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First family holiday with Snowbizz

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
We're a family of 4 and we booked our first skiing holiday with Snowbizz yesterday, for the 8th of Jan, after reading glowing reports both here and on mumsnet of all places.
It's the right resort for us because I want the girls to enjoy themselves and enjoy ski school.
Even though the price is very reasonable, especially when you consider the attention the children will get, it's still costing over £3000 for the four of us... That's taking every single thing into consideration - ski hire, ski pass, ski school, kids club, a couple of adult lessons, airport supplements, travel from Newcastle to Manchester and back, even the odd chocolat chaud! Like I say for four people, door to door and all in it's not too bad. Just a lot of money.
Question one -
I think I've got a handle on what to expect from the family holiday aspect, although any advice is always welcome. It's more what to do with the precious morning hours. I'm just starting to be more competent and adventurous when it come to off piste. I gather the two black runs are pretty challenging but still it's only two. I've seen a couple of you tube vids of the Col du Bal which has caught my eye but it may be a bit steep n deep for someone on their own. That said I only managed to get 5 hours in Glencoe last season which took about a 9 hr round trip to get to, so I'll be glad of whatever skiing's available.
Question two -
We're hiring the skis for OH/girls and buying the skipasses ourselves which has knocked a hundred or more off of the final price. Has anyone here got experience of doing this? We want to get the family skipass ourselves either online or in resort as that itself should come in about £40 cheaper - something I don't begrudge by the way, we just don't have much money! The same goes for the ski hire because we can take advantage of earlybird offers with Snowells which halves that cost.
Other than food we've left everything else in Snowbizz's hands. I can't wait to see our girls - both 6 - skiing for the first time but more so I'm looking forward to the future when we can all jump in the van and zip off for days/weekends to Cumbria or Scotland or the Alps come to that!

Anyhoo if anyone's got any useful info or experiences to share I'd really appreciate it.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Take at least 2 pairs of gloves for the children, and get better quality, and slightly large, if you can get cheap silk liners for them do. Warm hands will make the day more enjoyable, likewise a box of glove warmers on amazon will cost the same as a 4 pack in resort. If you children get warm it is much better than cold ( which becomes miserable). If you have a cheap mobile phone you can stick in their pockets so much the better, just for emergencies. Plan your morning routes to maximise, take them for a meal/snack on collection from ski school then get out together. Make sure they have a mars bar or something in a pocket when at ski school.

It will take exactly twice as long as you would hope to get them dressed and ready in the morning.
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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?
Oh all in ones or salopettes for the children, a wet back will ruin their day.
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@blahblahblah,
Thanks very much for the glove warmers tip!



Quote:

It will take exactly twice as long as you would hope to get them dressed and ready in the morning.

I hear That!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Graham Warren, I see you've budgeted for some adult lessons - that makes a lot of sense, and you can ask your instructor for the specific things you want to do.

I think saying it will take twice as long as you would hope to get them dressed and ready is possibly a tad optimistic.... wink Make sure they go to the loo just before you start getting them togged up.

Stick your name and phone number in their pockets but I wouldn't bother with a mobile for them. But some kind of little chocolate bar snack could go in their pocket instead!

6 is really an excellent age to be learning to ski - they'll get on very quickly, I'm sure.

I sympathise about the money angle - taking a family skiing is very expensive and, the thing is, it's not just the once... wink
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Oh - teach them how to carry their skis. They won't have poles to start with.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
If you have a decathlon near you they are a great source of reasonably priced, reasonable quality ski gear. The mittens were £2.99 iirc so happy buy two pairs so that one cab dry while one pair is worn.

On hiring skis independently we always do this and find saves quite a bit. We usually book through either Alpinresorts or snowbrainer if I have spelt them correctly, they normally turn into a click which gives you a snowheads discount code.
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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!
@pam w,
I like the name and number idea!
The adult lessons are for my wonderful other half who has begrudgingly agreed that the girls will benifit greatly from the experience. She's had both school and private lessons with esf in the past but the language barrier or something hasn't clicked and has actually dented her confidence further! I did at first think the Snowbizz instructers were english but it's not so and finding such in the cheap weeks is nigh on impossible in most resorts unless you have a wad of cash to throw at them.
I'm not saying I don't want lessons, just that her need is greater.

@NickyJ,
Thanks for the decathlon tip. I'll be doing a lot of ebay shopping and keeping an eye on here too wink
It looks as though Snowells are in the same price range on the ski hire front.


@blahblahblah,
Talking of ebay etc I'll be on the lookout for snowsuits for them
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@Graham Warren, http://www.decathlon.co.uk/C-812943-ski-all_in_one not silly money brand new, just get a size up if they are tall enough.
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
One of the wedze trousers range decathlon do allow you to shortened the leg length which is rather nice as means you buy a little bigger and easily get two seasons wear easily Happy
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I have those trousers for my grand-daughters - absolutely brilliant, with two girls two years apart, they last forever!

