News - Winter

How to Organise a Group Ski Holiday

November 9th, 2014 by in News, Winter

group ski holidays

Group ski holidays with Riders Refuge

If you are tasked with organising a snowboard or ski holiday for a group, it can often feel like an unsurmountable task. A lot of juggling can be necessary to keep everyone happy and accommodate each group member’s needs. There are a variety of factors to consider such as the ski area, the location of the chalet or hotel, catering and facilities, lessons and on top of this it has to come in on budget. We decided to speak to our guests and staff to find out the most important factors to consider when arranging a group ski or snowboard holiday and how to keep the whole experience fun and stress-free.

Tip 1 –Book ahead to get the most choice and best deals.
If you are looking to organise a group ski holiday, you will want to start looking as early as possible, particularly if your group is large. Starting early will give your group the best chance of finding your perfect ski accommodation. Chalet holidays are ideal for groups with a great, social environment and communal relaxation and dining areas to enjoy after a hard day on the mountain. In addition, there are early bird discounts in many chalets for those who book ahead.

Tip 2 – The Ski Area
The Ski area itself must be given serious consideration when booking a group ski or snowboard trip. In most cases, group members will be of different ability levels and so terrain needs to be found to suit everyone. For accomplished skiers and riders, days tackling the steeps or doing park laps may be tempting but don’t forget about any less experienced members of the group who will reap the benefits of good nursery slopes and greens and blues for progression. Ski areas such as the Portes du Soleil are ideal with hundreds of kilometres of pistes for all levels and a good choice of well-placed mountain restaurants where different group members can reunite for a drink.

Tip 3 – Location, Location, Location
Location is extremely important when organising a group ski or snowboard holiday. Firstly, the location of your chosen resort comes in to play. If you choose a resort with a short transfer from the airport, you can take a morning flight and be on the slopes by the afternoon. Many Riders Refuge guests chose Morzine for its short transfer time at just 75 minutes from Geneva.
The location of your chalet within your chosen resort is also extremely important. If some of the group are non-skiers or are keen to take days off, a chalet that is a long way from shops and activities may feel quite isolated. Resort maps can be hard to interpret if it’s your first visit, so ask the chalet company how far the property is from facilities before you book. All Riders Refuge chalets are either in the town centre or a short walk away whilst Chalet les Pistes, our most central Morzine chalet is just 100 metres from the Pleney lift.

Tip 4 – Enquire about room sizes and living space
If you are travelling with a large group, you will want a chalet that feels spacious, where rooms are a decent size and with a good number of bathrooms. With increasing pressure for space in many ski resorts, some chalets may have smaller bedrooms than you’d expect. Conversely, other chalets may have small living areas which aren’t always sufficient for the number of guests. Riders Refuge properties have been carefully selected to provide comfortable living space for your ski or snowboard holiday. Our guest Amy, who visited Riders Refuge in February 2014 wrote “The chalet itself was bigger than places I have stayed before and felt really homely”. Our living areas are also equipped with Wii consoles and media centres containing a good selection of films to ensure groups are kept entertained.

Tip 5 – Catered versus Self Catered
Whether you opt for a catered chalet or a self-catered property will largely depend on your group’s needs; however it seems that these days the costs are now comparable. Guests who have opted for self-catered in the past say that costs quickly mount, particularly taking into account staples and food for breakfast as well as the cost of an evening meal. In addition, there is the food preparation time to consider when you’re tired after a day on the mountain. Riders Refuge offer a catered service in our chalets on 6 days including a cooked or continental style breakfast, afternoon tea and a three course meal with plenty of wine. One night a week, the chalet staff have a day off which gives guests the opportunity to sample local Morzine restaurants.

Tip 6 -.Chose a company that can offer a personal service
One of most common pieces of feedback that we receive at Riders Refuge is that our guests really enjoy the personalised service. As our guest Amy explains, “Everything was great – booking with a small company you really get much better service from the moment you book to when you leave”. Sam who stayed with Riders Refuge in January 2014 agrees “Jill and Jono who run Riders Refuge were so helpful beforehand. Replying to every message swiftly and giving me great advice”. All Riders Refuge packages include airport transfers which will be arranged around your flight times plus the team can also help with any extras such as lessons, ski hire and activities – all you have to do is turn up!

Riders Refuge have years of experience in organising group ski holidays. So whatever the size of group, we should be able help arrange a superb holiday for you in our chalets in Morzine. For more information, contact us to speak to one of our friendly team.

New Avoriaz Lifts Progressing Well

September 9th, 2014 by in Winter

Avoriaz Chairlifts

Work progress summer 2014, New lifts in the Portes Du Soleil

We are excited to report that work on 2 new Avoriaz lifts has been progressing well this summer. Here at Riders Refuge, we have been monitoring the progress of work on the Procolou and Serrausaix lifts with interest.

The Morzine and Avoriaz ski areas have benefited enormously from lift improvements in the last few years including the new Prodains express and Pleney lift. However the Avoriaz Lift company Serma have continued to invest heavily in their chairlift system and the Portes Du Soleil area. Residents and visitors alike welcoming plans to improve the Procolou and Serrausaix lifts, linking Morzine to Avoriaz via the super-Morzine.

The two chairlifts, (previously 2 four-man chairs) have long been the source of bottle-necks, particularly in peak-season. Congestion at the Procolou lift was exacerbated by the popularity of its run of the same name, a wide, very gentle blue, ideal for those progressing from the nursery slopes. Due to this popularity and the high volume of skiers and snowboarders coming over to Avoriaz from Morzine, queues at the lift could often be lengthy until mid-afternoon. Once people started to head back towards Morzine, the queues then tended to mount at the Serrausaix lift.

