sid and Scrat are in the luge area in the Bardelle sector while Diego and Manny host tubing sessions.
New attractions this season include Le Lac du Lou, a new mountain hut, and a new blue slope called Les Bouquetins which enables intermediate skiers to ski down from La Masse, the highest summit in Les Menuires.
Les Saisies, which is linked to the Espace Diamant ski area, uses Snowfarming, an eco-friendly technique involving sawdust to keep the snow. The resort will stay open until 27 April thanks to the quality of the snow in this part of Savoie Mont Blanc
The resort, which has a wide range of chalets for all tastes and budgets, will open for the ski season on 16 December this year.
Tignes, which offers skiing and snowboarding for 11 months of the year thanks to the Grande Motte glacier, has some unique activities for visitors this winter. These include Bun J Ride and Ice-Diving
The resort also stages several events during the year. Halloween festivities will be held in October, Sport Values in November, Tignes Sprint & Jump in January and August, and Live in Tignes by Francofolies in April.