7 Essential Ski Resort Questions for First-Timers and Beginners
September 12, 2016
Heading to the snow this winter? I bet you can’t wait to hit those slopes! If you’re a first-timer or beginner (like I was, not that long ago), I discuss a few key things to think about before you choose and book your ski holiday.
1. What kind of holiday vibe are you after?
Big ski resorts and towns can be excellent for having everything at your fingertips, including a fun, bustling vibe. The downside: The slopes can be busy and crowded.
A smaller resort or village can offer a quieter getaway, with a more relaxed and intimate vibe, but may not have as much in the way of amenities and entertainment off the slopes. It all depends on what you want!
2. Have you booked lessons and gear?
The majority of ski resorts offer beginner lessons and gear hire, but getting in early is key. In peak season, I would even recommend booking your lessons, lift pass and gear before you organise your flights/travel etc., just to be sure you don’t miss out.
3. Are there beginner slopes?
Most resorts offer easy slopes for novice skiers, but some are much easier than others, so always do your research. If you’re a first-timer (or if you’ve got kids), you’ll want a bunny-hop or green slope that you can practise on after your lessons are done.
4. Have you packed your sun supplies?
Sounds weird, doesn’t it? But you can easily get sunburnt in the snow. On top of this, UV radiation can also be more intense in higher alpine regions, meaning more risk of getting burnt.
To protect your skin, make sure you pack/wear protective clothing, including a hat/beanie, use water-resistant sunscreen (at least SPF30+) and put your sunnies or goggles on (they help with the glare a lot too)!
5. What’s there to do off the slopes?
When you’re not skiing, think about what else is important to you: Do you want a wide variety of dining, bars and nightlife, as well as shops, spas, swimming pools, and other activities? Or would you be happy with the basics?
You’ll likely be sore after your first day or two on the slopes, so balancing snow sports with other activities (and rest) can be a good idea.
6. Are you taking kids?
If so, consider whether you’ll need services like babysitting or day care, and book these as early as you can (they book out fast).
Resorts that offer kids’ activities can be great, especially for when the kids (or you) need a ski break. For example, at Chamonix, kids can visit the zoo or adventure park and participate in activities like horse-riding.
7. Costs & Savings
Remember that you’ll need to budget for flights, accommodation, lessons, lift passes, rental gear, ski travel insurance and general spending when organising your snow trip. It can add up!
But you can also save money by:
- Staying at a smaller resort
- Travelling earlier or later in the season, avoiding peak times
- Taking advantage of any cost bundling (e.g. lesson, gear and lift pass packs)
- Renting gear and clothing off-mountain, which can be much cheaper
- Stocking up on a few food supplies before you arrive; I find resort food expensive, and so this has helped me save a lot
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