Meet the team

Annabel Gonifas

Annabel Gonifas

Product Manager and Senior Chalet Specialist

I started skiing age four and have been passionate about it ever since. After spending twelve years in the Alps running my own luxury operation, it is such a pleasure to still be working with the best properties in the industry. Nothing beats a family ski holiday and these days I share my passion with my three young children. I can now totally empathise with parents travelling with small children!

I am a skier.

Favourite resorts: St Anton, Zermatt and Chatel.

Ski seasons: 11 in St Anton, one in Zermatt.

Favourite properties: Maria Schnee in St Anton and Maison Blanche et Verte in Chatel.

Favourite lunch and après:  Rud Alpe in Lech.

My tip: Get out on the mountain even if it's a blizzard. Some of my best powder days have been when I can’t see a meter in front of me.

Sarah Roberts (nee Kitching)

Sarah Roberts (nee Kitching)

Head of Sales, Ski Chalets

My passion for skiing and being in the mountains was fueled by having survived three seasons in both the French and Austrian Alps! Now I am here to share my love and knowledge for the sport, properties and mountains with you.

I am a skier.

Favourite resorts: St. Anton, Val d'Isere and Verbier. Although St Anton will always have my heart!

Ski seasons: One in Courchevel 1850 and two in St. Anton.

Favourite properties: Maria Schnee in St Anton, La Tene in Val d'Isere and Edelweiss in Courchevel 1850.

Favourite lunch and après: Rodel Alm in St. Anton for their half chicken with a semmel (Austrian bread roll), Krazy Kangaroo for après and dancing on tables!!

My tip: Get the first lift and head high! In St Anton, head to Hospiz Alm in St Christoph, and use the slide down to the bathrooms!

Karen Cabena

Karen Cabena

Head of Sales, Hotels and North America

With a passion for travel, sport and adventure I have been lucky enough to experience the amazing skiing in Canada and North America. Working here gives me the perfect opportunity to help you experience the same.

I am a skier. 

Favourite resorts: Verbier in Switzerland, Park City in Utah and Jackson Hole in Wyoming USA.

Ski seasons: One in Breckenridge and one in Banff/Lake Louise.

Favourite properties: Hotel Rosa Alpina (San Cassiano), Hotel Le Saint Roch (Courchevel 1850) and Stein Erickson Lodge (Deer Valley).

Favourite lunch and après: Krazy Kangaroos (St Anton) and Ajax Tavern (Aspen) for après. Lunch at Hospiz Alm in St Christoph – try the delicious local fried pancake dessert “Kaiserschmarrn”.   

My tip: When skiing in North America and Canada, take advantage of the mountain hosts for free ski guiding. Fantastic friendly volunteers who provide some great facts and history on the mountains as well as taking you to the best slopes for the conditions that day!

Annie Lambert

Annie Lambert

Senior Pre-Arrival Concierge

The feeling you get when skiing on a clear day, overlooking the snowy white mountains is unbeatable. Combining this with experiencing new resorts and copious amounts of local food and wine is my idea of perfection.

I am a skier.

Favourite resorts: Morzine, Zermatt and Lech.

Ski seasons: One in Morzine.

Favourite properties: Severin*s in Lech, Chalet Les Anges in Zermatt and Chalet Joux Plane in Morzine.

Favourite lunch and après: Le Panoramic in Tignes, with its luxurious alpine décor and sheepskin rugs is the perfect mountain lunch spot. The food and service are excellent, and if you are lucky you might meet Igloo, the resident St Bernard!

My tip: Ski lessons are not just for beginners. They are the perfect opportunity for skiers of all abilities to perfect their techniques and boost confidence on the slopes. Remember to book in advance for the best options and availability.

Matt Jones

Matt Jones

Chalet Specialist

The mountains are my tranquil happy place - there is nothing better than skiing with a spectacular view while you go and explore the back country. I have been lucky enough to live in France and Canada for seven years so pick my brains and we can tailor the perfect skiing holiday for you.

I am a skier.

Favourite resorts: Revelstoke, Portes du Soleil and Saas-Fee.

Ski seasons: Five in Morzine, one in Chatel and one in Revelstoke.

Favourite properties: Chalet Bighorn, and Chalet M.

Favourite lunch and après: La Paika in Les Gets and Happy Hours in Morzine.

