Photo courtesy of Verbier Summits
As the new ski season draws closer, there is a very real frisson of excitement here in the Oxford Ski offices at the thought of getting back out on the slopes. But skiing is not the only activity the mountains have to offer... far from it. When you are surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery our planet has to offer and one of nature's ultimate playgrounds, you want to make the most of it. Whether you are interested in finding a way to optimise those incredible views, or the ultimate adrenaline rush, there are innovative businesses and professionals ready and waiting to deliver unforgettable mountain experiences. Below are just a few we recommend but it is always worth starting with a conversation with our concierge team to find the right activity for you.
Mountain Top Dining
Photo courtesy of Kando Events
They say food always tastes better outside. Well, add in some altitude and truly spectacular scenery and it tastes better than better. For the ultimate in exclusivity, a snow table dining experience is hard to beat. Forget sharing a restaurant with throngs of people and instead revel in the luxury of your own dinner party with family and friends on the side of a mountain. Accessible to both skiers and non-skiers alike, you can either arrange for your snow table to be on the mountainside, which can be walked to or skied to, or you can begin your experience with a scenic flight over the Alps, eventually landing on the glacier for your dining experience. Either way you will be met by a butler and hostess bearing champagne, before settling down on your fur lined seats and soaking up the views over a spectacular dinner. Snow table dining experiences are the perfect way for groups, small or large, private or corporate to be entertained. The snow tables and snow bars will be decorated and dressed creatively according to the occasion so whether you are looking for a romantic dinner for two, or a party for two hundred, you will enjoy a bespoke, truly exclusive experience.
For more information on Mountain Top Dining experiences please click here.
Photo courtesy of Verbier Summits
Always dreamed of soaring through the skies like a bird? Paragliding (or Parapenting in French) is probably as close as you can get to experiencing this and what better place to try than in the mountains? Truly spectacular scenery meshes with the ideal conditions for paragliding, which goes to explain why this is such a popular sport in mountainous areas. Learning to paraglide is surprisingly easy, with several schools offering high quality tuition. The best way to get started though is with a tandem flight. Suitable for pretty much anyone (although if you really do not like heights then this might not be for you), a tandem flight allows you to experience the thrilling sensation of flight as you twist and turn over the mountains beneath you. Just sit back and enjoy the ride! And if the flight bug bites then it is a surprisingly quick process to learn the skills required to go solo. Two and three day courses are offered by most Paragliding Schools and will equip you with the skills needed to take to the skies on your own. Most pupils manage their solo flight after just one day’s tuition.
Verbier Summits offer tandem flights and training courses for aspiring paragliders. More information on their courses and this incredible sport are available here.
Photo courtesy of Sakhalinio - Wikipedia
From soaring over the earth, we are heading downward for this next activity into the freezing but spectacularly beautiful underwater world of the mountains. Ice Diving really is for those after a truly unique experience that will generate unforgettable memories. No previous diving experience is necessary - donning a full dry suit and diving gear you will be guided underwater by an ice diving professional into what feels like another world, where you will see a beauty experienced by few others. The blue and green hue of the light is of a quality you will not see anywhere else whilst the incredible shapes of the ice above you will form a lasting impression. Without doubt this is a red-letter day experience.
Experience an Ice Dive with Evolution2 who are outdoor specialists operating in numerous resorts across the Alps including Val d’Isere. More information is available here.
Photo courtesy of Zermatt Matterhorn
Perhaps you are back from a day’s ice diving and wondering what to do for dinner, or you would like to experience birds-eye views but do not quite have the stomach for Paragliding… a Gondola Dinner might just be for you. Starting at the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Valley Station in Zermatt, your Gondola for the evening will depart at 6.15pm steadily climbing towards Trockener Steg mountain station via Furi and Schwarzsee. On the way you will pass over some incredible, colourful, Autumnal scenery with views out towards the towering Matterhorn. But the views are not the only thing that will be capturing your attention. A seasonal themed three-course meal with wine will be served aboard your Gondola. Game features on the menu starting with a variety of delicious tapas made from game, followed by a sumptuous game dish served with a variety of sides. Your on-board gondola meal will be rounded off with dessert and Valais schnapps. Valais wine and water will be served throughout. The trip lasts for 1.5 hours and Gondolas are laid out for a party of four.
For more information on this gourmet experience please click here.
Photo courtesy of Val Thorens
So, whether you are an expert skier or not, unless you are under ten you might just find the idea of Tobogganing a little bit tame? Well, head to Val Thorens where you will have the opportunity to experience the longest toboggan run in Europe and you might just change your mind! Forget slithering down a hill for 30 seconds before dusting yourself off at the bottom, collecting your board and slowly walking back uphill for another go – this is tobogganing on a totally different scale. Your tobogganing experience starts by taking the Péclet Funitel lift, arriving at the departure point set at the foot of the magnificent Péclet glacier, at an altitude of 3,000 metres. Grab your sled and put on your helmet on (both provided) and then with a small push (or a long run up depending on how adventurous you are!) you will be off downhill over varied slopes and raised bends for an incredible 45 minute run of excitement and sliding entertainment. Optionally, you can also set off for an evening run down the toboggan slope - you will be greeted at the bottom with mulled wine & local mountain Beaufort cheese at the Chalet du Toboggan. A great way to round off your day.
For more information please click here.
Step into the Void
Photo courtesy of Chamonix
Our final Unforgettable Mountain Experience really is only for those who have a head for heights! From the centre of Chamonix, a 20 minute ride in the Aiguille du Midi cable car takes you to the ‘gateway to the Alps’ at an incredible 3,842 metres. Step out of the cable car onto terraces which offer a 360° view of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. A further lift will take you right to the summit terrace where you will have a clear view of Mont Blanc. Needless to say, the views from this far up are almost indescribably beautiful. Not only does the height add to the splendour but the wide-ranging nature of the views is really something else. Once you have had your fill, head to the cafeteria for a warm drink and a chance to take a look at all the photos you will have inevitably snapped. But the experience does not end here… since 2013, a 2.5 metre glass cage has been installed which hangs over a 1,000 metre drop into the void. Technically an impressive piece of engineering, this ultimate viewing platform leaves you feeling like you are hanging in space, generating both a slight feeling of alarm and a large dose of exhilaration.
For further details and opening times please click here.
The Oxford Ski concierge team is dedicated to organising memorable experiences for our clients. No matter what your request, we are here to ensure you truly make the most of your holiday in the mountains. Call us on +44 1993 899 420 or click here for more contact details.