SKI BUMS :: Gay & lesbian skiing and snowboarding club
The Telegraph calls Val d’Isère, France their “favourite ski resort.” In many ways, its the ideal Alpine town, matched with absolutely spectacular slopes that leap into the sky.
The area is massive. Adjoining the neighboring resort of Tignes, the combined Espace Killy offers 94 lifts, stretching across more than 100,000 hectares of skiable terrain. It’s impossible to ski or ride it all in just a week. March is the perfect time to go. Fresh snowfall is common, where the top altitude rises to 3,456 metres (11,338 feet), providing incredible conditions well into spring.
We’re especially thrilled to invite you to discover Val d’Isère during the annual European Snow Pride. You’ll meet fun-loving skiers and snowboarders from across the planet. And each evening, you’ll relax and dine at our stylish, comfortable hotel right in the heart of the village.
Space is limited — and our room block is now sold out.
We reserve the right to cancel, reschedule, or make changes in the trip itinerary as a result of weather or safety considerations or as otherwise deemed necessary or advisable. If your trip is cancelled or rescheduled due to weather, snow, or mountain conditions, or circumstances beyond our control, you will receive a full credit for a future trip. All trip credits may be applied to any trip in the SKI BUMS future. There is no expiration date.
SKI BUMS is not responsible for the cost of any additional expenses that you may incur as a result of trip rescheduling or cancellation (airline ticketing fees, etc.).
To use a credit for a future deposit or payment, please contact us directly.
Through February 1, you may cancel your spot at any time and receive a full refund. After February 1, the following cancellation fees apply:
For cancellations received from February 2 - February 28, £500 fee. After March 1st: no refund.
In order to obtain our bulk group discounts, we must agree to a very strict cancellation policy. It's the nature of group travel. Think of your SKI BUMS booking as you would an airline reservation; even we find someone to take your place, the cancellation fees still apply.
If you buy travel insurance, you can still receive a refund for a cancelled SKI BUMS trip.
Buy travel insurance. We cannot stress this enough.
A travel insurer can provide a refund even when SKI BUMS cannot. In the circumstance that you need to cancel your trip because of work or health reasons, you should purchase travel insurance within 30 days of your initial trip deposit.
Even if you purchase travel insurance after this date, some coverage is much better than no coverage at all. Our cancellation policy is strict, and after cancellation fees kick in, a travel insurer may be your only chance for a full refund.
There are many travel insurers, and policies are very affordable. We especially recommend travelinsured.com, and suggest you add the sports package to cover skiing & snowboarding activity.
These are the dates for those who sign up today. Pricing and payment dates may change for those who sign up at a later date, if space remains. Late payments are subject to a 5% late-payment fee. It is up to you to submit your payments on time. You may always pay early.
You may pay with any major credit card, cash or check. We use PayPal to process online credit card payments. PayPal is the internet's most trusted online payment portal, and you do not need to be a PayPal member to submit a payment.
If you would ever like to use PayPal to send a manual payment (from a smartphone, for example), our account address is: payments (at) ski-bums.org.
Your trip includes a 6 day lift pass pass for Espace Killy.
The Espace Killy pass is valid at all the lifts at the neighbouring resorts of Val d’Isère and Tignes.
On our European trips, many participants will take a day off (or a half day) to relax. Our first day of skiing & riding will be Sunday. Learn more >
Note: If you or your travel partner do not ski or snowboard -- or you've already got a lift pass -- we can remove the lift tickets from our package; contact us to make arrangements.
A few weeks before we travel, all participants will submit a Travel Portfolio, where we'll collect your flight information, dietary restrictions, roommate requests, emergency contact info, skill level, and other pertinent details. We'll email everyone and post the link here when it's time to submit it.
SKI BUMS designs our season for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, but we make specific recommendations for each trip. On ALL SKI BUMS trips, we begin by dividing into skill level groups so you can identify those who enjoy the same terrain that you do.
The slopes of Val d’Isère (and neighboring areas) are well-suited for everyone. There are ample beginner areas, abundant groomed intermediate runs, and exhaustive off-piste areas for those who are looking for a good challenge. It’s the Alps — it’s hard to go wrong. SKI BUMS hosts trips to the Alps every season. Historically, a small handful of participants are beginner skiers and riders. About a third are intermediates, and about half are advanced / expert skiers and riders. If you have any questions about whether you'll enjoy the terrain here, please contact us before signing up.
