When you are planning a ski holiday the accent must be well and truly on the planning. This means careful consideration of everything that needs to be taken into account in order to ensure that you don’t arrive at your resort and realise that you have forgotten a vital piece of equipment, clothing, or accessory. Even if you are a seasoned skier it is all too easy to make a mistake. Let’s face it: we’ve all done it at one time or another.
The most important thing is to make a written list of everything required, and do it well in advance – not the week before your flight. This gives you time to double check everything: when you do, you will often find that you have missed something out.
When Is the Best Time To Go Skiing?
Possibly the best way to answer the question is to consider the times that are not a good choice. School holidays are going to be very busy and just about everything is going to cost more. That includes flights, accommodation, ski hire, pretty much everything, because airlines, travel agents, and resort business owners know that they are going to be fully booked and can charge more. Christmas and the New Year is another time to avoid if possible for the same reasons.
After New Year is over, the first two or three weeks of January are generally quieter in most resorts, and the slopes will be less crowded and ski schools less busy.
What Are The Best Resorts For Families?
The best ones are the ones that are geared towards catering for children and/or have day care for toddlers. There are some that provide all sorts of different activities for children when they are not out on the powder, which keeps them happy, and lets mum and dad get out on to the blue and black slopes. Not all resorts are geared up for families, especially the smaller ones.
Check how far your chalet or the accommodation is from the piste and the centre of the resort. The nearer the better. Some accommodation is ski in/ski out which gives you an early start without any hassle.
Can I Book Ski Lessons In Advance?
Not only can you book ski lessons in advance, it is an excellent idea. You can also book ski hire, snowboard hire, and lift passes in advance, and we would recommend that you do. It means that you won’t have to spend half your first day in long queues and carrying lots of cash when you could be out on the slopes.
If you want to hire a car and travel around the area you can also book that in advance. In addition, in some resorts you can pre-book spa treatments, either for yourself or for a loved one as a birthday present for instance.
What About Travel Insurance? Is It Necessary?
Not only is travel insurance an extremely good idea, with some tour operators it is a requirement. You should always take out travel insurance and make certain that it covers all of your possible needs. Some insurers will offer travel insurance to the elderly and those with medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
Is There Wi-Fi In The Accommodation?
The answer to that is “it depends”. While some people may want to get away from the rest of the world as far as possible, and leave laptops and iPads at home, others will want to bring all their gadgets and phones and stay connected when not out on the slopes.
If you are in the latter group you need to check your accommodation. Some resorts have accommodation where there is only Wi-Fi in the reception area, not in the rooms.
What About TV?
Again, it depends. Nearly all resorts will have a TV set in the rooms and in some cases two TV sets. However, you should check if satellite TV is available. In a lot of French resorts TV can only pick up local stations, which is fine if you happen to be fluent in French, but not a lot of use if you are not.
Do I Have To Pay For End Of Stay Cleaning?
If you are self-catering, end of stay cleaning is not usually included in the cost of accommodation unless specifically stated. Furthermore, cleaning products are not supplied. In the majority of resorts you can opt to pay for end of stay cleaning but even then it does not usually include the kitchen.
This means that the dishwasher must be emptied, and all the dishes cleaned, the refrigerator must be emptied of food, and the bins taken out. If you leave the property in anything but a clean condition you can expect a sum to be deducted from your deposit.
What About Apres Ski And Dining Out?
This will vary from one resort to another. Some resorts are very big on apres ski and restaurant accommodation and many people go to a particular resort for that very reason.
However, some of the smaller resorts concentrate almost entirely on the skiing, and they may be little more than villages with not much in the way of bars and restaurants. This is another very good reason for checking out everything in detail before you decide to make a booking. Above all, you are having a holiday and you are supposed to be enjoying yourself, so it is well worthwhile taking the time and trouble to ensure that the resort you choose offers the facilities that you want.
This is why we said at the outset that the emphasis must be on the planning. If you adopt the attitude “I’ve got next week off work: let’s go skiing” you will very likely find that you get to the resort and realise that you have forgotten some things that you should have brought with you, and/or that the resort doesn’t have all the facilities that you and your loved ones require.
So get down to it. Get some paper out and make a list of all the things that you want from a resort and then check each one off as you look at the facilities. Make another list of everything that you need to take, and that will ensure that you do so. This way you can be certain that you will have the perfect winter holiday.