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Skiing for beginners- your recommendations please!

(54 Posts)
Ilikesweetpeas Sat 21-Jan-17 15:24:10

We'd like to do a family ski holiday next Feb half term for DH, me and DD (10). All beginners so no need for black runs! We are not fussy about where, but would like to have lifts that we can walk to rather then get a ski bus. We'd all need lessons - can we do this as a family? To give me an idea of prices I've been looking to see what it costs this half term but to be honest I'm finding it all confusing! Any advice is welcome, who you book through, where's good, how lessons work etc! Thank you

Shockers Sat 21-Jan-17 15:26:05

We've just booked Puy St Vincent; it looks great for families. Snowbizz do packages there.

YakiUdonYumYum Sat 21-Jan-17 15:33:53

You might consider a package with someone like Esprit / Total (different age ranges for kids and whether you go during school hols), Crystal or Mark Warner etc.

They'll ve able to sort out your lessons for you all, flights and accommodation. You just have to choose the resort. The brochure will have a basic price. Then factor in ski passes and lessons, equipment hire and eating out.

When our kids were primary school age, we used Esprit. They would have ski lessons in the mornings, then either additional leisure (still with an instructor) session in the afternoon or Esprit kids activities.

Adults could choose, depending on availability with the local ski school, morning or afternoon ski lessons. We often met up for lunch after our morning lessons, then skied together in the afternoons.

With kids we went to Courchevel, Les Arcs and La Plagne. Our fave was Courchevel, staying in a slope-side hotel.

xyzandabc Sat 21-Jan-17 15:42:40

I can't advise on a package or where to go as we always go to a family members place but I would definitely recommend getting a few lessons under your belt before you go, means you waste less time of your actual holiday just figuring out how to stand up. I know the snowzone place nearest us was doing offers last summer for cheaper lessons as summer is their quiet season.
Once at resort you can either join a ski school class but kids will be in different classes to adults, all classes will be tailored to the right level for the participants. Or you could hire a private instructor (via the ski school) who will teach you all together, just you as a family. This will be more expensive but obviously the instructor has less people to work with so you will come on quicker. Depends whether you want lessons with your children or not.

Ilikesweetpeas Sat 21-Jan-17 16:30:23

Thanks for the suggestions, will take a look at those operators. I guess I'm looking for somewhere which does children's lessons and then childcare for a while whilst we have our lessons and gain some confidence. I don't want to be on the slopes with DD when I don't know what to do (although she will probably learn fast). I also agree that some lessons here would be a good idea too!

BikeRunSki Sat 21-Jan-17 16:46:27

Mortimer is good for beginners and full of expat Brits and a British ski school (the British Alpine Ski School). - I believe they do bespoke lessons, but it's been a long time since I had children and became totally skint I lady skiied. Moraine is great though, we went winter and summer (mountain biking) for several years. It's also worth bearing in mind that one of the ski stations accessible from Morzine -Avoriaz- is high enough to often have good snow when it's poor elsewhere. The Portes du Soleil (Morzine area) ski area is huge too, plenty to do.

For accommodation and airport transfers I can't recommend Action Mountain enough. They are about 10 mins drive from Morzine town itself, but will drive you everywhere. Thus makes them much more economical than the turn centre itself.

And YYY to having dry slope/snowdome lessons before you go. Saves lots of valuable time and money when you arrive. Many places have lesson packages with this in mind from about October onwards.

BikeRunSki Sat 21-Jan-17 16:48:05

Ho hum - "lady skiied" = last skied. I have never skied like a lady.

Turn centre = town centre

Buttercupsandaisies Sat 21-Jan-17 17:11:20

I recommend DIY

We are going this Feb half term, family of four inc flights, apartment, ski hire, lift passes, transfers and lessons come to £2950. Bargain! - I was quoted £5-6k package. This is Andorra flying to Barcelona.

StarBurger Sat 21-Jan-17 17:17:31

Andorra or Bulgaria. The latter is far cheaper. Unless you want to drive then somewhere in the French Alps. Most resorts have beginner slopes and schools.

dontcallmethatyoucunt Sat 21-Jan-17 18:45:59

You won't need childcare, your D10 will be sitting you guys by day 3.

I'd go to the Dolomites as its quiet.

BikeRunSki Sat 21-Jan-17 19:16:02

For goodness sake ....

In my long post of 16.46 "Mortimer" should be "Morzine". There is no ski resort I know of called Mortimer.

Ilikesweetpeas Sun 22-Jan-17 07:51:40

Thanks everyone, this is good advice to get me started. Are there particular resorts to look at in Andorra / Bulgaria? Snow wise is it likely to be ok everywhere in Feb or should I be looking at higher resorts? This is all new to me so I have no idea what I'm looking for!