For a more relaxed, well-rested itinerary, you may want to arrive early, particularly if you’re traveling from outside Europe. SKI BUMS is hosting a trip to Zermatt in the week immediately preceding this; although the trip is sold out, you’re invited to join our wait list. We always receive last-minute cancellations.
As for additional nights and accommodations, SKI BUMS trip leaders are happy to offer advice, but we cannot book additional nights for you at our hotel in Val d’Isère, and we will not be on hand to offer travel assistance beyond the official dates of our itinerary.
For more discussion about trip extensions -- and to see if others would like to join you -- join the discussion on our Facebook group >
HEAD'S UP: You'll want to be smart and cautious about buying your airfare, so you can take advantage of the best train transfer options and optimize your arrival and departure days.
KEY DETAILS & SUGGESTIONS TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR TRAVEL Friday March 17 If you are departing from outside Europe, you’ll likely depart on Friday to arrive in Europe on Saturday.
Saturday, March 18 + Morning: For those who are departing from the UK, aim for an early morning departure + 2:00 PM: Aim to land in Geneva by this time + After landing: transfer to Val d’Isère + 3:00 PM: Our rooms will be ready for check-in. If you arrive earlier, the hotel can store luggage + Afternoon:Get settled and pick up equipment rentals + 8:00 PM: The trip officially begins at our Meet & Greet in the hotel, where you'll meet the trip leaders and your fellow participants, followed by first our group dinner. Don’t miss this!
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Saturday, March 25 + Morning: check-out of our hotel + Afternoon: transfer to your destination of choice
IMPORTANT NOTE:if you are flying from Geneva, we do not suggest departing any earlier than 2:00 PM on Saturday. You’ll need to allow travel time from the mountains to the airport, which can be delayed in snowy weather. Some participants will choose to stay Saturday night in Geneva.
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Connect with the other BUMS on Facebook if you'd like to coordinate travel with others.
For those who opt to travel to the Alps by train, we suggest visiting the Eurostar or Euro Rail site to plan your trip. If you’ve got any questions about how the trains work, or you’d like to book travel alongside other BUMS, post a message on our Val d’Isère Facebook Group.
“Val d’Isere is a premium French alpine resort that oozes charm and panache. The calibre of the skiing is also world class, and the resort hosts numerous international skiing competitions annually. Along with nearby Tignes Ski Resort, Val d’Isere forms part of the "l'Espace Killy", the self-titled "Most Beautiful Ski Area in the World.”
For a resort this historic and charming, its lifts are wonderfully modern. The area’s 71 lifts include a brand new gondola with heated seats and wi-fi. Huge trams carry skiers and riders up more than 1,900 meters of vertical. The terrain includes ample slopes for everyone. Beginners have the rare opportunity to enjoy easy terrain at high altitude, with the same spectacular views that the experts enjoy. Intermediates have extensive options among well-groomed pistes. Speed-loving shredders can test their skills on the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics downhill courses. Those who enjoy heading off-piste can find gnarly chutes, fun-filled tree runs, and secret stashes of powder.
Truthfully, this resort is perfect for just about everybody. If you’ve never been skiing or snowboarding in the Alps before, it’s a fantastic way to find out what you’ve been missing.
SKI BUMS anticipates what you'll need to know, and when you'll need to know it. We email valuable pre-trip information to all our participants, in numbered Info Packs. You'll need to receive them and read them closely, so it's crucial that you've provided an email address to us that you check regularly.Gmail users: you need to take extra steps to see our emails.
Who's coming on the trip? Find out by joining our special SKI BUMS Val d’isère Facebook Group. Whether you're simply curious about signing up or you're already on board, everyone's welcome to join this Facebook group. Feel free to invite friends, too -- it's a cool way to begin learning names of the skiers and boarders who you'll meet when we're in Italy! if you decide not to join us, we'll remove you from the group before the trip begins.
In advance of the trip, the BUMS use this group to share travel plans and coordinate meet ups for ground transfers. During and after the trip, they share pics and messages with one another.You'll see posts like "who's on the 1 PM flight into Geneva?” and "who's up for fresh tracks tomorrow?"
Of course, weather is impossible to predict, but SKI BUMS plans our trips with an eye on weather history. Snowfall in the French Alps is most reliable from late-December through mid April. March is historically this area’s snowiest month. The very high altitudes (and massive glaciers) make the French Alps wonderfully snowy and beautiful through the spring. The mid-point of March is an ideal time to enjoy quality conditions, and there's a good chance of fresh powder snow storms, mixed with days of beautiful warm sun. Historically, this period offers pretty much the best of both worlds. Great snow up at altitude, and sunny après-ski down in town.
Our rooms are guaranteed after 3 PM on Saturday the 18th. When you arrive, you'll simply check in at the hotel as your normally would. Please have your passport handy for identification.
Our trip officially begins at 8 PM with a meet & greet, followed by dinner. In our hotel lounge, you'll meet the SKI BUMS trip leaders and the other participants -- and then we'll sit down for a relaxing dinner to welcome you to the French Alps!
This trip has a minimum of 15 participants. If we fail to meet our minimum number of registered participants by 60 days before the trip, the trip may be cancelled. In that event, those who have signed up for the trip will receive a full refund.
+ Seven night stay at the cool, comfortable and stylish Hotel Kandahar + Six-day ski lift pass for Val d’Isère / Tignes / Espace Killy + Daily multi-course dinners at our hotel restaurant + Daily breakfast at our hotel restaurant + Complimentary shuttle service between our hotel and the Val d’Isère train station + Welcome reception + A daily itinerary of guided activities, terrain recommendations and and hosted events + Up-to-the-minute trip updates, delivered to your mobile phone + Trip organization, guidance and assistance from SKI BUMS professional trip leaders
+ Air transportation + Ground transfer transportation + Ski and snowboard equipment rental + Lunches, alcoholic drinks + Travel insurance (very highly recommended)
+ Saturday, March 18: Check-in day: arrive in Val d’Isère by 5:00 PM
+ Sunday March 19 - Friday March 24: Ski & ride
+ Saturday March 25: Check-out day: travel home
(Note: for any participants traveling from outside Europe, please closely read the air transportation recommendations below)
Our trip leaders design an itinerary that highlights the best spots in the region, with up-to-the-minute reports that you'll receive on your mobile device (see below). View a sample itinerary >
The on-mountain adventure begins bright and early on Sunday. We divide into skill level groups that help you identify the other skiers and snowboarders who enjoy the same terrain that you do, and then we divide and conquer the mountain! Learn about our skill level groups. >
Because the terrain here is expansive, the trip leaders generally name a broad area where the group will spend each day, particularly for the first three days. That'll allow us to travel together and gather as a group for lunch, enjoying some of the delicious offerings of Alpine cuisine. Later in the week, you'll have more freedom and flexibility to choose your own adventure! In general, you'll spend most of the day in a smallish group of four or five skiers or boarders -- but that's up to you. The BUMS are a social crowd, so it's always easy to find others to join in the fun.
You and your group will set your own pace, and it's common to mix it up with a few different groups throughout the week. As the week progresses, you can explore more terrain or spend a day at the spa. This is your holiday, so you're always free to break away and do your own thing.
You must have a cell phone that will work while we are in France. It will need to be able to receive SMS text messages, even when you are not on Wi-Fi.
Trip leaders send up-to-the-minute text message alerts with itinerary information, transportation pickup times, lunch locations, weather advisories, and more. Additionally, the other trip participants text one another to coordinate their plans on the mountain. We advise against renting a SIM card for use while in-country; this usually creates more problems than it solves. We recommend that you budget for an international plan that includes voice, data and SMS messaging.
On the mountain: you should arrive in-country with all your skiing & snowboarding apparel. SKI BUMS requires our trip participants to wear helmets while skiing & riding. See our helpful guide, How to Dress for the Mountain, for suggestions. Zermatt has many, many gear & apparel shops, but prices will be a bit elevated, so pack wisely. Off the mountain: all our events are casual dress. As you can pretty easily see, the BUMS are a casual, laid-back crowd; we aren't flashy. Be yourself, and be comfortable -- just as you would on any skiing / snowboarding trip.
A few vital packing tips:
+ If you’re flying, pack your skiing and snowboarding apparel in your carry on bag. Delayed luggage can arrive three days late; you won't want to have to buy all new stuff to make it onto the mountain. + Be sure to pack winter wear shoes with a good tread; expect snowy, icy streets. + Don't forget sunscreen for the high-altitude UV exposure, and a swimsuit for the hotel's pool!
SKI BUMS detailed trip itineraries are designed to be viewed on any smart phone. Additionally, our trip leaders send up-to-the-minute alerts that you'll receive on your phone via SMS text messaging. It allows us to keep you in the loop and make smart adjustments based on the weather.
For this reason, you MUST have a cell phone that will work while we're in France.
Our trip includes half board: daily breakfasts and multi-course dinners at our fantastic hotel restaurant. We can easily accommodate vegetarians, those with allergies or special diets.
