Skiing & Snowshoeing Holidays

Winter Holidays in Europe’s most majestic mountains
Organised Ski Hosting, Snowshoeing & Winter Walking
Five days a week, free & optional

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Tel. 01799 513331 - - Open Today - 9am to 5.30pmCollett's Ltd. is ABTA bonded W6883 - Travel with confidence
Organised & Self-guided Walking with a Genuine Specialist

Winter Availability in the Dolomites
Arabba, Badia & Corvara
More snow is forecast in the Dolomites over the next two days. We currently have the following offers in February and March including one apartment in Arabba at Half Term. Snow conditions have improved greatly with a couple of heavy snowfalls over the last few weeks. So if you fancy a week in these magical mountains – on skis or snowshoes – please browse the offers below or visit our late sale page here. Also, we still have just one space left on our Ski Safari for the 7th – 14th February – see the relevant link below.

7 – 14 FebSki Safari – One Place Available – £1395 £1195 £1050pp HB
14 – 21 FebHosted Apartments, Arabba – One Apt. Available – from £610 £495pp HB
Self catering at Half Term in Arabba available form £495 £445pppw
14 – 21 Mar Hosted Apartments, Arabba – One Apt. Available – from £550pp HB
Self catering in Arabba available form £395pppw
22 – 29 MarHaus Valentin, Badia – Four Doubles Available – £610 £549pp HB
22 – 29 MarChalet Angelo, Corvara – One Double Available – £660 £594pp HB
22 – 29 MarChalet Verena, Corvara – One Double Available – £660 £594pp HB
29 Mar 5 AprHaus Valentin, Badia – Three Doubles Available – £610pp HB
29 Mar 5 Apr Chalet Verena, Corvara – Five Doubles Available – £660pp HB
5 – 12 Apr Chalet Angelo, Corvara£660pp HB
5 – 12 Apr Haus Valentin, Badia – Three Doubles Available – £610pp HB

Click here for all our latest winter availability and offers.

Also, we still have just one space left on our Ski Safaris on the 7th of February – Click here for more information.

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We have enjoyed a fantastic start to this winter season. We still await major snowfall at village level but only for the aesthetic reasons! Thanks to low temperatures and amazing snow making facilities at all levels, skiing conditions on lower slopes are excellent. Higher up everything is snow covered and pistes (and views!) are normal from a skiing perspective.

We have had one or two cancellations recently and subsequently we have the following offers in January, so if you fancy a week in the magical Dolomites – on skis or snowshoes – please browse the offers below or visit our late sale page. Also, we still have just two spaces left on our Ski Safaris – see the relevant link below left.

11-18 JanuaryChalet Angelo, Corvara – One Double Room Available – £660 £399pp
18-25 JanuaryHaus Valentin, Badia – Two Double Rooms Available – £610 £450pp
17-24 JanuaryHosted Apartments, Arabba – Three Apts. Available – from £550 £425pp
17-24 JanuarySki Safari – Two Places Available – £1395 £1195pp

Click here for all our latest winter availability and offers.

Also, we still have just two spaces left on our Ski Safaris on the 17th of January – Click here for more information.

Skiing & Snowshoeing in the Dolomites – Arabba, Badia & Corvara
Upcoming availability and Special Offers

Snow has been falling over the last couple of weeks in the Dolomites and as we gear up for departure from the UK we look forward to the start of the Winter season on the 13th of December in Arabba, Badia and Corvara. We have a few pockets of availability in December and early January that may be of interest to skiers and snowshoers alike!

Click here for our latest winter availability and offers.

