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Wednesday
Oct012014

ISTM in Davos

Meeting

Top players sign up for International Ski Travel Market

A number of major players in the world of ski tourism have signed up to exhibit and buy at the second annual International Ski Travel Market (ISTM), which takes place in Switzerland next March.

Among the exhibitors now confirmed to take part are Mountain Vision AG, Premier Luxury Mountain Resort, Turisme de Barcelona, Engadin St Moritz, Kronplantz Tourist Board and Hotel Aspen, while buyers are expected from 11 countries as far afield as China, Russia, the USA and Finland, and feature industry heavyweights such as Thomas Cook AG, TUI, The Luxury Ski Collection and Bleu & Blanc Concierge.

The prestigious event, which is being held in the exclusive resort of Davos over the 23rd and 24th of March, 2015, is once again organised by Reed Travel Exhibitions, who selected the brand new InterContinental Davos hotel as the perfect setting.

A world leader in organising events for the travel and tourism industry – including the successful inaugural 2013 forum that took place in Kitzbuhel in Austria – Reed Travel Exhibitions has more than 30 years of experience, and is well placed to deliver another smooth and successful event for the ski and winter sports market.

Exhibitors from 80 European resort tourist boards and inbound ski travel suppliers, and 80 leading outbound ski tour operators and global buyers are expected to arrive in Davos, alongside top decision-makers from the ski industry and members of the international press.

The event will maintain the same effective format as the first forum: Intensive one-on-one meetings between suppliers and buyers will be conducted alongside seminars, destination briefings and ample networking opportunities. To ensure proceedings run smoothly, all buyers and suppliers will be pre-qualified against strict criteria for participation from ISTM.  

The focused format of the event is designed to appeal to a broad spectrum of exhibitors and buyers alike, while catering to their unique needs and time-sensitive demands. With more than 30 years of experience, Reed Travel Exhibitions is well placed to understand the requirements of such events, and are keen to ensure that targeted “MICE” (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions) style forums are the future of the ISTM.

Peter Grimster, Exhibition Manager at Reed Travel Exhibitions, is delighted that so many prestigious buyers and exhibitors are taking part in the event, one that promises to be bigger and better than last year’s. He said: “ISTM is the perfect platform for industry professionals to engage in a focused and targeted way to generate new business.

“Last year we attracted some big names, and this year is no different. We’re seeing unprecedented support for this event, from suppliers and buyers alike, and are confident Davos will be the perfect setting for this unique event.

“The focused format is aimed at helping attendees get the maximum benefits and new business leads over the duration of the event. Throughout the industry there is significant buzz about the 2015 ISTM.”

A representative from Maisons and Hotels Sibuet, who are exhibiting, is confident the event will lead to new business relationships. They said: “ISTM provides a wonderful opportunity to present our unique luxury accommodation to just the right audience. We hope the relationships forged at ISTM will provide us with new marketing opportunities and enhanced exposure in primary target markets.”

Representatives from key buyers attending are also confident that the event will profitable for all parties. One representative commented: “Connecting the key players in the ski industry at an event such as ISTM is a great opportunity to develop new relationships, as well as nurture existing ones. This has really valuable business networking potential.”

To discover more about ISTM and how it presents the perfect platform for engaging with peers and generating new business, please visit www.istm.co.uk Meanwhile, here is the list of exhibitors and buyers so far:

Exhibitors

Engadin St Mortiz

Mountain Vision AG

Hotel Ciasa Salares

Maisons & Hotels Sibuet

Premier Luxury Mountain Resort

Griwarent AG

Kronplatz Tourist Board

Tourist Office St Anton am Alberg

Bellevue Hotel and Apartment Management AG

TUI Austria Holding GmbH

Hotel Aspen

Otzal Tourism Board

Rixos Fluela Davos

Steigenberger Hotel Group

Turisme de Barcelona

Zermatt Bergbahnen AG

Ameron Hotel Flora

Hotel Seehof Davos

Central Hotel (Davos)

Waldhotel (Davos)