Charity shops often have great, little-worn, ski gear for kids too - and some good buys come up on the Snowheads small-ads. @Graham Warren, you might be able to get some personal recommendations for private lessons for your other half - from someone who knows the resort well.

When are you going?
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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.
@pam w, @blahblahblah, @NickyJ,

Just had a quick look. They're perfect! Being twins the girls are quite small built so I'll get the 6yr ones and they'll still get two seasons. Thanks
We go on the 8th of Jan (cheap week)
Apparently Michel the owner is on-site for the season and will be able to help us get the best 'English speaking' teacher.
So far Snowbizz have been very helpful and accomodating so I'm happy to trust them with her. She's hardly a shrinking violet mind, she's a lecturer at Durham and regularly gives papers all over the world but put her on two planks and point her downhill and suddenly her knees start knocking! Basically she needs someone who ISN'T me to help get that confidence back.
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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
eBay is your friend for kids ski stuff. If you work out the good brands and key points to look out for (waterproofing levels etc) then you can get absolute bargains if you put a little time into it. Personally I'd rather buy second hand goretex for the kids than first hand cheap stuff, but of course that's personal choice.
I reckon I've bought nigh on a £k's worth of kit for my two, all for less than £150.
Also keep an eye on the for sale section of this forum; a few months ago a poster was selling absolutely top of the range kids kit for a song; sadly mine were too big for it or if have snapped it up. Might still be worth a look in case he has any left.
ski holidays     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Thanks to everyone for the tips! Please keep em comin. After having to miss out last season I'm going to really enjoy skiing again and therein lies my original question - does anyone have any experience of Puy Saint Vincent? There aren't a huge amount of pistes so are there any of particular interest or should I be thinking of getting an off piste guide? Bloody hell, I'm up-selling to myself already and there's still months to go! Toofy Grin
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
For the kids, ecco comments about spare gloves. Buff's are important too. Don't need to spend silly money on them. If its super cold, a fleece balaclava.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Yep. It looks like we'll be doubling up on everything just to be sure. I normally steer clear of cheap brands but if the seasoned family skiers on here are happy with weedze stuff then so am I. Especially as the luggage allowance is 20kg per person! (I could even comfortably fit a second pair of skis in.) Just gotta lug it all about. Very Happy
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Graham Warren, keep an eye out for Aldi ski gear weeks - should come up over the next month or so. The base layers are excellent and a fraction of the cost in a 'proper' ski wear store. They also have mitts and gloves, fleece and/or fabric buffs (these are great as half thin jersey, half thin fleece), plus lots of othter bits and pieces - sun cream, lip salve etc.,
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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?
@Montana, I still have some winter boots I got from aldi six years ago! There's a definite difference in quality and comfort but considering they only cost a tenner I'm not complaining. Toofy Grin
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Graham Warren wrote:
@Montana, I still have some winter boots I got from aldi six years ago! There's a definite difference in quality and comfort but considering they only cost a tenner I'm not complaining. Toofy Grin


With the amount of ACTUAL wear the children give the ski stuff, I found there is still wear left in stuff even after being used by both children and for outdoor wear at home when it is cold and wet enough in the winter for me to hand on to my god daughter.

Aldi ski socks are good as well. Happy
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I have a pair of winter boots from Aldi too, specifically bought a couple of years ago, to wear in the snow - very comfy and warm and feet were never wet. Fast forward to last winter and I couldn't find them, so bought another pair as Aldi had them in again, at the bargain price of £14.99. Then I found the original pair Laughing Given that they seem indestructible - as well as various ski trips, winter dog walking etc., - I'm likely to still be wearing one pair or the other for years to come
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Quote:

There aren't a huge amount of pistes


This won't matter a jot - you'll have so much fun with your kids on just one or two slopes...a future money saver (with kids) is not having to fork out for expensive passes in larger resorts - in my experience they are just unnecessary when starting out (and you won't be chomping at the bit thinking about your area pass "going to waste" while pootling down the same runs again and again!)
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Consider taking them to Silksworth for some learn to ski lessons before you go, good value at the moment
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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!
@sledger, I didn't realise they do absolute beginner lessons there.! I thought you had to be able to make snowplough turns. I'll have to look into that, been meaning to go myself for ages just to keep the thighs right, this could be the push I need.
@jesus, Good advice. I just hope they get the bug too. Skiing brings out the kid in me as it is, so with my pair of little scallywags I reckon I'll be having too much fun to care about the kilometres covered.
@NickyJ, Aldi Thermals have been keeping me toasty for as many years as the boots have kept me dry too!
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Dont forget sunglasses on a retainer for when they are not wearing their Helmet and Goggles but outside playing.
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ah, good point. The one girl wears corrective glasses and is having drops at the mo for a lazy eye which may be sorted by then but gives me food for thought regards goggles. I've never had the need to wear otg goggles myself so don't know how practical they are.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Graham Warren, The bright refection from the snow and the cold can play havoc with youngsters eyes, so Goggles are essential, as are sunglasses for when they are not, with ours wearing Goggles without a helmet just wouldn't do....
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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.
They've both got good quality sun glasses from the opticians and hers are prescription too hence why I mention otg's. If I got her a low light lens then she can swap between the clear glasses and the sun glasses under the goggles.
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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
@Graham Warren, yes they do absolute beginner lessons - good value and will help your kids when they get on to the snow.

