6th October 2021
The UK’s largest ski tour operator has a simple message for next winter – REMEMBER THE FEELING: LET’S GET BACK TO THE MOUNTAINS. Fair enough, who are we to disagree? NEW
Crystal Ski Holidays is celebrating its 40th birthday season this winter.
Founded in 1981, Crystal has built a reputation for choice, value and expertise and customers can expect its comprehensive range of holidays this season.
In a post-pandemic season all holidays are covered by the Crystal Holiday Promise with fee free changes 28 days before departure.
Crystal Ski Holidays winter 2021/22 season insights and recommendations:
· New Italian resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo introduced as Crystal turns 40.
· Maximum choice and value with over 700 accommodations on offer across more than 100 resorts.
· Flying from more than 15 regional airports to 10 destinations.
· Crystal Holiday Promise provides flexibility and fee free changes, whatever the reason.
“ Exactly what we can expect on the slopes will depend on the local regulations in place at the time – and these will vary from destination to destination,” said the Crystal Ski Holiday MD, Chris Logan.
“ However, it’s likely there will be a mix of social distancing, mask wearing and hand sanitising – all the things we’re now used to in our daily lives.
“We’re in constant conversations with our destination teams and keeping a close eye on the guidelines.“Before the season starts, we will create clear information resources so customers can easily navigate their way through any entry and testing requirements they need to”.
NEW RESORT – Cortina d’Ampezzo
Nicknamed the ‘Queen of the Dolomites’ the 1956 Olympics established Cortina as a prestigious location for winter sports and 70 years later skiers can still sashay down the original downhill run.
With stunning scenery and a varied ski area it’s perfect for mixed ability groups with some of the least crowded slopes in the Dolomites.
A popular weekend hotspot for visitors from Milan and Rome the place has an authentic Italian atmosphere.
Cortina, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI
But the Italians don’t come to ski.
Cortina, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI
They flock to town for the 300 shops, gourmet dining, traditional restaurants, and lively bars – leaving the mountains free for overseas holidaymakers.
There are also plenty of other activities on offer from dog sledding to snow biking, winter walking, ice hockey, ice skating and the Ampezzo Nature Reserve, home to 31 species of mammals and 113 species of birds.
Crystal Ski Holidays offers a week’s half-board holiday at the three-star Hotel Serena from £845 and the three-star Hotel Cortina from £799 per person when booked online (based on two sharing).
Includes flights from Birmingham to Innsbruck and transfers (price given is for departure on 15th January 2022).
Direct flights are also available from eight other UK airports.
BEST FOR FAMILIES – La Plagne France and Passo Tonale Italy
La Plagne, France is the perfect playground for families with 425km of varied terrain from tree-lined runs to open bowls and situated in Plagne Aime 200 is the four-star Hotel Plagne 2000.
With easy access to the piste there’s loads to do when not skiing with sauna and hot tub, evening entertainment and games in the hotel, a wide range of snow activities on offer from dog sledding to skidooing and bowling, swimming, ziplining and even a cinema in easy reach.
La Plagne, France. Image © PlanetSKI
Similarly, well suited for families is the small friendly town of Passo Tonale in Italy with plenty of quiet, easy to access runs.
And at the heart of this value for money resort is the contemporary but cosy, ski-in, ski-out Grand Paradiso.
It’s just 1 minutes’ walk to the chairlift and 10 minutes’ walk to ski school, with indoor pool and spa and a la carte Pasta and Pizza as well as top notch buffet.
Crystal Childcare is available at both hotels with the Pipi Penguin Nursery for 6 months-4-year-olds and the Beanie Bear Club for 4–8-year-olds.
BEST FOR BEGINNERS – Arinsal Andorra and Borovets Bulgaria
The high-altitude nursery slopes in Arinsal make for good snow conditions and mountain views and with lots of easy runs, as well as one of the best English-speaking ski schools in Europe and free lift passes for kids it scores 10/10 for beginners.
Set in a wooded valley, the village is filled with stone buildings either side of a small river and there’s loads of activities from snowmobiling to snowshoe walking.
Surrounded by tree-lined slopes with a shuttle bus stop right outside The Hotel Palarine is just five minutes ride away from the village centre and offers contemporary style, friendly service with different international themed dining every day.
Arinsal, Andorra. Image © PlanetSKI
Bulgaria’s first and most famous ski resort set in beautiful woodland Borovets is famously good value with an excellent ski school and more than 200 instructors, many former professionals.
The village is also known for its’ lively apres-ski scene and ranks as one of Europe’s top party hotspots on the slopes.
The resort has an excellent mix of hotels including the great value Hotel Samoko.
With distinctive soviet-style architecture it’s right in the centre of the resort and offers magnificent views of pine forests and peaks.