These meals are prepaid and included in the trip price. We’ll dine together as a group each night.
For our lunches, we'll have suggested restaurants at on-mountain chalets where we'll connect as a group -- the costs for these lunches is up to you. A typical lunch in a good chalet costs about €25 to €30. If this is your first trip to the Alps, prepare to discover some delicious Alpine culinary traditions! Lunch here is never rushed; it’s about relaxing and enjoying your holiday. Lunches with views like these are some of the moments you’ll remember most.
We are happy to arrange roommates for you. Typically, half of our participants ask us to match them up with a roommate. We'll ask a few easy questions and accommodate your preferences.
If you prefer your own room, you may select a single occupancy. We collect the single occupancy supplement when you sign up (View "Pricing & Payment" below). Please note: there are only a small number of single occupancy slots available. Single occupancies tend to sell out very quickly.
Stylishly renovated in 2015, the Hotel Kandahar has exactly what we look for in a perfect SKI BUMS hotel: a fantastic location, comfortable cool style, and the kind of warm hospitality that feels like a home away from home. It’s a three star hotel with a delicious on-site restaurant, La Taverne d’Alsace, one of the town’s top-ranked restaurants.
After a day on the slopes, relax your muscles in the dry sauna or the steam room, or enjoy a relaxing après-ski drink in front of the fireplace in the cozy lounge.
When it’s time to rest your head, relax in one of our comfortable rooms; you can select single or double occupancy. Our rooms can be prepared with one bed or two.
Our lodging is brilliantly located right in the centre of Val d’Isère’s charming village, just steps from the tourism centre and only moments from the ski lifts. You’ll love strolling through the nearby streets, where you can step into charming cafes, visit inviting boutiques and sample delicious French bakeries. It’s everything you want in a charming Alpine town.
Val d’Isère is a classic Alpine town; it’s charming. Adorable, even. Loads of fun to explore on foot.
Because the ski areas of Espace Killy (and neighboring Tignes) are so massive, the area is served by extensive free (and cheap) buses which transport skiers throughout the various lift areas and ski stations. When you’d like to save time, the BUMS will often opt to share taxi rides.
The Espace Killy comprises the two resorts of Val d’Isère and Tignes. The expanse of terrain is massive; it’s hard to capture the scope and size in maps. View the combined trail maps >
For those who ski or ride at an advanced level, we recommend hiring private guides for a day or two, especially if you’d like to stretch into the deeper recesses of off-piste terrain, where glaciers, cliffs and crevasses pose a significant challenge. We’ll help connect you with others at your skill level who might like to also hire a guide. You should book a few days before our arrival, once the weather forecast comes into sharper focus.
If you'd like to take skiing or snowboarding lessons, we recommend waiting until we arrive in France to visit ski schools and book your instructors, so you can book instructors at the specific resorts that the group will be visiting each day. See the daily plan below.
About half of our participants will rent skis or snowboards. We do NOT recommend reserving equipment in advance; despite the chance to save some Euros, it often locks you into a particular rental shop that may not have the specific gear you'd prefer to use.
Instead, we'll encourage you to arrive at our hotel with enough time to shop around and pick up gear that suits you. The Front Desk will be happy to assist with directions and recommendations.
Want to see the SKI BUMS around the world who love the mountains as much as you do? When you post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, use the hashtag #skibums!
We've got lots of inside advice for those who are taking their first SKI BUMS trip. Click here >
IMPORTANT NOTE: we do not permit skiers and snowboarders to arrange their own lodging and join our events without setting up a Custom Trip and pre-paying for our guided events and group meals. Custom Trip spaces are very limited. Contact us here to set up a Custom Trip >
Cars won’t be necessary during our trip. We suggest booking a shared ground transfer shuttle from the Geneva Airport. Snowbus is a reliable shuttle with multiple departures each day; you can book transfers with return for £89. We strongly suggest booking your ground transfer at least seven days in advance.
Select Val d’Isère Centre as your shuttle stop. From here, it’s a short walk (or a very short ride) to our hotel.
We’ve chosen this week to coincide with European Snow Pride, a very popular annual gay ski week. Hundreds of participants travel to Tignes and Val d’Isère from across the globe to enjoy daily après-ski events, nightly parties, and a giant pool party. Our itinerary will include a mixture of events during the week — sometimes you’ll join the mass festivities, other times you might want to meet up just with the other BUMS. You’ll have flexibility, allowing for easy spontaneity.
Passes for European Snow Pride are not included within the trip price. We’ll be discussing our plans in advance on our Facebook group. View the programme here >