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Festive Snow Fall Guide

Press release
22nd December 2008

Here Comes the Snow! - Festive Snow Fall Guide

After last year’s dismal season, European ski resorts are set for a record 2008/09 with some of the best early season conditions in decades.

Dozens of European ski resorts have opened early this year and thousands of British ski and snowboard enthusiasts expected to take to the slopes across Europe over the festive period.

Scotland’s resorts have also enjoyed the early snow, with more expected this weekend. Visitor numbers had dropped off alarmingly in recent years as the winters have grown milder and shorter, but the resorts are reporting an increase in ticket sales and hope to beat last year’s total.

easyJet, the UK’s leading provider of low cost ski routes, has prepared a guide to the top resorts for snow fall so far this season, according to the latest snow reports from the Ski Club of Great Britain.

The easyJet website also now offers an interactive ski map, showing the best airports to fly to for all the major resorts, with transfer times and prices.

easyJet flights to ski destinations start from just £39.99 per person (one way) at www.easyJet.com. Accommodation available from www.easyJethotels.net.

Best for Early Season Snow:

Zermatt - Switzerland
Current Snow Rating – Excellent
Resort Height – 1620m
No of lifts open: 48 out of 57. Powder to be found off piste and more snow forecast
Best for – advanced, intermediate
Zermatt, according to some reporters, is as near as anywhere to perfection, so long as you are an intermediate or advanced skier. Dominated by the stunning scenery of the Matterhorn, Zermatt's boasts awesome scenery; amazing mountain restaurants; fantastic and varied skiing (also linked to Cervinia in Italy); a charming and predominantly traffic-free town, bar the electric taxis; great snow high up; all sorts of nightlife for everybody; great shopping; masses of non-skiing activities to enjoy; a glacier for year-round skiing; good accommodation; a cosmopolitan crowd and excellent boarding provision.
Zermatt is a 2hr drive from Zurich Airport. Flights available from Luton.

Courmayer - Italy
Current Snow Rating – Excellent
Resort Height – 1220m
No of lifts open: 14 out of 19. Powder to be found off piste and more snow forecast
Best for - budget
Courmayeur is on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, over the Alps from Chamonix, in the Aosta Valley. It possesses some of the traditional Alpine history of its French neighbour, but at considerably lower prices. Courmayeur has 100km of its own pistes, which cater mainly for intermediates. Courmayeur also offers access to the other resorts in the Aosta Valley and the Chamonix valley (via the Mont Blanc Tunnel), with a combined total of near 800km of runs to keep just about everyone happy.
Courmayer is a 1hr 30min drive from Geneva. Flights from Gatwick, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Belfast, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Stansted, Luton, Bournemouth, Birmingham and East Midlands.

Obergurgl – Austria
Current Snow Rating – Excellent
Resort Height – 1930m
No of lifts open:
Best for: families
No of lifts open: 22 out of 22
It snowed almost every day last week across Austrian. On piste conditions are good but it is very cold which is helping to maintain the snow and more is forecast this week. Powder can be found on and off piste and there’s 265cm of snow at the upper levels and a further 14cm forecast.
The relaxed atmosphere of Obergurgl paired with its excellent facilities for beginners and comfortable, affordable hotels make it perfect for a family getaway.
Approximately 1hr 30 mins from Innsbruck airport, with flights from Liverpool, Bristol and Gatwick.

Val D’Isere – France
Current Snow Rating – Excellent
Resort Height – 1850m
Best for: celebrity spotting and events - Val d’Isere will be hosting the World Ski Championships, from February 2-15, 2009.
No of lifts ouen: 42 of 46 and more heavy snow forecast this week. Powder to be found off piste. 24cm of snow also forecast this week.
Val D’Isere has some fantastic terrain for expert skiers and snowboarders, and lives up to it’s reputation as one of the best resorts in the world for advanced skiers and adrenaline junkies.
There is a huge range of accommodation and despite being the resort of choice for some of the wealthiest skiers in the world, there is lots of self-catering budget accommodation to be had.
The resort is 3hrs from Grenoble airport, flights available from Birmingham, Gatwick, Bristol, Bournemouth or Luton.

Alpe d’Huez – France
Current Snow Rating – Fresh/Powder
Resort Height – 1860m
No of Lifts open: 20 out of 75 and approx 130cm of snow at the upper slopes – more snow is forecast
Alpe d’Huez has a British Ski School based in the resort, making it ideal for beginners. Due to weather, it is best chosen as a midwinter destination, i.e. January or February. It’s also a great budget destination with reasonably cheap accommodation, making it popular with young adults.
Transfer from Grenoble airport approximately 2 hours. Flights available from Birmingham, Gatwick, Bristol, Bournemouth or Luton.

