Ski resorts are finding more and more ways to attract and entertain visitors and this year we’re seeing plenty of new ideas. We recently tried the hugely entertaining Mountain Twister at Les Saisies – a 750 m roller coaster style luge descent suspended high above the mountainside (there’s another called the Monty Express at Montgenèvre which runs for 1400 m). For budding freestylers, there are several new Big Air Bags providing a much-needed soft landing to even the most timid beginner, as at Piau Engaly in the Hautes-Pyrénées. Here they also entertain people at the end of the season with a water splash where it’s best not to stand too close as even the audience ends up getting wet. Among the host of other unusual activities we’ve tried are ski-joering, snow-shoeing, snow-kiting, dog-sledding, and some we haven’t yet plucked up the courage to try such as parascending, speed-riding (Valfréjus), a Tyroléan cable (Orcières), ice-diving (Tignes, Piau Engaly), or ice-driving (Serre Chevalier, Val Thorens). Orcières is a great family resort where you can not only try ice-diving, but you can even spend a night in their igloo village or experience the thrill of dog-sledding. Visit Undiscovered Alps, specialists in multi-activity holidays which can be tailor-made to your requirements.
What’s also become apparent is a growing number of festivals. After Méribel’s hosting of the popular Altitude Comedy Festival, the show moves to a different ski resort each year, while Méribel’s attentions turn to music with its Little World Festival starring well-known international acts and staging over 40 gigs throughout the week. After several successful years the Rock the Pistes music festival in the Portes du Soleil area, has become established taking place in March each year.
While temperatures are thankfully dropping again, the action’s hotting up in the mountains….