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Winter Holiday Booking Information for 2014/2015
Thank-you for your interest in Big Blue’s Winter Holidays. In this Information pack I hope to excite you if you are thinking of joining us but also to provide you with all the details you will need. There is no set format and everything is flexible to allow for your desires and the weather. We know the area well and understand how to forecast the wind which is much trickier in the mountains than on the beach. Everyone can be accommodated whether they are beginner kiters/skiers/boarders or those looking for a more varied winter holiday away from the crowds with access to high level challenges.
The concept is that you find your way to Brig. Once in Brig we will collect you and take you to the supermarket where you can stock up on essentials. We will then be your guides for the week, passing on our knowledge of the area and our interpretation of the weather to give you the best skiing or snow kiting available. There are lots of options for everything from the size of the ski area to the choice of activities and how energetic or relaxing you want your holiday to be. I hope to explain all those options so you have as much information about your holiday as possible.
Travel to Brig
Geneva or Milan Bergamo. Nearest train station:
The train journey time is about 2 hrs from both Geneva and Milan. The train station in Geneva is in the airport where as in Milan Bergamo you need to get a bus to Milan train station. Also the trains from Milan to Brig don’t run as late as they do from Geneva so check this if your plane arrives in the evening.
Swiss Trains Website:
You can buy your tickets on the day or book them in advance. There is no difference in price. It is possible to catch a train from London to Brig
You can also hire a car especially if there are 3 or more of you as the costs of the return train tickets may work out the same as a car. The drive from Geneva to Brig is easy and takes about 2 hrs. The journey from Milan is longer and requires driving over the Simplon Pass. This can be very snowy and sometimes closed. Ensure you hire a car with winter tyres and if the Pass is closed you will have to take the car train to Brig.
Getting About Valais
Once in Brig, Big Blue will collect you from the train station and drive you the 7 minutes to Hotel Bach. Every morning we will meet to discuss the weather and the options for the day. The van has 5 seats and plenty of space to carry kit. If there is a larger group of you then you may need to hire a car as well.
If snow kiting we will drive you to the snow kiting areas, spend the day with you, keep an eye on you and return you to the hotel at the end of the day. If skiing we will drive you to the best ski area for your ability and for the best snow. We will either join you for the day on the slopes or if you prefer we will drop you off and pick you up. If there is a mixed group of kiters and skiers then we will drop the skiers at the best local bus station for access to the chosen ski area. The guiding for the week costs £200pp.
Hotel Bach is located in Ried-Brig, Brei. Brei is a small hamlet on the side of the Rhone Valley with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The hotel consists of self-catered apartments. Each apartment has a twin room, bathroom and open plan kitchen/living room with a sofa bed. They are perfect for a couple or a bit cramped for 2 couples but suitable for 3 people. All the rooms are accessed from the front of the building. On the ground floor is a communal games room with an open fire, pool table, dart board, table football and pinball machines. There is also a sauna for resting those aching muscles. The nearest bus stop is a 3 minute walk and the nearest shops are a 20 minute walk. There is a restaurant opposite the hotel which serves great food.
When we collect you from the train station we will take you to a local supermarket so you can stock up on provisions for the week. They are closed on Sundays so if you arrive on this day let us know what you would like in advance and we will do a small basic shop for you.
Lunches are up to you. You can choose to eat in a mountain restaurant or make your own lunch. We will stop at the bakery every morning to pick up rolls and pastries. Evening meals can be self catered in the hotel. The kitchen has everything you need including fondue and raclette equipment. If you need to visit the supermarket for more provisions then just ask and we will happily take you.
There are lots of restaurants to choose from and we can drop you off and ensure that you will be able to get back. If you are planning on a late night we ask that you get a taxi back to the hotel. There are regular buses from Brig to Brei but they don’t run too late, so ask and we will find out the times for you. Opposite the hotel is a new restaurant called Zer Mili. It offers a modern a la carte menu and has won many awards. The other restaurants vary from steak houses in Ried-Brig frequented by local farmers to Pizza houses in Brig. Occasionally we might catch the last cable car up to Rosswald which is the nearest ski area, have a meal and then toboggan back to the hotel by moonlight.
