An extended ski weekend can be the perfect getaway and will allow you to maximise your time on the slopes. By taking a day or two off work either side of the weekend you can maximise your skiing to get at least three fun-filled days on the slopes. Read on to find out more.
Budget travel airlines mean the possibilities for ski weekends have never been greater. More and more hoteliers are responding to the demand and are willing to facilitate skiers on a mini-break, while some tour operators offer packages without the flight included to allow you to shop around the budget airlines. Better than this, there are even tour operators dedicated to ski weekends.
Time is obviously of the essence when taking a short ski weekend break. To get the most out your trip you need to get your arrangements right, bearing in mind a number of factors including:
- Travel to your ski resort: When choosing the resort for your ski weekend you need to consider its location in relation to the airport so as to keep the transfer time to a minimum and maximise your time on the snow. Remember though, that unfortunately other weekend skiers will be doing the same, so you may end up on busy slopes.
- Access to your ski resort: The snowy weather can create hold ups when getting to your resort for your ski weekend. It is best to choose a resort where you can be sure of good access, even in heavy snowfalls.
- Ski resort snowfall: Choose a location with a good snow record. However, be wary of going too high – a resort above the tree line will generally be more prone to bad weather and therefore piste closures.
- Ski resort facilities: Think about the facilities in resort. Do they cater for all the abilities in your group? You might also want to think about the the après-ski facilities as you’re not going to spend every waking minute of your ski weekend actually skiing.
So is it really worth the effort of going away just to get a few days of fun? Well, we think going’s better than not going! Although the bottom line for most comes down to whether ski weekends are value for money.
Are ski weekends good value for money?
If you are prepared to put the effort in and organise everything yourselves such as the flights, accommodation, transfers, ski passes, then it can be done reasonably cheaply. Another alternative could be to find an operator that organises everything for you once you step off your flight. They can arrange for your lift passes to be delivered to your chalet or hotel (saving valuable ski time), and if you require instruction that can be reserved in advance. Several operators organise ski weekends now. The prices vary hugely, but if you are flexible you can find some great deals. Ski weekends for example, offer four nights away (two on the coach, two half board in a hotel) to Brides-Les-Bains in France for just £159. This price excludes the lift pass but it’s still a bargain. Well, that’s if you can handle going into work exhausted after overnighting it on a coach!
Things to consider on a skiing weekend
- Ski weekends mean you don’t have to use as many days leave to get your skiing in. Three long weekends could mean six days on the slopes but only three days off work. As opposed to the traditional week that means six days on the slopes but up to six days off work. So if keeping days off work to a minimum is key for you, ski weekends could be the answer.
- Low season is obviously the cheapest time to go on a ski weekend, and while you may find that the slopes are reasonably quiet, there is also the prospect of there being little or no snow. Good deals are available pre-Christmas, early January and late March. It is worth avoiding the very popular resorts at peak times, where prices will be high and pistes are likely to be packed.
- Weekend trips give you the opportunity to try out a resort that you may want to spend longer at on another occasion, or it may be the opportunity to go to some of the lower or smaller resorts that you wouldn’t ordinarily visit.
- Many weekend enthusiasts book their cheap flights in advance then choose a resort nearer the time based on the local snow conditions. When choosing your flights, it may be best to go for late flights both on your departure and return. This will help maximise your time on the slopes.
- Accommodation is best organised through the local tourist office as they tend to have better rates with the hotels, or take a chance leaving it late to get the best value from the tour operators.
- Hiring a car can help you get the most out of your trip, giving you a quick means of getting to you resort. It also affords some extra flexibility should you find that the snow has melted and you need to drive a little further to find the action.
All in all, a weekend ski break can be the best way to maximise your time away, and give you several opportunities to do it during the year. With some planning and a bit of flexibility you can find that your trip can provide both excellent skiing and value for money.