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Hi all, newbie first timer here.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi, thought I'd introduce myself. I'm looking for advice/recommendations etc before booking a holiday for February. My nephew is keen to go skiing/snowboarding and I'm keen to give it a go too. I have booked us some beginner lessons for both at Xscape in a couple of weeks to see which one we prefer. Can anyone point me in the direction of companies that do beginners holidays with equipment etc included? There is a lot of information to get to grips with so any help would be appreciated.

Gavin
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Gavin14774, Welcome to snowHeads! snowHead

I think having some beginner lessons at Xscape is a good idea as it gives you familiarity with the equipment (in the case of skiing how to put on the boots, step into the bindings and release them, then get used to walking around with these long planks on and finally managing to slide down the slope (hopefully without falling over too much, but they teach you how to get up too! Laughing ).

I think you'll find that the major tour operators e.g TUI, Inghams and Neilson often offer special learn to ski week packages which include equipment rental in the price (and a suitable lift pass). Sometimes these packages can be good value as the ski resorts like to encourage people to take up skiing or snowboarding (it's obviously in their long term financial interest to bring new customers into the market). I'd suggest you look at the tour operators websites:

https://www.tuiski.co.uk/beginner-ski-holidays/?icid=tsmmourholidays-beginnerski

https://www.inghams.co.uk/ski-holidays/ski-holiday-types/ski-holidays-for-beginners

https://www.neilson.co.uk/ski/beginner-ski-holidays

Good luck, and hope you and your nephew have a great time! Madeye-Smiley


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Wed 9-05-18 13:14; edited 1 time in total
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks very much for that.
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if your budget conscious then theres always Balkan Holidays & Eastern Europe
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
You could hold out and see if snowHeads organises a MYAsHBash next year... the definitive introduction to ski lessons.
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@Gavin14774, I learnt to ski in Finland on one of the beginner holidays like @Alastair Pink has mentioned. Having since skied in many mainstream Alpine resorts, I definitely recommend it as a great location for beginners, though maybe not ones who want to party all night!
Reasons include:
    • High standard of English
    • High standard of lessons
    • Small lesson groups
    • Excellent snow record
    • Smaller mountains so not too intimidating
    • High standard of accommodation
    • Not too expensive

As a beginner, you won't really be able to explore and take advantage of a large resort, so there is little point in paying for the privilege of being there until you are more experienced.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Didn't there used to be a bash aimed at beginners and novices (Make Yourself A Snowhead)? Don't know if admin is planning one for next season but it's an option if there is one.

Welcome to Snowheads @Gavin14774, Very Happy
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Thanks guys lots of useful info here.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Gavin14774, Half term's an issue in Feb, avoid it if you can.
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
That's the only time we can go so he's not at school.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Penry, Half term's (more of) an issue (in France)... FIFY
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Gavin14774, I know Easter is very late next year, but Easter is a good time to go skiing.

A word of warning about skiing. The price may look reasnoble for this year, but after one trip you will want to go at least once a year for the rest of your life.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I'm hoping so! We normally go on 2 'hot' holidays a year's and sitting on a beach is not really for me!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@under a new name, I wasn't just thinking in terms of lift queues but also cost and availability of flights and whether some of the linked offers and advice given above may not apply, e.g. there won't be a bash for those dates.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Penry, Ah, yes, fair points. I don't generally think of such things.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Gavin14774, welcome to Snowheads!

Good luck with the skiing or the darkside, whichever you find you prefer snowHead
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Gavin14774, my 2C for what its worth is, stay as close to the slopes as your budget allows, learning to ski is knackerring and a long walk in ski boots and carrying skis at the end of the day can be a faff. Alternatively, look for a ski locker at the main lift and rent it for the week.

If you are booking ski school or its included as part of the package, look for a school where the instructors speak good English and class sizes are capped. Consider Andorra, not the prettiest in parts but generally the ski schools have a good number of English speaking instructors. If skiing in France, avoid the Ecole du Ski Francaise (ESF). Its not guaranteed, as they are individual schools under one brand, but they unfortunately have a bad reputation and the only ski school where I have seen their instructors shout at kids to the point where the kids were hysterical. Two different resorts a year apart. There are others such as ESI or local resort specific ones in places like Morzine, Les Gets or the three vallees.

Smaller resorts such as Puy St Vincent may be worth a look and Italy is getting great reviews on the site these days. Its been too long since I skied in Austria, but it was very pretty and we had great luck with the snow.

Consider the length of the ski school day, 2 hours in the morning was enough for me and then go and have a bit of fun on the slopes in the afternoon. Some Schools are morning and afternoon. If you are taking lessons before you go, also consider private rather than group lessons for a couple of days but it could be way more expensive.

As we have our apartment there, we now ski in Thyon in Switzerland, which has a great area for beginners to advance, the downside is, that in half term, the ski groups are multi lingual and my lads were sometimes lost in the crowd. Its also very quiet in the evenings with just a couple of Bars and a few restaurants. We self cater obviously but for my first holiday I'd want someone else doing the cooking. Wherever you go I hope you have a blast.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Gilberts Fridge, That's a little harsh on ESF! I've had nothing but good experience with them.

@Gavin14774, Welcome to snowHead
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@Gavin14774, if you struggle to find reasonable price flights to France, someone mentioned Finland or you can DIY it to Trysil, Norway or Sälen, Sweden. Both good for beginners. It is dead easy to book everything apart from flights and hire car through skistar.com. Plenty of threads here for trip resorts there if you do a search.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Themasterpiece, As a first time skier/boarder I think Gavin 14774 would probably find it easiest to go with a tour operator, as all the flights, resort transfers, equipment hire, lift passes and lessons are arranged for them. Whilst DIY is easy to do for us more experienced hands I think there's a lot to be said for going with a TO the first time. And there's no need for him only to consider French resorts - Austrian, Italian and other beginner resorts such as in Andorra are available (I'm a particular fan of Austria, I learnt to ski in Alpbach which is a beautiful village). Madeye-Smiley
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Who is going, just you and your nephew? How old - 4, 22?

Will there be others learning to ski or wanting to do something nice but not ski? That limits the choice of resort a lot as many are simply concrete ski resorts with not much access to anything else interesting.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Gavin14774, You might want to have a think about what sort of country or place you like visiting, where do you like visiting for other holidays? Assuming you go in February most resorts would be perfectly good for a first ski week (there will almost certainly be reasonable snow conditions though the resorts will be busier as it is high season). There are different attractions for different places. Is post skiing partying important? If so Austria might be best (look up Mooserwirt or Kühstall or Goaßstall). Do you like Italian food? Would you prefer self catering (if so France is more likely to appeal)? Do you speak any languages, eg if Spanish, Andorra might appeal?

Very broadly French speaking areas tend to have largish, purpose built resorts, perhaps a bit soulless but convenient for access to the skiing. German speaking areas tend to be based around traditional villages, with various non skiing activities such as tobogganing but access to the skiing often means getting on a bus (not usually an issue as well organised). Italy a bit of a mixture.

Also think about transfer times from the airport, some places eg the resorts near Salzburg, have short transfers while others, especially on busy Saturdays can be long, eg Val D'Isere from Geneva.

If you buy a package from one of the tour operators who offer all in packages you are likely to have a good time, though I would personally suggest sticking to one of the more popular places in Austria, France or Italy
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Orange200, just me and my 15 year old nephew.
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@genepi, ESF in peak season are just too busy and from my experience are not interested in providing quality instruction but just filling groups. That's for me as an adult and for my kids as well. I understand they are a franchise and may differ resort to resort. To be fair, I could say the same about the ESS at times as well. There are better options out there and I just think that the lessons in the first couple of weeks skiing are too valuable to be left to the ESF.

Its not just about progression, its about having fun as well and enjoying the lesson, cause if its not fun then what's the point. Its my view and accept others may differ. For me I have had excellent group lessons in Andorra, Austria and Canada, I have had poor lessons in France with the ESF, my kids had great lessons with ESI and an older version of Majic in the Three Vallees. Private lessons from the ESS have also been excellent.
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Scarlet wrote:
@Gavin14774, I learnt to ski in Finland on one of the beginner holidays like @Alastair Pink has mentioned. Having since skied in many mainstream Alpine resorts, I definitely recommend it as a great location for beginners, though maybe not ones who want to party all night!
Reasons include:
    • High standard of English
    • High standard of lessons
    • Small lesson groups
    • Excellent snow record
    • Smaller mountains so not too intimidating
    • High standard of accommodation
    • Not too expensive

As a beginner, you won't really be able to explore and take advantage of a large resort, so there is little point in paying for the privilege of being there until you are more experienced.