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Chalet Haus Valentin
Badia
Snowshoeing on the Pralongià Ridge Ramble above Corvara

Snowshoeing Holidays in the Dolomites
Heavy snow

As the season continues, we meet many more couples, families and friend groups coming to the Dolomites not to necessarily do the same thing, but to use their holiday to enjoy different activities. Not everybody is a skier and those that are sometimes choose to try out everything that a Collett’s Mountain Holiday has to offer and more often than not one will go off skiing whilst the other snowshoes for the day, that said many people join us who are not skiers and just want to walk in a winter wonderland on a snowshoeing holiday. If there was to be one particular snowshoe available to tempt every guest into trying, it would have to be Cinque Torri; the five towers on the Passo Falzarego. With an absence of fresh snow fall this week and a green light for driving up the pass, guests from Chalet Haus Valentin were keen to explore the tracked out path between the impressive rock formations.

Walking Holidays in Andalucia, Spain
Hiking Holidays in Andalucia - Spain
Walking Holidays in Andalucia
Hiking Holidays in Andalucia at a Bodega - Spain
Walking Holidays in Andalucia
Hiking Holidays in Andalucia - Spain
Walking Holidays in Andalucia
Walking Holidays in Andalucia, Posada la Plaza - Spain
Walking Holidays in Andalucia

Due to the popularity of the day, two organisers came together to allow more flexibility for the walk. As it turned out, the group split very early on; some fancied an uphill extension whilst the majority opted for an easier route around the rocks and down through the trees. The full extension up to Nuvolau (the oldest Rifugio in the area) was unfortunately deemed dangerous due to the avalanche risk, so once we arrived at Rif. Averau we took advantage of the extra time by enjoying a hot drink.

The clouds had been circling us all morning and as we began our descent back to the five towers a small gap allowed the sun to hit the rocks, lighting it up as the main attraction. We met up with the other half of the group who told us there was too much snow to walk through the rocks and out the other side – we wanted to see for ourselves so off we went. They were right; the 4 metre high archway (one that we usually walk beneath) where the two rocks lean against each other was completely filled in. It was a real shame the guests couldn’t experience the technical part of the snowshoe this time round but instead we headed back out towards an alternative route.

Early afternoon was soon upon us and the group agreed it was time for lunch. Heading out of view from the ski piste, we found a lovely spot on the snow which overlooked Cinque Torri and the Sorapis massif in the distance. The temperature was reading a comfortable +3° so it was a while before the cold set in.

We past a hut on our way down which was looking a bit sorry for itself – what is usually a hot spot in the summer was now half buried deep in snow, the chimney just about poking out of the top.
Other snowshoers past us as we meandered through the forest, gently descending our way back to the car park. At times we weren’t sure if we had misplaced a member of the group, but we soon realised the ‘off-piste’ option was more favourable for John.

Arriving back at the car park there was a welcome announcement that our taxi would be another half an hour – a perfect amount of time for that second drink of the day. All the guests reunited in the cafe and the warm smiles around the room suggested another successful day upon the mountain.

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a winter walk, snowshoe itinerary or ski day with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here. You can keep up to date with Kelly on Twitter here.

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Other winter activities in the Alta Badia
The Toboggan Run at San Cassiano

Alongside our two daily options for ski days in the area, our hosts strive to offer two alternatives for guests less likely to hit the slopes. One way to spend a day differently would be to head to the Toboggan run – easily accessed by the local bus; the 4km pisted track is quiet and offers fantastic panoramas of the area, not forgetting the hours of fun that can be had! On this particular day, four slightly apprehensive guests from Haus Valentin proved that you can never be too old to take on this classic past-time and they certainly showed the Collett’s organisers how to do it properly.

Walking Holidays in Andalucia, Canillas de Albaida - Spain
Walking Holidays in Andalucia, Canillas de Albaida - Spain

After a short spell of an overcast and seriously snowy weather pattern, the Dolomites provided a beautiful blue sky for our trip today. With the added bonus of a warm temperature, apprehension and uncertainty were pushed aside as our guests picked out their toboggan for the day. The short walk to the Piz Sorega lift in San Cassiano gave Harriet, an organiser from Chalet Verena, a perfect chance to offer tips on how to steer, how to avoid hitting the snow banks and also the best way to overtake your opponents!