The good news is that both lifts are currently being upgraded and should be ready for the start of 14/15 winter season. The Proclou is to become a new high-speed 6-man chair, whilst the Serrausaix will be upgraded to run at higher speed, transporting a greater number of passengers per hour.

On our first visit in early August, bulldozers were preparing the ground for the 2 base stations and foundations to the new pylons were complete. Now, a month on, many of the pylons are actually in place and trees have been felled to make way for the new Serrausaix top station. The Serrausaix lift will now end slightly higher up, further in the direction of the super-Morzine.

Work has been hampered by the wet conditions this summer but the dryer weather we are currently seeing in Morzine-Avoriaz should assist workers in getting the project complete in time for the winter opening. We are looking forward to smaller queues and a faster trip for those who wish to ski over to Avoriaz!

Bastille Celebrations In Morzine

July 18th, 2014 by in News, Summer

Simple Minds

 

Here at Riders Refuge, we have been enjoying some great sporting and musical events all just a stone’s throw from our Morzine chalets. Bastille Day is the national holiday that commemorates the start of the French revolution with the storming of the Bastille on July 14th 1789. This year Bastille fell on a Monday which resulted in a long weekend of festivities in Morzine.

chainsaws5

First of the events on offer was The French Lumberjack Championships which started in earnest on Sunday. So what is the Lumberjack Championship, we hear you ask? Dubbed the ‘original extreme sport’, for the uninitiated, ‘timber sport’ is essentially speed wood-chopping with contestants using a variety of axes and saws as well as their pure strength to get through tree trunks in record speed. On Sunday, Morzine town square hosted demonstrations of the 6 challenges participants were expected to tackle in Monday’s tournament. The tournament itself was quite a spectacle and a definite crowd pleaser – the chain saw discipline was certainly noisy but impressive non-the-less!

Crowds gathered on Sunday night for the highly anticipated World Cup Final match between Argentina and Germany. The match was broadcast live in Morzine’s main square on the big screen erected for the Simple Minds Concert. Despite France’s exit in the quarter finals, there was a buzzing atmosphere and a live DJ rounded off the night’s celebrations.

The highlight of the French holiday weekend was without a doubt the free Simple Minds Concert in Morzine town square. Whether you are a child of the 80s, you were a twinkle in your parent’s eyes when Alive and Kicking was released, or a little older than you can to admit; you would have found yourself entertained by the set played on Monday evening. Lead singer Jim Kerr took the crowd through a number of hits culminating in the classic ‘Don’t you forget about me’. In the encore, he then finally relented by playing Alive and Kicking. At the end of the concert, a great display of Bastille fireworks were launched above the Pleney and then a DJ continued to play from the main stage until the early hours.

blue skies

Blue skies in Morzine

Whilst the Bastille celebrations may be over, the good news here in Morzine is that the sun is definitely out and our guests are now enjoying blue skies and dry trails. There are many more events to come in the local area this summer, including UB40 in Les Gets and the Mont Blanc Rally. Our girls riding week also takes place from 16th-23rd August with limited places available in Chalet Eterle, our central catered chalet in Morzine. There is optional coaching and guiding on offer so you can tailor your holiday to you. For more information contact our friendly team today.

Morzine lift openings

June 16th, 2014 by in Summer

flowers

Morzine lifts are open! Summer has certainly arrived here in Morzine with some beautiful June sunshine, flowers in bloom and the Pleney lift now open much to the excitement of the MTB community.

The new, improved Pleney lift opened for skiers and snowboarders last December and now mountain bikers finally have their turn! The telecabine welcomed its first riders last Saturday 14th June, a relief for those who had been pushing their way to the top these last few weeks. Each cabin accommodates 2 riders and their bikes with acres of space or a maximum of 3 bikes. This is an uplift of 900 bikes per hour which is almost three times more than the previous lift’s capacity of 250! (more…)

The Joys of January – 7 Reasons To Go Skiing Or Snowboarding This Month!

January 5th, 2014 by in News, Winter

Jan skiingWhilst many travellers choose Christmas and New Year to take their ski or snowboard holiday, January is a month that is often over-looked. Understandably those travelling with school-age children are more restricted; however for those with flexible holiday allowances, January can be the perfect time to get away. We take a look at the benefits of taking your ski or snowboard holiday this month. (more…)

Have Fun and Remain Safe Off-Piste This Winter!

December 9th, 2013 by in News, Winter

Powder There is nothing quite like the feeling of floating across a powder field on a bluebird day. With the right equipment and precautions, riding off-piste is one of the true-pleasures of snowboarding and skiing. The Portes du Soleil ski area boasts some superb off-piste, a large proportion of which is easily accessible from our chalets in Morzine.

To ensure our guests are fully prepared before heading off-piste this winter, we chatted to our friends at Mint Snowboarding to bring you the following advice. Mint will be running a series of introductory sessions to Avalanche Safety & Awareness this winter so make sure you get your place booked! (more…)

Morzine Restaurants

November 26th, 2013 by in Morzine, News, Winter

Morzine Restaurants

There are plenty of Morzine Restaurants to choose from. Morzine is an ideal holiday destination for food-lovers with a great range of quality restaurants. From fine-dining to some really great takeaways, there really is something for all tastes. We give you a rundown of our favourite restaurants to try just a stone’s throw from our collection of Morzine chalets.

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