And with spa, spacious indoor pool, bowling alley and nightclub there’s plenty to do off the slopes.
Borovets Nursery slope on changeover day. Image © PlanetSKI
BEST FOR WINTER WONDER – Ruka Finland and Zell am Zee Austria
A real winter wonderland Ruka is as famous for everything it has to offer off the slopes as on them.
The skiing is excellent and because the days are shorter in Finland most of the runs are floodlit adding a touch of magic after the sun sets.
But the holiday experience is about much more from trying authentic pastimes like ice fishing, searching for the Northern Lights on a snowmobile, enjoying snow tubing at the Rosa Rudolf family park or visiting Father Christmas in his secret cottage.
For the ultimate Finnish experience the Ruka Log Cabins, nestled in idyllic woodland, are ideal for those who like peace and privacy but don’t want to be too far from the centre.
The mediaeval lakeside town of Zell am Zee near Salzburg is picture-postcard stunning with a fairy-tale charm.
Frescoed buildings line the cobbled main square, and a waterfront promenade looks out across the lake to the Hohe Tauern mountains beyond.
Off piste there is an alpine rollercoaster to whizz down, tobogganing and snow hiking. The old centre is filled with shops and cafés and there’s a great range of accommodation including the Gartenhotel Daxter, just a snowball’s throw from the Schmittenhöhe Mountain.
It is a ski-in, ski-out location with indoor pool, two saunas and steam room and plenty to do on the doorstep.
Zell am Zee, Austria. Image © PlanetSKI
BEST FOR LUXURY – Courchevel France and Jasper Canada
Popular with the rich and famous, the resort is made up of four villages – pretty and peaceful Le Praz (1300), relaxed Courchevel Village (1550), lively Courchevel Moriond (1650) and upmarket Courchevel 1850.
The all share a top-notch food scene, with no fewer than seven Michelin-starred restaurants between them.
For relaxation or family fun off the slopes, Aquamotion is a state-of-the-art swimming and wellness centre with pools, slides and every kind of spa facility.
And the runs around the resort are arguably the best in the whole area – tons of long greens and blues close to each village for beginners, and a huge range of both open and tree-lined runs for more experienced skiers.
And just a short way from the centre of Courchevel 1850, with beautiful views of the slopes and village combined with a welcoming ambience, is the stunning Hotel Trois Valles.
It’s a ski in, ski out hotel with a first-rate spa, à la carte restaurant serving French classics, a large lounge with an open fire and stylishly designed rooms bathed in light from the balconies.
Less known that Whistler or Banff but with loads to offer is the little town of Jasper.
There’s great snow and some of the Rockies’ most dramatic scenery have made it a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The skiing is superb in the nearby resort of Marmot Basin with some seriously challenging black runs for more experienced skiers plus there’s an Olympic bobsleigh track, ziplining ice-canyon walking on frozen riverbeds, frozen waterfalls rising up to 100ft and the wildlife is everywhere with elks and deers wandering around town.
Jasper as seen from Marmot Basin. Image © PlanetSKI
The village itself is bursting with bars and high-quality hotels including The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, part of the Crystal Finest Collection.
In a secluded spot the hotel is set around the lake with many of the rooms located in the cabins that dot the shore.
The junior suite lake view rooms are the best for incredible views and there’s a great spa, outdoor pool, top restaurant and lovely lounge bar, all with great lake views.
The road to Jasper and Marmot Basin. Image © PlanetSKI
See here for the full details of ski holidays for the 2021/22 season from Crystal Ski Holidays .
Lets get back to the mountains
The pause in operations has also provided an opportunity to re-assess the Crystal hotel portfolio and enhance flexible Covid policies.
“We’ve made sure we’re providing Crystal’s usual unrivalled choice and value this season and have re-calibrated and consolidated our hotel offer,” said the MD of Crystal Ski Holiday, Chris Logan.
“We’ve removed some from our portfolio, retained firm favourites and added many new ones.
“We’re offering more than 700 accommodations, in 10 destinations across over 100 resorts, including the addition of Cortina d’Ampezzo.
“This season will be on a par with our pre-covid programme. But we appreciate there’s still a level of uncertainty about travel and that people want reassurance.
“Our Crystal Holiday Promise does just that, giving Covid-19 flexibility, fee free changes and package holiday refund guarantee”.
ABOUT CRYSTAL SKI HOLIDAYS
Part of the TUI Group, Crystal Ski Holidays is the UK’s leading ski package holiday provider taking customers to more than 100 resorts in ten destinations across Europe and North America flying from over 15 UK airports.
All packages include flights, transfers and accommodation, and are covered by ABTA and ATOL protection.