It was great to learn early on that our guests had been enjoying each other’s company since arriving in the Dolomites and now they were about to take on a new activity together. After a short test run from the gondola to the start of the toboggan track (made obvious by the large wooden archway advertising a sign to defer skiers), our guests lined up ready to go. My suggestion to race to the bottom was definitely laughed off as a daft idea so we decided we’d use this one as a ‘trial run’. Having said that, guest John disappeared leaving a trail of snowflakes behind him and wasn’t seen again until we arrived safely at the bottom – I’m still convinced he just wanted to bask in the sunshine whilst he waited. Ali and Ros were more on the cautious side but that doesn’t mean they did not have fun; huge grins from ear to ear as they came past proved that. A little group discussion at the bottom also proved that cautious meant bums stayed planted on toboggans, even around the concealed sharp bends.

“I’m seriously just having the best time!” That said it all Ros, time for round two.

The group speed increased slightly as everybody felt more comfortable and in control of their toboggan and we all agreed it was an energetic sport; time for lunch. We headed across the piste to Las Vegas, a perfect Rifugio setting overlooking the Sella Massif, where we enjoyed pizza, goulash soup and glühwein sat outside in the mid-afternoon sunshine.

The temperature began to drop on our third run down and our toboggans struggled to cut through the suddenly crusted snow. As newly recognised toboggan enthusiasts Jo and John headed up for one last go, the rest of us got to know each other over coffee. As if they hadn’t all had enough excitement for one day, the group decided to walk back to Badia along the river to make the most of the sunshine and in all honesty, who could blame them?

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a winter walk, snowshoe itinerary or ski day with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here. You can keep up to date with Kelly on Twitter here.

Follow Collett’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest.

Rifugios in the Italian Dolomites
Mangiare bene at our top 5 lunch destinations

There is usually a list of things that attracts a certain person to a certain area. Depending on the destination of course depends on the attraction but I’m sure I can say with some certainty that a high percentage of people arrive in the Dolomites during the winter months with a grin from ear to ear to enjoy the inches upon inches of white stuff; whether that be for skiing, snowshoeing or winter walking. But the activity on offer cannot itself create a memorable holiday for there are other important factors to consider; the people (those you holiday with and the new faces you meet), the weather (which will without doubt always be important to the English), the places you visit (old favourites and newly explored ground) and what else? The food! The South Tyrolean menu is vast and with so many unique and beautiful Rifugios dotted around the area, there is surely something delicious for everyone to get the taste buds tingling.

One of the best things about a winter holiday in the Dolomites is living a rule free lifestyle whilst you’re here. Who says you can’t have a beer with lunch? Why can’t you have a slice of cake at 11am and then another during afternoon tea? Throughout a full day on the mountains, a scrumptious, filling and affordable lunch is certainly something to be deserved and the Dolomite Mountains will not let you down. Whichever direction you head in, no matter how many Kilometres you are away from resort, there is a unique Rifugio awaiting you to walk through the door.

Now, once you have chosen the destination it is up to you so settle on one of the many meals on offer. Italy is a country full of temptation; perhaps you will go for the traditional Italian pizza or maybe try the less-known Ladin variety – my personal favourite is spinach and sauerkraut wrapped in puff pastry. A common dish found in almost every Rifugio (spiegelei und bratkartoffeln) consists of Speck (a dried meat very similar to bacon), fried eggs and sautéed potatoes and although it sounds very basic, is prepared in numerous ways. Of course there are many options to entice the sweet tooth as well and if you choose to resist the conventional apple strudel, then why not try a slice of Sacher cake (chocolate sponge encasing a layer of orange jam) or the typically delicious Tiramisu? Every meal needs something tasty to wash it down with and you’ll find the drinks menu is usually as varied as the food. Aside from the obvious beer and coffee options, enjoy the popular Hugo and Spritz, treat yourself to a Bombardino (or Calimero!) and definitely sample one of many different Grappa flavours for if nothing else, it will surely improve your downhill skiing!

