SKI : Introduction guide to yours first ski holiday (Part 1)

"There are many people who want to take a ski holiday but don't quite know how to go about it. I think it is being in such a different environment that makes people concerned, and that they might choose the wrong resort and if they will actually be able to ski themselves – everyone is afraid of not succeeding and of course making a fool of themselves. So ski holidays come with quite a lot of worries – even before the traveller gets there.

There are of course lots of resorts available to the potential ski holiday maker and choosing the right resort needs you to have some knowledge about what makes a good ski resort and what doesn't.

Firstly one always wants to have snow – there can be nothing more disappointing for a skier than arriving in their ski resort with the anticipation of a beautiful white wonderland and finding the slopes are brown grass with white strips of manmade snow so they can deliver their "snow guarantee" - that is very upsetting.

So how can you be certain you will have snow in your village. It all has to do with height of the village. The higher the village the better the chance of getting snow. Rule of thumb is that your resort should definitely be higher than 1650 metres. Anything lower than this then you need to be sure it doesn't get much sun on the slopes because the warmth will melt the snow quickly. So always look for a resort which is higher to improve your chances of good snow.

Of course it also depends when you go. Most ski resorts can only be sure of being white after about 18 Dec, normally when St Nichlaus has been and that is 18 Dec in Germanic countries - so going early is sometimes a bit chancy – it is of course always cheaper to ski before Christmas but it's cheaper for a reason – people wait till later to be sure of better snow.

Some resorts – like Livgino in Italy even offer free ski passes up to 21 Dec because they want to tempt the skier to come when the snow is less assured. Although Livigno is one of the resorts who normally have very good snow from mid November - it is high 1810 metres so the snow comes early. But there are good deals to be had up to 21 Dec in most resorts.

Then you need to be sure that the resort you are going to offers you the right level of ski slope. If you are a beginner you want to be sure they have good beginner slopes close to the town and you don't have to catch a bus to your ski lessons. This is important because ski boots are uncomfortable and you don't want to be walking anywhere in them, nor carrying skis. Always try to find a place where you can leave your ski boots and equipment at the ski shop by the slope – if your ski hire shop is far from the slopes you need to maybe pay more and get one close to the slopes – it is worth the extra money for the convenience. Normally the cheap deals on equipment are because they are far from the slopes and you have to carry your equipment to the snow – that is awful….

You also want to be sure that there are lots of slopes which will give you the chance to practice your new ski skills and not be too advanced before you can cope with a steep slope. So good beginner and intermediate slopes if it is your first trip is important – they are the blue and red slopes – red are intermediate but you need to check if they are narrow or wide. If they are narrow then they are for better skiers but wide and red is good for intermediate skiers. Black is only for the expert skier. So look at the ski slope map and see how many of each color slope they have in the resort.

You need to know where the accommodation is located – again do you have to walk a long way to get to the slopes or even catch a bus – or can you get there after a short stroll – that is important. Mostly you will find the cheaper accommodation is further from the ski slopes. Sometimes though they might advertise they are close to the ski slopes but you need to see if the slope is one you might want to use – no point if its a steep black slope and you are starting lessons – you can't use that. And you might have a long walk to your beginners slope.

- Guest Post by Janet Aldworth
Janet owns her own Travel Agency, Sure Voyager Travel, taking yearly groups on custom built Ski holidays is just one of her professional strong points.

Affiliated with: