Archives for 2019
That time has come. Your precious little one is now too old for children’s group lessons but still too young to be learning with adults. They are pushing for independence, but in a mountain setting that can seem pretty daunting for parents. ES recognises that teenagers need freedom but in a safe, fun environment, so that’s why we have ES Freeski.
ES Freeski is a programme for teen skiers that allows them to learn with like-minded teenagers and challenged on the snow with an instructor/guide who they can relate to all whilst being in a environment designed to prevent injury and keep them safe.
TOP TIPS FOR SKIING WITH TEENAGERS
Lessons -ES Freeski.
Lessons are a great way to improve in a safe environment. ES Freeski is designed to build on skills gained in conventional ski school lessons and for having fun learning how to make the most out of new terrain. Teens can learn to master moguls, tackle jumps, rails, and boxes in the ski park, and hit the powder.
Why ES Freeski?
Max 6 teens per instructor
No bibs, but tracked by GPS
Fun flexible sessions
Intro to park
Safe intro to avalanche awareness
Jumps, bumps and powder
Helmets are compulsary
Safety is a key concern and each skier receives individual coaching in a small group; there is no compulsion to attempt anything, and no peer pressure. The coach teaches safely, responsibly, and in a way that builds confidence and technique in a controlled fashion.
Each week ends with an awards ceremony, and our Freeski teens are each given a medal and certificate.
Family time vs freedom.
Your teens will still want to spend time with you, that said balancing family time with a bit of freedom will keep everyone happy. Letting them ski with friends in clearly defined boundaries (Back in time for lunch, meeting places, no off-piste) can make all the difference for young skiers wanting to spread their wings.
Lessons are also a great way to allow them to spend some time apart, whilst leaving you happy in the knowledge that they are in safe hands. All of our ES instructors are experienced working with a range of ages, know their home mountains well and their sport even better. You can kick back for a few hours or ski for yourself without worry!
Any parent knows that teenagers eat a lot. Trying to satisfy an endless appetite can be expensive at the best of times and in a ski resort this can be an even more daunting.
Why not try to stay somewhere a little closer to the slopes? Easy access to the chalet could mean popping home for a big pasta lunch could save you a lot of money on mountain restaurants.
During the day pack their pockets with snacks. Cereal bars are a great source of energy that fit easily in jackets and salopettes.
If you fancy lunch together on the hill self service restaurants can also be a great option with teenagers. Good size portions without breaking the bank.
Big resort excitement vs small resort safety.
Some of the Alp’s biggest ski resorts are famous for their multiple ski areas, lively night life and extra non-ski activities, which could be an endless source of entertainment for anyone! But it can be a worry for parents, wondering if their kids will make it back in time for tea…
A smaller resort make things easier in terms of keeping track of the family, but often this comes with less “extra entertainment”.
It’s a good idea to research the resort you have chosen to visit, what there is on offer in the evenings and on the slopes too. Many resorts have great snowparks and special race courses, activated by your lift pass that will give you a time -Hours of fun for competitive skiers. Off-snow there can be plenty to do including ice rinks, glacial cave tours, sledding, cinemas and escape rooms.
Stay in touch.
Family group chats and mobile phones are a great way to keep in touch throughout the day. Just a little text to know their alright can put your mind at ease. Make sure if the teenagers are going off exploring that they have their phones with them, switched on and in range of signal -you’d be surprised how good phone reception is in the mountains! Also most lifts and lift stations have WIFI.
Safety in numbers.
Skiing in a group is a good idea no matter what age you are. Lessons are a great way to guarantee this. Knowing that your son or daughter is with an instructor can be a great weight off the mind. If they go off with friends or siblings it is much safer than going alone. They will feel more independent and so will you!
So there you have it! Sound like something your teen would be keen to get involved in this winter? Get in touch here, we are happy to answer any more questions you may have. See you on the slopes!