Before doubt creeps into your mind about how much all of this will cost, never fear; a typical meal, which I might add is very generously portioned, will never set you back more than €15. The only piece of advice I have to offer is to resist at least some temptation and leave enough room for your evening three course meal when you arrive back at the chalet!

Top 5 lunch suggestions

Rifugio Bioch, Pralongià Plateau – Perfect 360° views of the area whilst you enjoy a Hunters plate (speck, eggs and potatoes) and drink one of the best Bombardinos in the area.

Rifugio Plan Boé, Arabba – Sellaronda Orange – If you are a fan of pancakes, try the famous Kaiserschmarrn to set you up for the 45km circular route.

Raetia tea rooms, Corvara – Undoubtedly the best apple strudel in the resort – enjoy it with ice-cream, vanilla custard or whipped cream. There is also a choice of 20+ tea flavours to try out.

Rifugio Nagler, Badia – A generous helping of Goulash soup to warm you up on a cold day is definitely recommended. If you haven’t yet sampled the Glühwein here is the place to do it, they serve it in a boot!

Rifugio Punta Trieste, Pralongià Plateau – If you fancy something a bit heartier head to this Rifugio for outstanding ribs and traditional Canederli (bread dumplings only found in this area of Italy).

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a winter walk, snowshoe itinerary or ski day with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here. You can keep up to date with Kelly on Twitter here.

Follow Collett’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest.

Skiing in the Italian Dolomites
1,200km of piste – A day on the ‘Hidden Valley’

Each week our ski hosts put together an itinerary that will excite our guests and offer days out that will encourage strangers to become friends as they sign up to venture out with our organisers. Certain ski days stick week after week because we cannot bring ourselves to deny such a memorable experience; the ‘hidden valley’ is just one example of such a day, a day I joined with a group for the first time and was absolutely blown away by.

Corvara
Hotel La Perla, Corvara
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Melodia, Badia, Italy
Hotel Panorama Dolomites
Hotel Panorama Dolomites
Hotel Panorama Dolomites Corvara
Hotel Panorama Dolomites Corvara

The fog was clinging low to the ground but we all held up hope for a clear day as we headed up on to the Pralongia Plateau. The large group of 15, all staying in Ciasa Verena, were here on their first Dolomiti experience and had shown their enthusiasm for venturing outside of the Alta Badia area this week. As we dropped down into Armenterola, a row of taxi’s awaited passengers – without any connecting slopes this is the only way of reaching the Falzarego Pass and beyond to the famous Hidden Valley run.

Thankfully for everyone, the stunning views were not missed as the fog lifted when we reached the top of the pass. Now that the Cinque Torri was visible to point out, the group decided to head over to explore the slopes surrounding the five towers. A small cloud inversion sat hovering above Cortina which created a view I never thought could get any better, and with a line of snow shoers walking off behind the rocks, Cinque Torri had never looked so tranquil. Some of our guests took this time to sit in the Averau Rifugio to enjoy the views and the coffee, as others drifted down the empty cream-like pistes, taking advantage of the space with wide turns and technique practice.

By this point people were getting very hungry. Having enjoyed what Rifugio Averau had to offer, I suggested hanging on for Rifiguio Lagazuoi at the top of the cable car station. Snow-capped mountains as far as the eye could see and a some-what empty dining area, the original groans at a late lunch turned into a muttering of astounded, satisfied people.

The wind had picked up as we all got ready to take on the long run through the Hidden Valley. We all arranged to meet up at Rif. Scotoni three quarters of the way down and soon enough the group split so that everyone could enjoy it at their own pace.

The gentle descent meant that eyes could fixate on the towering rocks at every angle whilst being slowly engulfed by the valley. Short steep sections kept the speed and the twisting slope kept me guessing as to what was next.
Once we had all re-grouped and had a short break, everyone headed off to enjoy the last section of the run. Within minutes of gathering speed, I soon stopped in my tracks as the frozen waterfall came into view – wow. Huge chunks of ice and long sharp icicles hung from the rock face above the slope, a sight that could be easily missed for those concentrating on their skiing.