Le Nevai (Verbier)

Cordee Des Alpes (Verbier)

Montpelier (Verbier)

Buyers

Bulgaria

Best Travel Service Ltd

Croatia

Travels in Style

China

YOO! Elite Travel

Finland

STS Alppimatkat

Germany

Escapio GmbH

Secret Escapes

Thomas Cook AG

Italy

Gruppo Parisi - Tren d'olot - Circle Line

Luxury Lake & Mountains

Russia

8 Wonders of the World

Slovakia

Blue & Blanc Concierge

Spain

Olas y Nieve

Tourist Forum

Switzerland

Lifestyle Hotels

USA

Lindenmeyr Travel Ltd

UK

Skiworld Ltd

TUI Traavel / TUI Ski

Zenith Holidays

Travco

Consensio

Ski Independence

Ski Solutions

Thursday
Sep252014

What’s New in Verbier

 

Verbier Station

The classic Swiss ski resort has undergone a transformation ahead of the 2014-2015 winter season. With everything from hotels to restaurants having gone under the knife, there’s never been a better time to head out this firm favourite.

Verbier has long been a favourite for any skier looking for a classic Swiss ski holiday with a luxe twist. The skiing is lively and the après even more so, with the high-end clientele adding a dash of luxury to this village perched high on a sunny plateau. However what makes Verbier one of the best resorts around is its lesser-known areas. From the Bruson ski area, to the eco accommodation and the smaller villages of the St Bernard region area, each aspect adds value to what is already a stellar destination.

The 3* Montpelier Hotel is back!

Just a five minute walk from the heart of Verbier, this former Inghams property has undergone a total transformation and is ready to welcome guests for the 2014/2015 season. The 3* property features 50 rooms, with most offering some of the best views of the Alps in Verbier. With indoor parking, an on-site ski shop and swimming pool, a stay in The Montpelier will be truly unforgettable. For more information and bookings please visit www.montpelierverbier.ch.

Brand new Verbier app set to launch

Verbier has joined forces with Téléverbier to create a unique app that will host everything skiers could possibly need to know about the resort. From maps of both the resort and the piste, to hotels and weather forecasts, it can all be found both on and offline, meaning that all skiers will have access to the app at any time. The app promises to be interactive and link people together, so die-hard Verbier fans will never lose touch.

Mixing gourmet and après at The Cristal Mountain and Ruinettes Restaurants

If skiers are looking for some high-altitude dining with a lively twist, then this season they’ll be flocking to The Ruinettes. The result is a combination of delicious, fresh self-service food, a mouth-watering gourmet brasserie and a lively mix of cabaret, music and live entertainment, all at a dizzying height of 2200m.  Partnering with some of most creative and talented chefs in Europe, the aim is to ‘strive to surprise’ every afternoon this coming winter.

Revealing the fully renovated restaurant, Le Carrefour

It’s been closed for the entire summer season and finally Le Carrefour will be reopening their doors in December. The sun-drenched terrace has had a complete redesign and will be even cosier than before. The inside has been revamped in both its cuisine and decor, with more space between tables to give the restaurant a light and airy feel, perfect for a relaxing Alpine lunch. Visit www.lecarrefour.ch for more information.

New Tapas Bar at Le Dahu Restaurant

Le Dahu is adding a small bar at the entrance of the restaurant on the first floor; serving moreish tapas and delicious drinks for anyone who needs a quick pick me up on the slopes. Visit www.ledahu.ch for more information

Xtreme Verbier on the North Face - 28th March

Every year, Verbier hosts the much anticipated final of the Freeride World Tour as part of the Xtreme Event. With treacherous narrow passages and the extreme slopes on the legendary north face, the Bec des Rosses is the ultimate playground for the best freeriders on the planet. The audience are guaranteed to be glued to the edges of their seats as they watch from Gentianes. Visit www.freerideworldtour.com for more information.

