Millions of people all over the world that enjoy the classic winter sport of skiing, but there are still those that don’t think a winter break in the snow is for them because they don’t like the sport. One of those people is ME. I am really not into my ski-ing; my family love it, but I would much rather sup a drink in a cafe, or visit the local Spa!
Here are some ideas, from www.lesrivesdargentiere.com (a hamlet of luxury 5* chalets in Chamonix, Mont-Blanc ), of what you might do if you rather fancy leaving the skis behind this winter…. If you need somewhere to stay, you can always visit them too.
There is something magical about sitting in a stunning outside hot tub or thermal spa surrounded by a snowy landscape. Whether visitors want to try out the traditional wooden saunas (and then even roll in snow; it’s great for the circulation), take to the thermal waters for medicinal purposes, or indulge in one of the many treatments on offer, a trip to a spa in the mountains is pure bliss.
Focus on Chamonix – The Pre Saint Didier thermal spa might be in Italy but it is less than an hour away from Chamonix and includes outdoor and indoor pools and sauna, a Turkish bath, relaxation rooms with chromotherapy and aromatherapy, and a veranda with a panoramic view of Mont Blanc.
Husky sledding is one of the most traditional, memorable, and popular activities in the mountains for non-skiers. Suitable for those of all ages – adults and children over eight years old can drive their own sleds, and little ones can ride along with a guide – no experience is required.
Focus on Chamonix – Surrounded by the high peaks of the valley and overlooked by the stunning Mont Blanc, husky sledding in Chamonix really is the experience of a lifetime. There are multiple husky sled operators in the area, some of which can even organise amazing evening experiences for visitors.
Forget London, Paris and New York, some of the most desirable shopping locations can be found in the heart of ski resorts. From St. Mortiz and Courchevel, to Cortina and Aspen, these resorts are scattered with the big names including Chanel, Hermès, Valentino, Prada, Louis Vuitton to name but a few. It’s not just the designer labels that make shoppers’ dreams come true though – one of the most appealing delights is wandering through the towns and discovering the charm of some of the more local, independent brands from fashion to homeware.
Focus on Chamonix – Chamonix’s charming town has a great selection of shops. As well as the obvious sports outlets, you’ll find fashion, jewellery, bags, interior homewares, antiques, books and much more.
The hills really are alive with the sound of music when it comes to enjoying the arts in mountains – some of the best music festivals are held within ski resorts. From classical, jazz and acoustic, to techno, house, electric and rave, there’s always something to suit everyone’s tastes.
Festivals such as Horizon in Andorra even go beyond the music and offer a wide range of other activities such as woodland paintballing, snow yoga and more, and the top acts such as Basement Jaxx and Chase & Status play at the bigger events such as Snowboxx in France and Snowbombing in Austria.
Focus on Chamonix – This year sees the launch of the Musilac Mont-Blanc Festival in Chamonix. Running from 19th-21st April 2018 headliners include Texas, Rag’n’Bone Man, and Beth Ditto to name but a few. It is expected to be annual, so just because you missed it in 2018, doesn’t mean you might miss out. Just search Google!
Gourmet cuisine and world-class wines
Foodies can revel in the many gastro delights that ski resorts have to offer. From Michelin star dining to sampling the local dishes from mountain range cafes, there is something to whet the appetite of every visitor.
Focus on Chamonix – The Hameau de Albert Premier is home to the double Michelin starred Albert Premier restaurant. The menu centres on fresh local produce and makes the most of the abundance of herbs and vegetables grown in the hotel’s own vegetable garden. The wine cellar counts no less than 20,000 bottles, comprised of the 950 appellations presented on the wine list.
From paret, helicopter tours, snow-shoeing, mountain climbing and treks, to winter luge runs, horse riding, white-water rafting, trail running and more, the mountain resorts provide a plethora of activities. Just because someone doesn’t fancy the slopes doesn’t mean adrenaline-fuelled fun is off the cards.
Focus on Chamonix – Chamonix is home to the famous Marathon du Mont Blanc, a trail event of eight races that attracts over 30,000 people from all over the world. It’s not just for elite athletes though – runners and walkers alike can take part in a number of the races. They even have a Young Marathon for 15-18 year olds, as well as a mini-cross for runners aged 7 to 15 so they can participate in a race just like ‘the big ones’ and take their first steps into trail races.
There really is a wealth of activities for those inclined to sit, rather than ski. And if you really do need a bit of an adrenaline burnout – that’s on offer too.
Personally, I’d much rather chill out at the Spa, or with some of the fine wines, and cuisine; but perhaps that is just me.
We hope this article has given you some ideas as a non-skier. Let us know how you get on!