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Planning my first ski trip

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi.

I'm at the point where I'm starting to plan the serious details of my first ever ski trip! However, being a complete newbie at this I really have no idea where to start. I'd like to go somewhere in France but other places aren't out of the question.

Where would you suggest as a beginner friendly first trip?
What is a good time of year to go for your first time?

As it would be my first time out I would probably be looking at packages that include lessons and (with thanks to the responses from my previous thread) I've decided to stick with hiring everything for my first adventure. I still think I'd be more comfortable with my own boots, but I'd rather wait until I have some experience under my belt before I buy a pair. From what I've heard, a resort should at least have a better selection of equipment to hire than a dry slope so, even if it's not ideal, it shouldn't be quite so bad on my feet. Smile

As you can probably imagine, I'm a 'little' bit nervous about this (especially as I'll be travelling solo) but I'm sure I'll have fun if I can get around the logistics. Smile
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Join the 'Make yourself a snow heads bash' http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=52715

Or a beginner's week at UCPA (search Action Outdoors).
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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?
@Rem, I saw from an earlier thread that the bash dates don't suit you (pity).
Quote:

Where would you suggest as a beginner friendly first trip?

What is a good time of year to go for your first time?

A first ever ski trip should be one of the most exciting times of your life! Answers to these sort of questions might help you narrow down a very wide field of possibilities...

Are you flexible as to when you go? Would you need (or prefer) to book in advance? Or are you flexible enough to book late, eg within a week of departure?
What kind of accommodation and board do you prefer? Any preference for particular country (or any you prefer to avoid)? Happy to join in with a group, or prefer to do your own thing more? Budget expectations?

snowHead
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
At the very lowest level of planning, you could...

Book a package, paying the solo supplement, turn up and do the skis passes and lessons onsite.

It could be in a chalet, and in most cases, you'll be meeting and getting along with other people, one or two in the same boat experience wise. That's brekkie and dinner sorted too.

Many chalet companies will offer equipment and passes at no discernable markup, and often a little cheaper.

Otherwise, two quick visits to websites will have passes and skis ordered for collection on the day you arrive, or next morning.

Same with lessons, and in most resorts in France you can get a French instructor or a Brit one- your choice. (This stuff does seem to be really well set up and works well. They have it to a T)

For my first trip, I'd go with a tour operator- let them take the strain- you just turn up!

Wife and I are late starters heading for our 4th season. After 2 years, we started booking our own stuff, and saving a bit as we go. The main thing is the addiction! Enjoy!

CG
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Myashbash would probably be the best way to have gone had dates suited. Otherwise I would recommend going with a group of friends, if possible. If they are beginners too, so much the better, but even if they are not, I am sure that they will be interested to hear how you got on, and will encourage you when you meet up in th bar in the evening.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
My first trip was to the UCPA in La Plagne, can thoroughly recommend the UCPA (through action outdoors) food included and no solo supplement so great value.
The La Plagne centre is ski in/out and the resort has plenty of long cruisy blues which are great for beginners.

Only down side is the UCPA instruction isn't especially amazing, my experience is it's more like having a resort guide that will give you some pointers on technique along with the other 7-11 in your group, first morning they organise ppl into groups of similar ability.
You could go for no included instruction or half time instruction and have some more focused lessons with another ski school.

Could you make the PreBB or BB?
They were my 2nd and 3rd ski holidays great fun and the Sella Ronda is awesome plus Italian food Very Happy

Try and get some time at one of the snowdomes if you can 'real' snow is much better than dry slopes.
Hire boots in resort are a lot better then UK slope ones but I'd still invest in some of your own if you have the money.
ski holidays
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Charliegolf, Quote 'Many chalet companies will offer equipment and passes at no discernable markup, and often a little cheaper.'

No chalet company marks up the cost of lift passes, ski lessons. or equipment hire to my knowledge. It seems to be a common misconception among British skiers/boarders. They usually charge the published rate. Their income from these is derived from the commision they get from the providers. So there is no downside to booking through the TO, and it can save money if they are offering 241 deals etc. as well as being more convenient in many cases.
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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!
Check out one of HOFNAR's beginners & improvers weeks - http://www.hofnar.com/winter-stuffmorzine-french-alps/prices-and-availability/

In general HOFNAR hire a chalet in Morzine, France for the season and then sell individual beds to solo travelers, so everyone's in the same boat. Beginners & improvers weeks are aimed at first or second week skiers so you won't be the only one nursing bruises (boarding)/complaining about their boots (skis).
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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.
Old Man Of Lech wrote:
Charliegolf, Quote 'Many chalet companies will offer equipment and passes at no discernable markup, and often a little cheaper.'

No chalet company marks up the cost of lift passes, ski lessons. or equipment hire to my knowledge. It seems to be a common misconception among British skiers/boarders. They usually charge the published rate. Their income from these is derived from the commision they get from the providers. So there is no downside to booking through the TO, and it can save money if they are offering 241 deals etc. as well as being more convenient in many cases.


Noted, and I was hesitant to be unequivocal because I just wasn't sure. Now the OP is even better informed! Very Happy
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
intermediate wrote:
A first ever ski trip should be one of the most exciting times of your life! Answers to these sort of questions might help you narrow down a very wide field of possibilities...

Are you flexible as to when you go? Would you need (or prefer) to book in advance? Or are you flexible enough to book late, eg within a week of departure?
What kind of accommodation and board do you prefer? Any preference for particular country (or any you prefer to avoid)? Happy to join in with a group, or prefer to do your own thing more? Budget expectations?

snowHead
I'm quite flexible about when I go, there are just a couple weeks here and there that are out of the question, one of which unfortunately clashes with the bash on here which is a shame (although I'm trying to see if I can reshuffle some things). Sad I'd like to go to France but I'm open to suggestions for other countries as well (there's nowhere I'd say that I don't want to visit). It's pretty much unavoidable that I'll be going on my own this time. My friends don't ski and my family aren't interested either, however, I'd like to be able to join in with a group (even if it is only occasionally) . I was rather hoping that maybe by taking lessons I'd at least find other, similarly interested, people to talk to. Wink
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Daishan wrote:
My first trip was to the UCPA in La Plagne, can thoroughly recommend the UCPA (through action outdoors) food included and no solo supplement so great value.
The La Plagne centre is ski in/out and the resort has plenty of long cruisy blues which are great for beginners.

Only down side is the UCPA instruction isn't especially amazing, my experience is it's more like having a resort guide that will give you some pointers on technique along with the other 7-11 in your group, first morning they organise ppl into groups of similar ability.
You could go for no included instruction or half time instruction and have some more focused lessons with another ski school.

Could you make the PreBB or BB?
They were my 2nd and 3rd ski holidays great fun and the Sella Ronda is awesome plus Italian food Very Happy

Try and get some time at one of the snowdomes if you can 'real' snow is much better than dry slopes.
Hire boots in resort are a lot better then UK slope ones but I'd still invest in some of your own if you have the money.


The info for the PreBB that I can find is all from last year? Is there an up to date version that I missing. I'm assuming that the dates would be similar and around that time would work for me quite well (it just narrowly misses my mothers birthday) I could possibly have made the BB, however, it looks as though that's full now?

Another option that I've been tentatively considering since I found out about it is a trip my uni is running. However, that comes with the caveat that it is a STUDENT holiday (read; probably lots of drinking) and as both a light drinker and a mature student (I'm over 30) I'm worried that I might feel a bit out of place. Maybe I'm overthinking it too much?

I'm definitely going to get in some practise time on a dry slope before I go away and I'm looking into travelling up to a 'fridge' at least once for the experience (but that's difficult for me because I don't drive).
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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.
@everyone Thanks for the posts guys. I appreciate all the suggestions/advice. Smile
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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
http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=52715

The dates in the first post are for the coming season, the links are to last year's events to give an idea of the location price ect.
None of this year's events are booked up yet, in fact only the ski tests have the buttons up atm.

Admin will start a new thread with buttons to click once he's finalised everything.
The dates won't change though, so feel free to book flights early if you want to.
New snowheads often feel a bit nervous about not being able to book everything early but don't worry the Bashes will happen snowHead
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Old Man Of Lech wrote:
... No chalet company marks up the cost of lift passes, ski lessons. or equipment hire to my knowledge. It seems to be a common misconception among British skiers/boarders. They usually charge the published rate. ...

Agree they usually charge the published local currency rate, including any available discounts. So if you pay by cash/card in the local currency there is no problem. But it is not unknown for them to actually bill you in pounds sterling, with the conversion at a somewhat off-market exchange rate - when it can work out cheaper to buy direct.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Most French resorts are ski in, ski out. That is to say the accommodation will be slope side and you can ski to and from the door - or very close to. This can be very useful if you have children, need to or want to go back to the apartment/chalet for lunch or meet ups or simply like the convenience. You can get ski in, ski out in other countries and not all French accommodation resorts are ski in, ski out. It's just a generalisation. For you meeting up with ski school will be easier if you are slope side and close to the meeting place. It's not a biggy just a factor.

Another French differentiation is that there a many large fully linked ski areas. Again, there are some big areas outside France and some smaller areas in France. It's just another generalisation. For you size of ski area isn't too important.

I've never done it but from reading on here UCPA sounds ideal for you. Or just book solo in a chalet. If you do group ski lessons you will be making acquaintances both on and off the slopes. So I'm sure it will work out.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Rem if you end up booking a solo trip then it's worth sharing your details in the Snow Buddy thread (forget where in the forum it is, probably the solo skier section). That way if there are any other Snowheads in the area they may be able to meet up with you.
snow conditions
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

I'm quite flexible about when I go, there are just a couple weeks here and there that are out of the question

As for when to go. If you prefer earlyish season, I'd suggest the last 2 weeks of January. If later, then mid March. Those weeks avoid the busy and expensive school holidays but give you a decent chance of good snow coverage in most resorts. January tends to be a bit lower price than March, though that can vary depending on conditions.

As for where, that's a bit trickier. Depends to some extent whether you want to book early, or take your chances with a late booking.
More likely to guarantee a single room by booking early. Better chance of choosing where snow is good with a late booking. Lots of places good for beginners. I'd tend to avoid the big circuits, as they're expensive and you wouldn't get much use out of 400kms + of pistes.

Feel free to ask more questions...snowHeads always happy to help.

If you decide to go solo, rather than a bash or Uni group, I have some info on single room availability somewhere I may be able to dig out. snowHead
ski holidays
 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?
“Most French resorts are ski in, ski out. ” Puzzled

Really, I don’t think so.

Many French purpose built resorts are ski in/out. But that’s not most resorts.
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under a new name wrote:
“Most French resorts are ski in, ski out. ” Puzzled

Really, I don’t think so.

Many French purpose built resorts are ski in/out. But that’s not most resorts.

How many ski resorts are there in France? Should we work from the Wiki list or is there a better one?

How many are ski in, ski out? Definition of ski in ski out being there is at least some slope side accommodation?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@under a new name, semantics, innit. Given that OP will probably be going with a TO then the majority of resorts they look at will be ski in/out.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
There is also http://www.singlesport.com. Not been with them so can't comment, but owner/organiser/rep is on snowheads
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Rem, if you can make it, there is no doubt that, from what I've witnessed, the 'make yourself a snowHead' Bash is a great introduction to skiing. Hire and lessons taken care of, ski school and hire shop a stones throw from the hotel, half board so no fretting about feeding yourself at the end of a hard day on the slopes and a bunch of friendly, like minded, supportive folk to help you through the week.

Good luck in finding the deal that best suits you!
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