Skier taking a photo of himself in friends goggles

The best tough cameras for skiing

Cameras for Skiing.

By: Lewis Williams (member of the Mountain Rescue Team)

The choice of cameras for skiing can seem overwhelming. Helmet mounted sports action cams to capture your epic descents to large DSLRs to create stunning high quality landscapes. But what if you wish to capture beautiful photographs of friends and family, simply, quickly and without the need to rummage in your bag, or adjust numerous settings? 

I have been a photographer for over ten years and in my experience a small, easy to use camera is a big advantage in getting those memorable images on the slopes. It is accessible when I need it and when I want to concentrate on skiing I can do so without worrying about camera damage.

I like a camera that slips in to my pocket and is easy to whip out and use instantly. A camera that enables me to capture the moment effortlessly, as it happens. A camera that can survive the harsh mountain conditions, the tumbles and even the après ski!

So here are my recommendations for the best tough cameras for skiing! Small, light, easy to use, tough and at a range of prices to fit most budgets.

Olympus Tough TG-5 Camera

Waterproof: 15m

Shockproof: 2.1m

Crush proof: 100kg

Freeze proof: -10℃

The Olympus Tough has built in GPS for location information, a temperature sensor, an altitude sensor and even a compass. So along with your photos you can save a record of the harsh conditions you survived as you skied the Aiguille Rouge.

The TG-5 has all the right technology, A 12mp sensor, 4k video and full HD at 120fps allowing you to make super smooth slow motion footage of that epic fail.

Perhaps the simplest and best feature of this camera is the addition of anti-fog dual pane glass. With all the time spent going up and down lifts, stopping for lunch in a cosy restaurant or just removing the camera from a warm pocket you can be sure it won’t fog the lens.

Great features, a pleasing visual design and ergonomic but a little more expensive.

The Olympus Tough TG-5 Digital Non-SLR Camera - Red currently retails at £399 on Amazon.

Nikon CoolPics W300

Waterproof: 30m

Shockproof: 2.4m

Freeze proof: -10℃

Nikon’s toughie includes a GPS system, altitude sensor and depth gauge. A little more focused on diving with its 30m waterproofing and on screen depth gauge. With a on screen world map to log your pictures, this camera is designed for those who travel.

The W300 has a decent sized 16mp sensor and large zoom range of 24-120mm. It supports 4k video and has an in-camera time-lapse function.

The controls can be a little fiddly, especially in gloves, but if you want a camera for an all-year active lifestyle then this may suit your needs.

The Nikon Coolpix W300 Digital Camera (16 MP, 5x Optical Zoom/7.6 cm (3 Zoll) LCD Display, 4 K UHD Video, bildstabilisiert) currently retails at £392.99 on Amazon.

 

Ricoh WG-50 Waterproof Digital Compact Camera

Waterproof: 14m

Shockproof: 1.6m

Freeze proof: -10℃

Ricoh offer up the WG-50, a mid-priced camera built like a tank. It lacks GPS technology and the host of sensors of its pricer competitors but it benefits from being light (194g) and has 24 ‘shooting modes’ to add visual dynamics to your pictures. It has a handy ‘daytime screen mode’ to increase visibility in bright conditions, a great benefit in the snowy mountains.

The WG-50 has a 16mp sensor that captures good clear images and records video at HD 1080.

The addition of LEDs around the lens for diving and close-up photography make it more versatile if you want to explore more than just ski photography.

It rounds up as a good camera for a good price… but is it a beauty or a beast?

The Ricoh WG-50 Waterproof Digital Compact Camera - Orange currently retails at £249.99 on Amazon.

FujiFilm FinePix XP120

Waterproof: 20m

Shockproof :1.75m

Freeze proof: -10℃

A lightweight camera that will easily slip into your salopettes pocket for your day on the hill. Not so many features but a great, easy to use camera designed to withstand the elements.

The 5x optical zoom coupled with a 10x digital zoom means it happily zooms in on the stragglers as you take pictures from the bottom of the slope.

