After last winter was written off for most Alpine resorts, the ski sector is raring to go again, with plenty of new openings, developments and activities for those who are double vaccinated and ready to jump in ski boots first!
If you’re a keen skier or snowboarder, you’re likely no stranger to the Alps. But what’s new in the Alps for 2021 and 2022? Let’s find out…
Which Resorts are Now Open?
With all the disruption from the pandemic over the last few seasons, it’s best to double-check which resorts are actually opening up for skiing and snowboarding this ski season. Check out our guide to resort opening dates in 2021/2022 and get up to speed with Covid restrictions for France, Austria, Italy and Switzerland to be fully prepared for your winter ski holiday.
What’s New in France?
Here are some of the new activities and experiences available this season in the French Alps;
- The ski train from London to the French Alps is being resurrected this winter, running from Boxing Day until 9 April 2022.
- Morzine-Avoriaz are the latest alpine resorts to open a skywalk attraction. At 2,019m, Le Pas de l’Aigle is a 10m-long footbridge made of glass, with a 350m drop and a 360-degree panorama for stunning views of Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc.
- Moonbikes are electric miniature snowmobiles without the noise and pollution of the bigger machines. Easy to ride and light, they can hit speeds of 26mph. Guided sessions after the lifts of La Plagne are switched off transform the mountain into a moonbiking playground.
- Le Ranch nordique in the Meribel ski resort offers horse-riding courses for both adults and kids, as well as pony-sledding and horse-drawn skiing.
What’s New in Austria?
Here’s what’s new in Austria this season…
- The Austrian Tirol now claims the longest ski circuit in the world. A new connection between Going am Wilden Kaiser and Kitzbühel Alps allow skiers to complete a 22-mile circuit while never using the same slope twice.
- SalzburgerLand’s winter welcome: The 12 Peaks Trophy invites skiers to conquer 12 peaks across 5 valleys in one circuit while monitoring their time – prizes to be won!
- The Ski your Limit Skicircus route is a serious test – 7 hours to cover 65km of pistes, 32 lifts, and an altitude difference of 12,400m.
- Skikeriki tour at Grossarl: groups can enjoy empty slopes from 7.30-9.30am followed by a typical mountain breakfast in a cosy hut on the slopes.
What’s New In Switzerland?
Here are some of the new activities available this season in the Swiss Alps;
- For those who enjoy time off the pistes, Sion has an interesting new offering: ski in the mornings and surf in the afternoon at Alaïa Bay, the first wave pool of its kind on the continent. The two-acre pool in the valley below Crans-Montana has 90-minute lessons.
- The Walk tall is the world’s longest elevated forest walkway (nearly a mile long) opened this summer in the ski resort of Laax and will stay open for visitors this winter. The Senda dil Dragun snakes through the treetops between the main Laax Murschetg village, near the gondola station, and the relaxed Laax Dorf, reaching heights of nearly 100ft.
- In the Interlaken region – a great base for several Swiss resorts in the Jungfrau area – visitors can pilot their own floating hot tub boat on a crystal-clear lake. A wood-fired heater keeps the water in the HotTug at a toasty 38°C. The electric motorboat can be piloted around the stunning Lake Brienz while passengers sip Prosecco in their swimsuits.
Sustainable Skiing Updates
Those of us who love nothing more than hitting the slopes will be well aware of the importance of combating climate change. Luckily, for those who want to boost their sustainability, there are a few exciting updates;
- In the Trois Vallées, Courchevel will keep the nightlife buzzing by running gondolas between villages until 11pm, ski lifts being more eco-friendly than taxis.
- One of the bigger Austrian ski areas served is SkiWelt, known for ski resorts such as Ellmau has a low snowmaking carbon footprint due to the use of hydroelectricity, solar energy – including lifts with solar panels on.
- SNOWSat is a GPS for snow-grooming machines and is taking the Alps by storm, providing an accurate overview of the snow situation in the ski resort. Knowing the exact snow depths on the slopes conserves resources and protects the environment at the same time.
- MoonBikes are the electric alternative to the snowmobile, offered in the La Plagne ski resort this winter.
- Winterised E-Mountain Bikes are now offered with guiding in Val d’Isère, France and E-quad bike hire available in Andermatt, Switzerland.