To make a compact list of every great mountain restaurant in Zermatt is a near impossible task. The resort is renowned for its culinary charm and has views to match. Almost any place you choose to stop will have a great menu but there are a few extra special ones dotted around which we think you should make sure to visit. Here’s six of our favourite mountain restaurants:
Telephone: 027 967 25 52
Top of the list for many visiting Zermatt, Chez Vrony is world famous for it’s modern sophisticated eating in a traditional setting. Beautifully designed with furniture by Heinz Julen and a view to challenge any other. The service is excellent, food great, and you can even buy the rug you snuggled under with your house coffee watching the sun go down behind the Matterhorn.
New this year is their online booking system!
“Allow us to pamper you and enjoy the lovingly prepared dishes and carefully selected wines. From a traditional recipe, to a delicious classic and speciality dishes prepared with a touch of international flair.”
Telephone: 027 967 25 88
Findlerhof, or Franz and Heidi’s as it’s affectionately known, is in a stunning location with marvelous views of the Matterhorn. It has a very rustic inside with a brilliant ‘Winter Garden’ so eating al fresco in February is possible. The menu and wine list will have you wanting to return again and again to try it all. Finding it is the key, so look for the little white church, unclip and then follow your nose…
Telephone: 027 967 20 45
For many Zum Zee is the finest dining on the mountain. Oysters by the dozen, Dover Sole, fillet steak, and of course their famous crème schnitte call all be enjoyed in a secluded courtyard, nestled chocolate-box style in the middle of a tiny hamlet. Hidden from the slopes you need to know your way, although the collection of skis parked out on the snow are a not-so-subtle hint.
Telephone: 027 967 20 96
If you want a traditional Swiss feel then head to Blatten. Gourmet dining with no pretence, no ego, no fuss. Daily specials are scribbled on the chalkboard attracting the passing skiers like bees to the honeypot. The intimate dining room is great for a cold, snowy day, or when the sun shines have fun watching skiers careering down past you from the outside terrace. Great food is mixed with genuinely warm hospitality.
Try the mushroom soup covered with puff pastry!
New for winter 2018/19 The Aroleid Kollektiv has already successfully joined a proud tradition of gourmet experiences in Zermatt. Their contemporary, shared-style dining experience sees a menu put together from the finest ingredients, displayed with care on their own hand crafted plates and bowls. The restaurant is just a 10-minute gondola ride from Zermatt at Furi, a ski in ski out location with beautiful surroundings.
They also make their own coffee, well worth a try after dessert.
Telephone: 027 966 05 07
Just below Al Bosco is the very Swiss Alphitta. Oozing rustic charm, skins, horns, and lashings of cheese is a slice of traditional Switzerland. The wallisertelle is both generous and tasty and the puddings are a generous size. Book in advance as it gets busy in the cozy confines of the inside.
On sunny days there’s often live music!
For all of these ES will happily book them for you in advance – simply contact the Zermatt office or ask your instructor and we will take care of it all for you.
ES Operates in six of the the world’s best and most well-known ski resorts: Verbier, Zermatt, St Moritz, Nendaz, Chamonix and Val D’Isère. But which ski resort is right for you?
Update October 2019: ES now operates in Val D’Isère. Connected to Tignes, Val D’Isère shares over 300km of slopes with something to suit everyone… Here is our new Val D’Isère Page.
- Romantic Weekend
- Corporate Weekend
- On a Budget
- Classic Hotels
- Modern Hotel wonders
- Cheap Eats
- Late Season Skiing
Verbier – For families learning to ski, the sunny slopes of Verbier are an excellent choice. The main ski area is fairly concentrated meaning it is easy to meet up for lunch or a coffee break. The progression of the terrain can be a little challenging for some first time skiers, so perhaps a better choice for the sporty family!
Zermatt – With its car free streets and range of off-snow activities, Zermatt is a great choice for families who perhaps aren’t only interested in the skiing. Its wide open, gentle pistes are perfect for working on turns and building confidence. The expansive ski area, does mean meeting up for lunch can take a bit of organising, however many of the mountain restaurants can be accessed via cable cars and trains, so a nice option for any non-skiers in the group.