My children learnt to ski in Myrkdalen, Norway, and the list of benefits is identical https://www.skisafari.com/norway/myrkdalen

If the OP is looking at the Alps, then it's worth being aware of the different attitude to ski school. Austrian schools tend to run 10 until 3:30 and you have lunch with your group. Other countries tend to go from 10 to 1pm and then leave you to find the rest of your party for lunch and then have the afternoon to mess about together. My feeling is that ski school is what the Austrians do best and where you are most likely to have a great experience with fluent English from any local ski school in a resort where British tour operators go. Although I must admit my recent experience is very limited and I'm happy to stand corrected. Smile
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Can I just thank everyone for the helpful, comprehensive replies so far, I've joined forums in the past seeking information and been met with sarcastic comments or no response at all. It is very refreshing to encounter such a friendly bunch.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
A lot of good intentioned info on here but for what it's worth here's my twopenneth.

Firstly, it is very awkward getting used to two planks of wood on the bottom of your feet(if it's skiing you are going for?) initially and therefore can be quite taxing on your energy levels. Also as it will be your first week, all you will need for your enjoyment is a small resort with a nice hill with several pistes on it. Not a big resort with mountains in all directions.
I have skied in Switzerland, France, Austria and Italy. My favourite country is Italy both for skiing and for living but for small ski resorts for learning to ski I suggest Austria. Obviously all the countries I have mentioned have smaller resorts and would be good because it's a great pastime and being in the mountains is fabulous wherever you go.
I will nominate a few that I know, Hinterglemm, Berwang, Neiredau, Flachau, but there are literally scores and scores in Austria alone!

Happy learning! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Hi Uncle @Gavin14774,
To Keep things simple:
Head for Austria,
Book with Crystal, they may even have a rep loitering around the Xscape.
I think I'd go for the cheapest resorts you can find from them.
Book early as its half term.

With luck you will find yourself in a resort with plenty of other beginners and you will all be explaining the art of snowplough to each other over beers in the local bar or hotel.

When you've made a short list of resorts that would suit you come back here again, and let us argue betwwen ourselves about the finer points which bars, hotels, etc.
This forum is a mine of information of such details.

Welcome to the forum. (here we all are looking forward to winter again rolling eyes )
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Skiing is all about secretly hoping you look good and showing off if the unspoken truth be known (Yes it is.) - you don't want to be stuck on the nursery slopes looking up at everyone else up on the mountain tops all week so best get practicing at a snowdome.
The more time you spend at snowdome the more you will enjoy your holiday. Xscape might seem expensive - it is, but per hour its not much different to the 40 hours you'll be doing in your weeks holiday.
Xscape will be quieter and cheaper during the summer months. If you can afford it, I'd start now and I'd go there once a week until you can confidently make your own way up and down and the kit becomes second nature. That way you'll enjoy the mountains so much better. And after you can ski a bit, you'll never have to go to a snowdome again if you don't want!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@anarski, I agree.

The way I see it, there is little point going to a mountain resort and learning skills that you can learn indoors. It makes far more sense, in my mind, to master the elementary skills in a snow dome, then in resort you can jump straight into a higher class and make use of actual pistes. To go to a ski resort and spend the bulk of your time on the nursery slope is a huge waste of potential.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
northantsred wrote:
A lot of good intentioned info on here but for what it's worth here's my twopenneth.

Firstly, it is very awkward getting used to two planks of wood on the bottom of your feet(if it's skiing you are going for?) initially and therefore can be quite taxing on your energy levels. Also as it will be your first week, all you will need for your enjoyment is a small resort with a nice hill with several pistes on it. Not a big resort with mountains in all directions.
I have skied in Switzerland, France, Austria and Italy. My favourite country is Italy both for skiing and for living but for small ski resorts for learning to ski I suggest Austria. Obviously all the countries I have mentioned have smaller resorts and would be good because it's a great pastime and being in the mountains is fabulous wherever you go.
I will nominate a few that I know, Hinterglemm, Berwang, Neiredau, Flachau, but there are literally scores and scores in Austria alone!

