Best ski resorts in Europe

We always strive to take our clients to incredible ski resorts all over Europe – and, recently, we discovered we might have selected just the best ones.

In an article on the Evening Standard we found a list of the 8 best ski resorts in Europe. To our delight, they have all been part of our event destination portfolio for a long time!

Here’s a shortened version of the list, in case you’d like to take a peek.

Val d’Isère, France

Best for: High-altitude style.

Party place: Cocorico at Rond Point — riotous ski-in après at the bottom of the piste.

Val d’Isère gives you everything you want in a resort, including snow-sure slopes for all levels and lots of breathtaking off-piste. There’s the buzzing social scene, with lots of live music and (expensive) champagne flowing at La Folie Douce.

Zermatt, Switzerland

Best for: Mountain magic.

Party place: Hennu Stall on the Furi-Zermatt slope — order the metre-long “ski” of shots.

It’s hard to take your eyes off the Matterhorn here, one of Switzerland’s most gorgeous images. For a classy alternative to après ski, try the boat-shaped Snowboat Bar beside the River Vispa in the centre of town, where gorgeous sushi is served with a huge selection of cocktails.

Les Arcs, France

Best for: Families, powder hounds… just about everyone.

Party place: Red Hot Saloon in Arc 1800 — live music and late-night partying.

What Les Arcs lacks in glamour it more than makes up for in incredibly varied terrain — think fun slopes, steep blacks, air-thinning peaks and sheltered woodland runs. Extend your lift pass to include La Plagne and take advantage of the new high-speed chairlift to Champagny-en-Vanoise.

Courchevel, France

Best for: Glitzy celeb-spotters.

Party place: Funky Fox in Courchevel 1650 — the place to see and be seen.

Don’t let Courchevel’s bling blind you to the superlative skiing in this starry corner of the Trois Vallées. This winter, expert skiers can tackle a new black run, Eclipse, which plunges into Le Praz at a drop of 970m and a 30 per cent gradient. Not for the faint hearted.

Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

Best for: Old-school glamour.

Party place: Janbo in the town centre — for late-night good times.

The classy queen of the Dolomites rivals anything in the Alps for its jaw-droppingly beautiful granite mountains. And now those pink-tinged peaks will be easier to reach with the new gondola linking Tofane with Cinque Torri’s fabulous Super 8 circuit — and, ultimately, the Sella Ronda circuit.

Verbier, Switzerland

Best for: Off-piste heaven.

Party place: Hotel Farinet in the town centre — look out for flame throwers and bar dancing.

Verbier offers an exhilarating taste of the high life — its off-piste is among the best in the world. The new high-speed Médran gondola between Verbier and Les Ruinettes will make life so much easier. This winter’s new Mont 4 Zipline, the highest in Europe, starts at 3,300m and whooshes you at 100km/h until your head spins.

Kitzbühel, Austria

Best for: Medieval beauty and World Cup racing.

Party place: The Londoner — an English party pub, not for the faint-hearted.

Every January, crowds descend on Kitzbühel to watch the World Cup’s most thrilling downhill race on the Hahnenkamm course. But there’s so much more, including an enchanting medieval centre and 233km of varied slopes. Mileage-hungry skiers can test the new circuit between SkiWelt and KitzSki, the longest in the world.

Morzine-Avoriaz, France

Best for: Village atmosphere.

Party place: Hotel Le Tremplin at the foot of Pléney — the annual closing party is not to be missed.

These neighbours in the Portes du Soleil make a perfect couple. You’ve got pretty Morzine with its traditional Savoyard chalets and can also hop on the cable car to futuristic Avoriaz and its high-altitude slopes.

A luxury chalet ski deal

It’s been two years since Covid turned the events and travel world inside out. No more company outings, incentive trips, or corporate travel allowed. What a nightmare!

We have been extremely grateful for events resuming slowly over the past year or so, and we have just had one of our busiest summers. Now, it’s time to offer a little incentive on ski trips!

We are proposing an amazing, luxury ski deal to our clients for this upcoming spring. It will be hosted in Chalet Wapiti, a modern and bright mountain luxury retreat.

