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Help needed: family with 4 teens attempting 1st skiing holiday

(13 Posts)
whoseafraidofnaomiwolf Sun 13-Mar-16 09:24:11

As the title says - we're a family of 2 parents and 4 teens (12-19) who are hoping to book our first ski holiday next year. I have skiied in my younger days - I loved it, but no-one else has been ever. We have a budget of about 6k in total (I'm hopeful to get ski classes in that too).

I've started looking, but the options are quite overwhelming with so many companies, so many resorts and so many ways to spend a LOT of money, so I was hoping for some advice from mums (or dads) who have some 'on the piste' experience.

Can anyone recommend a good company to go with who will do their best to respect our budget? Is there a good time to go - we are in theory limited to school holiday times, but Easter is very late next year - not really until April. I know Feb half term is possible, but the prices skyrocket then don't they?

Is there a resort that would be good for beginners, but with other stuff to do in case one of us hates skiing? I think we'd be looking at driving to cut costs, but willing to consider other options

Also, Chalet or self catering apartment? Lessons - book into classes, or get an instructor for us all as a group? How do you get an English speaking instructor - is it easy?

It's all so overwhelming ....

MrsGuyOfGisbo Sun 13-Mar-16 20:25:43

Going for the first time I would recommend you go on a package as will save wasted time finding you way around as all is sorted and stress-free.
In the past we have had good value with Crystal /Thomson (avoid Neilson!!!).
In your situation would look at SkiTotal - La Rosiere. High enough to have goo snow, but less busy than other resorts.

clam Mon 14-Mar-16 11:09:02

Prices do rocket at half term, yes, but we've always had to go then as teachers. £6000 is a reasonably comfortable budget - we've always managed for 4 of us on around half to two-thirds of that, but we DIY the trip. We book early and get flights to a less-obvious ski airport (Marseilles or Nice) and drive/get shuttle bus up to one of the closest resorts to there (around 2-3 hours by car). We then hire a self-catering apartment and book our own skis/passes etc.. Works out much cheaper, but I have to confess that I hanker after a more luxurious catered chalet. Once the pesky kids stop coming with us, it might be do-able!

clam Mon 14-Mar-16 11:10:05

Oh, and get ski-in/ski-out, whatever you do! calf muscles still not recovered from hiking up hill in boots from 3 weeks ago

Skilover Mon 14-Mar-16 16:50:31

You can definitely do it if you look at some less well known resorts...how about the French Pyrenees? Possibly Saint Lary Soulan or Cauterets. You can fly from Stansted to Lourdes with Ryanair and the transfers are 30€ per person return . Have a look at www.ernalow.co.uk who I work for, for an idea of accommodation prices from this season. Most apartments have sofa beds in the living room which make it good value for money if you fill to maximum occupancy. Equipment hire and ski passes are all better value here too. If you don't like the skiing the area has load of traditional spas for exploring. A private lesson would also be a good idea if you are all the same level.

playitagainsally Mon 14-Mar-16 20:47:39

For that money you should be able to do a package with flights, transfers, chalet, lift passes and some tuition.
I'd choose a smaller resort, there's no point paying for a vast ski area for your first trip.
New Year is often cheaper than february half term but you're less snow sure (unless you choose a very high resort) the days are shorter and the chance of sunshine is reduced.
When looking at accommodation a quick walk to the lifts and ski back is ideal, failing that a ski bus stop very near is OK.
We're big fans of chalets in the Alps but we know several families that drive to SC and take lots of food with them.

whoseafraidofnaomiwolf Thu 17-Mar-16 16:53:45

Playitagainsally Where is SC? (South Carolina?! confused). Small resorts sound good, but I have no idea which ones would be beginner friendly and offer English speaking instructors. Any recommendations.

SKilover I like the pyrenees - it's where I learned million years ago, but am facing the issues mentioned above. I've only ever been to one teeny-tiny village there where there was no english instructors and no night life to speak of. Fine for me then, not good for us as a family now. I'll check out your website though, Thanks.

I'm wrestling with the package vs DIY options. DIY is our natural leaning, but as it'll be our first time I wonder if it's worth spending the money as a one-off until we suss out the lie of the land IYSWIM?

Have been looking at some of the big providers (yes, looked at Neilson - why avoid them MrsGuyofGisbo? Have you a bad experience with them?), but struggling to get reasonable sense of total cost - their websites are like spaghetti junction to navigate....

Thanks for all your advice and help everyone. Will go away and look at places/providers you've suggested.

babybellishell Thu 17-Mar-16 16:56:49

Self Catering grin.
Where's your nearest airport? I'll see what I can find

whoseafraidofnaomiwolf Thu 17-Mar-16 21:07:36

Gatwick, but any London airport really. Thank you.

Muchtoomuchtodo Thu 17-Mar-16 21:12:50

I use the chalets direct website a lot and post requests in The Solutions Room part.

Lots of independent operators use the site and it can be a great way to find exactly what you want. You're likely to get lots of replies that don't fit the bill but if you sift through them you might just find exactly what you're after - I have on several occasions.

babybellishell Thu 17-Mar-16 21:17:45

My first thought was these guys, might be worth a chat. Great firm, great skiing and gorgeous location
www.skipeak.net/vaujany/the-resort

babybellishell Thu 17-Mar-16 21:20:29

We've also been with
ski
beat

babybellishell Thu 17-Mar-16 21:20:57

Sorry, Total & Skibeat

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