How to arrange a ski holiday
Max respect for any ski holiday organiser - it's no easy task. Snowcarbon founder, Daniel, shares his tips
Tips for organising ski holidays
Decide on your priorities
There are hundreds of ski resorts in the Alps, each with hundreds more accommodation options. At the start, it can sometimes seem a baffling array of choice. But you’ve got to eventually choose a holiday – otherwise you won’t be going skiing at all. So start by focussing on what your priorities are, listing the most important things that you want in a ski resort. This will quickly narrow the choice.
Consult with a couple of friends privately
Once you have begun to narrow the choice to a few resorts (or even to specific accommodations within resorts), avoid asking your entire group (or potential group) for their opinion initially because this can open up a can of worms: too many opinions. Instead, consult a couple of people who are typical of most of the majority of the group and ask for their feedback. This will give you a steer on which options may be most suitable, while avoiding a huge group discussion that can mean hundreds of emails flying about, but no decision.
Don’t try to please everyone
The old maxim ‘You can’t please all the people all the time’ certainly rings true on ski holidays. So focus initially on finding options that will make most people really happy. For example, if nine of your group want a catered chalet but two would prefer self-catering, you are going to have to find a solution that everyone would agree to - or be prepared to go with the majority.
Test your invite
If you are going to send an invite or details about the proposed ski holiday to a wide group of friends, then send a draft to one or two friends first, and ask for feedback. This will identify any questions that you haven’t answered, or anything that needs clarifying that could otherwise block progress on a decision. With these things clarified, send to the group.
Don’t ask for deposits initially
When putting an option to the group, don’t ask for deposits initially, because doing so gives people a more complicated ‘next step’ instead of an easy one. Instead, just ask people to express interest. That takes them no time, costs them nothing and requires no commitment. Then, once you have the requisite number of interested people, send out a follow up email letting people know that the ski trip is ready to go ahead, and that you are now ready for deposits.
If you have a certain target number of people, over invite. There will always be unexpected dropouts, so you don’t want to be in a position where you are suddenly dependent on finding more people at short notice. Inviting more people than you need will create some healthy competition and give more incentive for people to get their act together and not miss out.
Independent vs tour operator packages
Tour operator options
Tour operator packages are the simplest thing to book, because the tour operator has put the travel, transfers and accommodation together for you (as well as being able to arrange ski passes, ski hire and lessons).
The tour operators who offer rail-inclusive packages divide broadly into two types:
- Some of the larger ski tour operators have an allocation of seats on the Eurostar Ski Train, but can’t book you travel outside of your allocation or on any different trains.
- Many of the smaller and medium size tour operators can book seats on any train for you, as part of the package. The do this at rates that are the same as the public rate, but save you the hassle of doing it yourself.
For a tour operator to be able to book the train travel for you, they must be bonded (which includes and protects the travel as part of the holiday).
Booking independently gives you maximum flexibility, and if you are booking an independent catered chalet, you may find that they will offer a transfer from the closest train station either for free or for a reasonable rate, leaving you only needing to book the rail travel.
Like more help and advice?
If you'd like more help and advice the best train travel options, resorts and accommodation, feel free to contact Snowcarbon's founder, Daniel.
He can help with specific advice and suggestions, using his years of experience as a ski journalist and expert on how to travel to the Alps by train.
Daniel knows lots of great accommodation and tour operators and independent providers that can help, so you'll get some great suggestions.
Just send Daniel an email and he'll be back in touch.