Verbier to host the 2015 ISMF World Championships

From the 6-13 February, Verbier will once again become the international capital of ski mountaineering. With 300 athletes from 25 countries expected to take part in the event, it’s guaranteed to be a showstopper. For more information visit www.verbier2015.ch.

Thursday
Sep112014

WHERE TO SKI AND SNOWBOARD ANNIVERSARY ALPINE AWARDS


World’s leading winter sports resort guidebook presents Awards to four resorts that have improved the most over the 20 years since the book was first published

Where to Ski was first published in 1994. At the launch party for its 20th anniversary edition in September, it presented Anniversary Alpine Awards to the resorts in the main alpine countries that had improved the most in the 20 years since the first edition.

And the winners were:

AUSTRIA: Kitzbühel

In 1994 that the resort suffered from shockingly bad peak-season queues, especially for the Hahnenkamm cable car out of the town, which had an hourly capacity of just 380 people. Now the resort has one of the best lift systems in the Alps, including the Hahnenkamm gondola from town with a capacity of 2000 people an hour and the groundbreaking 3-S gondola carrying 30 people in each cabin that linked the main ski area to the Wurzhöhe area across the valley from 2004.

FRANCE: Tignes

20 years ago, the first edition of the book said Tignes was a great place to ski with good slopes for all standards and reliably good snow but was ‘one of the ugliest resorts in the Alps’. It is now a much more pleasant place to stay. Tignes-le-Lac in particular has been smartened up by some of its original eyesore buildings being revamped in chalet style and the road through to Val Claret being buried in a tunnel.

ITALY: Val Gardena

Since 1994 the main Val Gardena resorts of Selva, Santa Cristina and Ortisei have become much more polished resorts with attractive places to stay and serious lift systems with gondolas from the valley and lots of high-speed chairlifts above them. But the most impressive thing now is the snowmaking, which covers 95% of the slopes and guarantees good skiing all season whatever the weather – the scenery here is spectacular, so this is one of the few resorts where we pray for sun, not snow.

SWITZERLAND: Verbier

In its first edition in 1994, Where to Ski carried a special feature box criticising Verbier for its dreadful lift system, serious lift queues, overcrowded pistes, appalling piste map and signposting, poor snowmaking and shortage of easy pistes. 20 years later most of these things have been significantly improved and last year’s gondola link to Brusson has improved things further.

Tuesday
Sep092014

Booking Secrets From Those In the Know – Team Ski Safari 

Approaching 20 years in the industry, Ski Safari has perfected the art of finding the absolute best value for money for its clients.

The passionate team of experienced skiers and snowboarders don’t just recommend a resort or hotel based on what everyone else knows, but share their first-hand knowledge and wealth of understanding, acquired through years of travel and experience. Revealing their very own booking secrets, four members of the team disclose their insider knowledge to help you get the best from your skiing holiday for 2014-15.

Rupert Hatfield 

Who?  Canada and North American expert Rupert Hatfield has notched up over 10 years at Ski Safari and still manages to get over 30 days a season on snow….he’s in the right job!

Booking Secret: Rupert says, “Don’t shun late season snow! So many people are wary of committing to skiing or boarding late season, however taking Whistler as an example last April and May the resort received 88cm of snowfall to top up the whopping 508cm that fell in February and March. Speaking from experience, having travelled in April for the past 11 seasons all over North America, I have not been disappointed with the snow once. Some of my best snow days have been late season, with many memorable moments from skiing some of the deepest powder ever in Snowbird in April to closing day at Kicking horse, with full snow cover on the slopes and not a bare patch in sight. Naturally, we can never guarantee the snow but consistent strong late season conditions in North American resorts mean I never worry about recommending travelling late season”

James Rivers
Who?
 North American whizz, James Rivers, has skied most of the US and Canadian resorts and tested all the Ski Safaris in the programme (at least once!!)

