With the weather finally turning cooler (well today anyway, we will see what tomorrow brings!) you might be thinking about a ski holiday, I know I am!
If you have never been before you might not know where to start, so here is PART ONE of some tips I have picked up from our years of hitting the slopes in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
This is going to one of your most expensive components to your skiing getaway. For this I suggest you find a place that’s as cheap as possible and includes somewhere you can cook your own meals. The reality is that you will not be spending much time in your accommodation anyway so why spend too much? When we ski in Australia we like to ski at Perisher (which includes Blue Cow and Smiggins), and stay at Jindabyne. Yes, this means we have to drive up the mountain or catch the ski tube up each day but believe me, staying on snow can be be very expensive for the convenience. We stay at Jindabyne holiday park, it’s one of two caravan parks in Jindabyne, it’s very central to the shops and from about $150 a night you can sleep up to five people in a Brumby Cabin. When we skied at Big White ski resort(Canada) we stayed in a unit at Whitefoot lodge – total ski in ski out and the cheapest accommodation I could find at the time, and when we stayed in Queenstown we stayed at Pinewood lodge in our own house that was in easy walking distance to the center of town. So do your research on this, google and look on Booking.com for the best deal you can find, maybe renting out a house or unit with a group of others will work in your favour?
I will be honest with you, I have only used a package deal while in Canada, but some might meet your needs. Package deals often include accommodation, ski hire and lift tickets and some seem worth it, look online or talk to a travel agent and do your math to see how it works out.
This is going to be another BIG expense, and there are not many ways you can avoid it if you are going to ski / snowboard. Adult lift passes are priced from about $80 per day so mix a couple of kids in there and it adds up. Take note: most of the time kids under 5 ski FREE! And in some resorts around the world the age is even higher! Make sure you do your maths, look at how many days you are going to be there, is it better to buy consecutive days? Is it better to buy a season pass? Be aware though, there are no refunds for bad weather / lack of snow, so if you buy a three day pass and one of the days is raining or high winds and you don’t want to ski you lose that money. Perisher (and most resorts) offer discounted season passes at the end of each season, which you put a deposit on and pay in full later, for use the next year. These are great and very cost effective if you know you are going to ski the following year, we bought some a couple of years ago, knowing that we were going to ski the following year for two weeks and it was cost effective. Another tip is to keep an eye on the resorts social media sites, it was on The Remarkables/Corenet Facebook page that we found a sale they had on their lift passes and saved ourselves a fortune! Lift tickets for most resorts can be bought from within town, Jindabyne has outlets for both Perisher and Thredbo, so you don’t have to wait till you get up the hill before you buy, alternatively you can buy online on their respective websites. Also remember if you just want to toboggan (checkout where you can do this because they won’t allow it everywhere) or play in the snow with the kids you don’t have to get a lift pass.
Lessons / Ski school
If you haven’t skied or snowboarded before, you need lessons!!!! So many beginners get injured or injure others because they don’t know what they are doing, get a lesson in the morning then have the afternoon to practise on the front slops yourself. First timer lessons include lift passes and are quiet reasonable in price. Also lessons are graded so even if you have skied before there is a lesson that will suit you, and will help you ski to your ability and develop your skills.
Each of my kids have loved / hated ski school in varying degrees, but until they can ski confidently with me that’s where they first learn the basics. Ski school is open for full or half day programs and teach your kids so much, gives you time to master skiing yourself, provide them with meals (if they are in the full day program) and the instructors are very, very cool! Make sure you label ALL their gear, if they under 5 years put it in a small backpack to put in their locker, make sure they have it all before leaving in the arvo, and take the time to check in with their instructor on their progress. Ski resorts also have day care facilities for children who are not old enough to hit the slopes, so check that out if they are under 3 years old. Ski school -seriously worth the money!
So there’s part one of my tips for a snow holiday! Stay tuned for part two that will include tips on gear, eating, transport and the best time to go to the snow!
Hope you this post has given you some ideas and you have been inspired to travel to the snow!
Do you go skiing or snow boarding?
Do you have any tips to share?