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Planning a trip for 10+ people

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all,

So after a few years of talking about it, a large group of us fancy hitting the slopes together.
Foolishly I said I'd look at a few ideas (I say foolishly, I actually hate other people planning stuff for me! Control freak alert!)

Anyway, we would be looking at a catered chalet situation. Whether we go privately or with a TO is the next question. We are looking at the end of Jan onward really, preferably to as high as resort as possible to make sure it's snow sure.
Firstly, can anyone recommend any specific chalets that they have visited in the past or a reliable website that lists catered chalets?
Secondly, any decent shouts for resorts? We will have a mix of beginners, intermediates and seasoned skiers. Some who like to ski all day, others who will retire to the bar mid afternoon to enjoy a drink or 2.

Lastly, is there anything I should particularly look out for or avoid when organising a large rabble? I more inclined towards an independent chalet and letting everyone else organise their own travel, hire and passes but obviously wouldn't sniff at a good TO deal.

Cheers all

Fridge
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Fridge03, project ski val d'isere.
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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?
We have stayed with:

http://www.smallwonders.eu/ski-chalets/

http://www.ice-fire.co.uk/catered-ski-holiday-chalets-france

http://www.hucksterslodge.com/


Ranging from luxury to very basic, all have been good value with some of the chalets from each company offering good locations, access to pistes etc. All expect/allow for your own transport but can give advice/help re transfers etc if some of you fly.(Some drive but other in our party have flown, or arrived by train etc) All 3 have been easy to deal with and extremely helpful.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Join either the PreBB or the BB bash (or both), and no further organisation is required!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
If you're doing a DIY trip, my advice is to get a broker to help you with flights. I used flightcentre.co.uk. they were excellent.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Dont take any IOUs
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Fridge03,
Lucky you are a control freak! - because there's a lot needed...

Organising for 10 is a good practice to take up a later career as a cat herder. 4 Rules I have come to appreciate after doing groups for quite a few years.

1) Choose the resort, mode of accommodation, and dates, and stick to it . Trying to accommodate mind changes, individual foibles, the 'not sures' will drive you insane if you try.

2) Get the money - or a sizeable deposit - up front. It does tend to focus the minds of those for whom July is an odd month to be thinking of skiing.

3) Good idea to let people organise their own travel - but then ensure that your control freakery doesn't take over, and you become a surrogate tour leader. People will be late. They will miss their planes, trains or buses. They will fail to get a good deal. They may end up in the wrong resort.
None of this is your problem if you have clearly delegated travel arrangements to each of them.

4) Decide if you want to be responsible for on-snow activities - who is deciding on the routes for the day - which restaurants to meet in , which groups are going where. If not you, then say so.

And as per other topical threads doing the rounds here always remember the Mike Tyson guide to Project Management.

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth

If things don't work out as you planned, roll with it, and chill. As one CF to another, this is the hardest bit. There will be individuals who have ideas counter to yours, and will disappear for a fag just as the minibus appears, or decide that today would be a good day to do a hidden gem, but fail to tell anyone outside their roommate.

Relax: it's your holiday too.

HTH
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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!
A high resort is not necessarily a guarantee if good snow. To the extent that I'd almost ignore in as a criterion. Within limits.

Decide somewhere that suits the proposed group(s).

Tell everyone the dates you'll be there.

Book your holiday.

See who else turns up.

(You are allowed to also book for spouses or other dependants).

Seriously. I mean, they're adults right? The Internet. Group bookings may furnish discounts but probably not cheaper than DIY.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
I do a couple of group trips a year. Like @Arctic Roll says, it's all about DELEGATION (or, more correctly, not taking on responsibility for other people!) and NOT bankrolling people.

1) Agree details with a couple of colleagues. Book our flights individually at the same time (we sit together so its easy!) with an apartment that can sleep up to 7 (easy, since I own one, but if not we'd just rent one).
2) Tell everyone else were/when and which flights we're on. The trip is now on and confirmed. My role is basically over.
3) They can book any flight they want, but if its the same flight as us we can share cars. If not they have to get themselves to resort. If they take a different flight and arrive at the same time they can share the cars, but if their flight is delayed we don't wait.
4) Only reserve beds for people when they send me flight confirmation.
5) When person 6-8 books he/she has to book a second apartment on the promise that we will move some people over from apartment 1 to share the cost.
6) Once we're beyond 12 people, they have to find their own hotel.
7) Car rentals on same principle as apartments - once first car is full, next person books a car.
Cool On arrival, get 100E off everyone for the kitty.

