Corporate ski season is upon us

For obvious reasons the Christmas and New Year periods are rarely used by corporates for hospitality trips to the Alps - family commitments, crowded slopes and peak rates all make it very unworkable for company ski trips.

The firework displays are certainly impressive in many Alpine resorts over New Year but that surely doesn't make up for packed terraces and ski piste experiences not too dissimilar to Frogger. Instead corporates often leave it until January before absorbing the mountain views, staying in sumptuous surroundings and dancing till dawn.

January has a great deal to offer including cold weather with later sunsets, better accommodation availability and generally more space wherever you venture. Prices also take a huge plunge after the peak period. Anecdotally January is a tough month to motivate and muddle through with the post-festivity blues and gloomy weather affecting many in their normal lives - frigid mountain air and aerobic activity are the perfect tonic to this. Whatever the advocates of spring skiing say, there is little to match the invigoration of standing at 3000m+ with biting cold, bright sun and crisp views to the horizon - the snow conditions are often unmatched at this time. So, corporate skiers and snowboarders have a great deal to look forward to in the coming weeks.

What never ceases to surprise me is the lack of companies rewarding their staff and partners with corporate ski weekends in October, November and early December. From October onwards the conditions on the glacier skiing areas of the Alps can be sensational and whilst crowds are common on the weekends, at any other time the areas are often deserted. Early autumn is the ideal time to mix some time on the slopes with strategy planning for the coming year, whilst from mid-November onwards the Christmas markets in the resorts offer a superb atmosphere and offer the chance to blow any conventional office Christmas party out of sight. The truth is, skiing in the Alps and in particular Austria and Switzerland starts in earnest as soon as the autumn snow arrives and what is on offer is far from a novelty ski experience - conditions can be seriously good whilst the glacier skiing terrain is often extensive. If you are planning a corporate ski event in 2014, be sure to think late 2013 as well! For those thinking early 2013, the time has arrived and the corporate ski trip calendar is very much 'go' from next week.

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