Here are some details of our deal, based on 16 guests.

 Included at £1350pp (based on 16 pax):

  • Sun 12- Wed 15 March 2023
  • 3 nights at Chalet Wapiti, Chamonix
  • Exclusive use of the chalet
  • Return airport transfers from Geneva
  • Fully catered inc. open bar
  • 3-day ski passes
  • Ski or snowboard equipment hire
  • 2 dedicated ski instructors throughout
  • Ten80 Event hosting service

More about Chalet Wapiti:

  • 10 ensuite bedrooms
  • Spa and sauna facilities
  • Walking distance to town
  • Private chef
  • Chalet host
  • Ski boot heaters
  • In resort transport

Are you interested to know more? Contact us via email: info@ten80events.com or by calling: +33 (0) 672 659 2212 

We hope to see you there!

Verbier

Winter’s back again and we are super busy planning our events for the ski season. After two years of closed borders and restrictions, we are excited to embark on overseas trips again. This winter, we will finally be back in one of our favourite Swiss ski resorts: Verbier.

One of the advantages of living in Chamonix is proximity to the Italian and Swiss border. We often take our clients over to Courmayeur, the Italian and sunny side of Mont Blanc. Pizza, coffee and après are quite amazing there! However, for a more glamorous touch and a very cheesy experience, we are also just a stone throw’s away from the Swiss resort of Verbier.

Here’s how the resort is described on seeverbier.com:

“Verbier has developed into a glamorous winter playground for anyone who wants to splash the cash. It’s an expensive resort but with its superb skiing, international clientele, high-quality accommodation and phenomenal bars and restaurants, it’s most certainly worth it.

Situated in the canton of the Valais, Verbier is bordered by France to the west and Italy to the south. It’s about a two-hour drive from Geneva airport, or you can take a train from the airport to Le Chable and then hop onto the gondola to the centre of resort.

Verbier suits both the keen skier, with its amazing and easily accessible off-piste, and the more leisurely skier who enjoys cruising the blues before relaxing on a sun lounger for the afternoon. It’s also the perfect spot for the après-ski enthusiast, with a world-famous selection of lively bars and clubs.”

We can’t wait to have our clients discover this exciting resort. Verbier’s unmatched skiing, elegant vibe and party scene are always a guarantee for a successful event. Not to mention the top-quality cheese!

Mountains on Stage

There is a mountain film festival we look forward to every year: Mountains on Stage. If you are a lover of the mountains like us, you won’t want to miss this year’s edition.

Mountains on Stage is a film festival aiming to bring the mountains into cities with a selection of the world’s best mountain-related films. These include sports such as skiing, mountaineering, climbing or paragliding.

As explained on the festival’s website, Mountains on Stage was born in 2013, when founders Cyril and Manon met Yves Exbrayat – organiser of “Les Rencontres du Cinéma de Montagne de Grenoble” festival. The event gathered more than 3000 spectators each night during 5 nights.

Cyril and Manon decided to develop their own mountain film festival in Paris, using the same concept of Grenoble’s festival. The projection of mountain films would be followed by the intervention of their protagonists on stage. A true moment of sharing and exchanging. 

The festival was born in March 2013 and has since then grown year after year, in France as well as in Europe.

We will be watching the 2022 edition in Chamonix, where our offices are based, but films will be broadcasted all over Europe starting December 7th. If you are a mountain nerd like us, you might want to go check the nearest projection to you!

The MoonBike

There’s a new, sustainable way to get around in the Alps: the MoonBike. If you have never heard of it, read on.

As we found out in this article on Euronews, the idea of building an electric snow bike came to Nicolas Muron – CEO of MoonBikes – in 2015, when visiting his grandparents’ home in the French Alps. He made a simple observation: transportation options are infinite in the summer months, but when winter comes around, heavily polluting cars and snowmobiles are the only viable option.

Nicolas took on the challenge of finding a solution. He created the world’s first electric snow bike – an ambitious undertaking aimed at protecting the environment he calls home, and having some fun along the way.