If you can already ski there are 2 clubs;
Ravens - wednesday 7-9 and;
Tigers - thursday 6.30 -8.30.

The slope also do a friday night informal coaching session, not sure what time.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
boredsurfin wrote:
Dont forget sunglasses on a retainer for when they are not wearing their Helmet and Goggles but outside playing.


Nice and optimistic for 2 week of January!! 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:
@sledger,
Yes I took another look at the site and it is good value but it'd add well over a hundred quid to the overall bill and that's with a groupon discount, and there's equipment hire to think of as well. Considering I've already paid £195 each to have them learn on snow I think I'll wait til we get to PSV. That said once we get back I intend to take them over there as often as possible - assuming they dig skiing that is... and why wouldn't they?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@blahblahblah, PSV is a very sunny resort.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Hells Bells, ok, did not know that, worth knowing for future reference.
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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?
@blahblahblah, and lots of trees.
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@Hells Bells,
I came accross your contribution to a thread on PSV/Snowbizz through a search on here when I first started looking for the right place to take the girls. I couldn't find it again just now though.
So would you be happy to recommend any particular runs?
Either for the family to enjoy as a group or for me as an advanced-ish intermediate. From the many gopro type vids on you tube it looks great for 'close by' off piste stuff which would be ideal as I'm not going to have the opportunity to go off adventuring and pratting about for more than a couple of hours at a time.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Graham Warren. I usually spend at most a few hours there once a season, so I'm probably not the expert on PS you need. It's always been nice though. It's a great place for in-between pistes for you, and tree-lined runs and confidence building runs for the family. There's a lovely long red run, Bois de Coqs I think. You can either ski back on it all the way to 1600, or hang a left onto the blue and ski down to 1400. I seem to think we lapped this a few times on our last visit. There's probably better advice from those who have been more often.
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Thanks very much @Hells Bells, ! I emailed Sarah at snowbizz to pick her brains and she recommended hiring a guide at £40 - £45 an hr which I'll probably end up doing.
I might see if there's anyone else on here going nearer the time or one of the other parents in resort that might want to go in on one for a couple of hours.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
We have done 4 years with Snowbizz, you will absolutely love it. First off, don't worry about carrying the kids' skis and boots etc, you get them on day 1 and then if they're in creche they can stay in creche and if they're older the room where they meet is next door to the ski locker.

Everything is within a minutes walk so no trekking about, the pink ladies are amazing as are all of the staff so anything you need nothing is too much trouble. We went the first year and then gathered up people until last year we were 8 adults and 7 kids!

The best thing (and some might say the worst thing) about the skiing is that you don't do much lateral traversing, you go up, you come down. The best bit in my opinion is the big bowl where there are tons of carving slopes, we never touched the blacks really and we were with a guy who skiied in the army and was a pretty spectacular skiier and he's been 5 times quite content.

One of the nicest things if you've got kids that can already ski is to ski down to 1400 and have breakfast then wait for the first lift back up. It's such a quiet resort the pistes are empty and we've never queued.

One of the nice things we did was to take the lift up to around 2000m with a picnic on our backs and let the kids run wild then ski back down. I'm very envious as we've decided to go elsewhere this season as after 4 years we've done Puy but it's a real gem.
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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!
@Graham Warren, we'll be in Serre Chevalier then, and it isn't impossible that we might head over to Puy for the day.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Graham Warren, fleece neck warmers worth having. Help stop wind and snow getting inside jacket and easy to pull up to cover face on cold chairlift rides. Mittens warmer then gloves in cold conditions too and easier to put on and off for kids. Don't need expensive ones, they can be worn with thin inner fleece/silk gloves for extra insulation. Very Happy
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@AllyK, thanks for your contribution. I'm really looking forward to poodling about with our girls once they can ski. That said I really enjoy seeing them get the hang of new skills so that'll be a big part of the holiday for me.
@Hells Bells, Ha! Well if you do make it over I'll be the bloke looking harassed and wearing a helmet covered in my little pony stickers!
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