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Our little black book of enchanting places


Five perfect skiing-plus activities

Posted in SKI By Maggie O' Sullivan

Hot air balloon over the Alps©Sean Warren/thinkstock

Love skiing but don’t want to devote every waking hour of your holiday to piste-bashing? Here’s what else you can do this season.

Hot-air ballooning in La Villa

The Dolomites are a UNESCO classified World Heritage site and perfect for drifting over in a hot air balloon. In January the region will be holding its first ever balloon festival in La Villa and you can join in: balloons will be available for hire by the hour, driven by pilots from all over the world. Stay at the traditional family-owned Hotel Sassongher, situated 10 minutes from the festival and a short transfer the Covara ski lifts. From €225 per night, based on two adults sharing a Comfort Room on a room-only basis. Heston Blumenthal, Clare Smyth, Sat Bains, The Mountain Gourmet Ski ExperienceGourmet dining in Courmayeur

The Mountain Gourmet Ski Experience, now in its fourth year, is a collaboration of three great chefs curated by Heston Blumenthal (pictured above left with Clare Smyth, MBE and Sat Bains), who prepare and serve two incredible dinners plus some of the best Aosta Valley and Italian wines in mountain settings. The experience also includes three days of great skiing and lunch in some of Heston’s favourite mountain spots with menus selected by the chefs. The event, which is organised by Momentum Ski, takes place 17-20 March 2017. For more information and to request places, email jessica@momentumski.comSnow biking, GstaadCycle in Gstaad

Gstaad in Switzerland is the place for snow biking: there’s even an annual four-day Snow Bike Festival (19-22 January 2017). The sport uses Fat Bikes with tyres specially adapted for cycling in snowy conditions and you can hire one in several rental shops in Gstaad or choose a hotel that offers a snow biking package, such as The Alpina Gstaad  which, incidentally, also has a Six Senses Spa to soothe away any cycling-related bumps and bruises. From around £677 per night.Chalet Guytaune, MorzineLearn French in Morzine

Students ski most of the day with classroom sessions during the late afternoon and, for extra linguistic practice, ski lessons are with the ESF (Ecole du Ski Francais) – in French. The courses are organised by the Alpine French School, which offers a number of accommodation options, including this gorgeous four-star chalet Guytaune, which comes with its own French chef. You can also book the chalet independently through R&S Chalet Collection. From €1,030 per person, based on two sharing, including three hours of intensive French tuition a day, half board plus afternoon tea, and French conversation over apéritifs and dinner.Yoga on Snow, St MoritzSun salutations in St Moritz

The ski area directly above St Moritz claims to have the world’s first yoga piste, with four fixed points for practice. The aim of is to improve your ski technique by consciously slowing down and adopting a calmer rhythm of skiing. It can be done independently but you’ll get more out of it if you take one of the weekly Yoga on Snow courses offered by Suvretta Sports Ski School. Stay at Kulm Hotel St Moritz, which also offers a number of more adrenaline-fueled activities, including a ride on the Cresta Run. From around £340 per night


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