New to skiing(12 Posts)
It's just an idea at the moment, but I've no idea where to start. I was thinking of skiing for Xmas 2015 or feb 2016. Family of 5 ( 3 children. They will be 6,10 and 12). Where do we go? Type of accommodation? Who to book with? Kit we need? Any advice for newbies!?! Thank you.
If you are all beginners look for a tour operator package to perhasps a lesser known resort with ski packs, lesson and passes arranged. Austria is good for beginners and English speaking instructor, France can be hit and miss skischool wise. Within a week you still won't be ready for the larger ski areas so it simply isn't worth paying a premium for access to that although also look for other public amenities such as a pool and ice rink or near a larger resort/city in case you fancy an afternoon off or the weather is unkind. Christmas this year has been barren snowwise so if you do opt for then aim high, above 2000m and make sure nursery slopes are available higher up to be snowsure. It is also worth paying a bit more to fly to an airport nearer the resort as transfers can be a pita. You may well find more hotels and self catering next season than chalets as the impact of a minimum wage means some operators are withdrawing from the chalet market.
As for kit look at H and M and Decathlon sale later in the season or ebay as particularly for kids you get barely used basics. Outer layer must be windproof and waterproof but that needn't cost a fortune
To all your questions I would reply 'What's your budget?', because what you want to spend will dictate what kind of holiday you can have, particularly during the five weeks of the season that fall within school holidays, which all count as 'peak' (i.e. eye-wateringly expensive).
For instance, if you need to keep things as cheap as possible you will probably want to drive and self-cater. Booking flights as soon as they are released can also save you lots of money, particularly as there are five of you. Do check out packages though as these can work out cheaper than buying the elements independently. There are always positive reviews on here of Snowbizz in Puy St Vincent, France. They have self-catering apartments in a small resort that is beginner-friendly. Mumsnet reviews are a great place to start though, so have a read.
Otherwise, my top tips would be:
- go for a resort that has a short (i.e. around an hour), transfer from the airport and, if possible, fly from your local airport;
- choose a resort/accommodation with things other than skiing on offer in case members of the party don't take to it. A swimming pool is good, an ice rink, a toboggan run, shops, a cinema, and if you're self-catering supermarkets and a few restaurants;
- look at the 'family specialist' ski holiday providers. You may decide they're not for you, but they can give you an idea of the best family-friendly resorts. I thought Les Gets (France) was a great little family resort with lots of amenities, supermarkets, etc. Google Mark Warner, Esprit, Scott Dunn, Ski Famille, Family Ski, etc, and the guide 'Where to Ski and Snowboard' also ranks resorts for family-friendliness. Its about £19;
- go for accommodation as close to the lift base as possible;
- you can buy ski gear from Aldi these days apparently. I've got really reasonably priced stuff from Verbaudet and Mountain Warehouse, but buy at the end of the season, if possible, in the sale, or borrow if you have friends with kids who are similar ages.
It is always worth having a look at Mumsnet Best recommendations for holidays etc. If people have had a good time, with everything covered, they will go to the bother of reviewing. This is how we found the lovely independent company www.snowfocus.com who we have used time and time again. As regards clothing etc, yes, Aldi etc have great deals. You do not have to spend a fortune on high tech kit, just make sure you have plenty of layers available and above all, in my opinion good quality gloves for little ones, more than one pair if possible. Warm littlies are happy littlies, cold littlies will only remember the miserable moments. Skiing is a wonderful family sport. Enjoy!
I've skiied 11 times with Esprit. Everything is taken care of. Kids are escorted to lessons, taken back to lunch then snow club in the afternoon or older kids can ski all day at some resorts. They have a supervised kids evening meal which most parents go to as well just to sit with the kids. Then there's cocoa club or a listening service while adults eat later on.
Dd always enjoyed it.
Don't go at Xmas. Have you seen the current snow conditions? It'd be bad luck to get it two years in a row but always possible.
Thanks! Silly question but where do I I find mumsnet best recommendations? Had a look and can't find the link via the app on my phone.
I had to look it up again and they have quite a range up there. Hopefully you can sift through and find what you are after. Its worth looking for consistently good reviews. Hope you go ahead and have a brilliant time. We love skiing with our son now. He has had a really good start from a young age and I have to admit, can out-ski me now.
If you are wondering about lessons or not for little ones, I would say def a yes, as they need to learn safe technique and "etiquette" as well as confidence. Look for small groups with English speaking instructors.
I would avoid Ski Esprit and son of the other family specialists given the age of your kids. We have skied with Esprit and they are great, but by the time my DS was 9 he didn't want to be forced to go to kids tea and with the little ones every night. Operators like Crystal or Thomson may be better - they have clubs for older kids and will take them to ski school, but then you have family time and eat together in the evenings. Cheaper than Esprit too.
Ski total was related to esprit but aimed at slightly older children/teens market.
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