Last year that resulted in 15 of us on the same trip, nearly all booked individually or as couples, sharing 3 cars/minibuses, in 2 apartments and 2 hotel rooms, with almost no effort at all required from me. All I had to do was find restaurants for dinner...
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@snowdave, +1.

I mean, how difficult can it be?

@Fridge03, Morzine works for everything but the mythical height requirement, and Rachel at http://www.mountainhighs.co.uk/ would be worth a call.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
All useful stuff, but i read the OP as wanting a sole use catered chalet. If that's the case, there's going to need to be a greater level of coordination and commitment from the group.

It sounds like you know the groups ski requirements, but how about budget? Depending on the group its easier sometimes easier to lay out all the details for them.

When I've done this, I've selected the resort and chalet then collected a sizeable deposit upfront. Then identified flights (but each party is responsible for booking their own) I also arranged the transfer with Alps2Alps and collected full payment for this at time of taking the chalet deposit. For final balance, I told the group that I needed it 12 weeks before departure to allow an extended time to collect.

In resort everyone sorted their own passes and hire.

Agree that Morzine would be a good shout. Nice and close to Geneva and good skiing for all abilities.
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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.
Quote:

there's going to need to be a greater level of coordination and commitment from the group


and that's where the problems start...
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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
Wow. Thanks all for the advice.

I've planned rugby tours before (both DIY and through an agent) so am already well aware of giving people plenty of notice for payments before a deadline, and then still getting them on the due date!
It's a lot easier with a rugby tour though. They only worry about beer, rugby and somewhere with a roof to sleep.

Sole occupancy isn't the be all and end all. If there is a good group of us then sharing with others isn't a problem at all.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Done this loads and tbh use a tour operator. Much easier. Organised 16 last year.
1- get group together i.e. How many people on a certain date. Don't stand for a maybe.they are either in or out.
2- tell them all to make sure they have travel insurance in case they have any problems so it's not your responsibility to sort out any drop outs.
3- tell them where they are going don't give options or it will be 2020 before you go.
4- get deposits straight away and tell them they are not refundable.
5- tell them final balance is due at leat 2 weeks before it so.
6- open a separate bank account for all money to go in.
7- book with Tesco Clubcard credit card so you get enough points for a free Eurotumel trip for next time lol

And then spend the whole week answering questions like where are we skiing today and where shall we go tonight.
Just make sure they all understand that they buy you beer at apres and enjoy. It's all good fun Very Happy
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I used to organise a trip for between 20 and 40 people. Used a local travel agent to book through a tour operator. I'd give him names but places werent confirmed until a hefty deposit was paid. Anyone going contacted him directly to pay.

This way the travel agent collected all the money and talked sweetly to the tour op (who he dealt with all the time and therefore had a good working relationship with) when things needed changing etc. All I really did was decide where and when we were going, and then tell people. Once money was due I'd send text reminders, but as above tell them the final payment is due 2 or 3 wks before it actually is.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Fridge03 wrote:
Wow. Thanks all for the advice.

I've planned rugby tours before (both DIY and through an agent) so am already well aware of giving people plenty of notice for payments before a deadline, and then still getting them on the due date!
It's a lot easier with a rugby tour though. They only worry about beer, rugby and somewhere with a roof to sleep.

Sole occupancy isn't the be all and end all. If there is a good group of us then sharing with others isn't a problem at all.


But it may be problem for the other group Toofy Grin
Seriously, if the other group is NOT good, significantly smaller or larger then it can cause problems - ranging from outright disagreement to feelings of discomfort i..e 'imposing' the group on the romantic couple who have inadvertently booked in the same chalet (so what, you may think - their fault) or feeling outnumbered. Of course, if the group is robust enough not to be affected by such things it doesn't matter. I go on two group trips - one of which is always sole occupancy, the other varies. I just find sole occupancy works better, although we have of course come across some nice people in non- sole-occupancy pads. Particularly if you are the organiser..also one less thing to worry about. The slight complication is you have to have exact numbers or cover the cost of a spare place or two (which your friends may not wish to do).
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Organised for ten last season, never again Wink

I booked a chalet, everyone arranged own transport, chalet operator ran transfers, everyone sorted out own lift passes, I made the mistake of sorting out lessons for all the kids, which worked fine until they didn't turn up for the privates on time. Ski hire etc handled by chalet operator.