A sustainable solution

At just 87 kilograms, the MoonBike provides a speedy alternative over three times lighter than a conventional snowmobile. But while ergonomic factors remain a key selling point for Muron’s design, his main drive lies in bringing sustainability to an industry infamous for its gas-guzzling.

Fossil-fuel powered skidoos cause significant damage to land cover, affecting vegetation growth throughout the year. In one hour, a typical snowmobile can emit as much hydrocarbon as a 2008 model automobile emits in 86,000 kilometres of driving. Their exhaust fumes contain dangerous levels of toxins, degrading air quality and altering snow chemistry for good.

The MoonBike, meanwhile, can cover up to 64 kilometres with a single 2.5 kilowatt battery. It can climb groomed slopes with a 40 per cent steepness, and boasts top speeds of up to 42 kilometres per hour. “In the powder snow, it seems like skiing or snowboarding,” says Muron. “Because it’s completely silent, you really feel like you’re sliding, you can really curve lines just like you do when skiing.”

You can watch a video of the MoonBike in action here.

The future of skiing

With temperatures continuing to rise due to climate change, the future of skiing is undeniably in danger. Ski seasons are starting later and getting shorter each year. As an event agency based in the Alps, we are particularly sensitive to this issue. That’s why we are always interested in ski resorts’ plans for re-designing the future of the mountains.

Skiing up higher

An interesting article on France 24 explores three different models implemented by ski resorts in France. The first one is Valloire (Savoie), whose manager Jean-Marie Martin has chosen to close ten lower-altitude slopes and open four new ones higher up.

This 8-million investment will allow to get 30 to 40 more years of alpine skiing out of the resort. In the long term, though, the plan is to diversify away from the “ski only” model, creating a year-round resort.

Artificial snow

With average snowfalls dropping significantly, it is logical to think about increasing snow production. However, this process takes energy and requires vast quantities of water to be stored, so that it’s ready for cold enough temperatures to start production. This often means creating artificial lakes.

This solution hasn’t been taken well by the community in La Clusaz (Upper Savoie). Creating an artificial lake in a forest would entail felling trees and threatening biodiversity. Even though local authorities insist that the lake could also serve local farmers and be a source of drinking water, two thirds would be reserved for snowmaking. 

Diversification

Contrary to La Clusaz, the Métabief resort in the France’s Jura region has anticipated the resort’s last ski season in the early 2030s. Olivier Erard, the resort manager, is working to ensure economic alternatives are in place. These could be year-round attractions such as mountain biking, hiking and paragliding.

We think these plans to implement changes are very good news: the future of skiing as an activity might be uncertain, however, mountain tourism is continuously evolving and is definitely very far from ending.

Safety in the mountains

The recent rescue of a 26-year old British man attempting to ascend Mont Blanc is only the latest example of safety issues in the mountains this year.

According to this article on explorersweb, The man was attempting to climb Mont Blanc wearing a tracksuit, hiking poles and a tarp. He was caught in a snowstorm and he had to call for help from the Bionnassay Glacier. Rescuers failed to find him in the storm and told him to find shelter, then lost contact.

He was found the next morning 3,100m up the mountain, still alive. However, with a body temperature of 25˚C, he was five minutes from death. Mountain rescue officials said he had dressed “as if out for a Sunday stroll,” as reported by The Daily Mail. He told police he wanted to climb the mountain as a “birthday present to himself”.

A growing problem

This is unfortunately not the first accident on Mont Blanc this year.

At the beginning of summer, local guides briefly stopped working on the mountain because of heavy rockfall, an issue driven by climate change.

The mayor of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, a village at the foot of Mont Blanc, announced plans to charge a deposit of €15,000 to reach the peak via the Goûter route. The aim was to cover rescue and funeral costs of the climbing mishaps that increase every year.

However neither warnings, videos, nor financial threats were enough to prevent poorly equipped “pseudo-alpinists” from climbing Mont Blanc. Local authorities ended up closing the busiest refuges in the French Alps until further notice.

