Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Ski World Cup - Lauberhorn 2017



The sun is shining, the skies are blue and the Jungfrau region has been gifted with two weeks of solid snowfall just in time for the region's annual ski race; the Lauberhorn downhill world cup.

The bars are beginning to get livelier. Skiers and snowboards alike are starting to practice their best moves on the slopes. Everyone knows; the Jungfrau region is about to host a legendary weekend event.


What does the Lauberhorn downhill race entail, and why is it so special to Switzerland?:

  • First and foremost, it is the longest downhill world cup circuit at 4.48km (2.78 miles).
  • Racers will typically achieve speeds in excess of 90 mph, with Johan Clarey setting the record in 2013 at 100.6 mph.
  • It was first held 87 years ago in 1930, so it is now ingrained in Swiss history.
  • It starts on the Lauberhorn mountain located between the villages of Grindelwald and Wengen. Views from the top overlook Interlaken and the plains of Canton Bern.
  • Over 30,000 spectators from all around the world come to the Jungfrau region to be a part of this race and its festivities.
  • The type of race is unique in in that there are combined, slalom and downhill events. The winner of the downhill event receives 110,000 CHF.






The Lauberhorn is deemed to be one of the toughest events downhill racers will undergo in their careers. The course starts at the top the Lauberhorn mountain, playing host to a number of extremely challenging twists and turns, eventually descending over a thousand metres to the village of Wengen. Competitors are pushed to their limits by the course's intimidating jumps, which many would describe as skiing off of cliffs!

Apres, in style!

The Swiss are predominantly known for three things; cheese, chocolate and beer. The Lauberhorn World Cup is no exception. After the racing has finished herds of spectators flock to the mountain bars and restaurants to begin their nights. The villages of Grindelwald and Wengen swell with visitors; many venues offer attractive after-party deals. After satisfying their appetites with traditional Swiss fondue, most visitors are content with live music and chilled out evenings; ready for the next day of racing. However, for some of the more livelier visitors, the villages of Wengen and Grindelwald do not disappoint...

Still not convinced?

MUST-WATCH video; legendary downhill racer Graham Bell with a body cam going down the Lauberhorn. 






OTP offers fantastic deals on accommodation around the Jungfrau region. It's not too late to come out and enjoy this amazing sporting spectacle! See what OTP has to offer here.


Further information

For the past two days the downhill competitors have had a chance to accustom themselves to the course. Today, Thursday 11th January marks the official opening of the Lauberhorn downhill race. Wengen will play host to this year's party, and race bibs will be unveiled at 18.15. Keep your eyes peeled this week; the Swiss air force will be flying around practising for Saturday's airshow. 

Programme details can be found here

You can't watch the race without purchasing a ticket. Be sure to grab yours now before they sell out! http://www.lauberhorn.ch/en/offers/ticketing



Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The OTP Team 2016 / 2017

Your team!

We are very proud to present your team who will be looking after you when you come on holiday with us this winter.

GRINDELWALD: Tom Szpytman





From London and with a BSc from Southampton University in Computer Science, Tom is the Resort Manager for OTP in Grindelwald and the Jungfrau region. 23 years old and an avid snowboarder, Tom is sure to show you around the slopes!




NENDAZ, Les 4 Vallées: Chris Jenkins




From Doncaster and with a solid background in resort work, Chris is the Resort Manager for Nendaz and the 4 Vallées region, returning for a 2nd season. 23 years old, Chris is an excellent person to show you the region and make sure your holiday runs smoothly.


SAAS-FEE: Tom Senior




From Ravenshead, Nottinghamshire, many of you will know Tom - OTP Senior Resort Manager and back again to charm you in Saas-Fee. Tom is a qualified ski instructor too and not only back with us again, he is in charge of all winter resorts.

ZERMATT: Luke Borton




26 years old, Luke is from Worcester. having travelled extensively, Luke is Resort Manager for Zermatt, is a keen snow sports enthusiast for many years, he is the ideal person to entertain and look after you in Zermatt!



My name is Jeff Michel, and I am the MD of OTP Swiss Holidays. I am so proud of the team we have this season and they will do you proud too. Thanks for everyone who visited us at the London Ski Show, 27th to 30th October at Battersea Evolution, Battersea Park, London


OTP Swiss Holidays offers ski holidays to 30 Swiss resorts, so have a look at www.otp.uk and join us this winter for a great holiday. See you soon!




