Friday, 20 November 2015

Snowfall raises skiers' hopes



Good news for skiers from the Rockies and encouraging signs in the Alps. Colorado's Vail (see video above) opens today, with nine lifts in operation. Following storms that have dumped over a foot of snow and temperatures ideal for snow making, the resort hasn't seen a better opening day in a decade. The new, six passenger Avanti Express chair is scheduled to carry visitors for the first time and Game Creek Bowl should open. Elsewhere in Colorado, Steamboat was opening for the weekend after significant snowfall this month. In Utah, Alta was open today, with 20 inches of fresh snow this morning and a big storm forecast for Thanksgiving weekend at the end if they coming week. That means neighbouring Snowbird and - with any luck - other Utah resorts including Park City and Deer Valley - should ansi be blanketed with powder. In Canada, Sun Peaks in British Columbia was opening today after storms which have produced some 75cms of fresh snow. At resorts In the French Alps heavy rain was forecast to turn to heavy snow. In Val d'sere, for example, chichis scheduled to open on November 28, snow was forecast to fall down to 600 metres by Sunday. Elsewhere snow was forecast this weekend and on and off through next week at resorts from St Anton to Kitzbuhel in Austria, Zermatt to Davos in Switzerland and Courmayeur in Italy. Sub zero temperatures suggest there's reasonable chance this may not prove a false dawn - so don't salivate too much yet but start preparing for the new season with a work out or two. Remember, this RockyMountain resorts are very high and altitude sickness is extremely unpleasant. And the best snow in European resorts this early in the winter will also almost certainly be on the highest slopes. So besides stretching, a little heart lung exercise is a very good idea.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

New budget flights from eight airports

Ryanair will fly to Krakow from Bristol


New low fare flights from at least eight UK airports are planned for next year. Here’s a round up:

Ryanair will launch four flights a week from the Birmingham to Madrid and two a week to the Italian city of Verona at the start of its summer schedules. The airline will also start flying five round trips a week to from Newcastle to Alicante and four to Malaga, three a week from Bristol to Krakow and twice a week to Reus in Spain, and four a week from Glasgow to Berlin. And it will start six new routes from Manchester - to Bratislava (Slovakia), Brindisi n southern Italy, the north German city of Bremen, Carcassonne and Limoges in France and Malta.

Vueling will start flying from the Scottish capital to Rome’s Fiumicino airport and Paris Orly on March 29 and to Alicante from June 16. It will also start operating to the southern Spanish city from Manchester and Birmingham next summer.
 
Copenhagen, easyJet adds Luton - Copenhagen (image courtesy VisitDenmark/copyright Kim Wyon

easyJet has announced the start of an array of  new routes to be launched between the end of March and May 31. They include: Manchester and Edinburgh to Funchal in Madeira, Glasgow to Marrakech, Belfast to Reykjavik and London Luton to Basel, Copenhagen, Lyon, Munich, Naples and Rome. The airline also plans to operate from Southend to Paris Charles de Gaulle.

Jet2 to fly Edinburgh - Tenerife (Image of Mount Teide courtesy Tenerife Tourism) 

Jet2 will start operating to a dozen new destinations from Edinburgh including the Greek islands of Kefalonia and Zakynthos, Vienna, Larnaca (Cyprus), Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife in the Canary Islands and Antalya and Dalaman in Turkey. Most of the services will launch on various dates in spring or midsummer but those to the Canaries will take off for the first time in February.

Monarch will launch new flights from Manchester to Gran Canaria and Ibiza.

For regular travel news updates go to silvertraveladvisor.com

Dollar, cheap flights to boost Canada holidays

Forillon National Park on the Gaspé Peninsula

With the £ riding high against the Canadian dollar, Canada looks likely to enjoy an upsurge in tourism next year. New Budget flights there are among a clutch of new services from the UK announced in recent weeks. WOW, the low cost Icelandic airline, will start operating from Keflavik and Montreal next May. The services are planned to connect with flights from and to London’s Gatwick. There’s plenty to occupy the visitor in Toronto alone. It’s one of the world’s most ethnically diverse cities. After exploring Montreal you could hire a car and head east to Quebec City for an even more distinctive North American experience. See my account of a visit there in winter here  With the £ riding high against the Canadian dollar, Canada looks likely to enjoy an upsurge in tourism next year. New Budget flights there are among a clutch of new services from the UK announced in recent weeks. WOW, the low cost Icelandic airline, will start operating from Keflavik and Montreal next May. The services are planned to connect with flights from and to London’s Gatwick. There’s plenty to occupy the visitor in Toronto alone. It’s one of the world’s most ethnically diverse cities. 

Quebec City


After exploring Montreal you could hire a car and head east to Quebec City for an even more distinctive North American experience. See my account of a visit there in winter 
Further east, you could head north along the St Lawrence  - see my story here or branch south of the river to the Gaspé Peninsula. Read my account of a recent journey to the Gaspé.


Saturday, 7 November 2015

Snow hits the Rockies




OK - there are still more than two weeks to go before its slopes open for the season - but this might get skiers' juices running. The Rocky Mountain resort of Steamboat, Colorado, reports 17 inches of snow in the past two days.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Ski, winter sun deals may be in short supply

Whether winter sun on skiing in your sight, don't rely on getting a late bargain. Unless there is sudden and sustained early snowfall in the Alps there will continue to be some discounted ski holidays at Christmas. But intelligence from the travel industry suggests that an early Easter - Good Friday is on March 25 - will make them unlikely after that, creating a concertina effect in breeding weeks. Of course, there will always be the odd price cut at the last minute but it seems clear that this season won't yield a vintage crop. There are unlikely to be as many winter sun bargains as usual either - but for different reasons. Tunisia was already off the agenda after this year's terrorist attacks at the Bardo Museum and in Sousse. Even assuming this week's decision by the British  Government to effectively ground flights by UK airlines to Sharm El Sheikh is rescinded quickly it seems likely some holidaymakers will seek to switch to other destinations. Several other countries' airlines, including Irish and Russian operators and those belonging to the Lufthansa Group, also suspended services there. (Russian are currently unable to fly anywhere in Egypt). Whether travellers who have already booked packages will want to change their plans - and the attitude of tour operators if they do - remained to be seen at the time of writing. But there's little doubt that some independent travellers will be deterred, adding pressure on hotel capacity in other popular winter destinations such as the Canary Islands. And while the winter market for Tunisia is different, the virtual shutdown of tourism there following this year's terrorist attacks at the Bardo Museum and in Sousse will only add to that pressure. So, to recap, you might still get a late deal between now and spring - but don't bet your house on it.