First Ski Holiday? Here's our Beginners Guide

Organising your first ski holiday may seem a daunting task with so many options on where to go, where to stay, lessons or no lessons? But fear not for I’m here to guide you through the process helping you to get the most out of your holiday.

Let’s start from the start and choose your destination. Although there are some world class ski resorts throughout Canada and America, I would say it’s a long way to travel when you have limitless skiing opportunities right on your doorstep in Europe. The two areas I would recommend are the Austrian and French Alps.

Let’s start with Austria. This beautiful country is the perfect all-rounder destination. With breath-taking views from above the clouds, Austrian ski holidays strike a perfect balance of ski, party and yet also caters for families looking to enjoy a week on the slopes. The best part of skiing in Austria includes the beginner orientated slopes with top class ski schools and instructors, the apres ski festivities with the Octoberfest style Austrian music in full swing accompanied by the hammer and nail game, and last but not least the magnificent hotel spas to wind down after a day on the slopes. Our top picks on where to ski in Austria are Saalbach and St. Johann.

ski holidays

The French Alps are home to arguably some of the world’s best ski resorts with perfect powder and an unlimited number of pistes for you to explore. France really delivers the polished skiing experience with fantastic skiing, followed by indulgence in some fine food and mulled wine on the side of the slope. However that’s not to say there’s nothing there to cater for those who want the party as much as the skiing, with apres skis like La Folie Douce and 360 Bar the French Alps are certainly going to live up to expectations. Our top picks on where to ski in France are Val Thorens and Val D’Isere.

This is a hard question to answer as it really depends on your personal preference. If you are looking to go when the slopes won’t be as busy, then we would recommend mid-January. However, keep in mind the conditions are colder during this period. Alternatively, we would recommend March as the conditions are considerably warmer during this time. However the snow may become a little wet and slushy at lower altitude resorts as it melts in the heat.

What to Bring?
When going skiing you don’t need to pack everything but the kitchen sink. The essentials are of course your ski jacket and salopettes. However we recommend you also include two/three pairs of long johns and base vests to keep you warm. Also bring two fleeces to be safe just in case the weather is cold, but usually a vest and good ski jacket is enough to keep you warm. Also make sure to pack a few pairs of thick winter socks as the ski boots can be uncomfortable and this is a simple solution to a problem that could hinder your enjoyment on the slopes.

General Advice
We advise all of our clients to ensure they’ve paid for both their ski passes and skis prior to the departure date. By booking these in advance you may avail of better prices and discounts. Also it avoids disappointment with unavailability of skis when you’ve arrived at the ski shop. In saying this we would advise to book the beginners skis if it is your first time on the slopes, and make sure you have a helmet too. On the topic of safety, we also strongly advise you to make sure you have adequate travel insurance for the trip.

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Cathal Kehoe - 3 January 2018

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