A ski holiday is something special, a week of freedom, fresh air and adventure where camaraderie and fun are par for the course. The thrill of mastering an exciting new skill combined with spectacular mountain scenery, roaring log fires and a cosy chalet to relax in sounds idyllic, and it is, in fact it’s addictive. If you fancy giving it go but don’t know where to start, read on for some top tips on how to prepare for your first ski holiday…
Founded by Penarth residents Emma Staples-Hull and Steve Hull, Destination Ski is a specialist ski travel agency, committed to delivering unforgettable ski holidays across France, Canada and Andorra. An independent agency with access to the whole ski market, creating fully flexible ski holidays for every level of skier.
Location, Location, Location
As a beginner, don’t think your first ski holiday has to be in a well-known resort like Verbier or Chamonix, you’ll be paying a premium for a huge ski area you won’t fully use. Many of the smaller, lesser known ski areas have excellent facilities for beginners, they are more cost effective and provide an ideal base to learn your first turns.
Consider the location of your accommodation carefully, book somewhere with easy access to the beginner slopes, ski rental shop and ski school. Walking in ski boots and carrying your ski kit can take a bit of getting used to at first, having a convenient set up with everything close at hand will pay dividends.
Here are a couple of great beginner resort recommendations…
One of the most down to earth and welcoming ski villages you’ll ever visit, Arinsal is much loved by beginner and improver skiers, with many visitors falling for its charm and returning year after year. The resort has a very well-regarded ski school with a high number of native British instructors to ease you into your first few days on the slopes. The ski area is compact and easy to navigate which makes it unintimidating for first timers, Arinsal is linked to the neighbouring resort of Pal by cable car, giving you access to 63km of slopes locally.
The village itself is a small but charming place, there are several good restaurants in the village and a number of lively (but not rowdy) bars. Arinsal isn’t a place for glitz and glam, it’s an unpretentious place that knows how to do the basics really well, it’s easy to get around and makes for a relatively stress-free base; it’s also far more affordable than many of the bigger, more well-known ski areas. A ski holiday in Arinsal is perfect for those who want to try out skiing without breaking the bank.
A true ski-in ski-out resort, nestled high up in the heart of the Portes du Soleil area, a ski holiday in Avoriaz has plenty to offer beginners and groups of mixed ability. Being a purpose-built ski resort means the set up here is well thought out and convenient, the resort is car free (only sleighs allowed!), making it safe and easy to get around on foot (or skis).
Avoriaz has a great selection of gentle beginner / nursery slopes which are accessed directly from the centre of resort and perfect for helping you build up your confidence slowly. The local ski area offers 150km of piste with 600km available on the wider Portes du Soleil lift pass, therefore groups with differing abilities are well catered for. The Village des Enfants is a dedicated area where children can learn the principles of skiing through the means of play. Avoriaz is also home Aquariaz to the highest waterpark in Europe, perfect for families, non-skiers or just a day off the slopes.
What Do I Need?
Aside from your basic holiday package you will need some “ski extras”, this includes a lift pass (your passport to the slopes), lessons and equipment hire. When booking your lift pass, a cheaper local area pass will suffice, it’s highly unlikely you’ll cover the full 600km of The Three Valleys in week one! Also, don’t be persuaded by friends that can ski to join them where they claim they will “look after you”, always take professional tuition when starting out.
Pre-book your ski extras, it’s usually cheaper and guarantees your place in ski school, during busy weeks like half term many ski schools will be fully booked well in advance.
Take the Family
There’s no better family holiday experience than a ski trip, it’s a huge adventure for everyone. There’s a certain bond that’s formed on the slopes, whether it’s the pride of watching your children master their first green run or the kids laughing at dad falling over, you’re all in it together, learning something new and making great memories. If you’re children are young, there are several family specialist ski operators who provide a full childcare service, including taking children to and from ski school, making skiing with little ones hassle free.
Finally, it goes without saying that the easiest way to book any ski trip is to enlist the help of a ski specialist, the expert team at Destination Ski would love to help plan your next adventure.