- Another new trend that has gained traction recently is the synthetic ice rink: made from recyclable materials and without the need for electricity or water, it’s popular among our eco-friendly skiers.
Record-Breaking Ski Lifts
Several resorts have been busy building new lifts and improving others ready for winter, including;
- The Swiss ski resort, Zermatt, is continuing with its plans to improve its lift system.
- The new Kumme gondola lift will be able to take 10 people and has heated seats.
- The resort is also making improvements to the Matterhorn glacier ride cableway.
- The construction of a new gondola, from the Tofane slopes to Cinque Torri, is scheduled to begin in June.
- It is due to be completed by December, ready for the peak of next season, including the Alpine Ski World Championships in February 2021.
- A new lift linking the Aiguille Rouge above Tignes 1800 to the Aiguille Percée was built this summer.
- The Marais 6-seater chairlift will take roughly 8 minutes and 20 seconds.
- A new 10-person gondola is being built on the Les Arcs side of the vast Paradiski.
- It is called the Vallandry after the small resort from where it will start in the Peisey-Vallandry ski area, which is a great location if you want to ski in both the La Plagne and Les Arcs resorts.
- The new lift is 2,035 metres long and can carry 3,000 people an hour.
Alpine Skiing World Cup 2021/2022
The Alpine Skiing World Cup is back and there are plenty of exciting events happening throughout this ski season. Due to the pandemic, the 2020/21 Cup took place only in Europe, but this year the Cup will also return to North America. However, combined events will not take place and there will be limited parallel events.
Here’s what’s taking place over the next few months;
- Parallel (women) – Lech/Zuers, Austria – 13/11/2021
- Parallel (men) – Lech/Suers, Austria – 14/11/2021
- Slalom (women) – Levi, Finland – 20/11/2021
- Slalom (women) – Levi, Finland – 21/11/2021
- Super G (women) – St.Moritz, Switzerland – 11/12/2021
- Giant Slalom (men) – Val d’Isere, France – 11/12/2021
- Super G (women) – St.Moritz, Switzerland – 12/12/2021
- Slalom (men) – Val d’Isere, France – 12/12/2021
- Super G (men) – Val gardena, Italy – 17/12/2021
- Downhill (women) – Val d’Isere, France – 18/12/2021
- Downhill (men) – Val Gardena, Italy – 18/12/2021
- Super G (women) – Val d’Isere, France – 19/12/2021
- Giant Slalom (men) – Alta Badia, Italy – 19/12/2021
- Giant Slalom (men) – Alta Badia, Italy – 20/12/2021
- Giant Slalom (women) – Courchevel, France – 20/12/2021
- Slalom (med) – Madonna di Campiglio, Italy – 22/12/2021
- Giant Slalom (women) – Lienz, Austria – 28/12/2021
- Downhill (men) – Bormio, Italy – 28/12/2021
- Slalom (women) – Linez, Austria – 29/12/2021
- Super G (men) – Bormio, Italy – 29/12/2021
- Slalom (women) – Zagreb, Croatia – 4/1/2022
- Slalom (men) – Zagreb, Croatia – 5/1/2022
- Giant Slalom (women) – Maribor, Slovenia – 8/1/2022
- Giant Slalom (men) Adelboden, Switzerland – 8/1/2022
- Slalom (women) – Maribor, Slovenia – 9/1/2022
- Slalom (men) – Adelboden, Switzerland – 9/1/2022
- Slalom (women) – Flachau, Austria – 11/1/2022
- Downhill (men) – Wengen, Switzerland – 14/1/2022
- Downhill (women) – Zauchensee, Austria – 15/1/2022
- Downhill (men) – Wengen, Switzerland – 15/1/2022
- Super G (women) – Zauchensee, Austria – 16/1/2022
- Slalom (men) – Wengen, Switzerland – 16/1/2022
- Downhill (men) – Kitzbuehel, Austria – 21/1/2022
- Downhill (women) – Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy – 22/1/2022
- Downhill (men) – Kitzbuehel, Austria – 22/1/2022
- Super G (women) – Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy – 23/1/2022
- Slalom (men) – Kitzbuelhel, Austria – 23/1/2022
- Giant Slalom (women) – Kronplatz, Italy – 25/1/2022
- Slalom (men) – Schladming, Austria – 25/1/2022
- Downhill (women) – Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany – 29/1/2022
