The Top European ski runs and why they’re the best*

Learning to ski has gone from being something I’m not all that bothered about to something that I really, REALLY want to do, so when I was set over a piece by Chill Factore about Europe’s top ski runs my interest was certainly peaked. I’m not much a fan of snow when it falls in the UK, but proper stuff, when you’re bundled up and keeping warm by staying active? Bring it on I say!…
From our lift passes and snow park, to our ski lessons and snowboard courses Chill Factore has a range of activities and facilities to help you get into snow sports. But what are our top recommendations when it comes to hitting the mountains for real?

If you’re in the mood for a ski holiday and don’t want to go long haul, Europe is home to some of the world’s most amazing runs. Whether you’re into beautiful scenery and gentle slopes, or rapid drops and adrenaline-pumping speeds, we’ve found the best European ski runs to inspire your next holiday.

Sweden: Piste 4
Scandinavia offers some fantastic ski opportunities, Piste 4 at the Riksgränsen ski resort is a top run found in the Swedish Arctic Circle — a spring break means you get to experience long days, midnight sun and a top terrain for freestyling! Skiers love launching off the natural bumps of the Riksgränsen slopes- But head to Piste 4 — the most famous here — and you’ll glide into Norway before looping back around during your descent!

Switzerland: Parsenn
To get to what is believed to be the ‘birthplace’ of Alpine skiing you take the funicular railway, which was built in 1931. From here, you go up to the 2,662-metre Weissfluhjoch and begin your amazing descent past forests and quaint huts before reaching the valley in Kublis again for the train home.

This run is a classic in Swiss skiing and offers you a great mix of sight-seeing, landscape and gentle terrain, with a maximum gradient of 26%.

France: Sarenne
Apparently the longest black run in the Alps, this is ten miles in length so you get around 90 minutes of intense and continuous skiing starting from the 3,330-metre Pic Blanc. Before you begin your descent make sure to check out the stunning peaks of the Parc National des Ecrins.

This is an exhilarating run where you’ll have the chance to take on a drop of 2,000 metres. However watch out for the launch — it’s incredibly steep!

Austria: The Streif
A word of caution, this one isn’t for beginners or the faint hearted! The Streif is found on the Hahenkamm mountain and hosts one of the most hazardous races in the World Cup — essentially this is one of the world’s most feared runs (perfect for thrill-seekers and those with as much experience as they have confidence!)

At the starting gate get ready to nearly freefall as you begin your 3,300-metre descent at the top of the Streif. In an seconds you’ll have 85% gradients to contend with at a speed of around 84mph! Overall, the course is about 3,312 metres in length with an average gradient of 27%, so perhaps consider some private lessons before you take on this mammoth challenge! The Streif is so famous that a documentary film was made about it in 2015 — Streif: One Hell of a Ride- I’ll definitely be leaving this one to the experts!

Switzerland: Mont Fort

At 3,329 metres Mont Fort in Verbier is a tough challenge for any skier. This run provides a 1,300-metre descent and is generally considered the most challenging of Verbier’s pistes. Unmaintained by machinery Mont Fort has many bumps and is extremely steep — fitness and experience are needed in abundance.

If you can handle it Mont Fort is breath-taking and offers an exhilarating experience that you won’t get on many other runs in the world — try it at dawn for spectacular views of the sunrise over the nearby mountains and glaciers. Another advantage of Mont Fort is it’s location. Verbier is probably one of the world’s most luxurious and party-centric resorts, ideal if you want to make this a rue skiing holiday with a mix of activity and relaxation!

France: Aiguille Rouge
France is home to many amazing ski runs, one of which is Aiguille Rouge — the tallest peak in the Les Arcs resort. At 3,226 metres in height and with a vertical descent of over 2,000 metres this run is classified as black at the top and red a third of the way down.

You get extraordinary panoramic views of the Italian Alps here. It’s best to take on Aiguille Rouge at the very start of the day, as cable car queues get busy quickly! Luckily there’s good quality snow everywhere on the Aiguille Rouge.

Italy: Sella Ronda
Found in the Dolomites and offering potentially the very best views of the Alps this long-distance circuit is a breath-taking experience for beginner and season skiers.

View limestone cliffs and open pastures as you make your descent. The the Sella Ronda run is made up of around 14 miles of runs looping around a huge crag that are linked by lifts. It’s the ideal spot if you want to catch a glimpse of several villages along the way and you can do the run easily in a single day — although it’s recommended that you try it in both directions!

