Ski resorts are constantly upgrading, refining and innovating. Here's what you can look forward to in 2019/20.
With the Alps receiving its first dusting of snow, it can only mean that the 19/20 ski season is upon us. Each year brings with it new lifts, slopes, restaurants and activities, and this year is no exception. Here is what you can look forward to in the world of winter sports this coming season.
- This year Zermatt becomes the first European destination partner on the Ikon Pass. Holders of the Ikon Pass now have year-round access to 41 global destinations across five continents. Ikon Pass holders will have seven-day access to Zermatt and the Matterhorn ski paradise network and five-day access on the Ikon Base Pass.
- From 19 December 2019, it will be possible to toboggan down the Alps’ highest toboggan run on a Snooc. The Snooc is the latest generation of toboggan, allowing you to sit on one ski. Just take the Gornergrat railway from Zermatt to Rotenboden and enjoy a thrilling 1.5 km descent down to Riffelberg.
- In Zermatt, you can now go fat biking at night. The ride takes around two-and-a-half hours riding on snowy trails in the dark. Cycle gradually uphill before speeding back down to Zermatt. The ride is available on a set day from December to the middle of March, and may be available daily on request. Including all equipment, the activity costs CHF 120 per person for more than three people.
Access to Courchevel 1850 from Le Praz will become even easier this season with the opening of a brand-new 10-seater gondola lift which reaches 1850 in less than six minutes. The base station is housed in the new L’Alpinium building which includes a games area, ski lockers, sports hall and parking for 500 cars.
Les Grandes Combes chairlift now links the new 4-star Ecrin Blanc hotel opposite Aquamotion to 1850. A new 1 km blue run also provides access to the same area. For those in search of a challenge, why not try out the new dedicated freeride area in Courchevel’s Creux Noirs sector, which also has two red runs. The area is served by a new drag lift that gives faster access to the top.
Two new restaurants are opening at Le Manali Lodge in Courchevel 1650 - the first, on the ski slopes, opens for lunch and the second, located inside the main building, opens for dinner. With chef Antony Trezy at the helm, who previously worked at the Lanesborough alongside Eric Frichon, this is certainly something to look forward to.
Meribel is introducing two new red runs near the Roc de Fer. Gypaète and Daguet will offer a more unpisted feel with natural rollers and sweeping bends.
There are also beginner additions to the Element park as well as improvements to the Yeti park.
Val Thorens has an exciting addition this year in the form of the world’s first self-driving electric four-wheel drive shuttle. Seating 15 passengers, the autonomous Berto shuttle will transport skiers and locals around the resort for free.
Set on the Combe de Thorens green run is a new Igloo Village incorporating an ice bar with exceptional panoramic views, a restaurant serving classic Savoyard dishes, conference area for up to 350 people and two bedrooms carved out of ice with specially designed duvets to keep you toasty warm.
Kitzbuhel has six new lifts opening in time for the 19/20 ski season. The handiest of these is the new 10-person gondola with heated seats which replaces the Fleckalmbahn lift (built in 1984). This means you’ll be able to ski down to Kirchberg from Ehrenbackhohe and ascend again in record time.