Friday, 7 October 2016

4 Vallees ski update

 
 
 
Brand new snow making network in Nendaz/Siviez
 
 
Right from the opening in December it'll now be possible to reach all 4 Vallees from Nendaz on skis/board!  After a 7.5million Swiss Franc investment in the mechanical snow making network it will now support an additional 5 ski trails which makes up 8 Kilometres! Altogether 53 new snow making cannons have been put in place!
 


 
 
New Gondola in Veysonnaz
 
From Christmas Veysonnaz will have a brand new gondola seating 10 people, it'll be going to the top of the legendary Piste de L'ours in less than 8 minutes! It'll be able to transport 1,550 passengers per hour.



 
 
Verbier opening Party!

 
The winter season will officially start on the 3rd December and Verbier have organised an amazing weekend for you!!
 
On Saturday dress up as Santa Claus and get a free ski pass for the day, as well as another day of your choice in the season!!
  The ski passes will be given out during the group photo at the Chalet Carlsberg at 3pm, you'll also be entered into a lucky draw to win a 16/17 season pass!!



Tuesday, 26 July 2016

The new Gotthard Tunnel Exprerience - Gottardino Train



 

The opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel – a milestone of worldwide significance and a public festival for all ages.



The main purpose of the Gotthard Base Tunnel is to increase total transport capacity across the Alps, especially for freight, notably on the Rotterdam-Basel-Genoa corridor, and more particularly to shift freight volumes from road to rail to reduce fatal crashes and environmental damage caused by ever-increasing numbers of heavy lorries. Another benefit will be to provide a faster connection between the canton of Ticino and the rest of Switzerland, as well as between northern and southern Europe, cutting the Zurich-Lugano-Milan journey time for passenger trains by about an hour and from Lucerne to Bellinzona to 1 hour 25 minutes this is because passenger trains will be able to travel up to 250 km/h (155.3 mph) through the GBT and an estimated 200-250 trains per day will go through the tunnel.





Construction of the world's longest - and deepest - railway tunnel, in Switzerland, is complete.
The NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel, when it opens to the public on June 1 2016, will transport passengers from Zurich to Milan in two hours and 50 minutes!
Measuring 35 miles, it surpasses Japan’s 14.5-mile Seikan Tunnel, which connects the main island of Honshu with the northern island of Hokkaido.

Work began on the ambitious project, which was funded by Switzerland at cost of around $10.3 billion or £6.5 billion, 20 years ago in 1996. Over 2,000 workers were drafted in to excavate more than two million truck loads of earth from as deep as 8,000 feet below the surface of the earth.





 On 1 June 2016, 17 years after the first blast in the main shaft, the world’s longest railway tunnel officially opened.                                                                                  


The Gotthard Museum is located in a 1834 building which used to be used for stops and as customs house and hotel for passengers transiting on coaches. A visit to the museum will give you knowledge of Switzerland and will be useful to those who wish to better understand the country’s soul. The museum exhibits reconstructions, reliefs, plastic models, documents, arms and uniforms, pieces of art, minerals, rare objects and antique vehicles. The museum often organizes temporary exhibitions. Captions and guided tours are presented in four languages: Italian, French, German and English. Guests may dine in the restaurant or may request the organization of banquets.


SwissPasses.com now offer the unique experience of travelling on the special Gottardino train between 2nd August & 27th November 2016, before the tunnel is open to normal traffic. You also get a tour around the special multi-function train station 800m below Sedrun (approx. 1 hour).


Have a look at http://www.swisspasses.com/classicrail/packages/gotthard/index.htm to take advantage of this unique offer.

SwissPasses.com offer all Swiss Travel System products and OTP offer winter ski holidays to 30 Swiss resorts too!

See you soon!


Sunday, 3 April 2016

Zermatt Unplugged - 5-9th April 2016

“Zermatt Unplugged was one of the most impressive places in which I’ve ever performed.  The marquee among the mountain scenery was absolutely stunning.” – Lionel Richie


It's that time of year again – Spring has arrived, the sun is out, and Zermatt Unplugged is back in town!  So grab your friends, pack your skis and get your sunglasses on for what is sure to be the best edition of Zermatt Unplugged so far.

With a selection of free events on the slopes and in the village, as well as the more exclusive ticketed events to see your favourite artists perform, Unplugged offers something for everyone – skiing and music-lovers alike.


History


Founded in 2007 by Thomas Sterchi and Marco Godat as a singer and songwriter festival, Zermatt Unplugged has increasingly developed into a meeting point for fans of unadulterated sounds, with artists focusing on the acoustic and instrumental aspects of modern music.

It is the only festival of its kind in Europe, and is promoted by some of the major organisers in the Swiss Festival Scene, and backed by some huge sponsors such as Raiffeisen, Hublot, Westside, DS Automobiles, Zermatt Matterhorn Group, as well as many, many more.