Buttercupsandaisies Sun 22-Jan-17 12:55:25

We're off to Soldeu in Andorra. Family resort - currently tons of snow - over 2m fell in last week!

Ilikesweetpeas Sun 22-Jan-17 13:10:38

Lovely Buttercups! Hope you have a great time, who have you booked with?

juneau Sun 22-Jan-17 13:12:55

I would choose a small resort if you're all absolute beginners. Yes Andorra is known to be nice and gentle, Puy St Vincent is a small area which the operator Snowbizz has SC accommodation in and is well known for its family-friendliness.

Feb half-term is the busiest week of the season, so you may struggle to find a suitable package at this late date, but personally I'd avoid the big French/Austrian resorts as they'll be packed and the slopes crowded with long queues for lifts. As beginners you don't need much and tbh the quieter the resort is, the better.

You might also want to take a look at Zauchensee in Austria with Ski Hillwood. It's a small resort, very family-friendly, run by a small British company and everything is within spitting distance so ideal for families/beginners.

juneau Sun 22-Jan-17 13:15:21

Snowbizz: [http://snowbizz.co.uk/]

Ski Hillwood: [http://www.familyskiholidays.com/]

Ski Esprit: [http://www.espritski.com/]

Ilikesweetpeas Sun 22-Jan-17 13:25:43

Thanks Juneau, I'll look at this links now. Am actually thinking of Feb 2018 but trying to get a rough idea of cost now so I know what to budget for this, Getting some great ideas from this thread which are helping as it's so hard to know what to book!

Buttercupsandaisies Sun 22-Jan-17 16:34:07

We booked flights with Ryanair to Barcelona -£550 for four

Transfers £200 total
ski hire £159 for four
lift passes for four (5 days) inc lunch at mountain restaurant -£700lessons £130 for both kids - all the above booked through soldeu.com

Appartment through booking.com

Was all so easy to do! Done it all in one go really. At one point the flights dropped to £50pp return!!

Buttercupsandaisies Sun 22-Jan-17 16:34:28

That's Feb half term

PossumInAPearTree Sun 22-Jan-17 16:43:13

If you've never skied before I'd really recommend you go with someone like Esprit who are good. Otherwise you diy, get there and remain confused trying to sort out lift passes, ski hire, etc on the first morning when your lessons start at 9am and your flight was delayed the night before so the ski shop was shut by the time you got to resort. Having a rep keep the shop open late for you, go to pick your passes up, a chalet chef doing the cooking, a snow ranger taking your dd to lessons and helping her get her ski boots on while you struggle with yours is money well spent imho.

La Rosiere is a good beginners resort. Courchevel is lovely but restaurants can be pricey for lunch.

Yes your dd may run rings round you if she's sporty. But if she's not keen, not enjoying it, cold or tired she might not want to ski in the afternoon. With someone like esprit you have snow club in the afternoon if they don't want to ski.

Where ever you go look at how many meters from chalet to a decent ski lift it is. I'm not keen on anything over four hundred meters! Ski boots and carrying skis doesn't make a long trudge much fun.

IsletsOfLangerhans Sun 22-Jan-17 17:47:47

I don't think you necessarily need a package to ensure all that Possum stated above. A good hotel will be happy to sort out lift passes, ski hire, transport etc.

Buttercupsandaisies Sun 22-Jan-17 18:08:39

I prefer independent as we don't need childcare and I find companies like esprit etc almost encourage adults and children to be separate! Eating diff times, wrap around childcare etc - I guess if kids were younger but if my kids didn't want to ski all day then I'd do something else with them rather than put them in childcare. Not criticising others choices obviously, just highlighting that ski holidays offer plenty of other family activities. Soldeu for example has huskies, snowmobiles, tubing, ice skating nearby etc

Also you can book lessons at any time - ours start at 11-1 so well ski as a family before and after the kids lessons - me and DH will be happy with couple of hours on our own a day. Private lessons for entire family may suit you better. We were quoted 2 hours private for £90. A couple of these is probably equal to 5x2 group lessons

Buttercupsandaisies Sun 22-Jan-17 18:10:35

Also we hire a locker -€50 for the week right next to gondola so no hiking with gear to and from hotel/appt

Ilikesweetpeas Sun 22-Jan-17 20:03:37

So much to consider! The help I'm getting on here is great, thank you all. I hope that those of you going soon have a great time!

Ilikesweetpeas Sun 22-Jan-17 22:30:37

I really like the look of snowbizz but, based on prices for this Feb it's not far short of £6000 for the three of us, including using lessons and childcare but no food. Is that a lot to pay for a package? I had about £4000 in mind!

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