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  • FIRST POST
    • Aubrey Thicket
    • By Aubrey Thicket 13th Sep 17, 2:24 PM
    • 167Posts
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    Aubrey Thicket
    0 WOW
    First time Ski-ing holiday. Are these things I've heard correct? Suggestions Required
    • #1
    • 13th Sep 17, 2:24 PM
    0 WOW
    First time Ski-ing holiday. Are these things I've heard correct? Suggestions Required 13th Sep 17 at 2:24 PM
    Hi all


    We are a family of 4. Mum 45 years old, Dad 50 years old, Daughter 16, Son 15. For ages we have been 'curious' about going on a Ski-ing holiday and before age becomes a factor I think we should give it a go. However, even though we've been on many holidays before (cruises, packages, city holidays etc etc) we have never done a Ski-Ing holiday. Therefore, we have no idea where to start. So, we thought it best to ask some friends and colleagues about their experiences and we have received a few tit bits of 'advice' but not enough to move forward. Yes, I know I could search online but I'd have no idea where to start. I will number some of the comments I have taken on board and would appreciate some comments from you guys. There is a good chance some of you may not agree with what I have heard.


    1. Val Thoren is good for absolute beginers.
    2. Merribelle is good for beginners but it's really expensive, like £10 per pint.
    3. Alpine elements is a good site to book with because most other companies take you on a Saturday but alpine go on a Sunday so you get a day when everybody else is travelling when you're not.
    4. Try and get a catered Hotel (you get B&B & evening meal) because food is mega expensive.
    5. Try and get half board.
    6. Don't buy your Ski passes before you go. You can pay cash when you get there and they are cheaper.
    7. Don't buy your lessons before you go. Buy them in the resort.
    8. You need to allow about £280 each person for Ski Passes.


    Now, as I have said, a lot of this is hear say and some of it is pub talk.


    With this in mind please can I ask you guys to give me your comments on the comments above. Also, I'd be very grateful if some of you can suggest a decent European resort that is not mega expensive, that caters for beginners, that has things to do at night or when not ski ing.


    If you guys would be kind enough to give us some suggestions where to start that would be great. Bear in mind we are total novices and have teens who like many others LOVE WIFI too.


    Thanks in advance (and hope) guys.
Page 1
    • 814man
    • By 814man 13th Sep 17, 3:27 PM
    • 331 Posts
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    814man
    • #2
    • 13th Sep 17, 3:27 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Sep 17, 3:27 PM
    First of all I'd suggest you may be better reading and asking questions on a ski specialist forum such as:
    http://www.snowheads.com/
    That said I've been skiing with my family every year for last 20 or so so I'll have a go at some views:
    1. Val Thoren is good for absolute beginers.
    Not too sure about this, its very high up so fairly sure to get snow but the skiing can be challenging along with the weather. Personally I'd look at resorts like Sestriere in Italy
    2. Merribelle is good for beginners but it's really expensive, like £10 per pint.
    Most major ski resorts can be pretty expensive, especially on slopes or in apres ski areas. Not been to Meribel but I dont expect its much more than others
    3. Alpine elements is a good site to book with because most other companies take you on a Saturday but alpine go on a Sunday so you get a day when everybody else is travelling when you're not.
    I dont know the company but generally changeover day will be Saturday or Sunday and you get 6 days skiing on a weeks holiday. Ski lessons generally run Monday to Friday and you ski free on the weekend day you have free.
    4. Try and get a catered Hotel (you get B&B & evening meal) because food is mega expensive.
    Very much personal choice, as a family we've always gone self catering for lots of reasons including price.
    5. Try and get half board.
    As above
    6. Don't buy your Ski passes before you go. You can pay cash when you get there and they are cheaper.
    7. Don't buy your lessons before you go. Buy them in the resort.
    I'm not sure about this. I've done both but not noticed any great difference. Be aware if you try to do your own organisation dont leave it until the Monday morning as the queues will be huge. For ease I have to admit I generally just book with travel agent if we use one
    8. You need to allow about £280 each person for Ski Passes.
    All areas will vary you need to research. If going to a large ski area such as 3 Valleys or Milky Way as beginners you may not need full area passes and so be able to save money on just a local resort pass, example here http://www.sestriere-online.com/lift-passes/
    • Aubrey Thicket
    • By Aubrey Thicket 13th Sep 17, 4:17 PM
    • 167 Posts
    • 46 Thanks
    Aubrey Thicket
    • #3
    • 13th Sep 17, 4:17 PM
    Great advice
    • #3
    • 13th Sep 17, 4:17 PM
    Great advice.

    Thank you for sparing me your time to enlighten me. This gives me a start.
    • michele-p
    • By michele-p 13th Sep 17, 5:58 PM
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    michele-p
    • #4
    • 13th Sep 17, 5:58 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Sep 17, 5:58 PM
    I can give a bit of basic advice based on our large group holidays:

    I don't think lift passes are any cheaper if you buy there. That said, we usually get ours on the coach transfer on the way to the hotel, the reps sell them on the bus, and take cards too!