Switzerland: Lauberhorn
Maybe adrenaline-pumping runs are your thing and you’re looking for a challenge with your next ski holiday. If so test your skills on the Lauberhorn. Here, you’ll begin from the 2,500-metre apex and descend 4,500 metres in just 150 seconds. Supposedly the Lauberhorn is the fastest run in the World Cup. However there’s much more to contend with than steepness — there’ll also be a 130-foot jump that catapults you into the air and speeds of nearly 100mph — enough for g-forces to come into play.

Austria: Harakiri
Anything that’s named after a samurai ritual for suicide must be approached with caution! At 1,500m in length the Harakiri run in Austria is found in the resort of Mayrhofen and usually has an icy centre with more easy-to-grip snow at the edge. This Austrian run is supposedly the steepest groomed slope in the world with an average gradient of almost 80%!

Similar to many other runs, the beginning is the scariest — experts say keep your weight on your outer ski and try to decrease your speed whenever possible to reach the bottom in a vertical stance. In other words plenty of specialist ski lessons are essential- and a good sense of balance!

France: Pas de Chavanette
Can’t choose between Switzerland and France? Why not get the best of both worlds by visiting Pas de Chavanette — also called the ‘Swiss Wall’ — on the French-Swiss border? This popular 200-metre ski run is based at the heart of the Portes du Soleil ski area and features swift drops and steep angles — so much so, your vision might be slightly obscured at times!

This run is an ungroomed run and its difficulty level relies on the season. Ski on a decent layer of snow and you will glide effortlessly — but beware when the run is icier and bumpier, as only experienced skiers will be able to hold themselves upright and make the necessary emergency stops when required.

There’s a decent mix of runs that are perfect for beginner, intermediate and experienced skiers here. However, there are plenty more European runs you can visit if you look around. Why not plan a visit to Chill Factore prior to your departure to make sure you have the necessary skills to make the most of your ski holiday adventure?


A Holiday Swimwear Wish List*

I’ve finally got around to booking some time off work over the next few months, and for the first time in a few years I’m in a position where I can afford to book a holiday. After an incredible but somewhat cold and rainy trip to Scotland last year I’m seriously hoping to head to sunnier climes this time around. Working out where we want to go is proving tricky for Bob and I- we’d be going in July and want somewhere with sunshine, but not too hot (Spain’s 40 degree days might be ok for me but I fear Bob would come back as a puddle). It also needs to be affordable and somewhere that doesn’t take 6+ hours to fly to- four hours is about my maximum tolerance on a plane for a week long break.

Whilst picking a destination might be difficult, thinking about a holiday wardrobe is all too easy, although not without it’s own challenges.
My body this Summer is going to be very different to how it was last Summer, and even more so than the ones before. The idea of baring skin is daunting as I’m not yet used to my changing figure and it’s certainly not as toned as I would like (there’s a whole other post coming on that one). Still, the high street seems to be awash with gorgeous high-waisted bikinis at the moment so I thought that today, with it’s grey and dismal sky, I’d pop together a wish list of some of the swim wear I could definitely envisage myself in this Summer.

From top left-
ASOS | Simply Beach | Simply Beach | ASOS | Monki | Simply Beach

It goes without saying that ASOS was my first port of call when seeking inspiration- I barely even scratched the surface of their swim wear pages before I had more than a dozen items on my wish list! I was especially taken with this white and floral printed number for lazing on a beach, as well as the much plainer block navy set for more practical purposes such as swimming or any water based activities.
It would also go without saying that I’d find something I loved from Monki- every Summer I admire their swim collections wishing I had reason to justify a purchase. This year I might be able to do just that and I feel that this ruche monochrome bikini set would be both flattering and stylish.

Branching out of my usual haunts and I stumbled across Simply Beach as well, which got me thinking back to the quality over quantity debate. I am absolutely smitten with the blue and white set by Lepel London- and whilst the set might set me back £40 one suspects it is built to last more than some of my cheaper picks on this wish list. I might be imagining it but I also imagine it to be more supportive and therefore flattering, but that could just be me trying to justify potentially spending more on a bikini than I ever have before.

So there we have it, my swim wear wish list. All I need now is for us to decide on a holiday destination, get something booked and then start shopping (and given I’ve grown out of every bikini/pair of shorts/just about everything I own) I feel I have the perfect excuse.

Where are you heading for your holidays this year? Do you have any recommendations that fit my affordable/not too far/plenty of sunshine brief?


