Usually this time of year lots of us are thinking about booking our ski holiday…I know this year is a bit different but skiing isn’t off the agenda forever and you never know next season might just happen!!
Now, skiing is not everyone’s thing, but I am a self-confessed snow junkie – I even met my husband on the slopes so talking about skiing is one of my favourite things!! I think what I love most about it is it is completely different to anything you do in your normal day-to-day life. I mean putting on uncomfortable boots and attaching two long planks of wood (or one long board if that’s your thing!) to said boots and then hurling yourself down a massive hill, oh and then repeating that about 10 times until you can’t stand up anymore…..hey what’s not to love! It did used to be fashionable amongst the elite, but now thanks to the wide variety of ski companies it’s so much more affordable.
But where to start with such a huge topic? Well, I thought I’d give my top tips on choosing the right holiday for you, starting with what about how easy it is to get there. Nowadays quite a few companies fly from Southampton to Chambery in France, Geneva in Switzerland and Innsbruck in Austria. And from those airports the ski areas you can transfer to are endless. Flying from Southampton makes a huge difference to the overall trip as more often than not the transfer from airport to mountain can be up to 3 hours depending on how high up you’re going. But don’t let that put you off as there are many resorts that are around 1 ½ hours transfer so that’s a bit more doable!!
When choosing a resort it helps to have a think about a few things: what level skiing/boarding you’re looking for, who is travelling and what everyone wants from their holiday. I’ve been a few times now and with different sets of people, from my girlfriends (that’s when I met my hubby!), to my family including my 60 year old parents and then my own little family when my son was only 2! Lots of resorts offer great après ski action such as Val D’Isere in France, Pas de la Casa in Andorra and Verbier in Switzerland, with plenty of pubs and bars offering to ease your aches and pains with copious amounts of gluhwein!!
If you’re looking for a great family resort, it’s best to see what there is on offer off the slopes too as little ones can only handle so much slope time. I’d recommend Alpe D’Huez as the slopes are set right behind the town so lots of ski-in and ski-out accommodation and there’s lots going on in the town including a large communal pool – however a word of warning apparently men HAVE to wear Speedo’s to swim in it!!! The other resort I would recommend is Alpbach in Austria, this pretty little village in the Tirol mountain range is compact and has some lovely sunny nursery slopes for the little beginners. It also has an ice rink and communal swimming pool for some fun off the slopes.
For serious skiers and boarders who are looking for height and great off-piste actions there’s lots of great resorts and one I’d recommend is St Anton in Austria; catch the cable car above the main area and from here a five-man gondola carries you the last few hundred metres to expert-only terrain and the notorious Valluga Nord off-the-back descent to Zurs. (This all sounds scary to me but my “expert” hubby assures me it’s awesome!)
The other thing to consider when looking for the perfect ski holiday is the type of accommodation you’re after. Some people like the flexibility of self-catering which is usually the cheapest option from a booking perspective but depending on resort it can be very expensive to eat out; Switzerland and Norway in particular. The other options are half board hotels, where you get breakfast and dinner included, or my favourite: the catered chalet. Going for this option is great especially with kids as you are in smaller accommodation so perhaps lodges holding between 8-16 people and you have a chalet host at your beck and call! They make you a hearty breakfast, put on a splendid afternoon tea for the well-deserved post-slope sugar rush and then cook a 4-course dinner where wine is generally free flowing!! The chalet host usually has one day off in the week which allows you to go out and enjoy one of the many restaurants the resort has to offer.
So there you are, choosing a ski holiday in a nut-shell!!! But seriously if you are thinking of planning your ski holiday now is a great time to do it so give me a call on 01489 858270 or send me an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.