Top five new experiences in the Alps this season

Heading to the Alps this season? We bring you the coolest new happenings from the peaks.

By Sarah Barrell
Published 18 Dec 2019, 14:29 GMT
Sölden Tiefenbachsteg
Sölden Tiefenbachsteg
Photograph by Sölden Tiefenbachsteg

As the travel world wises up to the need for more accessible travel, awareness of adaptive snow sports is also fast improving across the Alps. In recent years, skiers and boarders with disabilities and injuries are able to choose from a growing number of accessible resorts and accommodation options, and take advantage of specialist instruction and pioneering equipment. This season, Consensio Chalets has partnered with UK charity Disability Snowsport UK to donate a one-to-one private skiing lesson with a qualified adaptive snow sports instructor every week to a disabled child. 

Consensio also offers fully accessible chalet breaks across the French Alps, including a chauffeur for local transport, and a chef who can tailor-make menus to suit dietary requirements. One of the smarter offerings: Shemshak Lodge, set piste-side in Courchevel 1850, has direct ski-in, ski-out accessibility. Sleeping eight guests in four en suite bedrooms, the chalet is fully accessible and has an entire floor dedicated to a large indoor swimming pool, hammam, sauna and steam room. From €37,000 (£31,660) per chalet, per week, full board. Includes breakfast, afternoon tea, dinner, champagne and canapes).


Meat and cheese are the focus of most menus in alpine resorts — much to the consternation of vegan and vegetarian skiers. However, Ski Beat is launching new Vegan Ski Weeks, which allows guests to book into a chalet where all the other guests are following a preferred diet, be it vegan, vegetarian, or based around food intolerances. Five vegan weeks are available between 21 December and 25 January in select catered chalets in Ski Beat’s French resorts. From £739 per person, including cooked breakfast, afternoon tea, three-course evening meals with wine, return flights and transfers.


Sölden, home of the world’s fastest ski lift, will now also host Austria’s longest toboggan run. Opened in December, this downhill thrill ride needs no previous experience to tackle and covers an impressive 4.5 miles of prepared piste, running at a dizzying gradient of 12%. The toboggan departs from the middle station of Gaislachkogl gondola to Sölden, open daily from 09.00 – 16.15; tickets cost €30 (£25) for adults and €16 (£13) for children. 


New opening Le Refuge de la Traye, in France’s Les Trois Vallées ski region, is accessible only by foot, electric vehicle, or on horseback from Les Allues. Set in a nature reserve between a lake and a mountain, this green-minded hotel was constructed from local materials (including aged larch wood and lauze stone tiles) and is partly solar-powered. Sleeping just 19 guests in a choice of chalet or hotel room, the Refuge has an on-site spa, which includes such traditional alpine treatments as a hay bed and milk bath, as well as an outdoor whirlpool bath with mountain views. Rooms from €318 (£267).


Being in the mountains always builds an appetite, and there are few better places to sate it than Courmayeur’s Mountain Gourmet Ski Experience. Sitting pretty in Mont Blanc’s shadow, the elegant Italian resort welcomes chef Tom Kerridge back for his second year, accompanied by Claude Bosi of Bibendum and a number of other feted local chefs, to conjure more fine dining feasts. Expect special tasting menus served in remote cable-car-access restaurants, canape-tasting sessions celebrating local ingredients, and chef Q&As. 12-15 March. For bookings:

Published in the Jan/Feb 2020 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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