Courchevel – France
Current Snow Rating – Fresh – 10 cm of fresh snow so lots of powder
Resort Height – 1850m/1300m
No of Lifts open: 21 out of 57 – 13cm of snow forecast this week
Best for: Beginners
Courchevel resort is composed of several villages, which vary in price and difficulty. Courchevel 1650 is a good base - and it's also the best place for beginners. Ice-rink, bowling and snow-shoeing are also on offer.
Transfer from Geneva is approximately 3 hours. Flights available from Gatwick, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Belfast, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Stansted, Luton, Bournemouth, Birmingham and East Midlands Airports.

Pila – Italy
Current Snow Rating – Fresh
Resort Height – 1800m
Best for: Budget conscious
No of Lifts open: 10 out of 12 and 220cm snow at the upper slopes and snow continues to fall.
Whilst this resort lacks in the scenery stakes, the skiing and snowboarding is certainly not second rate, with slopes for all ages and abilities. The ski tuition here is about half the price of more flashy resorts in France and Switzerland.
Approximately 1hr 30mins from Turin airport with routes from Luton.

Meribel – France
Current Snow Rating – Fresh
Resort Height – 1450m
No of lifts open 7 of 46 and 135cm of snow at the upper slopes - but more snow is falling
Best for: events!
Altitude Festival 2009 – Europe’s biggest Alpine Festival, including live stand-up comedy, live music, international DJ's, slopestyle competitions and more.
Meribel can be easily reached from Lyon, Grenoble and Geneva airports. www.altitudefestival.com

Kaprun - Austria
Current Snow Rating – Excellent
Resort Height – 800m
No of Lifts open: Half open (12 of 24) more fresh snowfalls forecast this week
Kaprun makes up part of the Europa Sport region, with 130km of pistes, 50 of which are local. Unlike the bigger Zell, Kaprun is a traditional Austrian village with a decent selection of restaurants and accommodation. It has quieter nightlife, but its still pretty fun and varied. Its skiing is mainly for beginners, intermediates and cross-country.
Kaprun is a 2hr drive from Innsbruck and Salzburg Airports. Flights to Innsbruck from Liverpool, Bristol and Gatwick and flights to Salzburg from Gatwick.

Lech-Zurs – Austria
Current Snow Rating – Excellent
Resort Height – 1450m
No of lifts open: 34 of 75. 140cm of snow at the upper levels and excellent on piste conditions
Best for: Christmas festivities
This family friendly resorts hosts lots of seasonal events, including Christmas markets, a nativity play and even a visit from Santa on Christmas day.
Picturesque resort with a village atmosphere, and home to the Mooserwirt, possibly the world’s most famous après-ski bar.
Transfer from Innsbruck airport is approximately 2 hours. Easyjet offers flights from Liverpool, Bristol and Gatwick.

Resorts to watch in 2009:

Bansko – Bulgaria
Current Snow Rating – Needs more snow to see more lifts open - one to save for 2009
Resort Height – 930m
Best for : Budget conscious
One of Europe’s most up and coming ski resorts is the rapidly expanding town of Bansko, 160km south of Bulgaria's capital, Sofia. Set at an altitude of 935m, it is dominated by Vihren, the highest mountain (2,915m) in the spectacular Pirin range, close to the Macedonian border. The region's pisted area is small, but there is an estimated 750km of skiable terrain if you venture off-piste which can be reached by lift, snowmobile or M18 Russian helicopter.
Bansko is a 2hr 45min drive from Sofia Airport. Flights from Gatwick and Manchester Airports.

Glenshee – Scotland
Current Snow Rating – Good for Scotland snow showers forecast this weekend
Resort Height – 610m
Best for – Beginners and those avoiding the Euro
Glenshee is the most extensive skiing area in Scotland with 25 miles of downhill runs over four mountains and three valleys. The lifts, main facilities and nursery areas are situated right at the car park level and beginners have an added bonus of not normally having to purchase a lift ticket on their first day! For skiers and snowboarders alike, Glenshee offers a variety in terrain - huge snowbowls, steep mogulled slopes, sheltered descents and relaxed runs. Glenshee builds confidence whatever your standard. Something for everyone - from beginner to expert.
Glenshee is a 2hr drive from Glasgow or a 1hr 30min drive from Edinburgh. Flights to Glasgow and Edinburgh from Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Bristol and Belfast.

-ends-

For further information please contact:
Pauline McLaughlin 0161 932 1159 / 07730 415027

Notes to editors:

easyJet is Europe's leading low-fares airline, currently operating 166 aircraft on 383 routes between 106 airports in 27 countries. easyJet carried 44 million passengers in the past 12 months.

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