Booking your first ski holiday or snowboard holiday can be daunting and it’s usually best to seek the advice of a travel agent.
Friends who already ski might have their own ideas, but make sure they are really recommending resorts that will suit you as a first timer, not just places they like.
One good idea is to look at ski areas recommended by some of Britain’s big tour operators. Companies like Crystal, the UK’s biggest ski holiday operator, use their huge industry knowledge to choose resorts and properties within resorts that are perfect for beginners so it’s worth checking their recommendations.
In many cases they can also offer special beginner packages where they’ve used their buying power to negotiate lower rates for lift passes, tuition and equipment rental so you pay less booking these through them as part of your package than buying direct in resort.
The types of accommodation you normally choose from are hotels, apartments or chalets.
Hotels you obviously don’t have to cook for yourself and this means you can save on restaurant bills, apartments you do cook for yourself or eat out and have a few useful things that are handy as a family or a group while there, things like washing facilities for your clothes and a fridge to keep drinks in and more space rather than just a bedroom. It also gives you the flexibility to cook in or make packed lunches for during the day, or eat out if you feel like it. In some ways, apartments a more homely experience.
The other type of accommodation, which is almost ‘uniquely British’ is the ‘chalet party’ where your group take sole use of a chalet or you share a chalet with like-minded skiers. Here you have chalet staff serving you breakfast, dinner and afternoon tea and cakes. If you book a chalet exclusively for you and friends, this is rather like having a beautiful home (sometimes better than your own home) but with staff waiting on you hand and foot, the only thing you have to organise is your own lunch – and often you are out during the day anyway. Chalet staff sometimes come with a dedicated chef, and often they will cook early supper for children and many provide fine dining 3 and 4 course meals with wine and other drinks in the evenings.
If you book to join a chalet, it’s a essentially like being in a shared house, so it’s good to be the sociable sort, but it’s a great way to make friends and these are often the best value as you’re normally well fed and usually have drinks included in your up front cost.
Now all you need to think about is, when to go on your first ski holiday.