Not so good in low-light conditions so maybe not the best if you want to capture après-ski without the flash.

It may be limited on features but it is small, light, easy to use and comes in at an affordable price.

The FujiFilm FinePix XP120 Outdoor Camera 16.4 megapixel currently retails at £174.99 on Amazon.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT30EB-K

Waterproof: 8m

Shockproof: 1.5m

Freeze proof: -10

At the lower price range in my search for the best tough cameras for skiing is the Panasonic Lumix it gives acceptable results along with a mouthful of a name. A small, good-looking, well built camera from a trusted and proven brand.

The 16mp Lumix has a wide field of view starting at 25mm and zooms in to 100mm… so it has most shots covered. The menu can be fiddly to use, especially with gloves, and the screen can be hard to see in bright snowy conditions. But, it has effective auto settings making quick snaps simple.

It may be far from perfect but it comes at a very comfortable price for a quality brand.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT30EB-K 16 MP 4x Optical Zoom Waterproof Action Camera - Black currently retails at £105.00 on Amazon.

Ski chalets set on snowy hillside

Places to stay in Tignes Les Brevieres

Accommodation guide

By: Simon Wilkinson

Tignes Les Brevieres is the village situated at the foot of the massive Chevril Dam and at the end of one of the longest and best off piste runs I know the Vallon de la Sache. It’s a wonderful village and the oldest part of the entire Tignes ski resort. I moved to Brev in the winter of 2002 and spent the next 6 winters there, I loved it so much.

I have worked with and know all of these great chalet companies below so it’s a pleasure to give them a mention in my guide to the best places to stay in Tignes Les Brevieres. Several of them have more than one chalet in resort so I have decided for one reason or another to pick my favourite from each company.

Firstly, I want to recommend Jamie and Gales White Horizons, they now operate 8 properties in Tignes 5 of which are located in Tignes Les Brevieres.

White Horizons Chalets - Chalet Arabette

Website: http://www.whitehorizonchalets.co.uk/

I met Jamie on one of my first ski seasons. His operation has always been driven by his love for the mountains and its shows in his business. His selection of chalets in Brevieres includes Chalet Alistelle, Chalet Arabette, Chalet Le Loup, apartment Blanc Bleu and their latest chalet, Chalet Le Vallon are all run to a very high standard.

I am going to recommend you try Chalet Arabette mainly as I know this chalet very well as I used to manage it in a past life. Chalet Arabette has been recently refurbished to a very high standard and maintains a lovely alpine feel. The chalet sleeps up to 12 guests in 6 bedrooms that are all have well finished en-suite bathrooms. The chalet itself is in a good location only 100 meters from the slopes and the village centre.

The chalet also includes underfloor heating, real log fire, free wifi, UK TV and not one but two lounges. The crowning glory though is the balcony and hot tub with views of the surrounding mountains.

Get in early to book your holiday with White Horizons though as availability can go very fast!

Check out chalet Arabette: http://www.whitehorizonchalets.co.uk/tignes-chalets/chalet-arabette/ & their newest chalet, Chalet Le Vallon: http://www.whitehorizonchalets.co.uk/tignes-chalets/chalet-le-vallon/

 

Ski Brev - Chalet Le Sache

Website: http://www.skibrev.com

With genuinely stunning veiws, the Ski Brev chalet, Chalet La Sache, named after the off piste run Le Vallon de la Sache is an all time favourite of mine. I have been lucky enough to spend some good times here over the years and known several of the managers. The chalet itself perks on the Tignes Les Brevieres hillside overlooking the village and lake.

It’s has a very special feel to it and without doubt one of the best chalets in Tignes Les Brevieres. The chalet main area has spectacular views that can be taken in via the massive windows at the front of the chalet whilst sitting next to a roaring log fire.

Known for its all inclusive, top quality cuisine including a 4 course dinner plus canapés, cooked breakfasts, freshly made afternoon teas and open bar, everything its truly covered here.