It’s likely that climbing Mont Blanc will continue to become more complicated for everyone. This is why it’s so important to put safety first when adventuring in the mountains. Hiring a guide is an excellent way to prevent accidents and make the most of a mountaineering trip. At Ten80, we have a large network of mountain professionals and we always point our clients in the right direction when planning their next adventure in the Alps.

A recce trip to Porto

When we are not on the field running events with our clients, we spend our time exploring new destinations for future events. This October we decided to go on a “recce trip” to Porto, in the north of Portugal.

You might think of Portugal as a destination for summer events, but this small city in the north of the country is just perfect in autumn time. Sun is still shining and the temperatures go down by a few degrees, making the weather much more enjoyable than in summertime. The city gets an autumn-y, melancholic look, perfectly in line with the decadent vibe of Portuguese cities.

We spent five days exploring the best shops, restaurants, activities and viewpoints in Porto. Here’s a few of the gems we found.

SHOPS

While wandering the small streets of the old town we came across a couple of very interesting little shops. These are not the typical touristy stores selling you tiles made in China, but local shops with hand-made clothing and beautiful prints. Our favorites were Coração Alecrim and Mercado 48.

RESTAURANTS

We don’t want to reveal too much here, but if we had to choose one restaurant, then Museu d’Avó (granny’s museum) is a must-go. The typical cuisine is amazing, and the candle-light atmosphere with antiques hanging from the walls and ceiling is just fascinating.

ACTIVITIES

There is one activity you cannot miss in Porto: a Porto wine tasting. You can choose among the many cellars available, from Burmester to Sandeman or Cálem. After a guided tour of the cellar learning everything about Porto wine, you can choose to taste 2, 3 or 5 Porto wines, sometimes accompanied by cheese or chocolate. The experience will leave you delighted, and a bit light-headed too!

VIEWPOINTS

There are several spots to stop and admire the city, but we have no doubt: the Crystal Palace Gardens is top of the list. This is a public park where ducks, hens, peacocks and turkeys range freely. You can sit to relax in the grass or walk around the terraces, admiring the city and river from above. There’s even a tower you can climb up to take pictures of the view!

This was not our first time in Porto, and it surely won’t be the last. Thanks to the knowledge we have accumulated over the years, the city is now fully part of our destination portfolio. We hope to see you there on our next event soon!

Monferrato

Who said that corporate events should only happen in sunny destinations or on the slopes?

We love autumn – it’s that melancholic time of the year where you can still enjoy the outdoors but also get cozy with a good cup of tea. We are big fans of organising corporate events for our clients in the fall, as the big crowds are gone and the colours of nature are just beautiful. While exploring event destinations in Europe we have found just the perfect place to visit this time of the year. It’s the Monferrato region in Piedmont, northern Italy.

Monferrato is an enchanting place, made of castles and vineyards and hills. People know it worldwide for its landscapes and wines, and it has become part of the UNESCO heritage since 2014. Monferrato produces some of the best Italian wines along with specialties like hazelnuts, mushrooms, cheeses and truffles. On autumn days, its colourful hills take your breath away.

The climate and particular shape of this region make it perfect for wine production. Famous red wines from Monferrato are Dolcetto, Bracchetto, Barbera, Moscato and Grignolino. But the white sparkly ones don’t disappoint either! This abundance makes Monferrato ideal for hikes in the vineyards, wine tastings and other wine-related activities. Just what you need after a day in the conference room, right?

You can find more information on this beautiful corner of Italy on the visit Italy website. And if you are interested in running your next corporate event in Monferrato, our team at Ten80 will be delighted to help.

Iceland – the Land of Fire and Ice

One of our all time favorite destinations for corporate events is Iceland – the Land of Fire and Ice.

We have discovered this magical land on a corporate trip in 2018 and we’ve since been dreaming of running another event there. This week, it finally happened: we are back in Iceland with our clients!

But why is Iceland such a popular destination for corporate travel?

As this article on cooltraveliceland points out, Iceland has first of all a breathtaking, extremely varied landscape. Glaciers, volcanic landscapes, waterfalls, and black sand beaches, to name just a few.