Stages


The festival is made up of 12 stages overall, including 3 on the slopes and 9 in the village itself.

Main events will be held in the Zeltbühne Foyer, the famous marquee which has played host to some huge artists including Suzanne Vega, Chris de Burgh, Alanis Morissette, Billy Idol, Lionel Richie, Jason Mraz, Stephan Eicher, One Republic and this year will be headlined by James Morrison.


On the slopes, Sunnegga Sessions, Blue Lounge and  Gandegghütte will be hosting a plethora of free events; perfect for those looking for a musical break between runs on the fantastic slopes that Zermatt has to offer.

For more information on the Venues; including Vernissage, Schonegg, Cervo, Mont Cervin Palace, The Pink and more - head to Zermatt-unplugged.ch.  This is where you’ll be able to find full program details, ticket prices, and how-to-get-there information.


Artists


As previously mentioned, the brilliant James Morrison will be headlining the event. Juanes, Simple Minds, Angus & Julia Stone, Max Herre & Freunde will also be playing on the Marquee Stage throughout the week.


Alex Clare, Lisa Stansfield, Johannes Oerding, Yoav, Chris Cornell, The Slow Show, Tom Baxter, Fraser Anderson and Andrew Roachford are some other big names to look out for over the course of the festival.

Again – full program information available online at Zermatt-unplugged.ch



Editor’s Pick – Ronnie Scott’s All Stars


The house band of legendary London Jazz Club, Ronnie Scott’s, and regular guests of the Gandegghütte mountain lodge will be playing daily, offering extreme Jazz at 3,030 metres above sea level.  As an avid Jazz fan myself, and certain to be on the slopes every day for the festival, I will be sure to visit these guys as much as possible!  For those who prefer their Jazz in more comfort, the All Stars can also be heard in the evenings at the Mont Cervin Palace.



Zermatt Unplugged Official Trailer 2016


Friday, 29 January 2016

Activities on offer this winter season in Zermatt

Activities on offer this winter season in Zermatt


For those of you who know Zermatt, you will already appreciate a lot of what it has to offer. The charm of the traditional Swiss chocolate box village, with an abundance of gourmet restaurants; coupled with arguably one of the greatest ski areas in the world, surrounded by the 38 four thousand meter peaks. However, even if you have been coming to Zermatt for years, there is always something new to try and experience.

“First Track” – For those serious about their riding, and fans of the early hours

As a skier or boarder, there is arguably no better sensation than riding an area of untouched, fresh snow. As ski resorts become busier and busier, that experience can be harder to come across. The team at Zermatt Bergbahnen appreciate this, and have offered a solution to fulfill your desires!

“First Track” gives you exclusive enjoyment of the sun’s early rays and virgin pistes within the Matterhorn ski paradise, allowing you to carve the first tracks in the snow before the day’s skiing officially starts. The descent is followed by a hearty buffet-style breakfast at the restaurant Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.


“First Track” is available every Wednesday and Friday throughout the skiing season, and departs at 0740 from the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise lift station. Prices are as follows. Adults CHF 42.00; Children 9-16 yrs CHF 33.50; and Children under 9 yrs CHF 16.50. (must have a valid ski pass)


Moonlight Descents – Great for a romantic evening or unique skiing and culinary experience

So you have now experienced being the earliest skiers on the slopes with “First Track” – now is the chance to go to the other end of the scale, and be the last riders on the mountain. Moonlight descents occur only when there is a full moon (two evenings every month), but if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Zermatt for a full moon, this is certainly not to be missed!

Dress up warm, as you’ll be heading into the snow-covered, magical mountain world of the Rothorn. Enjoy a Traditional Swiss Fondue in the cosy Restaurant Rothorn and prepare yourself for the thrill that awaits. The moonlight is so bright that visibility is almost as clear as day time, with the light even casting your shadow on the slopes!

Moonlight descents meet at the Sunnegga lift station at 1845. Prices are as follows. Adults CHF 60.00; Children 9-16 yrs CHF 48.00; and Children under 9 yrs go free.



Tobogganing – The number one recommendation for families

Spent the day on the slopes but still looking for more from the mountains? Tobogganing is a great way to round off the afternoon, enjoy some of the greatest views Zermatt has to offer, and access parts of the mountains inaccessible by skiing.

Head up the lifts as the skiers and boarders are coming down, for a quaint and unique experience of the mountains. Great routes coming down from Sunnegga as well as Furi, passing traditional hamlets and a range of mountain restaurants as you go. Tobogganing is a great activity for young and old alike, and brings the family together regardless of their abilities or fears on the slopes!