Chamonix – A bit too hard core for most families! There are some gentler slopes in Les Houches, but choices are limited in other areas for kids. Short transfer time from Geneva though!
St. Moritz – Nice wide slopes, classic big hotels, but a long transfer.
Nendaz – Two great beginner areas with quieter slopes and easy 4 Valleys access.
Val D’Isère – Both the Solaise and Bellevarde ski areas have wide green runs are reserved for beginners skiing at gentle speeds.
Verbier – Verbier is great for the young and sporty who want to be challenged in their skiing, however this might not suit couples where one person is a better skier. Having to talk your other half down a black run is not most peoples’ idea of romance!
Zermatt – The anniversary or the proposal, classic, old “romantic”. Zermatt could be a better choice for couples; the resort has a lovely atmosphere with small rickety streets lined with mazots and cute, cosy bars and restaurants. A morning ski over the border to Italy for a romantic lunch in one of many family-run mountain restaurants is a great way to escape the crowds.
Chamonix – Spectacular, but be prepared to encounter the odd stag weekend. Chamonix also has its romantic appeal, but a different kind. Come here if your other half likes hiking and gets turned on by a Patagonia shop or a rack of crampons!
St. Moritz – Splash the cash, dress up, if he or she can’t see the beauty of this valley then run a mile. For a kids-free weekend I’d also go for St. Moritz; very glam, some great bars, epic wide valley scenery, crazy shopping, its a proper escape.
Nendaz – Amazing views combined with cute, quaint bars and coffee shops with a local feel.
Val D’Isère -Enjoy a romantic meal at the L’Atelier d’Edmond restaurant. Or reserve a private bubble for a romantic aperitif with champagne on Valentines day!
Corporate team building weekend
Chamonix – Chamonix is a great choice for the corporate weekend on a budget; you can splash the cash on lavish, impressive dinners for your team for a fraction of the cost of the Swiss resorts. However, the skiing is challenging and some of the team might chose to duck it.
Verbier – Verbier is also awesome; great night life, good skiing, easy transfer, cool chalets and boutique hotels. The classic work weekend.
Zermatt – longer weekend, lots of good team building activities. Zermatt takes longer to get to unless you go by helicopter. That said it can be a fun alternative for the work weekend, with excellent mountain restaurants for a boozy lunch. Spend two nights to make the most of it.
St. Moritz – St. Moritz is unique. We can organise, at a price, an entire train for your party, branded for your company. That’s right, a branded train. You can also fly your team in direct to the resort in a chartered plane and the nightlife is impressive.
Nendaz – A bit quieter on the nightlife front but offers access to a massive range of terrain to suit everyone.
Val D’Isère -La Folie Douce is a famous apres ski location. Not to mention there’s plenty of on and off-snow activities to be getting on with.
On a budget
Verbier– Could be a little difficult. Although there is quite a range of accommodation, places to eat and shop on offer, prices are competitive and luxury is the name of the game. Not the best location for a budget holiday.
Zermatt – This town on a budget is a task, but not impossible. In low season there are some hotel rooms for as little as 70 CHF or you can choose to spend a night or two at the Matterhorn Hostel! The lift pass is expensive and ancillary purchases like hot chocolates and shopping add up, but if you’re willing to forgo some comforts, you can still experience skiing under the Matterhorn on a budget.
St Moritz – St. Moritz’s reputation as a destination exclusively for the rich and famous must be brutally contradicted! It is possible to stay in or nearby on a budget, while St. Moritz itself is expensive, there are small family run hotels that are affordable. St. Moritz is the name of one village but in reality the other connecting resorts are equally luxurious: Pontrasina, Sill Maria, Corvatch… In these lesser known spots are some of the Alps’ finest 5 * hotels and are the most authentic alpine villages. They also you’ll find smaller self catering options and family run hotels.
