Alternative ways to slope off this winter
With the launch of its new online 2011/12 winter holiday brochure, Headwater is challenging people to change their assumptions – snow-filled getaways are not just for the super-fit or hugely experienced.
With five countries, nine destinations and 12 tours to choose from, the new brochure has trips geared towards both nervous first-timers and those who already have a love for the cold white stuff. Single travellers, food lovers and those seeking cosy surroundings are also well catered for.
“Beginners are our biggest customers so our inclusive lessons help people to quickly master the basics to ensure they won’t waste half their holiday feeling out of control. And for those keen to master a new skill whilst taking in the beautiful surroundings, snow-shoeing and winter walking are both really simple to learn,” said Catherine Crone, MD of Headwater Holidays.
FOR NERVOUS BEGINNERS
AUSTRIA: Winter Walking in Leutasch and Seefeld (8 days)
This walking holiday removes the downhill fear factor and allows guests to simply enjoy the winter wonderland and beautiful scenery of Leutasch. With a dedicated Headwater guide on hand for five days of guided walks, the region offers some of the prettiest walking trails in Europe, through forests, rivers and valleys. With over 140km of cleared trails, there’s no chance of getting bored either.
Leutasch and Seefeld also offers horse-drawn sleigh rides, tobogganing, snow-shoeing, ice skating, curling, alpine skiing and cross-country skiing for the more adventurous while, after an active day, the four-star Hotel Xander’s indoor swimming pool, saunas, steam bath, whirlpool and spa are the perfect place to unwind.
From £1238pp including flights, 4* half board accommodation, transfers and five days of guided walking tailored to the weather with a resident Headwater representative.
Alternatives: Austria – Winter Walking in Leutasch and Seefeld; Norway – Cross Country Skiing in Venabu; Switzerland - Cross Country Skiing in the Goms Valley; and Switzerland - Cross Country Skiing in Davos.
FOR EXPERIENCED SKIERS
ITALY: Cross Country Skiing in Dobbiaco (8 days)
For a cultural mix of Italy and Austria, the village of Dobbiaco offers a backdrop of painted houses, carved balconies and onion-domed churches alongside Baroque castles, ladies in fur coats and chic coffee bars.
Those who are already confident on their skis can follow in the tracks of champions as Dobbiaco has hosted the World Cup Cross-Country Ski Championships four times and is also in the centre of the largest ski trail network in the Dolomites. Trails start at the hotel door and there is even a snow-making cannon for the cross-country routes to make sure skiers make the most of this prime location.
From £1169pp including flights, 4* half board accommodation, five cross-country skiing lessons (two hours each), weekly trail pass with free transport on the ski bus, ski equipment hire (skis, boots and poles) and airport transfers.
Alternatives: Norway – Cross Country Skiing in Venabu; Switzerland – Cross Country Skiing in Kandersteg; and Switzerland – Winter Walking in Kandersteg.
FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS
AUSTRIA: Cross Country Skiing in Trins & The Three Valleys (8 days)
Based in the village of Trins, in the heart of the Austrian Tyrol, the combination of trails and breath-taking Alpine views make it perfect to explore the woods, villages and farms among the valleys and the peaks of the Alps.
With no single supplement and different departures based on experience levels, solo travellers will find themselves skiing with like-minded and similarly-skilled holiday-makers. Confident skiers can even climb to Mariawaldrast (1700m) where a former medieval monastery has been turned into a café by the last remaining monk. After a day’s skiing, head back to the 3* Hotel Wienerhof, a traditional family-run hotel dating back to 1731.
From £899pp including flights, 3* half board accommodation with complimentary afternoon tea, airport transfers and a fully accompanied six day cross-country ski programme. No single supplement.
Alternatives: Austria – Cross Country Skiing in Trins & The Three Valleys; Austria – Winter Walking in Trins & The Three Valleys; and Norway – Cross Country Skiing in Venabu.
FOR ADDED LUXURY AND GOURMET FOOD
SWITZERLAND: Cross Country Skiing in Davos (8 days)
This luxury holiday, based in the heart of the Swiss Alps, is a haven for trying out a wide variety of winter sports. Its well-maintained cross-country ski trails - many floodlit - cover the entire valley forming a 75km network of runs set against a panoramic mountain backdrop.
Guests will be based at the elegant 4* Hotel Meierhof - a C19 hotel with a long-standing reputation for gourmet cuisine and extensive wine selection. On top of the four-course evening meals, the hotel is also filled with modern facilities such as an indoor swimming pool, saunas, steam bath and whirlpool to help ease any aching limbs.
From £1519pp including flights, 4* half board accommodation, unlimited travel on most local transport, a 6-day cross-country ski pass, all cross-country ski equipment (boots, poles and skis), plus three (two-hour) lessons.
- Alternatives: Italy – Cross Country Skiing in Dobbiaco; and Switzerland – Cross Country Skiing in the Goms Valley.
FOR EXTRA COSY SURROUNDS
SWITZERLAND: Cross Country Skiing in Kandersteg (8 days)
For a quiet but idyllic ski holiday, head to Kanderstag - one of the last surviving “picture postcard” Swiss villages in the heart of the Bernese Oberland. A varied and flexible ski programme means there is the chance for some expert tuition as well as independent exploration.
The traditional Alfa Soleil Hotel is family-run which provides a ‘home away from home’ atmosphere with a piano and open fire in its elegant lounge plus evening meals in a cosy, candlelit dining room. Facilities also include a heated swimming pool, sauna, solarium and gym.
From £1238pp including flights, 3* half board accommodation, transfers, three cross-country skiing lessons, local ski bus pass, two return cable car tickets and equipment hire (boot, pole and skis).
Alternatives: Austria – Cross Country Skiing in Trins & The Three Valleys; Austria – Winter Walking in Trins & The Three Valleys; Finland – Cross Country Skiing in Lapland; Switzerland - Cross Country Skiing in Davos; and Switzerland - Winter Walking in Kandersteg.
FOR SHEER VARIETY
NORWAY: Winter Discovery in Geilo (8 days)
This stunning winter wonderland of pine tree clusters and log cabins is the perfect base for an action-packed winter activity holiday. The luxury hotel offers facilities such as a swimming pool, bowling alley, spa, wine cellar (with tastings) and a cosy lounge bar with a roaring fire.
Outside of the hotel, guests can chose a different activity every day, from cross-country or downhill skiing, reindeer safaris, tobogganing and sledding with husky dogs. For those that prefer to take it slower there is a panoramic rail journey through the winter wilderness to the spectacular Western Fjords.
From £1347 adult / £1097 child including flights and rail transfers, 4* half board accommodation, ski pass and the hire of boots, poles and skis.
Alternatives: Austria – Cross Country Skiing in Leutasch and Seefeld; Austria – Winter Walking in Leutasch and Seefeld; and Finland – Cross Country Skiing in Lapland.
For more information, visit headwater.com.