Travel news, November 2014

Squaw Valley, Tahoe – just a direct flight away | Jason Abraham


Reaching Tahoe spots like Heavenly, Squaw Valley and Kirkwood is set to get a lot easier: Thomas Cook Airlines have announced a new route for winter 2015/16, taking skiers direct from Gatwick to Reno airport, a steezy 45-minute drive from Lake Tahoes finest resorts. Prices start at £399, and will depart twice-weekly from December 19 to April 9. 


More bad news for package skiers as Italy bans ski hosting. The Ski School Association of Piedmont informed tour operators that they would prosecute hosts if they took skiers around this winter, causing Inghams and Crystal to withdraw their social ski service across Italy. France has also banned ski hosting, but it is still going strong in Austria, Andorra, Bulgaria and Slovenia.


Especially if youre heading to Geneva this winter. A new Eurostar route, involving a quick change at Lille, will reduce the journey time to a flight-threatening six hours. Plus theres no need to lug your skis across Paris to change trains unlike previous Geneva journeys. Get in!


Ski jumping meets bungee jumping meets zip wire in Tignes, with the new Bun J Ride opening on 21 December. What the cr*p? Our thoughts exactly. Apparently it involves sliding down a 30 metre ramp while attached to two bungee cords, then pinging some 40 metres into the air. After a few bounces, the bungee unlocks and you are transported back to terra firma by a zipline. Skis on, the entire timeWhos first?


After two successful seasons in Andorra, Snowboxx is swapping mountain ranges and moving to Alpe dHuez. The music festival will run from 21 to 28 March, with a new festival village hosting music acts, acrobatic ski displays, retro apres sessions, karaoke ski cabins and slopeside yoga. Prices start at £229 and include accommodation, lift passes and a festival wristband.


Austrian scientists have developed an artificial snow cloud that produces powder, currently being tested in Obergurgl-Hochgurgl. Water droplets are injected into a 3.5 metre high, balloon-shaped cloud chamber and are cooled – but not frozen – to produce powder. Plus it uses less energy and water than conventional snow cannons. Best invention since rocker?