My tip: If it’s raining in resort, it’s snowing at the top! Give every day a chance on your holiday and get out on the mountain – some of my best powder days have been when it’s been raining in the village.

Marcus Roberts

Marcus Roberts

Chalet Specialist

My first ski experience was nearly 20 years ago, and I have never looked back. After two seasons in La Plagne, and five years crewing superyachts worldwide, I decided it was time to re-join the “real world” and put my love of all things snow to good use, by helping others discover our amazing properties in some of the world’s best resorts. Having skied all over France and Austria with a couple of trips to both Whistler and La Thuille, I don’t think there is any better place to holiday, than a week in the mountains!

I am a skier.

Favourite resorts: La Plagne and Verbier.

Ski seasons: Two in La Plagne.

Favourite properties:  Chalet Aurora in Verbier, Chalet Tschoder in St Anton and Chalet Le Grenier in Meribel.

Favourite lunch and après:  If you are after a great lunch with a fabulous view then head no further than the Bergerie in La Plagne. For the end of the day and some of the best table dancing apres ski in France, head to Cocorico in Val d’Isere for a great selection of live bands.

My tip: Ski resorts have much more to offer than just skiing during the daylight hours. Take part in an evening meal up the mountain, followed by either a torch lit ski or toboggan ride back to the village for a vin chaud.

Alex Harvey

Alex Harvey

Chalet Specialist

Having skied every year since I was two, including two seasons, I believe there is no better way to escape normal life than in the bubble of a ski resort. Whether you are a thrill seeker looking to explore or a scenic skier requiring a more relaxed experience, I want to find the perfect resort for you.

I am a skier first but can board.

Favourite resorts: Les Gets, Val d’Isere and Megève.

Ski seasons: One in Les Gets and one in Val d’Isere.

Favourite properties: Grande Corniche (Les Gets) and Lafitenia (Val d’isere).

Favourite lunch and après:  L’Etincelle (Val d’Isere), Chez Nannon (Les Gets) and La Folie Douce (Megève).

My tip: A great way to find the best runs in resort is to speak to your chalet staff or to book a guide for your first day, even if you’ve been to the resort before. 

Jadie McDermott

Jadie McDermott

Pre-Arrival Concierge

I have studied travel for six years therefore I have a huge passion for the industry and exploring new places. I have been lucky enough to go on skiing holidays from a young age and there is no better feeling than being in the mountains with the freshest of air, it makes you feel on top of the world. Everybody should experience a ski holiday at some point in their lives, I want to share my passion and give people the same amazing experiences I have had myself with memories you will never forget.

I am a snowboarder.

Favourite resorts: St Martin de BellevilleTignes and Meribel.

Favourite properties: Chalet Abode and Chalet Ecurie in St Martin de Belleville, and Le Chalet Zannier in Megeve.

Favourite lunch and apres: La Panoramic in Tignes, Le Rond Point in Meribel and La Folie Douce in Val d'Isere.

My tip: Try something different on one of your ski holidays, Snowshoeing unlocks a vast amount of the unexplored mountain, the views are unbelievable. If you book a full day you can usually stop for lunch at a more secluded restaurant or if you’re feeling a little more adventurous pack a picnic for an extra romantic lunch in the snow.

James Andrew

James Andrew

Pre-Arrival Concierge

I only ever planned on doing one season, I loved it so much I ended up doing three. I do not think there is any way to replicate the incredible feeling of gliding through waist deep, untouched powder with friends and will always jump on any opportunity to hit the slopes. I now have the opportunity to help others create unforgettable experiences of their own in some of the world’s best ski resorts.

I am a skier.  

Favorite resorts: Verbier, Lech and Zermatt.

Ski seasons: Three all in Verbier, Switzerland.

Favourite properties: Chalet Chouqui in Verbier and Chalet N in Lech.

Favourite lunch and après: For a proper ski adventure, make your way down Greppon Blanc and discover a hidden gem, Le Bois Sauvage. An amazing mountain restaurant with unrivaled views across the alps. A long lazy lunch in the sunshine with a large glass of rosé, then back to Verbier to Le Farinet for après ski. Be sure to leave by 15:00 to make it back in time to Verbier!

My tip: Getting up to catch the first lift is always a must, no matter how painful that early morning alarm might be at the time. There is nothing better than catching a bluebird sunrise while carving into freshly groomed pisté to shake off that morning hangover.