    We like catered chalets, or larger catered hotels, you usually get breakfast, cakes at 4, canapes before dinner, 3/4 courses and wine at dinner included. It means you spend very little on the holiday other than an hour or 2 apres ski drinks from 4-6. We don't really go out in the evening after dinner.

    For a beginner, depending on budget, you might consider a Club Med ski hotel. It's basically all inclusive, including lift pass and lessons, and might be very social for your teenagers. Even the bar is free all day, they literally hand you food and drink the moment you get back every evening.

    Generally speaking, the closer to the lifts the better. Hotels and holiday companies would organise lessons, but many resorts you could book your own.

    Snowheads forums is a great place to ask things too.

    When you're booked we can give advice on clothing etc too, but don't want to confuse you now.

    Sign up for newsletters at Igluski.co.uk there's always offers on email

    Ski Beat is also a very good company we've used before. It's one holiday we always go for a package - to give an idea our group of 16 usually pay £650-£750 a week plus ski pass (around £250/80) for catered chalet, then I usually spend around £200 during the week.

    Look for resorts with lots of snow cannons just in case there's not much of the real stuff.

    Hope it helps a bit.
    • Backbiter
    • By Backbiter 13th Sep 17, 11:35 PM
    • 1,220 Posts
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    Backbiter
    • #5
    • 13th Sep 17, 11:35 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Sep 17, 11:35 PM
    I've got quite a lot of experience, so I'll make a few points:

    1. If you are absolute beginners, you probably won't get the best value from the huge ski areas like the Three Valleys (where Val Thorens and Meribel are), which are expensive to begin with. They have enormous lift systems and a vast range of pistes that as beginners you just won't get to take advantage of.
    2. Most resorts have good beginner slopes, but two of the best I've seen are Avoriaz and Alpe d'Huez
    3. French resorts offer more 'doorstep skiing' than other countries. This is something to consider, as having an apartment or hotel on the slopes is fantastic.
    4. Be prepared for sky high drinks prices in France - Austria is much more affordable for bar and restaurant prices. I haven't been to Andorra but have friends who say it's great and prices are very reasonable
    5. On my last ski trip a couple of years ago - to the Portes du Soleil area in France, where the biggest resorts are Morzine, Les Gets, Avoriaz - we save a LOT on lift passes by buying them daily at 11am. We still had 5+ hours of skiing each day, which was more than enough for us, but they were a lot cheaper than full-day passes. A later start was very relaxing.
    6. You'd probably get the best value from paying for a beginner package, including ski hire, lessons and a lift pass that only covers a relatively small ski area. You might find a hotel deal that offers a package like that, as well as half-board.
    7. Accommodation costs - like flight prices - vary hugely throughout the season. If you can travel between the main school holidays you''ll save a lot, but as you've got school-age kids that would seem unlikely.
    8. Easter is my preferred time for travel. Generally better weather, but also if you choose a high resort (1700m or higher) you can have excellent snow.
    • fifeken
    • By fifeken 14th Sep 17, 3:11 AM
    • 2,175 Posts
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    fifeken
    • #6
    • 14th Sep 17, 3:11 AM
    • #6
    • 14th Sep 17, 3:11 AM
    Look out for ski gear in Aldi or Lidl. They often have it at respectable prices and you might never use it again.
    • HHarry
    • By HHarry 14th Sep 17, 7:55 AM
    • 406 Posts
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    HHarry
    • #7
    • 14th Sep 17, 7:55 AM
    • #7
    • 14th Sep 17, 7:55 AM
    3. We've been with Alpine Elements a few times in their catered chalets and they've always been very good, with well trained staff. We met the owner of the company in St Anton and he wanted to hear our feedback.

    4. Everything can be a bit more expensive, (1.5euros for a Mars bar on the hill), even more at the moment with the exchange rate. Catered chalet options can be very cheap - sometimes cheaper than self catering. Be warned that you'll be sharing a chalet, potentially with a group of excitable drunks (sorry!)

    6. We also usually buy our passes on the transfer bus, which have always been the same price as in resort. There are some resorts, like Morzine, where you get a 10% discount if you buy in advance before the season starts; you then just pick your passes up from the ticket office.

    Overall my favourite olace is Austria, and we've had two great family holidays in Mayrhofen. I'd also suggest somewhere like Morzine, because there is stuff to do (swimming / ice skating) if you don't want to ski all the time.
    • Aubrey Thicket
    • By Aubrey Thicket 14th Sep 17, 9:24 AM
    • 167 Posts
    • 46 Thanks
    Aubrey Thicket
    • #8
    • 14th Sep 17, 9:24 AM
    • #8
    • 14th Sep 17, 9:24 AM
    Harry


    Thank you for that. That's great advice. I am particularly 'concerned' though about sharing a chalet with others. My family wouldn't prefer that!


