Feeling a little inspired by all the action at the Winter Olympics Sochi 2014 and want to give snowboarding or skiing a go? How about simply settling in for an evening of apres-ski? What do you mean you’re not really bothered with skiing? Filled with warming gluhwein and cosy sweaters, or maybe it’s an alternative music festival you’re after? We’ve got the best late deals for 2014 ski holidays right now for whatever type of ski break you’re looking for.
For anyone who loves snowboarding, skiing, and all things off piste, as well as knocking back the Schnapps, putting on ridiculous costumes and dancing on all night, then we want to let you in a little secret: it’s called Snowboming 2014 and it’s happening in Mayrhofen, Austria 7-12 April 2014.
The huge snow sport/music hybrid has just announced its latest headliners who’ll be taking to the snowy stages. The 25 million record selling Prodigy will head the Forest Stage for an awesome adrenaline fuelled night. Joining the party is The Chemical Brothers (DJ set), Chase & Status are bringing their dubstep infused beats, Rudimental will hit the slopes and Groove Armada round out the line up that also includes Four Tet, Daphni and Anthony Naples.
If you still can’t get your head around the idea, let us fill you in: Snowbombing is a festival that focuses on the random. All day the slopes are filled with skiers and boarders of all abilities improving their skills or relaxing at the spa of a 5* hotel.
After night falls, the best musicians and DJs fill unique stages across the mountains, including an igloo on top of the world and an enchanted forest! Snowbombing is heading into its 15th year, so you know it’s doing something right, especially when it gets reviews like: “The Greatest Show on Snow.”
For more info on tickets check out Snowbombing.com. All images courtesy of Snowbombing 2014.
Rauris Travel Guide
They say that good things come in small packages and Rauris, with its teeny, tiny population of approximately 3,000 is surely a testament to that fact. A resort known best by its excellent hiking opportunities, typical of such sparsely populated areas, the territory of the municipality is, on the other hand, rather large. Rauris is in fact the biggest community of Salzburg in terms of land. It lies within the National Park Hoe Tauern, and includes most of the Raurisertal valley, an area that was once an important mining centre and the origin of highly valuable gold ore. Today, this bi-seasonal skiing holiday destination sells more than 420,000 over-night arrangements per year. In fact, it is a serious ski-lovers’ paradise; every year, the British army conduct their team training for Telemark skiing (the oldest and most difficult kind of skiing) and the Telemark World Cup races are held here. From the sad history of Ulli Maier to the wild horse and vulture filled forests, Purpel Travel fills you on this magical winter escape.
Skiing in Rauris
The local skiing area, Rauriser Hochalmbahne, expands between altitudes of 950 and 2,200 metres. Its slopes only sum up to 25 kilometres, but Rauris makes a fine base for exploring other skiing areas in the wider region. There are 2 main gondola lifts, the second of which you have to ski to. There is a chair lift with a 4.5KM toboggan run at the top of it along with some drag lifts. The nursery slopes are ideal for beginners as they are not too steep or long, but they do get a little busy during peak months due to the local ski schools. There is a free Ski Bus which picks up at the far end of the village every 30 minutes.
There are two skiing schools in Rauris. One is the Karl Maier school, whose daughter, Ulrike Maier, was an Austrian ski-racer. At just 17-years-old, she gained her first points in the World Cup. She became world-champion in the Alpine Ski-World-Championships 1989 in Super-G. 1991, and later went on to win five World Cup races and cam second 9 times. On the 29th January 1994, Ulli Maier tragically died during a downhill race in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The ski school is dedicated to her memory.
The second ski school is Skischule Rauris, which caters to adults, children, and those seeking private lessons.
You should read… Andorra travel guide
Nightlife in Rauris
Nightlife in Rauris is mostly in Shake’s Beer (there are only three or four bars), a small village pub where as everywhere else, smoking is permitted, so non-smokers beware. They play Austrian music on homemade instruments (drum barrels with pieces of wood attached) and the gluhwein and Jaegermeister flows! If you want a lively après-ski resort, this probably is not your bag, but if you want some good skiing, first-class food and a very friendly resort then pack your bags and make your way here.
Wildlife spotting in Rauris
The National Park Hohe Tauern is the largest nature reserve of the Alps and the second-largest national park of Europe at a whopping 1,800 square kilometres wide. It includes mountain ranges along the central Alps with Austria′s highest mountain, the Großglockner, glaciers, several major rivers (most importantly Salzach, Mur, Isel and Möll).
A hideaway for an extensive variety of alpine flora and fauna, the Park is home to vultures, wild horses, wolves and more. And the best bit? Entrance is free of charge.
Hotels in Rauris
There are several excellent hotels in Rauris. The Hotel St Hubertus is set a little way out of the village of Rauris, next to the gondola station, and so is ideal for anyone who wants quick access to the mountains. Its position also means it is very quiet at night. Then there’s the Hotel Rauriserhof, which, for several generations has been owned by the Riesslegger-Mayr family, who provide a comfortable holiday home, with excellent attention detail and fine hospitality. Last but not least is Hotel Grimming, a canine’s paradise. As a specialist on holidays with your dog, this hotel allows both you and your four-legged friend to have an unforgettable time.
What to eat in Rauris
After a hard day’s skiing on the slopes, in the cold Austrian Alps, you may find yourself with a craving for something sweet. Austria, and Salzburg in particular, is home to a diverse variety of fine desserts; the Salzburger Nockerl is a sweet soufflé much-loved throughout the region. They are typically made with egg yolk, sugar, flour, vanilla, milk, salt and vanilla, thrown into thin dough and baked on a low heat. They are said to represent the hillsides of Salzburg with the dusting of powdered sugar serving as the snow, which caps the mountains.
