Launching our first Spanish ski resort this winter, Sierra Nevada is just a 30-minute drive from the Andalusian town of Granada. Sierra Nevada’s highest lift reaches an altitude of 3,398m, making it one of the highest resorts in Europe and guaranteeing good snow coverage from December through to April. Thanks to its southern location, it is also dubbed the sunniest ski resort in Europe, so it’s a perfect choice for fair weather skiers and families. On a clear day you can see the Mediterranean beaches and Morocco’s Atlas Mountains.
With climate change such a hot topic, it’s great to see ski resorts making the effort to go green and protect our winters. Leading the way is Serre Chevalier, who are working towards producing 30% of their own energy in-house by 2021; recently introducing solar panels and wind turbines. In Italy, Cortina have promised the 2021 Alpine Skiing World Championships will be a green one, focusing on renewable energy and sustainable development. We were also excited to learn that a leading snow groomer manufacturer is beginning tests on the first 100% emission-free electric groomer.
New this season, 22 attractions in Innsbruck and 13 of the local ski areas in the Stubai Valley fall under one ticket. The pass incorporates 300km of pistes with access to 111 lifts. This also includes the ski transfer system and hop-on hop-off sightseer bus. There’ll be no wasted whiteout or rest days with so many attractions in Innsbruck, including the lavish Swarovski Crystal World, the Bergisel Ski Jump designed by Zaha Hadid and the 16th-century Renaissance Ambras Castle.
Do you like your coffee or whisky on the rocks? There’s no shortage of ice at Val Thorens’ Igloo Village, which is new for the 2019/20 season. Made up of an ice bar with intricately carved ice sculptures, sit down to dine on pine tree stumps and delve into a pot of melted cheese fondue and other classic Savoyard dishes. There are also three ice-cool bedrooms with quirky interiors and sheepskin blankets that you can cosy up in.
Over the past 10 years, Andermatt has been heavily investing in one of the biggest ski construction efforts in Switzerland, with a total of £100 million spent. Last season, we saw the official opening of the newly linked 120km Andermatt-Sedrun ski area, with all-singing, all-dancing new high-speed lifts, runs renewed and extensive snow-making added. Work is now underway on a second connection to link Andermatt-Sedrun to neighbouring ski area Disentis ready for winter 19/20, taking the connected ski area up to 180km.
Under construction this summer, a new lift will connect Avoriaz to the Swiss side of the Portes du Soleil ski area. Replacing the slow, old Léchère lift, the new lift will continue a further 600m. It is then followed by a brand new, high-speed six-seater chairlift called Cases. This chair will cross the border and enable skiers to access runs to Les Crosets. Historically, the options to reach the Swiss village were down the notoriously challenging Swiss Wall, or the unreliable and slow Mossettes chairlift that was often closed due to strong winds. The new lifts will be built in a less exposed area with a windproof design.