However, the country also offers a rich culture, a world-class food and drink scene, and some of the most amazing natural hot springs in the world. Quite a few ways to relax and unwind after a busy day in the conference room!

Corporate trips in Iceland can be planned at any time of the year, as the country has something different to experience in every season. From puffin watching in the summer, to discovering ice caves and watching the Northern Lights in the winter. The best news? Its bustling capital city, Reykjavik, has a wide choice of hotels and conference venues to suit every budget.

As our local connections in this destination increase, we will continue to propose Iceland to our clients for future trips. We do hope to see you there on your next corporate event!

Our stay in Lake Orta

As part of our event planning work, we often check new destinations and properties for future trips. So a few weeks ago, we embarked on a trip to northern Italy and visited on of its least-known lakes: Lake Orta. We expected beautiful landscapes, delicious food and the typical warm, Italian hospitality. But we didn’t expect to find hotel La Darbia: an incredible property which made our stay in Lake Orta absolutely magical.

As read in the description on the hotel’s website, La Darbia is situated above Orta in the middle of a wood and park area with ancient chestnut trees, maples and hornbeams. The residential ensemble blends into the terraced landscape, in constant dialogue with the ever-changing light and mood of Lago d’Orta.

All its 20 apartments open onto the garden with its Nebbiolo vineyard, saltwater pool and solarium. The views wander all the way to Monte Rosa. All units have a private outdoor area: on the ground floor a garden bordered by vines, on the upper floor a panoramic terrace.

One of the most impressive features of La Darbia was its food. For breakfast, just like all other meals, guests can enjoy local products and ingredients coming from surrounding farms. Jams and cakes are directly prepared by the chef. Freshly-baked croissants and bread come every morning from a nearby bakery, while fruits and vegetables are from the property’s gardens.

We loved the authenticity of La Darbia and its attachment to the local territory. There is no doubt this property would make a perfect venue for incentives and corporate events. It has entered our list of top properties in northern Italy and we can’t wait to take our clients for a visit to Lake Orta!

Sustainable ski resorts

With shorter winters, decreasing snowfalls and warmer temperatures, the effects of climate change in the mountains are becoming increasingly visible. It is likely that only high-altitude locations will be able to offer skiing as the seasons go on, or that skiing will be entirely replaced by other sport activities.

While the effects of global warming are unlikely to disappear, can ski resorts implement sustainable measures to delay such effects? In this article by National Geographic we have found a list of extremely sustainable ski resorts.

Zermatt, Switzerland. This car-free resort is easily accessed by train and has impeccable eco credentials: a photovoltaics (solar) system powers its gondola lift station; electric buses take skiers from A to B; snow groomers run on eco-speed diesel; and environmental experts oversee construction work. 

Flims Laax Falera, Switzerland. This resort is taking the fast run towards self-sufficiency and 100% renewable energy. Its electricity already comes from CO2-neutral sources and all new lift facilities are equipped with photovoltaics. There are e-vehicle and e-bike charging points, recycling stations, drinking water fountains and protected zones for animals and plants. Even the ski wax is biodegradable. 

Saas Fee, Switzerland. This is the world’s first carbon-neutral municipality. The car-free resort runs on hydropower and has nailed it transport-wise, with an e-car sharing service and emission-free ski buses. 

Wolf Creek, Colorado. Deep, steep and snow-sure, Wolf Creek is a shining model of sustainability. The resort is carbon-free, conservation-minded and runs on 100% renewable energy. Its snowcats even use biodegradable grapeseed oil.

Kaprun, Austria. Cue high-elevation recultivation projects, lifts running on 100% ecologically generated energy and free ski buses. 

Pejo, Italy. This green-minded resort in Stelvio National Park, in Trentino, is plastic-free and has hydroelectric plants providing renewable energy. Plans are in place to introduce hybrid snowcats.

Avoriaz, France. The greenest of France’s Portes du Soleil ski resorts, Avoriaz has launched projects to revegetate slopes, protect natural snow and keep snow-groomer emissions to a minimum.