Upon reaching the end of the valley, poling was a necessity to keep moving along the rather flat ground. But what was that in the distance? Two horses, a cart and ropes long enough to pull 40 people along back to Armenterola. Whilst the snow-boarders took a luxury seat in the cart, the skiers held on tight as the horses begun the leisurely tow under the bridge and through the trees. Giggles could be heard throughout the journey and who could blame them – can you think of a better way to end such an aesthetically rich and diverse day?

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a winter walk, snowshoe itinerary or ski day with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here. You can keep up to date with Kelly on Twitter here.

Follow Collett’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest.

Learning to ski in Italy
Preparation, Ski Equipment, Lessons & more…

When I mention the words black and run in the same sentence, does your blood run cold? When you get off the chairlift, head towards the edge and cannot see which direction the slope runs; does that make you want to run for the hills? How about being on a slope so steep you’re afraid to point your ski’s down because all of a sudden you have forgotten how to turn? Perhaps it has been a long time since you braved your first black run, but for me the answer rings a very loud truth; YES, skiing my way onto an extremely unnatural terrain is both terrifying and exhilarating.

Chalet Verena, Corvara
Ski Chalet Angelo, Corvara
Chalet Haus Valentin

(Don’t worry though; it’s nothing a few heart-stopping screams can’t do to control the adrenaline rush on the way down).

Some people have a tremendous ability to convince you to take on something you could easily turn your back on. Maybe because you’re scared or because you just don’t feel it is yet the right time. Then again, can anyone really convince you do to anything you don’t really want to do? Most likely not. But this does not mean you cannot later blame them for the experience endured. After only 5 weeks of skiing I wasn’t sure if I was truly ready to take on a dreaded black run, but me being me I quickly decided to go for it anyway.

Spending the day in a new area (Cortina d’Ampezzo) made the decision a lot easier as I was blind to the reality of what I was letting myself in for. By the time I had reached the top, it was too late to turn back. The ‘novice skier feeling’ came rushing back as I stood staring down in fear, my body slowly freezing to the spot. It must have been funny listening to a 23 yr old telling herself to get a grip whilst gently encouraging herself down the slope – if only I could have laughed along too.

I’d sussed it! The only way to get down was to let out a little scream (some might tell you these screams could be heard from the valley but I’d say that was an exaggeration) every time I pointed my ski’s downhill and then use the entire width of the slope before continuing the process. As the end neared my confidence grew (sort of) and I kept going until I was once again on flat, safe ground. Looking back at what I’d just descended, I was finally able to laugh at the whole experience as my hands trembled with adrenaline.

Yes, it may have taken an age to reach the bottom.
No, it wasn’t done with any hint of skill or technique.
Yes, I am a long way from bragging that I can ski black runs.
And no, I am not particularly bouncing my way to the next opportunity..

BUT I have officially overcome my initial fear of steep slopes and can say I have made my first step towards taking on any colour run that comes my way!

(and just for the record, I would only have blamed myself if I hadn’t made the attempt).

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a winter walk, snowshoe itinerary or ski day with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here. You can keep up to date with Kelly on Twitter here.

Follow Collett’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest.

Learning to ski in Italy
Preparation, Ski Equipment, Lessons & more…

After seeing a significant increase in my confidence last week, it was up to me to face my fear of steep slopes and throw myself down some more red runs this week.

Feeling excited and ready to get out one morning, a day to try new skis and a new area. In fact, I was so keen to get out that I decided to try pair of skis that seemed to tower above me, but what were also known as ‘advanced’ which were very heavy and had very little bend.

