If skiing in the Alps and sunbathing on a Riviera beach on the same day seems like a pipedream, read on. There aren’t many places in Europe where people can ski to their heart’s content and then be on the beach in their swimsuits a couple of hours after having a hot chocolate in Val Thorens. A quick and convenient helicopter transfer can transport you to the highest mountains and back down to the Cote d’Azur for a day to remember. It’s worth taking a luxury helicopter flight for the views of snow-capped peaks and dappled azure waters alone. We have selected three mountain/beach flight combinations that are easy to access and varied.
Tignes and Cannes
Tignes is always one of the last resorts to close its ski lifts because of its high altitude. Its 1,550m-3,450m slopes are heavy with snow, which makes it one of the most reliable places for late-season skiing. It’s ideally located in the famous Espace Killy ski circuit, which offers easy access to Val d’Isere. It also benefits from the presence of the Grande Motte glacier, which is open until 6th May this year.
A helicopter from Cannes to Tignes takes just 1 hour and 15 minutes. Enjoy white groomed pistes and white sandy beaches within one day. Sunbathing on Cannes glamorous beaches will take you a world away from the high-adrenaline slopes of Tignes and Val d’Isere. Should you tire of catching the spring sun on the private beaches on La Croisette, you can try one of the many chic restaurants along the prestigious stretch of coast. Alternatively visit the small public beach Plage de Casino nearby the Palais des Festivals, which is sheltered and good for swimming if the temperature is right. If you are a fashionista, don’t forget to take in the Cannes Shopping Festival at the Palais between 14th and 17th April 2017.
Chamonix and Monaco
Chamonix offers the highest skiing in the French Alps with the Aiguille du Midi lift at 3,842 m. Skiing is available throughout spring and closes in early May. Located at the foot of the legendary Mont Blanc, Chamonix’s altitude ensures great skiing and snow coverage. The resort has always attracted adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies with its advanced pistes such as the famous Vallée Blanche, but also has plenty of options for more amateur skiers. Chamonix also has some good restaurants and an abundance of snow activities such as snowmobiling and dog sledding.
After fun in the mountain sunshine, catch some rays on Monaco’s Larvotto Beach. This soft pebble man-made beach has a unique city setting, beautiful clear water for swimming and plenty of eateries around to satisfy even the pickiest of foodies. The good thing about this beach is how convenient it is for Monaco’s attractions such as the casino and the beautiful gardens. It’s also close to five-star restaurants and designer boutiques.
If you are in Monaco in April don’t miss the chance to ski in the morning and watch the Rolex Tennis Masters in the afternoon. The event brings the finest athletic talent to the city-state from 15th to 23rd April. The championship takes place in the stunning setting of the Monte-Carlo Country Club, which directly overlooks the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. People who prefer cars to sports, should pair a Chamonix helicopter ski trip with a visit to Top Marques, a prestigious luxury goods and supercar show which takes place on 20th-23rd April at the famous Grimaldi Forum. Taking a helicopter from Monaco to Tignes, Chamonix or Val Thorens is also an option if you’d prefer ski in the afternoon or enjoy the après ski scene.
Val Thorens and Nice
Val Thorens is the highest purpose-built ski resort in Europe and it has enviable snow conditions. Located in the enormous Trois Vallees ski area, it is home to more than 140km of pistes above 3,000m, and since most of them are north-facing, skiing goes on until late in the season. The resort is car-free, making a luxury helicopter transfer the ultimate ski pass with hundreds of mountain peaks in sight. However, if you’re hoping for a ski pass a little closer to earth, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find special deals are usually available on lift tickets from mid-April. The season runs through to May and re-opens for glacier skiing in the summer. The cutting-edge ski facilities and high-tech ski lifts complement the informal and laid-back feel of the resort.
When you’re ready to enjoy your apres-ski on the beach, fly to Nice where the water is clear and inviting and the scenery is beautiful. Neptune Beach is a wonderful central private beach option that is affiliated with the famous Negresco Hotel off the Promenade de Anglais. It’s also family-friendly and its beach restaurant has a children’s play area. In the unlikely event that the weather takes a turn for the worst, the indoor lounge area offers various games to pass the time. Plage Publique du Voilier is located nearby on the Blue Beach and is close to attractions like the Museum of Fine Arts. Nice’s beaches stretch along the coast for 10 kilometres so you’ll have your pick of private or public ones. They are composed of large pebbles called ‘galets’ that make the water a uniquely vibrant blue.
With these combinations of Riviera helicopter flights you are never far from a beach or mountain. So enjoy the best of both worlds!