Popular Ski and Snowboard website launches Dutch language version

The popular English language ski and snowboard website, SwissWinterSports.co.uk, has launched a Dutch language version of the site at www.SwissWinterSports.nl.

The new web site provides comprehensive Dutch language coverage of winter sports resorts in and around Switzerland. As well as the major destinations, many of the less well-known sites are included.

“The idea of the site is to allow people to tailor their holiday to their requirements.” says Nic Oatridge, the founder of SwissWinterSports.co.uk, “Switzerland offers the most flexibility and accessibility of all of the Alpine nations. From the Netherlands it is feasible to have a weekend on some of the best runs in the world at short notice, to have a budget family ski holiday or simply to have a relaxing winter break in the mountains; this site shows you how.”

The site has been designed to be quick and usable on any platform. For each resort, there are piste maps, directions by road or public transport, weather reports, resort conditions and tips on where to stay, what to do and where to go. In addition to comprehensive coverage of Swiss resorts, some resorts in Germany and Austria that are easy to get to from the Netherlands are included.

For the Dutch version of the site, the content has been professionally translated into Dutch, has distances from the Netherlands to each resort and content specifically aimed for visitors from the Netherlands or for Dutch-speakers located in or near Switzerland.

For more information, visit the website at http://www.SwissWinterSports.nl

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Ski and Snowboard Playlist

Well, it’s that time of year when people start putting together best of the year playlists, and playlists to take on ski holidays and stuff… and I am no exception. I don’t listen to music whilst I ski, I hasten to add – that just seems so “not in the moment”, but I have put music to some of my ski videos and here is a sample. The music comes from my collection, so I MUST like it, but the length of the clip largely determines which songs I have associated with the video. Oh, and there is a link to the lyrics and a link to the ski resort for each song:

Duel by Propoganda

Zermatt

Wasn’t Born to Follow – Byrds

Feldberg

Most Precious Love – Blaze

Kitzbuhel

Right here, Right now – Fatboy Slim

Obersaxen

Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space by Spiritualized

Feldberg

Whole of the Moon – Waterboys

Adelboden

Rush Hour – Jane Wiedlin

Obersaxen

Dread Lion – Upsetters

Zermatt

Pow Pow – LCD Soundsystem

Aletsch Arena

Shine on You Crazy Diamond – Pink Floyd

Toggenberg

Professional Widow – Tori Amos

Obersaxen

Boys of Summer – DJ Sammy

Obersaxen

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Montreux for Skiing and Snowboarding Holidays

Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva is also in the heart of the Alps
Montreux is most famous for the Montreux Jazz festival, that takes place in the town every summer, or perhaps the fabulous climate or the beautiful walk from Vevey to Castle Chillon alongside Lake Geneva. For the winter sports enthusiasts, however, its location at the bottom of the Vaud Alps makes it a fabulous destination to use as a base for a holiday.

The town boasts a very good Christmas Market in December, when the best nearby slopes at Glacier 3000 have already been open for several weeks, but other resorts are also starting to open at this time nearby in the heart of Vaud and the Valais, including Verbier, Gstaad, Leysin, Les Diablerets and the resorts of Les Portes du Soleil – all roughly an hour away by rail or road. However all of the resorts of the Valais are reasonably accessible from Montreux. There is also a small ski resort just above Montreux at Caux and Rochers de Naye which can be reached by a funicular from Montreux, conveniently very close to the excellent youth hostel (which we use as our base for the Jazz Festival).

If you are planning to do a ski holiday in Switzerland and use rail to get about, Montreux is perfect. It is easy to get to by train or road from Geneva, itself served by an International Airport with a railway station actually inside the airport. Nearly all the great ski resorts in the region can be reached by train from Montreux, but also you can cut across to Lucerne and visit the resorts of the Bernese Oberland and Central Switzerland by taking the spectacular Golden Pass Line, a panorama train that operates between Montreux, Gstaad and the Bernese Oberland with onward connections to Lucerne.

More information on Montreux can be found at the Swiss Winter Sports web site.

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News for the 2014-15 Ski Season in Switzerland

New Wellness hostel in Saas-FeeThe family love ski resorts where we can combine winter sports with a spa. We also find the hostels in Switerland truly awesome, and inexpensive despite Switzerland’s reputation for high prices. So we are excited to hear that new from 5th September is the wellnessHostel4000 with 168 beds, right next to the Postauto bus stop in Saas-Fee. It claims to have a unique architectural design and has direct access to the new spa and gym facilities in the Aqua Allain leisure centre. As well as the usual wellness features, the centre also boasts a 25-metre indoor pool, a children’s pool, waterslide and fitness centre. Typical room rates in a six-bed dorm start from around 40 francs (35 euros, less than thirty pounds) per person per night.

New lifts in Portes du Soleil
After what the resorts call “a period full of uncertainties and intense negotiations” collaboration between Nendaz, Veysonnaz, Verbier and Thyon that comprise the 4 Vallées ski domain has been renewed for the winter season 2014-2015, and for the following 18 years.

The Portes du Soleil is very large, and features a pleasant circuit that takes you round the resorts in the circuit and across the French/Swiss border. You can generally do it all on skis, but at Châtel you needed to catch a bus if you are coming from the slopes near Avoriaz. However two new chairlifts make getting around much easier (Vonnes-Super Châtel and Linga-Vonnes) and for the 2015-16 season there will be a new piste at Super Châtel.

New lifts are also planned to open this season in Parpan (Lenzerheide) and Val Müstair in the Minschuns area, and numerous lifts have been replaced or upgraded throughout Switzerland.

The flak continues to fallout over the Swiss decision to extend the minimum wage to chalet workers, with most chalet operators working out of the UK pulling out. Andy Perrin, CEO of the Hotelplan group, which incudes Inghams, Ski Total and Esprit Ski, opined: “There are no winners here. We tour operators lose, our guests who love Switzerland lose, and all the myriad Swiss suppliers in resorts who have relied on this business for decades also lose.”

Those choosing to buy in the Swiss Alps may also experience difficulties, with a curb on construction of second homes since 2012 and a 50% rule that ensures Swiss citizens get half of any new builds leading to ongoing uncertainty. The result has been rising prices for real estate in a country which has largely enjoyed stable, albeit significant, prices for second homes.

Crystal, who alongside Thomson, Inghams and Neilson provide most of the winter sports holidays sold in Britain, has added Arosa to the resorts it services. An excellent choice,in my opinion. Now linked to Lenzerheide, Arosa is one of the best resorts in the Alps. The train journey to the resort is a delight, and there is plenty for people who don’t ski to do – as well as a fabulous range of piste and off-piste.
Ski Zinal and the fabulous Val D'Anniviers
Finally, news on an attractive deal for early-season escapes in one of my very favourite ski areas, Val d’Anniviers. The newly renamed combined resort of GrimentzZinal for the weekends of 15-16 November, 22-23 November, 29-30 November and 6-8 December offers
1 night in a double room in a hotel, with breakfast + 2 days’ skiing from CHF 175 per person. See here for details.

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