Throughout my childhood, we ventured skiing every winter. It was the highlight of those long dreary months. On most days the sun would shine and we would ski from when the lifts opened until they closed. Last year we took the kids skiing for the first time and it was a hit with both. The timid little 4-year-old was off like a rocket and my eldest found a sport that he could do and actually enjoyed as well. We also tried two very different types of ski trips a package ski trip to Les Arcs 1950 and then one organised independently to Les Menuires and Val Thorens. Now this year with moving house a ski trip just wasn’t possible. BUT… we’re planning now for next year and looking at the pros and cons of both types of experience and trip.
Skiing with a Package Tour Company
There are many tour operators that run ski packages throughout the winter seasons around the world. In early spring the brochures are released for next year and you can browse the resorts, accommodation, and extras. Normally the package price includes your flights or snow train depending on your chosen method and where you are going, transport from the airport or train station to resort, accommodation and based on that may or may not include meals and of course a resort rep who is there to organise all of your extras. Those extra’s will include ski hire, ski lessons, lift pass and any extra activities that may be put on e.g. Sledging, Ice Skating, Husky Dog Sledge ride there are so many possibilities.
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So this time of year is ideal to book with them. Often if you book early they may have special offers but is it really a good deal! If it’s your first ski trip – this is the way to go. You will be nervous enough so take some of the worries away and book direct with a company of your choice.
BUT if it isn’t your first time clipping into those skis or strapping on the snowboard then we can thoroughly recommend the independent route.
Now before last year, we had always gone with a package tour company it seemed to make sense. Everything was organised and you didn’t need to worry about what was going on. But last Easter we took a different option and each part of the holiday we booked through the companies direct.
Now your first requirement is getting your transport to the country finding the best airport for the European Ski Resort you are going to is essential. You don’t want to have the second leg of your journey be 7 or 8 hours long, so this guide to some of the ski resorts and the best airports is useful as it gives you the best and fastest transit times from the airport to resort.
Once you are at the airport how do you get from there to your resort – hire a car, use the snow buses that run regularly from those hubs to the resorts. We did car hire, it was incredibly easy not just that to be able to stop with the kids when they needed a break – wow what a difference that made instead of worrying that they were going to have an accident.
Accommodation is another requirement – you could go down the route of looking at where the brochures for package holiday’s recommend and then booking direct to the hotels or why not search for accommodation of your choice in the resorts. There are so many options that you may find a hidden gem that will want to make you return year after year.
Next comes ski hire, lift passes and ski lessons – all of which you can book in advance from the UK or book in resort. You will probably find like we did that booking in advance is cheaper and saves you money on the prices quoted in the brochures. If you leave it till you get in resort the accommodation provider can normally direct you to where you need to go to collect everything needed. Those extra excursions – you can organise yourself as well, although if you are like us after a day on the slopes with 2 speed demons to chase after all we want to do at the end of the day is crash and enjoy some delicious local cusine.
So what’s it going to be – Package or Independent?
For us, we’re booking independently for Ski season 2018. Scanning for cheap flights, booking our accommodation in our favourite resort and getting the equipment and extra’s at the price we want. If I was you and had been before this would be an option I would look at, if you are considering either your first family ski trip or your first ever ski trip then think about a package and take some of the worries away.
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