SKI : Introduction guide to yours first ski holiday Part1

What if I don't ski? – is a big question we get asked. Is there anything for me to do in the ski resort? Always check to see what there is in the way of NON ski activities so the non skier doesn't get bored whilst the family are out on the slopes, sometimes its Mum who doesn't ski. Enquire if there is maybe a Spa in the village. Also check if there are there surrounding towns she can take a bus to economically. Are there excursions to be taken from the ski resort. Is there a skating rink? Snow walks or cross country skiing which are much easier for the person to do who isn't such a dare devil. There are often other sport activities to be done but you need to check what the resort offers you if you don't ski – then everyone is happy on the holiday.

Then what are the restaurants like – is it an expensive resort or is eating out affordable. Some packages offer breakfast and dinner and it seems economical sometimes but do you really want to be eating at the same place every night of your 2 week holiday? That can be very monotonous and half the fun of going away is to eat different food isn't it? If you can go in on a bed and breakfast basis and know the cost of eating in restaurants is not too expensive then that is a good combination.

Better still for families staying in a self catering apartment is a good solution. You have the chance to save money by eating in when you want – and to buy all the yummy food in the delicatessens, especially in Italy and France (although France is more expensive than Italian grocery shopping) and then go out to eat when you want as well. Also saves a lot of money when you have growing children who come in from skiing very hungry and you can make soup or sandwiches to fill the gap instead of always eating on the slopes.

The other benefit that most people don't think of is an apartment holiday is a great opportunity for families to spend time together. We are so busy in our lives that we seldom have time where we have to be together (especially in such a small space) and in the apartments (which are not very big) you all get a chance to sit at the kitchen table and talk about your day and the fun you had whilst someone is cooking (it doesn't always have to be Mum remember) This is one thing that families come away with feeling, that was one of the highlights for them – being able to spend actual time together –

And then theres the FUN aspect…. A ski holiday is often the most FUN a family or a couple can have together – theres something terribly magical about the White World of a ski resort – its like in another world. And there are so many fun things you can do there – even beside the skiing. Building snowmen is high on the Agenda (even just once) tobaganning is huge fun. Skating on an outdoor rink is magical. Ski dos and bum boarding on plastic lid type things – you can fly down a slope at a great pace. People play together and learn how to have fun again – its really great to see the people making such friends.

So before you choose your ski resort you need to check the height, the snow conditions that they will be right for your visit. What are the slopes like for beginners, Intermediates and if you have any experts, some black slopes too. Will your ski hire be close to the slopes . How far is your accommodation? Are apartments available and where are they located? What are the costs of restaurants and food in general? What sort of things are there to do for non skiers and then at night we have what we call Apres Ski- after ski…. Are there fun things to do and do they cost a lot – this all needs to be budgeted for. And where are the Pubs and Clubs for the teens and young adults – are they close to the accommodation or will they be walking a long way home late at night – are they near a busy road or in a Pedestrian zone (in case they have been drinking, its important they can get home safely)

These are all things you need to have on your check list when you are shopping for a ski holiday. And better to work with someone who knows about ski resorts and what people need than to just go online and book a trip – you need to really have good advice when you are booking a ski holiday – especially someone who has skied a lot and knows what ski holidays are all about. Or you could end up with a spoiled holiday and wasted money which would be very sad.

An idea of costs.A typical 12 day trip leaving for instance on 28 Dec and returning here on 10 Jan will cost approx R29 000 pp including air fares ex jnb, transfers, accommodation in a self catering apartment for 11 nights, ski hire, ski pass, and ski equipment for the full time.Livigno as an example we go is high so the snow is good, there is lots to do for the non skier, a dinner will cost approx R200 with wine but could cost as little as R130 for Pizzas or pasta and a cold drink. The slopes are great for everyone – 110 kms of marked ski trails from Beginners to experts and lots of slopes for snowboarders plus 2 snow parks with jumps and rails for them too. They can also stay in hotels or b & bs but the price is higher than in apartments.

Don’t forget they will need an Italian visa which they need to apply for in person now… cost is about R1000 pp for a visa and insurance will cost approx R500.""

- Guest Post by Janet Aldworth
Janet owns her own Travel Agency, Sure Voyager Travel, taking groups on annual custom built Ski holidays.
This is just one of her professional travel specialities.

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