Snowshoeing in the Dolomites
Skiing the Dolomites
Skiing Holidays in the Dolomites
Skiing in the Dolomites
Skiing Holidays
Chalet Haus Valentin
Skiing above Arabba
Snowshoeing Holidays
Chalet Haus Valentin Office Hour
Snowshoeing in Italy
Ski Chalet Angelo, Corvara, Italy
Snowshoeing

Just to make the experience even more memorable, I decided to take on a run I had never done before. The Boe run is very popular in the area mainly because it is easily accessible from Corvara and it sits as a link to Arabba and the Sellaronda (the most recognised 40km route in the Dolomites). It was a beautiful day out and so the narrow, steep start was not very forgiving due to the sheer amount of people. I could hear skiers all around me which made me nervous and the cut up snow had me bouncing around all over the place – if only I was brave enough to straight line that part down. After a couple of runs and a few nasty falls, I realised these skis were not doing me any good so I sat and had a coffee in the sunshine and made my way home.

When I visited the rental shop the next day, they had no beginner skis to offer. I considered it for a minute and accepted the offer of a pair of intermediates instead as I figured there is only one way to progress!

New Years Day was soon upon me and to seize the day I was to join guests for a day trip to the Marmolada. As I was getting ready in the morning I almost changed my mind; after only 2 weeks of skiing I was about to do a full day of red runs, to an area I had never been and with guests that were very strong skiers. Gulp.

But everyone knows I’m a stubborn mare so I went for it!

Clear skies, beautiful long wide-open runs, great company and barely a fall, I was so happy to be part of such a day. It brought back memories of the glacier trek in the summer, but this time the Marmolada had a completely different feel to it. The summit was buzzing with people and the 12km run could be seen winding its way down and around the mountain. I did stop a considerable amount on the way down (my poor little legs) but I had a blast – what a fantastic way to start the year!

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a winter walk, snowshoe itinerary or ski day with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here. You can keep up to date with Kelly on Twitter here.

Follow Collett’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest.

Learning to ski in Italy
Preparation, Ski Equipment, Lessons & more…

I compare a lot to learning to drive, but learning to ski really is very similar. There are so many things you have to remember; where to put your feet, where to put your hands, not letting yourself run away, watching out for other ‘drivers’, keeping your body facing forward, weight distribution and most importantly looking where you are going – something I struggle with hugely. I also find myself feeling exhausted after 2 or 3 hours and it hits me ever so suddenly when my legs refuse to do anything but lead me into the snow bank (luckily never into a brick wall).

But then it starts to come together and you find it suddenly becomes second nature.

Snowshoeing in the Dolomites
Skiing the Dolomites
Skiing Holidays in the Dolomites
Skiing in the Dolomites
Skiing Holidays
Chalet Haus Valentin
Skiing above Arabba
Snowshoeing Holidays
Chalet Haus Valentin Office Hour
Snowshoeing in Italy
Ski Chalet Angelo, Corvara, Italy
Snowshoeing

Having said that, I still have a long way to go.

On my second day of skiing, I was led to believe I would be going down a blue run all the way to the bottom, only to spot a red sign halfway down. At this point, I was tired and quite frankly scared of the steep ‘drop’ below me, but I understood the learning process, grunted a little and snow-ploughed my way down most of the piste. On the 5th day, as I zig-zagged my way down the same run, I felt a lot more confident and suddenly viewed the pitch to be the same as a blue. Wahoo!

My lesson with Diego which consisted of parallel turns for me and English tuition for him had me perfecting my weight distribution. Whilst exaggerating my turns, by flay-ling my arms in the air and lifting one leg up at a time, it suddenly clicked and my legs began turning together.

After a much needed rest and calf muscle stretch, I was met by the lovely Mario who whisked me away for my very own private lesson. We headed to Colfosco to try out the long blue run which offers a wide slope and an extended time to practise turning. It was also a good lesson in how the chairlifts work, a scary experience in itself when you’re unsure of what to do as you zoom towards a snow mound which drops down the other side. But never fear, with Mario in one hand and my poles in the other, I successfully avoided an embarrassing moment… this time.

As happy as I am with my progress so far, I swallow hard when I think that the next step will see me taking on my first black run. In fact, ignore everything I have said in this post, I still have a LONG way to go…

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a winter walk, snowshoe itinerary or ski day with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here. You can keep up to date with Kelly on Twitter here.

Follow Collett’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest.