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Newbie here. Advice for first time Ski Holiday please

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@franksebem, good advice from maggi.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@maggi, +1.
I know I'm in the minority here, but I've yet to have a bad experience of ESF (5 years and counting) and there is a lot to be said for having the support of your tour op group so I wouldn't worry too much about where they get their lessons from. Being conveniently located close to the meeting point would be a bigger factor for me if I went with beginners.
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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?
@franksebem, i am not going to add to the debate as it looks like there is plenty of advice to mull over already.

But, whichever way you decide to go, welcome to the rollercoaster pleasure dome that is snowsports (and snowheads)!!

though be warned, before long you will find yourself checking in daily, to a forum hoping to find a nugget of info about a chosen resort/type of ski etc, then spend the next few hours (its addictive) debating various subjects such as global warming/winter tyres/jam making or whatever catches your eye, would advise to steer clear of one or two if I was you (any thread over 10pages!!!!)

Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Toofy Grin

good luck on your quest, and keep us updated

terry
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Make sure you ask if helmets are a good idea.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I won't repeat what everyone else has said, but I'd have a look at Mark Warner. They are doing a free lift pass offer at the moment at all their resorts on all dates if you book before Oct 9th. That's worth around £1k for a family of four, so it's worth snapping up.

https://www.markwarner.co.uk/ski-holidays?gclid=CjwKEAjwl_PNBRDcnobn1dvCk1ESJADimmVFeIV7VTq4Abksa9I43V3BnTmkEJbH1YIf5cZbXWBY4hoCd9Pw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

Val d'Isere is a very good bet over Christmas. Excellent new beginner area up the Solaise mountain and a nice new gondola to take you back down.

Good luck, and beware you may become hooked on this very expensive hobby! Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Toofy Grin
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You'll need to Register first of course.
Quote:

Make sure you ask if helmets are a good idea.

with or without sunglasses @ster, ?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
terrygasson wrote:
Quote:

Make sure you ask if helmets are a good idea.

with or without sunglasses @ster, ?


Thats another critical question for all enthusiasts that may need further exposition this season. A new thread anyone?

I may need to amend my previous position having had new googles for fathers day so need to wear them.
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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!
I have to say guys. You lot are brilliant. So much excellent information. I am going to book with a tour operator. Please would you all mind suggesting the best operators for newbies like us. Crystal?
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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.
Hi, Not sure if you've already booked. I went skiing for 1st time in late March in Serre Chevalier, just before Easter. Great area for beginners with wide open greens. Took lessons with ESF who then gave a 40% discount on the ski pass. Found a cheap but quite nice apartment which was fairly empty as end of season. We were joining up with other people so hadn't booked ourselves BUT noticed that with 4 weeks to go, the apartment company HALVED the apartment prices! So, could easily get a really nice apartment for around 400 euros for the week. Plus they had a nice pool and jacuzzi which, because the place was so empty, we had almost to ourselves. L'Adret Chantemerle was the name of the place. About 150m from the gondala . Takeaway rotisserie chicken & great pizza a short walk(5min) away. And treat your family to a great traditional feast one night at Le Gavroche in the stunning medievel Briancon, 15 mins down the valley.

For how to get there: Suggest you fly to Turin and rent a car. Easy drive from Turin to Chantemerle. Spend morning doing lessons in Chantemerle. Come down off mountain, jump in car and drive 3 mins down road to Villeneuve and head up to yellow gondala to Frejus cafe for lunch. (We bought drinks & chips but covertly ate our own sandwiches..) Then in the afternoon enjoy the big wide green runs up there which are perfect for beginners. And nearly empty with no queues. And the best thing? So sunny!!! Amazingly warm sun - great sunbathing at lunchtime in Frejus Cafe! Got a little sunburnt on the backs of my hands as too hot to wear gloves (yes, I know...). So pack some quality sunnies.
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franksebem wrote:
I have to say guys. You lot are brilliant. So much excellent information. I am going to book with a tour operator. Please would you all mind suggesting the best operators for newbies like us. Crystal?


Although Crystal isn't my favourite you could do worse. Especially as they have good all in packages for beginners which give lift pass, lessons and ski hire.