It is also possible to order a Thai meal and have it delivered to the hotel. Ask us for details.
Ski and snowboard equipment can be hired from Rip Zone in Brig for the week or individual days. It is also possible to hire ski touring equipment. If you require any equipment then let us know what you need, your height, weight and shoe size and we will pre-collect it for your arrival. Here is a link to the price list:
The snow kiting in the area varies from high mountain passes to low level meadows. We have all wind directions covered. The potential for climbing and touring with the kite are plentiful. One of the locations, the Grimsel Pass is only accessible by snow cat making for a memorable day with a long free ride back down to the valley. The 4 nearest locations offer a variety of flat areas for teaching beginners and rolling landscapes with drops and wind lips for the more advanced to explore.
Big Blue offers a variety of courses in snow kiting, from 2 day beginner packages to hourly coaching, water and land kiting crossover courses and guided tours. Kite courses are charged separately as you never know how much will be achieved based on the weather during the week. On the whole we average over the whole season about 50:50 good to bad days.
Course prices include all the necessary equipment except ski/ snowboards. If you have your own kites bring them along. If not we have a comprehensive range of Ozone foil kites available to hire. This is also charged separately based on number of days use. The more you hire the kites the cheaper it works out. Harnesses and helmets are also available to hire.
You can snow kite on skis/ snowboards. Skis are easier and ideally you should be able to master a blue run before learning to snowkite. Snowboarding with a kite is more similar to kitesurfing but balancing on one edge is harder than two. Kiting with skis requires less power and offers more stability and the ability to walk should the kite falter or crash.
If you have your own kites do bring them along. I would however recommend de-power foil kites over inflatables. If you only buy or borrow one de-power foil kite then make it a big one (11m+) for use in lighter winds and then use your inflatables when the wind is stronger. If you are with us and you don’t have the right kite size for the day then you can hire one from us. If you are looking to hire kites for the whole week then we have a large number of 2015 Ozone Access’ and Frenzys in all sizes.
The tobogganing on offer in Valais is incredible. It provides a great way of having a relaxing day in the mountains, whilst being able to enjoy the views and mountains. If the weather is particularly bad and skiing is not worth the money due to poor visibility then a couple of 45 minute toboggan runs is a great alternative. The nearest ski area to Hotel Bach is Rosswald. It is possible to catch the last cable car at 19:15 to the resort for a meal or drink. When ready the only way down the mountain is by sledge. Lit by the moon the forest provides a serene backdrop to the stunning views of the mountains with all the street lights glistening far below in the valley. The cable car costs £5 and the toboggans £6 per run or £10 for the day.
Although not a primary choice of activity for most people, snowshoeing/ski touring again offers a good alternative in less than ideal conditions. If the weather is poor or super sunny and slushy at the end of the season, then snowshoes can be hired to explore areas which otherwise you would never consider visiting. Snow covered forests, deep gullies or high mountain peaks can all be accessed without the cost of a lift pass. The well marked trails in the area offer access to untouched slopes for free riding or stunning views for a picnic lunch. The snow shoes/ ski touring hire prices are listed in the Ski hire section.
It is advised to take out travel insurance for all winter holidays. We recommend Insure and Go but be sure to mention that you will be snow kiting. During all snow kiting courses and supervised hire you are covered by The Swiss Snow Kiting Schools public liability insurance.
Booking and Payment
To book, contact us to check availability and then book your flights. We will then secure your room and take the guiding fee of £200 as a deposit by cheque or bank transfer. The deposit is refundable up to 14 days before the booking after which it is non-refundable. All other costs are paid for on departure at the end of your stay in Swiss Francs or by card (Visa/Mastercard).
We hope this gives you all the information you need for a memorable holiday.
If there is anything we have missed or questions you need answering then please get in touch and we will be happy to help.
Call: Oli +44 (0)7816 169359 (UK)
+41 (0)795 597983 (Swiss)
Holiday Booking information (printable version)
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