Ellie Knowles

Ellie Knowles

Senior Hotel Specialist

I love how invigorated a few days in the mountains make you feel. My ideal day involves being active, breathing in that fresh crisp air, all whilst taking in the fantastic scenery. Finishing off with an après drink! Having had the opportunity to visit and stay in many of the properties we feature, in Europe and North America, finding your ideal hotel is no problem at all.

I am a skier.

Favourite resorts: Banff, Park City and Zermatt.

Favourite properties: Washington School House in Park City, Grand Hotel Zermatterhof in Zermatt and Hotel Le Crans in Crans-Montana.

Favourite lunch and après: Piste Mountain Bistro, Jackson Hole for up-market American tapas. Après at Cloud Nine, Aspen Highlands.

My tip: Extend your break and take in a city stopover. New York in the United States, or Venice in Italy to name a couple. What is more, we can arrange it all for you.

India Seely

India Seely

Hotel Specialist

With a passion for food and travel, I love finding the best spots for a mountain lunch with a view. Everybody deserves to experience skiing down the side of a mountain in the sunshine and I would love to help you find that one holiday you will never forget!

I am a skier.

Favourite resorts: Lech, Verbier and Whistler.

Favourite properties: The Alpina Gstaad in Gstaad, La Cordee des Alpes in Verbier and Le Blizzard in Val d’Isère.

Favourite lunch and après: Lunch at amazing Michelin-starred Restaurant Sommet in The Alpina Gstaad and a night of dancing in salopettes on tables in Merlin’s Bar and Grill, Whistler!

My tip: If you’re feeling brave in Whistler, make sure to take a trip on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola connecting both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains – as a Guinness World Record-Breaker, this is a must-see in resort! For that extra thrill, hop into one of the glass-bottomed Gondolas for a truly 360 degree view of Whistler!

Henry Daniels

Henry Daniels

Hotel Specialist

To me, there are few experiences that can beat a skiing holiday. The feeling of tearing down the slopes with bluebird skies never gets old, not to mention a few beers at the après-ski bar after a hard day on the mountain. I am lucky enough to have skied all across the Alps, the Dolomites and Canada for the last 15 years and have stayed in some of the most incredible hotels along the way. Please give me a call on 01865 817 388, I would love to help organise the perfect skiing holiday for you.

Favourite resorts: Zermatt, Courchevel 1850 and Verbier.

Favourite properties: Le K2 Palace (Courchevel 1850), The Severin’s Alpine Retreat (Lech) and La Mourra (Val d’Isere).

Favourite lunch and après: La Folie Douce (Val d’Isere), La Mangeoire (Courchevel 1850) and The Krone Bar (Lech).

My tip: If you are new to a resort I would highly recommend paying for a private instructor. Not only will they help improve your technique, they will also show you the best spots to ski in the area. Perfect for exploring the quieter, lesser known runs when the slopes are busy.

Rupert Longsdon

Rupert Longsdon

Founder and CEO

I am an Alpine and Telemark skier.

Favourite resorts: Crans-Montana, Val d’Isere and Zermatt.

Ski seasons: Two in Val d'Isère, over 10 years in Crans-Montana and Méribel.

Favourite properties: Chalet La Bergerie in Courchevel 1850 and Chalet N in Lech, Chalet Grace in Zermatt.

Favourite lunch and après: Le Panoramic in Tignes. Be prepared to get settled in. Time it right to get the Tufs lift back to Val d’Isere mind you. The sun terrace of L’Etincelle in Val d’Isere late season. Only a short ski home.

My tip:  You can never stop learning and this is particularly true when it comes to skiing. Always budget for a ski instructor or guide, you will get so much more out of your holiday. Book afternoon group lessons at New Year and Half Term. No morning rush, lessons are quieter, no queues and still time to drop and have a long lunch…

Mark Gibbins

Mark Gibbins

Managing Director

I have always believed that skiing is a means of transportation to and from lunch...I am the person you need to speak to about finding the perfect terrace spot for a fine Alpine lunch!

I am a skier.

Favourite resorts: Crans-MontanaVal d'Isère and Whistler.

Ski seasons: Six in Crans Montana and two in Meribel.

Favourite properties: Ferme de Moudon in Les Gets and the Residences at The Four Seasons Whistler.

Favourite lunch and aprèsSignal in Val d'Isère for lunch and the infamous après at La Folie Douce (and now also in Val Thorens and Méribel).