The chalet is definalty one of a kind and has a variatly of living spaces and beautifully finished bedrooms. Downstairs there is a private spa with both indoor and outdoor hot tubs and even a generously sized games room with pool table and Sky TV for the “big” kids.

Check out the brand new and very exciting new website and book early to avoid disappointment, it’s a beauty.

Check out the latest prices: http://www.skibrev.com/pricing/

 

Ski Bonjour - Chalet Bonjour Rosko

Website: https://www.skibonjour.com/

Ski Bonjour is a well established chalet company that has grown over resent years and now has a spectacular portfolio of 16 excellent chalets based in Tignes and Val Disere.

I met the owner Steve Gregson when he first came to Tignes Les Breiveres which I have just worked out was over 10 years ago now....wow! He was then a man on a mission to create the best ski chalet business he possibly could. Well he certain achieved that and I am sure he’s a very proud man today.

The chalets Ski Bonjour currently offer in Tignes Les Brevieres are Chalet Bonjour Bonjour, the first chalet they set up and still very popular, Bonjour Panoramique up on the hillside with as the name suggests excellent panoramic views of the mountainside.  Finally, Chalet Rosko, the latest addition to the collection in Brevieres.

I have visited all three of the chalets but I am going to mention Chalet Rosko in this article about the best places to stay in Tignes Les Brevieres as its was the last one I visited recently and I really liked it.

Chalet Rosko is a traditional 21-man alpine style chalet located on the hillside of Brevieres only 100 meters from the pedestrian lift to the slopes. Its extremely well built and this can’t be said about a lot of new build chalets today. The chalet has a very welcoming feel and a large open plan living area with an adjoining kitchen where the magic happens. (cooking that is)

The chalet has a total of 9 bedrooms, all en-suit and all contain flat screen TV’s with English TV. The service as expected from Ski bonjour is excellent and you can enjoy food from the kitchen cooked by your hosts for 6 nights/mornings of the week.

To find out more visit their site, they even have an offer page which you can find here: https://www.skibonjour.com/special-offers/

Small Wonders - Chalet Le Bullou 

Website: http://www.smallwonders.eu/

Small Wonders have some beautiful chalets in several stunning locations, including Tignes Les Brev they also have chalets in Ste Foy Tarentaise, Alpe D’Huez and Megeve. Their Chalet Le Bullou is high up in the Brevieres hillside offering breath-taking views and sumptuous surroundings. The chalet is extremely comfortable and has a very authentic alpine feel to it. The bedrooms are spacious and with en suite bathrooms. The living area is wooden clad and airy and finally don’t forget the outside balcony area. After a hard day on the skis this is the place to unwind and soak up the mountain atmosphere. With a hot tub and barrel sauna positioned with stunning veiws there really is no better spot to relax whilst your evening meal is being prepared.

The service from the Small Wonders staff is renowned for being extremely good an I have heard directly from customers leaving the chalet just how happy they were with the service and the experience as a whole.

Get in early and make the most of their early bird booking discounts by going directly to the Small Wonders website offers page.

http://www.smallwonders.eu/category/special-offers-home/

 

Chalet Chardons - Snow Lodge

Website: https://www.chaletchardons.com/en/home/

Chalet Chardons is probably the longest running chalet catering company in Tignes Les Brevieres so with this type of experience there is a very good reason why it is still so popular today. The business has grown and added chalets of all sizes and levels of luxury over the last 20 years and now has something for really everyone.

Chardons has the majority of its chalets in Tignes Les Brevieres but has one chalet, Chalet Amelie in Le Fornet, Val dIsere. The 8 Chalets situated in Brevieres all have something special to offer from Hostel style rooms at the Chalet Chardons Snow Lodge to premium chalets like Chardons Boubou with Sauna and hot tub.

The chalets are scatted around Tignes Les Breiveres but I am going to recommend Chalet Chardons Snow Lodge because it has a special place in my heart.