Booking Secret: James says, “Don’t delay, get in early! Playing the waiting game to seek out the best ski deals doesn’t work anymore, especially with North America. With the majority of airline flight sales, accommodation offers and lift pass incentives ending any time between 31st August and 15th November, the earlier you book, the better the savings. Telluride has one of the best all-round offers on at the moment for travel between 5th January to 7th February 2015. If you book by 15th October, you can benefit from 2 free nights’ accommodation (buy 5, stay 7) and from 2 free ski days on the lift pass (buy 4, ski 6). And just to reinforce the message that it doesn’t make sense to wait, there’s also flight sale savings of up to £200 per person with United until 23rd September.”  

 Andrea Selig

Who? Strapped on to her Dad’s backpack and against all health and safety rules, Andrea Selig started skiing as a baby and it didn’t put her off! Born in Japan, Andrea looks after the Swiss, Japan, and the new South Korea product for Ski Safari.

Booking Secret: Andrea says, “Skiing in Japan should be on every skier and snowboarder’s bucket list, but what lots of people don’t realise is that the season there can actually be quite short, and there is a finite window to catch the powder conditions. The season starts at the middle of December, and it probably won’t stop snowing until the middle of March, but after that, you can expect spring conditions and cherry blossoms! There are also key dates to avoid such as New Year and the Chinese New Year, where resorts are inundated with visitors from China, Singapore and Hong Kong. The best time to visit Japan in 2015 is after the 24th January, when the Australian schools have returned after their long summer break, and before 14th February, as Chinese New Year is celebrated on 19th February. Another date period that works well in 2015 is from 22nd February to 15th March.”

 Andy Hemingway

Who? Skier Andy Hemingway has been with Ski Safari for 2 years and heads up the Scandinavia product. Having done 5 seasons out there and being a Scandinavian Product Manager for 12 years, he knows what he is talking about!

Booking Secret: Andy says, “It’s no secret that local demand drives up accommodation prices, so if you are looking for the most competitive prices around, work out when the locals take their own holidays. It’s worth knowing that in Scandinavia families tend to spend Christmas at home, therefore prices are much more favourable at Christmas than at New Year or during the February half-term. At Easter, Scandinavian school children tend to get just one week holiday from school; as UK schools close for two weeks, it pays to pick the opposite week and the prices will work in your favour.”

Tuesday
Sep092014

Round-up of the latest Ski Safari news ahead of Winter 2014-15

Lift attendant Yongpyong Resort

As the 2014-15 ski season beckons, Ski Safari lines up another packed winter programme full of inspirational trips and some new incredible adventures.

The big news for Ski Safari is the launch of South Korea, as a standalone destination or as part of a unique multi-centre ‘Ski Asia Safari’, combining skiing in South Korea with Niseko in Japan.

On the other side of the pond, up there as one of the most amazing heli-ski destinations is Alaska, and this season sees the introduction of the resort of Alyeska with access to some awesome possibilities.

The Canadian resort of Sun Peaks is expanding its terrain and upgrading accommodation to become the second largest ski area in the country for winter 2014/15.

Closer to home the Scandinavian programme has been enhanced with the introduction of 4 new city stopovers and a new hotel in Åre, arguably located in the most prominent ski-in ski-out position.

Sun Peaks Expansion

The Canadian resort of Sun Peaks becomes the second largest ski area in the country for winter 2014/15. The British Columbia resort is adding 522 acres of terrain which will put it ahead of Banff and behind Whistler. It will have 4,200 acres for the 2014/15 season. There will be 110 acres of trails on West Morrisey and 412 acres of runs on the current back-country area of Gil's, atop Mt. Tod. The current domain of 3,678 acres will be augmented as well as increasing the current vertical.

Sun Peaks has seen real development in the last year or two and has earned the nickname 'little Whistler' - the village certainly has a similar flavour. The excellent accommodation in Sun Peaks - in particular, the Sun Peaks Grand, previously known as the Delta Sun Peaks Resort, now completely refurbished means that you can stay in very high quality accommodation, not often found outside Whistler.
Call Ski Safari on 01273 224 060 or visit www.skisafari.com.