Chamonix – great prices, France, Eurozone enough said. Obviously, with the strong Swiss Franc, Chamonix will always be the cheaper option. There are also a range of hostels and auberges along the Chamonix Valley enabling access to the amazing terrain and scenery without breaking the bank.
Nendaz – Our best-value Swiss ES resort. The Printze sector lift pass is also cheaper and offers access to the quieter side of the 4 Valleys.
Val D’Isère -For France, Val is still on the upper end of the price range, although there are some great self serve restaurants if you want to save money at lunch. On a budget you can get goulash soup and free drinking water at the Cascade restaurant on the Val D’Isère glacier for 5€.
St. Moritz – boasts some unrivalled 5 * hotels such as Suvretta House which offers history, views and unbeatable service. The Kennedy boys went there as kids.
Zermatt -glory in the old style. Hotels that have seen the likes of Queen Victoria, Whymper, Churchill and Roosevelt.
Val D’Isère -A plethora of choice from traditional alpine to breathtaking modern style, right next to the pistes!
Chamonix -Chamonix has some impressive new builds worth looking into but for the most part it’s a vibe of faded glory meets French modernism.
Nendaz -everything from four-star hotel and spa deals to cosy, chalet-style hotels.
Verbier -Verbier didn’t really hit its stride until the 1970’s so we are afraid it doesn’t have any classics to offer here. However if there were a classic night club category, The Farm would win hands down!
Winner: St Moritz
Modern Hotel Wonders
Verbier -the W Verbier is possibly the coolest hotel in the Alps.
Zermatt -Anything designed by Heinz Julen will turn heads, and in Zermatt there are quite a few, including one hotel with a Jacuzzi that pops out of the roof above your bed.
Val D’Isère -Look to the stylish La Mourra and Le Refuge at the top of Solaise.
Also the big surprise of 2019/2020 is Mademoiselle Val D’Isère, the first Palace in Val D’Isère on the snow front with an amazing dedicated children’s area.
St. Moritz -some of the modern annexes of the classic hotels are a lesson in architectural refinement and interior luxury.
Nendaz -The 4* Hotel Nendaz 4 Vallées and Spa wins most luxurious hotel in Nendaz.
Chamoni –Rather tired 5*s with a few boutiques on the cheap.
Chamonix –French food will always win when it comes to value and quality. Sorry Switzerland.
Val D’Isère -On a budget you can get goulash soup and free drinking water at the cascade restaurant on the Val D’Isère glacier for 5€. Etincelle restaurant on the beginners’ area in the village does great quality meat and pizzas, including truffle pizza. CHANGE
Nendaz -A much cheaper, quieter alternative to Verbier.
Verbier –The word “cheap” and pretty much anything in Switzerland don’t always go hand-in-hand, but explore and you will find. Le Bec, the host shop Mountain Air is surprisingly good value and healthy too.
Zermatt –Home to a pizza delivery company with its own electro vehicle for the car-free resort famous for it’s expense. Or try the Pizza Factory in the Post Hotel.
St Moritz -The word cheap doesn’t exist this far east but the fish restaurant Murtaröl is worth a visit.
Late season skiing
Val D’Isère -closes the first weekend in May…the snow is still amazing. The snow is always good here as most of the skiing is above 1850. In Tignes, 2 Glacier areas operate all summer with runs to suit all levels.
Zermatt –lifts here are open 365 days a year and the mighty Glacier Paradise area stays open even through the hottest days of July and August. But by May the other areas are closed …
St Moritz –Depending on the snow year St Moritz has been known to stay open until the first week of May. However most of the hotels will begin to close to their doors earlier than this so getting a bed could be tricky.
Verbier –Lifts close on the last Sunday in April, there is a great closing party weekend and after that it is just for ski touring, sorry…
Chamonix –Ski touring at the end of the winter is often great, but for those of us who rely on the ski lifts, sorry again.
Nendaz -afraid it is all over here by the second half of April.
Winner: Val D’Isère
So, which one takes your fancy? If you would like any more information please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at European Snowsport. We are always happy to help!