Whether you’re a skiing ace or a beginner, some of the best ski destinations in the UK and Europe are within easy reach with Flybe
Searching for family friendly ski holidays or après-ski fuelled fun with friends? Flybe has plenty of cheap ski flights and last minute ski deals for you to choose from. Take off from your doorstep to some of the UK and Europe’s best winter sports destinations.
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Our guide to hitting the slopes in Chambéry
There’s no question about where to ski when you fly into this attractive Savoyard town. If you’re less than an hour away from the famous Trois Vallées resorts of Courchevel, Méribel, Saint Martin de Belleville, Les Menuires and Val Thorens – all linked to form the biggest ski area in the world – why look elsewhere? The area is so big that even good skiers who set out from Courchevel to ski to the other end of the main “Trois Vallées” at Val Thorens – have to get a move on to get there and back in a day – especially if they want lunch thrown in! In such a huge ski region, there’s bound to be skiing for all. Plenty of challenges too, particularly at Val Thorens, and lots of offpiste opportunities – it’s best to take a guide to take advantage of these safely if you can, and certainly don’t ski off-piste alone. Of all the Trois Vallées resorts, Courchevel 1850 is the smartest and most expensive, Méribel has the most chalets and British visitors, Saint Martin is the prettiest and the only genuinely-rustic resort, while Les Menuires and Val Thorens have the most futuristic architecture. You can ski the whole region with a single pass – or, if you have less ambitious plans, you can just buy a “local” pass. (But each resort is so extensive that a local pass can keep even an intermediate skier happy for a week or more.)
Travel: From Chambéry airport you can be at the Trois Vallées resorts in about an hour and a quarter.
Sleep: Most of the hotels at Courchevel 1850 are pricey, but it’s cheaper down at Courchevel 1650, where the three-star Portetta (www.portetta. com) comes highly recommended. La Loze (www.la-loze.com) is a three-star hotel with a superb position right by the foot of the pistes in the centre of Courchevel 1850
Eat: For sheer indulgence, you simply must eat at the Bistrot du Praz (www. bistrotdupraz.fr) down at Courchevel 1300. Perhaps wait for a white-out day so that you don’t miss any good skiing, and settle in there for a long (and rather expensive!) lunch of everything the French are good at cooking!
Party: Try Le Ku De Ta Nightclub (tel: +33 4 79 08 20 28) on Place du Forum in Courchevel 1850, which is open from midday, serving food both in the dining room or out on the terrace. You can pop in for a few apres-ski drinks or party late into the night. DJs and occasionally live bands play every night, with regular theme nights and parties.
Our guide to the Chamonix Valley
The Chamonix Valley has half a dozen or more ski areas with slopes ranging from fairly-easy family runs (in La Flégère and Le Brévent, for example) to more challenging runs for advanced skiers only. The most gung-ho resort is Argentière, with a huge vertical drop of more than 7,000 feet and some superb off-piste skiing. Otherwise, the big adventure is the celebrated Vallée Blanche, the longest off-piste run in the Alps (about 10 miles), which is reached via an exhilarating ride in the Aiguille du Midi cable car. You’ll need a guide – not because the route is difficult (there are more difficult variants) but to prevent you from falling down any crevasses. The scenery on the way down is out of this world.
Travel: Chamonix is just an hour’s drive from Geneva airport.
Sleep: Try Les Chalets de Philippe (en.chaletsphilippe.com), a charming collection of small but luxurious chalets just outside Chamonix. Here you’ll find views of Mont Blanc, an outdoor spa, sauna, massage and a home cinema. A budget option is Chalet Les Frenes (tel: +33 6 21 18 58 41), a small guesthouse in the hamlet of Les Bossons in the Chamonix valley. Here you can enjoy views of the Les Bossons and Taconnaz glaciers, the Aiguille du Midi and the entire Chamonix massif – all for reasonable prices.
Eat: Run by some delightful Swedish women, Munchie (tel: +33 4 50 53 45 41) offers delicious food with an Asian twist. If you need a curry to warm you up, head to Annapurna (www. annapurna-chamonix. com) for traditional dishes with a take-away option.
Party: Chamonix is awash with nightclubs and bars. Les Caves (tel: +33 6 95 57 12 41) is a chic wine and cocktail bar with regular DJs and live bands. Soak up some of the alcohol with a sushi platter from the Cap Horn restaurant upstairs, to ensure you can keep the partying up all night long. Chambre Neuf (tel: +33 4 50 53 00 31), near the train station, is a popular spot, too.
Our guide to the Austrian Tyrol
The Austrian Tyrol hosts some of the biggest and best ski resorts in the world and Innsbruck has two ski areas on the outskirts, with another seven which can be reached on the local ski pass. That makes 90 lifts and 300km of slopes within easy reach of city centre. Innsbruck’s own ski area – marketed as the Nordpark – has plenty of tough runs and fabulous views over the city. The Glungezer ski area is very much a locals’ area, boasting the longest run in the Tyrol from the Schartenkogel at 2,300m all the way down to the village of Tulfes. The Muttereralm ski area links two of Innsbruck’s neighbouring villages, Mutters and Götzens, and is good for families and intermediate skiers looking for a quiet resort.
