Euro Exim Bank

Alpine Lodge – the best place to invest in Ski Property

Famed as the European spiritual home of snowboarding, its ultra fast speed-skiing paths, and Eurostar link to London, Paradiski makes a mockery of its Alpine counterparts – but the real joy of Paradiski is that the paparazzi don’t get in the way of the fun.

Located in the Tarentaise Valley high in the French Alps, Paradiski is one of the largest snow-sure ski areas in the world. Between the resorts of Les Arcs, Peisey-Vallandry and La Plagne there is uninterrupted skiing on 425 km of runs served by an impressive network of lifts, including the famous Vanoise Express cable car that links Les Arcs and La Plagne. The bubble lift only takes 4 minutes to cover the 2km separating the two resorts.

Renowned for its wide, immaculately groomed slopes, long tree runs, north and south facing slopes, mogul fields, glacier skiing, and excellent powder off piste, Paradiski is, well – paradise. The local peaks soar way above 3,000m – in fact, the skiing on offer extends from 3,250m down to 1,250m altitude.

The terrain is ideal for skiers of all levels, with diverse pisted and extensive back-woods opportunities which makes the area a great choice for groups of mixed abilities. Everyone from the complete beginner through to the expert will find something to suit their ability. But even if you’ve no intention of strapping on skis, there are countless walks and hikes offering stunning mountain panoramas, glaciers, and forest trails to enjoy year round.

The property market may still be flat in the UK, but property investors and lifestyle buyers have returned to the ski property market this year as confidence in the global economy improved, according to the Financial Times. The newspaper reported that investors are “avoiding the lure of high capital growth in emerging markets and are instead opting for traditional winter resorts in France which offer reliable skiing conditions and a stable, long-term investment.”

So long as there is snow in the Alps, there will always be demand for chalets – particularly in high altitude resorts, within easy reach of the slopes. It’s little surprise then that the first place they are looking is the Tarentaise Valley. With the special Eurostar ski train fetching British skiers direct from London St Pancras station every Saturday from December to April, and low-cost flights to Chambery, Geneva and Grenoble – it’s the most convenient Alpine location for British skiers. Eurostar’s reliable return service starts from just £179.

Of course, the appeal isn’t just geographic – it’s also climatic. Many ski areas in France are located at high altitude, which makes them (on average) more snow reliable, whereas it is hard to find a chalet above 1,600m in the Austrian Alps.

Robin Wilson, head of overseas at, flags up another positive. “Buying in the southern Alps or Alpes-Maritime also means you have the Côte D’Azur on your doorstep for amazing beaches in summer. Now is actually a great time to buy because the ongoing negative news about the economy means vendors need to secure sales. The Alps remains one of our top five most searched destinations in France all year round.”

In fact, MGM French Properties are one of the best-regarded developers in the region. With sales headquarters based on London’s Regent Street, they offer leaseback or outright apartments to suit all budgets. With developments like L’Iseran in Les Arcs, and Le Grand Coeur in Bourg St Maurice and in dozens of other locations across the French Alps MGM’s USP is well-designed living spaces with state of the art fittings and high quality finishes.

Edenarc1800 is another four-star development on the slopes, right in the heart of Paradiskiand with an adjacent 18-hole golf course. The complex is car-free and completely ski in /ski out. A link will connect you to the existing resort of Les Arcs 1800 and the development is in walking distance. The development has an indoor pool complex and focuses on year-round family requirement.

Reduced off plan apartments are available amongst the 40-suite hotel and 252 apartments. The development is characterised by large picture windows with panoramic views across the Tarentaise Valley to Mont Blanc.

Off-plan prices start from £191,800 for one-bedroom apartments. Forty of the 63 first phase apartments are already sold and completion of phase one is due by December 2011.

Many new builds are blessed with great incentives – apartment by choosing a ‘six weeks’ personal use’ leaseback scheme. This means owners receive some personal use, as well as a rental income and a VAT waiver. They can choose to have between four and ten weeks use for themselves per year.

Business and pleasure, you might say, in one simple package…

Cardinal Rules of Piste Property

Location: Consider the reliability of the snow – make sure you buy in a village that links in to a high resort. Check the variety of runs, access to off-piste, number of ski lifts, cost of ski passes, availability of lessons and the all-important après ski facilities.

Convenience: The Icelandic ash cloud in 2010 played havoc with ski air travel. Though travelling by air is often the cheapest, easiest and quickest way, the Eurostar ski train direct to London offers greater flexibility.

Choice: The Alps offers a wide range of property types from purpose built apartments to grand chalets of traditional design. But your choice will be influenced by your budget. Also remember that the best resale prices are reflected in apartments located in purpose-built developments close to the resort.

Return. Make sure your ski property does not stand empty for some periods of time. Purchasing a leaseback ski property is a very popular option as it allows personal usage as well as a guaranteed income from year-round holiday rental.

Finance. Mortgages are widely available and leaseback properties also offer finance packages, in some cases up to 100 percent. This combined with the rental guarantee makes them even more attractive to buyers.