Top 5 Tips for Organising your Alpine Ski Holiday
Winter is on its way and snow has begun to cover the mountains, so it is time to start thinking of your next ski getaway! The French Alps are one of the top ski destinations in the world. With a wide variety of resorts, you are sure to find what you are looking for. From top slopes for highly experienced skiers to easy routes for beginners, and from family fun to a memorable nightlife, the French Alps have something for everyone.
We have gathered the 5 top tips that all winter holidaymakers need when planning a ski holiday.
Set a Budget
The first thing on your to-do list is to set an expense limit. If you are going on holiday with a group of friends, it’s important to agree at the very beginning what your budget is. What might sound like a reasonable budget for you may not be for your friends. Count in expenses such as transportation, accommodation, lift passes, hiring equipment, meals, entertainment, and more. Discuss whether you’re going to share all the costs or if you’ll pay everything separately.
Look for discounts on resort entrances because these may vary depending on the time of the day. When searching for lift passes, it’s cheaper to buy for all the days that you’re going to spend there. The more days you stay, the more affordable the lift passes. Ski hire companies may also offer early-bird discounts. If you book some time in advance, you can hire your equipment at a lower rate. In some cases, many accommodation providers partner with ski hire companies and offer you a more attractive deal. When it comes to meals, some restaurants have happy hour promotions, when you and your family or friends can enjoy a bargain bite.
Last but not least, choose your travel dates wisely. You can find smart ski deals in the period before Christmas, in January and March.
Choose your Ski Destination
There are so many ski resorts to choose from that you’ll probably need some help to make up your mind. Skiing in France is such an unforgettable experience, and that’s why two French resorts made it at the top of our list.
With its discreet luxury, Megève is one of the top destinations in the French Alps. This ski resort is ideal for beginners and advanced skiers, offering 325 km of cross-country skiing. Megève is one of the oldest alpine resorts, with traditional farmhouses, wooden chalets, and chalets. The exclusive hotels and restaurants will awe even the most demanding visitors. Make sure to check out the carriages that navigate the center of the village for the impression of a Christmas postcard brought to life!
Chamonix, at the foot of Mont Blanc, is known worldwide as one of the best off-piste ski resorts with its stunning scenery of rocky peaks that rise above glaciers. The resort town is home to the legendary Descente de la Vallée Blanche, a lifelong dream for advanced skiers, a 20 km route with an altitude difference of 2807 meters! It is considered the most beautiful off-piste route in the world, covering a descent between Aiguille du Midi (3842m) and Chamonix Mont-Blanc (1050m) and crossing through glaciers and majestic mountains.
If you are not in good physical condition for the descent of Vallée Blanche, but you want to enjoy the beautiful landscape, there’s another option. Take the Aiguille du Midi cable car, the tallest cable car in Europe, from the valley floor to the Aiguille. The cable car covers 3777 m in 20 minutes. A lift will then take you to the top, at 3842m, where you can enjoy the magnificent 360° view of the area.
Proper equipment and timely preparation are important when planning a ski holiday. When making a list of all the things that you’ll need, you have to consider whether you’re going to rent or buy ski equipment and ski clothes. At the resorts or nearby towns, there are always shops that have the necessary gear to hire, so you won’t have to bring your own.
When heading to the Alps for a ski excursion, Les Petits Montagnards allows you to rent equipment from the comfort of your own home and have it delivered to your accommodation. Besides essential ski equipment such as masks, boots, gloves, you can also hire clothes, like jackets, trousers, thermal underwear, and more. You can even rent a baby carrier! All equipment and outfits are cleaned and disinfected after every use, which means that you don’t need to clean them yourself. When the last day of rental comes, you place the outfit back in the packaging, sign the inventory form that was given to you, and leave it at a delivery location, the post office or the accommodation’s reception desk.
If this is the first time you are going skiing, you will need to know what to bring on a ski holiday.
Boots: Ski boots should fit your foot perfectly, neither too tight or too loose. Pick the right boots based on the type of boot and the cost.
Skis: Choosing skis is difficult because you have to take many parameters into account. They should be 20-30cm shorter than your height. Shorter skis are suitable for fast turns, while long skis are suitable for high speeds on a straight course.
