We have had a fantastic February Half Term this year and a selection of our Head Office staff have shared their experiences working in our hand-picked resorts.
Yeti Assistant in Flims - Eloise Williams
This February Half Term was my first time skiing in Switzerland and first time seeing how Powder Byrne operates in resorts during one of its busiest times. I worked as a Yeti Assistant in the stunning resort of Flims for the week, assisting the Ski Instructor to ensure the children got the support and attention they needed to improve their confidence and skills.
Our first day was a picture-perfect day and from the moment the children were signed in they were eager to get onto the slopes. Their excitement grew as they took their skis up to the first lift, chatting amongst their new friends as they did. I was assisting with Team Jupiter and we started on the nursery slopes, practising putting our skis on and going up and down to make sure they were comfortable. They quickly got their ski legs back and we were up the first chairlift by the afternoon.
Due to one of the best adult to child ratios in the industry, the majority of the groups by the end of the week were off the nursery slopes and up the mountain trying new blues and practising their chips, (parallel turns in Yeti terminology!). It was really rewarding to see their confidence grow and watching them make new friends.
At the end of the week, there’s the chance for the Yeti’s to show off their new found skills to their parents and siblings in a Yeti Race held each Friday. This fun-filled afternoon was a fantastic end to a perfect week, watching each of my group whizz down the slalom course as their parents cheered on from the side, enjoying some Gluhwein and home-made cake.
SnoZone Manager in Grindelwald - Rhiannon Davis
Our SnoZone programmes for 10-14 year-olds are operational across all of our resorts in the week of February Half-Term. I was lucky enough to be given the position of SnoZone Manager in the Powder Byrne resort of Grindelwald, somewhere I could only picture in relation to the magical world of Harry Potter.
Upon arrival in Grindelwald, I was greeted by a picture perfect charming mountain village, with the scenery dominated by the infamous Eiger’s north face, alongside the summits of the Wetterhorn and the Schreckhorn.
On the first day with Powder Byrne clients in resort, all of the kids clubs headed up to Bodmi, the easily accessible nursery slopes at the foot of the First ski area with a magic carpet, small jumps and slalom section and a button lift, making it ideal for beginners young or old putting on their skis for the first time or for kids testing their ski legs, which the SnoZoners regained very quickly. Over the week all of the SnoZoners progressed immensely with the help of the instructors and the Powder Byrne team, it was great to watch this progress and see how confident they became with going off-piste safely and even tackling a few blacks. On the last day all of the SnoZone groups headed over to the other side of the mountain for an adventure. What a great end to February Half Term, with simply stunning weather and a chance to test the Lauberhorn World Cup run in Powder Byrne’s original resort location.
Learn in Style Expert in Grindelwald - James Douglas
I was in Grindelwald at Half Term where I was lucky to spend time with our Learn In Style programme for adult beginners and improvers. The sunkissed slopes provided the most ideal snow conditions to accelerate their learning beneath the epic backdrop of the Eiger and blue skies.
Grindelwald is where it all began for Powder Byrne in 1985, so it is a natural starting point for our clients to learn to ski. We have an excellent long-standing relationship with the ski school and they just ‘get it’ when it comes to knowing exactly how to provide the ultimate starting environment for our clients.
As a beginner, there can be a number of things to organise for a skiing holiday which can feel understandably daunting. However, once our Powder Byrne Concierge Team has made your pre-travel arrangements, the Resort Team is on hand to help from the moment you walk through Arrivals in the Airport. This is their bread and butter.
Whether skiing with family/friends or solo, the Learn In Style programme offers the perfect option for adults who are new to skiing. Exclusive to Powder Byrne clients, we take away the stress of intimidating group lessons, while still providing an enjoyable group atmosphere and the company of like-minded skiers.
The Learn In Style groups were small and the instructors ensured our clients skied with people of similar ability, enjoying plenty of hot chocolate stops, long lazy lunches, and a friendly approach to instruction.
The Bodmi ski area for beginners is one of the best I have seen - expansive with several slope and lift options to build confidence and technique. The speed of progression in all groups was impressive and once the Bodmi slopes were mastered, the instructors were able to lead confident groups of new skiers up (and down!) the main slopes up the First part of the mountain.
The programme runs for five days, with a day off between days three and four so that you can explore some of the many other activities on offer in resort - both relaxing and thrill-seeking.
Ski Guide in Lenzerheide - George Kershaw
February Half Term this year was a dream, with some of the best conditions the Alps has seen this season. Bluebird days all week and minimal queues which is almost unheard of during the most popular week of the season. I was a ski guide for the week which has to be one of the best roles at Powder Byrne and indeed one of the best services.
I was lucky enough to spend my time in Lenzerheide, Switzerland which is definitely one of the most picturesque resorts I’ve ever travelled to. The resort lies in a high valley surrounded by a lake with a West and East facing mountain allowing you to always find fresh, open pistes in the sunshine, whatever the time of day. Taking part in our ski guiding groups is a great way to meet like-minded skiers and we ensure the whole experience is informal and great fun. We make reservations at the best mountain restaurants, depending on where we may be skiing that day and what cuisine you may fancy. I ski guided in Zurs last year where there is a wonderful selection of mountain restaurants from sensational sushi in Schlegelkopf to traditional Austrian dishes such as rosti and goulash soup in Rud Alpe, we certainly didn’t go hungry and it is always fun sharing stories and getting to know the group better over delicious alpine food with stunning mountain views.
Many of our clients tell us that our Ski Guiding service is one of the highlights of their holiday. Never having to struggle with a piste map again, or waste time getting acquainted with a new resort. Avoiding busy pistes and ski school bottlenecks, we take into account the weather and time of day to avoid ice and slush, finding the optimum skiing - you can completely switch off and simply enjoy the slopes and sociable lunches.
My experience ski guiding this half term was fantastic, meeting some lovely people, enjoying fantastic skiing and dining in some of the Alps best mountain restaurants - it doesn’t get much better than that!
Mountain Host in San Cassiano - Caroline Raby
Thanks to our Mountain Host programme, there is as much for non-skiers to enjoy in our resorts as there is for the skiers. I was posted in the breath-taking Italian Dolomites, San Cassiano to be exact, where there is an array of both outdoor and indoor pursuits to revel in whilst the skiers are out on the slopes. Whether you want to unwind in the hotel spa, check out the local culture spots or try your hand at something more active, there is plenty to keep you entertained in San Cassiano.
The glorious weather was in our favour this half term, so my non-skiing guests were very interested in the guided walks available on the many walking paths that weave through the area. One of the most pleasant and accessible routes runs from San Cassiano to Corvara along a gentle (if a little icy!) riverside path. After a drop-off in a Powder Byrne shuttle to buy lift passes and then onto a convenient starting point, we took a leisurely pace through the trees stopping regularly to admire the unbelievable views. Two hours quickly passed as we chatted our way along and we soon arrived at the Col Alt lift in Corvara having worked up quite an appetite! A short bubble ride led us up to the restaurant where I had arranged an outdoor table for the group, and we settled in to sun ourselves and sample some delicious food. By the time we had finished lunch, skiers and non-skiers alike were all very grateful for the Powder Byrne shuttle ready and waiting for us at the bottom of the lift - a smooth and easy ending to our outing.
At Powder Byrne we want to ensure that everyone gets the most out of their holiday, whatever their interests and activity levels. With our experienced Mountain Hosts on hand you won’t have to worry about the hassle of arranging activities or the challenge of navigating the unknown. You can simply relax and enjoy.
Call our travel consultants on 020 8246 5300 or enquire online to secure your February half term skiing holiday.