The Scotland Photo Post

I’ve been home for almost two weeks now and I’m only just finding the time to put up some of the photos from my holiday to Scotland with Bob. I haven’t got as far as getting any words to go with the post, life has been going 100mph since my return, but take a moment to sit back and take in the beautiful scenery of the North West Highlands alongside a few gratuitous selfies of the boy and I.
In a way this is a bit of a filler post, as mentioned up-post there just hasn’t been much time for anything but work and living my life in a way it hasn’t been lived in many a year. Fingers crossed I’m getting myself more organised from now and there will be some more quality and consistent content coming your way- bet you’re all on the edge of your seats with excitement!


Bering at

I’ve been back from my trip to Scotland for just over a week now, and whilst it’s nice to be back in the world of wifi, phone signal and being within walking distance of a local shop I am seriously missing the isolation, quietness and natural beauty of the North West highlands.

We spent most of our trip in a static caravan on a site in Gairloch but made a trip over to the town of Ullapool where Bob lived and worked in a hotel for some time a few years ago. We booked a room in the hotel, caught up with some of his friends and family and found it to be the perfect environment to photograph my new watch by Bering at*.

The Bering Ladies’ Classic watch is hands down the classiest watch I own. The strap is a gorgeous khaki green and the dial is rose gold simplicity- perfect for wearing day and night. Since I’ve been home I’ve been wearing it daily for work, but whilst I was away I used it as a glam accessory for our night out in the hotel.

I wish I’d taken more photos at The Ceilidh Place as it’s hands down the nicest hotel I’ve stayed in to date. There are no televisions to be found, instead the rooms have a selection of books (and there’s a book shop attached to the hotel too) and a digital radio should you need more than the silence and enjoyment of a classic novel.
The rooms are cosy, clean and the bathroom was gorgeous. We ate at the hotel restaurant and I can happily confirm the food is delicious- I highly recommend the dressed crab. We stayed on for drinks too (a great array of gin!) and of course breakfast the next day…the perfect remedy for a sore head from the night before.
There’s a lovely vibe about the place and should you find yourself in Ullapool then I do recommend a stay here, or even just booking a table for dinner in the evening. I’ll do a photo re-cap post of my Scotland trip soon, life’s been absolute chaos since I’ve been back and I’m working pretty much full time again for the first time in ages but blog posts are brewing.

In the mean time, sit back, enjoy the pictures and let me know how you’d style this watch.


DLM – Instagram stores for your last-minute holiday buys*

You can’t beat online shopping for last-minute holiday purchases with offers, next-day deliveries and easy free returns it’s the most varied way to get our wardrobes ready without spending hours upon hour trawling the shops.
With the rise of social media we now have more options than ever. Have you ever considered making your purchases through Instagram? It opens up a whole new avenue of browsing and buying- here are our top five Instagram stores to get you started.
Pool Party UKFor Pool Party UK it’s all about swimwear (clue is in the name!) There are super-cute slogan swimsuits to suit any mood and any holiday destination. Our faves? ‘I’d rather be a mermaid’, ‘Heart breaker’ and of course ‘Cocktails’. If you can’t find the slogan you want then there is also the option to custom design one for you and your squad.

On Instagram

KJ Style BoutiqueUp the holiday glam stakes with KJ Style boutique. Their clothes are all about flaunting your curves…with body-cons, cut-out maxis and co-ords galore, their collection will help you to show off the summer bod you worked so hard for in the glammest possible way!

On Instagram

Motel SwimA sub-brand of cult label Motel Rocks, Motel Swim has some of the best bikinis on the market and there’s something to suit every girl’s shape and style. From daring cut-outs to retro style one pieces (and just about everything in between) you’ll be spoilt for choice on your holiday swimwear.

On Instagram

Sonya Bee BoutiqueSonya Bee’s Boutique will help you keep your holiday look stylish and on-trend whilst staying on budget. You’ll find tailored pants, draped maxis and cropped sweatshirts (for cool summer nights). They only have a few key pieces on sale but trust us, you will want them all…

On Instagram

Lemon LunarLemon Lunar is the right place for your holiday party wardrobe. They specialise in glam body-con dresses of all types including slinky camis, cut-out bandeaus and amazing draped maxis. You can choose dusky shades of gold and burgundy
or go bright with juicy orange and yellow bandage dresses. Whatever your party style you’ll find the perfect outfit here!

On Instagram

Research provided by DLM, letterbox distribution company. All images taken from the brand Instagram accounts.

celebrity dresses