Feature

What’s Your Winter Moment?

Back in the day, a ski holiday was about only one thing: skiing. We’d obsess all year long about our next winter holiday and where we’d go for our week in the snow, agonising over the many attractions of the various wonderful resort choices. Once that wonderful day of departure finally arrived, we’d look forward to being first on the slopes in the morning, taking as brief a break as possible for lunch, then skiing all afternoon until the last lift of the day stopped turning. Not a lot else mattered – we’d do the same again for all six days of our holiday then spend the next 51 weeks waiting for the next one!

Of course, for many of us skiing remains the key attraction of our winter holiday, but these days we also recognise that our escape to the mountains is about so much more.

We take time to stop and breathe in the clean, cool mountain air and look at the spectacular scenery that surrounds us.  We enjoy the wonderful tastes and smells of the ski resort we’ve chosen to visit, its unique cuisine and its special, magical atmosphere. In fact, every aspect of the whole winter holiday experience in the mountains.

So, what’s your winter moment?

What makes our special winter moment may not even occur on the ski slopes. It might come during an evening’s snowshoe excursion, crunching out into the night to feel the snowflakes on your cheeks, or perhaps it’s just the sheer pleasure of getting the gang together to make new mountain memories with a fun-filled snowball fight.

Of course, skiing or boarding remains the main attraction for many, but it’s not just about that wonderful sense of freedom as you slide down the slopes. There’s that first moment when all the planning, travel and exercising you’ve been doing to get there come together and you’re finally grabbing your goggles and setting off to catch your first lift. Then you’re up there standing tall and feeling on top of the world for a few glorious moments before you’re whooshing down the slopes, floating through the fresh knee-deep powder once more and everything feels right in your world again at last.

Lunch on the mountain brings more wonderful winter moments. Going from the crisp outside air to the snug warmth of the old mountain hut, stripping off layers as you watch the steam rising, looking out at the snowy wonderland, watching others having fun on the slopes whilst you indulge in a scrummy tartiflette with perhaps a slice of apple strudel afterwards if there’s space, and maybe a hot chocolate to wash it down with. Can you make it out of the door and back on the slopes for a few more hours now you feel so relaxed and full of good food? Yes!

Après-ski remains a big part of any winter-sports holiday (even if you choose to skip the skiing part!).  It can be a full-on party from mid-afternoon with an ice-cold beer, dancing on the tables in your ski boots in a slopeside bar and exchanging tales of the day’s highs with old friends, or new friends you’ve just met. Alternatively, you might prefer snuggling up with a loved one in a cosy chalet, supping on a vin chaud. How long can you go before you head to your comfortable bed with the impossibly light fluffy duvet in your snug wooden chalet, hotel room or apartment?

The best way to find the moments that matter to you is to look at the huge choice offered by Crystal, the largest ski holiday operator in the UK. Crystal recognise that every winter-snow holidaymaker is different and that not everyone wants to ski all day long anymore. Some of us may not even want to ski or board at all but enjoy different special moments on the mountain that make it special to us, in our own unique way.

These days there is so much more on the mountain in winter which can again create the perfect winter moment for you – long, fun toboggan runs, dog sledding or snowmobiling, zip-wiring above the snow, a sleigh ride or ice skating on a frozen lake – the list of options goes on and on.

Crystal has the biggest choice of winter-sports destinations with more than 120 ski resort destinations to choose from in 13 countries, so there are tons of opportunities to hit the slopes and make new mountain memories this winter.

To Get More Winter visit crystalski.co.uk  

Make Your Winter Moment in Finland

Northern Finland, also known as Lapland, is a very special place in the winter-sports world. A land of pristine beauty with its ski resorts located at the heart of areas and lakes and forest that continue north to a region where very few people live, or even visit, there’s just a real sense of freedom here.

Skiing and snowboarding are popular but are definitely not, for most, the main attraction that they go to the Alps for. Instead people visit to see the incomparable Northern Lights, to feel a true sense of adventure on a dog-sledding excursion or a reindeer safari, or perhaps to just pop in and visit Santa Claus at his home address.

Daylight hours are short here in winter, so villages and ski slopes are lit by twinkling lights, and you’ll spend time in cosy cafes and restaurants tasting Lappish delicacies created from local berries, mushrooms and deer. But there are also larger resorts with some great modern facilities such as indoor water parks and sports centres.

You can do it all in a single trip, although beware that once you visit in winter you’ll want to return.

Crystal has a choice of seven wonderful ski resorts in Finland where you can make your winter moment this ski season. The selection ranges from some of the country’s larger ski resorts like Levi, Ruka and Yllas, which are international ski destinations, opening from as early as October right through to May as they are so snow-sure at this northerly latitude, to smaller, completely unspoilt communities with little skiing but a wonderful atmosphere, such as Salla, or, new for British holidaymakers for the coming winter, Suomu.

There’s a great choice of accommodation, too, from snug log cabins through to comfortable hotels and spacious apartments – there are even glass-rooved igloos in which you can stay and look up from your bed to see the stars and the aurora. An unusual feature for most is that you are likely to find your own on-site sauna in your accommodation, a daily ritual for the Finns and yet another winter moment you’ll quickly grow to love. In fact, that daily sauna could become your winter moment!

Search Finland at crystalski.co.uk