Before you book a ski holiday
Ski holidays have to be well researched to make sure you are not only getting value for money, but you pick the right resort for your needs. You would be surprised at how many people turn up expecting the resort to be different, or the ski area to be bigger, or the in-resort prices to be cheaper so we thought we would give some advice about the important things to take into consideration before booking your next ski holiday.
First thing’s first, the ski area. This has to be the most important aspect of any winter sports holiday. Make sure you pick an area that is the right size and the right level for you; don’t just go because your friend went or because you have heard of it. If you are a beginner skier, do check that there are beginner areas with easy access in the resort such as Obergurgl. If you are an intermediate or advanced skier, ensure that the area is big and has a range of pistes, otherwise you might get bored by the end of the week. We suggest a resort with links to other resorts, such as the 3 Valleys (Meribel, La Tania, Courchevel and Val Thorens) Paradiski, or the Espace Killy (Tignes and Val d’Isere) areas for plenty of variety and challenges.
Do also look into the different lift passes proposed in each resort. Some resorts offer free lift passes for children, students and for beginners, others offer cheaper passes for smaller areas and some do some great family deals. Do your research as you can end up saving quite a bit of money, especially if you are part of a bigger group. Consider also what is included in that lift pass. For example, the 6-day pass in Alpe d’Huez covers 2 days’ skiing in Les Deux Alpes and 1 day in Serre Chevalier, as well as 1 entry to the outdoor pool, 1 entry to the ice rink and an entry to the sports centre. This is great value for money and provides other options to just skiing.
The resort itself is also a very significant factor you should consider when booking and this greatly depends on who you are travelling with. There are resorts that suit families, that are ideal for a couple’s vacations and there are those that are made for party-people and big groups of friends. Make sure you familiarise yourself with what is on offer in your resort and that it suits you and your party. For example, if you have a non-skier coming with you, pick a resort with plenty of non-ski activities, such as, swimming, paragliding, sledging, and husky riding (Tignes, Alpe d’Huez and Meribel to name a few!)
Some resorts offer very cheap pedestrian passes so non-skiers can still go up certain lifts so you can still admire the views or go for a mountain lunch with the rest of the group. Big groups of friends who are looking to have some fun should book a resort with a good après-ski scene, such as St. Anton, Ischgl and Val d’Isere.
One final but still essential point to consider is when to go. This will make a massive difference in whichever resort or accommodation you choose and this is for three reasons: the snow, the cost and how busy it will be. For some people, it is tradition to go skiing at Christmas or New Year. This is a wonderful thing to do but do take into account this is a sought-after time of the season and therefore prices will be higher, but what an experience to have a White Christmas in the mountains! Equally, families with younger children can only go away during the school holidays so February half term and the Easter holidays are very popular and therefore pricier. This also means it will be busier on the slopes.
If you plan up-front and pre-book everything you need, you will get a massive head start. For the quieter and much cheaper times of the season, aim for the first couple of weeks in December and January or the middle of March (bear in mind that the snow can vary in the earlier and later months). If you are a fair-weather skier though, the end of March and April are great!
A lot of people book their ski holiday based on a recommendation. However, to make sure your holiday is everything you want it to be and to ensure it is most suited to you and what you are hoping to get out of it, it is a good idea to take into account all these factors so you have a fantastic holiday!