Choosing a ski resort can be a challenging and stressful experience. There are so many across Europe and beyond to choose from and each come with their own array of positives and pitfalls.
I have never been skiing outside Europe and before a couple of years ago had never skied outside France. Two years ago I gave Austria a chance, and though a brilliant holiday, the slopes left a little to be desired and they just didn’t have a patch on the French Alps I was used to. I am determined to be a bit more adventurous in my skiing choices though and have put together my own trusty check-list for helping to find the perfect ski resort.
Focus on the holiday
This may seem like a silly question, well Duh skiing is the focus! However, you will be surprised how many people go on a skiing holiday to not just ski or in fact to not ski at all.
Do you need to cater for non-skiers?
If you have any non-skiers/snowboarders in the group then making sure there are some interesting other things to do for them is really important. Mountain walks, ice skating, shopping??
How important is après ski?
Now everyone knows that half the fun of a ski holiday is the boozy afternoons on the mountain’s edge before heading down for home-cooked chalet food and perhaps a few more mulled wines. There are definitely certain resorts that cater better for the après skiers, my top choice being almost anywhere in The Three Valleys, especially La Folie Douce in Val Thoren.
The importance of being fed well!
On the whole, I would say the food on the slopes is yummy, expensive but generally tasty, with plenty of restaurants to choose from. You will often pay triple the price on the mountain as you would in a normal town, but thinking how it has had to travel to get up to these mountain bars and restaurants you can (almost) understand why.
There are definitely some resorts that cater for the delicate taste pallet better than others and again I would say French resorts come up trumps. If money is no object, you can eat like a king every day. For the cheapies amongst us, there are lots of all inclusive chalets and hotels that cook up tasty homemade hearty grub each day.
Consider the skiing ability of the group
Certain resorts are better for beginners with more blue and green slopes, whereas others have a higher number of red and black slopes. It is really important to check out the resort map before you choose and check there are enough different runs to cater for the different abilities that may be in your group.
Of course, it’s all about budget
If you want a super cheap budget ski holiday then there are definitely resorts that are cheaper than others, but the chances are the slopes aren’t as extensive or the other entertainment as well catered for. Neil from Backpacks and bunks has some great posts on budget ski holidays, from Bulgaria to Bosnia.
Alternatively, you could go to the other extreme and enjoy some luxury resorts. The luxury skiing world is mega, from private butlers to roof top hot tubs and private lifts to your desired ski runs. There are some incredible skiing holidays with Elegant Resorts that I will definitely be pining over for this season!
After you have gone through all the essential elements of a successful ski holiday you are sure to be able to find the perfect mix for everyone in your group. To top it off I recommend reading the Bluffer’s Guide to Skiing to be able to impress your friends both on and off the slopes.
I hope my check list has helped you figure out the perfect ski holiday for you!
Let me know how you get on.