12 top tips for the perfect skiing holiday

Planning to hit the slopes this season? Ski holidays can be the perfect winter getaway.

People on ski lift

Compare travel insurance quotes

Start a quote

However, there are a few things to bear in mind when booking your trip to ensure you have the mountain break you’re after.

Here’s 12…

1. Choose the right resort

Some ski resorts offer miles of beautifully groomed pistes perfect for beginner skiers and snowboarders. Others are famous for their steep slopes and off-piste runs.

And while some have wild après-ski bars, others are Alpine villages with just a couple of family-run restaurants.

When looking for ski holiday deals, you should therefore consider the level of the skiers and snowboarders in your group, as well as what sort of activities you want away from the slopes.

Consider too how much you will have to spend while you’re there.

If you are a beginner on a budget, for example, your money will go further in duty-free Andorra, Bansko in Bulgaria and smaller Italian resorts such as Sestriere.

2. Go for catered accommodation

Eating out in a resort can be very expensive. So a package deal that includes a catered chalet or half-board hotel can be a wise move financially, especially now the pound is so weak.

If you’d prefer self-catering accommodation, check it has some cooking facilities and try to do a shop on the way to the resort – you’ll have more choice and be less shocked by the prices!

3. Pick your moment

Everything in ski resorts gets more expensive during school holidays – which means Christmas, New Year and the February half term.

So if you can, book a trip in January or March instead.

If, on the other hand, you’re desperate to hit the slopes this year, look out for last-minute, early season bargains in resorts that have had an early snowfall.

4. Take out winter sports cover

A standard travel insurance policy will not cover you for skiing and snowboarding.

Even if you have annual travel insurance in place, you’ll still need to add winter sports cover to your policy.

And if you are taking out single trip travel insurance, you’ll need to check it covers you for on-piste rescue, loss or damage to ski equipment (owned or hired) – and any costs you might incur if you crash into someone on the slopes!

Check too for common exclusions: insurers can refuse to pay costs resulting from an accident when you were “under the influence of alcohol”, while most policies exclude off-piste skiing.

5. Get an EHIC

In addition to insurance, it’s a good idea to get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which allows you access to state-provided healthcare in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland at reduced (or sometimes free) rates.

An EHIC is free to apply for and will make your life much easier if you need emergency hospital treatment.

6. Borrow your ski gear

You need lots of specialist equipment to go skiing or snowboarding. Essentials include a warm, waterproof jacket and trousers, waterproof gloves, goggles and a woolly hat.

However, kitting yourself out with all the gear can easily set you back hundreds of pounds, which is a lot for an outfit you might only wear for one week a year.

So see if you can borrow what you need from friends and family. And if not, buy from discount clothes stores such as TK Maxx, Sports Direct and Primark.

7. Book your skis/boards and boots online

Booking your ski equipment in advance is usually cheaper than turning up at a hire shop, so save time, money and effort by shopping around online.

You might even find a company that will deliver your equipment directly to your accommodation.

8. Look into airport transfers

Many chalet companies and tour operators include airport transfers in the price of their holidays.

But if you book a self-catering apartment, for example, you will often need to make your own way there from the airport.

Public transport such as coaches and trains will often offer the cheapest means of travel, while private transfers will be quick and convenient – and can offer value for money if you are travelling in a big group.

9. Check what lift pass you need

Buying a lift pass can prove one of the biggest outlays of your trip.

But the draglifts on the nursery slopes are often free, meaning beginners can often get by without a ski pass at all – at least for the first few days.

Some ski areas also offer mini passes aimed at people who only ski green and blue runs. So don’t forget to check online or ask at the lift pass office before buying.

10. Take a rucksack

The weather can change quickly at altitude. While it might be sunny and warm when you set off in the morning, by the afternoon it could be snowing heavily.

So take a rucksack to carry extra clothes – or layers you no longer need.

Having a rucksack also means you can buy or make a sandwich for your lunch – allowing you to avoid the sky-high prices in mountain restaurants.

11. Wear a helmet

It is now obligatory for children to wear helmets in ski school. And given the dangers of the sport, it is highly advisable for adult skiers and boarders to do the same – whatever their level.

So hire one along with your equipment: it might just save your life.

12. Learn to ski in the afternoons

Most people want to ski in the morning, so ski schools offer discounts to those who take their lessons after 2pm.

You might, for example, be able to save up to 20% on a two-hour private lesson. So why not save some cash by avoiding the morning ski school crowds?

Know someone who might find this article useful? Click here to send it to them by email.

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

Did you enjoy that? Why not share this article


Other articles you might like

Popular guides