Introducing Alaska

With the introduction of Alaska, Ski Safari has lined up some incredible tours from the resort of Alyeska. Nestled in the Chugach Mountains in the heart of a glacier carved valley, Alyeska sits in the heart of Girdwood, surrounded by awe-inspiring scenery. Boasting 54 feet of snow annually and known for its deep snow pack, the resort also offers heli and cat-skiing, making it ideal for any dare devil seeking blissful fresh powder (heading over in February means you’ll be there for prime heli ski season). By twinning the Alyeska tour with a week-long stint in either Whistler or Mammoth and a night in the bustling cities of either Seattle or Los Angeles respectively, there will be thousands of acres of skiable terrain to explore, creating the ultimate winter getaway for winter sports enthusiasts.
Call Ski Safari on 01273 224 060 or visit www.skisafari.com.

Scandinavia Stopovers and New Åre Hotel

Ski Safari first introduced Scandinavia to its programme in 2012-13 and in two years has become the UK’s biggest ski tour operator offering ski holidays to Norway and Sweden. There are now a total of five ski resorts in Norway, including Geilo, Beitostølen, Hemsedal, Norefjell, Trysil and Voss and three resorts in Sweden, including Åre, Björkliden and Riksgränsen, as well as two Ski Safaris, the Åre and the Arctic in Sweden and Fjords and Mountains in Norway.

For 2014-15, Ski Safari will introduce four new city stopovers in Scandinavia, which are popular tourist destinations in their own right and worthy of a visit rather than being used as a gateway through to the ski resort. The cities include the beautiful historic city of Bergen in Norway, which inspired this year’s Disney blockbuster Frozen with its old Hanseatic wharf as well as the historic city of Trondheim and Norway’s capital Oslo. In Sweden, you can overnight in the cool capital of Stockholm.

Situated in one of the best ski-in ski-out locations in the entire resort, the 4* Hotel Fjällgården in Åre is a true skier’s hotel, with a six-seater chairlift on the doorstep and makes a welcome addition to the Ski Safari programme.
Call Ski Safari on 01273 224 068 or visit www.skisafari.com

Red Mountain Resort Expansion (Again!)

Last season Ski Safari introduced the new Red Mountain and Whitewater safari, set deep within British Columbia, offering some of the most compelling steep slopes, deep powder and diverse terrain in the world. Last year the big news was the Red expansion, adding a further 997 acres on Grey Mountain and increasing the total lift serviced area to 2,787 acres. This year the development continues at a significant pace with the addition of nearly 200 acres of cat skiing on Mt. Kirkup. Access to the terrain will operate as a cat shuttle from Grey Mountain on a first come, first served basis and costing a mere $10, if purchased with a lift ticket. This new terrain will access nearly 200 acres of gladed tree skiing, with an additional three newly cut runs on the south side of Mt Kirkup and has 1,600 feet of vertical drop, previously only accessible by hiking and ski touring. This latest development solidifies Red’s reputation, offering that deep powder experience and world class adventure.
Call Ski Safari on 01273 224 060 or visit www.skisafari.com.

Easy connections to US Resorts

From this season getting to the resorts of Crested Butte, Steamboat and Jackson Hole will be made a whole lot easier by the introduction of more one stop flights into regional airports. By flying with United into Gunnison via Chicago for Crested Butte and Hayden for Steamboat will effectively save up to 4 hours travel to these resorts and ultimately cut down on the cost of getting there too. A new evening flight from Chicago to Jackson Hole connects perfectly with the London to Chicago route, now making the journey less than 12 hours travel time each way.

South Korea and Ski Asia Safari

Full detailed information about the launch of South Korea to the Ski Safari programme was sent earlier this month and can be viewed on the attached pdf. In brief, Ski Safari has introduced South Korea, host to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in 2018, to this winter’s programme. Ski Safari will feature the resorts of Yongpyong and Phoenix Park with skiing also available at the resort of Alpensia, which is not available through any other ski tour operator in the UK. For the ultimate winter adventure the Ski Asia Safari combines skiing in both South Korea and Japan with a city stay in Seoul.