- Super G (women) – Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany – 30/1/2022
- Downhill (women) – Crans Montana, Switzerland – 26/2/2022
- Slalom (men) – Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany – 26/2/2022
- Downhill (women) – Crans Montana, Switzerland – 27/2/2022
- Slalom (men) – Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany – 27/2/2022
- Super G (women) – Lenzerheide, Switzerland – 5/3/2022
- Downhill (men) – Kvitfjell, Norway – 5/3/2022
- Giant Slalom (women) – Lenzerheide, Switzerland – 6/3/2022
- Super G (men) – Kvitfjell, Norway – 6/3/2022
- Giant Slalom (women) – Are, Sweden – 11/3/2022
- Slalom (women) – Are, Sweden – 12/3/2022
- Giant Slalom (men) – Kranjska Gora, Slovenia – 12/3/2022
- Slalom (men) – Kranjska Gora, Slovenia – 13/3/2022
- Downhill (women) – Courchevel, France – 16/3/2022
- Downhill (men) – Courchevel, France – 16/3/2022
- Super G (women) – Courchevel, France – 17/3/2022
- Super G (men) – Courchevel, France – 17/3/2022
- Parallel (women) – Courchevel, France – 18/3/2022
- Parallel (men) – Courchevel, France – 18/3/2022
- Slalom (women) – Courchevel, France – 19/3/2022
- Giant Slalom (men) – Courchevel, France – 19/3/2022
- Giant Slalom (women) – Courchevel, France – 20/3/2022
- Slalom (men) – Courchevel, France – 20/3/2022
Summer Holidays in the Alps: 5 New Destinations Added to The Haute Route Race Calendar
In August, the Haute Route in the Alps is widely known amongst keen riders as a gruelling 7-day cycle in the mid-summer heat, 2,000 metres above sea level, to test stamina and endurance across long point-to-point stages.
In Haute Route 2021 circuit has already taken cyclists to the Crans-Montana resort in Switzerland, the Pyrenees, the French Alps and the Dolomites finishing with a final race in Ventoux, France in early October.
For 2022, the 5 races will incorporate even more stunning locations, including Davos, Switzerland, the highest city in Europe;
- Haute Route Alpe d’Huez, from 24-26th June
- Haute Route Pyrenees, from 5-9th July
- Haute Route Alps, from 21st-27th August
- Haute Route Dolomites, from 30th August-3rd September
- Haute Route Davos, from 23rd-25th September
Luxury Hotels in the Alps that Still Smell Like New
The Chedi Andermatt in Andermatt
Located in the centre of the Alps, in the cosy Swiss town of Andermatt is The Chedi Andermatt. The hotel, which opened its doors in December 2021 combines traditional high mountain elegance with modern, innovative architecture.
The 64 rooms, 42 apartments, 6 duplex penthouses and 7 lofts have been designed to create a comfortable, elegant and avant-garde environment following ecological sustainability standards to ensure minimum environmental impact.
The spa and wellness centre is luxuriously equipped with a state-of-the-art gym, spectacular pool and relaxation area.
L’ Apogee Courchevel in Courchevel 1850
Also in December last year, the decadent L’Apogee Courchevel hotel was opened. Located on the virgin slopes of the French Alps at the Courchevel 1850 ski resort.
The hotel offers 33 impressive rooms, 20 spacious suites and a spectacular penthouse with its own jacuzzi and terrace overlooking the town of Courchevel. The hotel will also include an exclusive restaurant run by chef Yannick Franques -which has two Michelin stars -and a large terrace for outdoor dining as well as a pool, spa and wellness centre with treatment rooms.
For those looking for something even more exclusive, you can book a private villa with five rooms and a luxurious spa.
What better way to embrace the winter season than a skiing trip to the Alps? With plenty of family skiing activities and experiences to enjoy, the Alps is certainly the place to be. Fly into one of the four main airports: Geneva, Grenoble, Chambery or Zurich and book a reliable and affordable ski transfer to conveniently get you from A to B.