This really is the best value straight down the line chalet to stay in the Espace Killy. Its simple, cheap but welcoming and full of laughs. This 50 bed hostel style chalet offers exceptional value for money whilst still only being a few meters from the ski lifts and bang in the centre of the village.

Most rooms have private en-suite bathroom and toilet, you can make the most out of the chardons great deals on ski hire and ski passes as well as Breakfast, afternoon tea and a fantastic 3 course evening meal AND wine!.

Chalet Chardons Snow Lodge is currently ranked number 1 of 17 B&B’s in Tignes so don’t take my word for it but this is excellent value and service from the Chardons crew, so good work.

The bargain and offers page is worth a visit: http://www.chaletchardons.com/en/hotel-cheapest/

 

Savoie Holidays - Chalet Ranjarde

Website: http://www.savoieholidays.com/

Last but defiantly not least is Savoie Holidays. John Hendy the owner has lived and worked in the Alps for over 16 years and the business is in its 15th season of operations. Savoie Holidays has a lovely selection of chalets spread over the Tarentaise valley and 2 of the chalets are situated in Tignes Les Brevieres.

Both are 14 bed, Chalet Iris self catered and Chalet Ranjarde offering a fully catered service.

Sticking with catered chalets, Savoie Holidays Chalet Ranjarde is nestled on the Brev hillside with lovely views from the living and balcony areas. The chalet is situated a 4-5 minute walk to the village centre and ski lifts and has all the necessities for a very comfortable stay.

The chalet includes a hot tub on the balcony, roaring log fire, free wifi, tea and coffee making facilities and UK freesat TV set in comfortable surroundings.

On arrival to the chalet guests enjoy a Champagne reception and ski hire comes to you rather than you go to the shop in the form of Tignes Spirit Rentals ski hire service. I love this! Book on line and they arrive on the day you arrive with a van and kit to get you fitted out with skis and boots at the chalet.

Savoie Holidays offer excellent value for money with all their chalets and have been carefully chosen by the owner. The staff are well trained and give a real home from home feel.

Check out the Chalet Ranjarde special offers page here: http://www.chaletranjarde.com/special.aspx

 

For general information about Tignes Les Brevieres check out: http://tigneslesbrevieres.co.uk/

 

Hotel in the snow

The best Hotels in Les Arcs

Our hotel and residence guide

By: Simon Wilkinson

Welcome to our guide to the best hotels in Les Arcs, we offer our valued opinion and the opportunity to get in early and book one of these fantastic locations. Les Arcs is indeed a fantastic ski area with genuinely good skiing for all levels.The resort is split into 5 main villages starting with Peisey Vallandry/Plan Peisey situated at 1600 meters and elevating all the way up to Les Arcs 2000 for accommodation.

Mountain Rescue Transfers is actually based here not at Les Arcs 2000 but in Peisey Nancroix, the small village nestled into the tree line and at the foot of some rather tasty off piste runs. We thought it about time to give you our guide to the best hotels and the residences of our local ski area.

CGH Résidences & Spas Orée Des Cimes – 4 stars 

Google maps: Route des Espagnols, 73210 Peisey-Nancroix, France 

Peisey Vallandry is a great location for homing your skills and on low visibility days it’s the perfect place to be with lots of the runs winding through the trees.

This is where we start with guide of Les Arcs by recomending the CGH Residences & Spas Oréé Des Cimes. It’s in a cracking location and offers Ski in ski out which is always nice.

The residence has a Spa heated indoor swimming pool, hot tub and even a hammam. All of the spacious apartments enjoy great views of the surrounding mountains and it’s only a 5 minutes’ walk to the village of Peisey Vallandry. The village has some good shopping and the hotel is situated close to the Mont Blanc bar which is not only lively but shows all major sporting event as well as live music and even the odd comedy night.

