Booking a spring ski holiday can be a testing experience, especially if you have never done it before. There are so many things to remember, and once your plane has taken off it will be too late to do anything about it if you have forgotten something. So here is how to do it and ensure that you look like a champ rather than a chump.
The first thing is to decide upon your resort. In some respects the world is your oyster as far as countries go, but for many people Canada is the country of choice. In March the weather starts to get warmer and in April there are long days with plenty of sun and the pistes are much less crowded.
How Experienced Is Your Party?
Some resorts have a good mix of slopes while others are for the more experienced skier. If you have beginners or even complete novices in your group you need a resort with plenty of green slopes and nursery areas. Check out the statistics for the resort you are considering. All of them will have figures which show the percentage of green, blue, and black slopes and if you have beginners you really need around 20% of the slopes to be green, preferably with a closed-off area and magic carpet so that they can practice and gain confidence before going out on the piste.
Are You Taking Kids With You?
If you have toddlers you will need to ensure that there is a nursery or crèche that you can leave them in while you are on the slopes, and you may also want a babysitter in the evenings. What about ski schools? Check that their instructors are fully qualified and that they speak English (most in Canada do). Have a look at their reviews on a website such as trip advisor. What sort of fees do they charge? That is going to have to be factored in to your holiday cost.
Talking Of Costs, What Is Your Budget?
The costs of resorts can vary, and sometimes by quite a lot. A very good guide is the cost of lift passes since they have a tendency to reflect the overall costs associated with the resort. Some resorts offer free lift passes to under-12’s. When you have decided on your budget, add an extra 10% to cover unexpected items: it also gives you a bit of breathing space if you see a “must-have” item or fancy a gourmet dinner out.
What About Accommodation?
In most resorts there is a range of different accommodation available, the most expensive being hotels. Most hotels are bed and breakfast with dinner in the hotel restaurant an extra. Do you want hot tubs, pools and spas? Is there a hotel laundry?
Some people prefer a catered chalet as everything is done for you, but you may prefer a self-catering apartment. Most of these in Canada have TV, Wi-Fi, kitchen, washer/dryer, and some have hot tubs and pools available. If you are self-catering in order to keep the costs down but you decide to eat out in the village every evening the expense can soon start to mount up. Some hotels offer unlimited free wine with dinner which is another consideration if you like the odd glass of vino.
Where is the accommodation? Is it ski in/ski out? Many hotels and apartments are within a minute or two’s walk of the nearest lift, but if not does the resort have lockers available so that you don’t have to carry your skis around with you? Is there a free shuttle service? Many resorts have free shuttles to the slopes and some have free shuttles to and from the airport.
What amenities are available in the village? Do you want a choice of restaurants and bars? Do you love to shop?
What About Apres Ski?
Some resorts are really into the apres scene while with others it is not such a big factor and they are quieter. If your idea of a great night is to head home and watch TV by the fire, then the apres scene will not be so important. However, if you want to party hard and late into the night you will want a range of bars and night clubs.
What else is there to do apart from skiing? Is there a terrain park? What about dog-sledding, tubing, bowling, ice skating, sleigh rides? Some resorts have a sports centre with pool and an ice climbing wall. Facilities will vary from one resort to another.
What Equipment Do You Need?
Do you have your own skis? If you do, so much the better. However, many people prefer to hire skis at the resort, but ski hire prices have been increasing over recent years. However, against that has to be set the cost of transporting skis and the inconvenience of carting them around with you.
You can also hire boots, but this can be a chancy business. Hire boots are not designed for your foot and if you have an ill-fitting pair you can spend an uncomfortable time out on the slopes. If you plan on skiing regularly you are far better off buying a pair or even having them made by a professional bootmaker. Certainly it is an expense but one that is well worth considering.
The same thing applies to helmets. Yes, you can rent, but again it is better if you have your own.
In addition to boots and helmets you will need thermals, ski socks, ski trousers, ski jacket, gloves and goggles.
Anything Else You Need?
There certainly is: you need ski insurance. You may be able to get through your credit card, but if you buy travel insurance make certain that skiing is covered, since many travel insurance policies specifically exclude skiing.
So you can see that booking a spring ski holiday involves a lot of careful planning, of which the team at Blue Powder Travel is happy to take care of for you. Once you have ticked everything off the list you can look forward to a wonderful week out on the powder.