You’ll want to do more than squats to prepare for an epic ski holiday. While we don’t dismiss the importance of a strong derrière, there is a lot more to consider when planning a holiday to the snow – especially if it’s for the first time.
From choosing the best resort and accommodation to travel insurance for skiing and more, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you plan your next epic ski adventure.
The best ski travel insurance
When it comes to travel insurance for ski holidays, you’ll need to purchase a policy that includes cover for snow sports, as most basic travel insurance policies won’t.
To choose the best ski travel insurance for your needs, consider what activities you intend to partake in. If they’re off-piste; that is, on unmarked ski runs and outside the boundaries of the ski resort, you may have to pay a little extra for cover.
Don’t forget you will need ski travel insurance in Australia if you’re planning on carving up the slopes of the southern states.
It’s quick and easy to add ski insurance to insure4less travel insurance policies, and we provide affordable cover for off-piste activities.
Which resort do you choose?
Will it be Whistler, or the Swiss Alps? Will you soak up a 5-star stay in a spacious chalet or will you bed next to buddies you meet Après ski at your hostel? Where you choose to ski and where you choose to sleep are two important factors you’ll want to figure out early when planning your ski holiday.
Your budget will likely be the loudest voice of reason as you consider, but don’t forget to think about your level of skiing ability, who you’re bringing with you, and if you’d like to do more than skiing on your holiday.
While most resorts cater for first-time skiers with nursery slopes and ski schools, there are those that pride themselves on being exceptionally great for beginners, naturally abound with gentler slopes.
Avoid big-name resorts if you’re a first-timer, where you’ll likely pay top dollar but end up unable to experience the majority of the resort.
If you’re travelling with kids, look for resorts that cater for families with childcare facilities, and if you’ll be travelling with a large group, ensure you find a resort that has something to offer all abilities.
You may want to look for resorts in which you can do more than ski too, like ice skating, snowshoeing and sleigh riding, especially if not everyone in your group is as ski mad as you are.
What’s the best accommodation?
From chalets to hotels, apartments and hostels, you have a lot to choose from when determining where to hang up the ski poles each night.
Chalets are spacious and generally exude a wooden, cabin-style charm that’s as warm as the fire glowing from within. They are excellent for families and large groups, are generally within walking or skiing distance to ski lifts, and will be either catered or self-catered – so you can make your own meals if that’s what you’d like. You’ll often find a private outdoor hot tub, too. Bliss!
If you can’t quite make the numbers for a chalet and don’t like the idea of sharing one with strangers, an apartment can offer a similar experience, with plenty of space and facilities. Their rates are generally more affordable too, handy if you’re on a tighter budget!
Ski hotels can be just as charming as chalets, though they’re typically not as secluded; that is, you’ll share a pool and other facilities with guests. Many resorts have boutique hotels – ideal for couples – that offer a more intimate experience.
Hostels will generally attract a younger and shall we say more rambunctious crowd, depending on where it is you’re skiing (smaller resorts tend to attract less revellers). Hostels can provide beautiful lodgings at cheaper prices, though you may need to give up a degree of personal space and sleep depending on your room of choice.
How should you book?
It’s possible to nab a good discount when you book your ski holiday as a package deal through a tour operator. Though a convenient option, the downside is you may not have as much flexibility as you might like with things like travel dates. It may take a few good sessions with Google, or a consultation with your trusted travel agent, to find something that’s perfect for you.
Note that if you’re going book each aspect of your holiday independently, you will have to organise your transfers between the airport and the mountains. Car hire can be a useful option here, especially if you think you’ll be keen to explore beyond the resort’s sphere.
Conveniently, you’ll find that when you book your accommodation, you’ll often have the option to book extras like car hire, airport transfers, ski hire, lift passes and even equipment hire at the same time.
Remember to not leave booking until the last minute as ski holidays sell out fast.
What will you need?
Ski equipment isn’t cheap, and if you think it will see more of the underside of your bed at home than snow, it’s probably best to rent instead of buy it. That’s skis, boots, bindings, ski poles, goggles (if you don’t want to wear sunglasses) and a helmet.
When it comes to clothing, there’s no need to purchase the high-end gear that’s marketed to advanced skiers, though it’s definitely worth purchasing quality attire. You may find it difficult to enjoy yourself if you don’t! More skiing less freezing, please.
Invest in a decent wind-and-water-resistant ski jacket, ski pants, snow socks, a beanie, neck warmer and waterproof gloves. Don’t forget your layers, but don’t go overboard, either – remember you’ll not be sliding down the slopes on your butt (hopefully), but working up a sweat as you ski that white powder or, yes, snowplough your way to safety.
Making the most of the slopes
Especially if you’ve never skied before and even if you’ve not skied in a while, you’ll probably want to avoid hitting the highest peak on your first run. Everything could quickly go downhill from there if you do.
Taking a ski lesson on your first day can be incredibly valuable if only to brush up on some forgotten skills. Most ski resorts have a wide range of classes to suit varying abilities and age groups, so you’ll be learning with like-minded people. Don’t forget to book your lessons in advance though, particularly during peak times.
Be sure to familiarise yourself as much as you can with the resort’s pistes – they’ll be colour-coded to indicate their difficulty. Ensure also that you’re aware of general ski etiquette like giving way to skiers and snowboarders in front of you.
Lastly, know your limits. This is important not only for your enjoyment but for your safety. Don’t ski on pistes that you feel are too advanced, and don’t ski off piste if you feel uncomfortable doing so. And have fun!
For more information regarding ski holidays and ski travel insurance, get in touch with the team from insure4less today.