New trends for winter sports in 2023, here
From ski touring to boutique hotels, to destinations far from mass tourism: here are the new winter sports trends to try in 2023.
1 | Zero elevators
“Climbing a mountain on foot or on skis covered in sealskin is a sport, but ski touring is becoming more and more popular,” explains Dimitri Papageorges of public relations agency Mindshake, who has just returned from a week’s skiing tour. This specialist counts several French ski areas among his clients. The Galy Sport store in Brussels confirms: ski touring is the main trend of the season. “During the pandemic, when the lockdown forced the closure of all ski lifts, skiers looked for alternatives. That’s what made it successful.”
Social networks also contribute to this: ski tours are often freeriders, and their videos of slopes without a ski soul cause people to envy. “Ski touring has nothing to do with downhill skiing: it’s a different state of mind,” continues Papageorges. “You pass through forests and mountain pastures where only the crunch of skis breaks the silence. Last week I stayed at the Prariond refuge in Val d’Isère. In the evening we made raclette and warmed up by the fire: it was great!”
This year, almost all ski resorts in the Alps offer separate routes for ski tourists, catering to their demands for shorter distances or lower altitudes. There are also “free casual” events where the emphasis is on the descent rather than the ascent, such as the Trace des Grands in Chamonix.
How to start? “You should not make the mistake of going alone. It sounds easy on TikTok, but in reality ski touring requires knowledge of equipment as well as a basic understanding of all things mountain hazards, including avalanches. If you have never done a ski tour before, it is best to hire a guide. Any ski area can recommend one to you, because one thing is certain: a ski tour route cannot be improvised”.
Contact the French ski school (ESF) which offers introductory sessions for beginners.
2 | Boutique hotels in the mountains
Boutique hotels flourish in the mountains. Exhibitions in the wine bar or lobby follow the same principles as modern city hotels.
- the Engelberg Ski House, in Switzerland is a good example. The Konrad brasserie and bar, which is also very popular with the locals, comes alive with concerts or quizzes. A thousand leagues from après-ski clichés.
- New AmaStay, in the Italian Dolomites, offers serviced apartments. Many clients come here to work from home and the lobby is their meeting place.
- Holzgauer Haus, is a shelter converted into a hotel in Austria. The restaurant is open all day and attracts many tourists. The refrigerator in the rooms or suites can be filled on request with local products with a low environmental impact: none of them have traveled more than twenty kilometers.
3 | Hitting the Alps
David De Vleeschauwer, travelogue photographer for Sabato and co-author of Remote Experiences, offers four alternatives to the Alps off the beaten path.
- Hokkaido – Japan | Japan’s northernmost island has beautiful ski areas. “There are ski resorts and slopes of different colors here. Hokkaido is famous for its snow quality. You can’t compare the snow in Japan to the snow in Europe, because Japanese powder is really a separate concept.” Niseko ski area is not called the “powder capital of the world” for nothing.
- Deplar Farm – Iceland | The famous Deplar Farm lodge, a thirteen-room and otherworldly boutique hotel, is hidden away in the north of Iceland. “Skiing in this area is on the promise list. It’s rare to be able to ski with a sea view. And since there are no ski lifts, it’s a helicopter that takes you to the top. Great experience!”
- Jackson Hole – United States of America | Located in Wyoming, this 100-piste ski area is famous for its off-piste skiing potential. “There is a western atmosphere, including the halls. As the name suggests, Jackson Hole is a true cowboy village.
- There is – Sweden | Sweden’s most famous ski area is located in its center. Alternative winter sports destinations are often difficult to reach, but Åre finally has a direct connection from Amsterdam (with BBI Travel). “This is what Sweden is of the moment, as it mixes the secular past with modern celebration.”
4| Boutique tour operator
Skiing in Japan is exotic! But if you want to entrust the organization to an expert, where should you book your trip? More and more agencies are specializing in alternative ski trips in wild and pristine nature away from mass tourism. Small selection.
- Wildlinger | Jens Wielandt founded the adventure travel agency The Wildlinger in 2019, just before the pandemic. The timing could have been better, but today he is considered an off-piste specialist in Belgium.
- Epic | Dutch snow tour operator organizing information sessions in Belgium. It offers freeriding in Japan, heliskiing in Canada and ski touring in Iceland.
- 62° North | “Luxury curated travel”, this is how this Norwegian agency presents itself. Its “signature adventure” package offers a six-day ski trip to the pristine peaks of western Norway. From the accommodations to the equipment to the kitchen: everything is five stars.
- Idunn | A niche player actively developing its offering. Among the most authentic journeys: ice skating from the hut and above all the sailing and skiing program – every day a sailing boat drops you off after docking along a Norwegian fjord.