Skiing in Oman?

Fancy Skiing in Oman?

Following the success of the real snow indoor ski slope in the mall of the Emirates in Dubai, and in an effort to improve tourism figures, it has been announced that Oman’s capital, Muscat, is to have a new Snow Village built in the Palm Mall. Temperatures in Oman vary from around 39 degC in July to a mere 26 degC in December, but still not generally cold enough for snow!

Oman Ski Village

Costing around £20million, the Snow Village will be part of the Palm Mall shopping centre and contracts have been signed by the Dutch company ‘Unlimited Snow’ with completion expected in early 2017. The Palm Mall centre itself is estimated to cost around £15million and will also include a 12 screen cinema complex, a hotel and aquarium.

Ski Dubai
Ski Dubai

Initial sketches look like this will be more of a snow village than an out and out ski centre, unlike the Ski Dubai centre which has a 400m slope with a 60m drop, and 5 runs of varying degrees of difficulty. Opened in 2005, Ski Dubai has an indoor chair lift, a mock space shuttle, a penguin encounter area and a wide variety of skiing and snowboarding lessons from their in-house ski school.

Ski Dubai

A £200million snow dome for east London announced in 2013 has, unsurprisingly, not yet materialised….

French Ski Hosting Ban Workaround?

French Ski Hosting Ban Workaround?

Following the recent problems encountered in France, where Ski Hosting has been deemed illegal by French authorities, The Ski Club of Great Britain has teamed up with ski school Evolution 2 to offer an instructor led guiding service in 11 French Resorts.

The practice of ski hosting (or social skiing) is where and employee of the holiday company, usually a volunteer, shows clients around the mountains, indicating the best pistes, lunch spots and offering tips on skiing the area.

In February 2013 however, the French authorities (backed by the French Ski School ESF) said that the practice was illegal since the party leaders weren’t suitably qualified as ski instructors. This came to a head when one of the group leaders was stopped and questioned by police in Val d’Isere.

Although the Ski Club contested the accusations, a court in Chambery ruled against the Ski Club and the volunteer was fined 10,000 Euros.

This coming season, the Ski Club has an interim solution in place whilst it, and 3 other major tour operators (Le Ski, Neilson and Crystal Ski) appeal against the decision, with ‘Le Ski’ prepared to take the matter to the European Court if necessary.

Evolution 2 will be providing Ski Club members with qualified instructors, with half day session costing £10 and full day sessions at £20, much of the cost being absorbed by the Ski Club. Group sizes are estimated to be around 8 for on-piste guiding and 6 for off-piste, with sessions being booked online in advance.

The Evolution 2 sessions should be available in Alpe d’Huez, Argentiere, Avoriaz, Courchevel, Flaine, La Plagne, Meribel, Les Arcs, Tignes, Val d’Isere and Val Thorens, with the original ‘Leader’ programme still continuing in 17 resorts across the rest of Europe and North America.

More information on the Ski Club’s membership can be found on their website skiclub.co.uk

 

New Eurostar Ski Routes

New Eurostar Ski Routes

Eurostar has just released it’s prices and schedules for the next ski season, with tickets available now. There are also new routes making a wider variety of ski resorts now available by rail from the UK.

EurostarThe direct high soeed train from London St Pancras to the French Alps, stopping at Moutier, Aime L Plange and Bourg-St-Maurice is still as popular as ever, providing access to slopes at Meribel, les Arcs, La Plagne and Courchevel

There is a new route run from London to Lyon for resorts such as Les Deux Alpes and Alpe d’Huez, and taking just over 4 1/2 hours.

For the Swiss Alps there is now a connecting service to Geneva via Lille with timed connections, taking a little over 6 hours. This opens up a whole range of resorts including Tignes and Val d’Isere as well as Morzine for the Ski Prix Chalet holiday 2016. Tickets for the Geneva route should be available from 15th October.

A return to the French Alps costs from £149, with returns to Geneva and Lyon costing from £127 and £89 respectively, making these routes comparable to the cost of flying. Not only does the train run through some beautiful countryside, Eurostar however allows 2 suitcases, handluggage and skis or snowboard at no extra cost.

Further details can be found at Eurostar.com