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Hôtel Arcadien – 3 Stars

Google maps: Arc 1600, 73700 Arc 1600, France 

Moving up to Les Arcs 1600 and we would like to recommend the Hotel Arcadien. The Arcadien is a 3-star hotel that is extremely popular and often availability is very low so you will need to book this one early if your hoping to stay here on peak weeks.

Each room comes with a flat screen TV and French cable channels for classic holiday viewing. The hotel has 2 onsite restaurants, La Cabuche offering Savoyard dishes and Les Arolles offering other local flavours.

It’s certainly very good value for money and very popular although not on the piste it’s only a 9 minute walk from the Mont Blanc and Cachette ski lifts and here you can arrange ski lessons and other activities. It’s our favourite in Les, Arcs 1600.

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Appart'Hotel Odalys Prestige Eden

Google maps: Lieu dit Le Chantel - Arc 1800, 73700 Arc 1800, France 

Les Arcs 1800 could be considered as the ideal location to spend your ski holiday. Its high enough to give you direct access to some of our favourite slopes and lifts and its easy to go straight up and over to Les Arcs 2000. Our recommended Les Arcs 1800 Hotel or residence is going to be Hotel Odalys Prestige Eden it’s a relatively new hotel and offer ski in ski out due to its rather splendid location overlooking Les Arcs 1800.

Each of the ski apartments has as expected flat screen TVs and all towels and linen are provided. It has a very modern feel and retains a real alpine environment with tasteful décor. There is also a restaurant on site.

Ski lifts are abundant and its only 400 meters from the Chantel ski lift, 50 meter from the Dahu and 500 meters from Les Villards and the Vagere on of the best lifts in the area for starting a run down to Peisey Vallandry.

Les Arcs 1800 has a great selection of shops, bars and restaurants that are split up into two areas. It’s a really nice place to walk around at night close to the pistes and being up high in the mountains it has a really special feel to it.

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Pierre & Vacances Premium Arc 1950 Le Village - 5 star

Google maps: Le Village, 73700 Arc 1950, France 

Les Arcs 1950 is a world until its self really, it’s an amazing place to stay for a high-altitude ski holiday. There are ski lifts and runs scatted all around the resort nearly all modern and very fast. There is one very slow lift called the Comborciere but it’s a lovely place to take a rest and eat a sandwich. Unless it’s absolutely freezing of course then avoid it like the plague.

So to our recommended place to stay well Pierre & Vacances have it pretty much sown up here its an extremely well run operation and the level of comfort and professionalism to top notch.

The apartments themselves have a lovely alpine feel to them and all include Wi-Fi as well as a furnished balcony area or terrace all the kitchen equipment you will need and some apartments even have a fireplace.

Other feature of Le village is the indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room as well as a fitness room for some apartments at an additional cost.

The 1950 village has lots going on, there are shops a supermarket several restaurants and bars and it’s has a winter wonderland feel a real ski holiday location.

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Taj-I Mah 5 star

Google maps: Arc 2000, 73790 Arc 2000, France 

We reach the summit, Les Arcs 2000, on a clear day we recommend you head up the highest peak in Les Arcs the Aiguille Rouge (3,250 meters) from here you can get a breath-taking view across the Alps spy on the other high points of this fantastic range. Once you are done sight seeing its time for some skiing again and from the top of the Aiguille Rough you can descend 7 KM all the way to Villaroger a small farming village close to Tignes but still part of the Praradiski ski area. Conditions should be good to make the full descent and when they are its one of the best tree filled runs you can do.

So after a hard days skiing there is now where better in Les Arcs 2000 to stay than one of the most luxurious hotels in the Alps the Taj-I Mah. This recently opened 48 bedroom hotel is at the top of the stack in every way. Top of the hill and top of the luxury market.

With two restaurants one of which is Michelin star its a fantastic place to eat and well as sleep. The rooms are very airy and have spectacular views of the mountain. The whole hotel makes very good use of its surrounding with lots of glass in place to let the outside in. Its certainly a top notch joint for a world class resort so please check in and check it out.

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