Ski Poles: Choose ski poles based on your height. Positioned vertically, they should reach the height of the palm when the hand is at a 90-degree angle. If you’re not sure, you can always consult an online size guide.
Ski Jacket: A good ski jacket should protect from the cold, be waterproof, and breathable to remove sweat. You can find ski jackets of excellent quality at reasonable prices. One thing to watch out for, though, is the weight, as a ski jacket should be relatively light.
Ski mask: You should know that regular sunglasses are not as protective. For a fair price, you can get a ski mask or a pair of mountaineering goggles that filter the ultraviolet radiation and protect your eyes.
Sunscreen: The mountain equipment should definitely include sunscreen. When the sun’s rays reflect on the snow, they can cause painful burns. Choose a sunscreen with a high protection index and keep it in your jacket pocket for immediate use.
Thermal Underwear: You will need two thermal pairs, one for skiing and one tο change afterward. When skiing, the thermal underwear must be breathable and keep your body warm.
Buff: The buff is an elastic collar that can be worn around the neck as a scarf or on the head as a hat or bandana. It is a clothing accessory that you can put on and take off easily.
Ski Socks: In addition to warmth, ski socks offer protection to the heels, toes, and all parts of the foot that can be injured. If the boot does not fit your foot, you will be injured from day one.
Ski Gloves: Gloves are just as important as ski boots and socks. Make sure they fit well and are completely waterproof.
Find the Right Accommodation
Ski accommodation in the French Alps ranges from super luxurious hotels to cozy bed & breakfast guesthouses. The most common types of accommodation that visitors choose are hotels, chalets, and apartments. Chalets and apartments are usually self-catered, which means that you have the freedom to cook your own meals and limit your boarding expenses.
The apartments are housed within a large building. Each private apartment has a kitchen and utensils, bathroom, living room, and several bedrooms. Families usually opt for this type of lodging because it’s more affordable than booking separate rooms in a hotel. Depending on the on-site amenities, prices start at 40 EUR and can exceed 250 EUR per night.
The traditional wooden chalets offer the ultimate Alpine experience. They allow for privacy, as they have a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and many bedrooms. To put you in a cozy mood, they usually have a fireplace and Jacuzzi or sauna. Chalet prices start at 50 EUR and can go up to 210 EUR per night.
The hotels include many amenities, such as room service, half or full board, fitness and spa centers. Three-star hotels in French Alps cost around 85 EUR per night and four-star hotels around 140 EUR. If you are looking for something special, the five-star hotels in the French Alps have an average cost of 300 EUR per night.
Consider the Entertainment Options
Besides skiing, you have to take other activities into account that can keep you busy during your stay. Depending on who you travel with, you may consider one of the two suggestions below.
Avoriaz is one of our favorite resorts in the French Alps! It is located at an altitude of 1800 meters, close to the border with Switzerland. It is a great starting point to explore the largest international ski resort in the world, Les Portes du Soleil (Sun Gates). This resort has over 650 km of ski slopes, 283 pistes, and 14 French and Swiss interconnected resorts.
There are no cars in the village, only horse-drawn sleighs. The roads are actually ski slopes, and most chalets and apartments are ski aux pieds, which means that you leave and return to the chalet wearing your skis! In addition to the many après-ski activities, there’s a hot spot for kids and adults alike. This is no other than the Aquariaz, a tropical paradise offering water games, heated pools, and a must for parents: an outdoor jacuzzi! The perfect closure to a day full of skiing!
For all-day party people
At Val Thorens, the party starts early in the morning! A short detour from the slopes leads to La Folie Douce, the epitome of outdoor clubbing at high altitude. Of course, this is just an appetizer for what follows in the evening: bars and clubs with world-renowned DJs and concerts.
Val Thorens is not only for parties but also for first-class skiing. It is surrounded by six glaciers on the top of Les Trois Vallées. Being the highest ski resort in Europe (2300 meters), it guarantees excellent snow quality. From La Cime Caron, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of over 1000 peaks in the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps.
Now that you know how to organize your upcoming ski vacation, start looking today for the best deals on accommodation, tickets, equipment, and anything else that you’ll need. Use our tips to guide you, and you will see how much they’ll help you to plan your winter holidays.
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