Toboggans can be hired in most of the sports shops throughout Zermatt. Trips are every Tuesday and Thursday, and meet at 1930 at either the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise lift station or Sunnegga lift station. Prices are as follows. Adults CHF 11.00; Children 9-16 yrs CHF 5.50; and Children under 9 yrs go free.

Air Zermatt – One for the thrill seekers

Air Zermatt has been operating in the region since 1968, and has built up their reputation known for reliability and speed. Predominantly as a mountain rescue and material transport service, Air Zermatt also offer tourist flights for the thrill seekers.

If skiing or boarding alone is not enough of an adrenaline rush, heliskiing has to be given a try! Fulfilling two wishes at the same time, experience a helicopter ride surrounded by 4000m peaks, passing the Matterhorn and landing on one of the high altitude landing sites. Then comes the descent down virgin slopes, through the stunning high alpine glacial landscape – always safely under the watchful eye of a local mountain guide.

For those who fancy the great views and thrill of a helicopter ride, but aren’t comfortable with the extreme skiing that follows, sightseeing flights are also available. More information on offers and prices are available at air-zermatt.ch



For more information on activities and offers available in Zermatt - visit zermatt.ch or matterhornparadise.ch

Make sure to visit otp.co.uk for your personalised quote for a Swiss Holiday

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The Legendary Lauberhorn Race Weekend 15 - 17th January 2016

The Jungfrau region is buzzing this week in anticipation of the legendary Lauberhorn world cup alpine ski race! This is a unique event and the Swiss are really working hard to showcase this stunning area and event. As I come from Great Britain you simply do not get this kind of event in Britain, it is simply unique, the eagerness and excitement that you get from speaking to local people in the towns and villages in the area makes you excited to be in a place where you can experience a simply special event that is steeped in history and prestige. 

So lets have a quick overview of the event itself with some facts and figures; 

  • First International Lauberhorn Race held in 1930
  • Starts on the Lauberhorn mountain, located between Grindelwald and Wengen.
  • The Lauberhorn downhill race is the longest on the FIS world cup circuit. 
  • The course is 4.48 Km (2.78 miles) long with competitor times being over two minutes.
  • The are three different disciplines over three days, combined, slalom and downhill.
  • Over 30,000 Spectators expected attend over the three days.
  • 1st place in the downhill awarded 110,000 CHF (£76,100).
Along the world cup course itself there has been a frenzy of activity in preparation for one of the biggest sporting events on the Swiss sporting calendar, grandstands, TV towers, food & drink stalls being erercted and most importantly safety fencing for the race track itself! With over 30,000 spectators expected nothing is being left to chance, with typical Swiss efficiency everything is starting to fall into place nicely!

The race is one of the crown jewels in the FIS international calendar and is deemed to be one of the toughest tests a downhill racer can face. The course starts from the top the Lauberhorn mountain with some extremely challenging sharp turns as it winds down the mountain to the finish area in Wengen. Along the way there are some iconic turns and jumps that push the competitors to their limits such as the Hundschopf jump (pictured), which can only be described by an average skier such as myself as a cliff! It is quite incredible how the competitors take this jump at high speed. 



As the racers progress down the mountain they will typically achieve speeds in excess of 90 mph, with Johan Clarey setting the speed record in 2013 after he went through the speed trap at 100.6 mph. This is the longest and fastest track on the circuit after all!

The build up begins on Tuesday 12th January with the first training runs commencing at 11:30! The official opening of the International Lauberhorn races is on Thursday 14th January at 17:45 in Wengen, with the much anticipated drawing of the numbers commencing at 18:15. Keep your eyes on the skies this week as the Swiss air force will be flying around practising for the air displays that will be happening on Saturday. 

After the Race!

Once the racing is over people don't simply head home, there are multiple apres events happening in Wengen and Grindelwald, with ticket holders having access to the world cup village where there is live music and entertainment starting at 7pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If you are staying in Grindelwald many bars are holding Lauberhorn race after parties! Its not only in Wengen you can meet with friends and other spectators to discuss the day's events!

Information

A full race program, details regarding training runs, and the race itself can be found here

For tickets please visit the official website; http://www.lauberhorn.ch/en/offers/ticketing




If you have never seen the Lauberhorn race before then watch this video, with former world cup downhill skier Graham Bell giving a great POV of the track itself. 

It's not too late to come out and enjoy this amazing sporting spectacle! It's a once in a lifetime experience!