Winter sports specialist The Oxford Ski Company is expecting its best year during the 2018-19 season as it prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
The firm started out by offering just two chalets in the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana but has grown to more than 500 chalets and 130 hotels in nearly 60 resorts in seven countries.
Rupert Longsdon, founder and chief executive, told TTG: “This season’s advance bookings are the strongest we’ve had, so we’re very optimistic.
“Over the last 20 years, there’s been a continuous improvement in the quality of the product and service. You now have qualified professional chefs working in chalets.
“The quality just keeps on going up… It’s not just in the big-name resorts but also the satellite villages connected to the main skiing areas. There’s more choice than ever now.”
Properties added by The Oxford Ski Company for 2018-19 include Chalet Mimi in Oberlech, Austria; Chalet Sapphire in Morzine, France; and Meribel’s Chalet Iona.
There are also new hotels featured such as La Refuge de Solaise in Val d’Isere – a former lift station with 34 rooms that is now the highest-altitude hotel in France.
“There’s been so much investment in new, faster lifts and snow-making equipment too. It’s made a huge difference,” said Longsdon. “The snow-making has extended the beginning and end of the season.”
Longsdon said the firm would add more destinations – Japan was soft-launched last season – and was even looking to offer to heli-sking in Chile, Greece, Iran and Greenland.
“People see heli-skiing as being extreme skiing, but it can be very much for the intermediate as well as the advanced skier,” he said. “There have been a lot of changes in the last 20 years, and I hope to go on for another 20 years.”