Our guest blog today comes from Steve Pangli, one half of Powder N Shine who run Chalet Flocon des Neiges in the Three Valleys. Steve and his partner Francesca have over twenty years ski experience between them. Here Steve gives us the lowdown on his favourite places to snowboard.
My Top 3 Ski Resorts
This is obviously not an easy choice, both because I have been to a number of ski resorts in Europe and North America, but equally, because there are of course hundreds of resorts I am yet to experience! Therefore, the views expressed are my own and unlikely to tally with anybody else’s opinion!!
That caveat out of the way, in reverse order, my three favourite ski resorts are as follows:
3. Mayrhofen, Austria
My love of music was the key to my discovering this little Austrian gem. Mayrhofen makes my list as it is the venue for one of the most fun and different events in the music festival calendar, and certainly the biggest to combine winter sports with dance music, Snowbombing. Having wanted to go to this event for years, I eventually made it happen in 2008 and it was suitably unforgettable.
Initially a music festival for those seeking electronica and dirty bass, the festival evolves annually, attracting artists from across the musical spectrum, ranging in 2010 from Doves and Editors to Cuban Brothers, 2ManyDJs and Fatboy Slim. The 2011 line-up is just as strong and fortunately I have seen Prodigy live (Glastonbury ’09), otherwise I would be considering neglecting my chalet running responsibilities and heading over in April!
Partying at the top of the world is a unique experience and many thanks to Mayrhofen for making that happen for me and thousands of others.
2. Whistler/Blackcomb, Canada
I am fortunate enough to have family not far from the resort in Vancouver, so I have ‘boarded in Whistler/Blackcomb a few times. My firefighter brother, who is also a snowboarding enthusiast (perhaps he needs to cool down in the snow after working hard in the traditionally timber-built city!) introduced me to the joys of Whistler in 2001.
For me what really differentiates the resort from European ski resorts is the incredible feeling of freedom. European resorts can be over-crowded with lengthy queues for lifts, whereas in Canada, I have hardly ever had to wait to jump on a chair. Add in the free guides that show you every explorable corner of the resort and overcrowding really becomes a thing of the past.
The other aspect of the resort that I found to be a real novelty was the evening ‘boarding. Having floodlights to illuminate the park was exceptional - and a rarity in my experience. OK, so maybe they need to provide evening entertainment as the après-ski isn’t as lively as in Europe, but with a group of friends, a nice log fire and a couple of smuggled bottles of Jägermeister, we were almost transported back across the pond!
1. Les Trois Vallées, France
Not only the largest skiable area in the world, but now also my home. Lots of people who have skied in Europe know (or think they know!) the Three Valleys, but I stumbled upon a real find, deep in the heart of the area. The small, chalet-filled hamlet of Reberty Village so allured me that I have now started a business here. Off the beaten track and ski-in/ski-out at 2000m and with access to snow more or less guaranteed throughout the season in Val Thorens, beautiful tree-lined runs in the Meribel valley and more off-piste than you can throw a piste-basher at, this truly is the crème-de-la-crème of skiing destinations.
A relaxing hot-tub to ease away the day’s exertions, canapés, delicious dinner and wine and my list of what a skiing holiday should be is complete!