Are you one of those people who cannot wait for winter to come around so you can arrange your next ski trip? Or will this be the first time you will travel to the magical snowy slopes? Whether this is the first or the umpteenth time you plan a winter holiday, you need to know how to be well-prepared.
What if you forget to take something important with you on the trip or realise that you are overcharged for things and services you could get at a much lower price?
We have travelled a lot, done our research, and present you the top five tips that will help you prepare for your winter vacations.
#1 Choose Destination
Going down the slopes with grace and speed is only half the fun. The other half is the relaxation and warmth that follow, either with hot chocolate around the fireplace or with evening drinks and dancing.
The ski resorts in Europe are dressed in white from early on. If you are looking for your new winter excursion, we suggest five exceptional apres ski resorts in Europe.
● St Moritz, Switzerland: St Moritz is one of the most historic ski resorts in Europe. The Winter Olympics have been held here twice in the past, while the World Ski Championships are held here every year. Apart from the slopes and pistes, the area is also famous for its beautiful alpine views.
● Les Arcs, France: With more than 100 downhill routes extending over four levels, Les Arcs 1600, 1900, 1950, and 2000, this ski resort has something for everyone. It's mostly known for its avant-garde parties and convenient ski in - ski out hotels.
● St. Anton, Austria: In St. Anton, apart from skiing, partying all day and night is one of the things that attract many visitors. Most bars stay open until 3 in the morning and some even wait for the first light before calling it quits.
● Sauze d’Oulx, Italy: Italian resort means excellent food and fun in style. Traditional wood-oven pizzas, homemade spaghetti, Irish pubs, jazz clubs and dance clubs offer great options for the cold winter nights.
● Courchevel, France: It is part of Les Trois Vallées, the largest connected ski network in the world. The area is family and beginners friendly and famous for its impeccable snow quality and high gastronomy, hosting many award-winning restaurants.
#2 Airport Parking
Ski holidays can be expensive, but luckily there are plenty of areas where you can easily save money without impacting on your fun on the slopes. One of them is your transfer to and from your departure airport.
If you are planning to fly to your destination, then it is definitely worth looking for airport parking. For all travellers starting their journey from the UK and Ireland, there is Parkhero, a comparison platform for airport parking assisting travellers in finding the most competitive prices at car parks close to the airport.
For example, if you are flying from London Gatwick and are looking for affordable London Gatwick parking, Parkhero is here to help. Within a couple of minutes, you can book a cheap and trusted parking facility. Simply, enter your travel dates and airport, and you’re ready to go. Choose the service that best fits your needs, go through to the checkout and a confirmation email will arrive at your mailbox within a few minutes. Yes, it’s that simple!
#3 Pick the right dates
Choosing the right dates for your winter vacation can be a bit challenging. It mainly depends on the destination you have chosen and the weather conditions.
Generally, if you prefer thick winter snow, pick one of the three months: December, January, February. Even the first two weeks of March are suitable for winter skiing. If you are a fan of spring skiing, choose to go on vacation in March, April and even early May.
Regardless of the destination, the high season is considered to be Christmas and February. During this period, prices are high, and the big crowds mean that you will have to wait long enough to board a lift and expect to see the pistes full.
In your effort to find affordable prices and avoid crowds, be careful when choosing dates in the off-season. Resorts may be empty, and the snow is not of the best quality.
#4 Ski Equipment
You do not need to spend a lot of money, buying the necessary ski equipment. If it is your first time, it is better to rent the right accessories from the ski resort you will visit. There are plenty of options for all budgets!
All you will need, however, is:
● Skis or snowboards made of wood covered with fibreglass are the main accessory of skiers.
● Bindings. They join the sandal with the boot. They have special fuses to free the foot in case of a fall and to avoid injuries.
● Battons or poles: Two sticks help you maintain your balance, posture and flow. You need to hold them in such a way that your elbow is at a right angle.
● Mask-sunglasses. They offer protection to the eyes from the reflection of light in the snow.
● Sunscreen and lip sunscreen. Necessary both for sun protection.
● Helmet: Necessary for your safety in case of a fall.
● Clothes: If you go skiing often, buying a whole outfit would be very useful, because it will make you feel and move more comfortably. Whether you have your own ski clothing or rent it, you should know that you need to wear layered clothing to keep your body warm.
In general, clothes should be waterproof, keep you warm, allow freedom of movement and not be too tight. Wear thermal underwear suitable for low temperatures. You will also need gloves and scarves.
#5 Ski School
We know that your more experienced skier friends are happy to help you take your first steps in the snow, but you probably won’t learn to ski properly. Skiing is a sport that requires guidance from a trained, experienced teacher to learn the right techniques, but also to avoid injuries. All ski resorts have their own ski schools. Classes are either private or in groups, and you can even book them on the spot.
Although prices range from resort to resort, you can find prices as low as €20 for a group lesson. The cost of individual tutoring lasting one hour is around €40 and a group lesson around €20. You can also contact mountaineering clubs that offer classes for adults and children over 5 years old. An indicative price is €30 for a four-hour group lesson.
#6 Skiing or snowboarding?
The two main reasons that make most snow lovers take to the mountains at the first chance is skiing and snowboarding. These two most popular winter sports are also the apple of discord among their fans who fight over which of the two is better, more popular and demanding. You will rarely meet people who do both with the same excitement.
Ninety per cent of winter sports fans are interested in skiing because it has more room for development. On the other hand, snowboarding is cheaper in terms of equipment and easier to learn. Someone who skates, for example, can comfortably go down the track with two hours of training.
Wherever you choose to go for your winter vacation, your cheerful mood is the secret ingredient that will make you have a great time anywhere. Enjoy skiing and snowboarding always with safety. Pack your bags with warm clothes, buy or rent the necessary equipment, and you are ready for the most unforgettable winter vacation.
#7 Getting to Resort by Private Transfer
The best way to get to your chosen ski resort is by private transfer.
Whiterides Airport Transfers offer a professional private transfer service to the French Alps, from Geneva, Grenoble, Lyon and Chambery.
Guest blog by - Matthew Williams / Holidays Kingdom