My tip: Invest in your own pair of ski boots, even if you only ski six days a year...go that extra step and get a custom fit pair from SureFoot. 

Jon Sopher

Jon Sopher

Chairman

I have many years of experience consulting for businesses across all sectors and have been a loyal client of the Oxford Travel Collection throughout that time, so am delighted to be on the team contributing to the continuing success of the operation. I am an avid traveller and an average skier; very much a fair weather person.

I am a skier.

Destinations I love: Val d'Isere and St Anton.

Properties I love: Hotel Le Brussels in Val d'Isere and Puerto Pollensa in Mallorca.

Recently visited: Morzine and Val d'Isere.

My travel tip: Get yourself a Euro debit card for maximum ease, convenience and security during your holiday.

Mike Kelly

Mike Kelly

Sales Director

I have always had a passion for travel and exploring new places. I have been lucky enough to travel to 50 countries and work on five continents, and I love nothing more than sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm with our clients. Before joining Oxford Private Travel I spent seven years in Africa working in luxury experiential tourism at some of the top properties on the continent, so I know what it takes to deliver a truly world class travel experience!

Destinations I love: Seychelles, Croatia, Vietnam, India, Kenya

Properties I love: The Brando (French Polynesia), Londolozi Game Reserve (South Africa), Palazzo Avino (Amalfi Coast).

Recently visited: Kenya, Seychelles, South Africa, Croatia, Italy

My tip: Travel is all about experiences and memories. Whilst it’s important to take photos, make sure you also spend time soaking up the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of your destination too!

Neil Kitchen

Neil Kitchen

Operations Manager

After completing two ski seasons in Verbier, I felt it was time to get a 'proper job' in the ski industry. I love talking about amazing properties every day and count myself very lucky to have visited and experienced some of the best chalets in the Alps.

I am a skier but can also snowboard.

Favourite resortsZermatt, Verbier and Meribel.

Ski seasons: Two in Verbier.

Favourite properties: Chalet Norte in Verbier, Chalet Le Blanchot in Courchevel 1850 and Tivoli Lodge in Davos.

Favourite lunch and après: Chez Vrony in Zermatt for a fine lunch and the aptly named Après-Ski Bar in Verbier. 

My tip:  Avoid the morning queues at Medran in Verbier by asking your driver to drop you at Carrefour and use the six man chair to get up to Ruinettes.

Melissa Tideswell

Melissa Tideswell

Finance Manager

Good food and travel are two things which have always been close to my heart. Having lived for two years in France, travelled to many countries and having skied in various resorts across Europe for over 20 years – I feel extremely lucky to be able to help to facilitate others to enjoy similar experiences. 

I am a skier.

Favourite resorts: Val Thorens, Courchevel 1850 and Saas Fee.

Favourite properties: Hotel Le Val Thorens in Val Thorens, Hotel Le K2 Altitude in Courchevel and Chalet Annapurna in Saas Fee.

My tip: Make the most of everything the mountains have to offer: Rise for first lift, eat lunch in one of the amazing mountain eateries and don’t forget to stop and take a moment to really appreciate the natural beauty – it really takes my breath away. Finally, relax in the afternoon sun with an après-ski drink and enjoy the delicacies of the local restaurants in the evening.

Joanna Whinney

Joanna Whinney

Marketing Manager

My love of travel started like so many lucky graduates…a backpack, a rough guide and a Round the World ticket. From my early days of solo travel with a thirst to explore the unknown, a summer season working in Positano on the breathtaking Amalfi Coast, tailor-making bespoke holidays for an independent travel company to marketing a fabulous collection of Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Arabian hotels I have always been driven by the sheer wonder of the destinations we have in this world.

I am a beginner skier and can’t wait for my next ski holiday.

Favourite resort: Chamonix.

Favourite properties: Chalet Mont Blanc, Chalet Edelweiss and Residences at The Four Seasons, Whistler.

Favourite lunch and apres: A lunch with a view is an incredible moment and you can’t beat a snowy mountain view!

My tip: You don’t want to waste a moment of your amazing holiday queuing to get your ski equipment organised or booking in to find last minute ski school options. Instead speak to our friendly concierge team who will happily pre-arrange this all for you.