My first holiday where I was paying (i.e. Not travelling with parents) was Inghams but that was to a catered chalet which they seem to have stopped doing now they (the parent company) have the Ski Total brand. I haven't used Ski Total but have used Esprit (again same parent company) and I have ended up on shared transfer buses with th Sk Total lot (normally identified by them tutting at us having the gall to have young children with us rolling eyes )

So I would suggest looking at Crystal, Inghams, Ski Total, and Neilson and see which package works / looks best to you
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@franksebem,
Quote:

Please would you all mind suggesting the best operators for newbies like us. Crystal?

What @NickyJ, says + you could checkout a few smaller operators, including Ski Olympic, Alpine Elements, Ski Beat, Le Ski, Ice & Fire.

I know you said you usually prefer self catering. I think for a first week family skiing trip a catered package (at least breakfast and dinner) has a lot of benefits, especially for exhausted parents.
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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.
@franksebem,

I was in a similar situation 3 years ago. Never been skiing before. Some tips from us (which others probably have mentioned).

Learn before you go. You don't want your first day or two on the mountain learning how to put boots on, stand up and not fall over in the process of standing up. We did 8-10 hours at Hemel before our first trip. Meant we went into the next beginner group up from the complete level 1s.

If you do that many hours, you'll probably get a good idea of if it's something you want to commit to. Then you know to borrow or buy gear. We knew we were going to love it, so bought most of our "basic" gear like jackets and salopettes. But it's still good to borrow if you can.

We went with Neilson for our first two ski trips (having been on 3 of their summer holidays). For a first timer, defo go for a TO. Yes you may pay slightly more but it takes so much stress/planning out of it. I thoroughly recommend Neilson by the way.
For our 3rd trip (this upcoming Jan) I've done it DIY now I know a bit more. I've organised for a group of 10 to fill a chalet, including flights from two different airports into Grenoble, the transfers, equipment etc. Has it saved us much money in comparison to a TO? Not really, but it's the small touches that using an independent chalet company offers like a full free complimentary bar instead of just wine at dinner for example.
We did look at Neilson again, as well as Alpine Action, Crystal, Mark Warner, amongst others.

The price of ski trips as I'm sure you are finding can be misleading. You may see £600 for a week catered somewhere and think bargain, but by the time you add on lessons, pass, equipment then it'll be getting near £1000.
So do lots of comparison and get the realistic price in total for everything you know you'll want. From what level of ski you want to hire, boots, is helmet included if you want one, how many lessons and what type of pass you require (as some places have smaller passes for beginners for example).
Do take note of the offers from TOs. They can prove to make a huge difference. A free pass can save £250pp. But don't let that totally dictate. Go where you want to go and works best for you.

I'd always go catered for a ski holiday. After a whole day of skiing (which is the reason you are there!) the last thing I want to be doing is standing around cooking. If you don't want to cook, then most places will have a decent Italian or french place with a good pizza for 12-14 Euros but then the price soon adds up over the week. Or you are buying food. So really the price isn't that much difference in my opinion.
Hotels are great but we just prefer chalets. I see it as the "alpine" experience. Obviously, unless you fill a chalet then you will end sharing. We are a social lot anyway so I actually like that but then have been lucky to have shared with some cracking people on my last two trips. If you get a bit of a tit, then it may dampen the experience. With catered, you also normally get at least free wine at dinner (which is usually drinkable, but don't expect premium stuff). In regards to beer, yes it'll be expensive in some places. No different from having a drink in central London. We normally buy a crate of beer to drink throughout the week in the chalet anyway.

As for resorts we have been to Les Deux Alpes, Montgenevre and this year heading to La Plagne.
L2A and Monty are both brilliant for beginners and early intermediates. L2A is a bit more happening than quiet Monty but we loved both resorts. We went end of Jan/start of Feb both times and had amazing snow. I believe L2A struggled big time Christmas just gone (please someone correct me if wrong) but Montgenevre had some really good coverage for that time of year.

No one can predict the snow, but keep an eye out on the weather thread on the forum and look at previous years snow fall. As a general rule, the higher the better. Both L2A and Monty are high resorts.

Lastly, enjoy!
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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
On the catered v self catered - as ever, there are plusses and minuses of both options.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Did you go and if so, where, how - and how much fun was it?!
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