Ski resorts are one of the most popular destinations among winter holidaymakers, and for good reason. With breathtaking scenery, a wide variety of outdoor sports and evening entertainment, a holiday on the slopes has something for everyone. When it comes to making the most of your snowy adventure, planning is key. Here are some of the most important things to consider for a smooth, stress-free ski break.
Before hitting the slopes, it is absolutely essential to have all the right gear. This isn’t just limited to skis or snowboards, which can usually be rented onsite if you don’t have your own – being prepared for extreme weather conditions is just as important. Be sure to pack thermal layers for underneath your salopettes, as well as a proper hat and thick, waterproof gloves. Equally crucial is sun protection, as the air is thinner at higher altitudes, leaving you more exposed to harmful rays. A good pair of goggles or sunglasses together with sunscreen and SPF lip balm will keep sunburn and chapped lips at bay while you enjoy the view.
As with any holiday, location is a major factor – and in this respect, would-be skiers are spoiled for choice. From Europe to Canada and even Japan, a ski trip can take you practically anywhere, and where you choose to go depends on personal preference. Before booking, establish the specific needs of your group: is a good ski school a priority, or are you a party of advanced skiers looking for off-piste access? Is sport the main focus, or do you also want to enjoy spas, shopping and other activities? It can also be helpful to see what other skiers recommend; check out some of the most popular resorts and accommodations for 2016, as compiled by winter holiday specialists SnowTrex based on customer reviews. If you are going with a large group, try to find a resort that best accommodates everyone’s level – that way, no one gets left behind or held back.
Having picked the ideal resort, it is absolutely essential to get the timing right. A ski break is nothing without snow, so do your research to find out what time of year is optimal for your chosen destination. Websites like snow-forecast.com provide comprehensive snow reports for hundreds of ski destinations worldwide, so you can maximize your chances of good snow. It’s also a good idea to check the weather in the weeks leading up to your trip, in order to be prepared for all eventualities.
Travel insurance is a must wherever you go, but skiing requires special cover because of the higher risk factor. A winter sports policy is a little more expensive than standard travel insurance, but will make your trip a lot smoother in the event that anything goes wrong – be it loss of equipment, injury or a delayed flight. Take out the right insurance before you leave and familiarize yourself with the fine print; it may require you to wear a helmet, for example.
The more prepared you are, the sooner you can hit the slopes, so it’s worth taking care of all necessary admin in advance. This includes things like booking your lift pass and, if necessary, organizing ski lessons. Booking ahead may also work out cheaper and makes it easier to budget for your holiday once you are there. For maximum enjoyment on the slopes, get everything booked and printed before you go; this avoids unanticipated costs while saving precious skiing time!
Finally, skiing can be strenuous, so schedule in plenty of relaxation. One of the best parts of a winter holiday is the après-ski, with its laid-back atmosphere and great food and drink. Top up your energy levels with some local cuisine and check out the nearby hotspots to meet fellow skiers. Ski holidays are invigorating, sociable and incredibly scenic, so be sure to make the most of all that the mountains have to offer.