Happy learning! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy


Agree with most of what you say...but not Flachau for a complete beginner. Slopes are too difficult and too busy...rammed at half term.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Personally, I wouldn't go mad on the snowdome thing, it's not as if it's local. You're obviously going to have some lessons and need to get to a point where you're in a position to decide which discipline you want to follow. I'd say that once you can manage the lift comfortably and are happy coming down from the top of the main slope in a controlled fashion, then you're better off spending your time and money on real snow.

I've seen a few cases where skiers who have made a lot of progress indoors then struggled to make the transition when faced with real snow on a real mountain. I think there's a reduction in benefit indoors after a certain point because progress indoors is counteracted by increased difficulty in adapting to outdoors. My sample size is small though so it would be interesting to hear from snowheads who have experience in this regard.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Penry, exactly the same with my BiL...he couldn't handle Flachau at all despite getting 'competent to ski alone' at Castleford
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@Penry, I agree. There's no harm in having a few lessons in advance to get the basics nailed, but a mountain is a completely different environment to a snow dome, and contains a whole load of new things to deal with – weather, flat light, crowds, chairlifts, ESF snakes etc., not to mention to overwhelming scale of them if you've never been on one before.

I was in a chalet once with a group of snow dome skiers and self-taught snowboarders, some of whom had never been on a mountain before. None had booked lessons initially, but some soon found the transition to be a bit too much to deal with on their own and got some instruction.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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The snowdome/dryslope to real mountain is highly dependent on the individual. I both learned to ski (as a teen) and snowboard (as an adult) on dryslope and found real mountains a doddle compared to the world of friction and pain that is dryslope. So I'd actually recommend dryslope in that if you are still keen after learning there you can stick the worst of ehat a mountain can throw at you.
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For clarity I wasn't suggesting that you could get good enough indoors to start skiing of your own accord in resort.

But I think things like snowplough turns... getting used to the mindset of which leg to weight and tipping your ski on edge... you can go through that in a snowdome and just get that out the way. I think if you can turn up in resort being able to link snowplough turns then you can just join a slightly better group and spend your time out and about with an instructor, rather than spending your days up and down the nursery slope.

The point to me is that there's nothing wrong with the nursery slope in resort... but it doesn't really give you anything that the nursery slope in the snowdome doesn't give you. So my mindset is to get the nursery slope bumfluff out the way indoors before you go, and spend your first skiing week with an instructor on an actual piste - where you'll absolutely have to learn all of those things @Scarlet mentions.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@dp, I that is pretty much what@Penry is saying too, I agree
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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Not sure what your budget is but the Ski/Board schools in Whistler are very good and keep the classes down to a Max of 4 people in them. Great learning area pretty high up and quiet. Obviously english is the language of choice over there which also helps. Though you are very unlikely to get a Canadian instructor as they come from all over the world.

Check the BC school half term weeks and USA Presidents week and if they miss out half term then it will be quiet. Booking before end of August gives biggest discounts. You can tell if it is a quiet week by seeing if it is a "discovery week" as they call it. These are cheaper as there are no local holidays.

Loads of packages over there so no hassle for you. Also you get ski storage in the rental price (right next to the lifts) so you can just walk everywhere if you stay in the centre so no busses needed.
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dp wrote:
@anarski, I agree.

The way I see it, there is little point going to a mountain resort and learning skills that you can learn indoors. It makes far more sense, in my mind, to master the elementary skills in a snow dome, then in resort you can jump straight into a higher class and make use of actual pistes. To go to a ski resort and spend the bulk of your time on the nursery slope is a huge waste of potential.


As a relative beginner, I fully agree with @dp. My friend and I put in 50 hours in a snow dome before our first time on a mountain, at the Birthday Bash this year. We wanted to attain the best level possible before the holiday itself; so we could take full advantage of the vast expanse of runs in the area and maximise our enjoyment from day one. I know the colour of runs is by no means everything, but we managed to ski reds on day one and a short section of black before the end of the week. It's doubtful we would have managed either without the work we put in the snow dome (and the guidance and encouragement of the wonderfully generous Snowheads we skied with). We've already put in 16 hours in the snow dome ready for the next Birthday Bash in February 2019. Needs must.

Best of luck with your skiing @Gavin14774 and enjoy your holiday, wherever you choose to go. Be warned though, skiing is very addictive. Toofy Grin snowHead
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