Australians are natural born travellers and Europe has long been a high priority on most of our bucket lists. Whilst we mostly visit in the warmer months, a ski or snowboard holiday will allow you to experience a different side of Europe and will balance that beach time with some very healthy activity!
We all know that skiing requires physical effort, which by definition has its health benefits. What you might not know however is just how good skiing (and boarding) can be for our general health. Here are just a few facts:
A study by Harvard Medical School found that a person weighing 70kg burns 223 calories in just half an hour of downhill skiing whilst over the course of a full day (depending on body weight and effort), that number can jump to around 3000 calories.
As we schuss down the mountain, we rely heavily on what is known as our core muscles to keep us upright and balanced. These muscles begin either side of your spine and wrap around your body. Strengthening these is what flattens your tummy!
Regardless of ability, skiing and boarding is a fantastic cardio workout. Improving your cardiovascular system means elevating your heart rate, which increases blood circulation, bringing more nutrients and oxygen to your tissues and helping to remove waste from the body more quickly.
Working out in this way also means your muscles are able to draw in more oxygen and blood which produces more capillaries and allows your muscles to expand, and, in turn, burn up calories more quickly.
Europe is calling…
Famous alpine resorts such as Innsbruck in Austria and Chamonix in France are perfect for a quintessentially European skiing holiday. These destinations have something for every standard of ability as well as a vibrant town for après and non-skiers. If you’ve always wondered what it’s like to ski or board in Europe, with our high Australian dollar and great deals from our partner Select World Travel exclusively for CBHS members, now could just be the right time.
Steeped in mountaineering and skiing traditions, the quaint village of Chamonix is the oldest ski resort in France and a Mecca for advanced skiers who spend their time challenging the vast expanses of the off-piste terrain. The area's lift pass covers 14 resorts with over 200 lifts and 500 kilometres of runs making Chamonix an ideal winter destination of all skiing levels. The skiing is divided into five main areas, with the valley stretching from Les Houches at 1,000 metres to Les Tours at 1,460 metres, all linked by an efficient ski bus service.
Beginners’ slopes are located at Les Planards and the Savoy area at the Brevent lift, or head to Argentiere for the nursery slopes. Intermediates will find a range of challenging red runs throughout the various areas. Expert adventurous types can tackle the 20 kilometre off-piste Vallee Blanche for the experience of a lifetime. Please note however, the services of a local experienced guide are essential to ski this off-piste route.
Chamonix is a true playground for expert skiers worldwide. With a reputation as the 'off-piste' capital of Europe you will not be short of powder bowls, natural gullies and drops to get the adrenaline pumping. Snowboarders will also love the challenging piste on offer, with plenty of powder and varied terrain to suit any rider.
The 800-year-old capital of Austria’s Tyrol region, Innsbruck is one of Europe’s oldest ski centres and played host to the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympic Games. With six regions, fifteen villages and over 128km of runs, there is certainly plenty of terrain to choose from. Although not completely linked, the various regions offer great value via multi-day lift pass options.
The areas around Innsbruck are extremely popular with snowboarders and freestyle skiers, offering plenty of terrain parks, half-pipes, rails, tables etc. Seegrube-Nordkette is known for its steep and deep riding. Stubai Glacier has a large terrain park, downhill racecourse and some great beginner runs. The greatest variety of terrain is offered at Axamer Lizum to the southwest of Innsbruck. The area consists of two peaks, Hoadi and Pleisen, offering mostly wide-open skiing and boarding above the tree line.
Whether it’s Chamonix, Innsbruck or any other resort, skiing and boarding is a great way to experience European winter culture at its best. Come home relaxed, fitter and healthier than when you left!
Select World Travel and CBHS have partnered to provide you, our valued members, with health and wellbeing holiday ideas. When you book with CBHS and Select World Travel, enjoy discounts on flights, hotels, tours and classic ski destinations. Prices for Chamonix start at $1098 and Innsbruck from $562 per person twin share (includes a 10% discount for members). Europe’s ski season is typically mid December to mid April varying from resort to resort and subject to conditions. Book with Select World Travel before 31 October 2014 to receive a 10% discount on the above price plus a $75 voucher towards your flights.
Phone 1800 242 373 or visit http://www.selectworldtravel.com.au/CBHS