Cameron Free

Cameron Free

Digital Marketing Manager

I love travelling, whether it is a city break, a luxury holiday to the Maldives or the perfect luxury ski holiday in Val d’Isere. I love to visit new places and do my best to not visit the same city twice. There’s nothing better than enjoying your holiday with some fantastic activities alongside some fantastic food!

Favourite resorts: Val d’Isere, Courchevel 1850 and Maldives.

Favourite properties: Chalet Marco Polo, Chalet Zermatt Peak, One & Only Reethi Rah.

Favourite lunch and apres: Food with a view is a must! Nothing better than looking at the stunning mountains or seaside whilst enjoying fantastic food.

My tip: Always make the most out of your travels with new adventures, foods and more!

Saskia Ruskin

Saskia Ruskin

Office Manager and Website Administrator

My first skiing experience was in Lech at the end of the season, the weather was stunning and I can honestly report it was one of my favourite holiday trips. I had two full days of group lessons, which was much more fun than learning alone and something I’d opt for again in the future. Learning to ski as an adult is exhilarating but exhausting, you need that motivation from your group! It’s also the best ice-breaker when getting to know people. 

I am a beginner skier.

Another great holiday I had was in Rome, where like any other tourist, I visited the Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel. They did not disappoint. I thoroughly recommend taking this cultural city-break. 

Favourite Resorts: Lech, Rome and Menorca.

Favourite Properties: Severin*s, Aurelio Clubhouse and Villa Nocetta.

Favourite lunch and après: Lunch at Aurelio Clubhouse and an après-ski dip in the pool at Severin*s.

Katie Smith

Katie Smith

Head of Oxford Private Travel, Witney

Having been bitten by the travel bug from a young age, I am always at my happiest when planning my next trip, or helping someone else tick a new destination off their travel bucket list! 

Destinations I love: New Zealand, Bali and California.

Properties I love: St Regis Bora Bora in French Polynesia, Eagles Nest, Bay of Islands in New Zealand and COMO Shambala Estate in Bali.

Recently visited: Costa Rica, Tanzania, Morocco, Italy, Ibiza, Estonia and French Polynesia.

My tip: Pack light – both your luggage and your itinerary! Take time to carefully plan your trip to make sure you can include your highlights, whilst allowing plenty of time for relaxation and enjoying those local discoveries you weren’t expecting. Learning a few key phrases is always a good idea too - a friendly ‘hello’ goes a long way, whatever the language!

Joey

Joey

Jackshund

My favourite thing to do is to follow my human around the office, but I’m also trying my luck to impress Thula – we like romantic afternoons holding paws whilst watching the garden outside.

Owner: Melissa Tideswell.

Favourite spot: Being as close to my human as possible.

Favourite time of the day:  9am – when Thula arrives, closely followed by lunch time belly scratches.

Party trick: Performing a jumping dance for my human whenever she comes back into the room.

Saffron

Saffron

Border Terrier

My role is simply to assist with positive staff morale, although, to be fair, I spend the vast majority of my day sleeping.

I am a dog.

Owner: Mark Gibbins

Favourite spot: My office bed

Favourite time of day: Lunch time

Party Trick: I don't have many, but am good at walking backwards.

Will

Will

Labrador

My most important office duties include chasing Saffron first thing in the morning, sleeping on my back so I am in the way of everyone, and pulling my puppy dog eyes when I want to go for a walk!

I am a dog.

Owner: Sarah Kitching.

Favourite spot: My office bed.

Favourite time of day: Morning and getting to work, afternoon walk and home time! The rest of the time I’m asleep!

Party Trick: Looking ridiculously comfortable and relaxed when everyone is hard at work!

Bertie

Bertie

Cocker Spaniel

I am always happy, life is so good! I seem to attract a lot of attention too – maybe it’s my extra long lashes? I have been at Oxford Ski since I was nine weeks old, but they still won’t let me answer that thing that rings all the time. 

I am a dog.

Owner: Neil Kitchen.

Favourite spot: Bed.

Favourite time of day: Greeting everyone in the morning.

Party Trick: Giving high fives.

Thula

Thula

Labrador

I love the office. It’s lovely and peaceful and there aren’t any toddlers. I’m learning a lot about skiing too.

I am a dog.

Owner: Annabel Gonifas

Favourite spot: My bed

Favourite time of the day: Lunchtime walks with my office pals

Party trick: I can jump really high fences and cattle grids, but they’re obviously saved for my lunch time walks.