Third win for Peak Retreats

6th October 2011, by Chris Gill

[Centre] Xavier Schouller, MD Peak Retreats collects the award

[Centre] Xavier Schouller, MD Peak Retreats collects the award

Peak Retreats, specialist tour operator to the French Alps, has won the Best Ski Company award again at the annual Guardian,, Observer Travel Awards.

This is the third consecutive win for the Portsmouth-based company, which was founded in 2002 by Xavier Schouller and his partner. The awards are determined by a reader survey (of 20,000 last year), and Peak Retreats shone ahead of the crowd at this year’s event too – beating several large-profile UK tour operators.

Their winning formula? Alternative France, for starters. The country still pulls in most UK skiers and boarders, but it seems that smaller, more traditional resorts are gaining popularity – especially in view of the current higher prices and recession. Smarter, more spacious apartments and leisure facilities help too.

And that is where Peak Retreats comes in: offering a wide collection of holidays in less well-known, unspoiled ski areas, or ‘back-door’ resorts – traditional villages that form part of a major resort, but away from the crowds. All of their resorts are chosen for ease of access and snow reliability, among other key attractions.

The collection includes long-standing favourites, such as the Grand Massif, where you can stay in Morillon or Samoëns as an alternative to Flaine; or the smaller resorts of the Maurienne valley and spend time skiing Val Thorens from Orelle. St-Gervais is a more affordable alternative to Megêve, and has access to Les Houches in the Chamonix valley. Le Grand Bornand is another option, often overlooked for better-known La Clusaz.

Peak Retreats celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2012, and has added new destinations to this winter’s brochure. Serre Chevalier is one of the major French resorts, yet often overlooked by British visitors. Its flagship town is Europe’s highest: Briançon. For 2011/12, Peak Retreats is adding the newish Aigle Bleu apartments, close to Briançon’s gondola.

In 2005, the sister company Ski Collection was formed. They also specialise in France, with a wider choice of mainstream resorts and apartments.

Speaking of the Peak Retreats win Xavier Schouller said, ‘It’s a huge honour and a real surprise to win this accolade for three successive years, and perhaps even more rewarding to know that our efforts have been recognised, especially considering how competitive the ski market has become.’

A holiday with Peak Retreats in Briançon costs from about £580 per one-bedroom apartment in mid-January 2012.






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