Travel: All within 5 minutes’ drive of the city centre.
Sleep: The modern, value-formoney Basic Hotel (www. basic-hotel.at) in the city centre has 25 compact but well-designed rooms. There’s no restaurant but you can book the buffet breakfast in the inhouse bakery or enjoy it in your room. The family-owned Hotel Zach (www.hotelzach. at) on a quiet street close to the centre has simple but comfortable rooms and the price includes breakfast.
Eat:The atmospheric Ottoburg Restaurant (www.ottoburg. at) is in a 900-year-old watch tower with dining rooms on different levels. The menu is typically Austrian, with goulash, schnitzel and apple strudel. The Buzihütte (www.buzihuette.at) is an Innsbruck institution, at the foot of the Nordkette mountains serving hearty portions of Tyrolean homecooked food.
Party: Innsbruck is a university city, and so has a wide-ranging bar scene. The Music Hall Werkstatt (www.musichall. at) offers burgers, rock music, concerts and much more. The Couch Club (Anichstrasse 7) hosts themed evenings and covers a variety of music genres while Gosser’s (www.goessers.at ) serves its own beers as well as a range of cocktails and other drinks. The bar specialises in ’80s and ’90s music and hosts a live DJ every Friday night.
Our guide to the heart of the Alps
The Valle d’Aosta, two or so hours from Milan, has a wealth of skiing dotted around in half a dozen resorts. Champoluc and Gressoney are part of the lesser known Monte Rosa ski area on the “sunny side” of the Matterhorn but named after the neighbouring peak of Monte Rosa, the second highest mountain in the Alps after Mont Blanc. Cervinia, on the Italian side of the Matterhorn, has glacier skiing, and is linked with the celebrated Swiss resort of Zermatt. Pila is just a gondola ride away from the historic Roman town of Aosta, while La Thuile is linked with La Rosière in France. Courmayeur is an atmospheric old climbing town on the other side of the towering Mont Blanc massif from Chamonix (and often sunnier). Courmayeur has a lot of easy skiing, with heliskiing and some good offpiste for those in search of more challenging slopes. Nearby Entrèves offers access to some serious off-piste, such as the Tula glacier descent (guide essential) and you can ski the Vallée Blanche from this side, too.
Travel: The Valle d’Aosta is about two hours’ drive from Milan Malpensa airport.
Sleep: The three-star Bouton d’Or (www.hotelboutondor. com), Courmayeur, is an unpretentious B&B where the owners are always anxious to make sure you are happy, and will drive you and your skis to the main cable car in town each day. The 15 wellequipped apartments at Residence Chécrouit (www.residencechecrouit. com) include attractive studios and two-room apartments.
Eat: Try La Maison Vieille (www.maisonvieille. com), Courmayeur, where the charismatic patron Giacomo Colosi gives everyone an expansive welcome and the main course tends to arrive just when you think you’re moving on to the pudding. The menu features pasta and pizza, as well as hearty traditional mountain dishes and fabulous cakes.
Party: The Bar Roma (tel: +39 340 530 9651), Courmayeur, is in the pedestrianised Via Roma, the town’s picturesque main street. It’s usually packed after skiing – perhaps partly because it serves some seriouslygood, free antipasti as you walk in the door.
Our guide to the Cairngorms
For a weekend ski break on home turf, the UK’s largest national park, the Cairngorms, is the place. Although you need to check the snow conditions, when ski conditions are good, they’re very good, and the skiing here is testing enough for the experienced skier as well as snowboarders. The East and West walls provide the most challenge for the experts, who can ski from the summit.
Travel: The Cairngorms are less than 40 minutes’ drive from Inverness airport.
Sleep: Choose from one of four hotels in The Macdonald Aviemore Resort (www. macdonaldhotels.co.uk) all with four-star accommodation.
Eat: You’ll get a hearty breakfast at the Mountain Café (www.mountaincafeaviemore. co.uk), and for lunch try Ptarmigan (tel: 01479 861261) – the UK’s highest restaurant.
Party: In the evening try the Old Bridge Inn (www.oldbridgeinn.co.uk) or head to The Winking Owl (www.thewinkingowl.co.uk) or Café Mambo (tel: 01479 811910), both on Grampian Road.
Why book with Flybe?
Up to 46kg baggage allowance*Plenty of room for all those Alpine souvenirs!
*Subject to ticket type
10kg hand luggage*Take up to two items into the cabin with a combined weight of up to 10kg.
*Size restrictions apply to each item
Ski carriageGot your favourite ski gear? Take it with you!
*Subject to availability