Our relationship with bgb has spanned almost two decades
Julia Hendry, Caribbean Tourism Organisation
Visit Sweden 16 November 2009
Celebrate in style in Åre in northern Sweden this winter as the ski resort marks its centenary as winter sports destination. With celebrations throughout the season, new experience-based ski activities, increased snow making, improved accessibility, free childcare and gourmet cuisine, Åre is proving itself to be one of the world's premier destinations for the 2009-10 season.
Åre - 100 years young
This winter, Åre is celebrating 100 years as a winter sports destination, as the first funicular Åre Bergbana was opened in 1910 and the Åre tourist association was founded in the same year. There will be celebrations throughout the season, with a focus on traditions and heritage. Åre has long attracted visitors: first pilgrims en route to the tomb of St Olav in neighbouring Norway, then ‘air tourists' seeking the pristine alpine air and more recently skiers eager to explore the 102 alpine pistes. The resort's enduring appeal and great snowfall continue to attract skiers of all abilities from an increasing number of countries with visitor numbers up 7% year on year for the 2008/9 season, which was the best on record for snow. As well as the 100th birthday celebrations, the 2009-10 season will see Åre play host to more international events than ever before. For example, December 2009 sees the world's best women slalom and giant slalom skiers compete in Åre for the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup and in March 2010 Freestyle skiers battle will it out for the mogul and super mogul crowns, so there has never been a better time to visit.
Getting there from the UK - easier than ever
A new cross-border coach transfer from Trondheim Airport Vaernes in Norway, costing €17 per person, starts this season (www.skybus.se). The transfer, which takes around 2.5 hours, will connect with Norwegian's flights from London Stansted (starting at £51.30 one-way including taxes, http://www.norwegian.com/en/), making it cheaper and easier than ever to reach the resort independently. In addition, nearby Östersund Airport is served from UK major and regional airports via Stockholm and a frequent train service links the railway station in the centre of the village to international access points such as Trondheim, Stockholm and Gothenburg.
Ski for less in Åre this season
A price comparison survey carried out in February 2009 showed that an adult one-day ski pass in Åre was a third cheaper than Verbier, 38% cheaper than Chamonix and a whopping 61% cheaper than Aspen! Add to that a favourable exchange rate between Sterling and the Swedish krona, cheaper accessibility than ever before and low cost accommodation - such as Åre Torg in the village square with beds from £17 per night (www.hotellaretorg.se) - and UK visitors to Åre can be sure that they will spend less on their ski holiday this season.
This season, the snow-cannons at Duved in Åre have been upgraded to start producing snow at milder temperatures and produce greater amounts of snow at a higher quality. By introducing new oil-free compressor snow-cannons, Åre demonstrates its commitment to further improving guests' skiing experience whilst still preserving the alpine environment. What's more, the Skistar snow guarantee ensures that if fewer than ten pistes are open between 12 December 2009 and 2 May 2010 visitors will be refunded. However, thanks to the excellent snow-making facilities and consistent winter climate, Åre has never had to pay up, so skiers can book early knowing that they will be able to hit the slopes.
New experience-based activities with SkiStar Experience
Try something different in Åre this winter with the brand new SkiStar Experience menu. Guests can pick from a portfolio of experience-based activities that have been designed like a ‘tapas' menu with something to suit all tastes. Pick Ski Exclusive from the menu to get private access to the slopes with a personal guide, two hours before they open for the day, select SkiAuto to get the chance to test drive Audi's latest cars before relaxing over a beer or choose Discover Åre to learn about the culture and history of the village as well as dining in one of the gourmet restaurants. The complete SkiStar Experience menu will be on www.skistar.com soon.
Free childcare at the Årebjörnen Snowflake Club
For the first time this season, parents visiting Åre in northern Sweden can benefit from free childminding at the Snowflake Club (snöflingeklubben) in the village of Björnen when they book lessons with the SkiStar ski school. Activities at the Snowflake Club range from storytelling and drawing to tobogganing and snowman making as well as ski lessons.
Thanks to its wide and uncrowded ski slopes Björnen is great for families. It offers dedicated children's lifts, warming huts and a ‘teddy bear' ski trail through the forest. There is a wide variety of accommodation in this peaceful resort, never far from the network of gentle slopes, and the whole village has been designed to cater for parents and their children.
Forget stodge and dine on fine cuisine in Åre
Skiing holidays are often synonymous with quick fast food lunch stops, greasy burgers, tasteless hotdogs and cheesy fondues. However, skiers in Are, Sweden can enjoy a better class of gourmet cuisine thanks to a wide selection of eateries on the slopes. Enjoy locally produced food, freshly baked bread made on site and home-made schnapps, or cook your own meal on a hot stone. We have picked our top five gourmet spots in the village, to give you a taste for the variety of cuisine on offer:
· In the heart of the village, Villa Tottebo (www.villatottebo.se) is the place to go if you want tasty mountain-inspired fare such as cloudberries and reindeer, with a modern twist. The chef is always on the lookout for independent, local suppliers and they are keen to ensure that they only use the finest ingredients in their menus.
· Diners at Buustamons Fjällgård (www.buustamonsfjallgard.se) are in for an extra treat as they can also sample the restaurant's home-made schnapps, produced in Sweden's smallest legal distillery. Located right next to the slopes, this is a great place to stop for lunch and they use as many locally produced products as possible in their menus.
· Those who like a more hands-on experience should book a table at Restaurant Karolinen (www.karolinen.se) where diners cook their own meat or fish on a hot stone. The local stone (fjällsten) used is known for its excellent heat retention and is heated to 350ºC before it is brought to the table, with a selection of raw meat and fish. Thanks to its location on the edge of the frozen lake, a visit to Karolinen can be combined with a dog sledge tour or a snowmobile safari and a welcome drink in the Snow bar before dinner.
· Unique in Åre, Grappa Ristorante (www.grappabar.se) serves authentic Italian food, with pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven with mozzarella alongside other authentic Italian ingredients. To complete the Italian experience, the restaurant only serves Italian wines and grappa with their menus.
· There is no better way to prepare for a day on the slopes than with a breakfast with freshly baked bread at the Åre Breadgarden (www.arebageri.se). The bakers here still make bread in the same way as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago, with everything from whipped cream buns to sweet-smelling cranberry bread on offer, using organic ingredients wherever possible.
for Visit Sweden Winter 2010
The cities of Stockholm and Gothenburg hosted a Swedish Design Doctor pop-up at Westfield and bgb was tasked with raising awareness online of the pop-up, driving traffic to the Swedish Cities website and creating buzz around designated keywords.