Silver skiers are increasingly hitting the deep powder. The Ski Club of Great Britain has upped the number of holidays if offers for higher level and adventurous skiers over 50 though its Freshtracks operation. For example it has just introduced a one week ski and spa package at Ponte di Legno in Italy including six days guided off piste skiing (£1299 including scheduled flights, transfers, four star half board and mountain guides. Last year it saw overall increase of 15% in bookings from members for its Peak Experience holidays, which are designed for over 50s – whether for packages aimed at advanced or expert skiers or those preferring gentle on piste cruising. And it expects a further 10% increase for the coming season.
Gatwick gets new Jakarta link
Indonesian airline Garuda has started its delayed operation between Gatwick and Jakarta. It operates five times a week via Amsterdam using an extended range Boeing 777-300. The airline originally planned to launch the operation in May but postponed the start after it ran into difficulties securing suitable take off and landing slots this summer at Gatwick.
Rome ups tourist tax
Rome’s tourist tax has increased. According to the European Tour Operators Association it has gone up from €3 to €6 per night, for example, for a visitor staying in a four star hotel.
Istanbul gets new luxury hotel
Boasting a rooftop pool and one of the biggest spas in the Turkish city, a new Raffles hotel has opened in Istanbul. With 180 rooms and suites the property is in the Zorlu centre, a new food, fashion and arts complex in Besiktas, overlooking the Bosphorus on the European side. This will be the tenth hotel in the Raffles chain. The first Raffles opened in Singapore – the company’s home base – in 1887.
Yoga before take off
Yoga sessions are now available in the SkyTeam lounge at Heathrow’s Terminal Four. A studio has been set aside in a two month pilot scheme. Travellers are provided with mats and a video showing an exercise sequences. Passengers flying on any of the alliance’s 13 members airlines can take advantage. (www.skyteam.com),
Docklands get new Guernsey flights
Aurigny has launched flights between London City and Guernsey next week. The airline is operating daily round trips on weekdays. Flights are being operated initially by Belgian airline VLM. Departures from the Docklands airport are at 9.15am and 6.45pm with flights from the Channel Island at 8.45am and 6.15pm. Aurigny (www.aurigny.com) already flies between Guernsey and six other UK airports: Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester, Southampton, Bristol and East Midlands.
York claims techno lead
York may be one of our oldest cities but it now claims to offer more ways to explore its attractions through technology than any other in the UK. Among them is a pioneering app - the world’s first according to its tourist office - featuring holographic guides. Developed in cooperation with appeartome.com it makes characters from the city’s past appear on the screens of visitors’ mobile devices at appropriate points on their itineraries. Details of this and other apps are at visityork.org. Free wi fi is available throughout the city centre with a free log in which you can get from the visitor centre.
Chile hotel has own dairy
A new hotel with its own dairy producing milk and cheese has opened amid the stunning scenery of Chile’s lake district. The cheese maker introduces guests to his art. Set in 23 acres on the Liucara River the Vira Vira has 22 rooms and suites. White water rafting, kayaking, fly fishing and bathing in thermal springs are all available. Original Travel (www.originaltravel.co.uk) can arrange stays there from £876 a head for three nights, including all meals and drinks, excursions, activities and airport transfers.
Free bubbly on the slopes
Never mind champagne powder – there will be free champagne on the slopes of Northstar, California this season. At 2.30pm guests will be offered a choice of Veuve Clicquot, a sparkling wine or some fizzy cider (in the US cider is usually non alcoholic). Northstar, which is close to the shore of Lake Tahoe, is part of the Vail Resorts stable
Snowshoe in Albania
Snowshoeing in Albania is on offer n a new winter programme from Exodus. The tour operator says pevious experience is not essential but would be advantageous “as this is a moderate to challenging grade trip in a remote region”. Travellers will be based at Valbone and Tropoje in the Albanian alps. Nine day. Trips cost from £1,099 per person, including flights, accommodation and all but two meals, snow shoes and poles. (www.exodus.co.uk).
Spot the stars over Ayers Rock