    The Morzine idea sounds quite good because of the swimming & skating etc.
    • dggar
    • By dggar 14th Sep 17, 9:40 AM
    • 554 Posts
    • 271 Thanks
    dggar
    • #9
    • 14th Sep 17, 9:40 AM
    • #9
    • 14th Sep 17, 9:40 AM
    It's probably worth having some "taster Sessions" at an indoor slope in Britain if there is one near you.


    My nearest is in Manchester


    https://www.chillfactore.com/
    • EconomicsGirl
    • By EconomicsGirl 14th Sep 17, 6:25 PM
    • 284 Posts
    • 191 Thanks
    EconomicsGirl
    We generally go at Easter to France as French husband, price goes down a lot and some French resorts are still open. You do need to check when they close. We go independently and B and B and its been fine, food prices same in restaurant here. We tend to go for hotels with pools so something else to do. Normally go to Samoens.

    This year we went to Austria to Hintertux and that was great too and is open all year, went end May and it was really sunny like summer on ground and snow on mountain top. Not really beginners skiing in May but still managed to ski.
    • Backbiter
    • By Backbiter 14th Sep 17, 10:48 PM
    • 1,220 Posts
    • 636 Thanks
    Backbiter
    We generally go at Easter to France as French husband, price goes down a lot and some French resorts are still open. You do need to check when they close. We go independently and B and B and its been fine, food prices same in restaurant here. We tend to go for hotels with pools so something else to do. Normally go to Samoens.

    This year we went to Austria to Hintertux and that was great too and is open all year, went end May and it was really sunny like summer on ground and snow on mountain top. Not really beginners skiing in May but still managed to ski.
    Originally posted by EconomicsGirl
    I once skied there in July. It was a strange experience driving up from the valley where it was summer to a misty, wintry environment. There was plenty of snow, but unsurprisingly no fresh snow, so what was there was a murky, grey, brown colour. The misty conditions meant the scenery was totally hidden. Which was also my experience when I spent a week in Wengen, which has some of the most spectacular mountains in the world, but they were all invisible that week.
    Last edited by Backbiter; 15-09-2017 at 10:17 PM.
    • EconomicsGirl
    • By EconomicsGirl 15th Sep 17, 9:37 PM
    • 284 Posts
    • 191 Thanks
    EconomicsGirl
    That's interesting. When we went end of May the snow was white and scenery / views really good. It was about 30C on the ground. I think we may well have been lucky with the weather.

    Also went to the Ice Palace and it was good to have a boat ride in a mountain. It's not really a beginner's resort out of winter but its funny to see the difference.

    The place in France we go to is quite reasonably priced and good for beginners.
    • rugbyleaguesmate
    • By rugbyleaguesmate 17th Sep 17, 8:42 PM
    • 246 Posts
    • 1,351 Thanks
    rugbyleaguesmate
    Can recommend Finland for beginners, Levi. lessons, lift pass, transfers and just south of Arctic circle makes it a different experience!
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    • silverwhistle
    • By silverwhistle 17th Sep 17, 9:27 PM
    • 1,657 Posts
    • 2,186 Thanks
    silverwhistle
    I first went skiing in (aargh) 1977, and then on yearly package holidays to most of the big resorts and a few smaller ones, but invariably on my own. This century I lived in the western Italian Alps for 7 years and so am unredeemably biaised towards those resorts. I go back for a couple of weeks every year and self cater (read, I know the good value pizzerias!).

    The resorts you mention are expensive, and as beginners you won't really benefit from their scale (except height is good for snow conditions).

    But there isn't really any advice here I'd disagree with. I can't comment on package holidays these days, but I used to go catered chalets which could be good fun as a singleton. Now I jump in the car (an oldish hatchback) and head south. Last year I took my girlfriend for the first time and sharing the driving made it _much_ easier!

    What hasn't been said is that skiing is a sport so some fitness preparation will help you get the most out of it, and you can even find evening sessions at your local gym/sports centre these days. Don't get hung up on equipment, I still buy stuff from Aldi and Lidl and Decathlon, and a lot of the gear can be used in other situations.

    Allow me to show my bias by saying have a look at Pila, which is just above Aosta. Good nursery slopes, well prepared pistes and reasonable prices. Down in the town below you can get a decent pizza for €7 and a beer for €5.
    • koloko
    • By koloko 18th Sep 17, 11:04 PM
    • 1,656 Posts
    • 1,344 Thanks
    koloko
    The less you take up the mountain the better.

    You need card/cash/phone/ski pass

    You don't need walkie talkies, baguettes, 3 jumpers, 4 litres of hi-action energy drink, chocolate bars, binoculars, go pro, spare gloves, headphones, portable iphone battery, changeable hats, passports, insurance details, kitchen sinks............
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