The most popular cuisine however is the knodel (dumplings), served with different toppings, sweet or savoury. These delicious mixtures of spherical and of variable composition are a traditional dish of Austrian cuisine, although widespread in parts of southeastern Europe such as Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland and Trentino Alto Adige. They make the ideal lunch or dinner in the colder months, with a recipe rooted in very ancient origins. One of the earliest artistic representations of this dish is actually depicted in the frescoes that decorate the Romanesque chapel of Hocheppan. Our favourite is filled with custard and crushed sesame seeds, but we’re certain you’ll try several alternatives while in Rauris.
Book your cheap holiday to Rauris with PurpleTravel.co.uk by calling 02079939228.
Andorra is intriguing. And I mean this for more reasons than one; not only are its snowy, white peaks sandwiched in a geopolitical anomaly between France and Spain, but its capital town, Andorra la Vella, has become such an enormous hub of consumerism that there are now more than 2000 shops in its vicinity – that’s more than one per every 40 inhabitants.
Along with that comes the best skiing in the Pyrenees, loaded with resorts that have invested over €50 million in the last five years, adding in mountain cafés and restaurants, chairlifts and gondolas, car parks and even snow-making machines. More than solely a winter destination, when the snow melts, Andorra offers plenty to see and do. Enjoy our Andorra travel guide!
When to go to Andorra
Andorra is an all-year round destination, with skiing in winter and hiking, nature trails and canyoning the rest of the year. It has a typical mountain climate; warm in summer with temperatures dropping in the evening and sunny, but cool winter days.
In summer, visit the town of Canillo, one of the highest in Andorra. Here, travellers can go ice-skating at Palau de Gel, potter around pretty mountain villages, go fishing in the Valira d’Orient river, wallow in its thermal waters or hike along Andorra’s many well-marked trails.
For skiers visiting in the winter months, Andorra offers vertical drops of up to 1000m and runs of several kilometres over open slopes and groomed pistes. Beginners and experts are both well catered for and lift costs are low when compared with the Alps.
Grandvalira is located in the north-east of Andorra, in the parishes of Encamp and Canillo. It is the largest skiable area in Southern Europe, with 205 km of slopes. Why not stay in the Grandvalira Igloo Hotel, a 2,300m high igloo that offers with a Snowcat trip, welcome cocktail, dinner, tea, water, a night-time outing (snowshoes), jacuzzi, downhill ski run or by chairlift and breakfast.
Vallnord is located in in the parishes of La Massana and Ordino and is home to three main skiing sectors: Pal, Arinsal and Arcalís. There are ample things to do throughout the week and over the weekend; think mushing, skimobiles, sleighs, skibikes, speedriding, panoramic flights, heliskiing, under-ice diving, outings and night-time fondues.
Soldeu El Tarter
Soldeu El Tarter is a lively and friendly village. The ski resort has become very popular with British skiers due to its relaxed ambiance and great après-ski activities.
Naturlandia is located in the forest of La Rabassa in the parish of Sant Julià de Lòria. This snow park offers sensational winter activities for all the family, along with exceptional panoramic views, a children’s park, an ice rink and a village of Nordic dogs. There’s also the Tobotronc (see below).
Things to do in Andorra
Aside from skiing, Andorra offers some incredible activity options. Take these for example:
There are plenty of summer activities to be had in Ordino and its surroundings, particularly if you enjoy hiking and nature trails. Walks can range from easy strolls to demanding day hikes in the higher, more remote reaches of the principality.
Tobotronc at Naturlandia
One of the main attractions at Naturlandia is the Tobotronc, the world’s longest Alpine coaster, spanning 5.3 km. The Tobotronc offers a journey through the beautiful alpine forest, seated in a comfortable two-seater sleigh you control at all times.
Mushing (not to be confused with moshing) is the ideal activity for all the family. Enjoy being carried by these dog-sledges or learn how to drive them yourself. This activity helps you discover how huskies behave, the commands to give so that they obey you and, at the same time, to enjoy gliding through the spectacular Pal landscape on the sleighs.
Located in the heart of the fertile valleys of Andorra, Andorra la Vella is a well known shopping destination because of the great prices (no taxes). You can find pretty much anything you like here, with guests often buying items such as cigarettes and perfumes in bulk. However, reducing the city to a simple shopping trip would be a mistake as it is rich in unspoiled nature and remarkable historic sites. While it’s worth it to travel to Andorra for extended shopping experiences, it is also nice to randomly wander its narrow streets and discover the historical heritage they contain.
Cheap options for accommodation in Andorra are tricky to find and relatively low on charm. To add insult to injury, prices get even steeper during the July and August months, and then again between December and March. One solution is to camp; Andorra offers plenty of well-located sites, while walkers can stay for free at one of Andorra’s many mountain refuges (refugis). However, if you do have a little bit of extra cash to spend on your holiday, Andorra has some outstanding hotels. Aside from the incredible Grandvalira Igloo Hotel, our favourite is the Magic Pas Hotel in Pas de las Casa, which sits directly on top of the slopes.
Andorra food & drink
Food in Andorra is mainly of Catalan origin, with a heavy emphasis on meat and cheese. Dishes such as Carn a la brasa (beef, lamb or pork grilled over an open fire) and truita (fresh river trout) are firm favourites in the region, while typical Andorran dishes are trinxat, a cabbage, potato and bacon cake and escudella, a chicken, sausage and meatball stew. Vegetarians should stock up on the pa amb tomàquet (bread with olive oil, garlic and tomato) as veggie dishes are somewhat hard to find in Andorra.