Everyone paid deposit / rest of money direct to chalet operator, I just told them when and how.

We stayed in Chalet Chocolat in La Tania with ski magic, if it's the same hosts as previous years you'll be fed and looked after well.
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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?
Hi, I would recommend Les Deux Alpes as being a high snow sure resort with suitable skiing (and apres) for everyone! All the Major Tour ops come here and have chalets of which Favero with Crystal and chamois volent with ski world are both nice!
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I did one for 8 in January (sadly, my sis died, so I didn't get to go). I did everything: flights, accom, transfers. Everyone had to get to the airport and get lift passes under their own steam. The main thing that I haven't seen here... Get photos of their passports, and get em early! The number of differences in 8 people's perceived details compared to their passport is amazing- some people don't know their own name! We had a whatsapp group, and I used that to tell them when to transfer money. I did that in stages, accom, then flights, then transfer. We used Airbnb. I emailed everybody's details and boarding passes to everyone else, so if someone failed to turn up, all the stuff was there. They had a great time.

CG
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I've organised quite a few DIY skiing trips with people coming from different countries so TO is not an option. I've usually posted a request on www.chaletsdirect.com. I then picked the best 2 or 3 in my opinion and we "vote". Everybody is responsible for booking their own travel arrangements / lessons / buying a ski pass. I agree with the previous comment - don't accept any may-bes. In or out. A few years ago we stayed with https://www.whitebeamchalets.co.uk/ who were excellent. We stayed in their boutique catered chalet in Nancroix but this option might not suit your group as it is not near the lifts / bars. They have other chalets in Peisey / La Plange which I think would be good areas for a mixed group and reasonably snow sure at the end of Jan.
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Thanks for all the advice and tips everyone!

I've got a few ideas on the boil! Hopefully, things go as smoothly as organising a trip can!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Fridge03, If you choose Les Deux Alpes or Alpes d'hues and need any local information I'm based out here so give me a shout!
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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!
tiptopski wrote:
@Fridge03, If you choose Les Deux Alpes or Alpes d'hues and need any local information I'm based out here so give me a shout!


Both are options. We have done L2A but many of the group hasn't and we know from experience what a cracking resort it is. But also very interested in Alpes d'Hues.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Just thinking,

Is it better to get in early with this type of thing...I was sitting there today not working but looking at chalets thinking, there is still a good 6-7 months left yet. My last two trips we booked a month in advance, albeit they were for 2 people and 6 people....

In peoples experience, are there better group offers to be had earlier or later?
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
TO with an account where they will take payments direct from each member in the party. Pick a date, location and chalet, agree a sensible date for committing with the TO then present it as a take it or leave it.

You might be a sucker for punishment and want to get more consensus but the benign dictatorship works for ski hold, particularly if you deliberately avoid the cheapest and most expensive options.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Fridge03, if you want that number in the same accommodation definitely book now.
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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.
Meribel.
Verbier.
St Anton.

People will say they will go... and then pull out.
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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 reckon in any group of non hardcore skiers you have a flakiness quota of around 20-30% : These are i) the people who say they desperately want to come but can't commit, ii) don't really want to come but are working out their excuse, iii) those will find something else more interesting they wan't to prioritise and iv) those that want to come but only on their terms.

Then you have the poo-poo happens people who maybe comprise up to another 20% - illness, injury, job loss or change, divorce etc.

I must admit to being in cat iv) now in relation to certain invitations. People know I'm a keen skier so assume I will be up for it but actually when what is offered is social ski cruising or a 5 star chalet experience or the worst a short break midweek I find I have other priorities.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I sound like a stuck record, as in my few forays onto this site I seem to suggest some variation of a holiday in Sauze d'oulx to every question, so here goes again......it's not sole use but speak to Crystal about a ski plus (lift pass, lunch vouchers, ski hire Inc in price, plus all inclusive drinks) price for their all inclusive hotel Miravalle in Sauze for your group. The reviews are good and it may be easier than everyone booking some parts independently. It was the mention of rugby tour that led me to it! Or +1 for Hucksters Lodge/ Pinewood Chalets in Serre Chevalier. Such friendly and helpful staff if you give them call
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