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Advice (on everything!) for novice family on first ski holiday

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi there,

We're a family of ski novices (43, 41, 12 and 9) all really looking forward to our first skiing holiday ... and seeking some advice. We've flights booked from Edinburgh that arrive in Geneva at around 8 p.m. on 24th March.

Our youngest (9) is taking weekly group lessons on a local dry ski slope (loving it), I've ski'd once myself about 15 years ago in the Alps (and have forgotten any "skills" - but had a great time and always wanted to do it again), my daughter (12) has had a full day on the dry ski slope thru school and loved it, and my better half has never set foot on a slope (dry or otherwise) - but really wants to give it a go since everyone we talk to about skiing raves about it.

As well my sons lessons we're booking ourselves in for weekly private "family lessons" (for all 4 of us) until we go away. The idea being that we're not spending the first 2 days on holiday learning how to put skis on and off and go up the lifts etc!. We're also going to get private lessons while we're there (again, as a family if possible), since we'd like to stay together as much as we can and we're essentially all beginners. I know ski schools can be good ... but we're happy to pay a little extra to get the one to one type tuition, and also so we can all laugh at each other as we repeatedly fall over Very Happy

Location / Accommodation
We are thinking Flaine might be our best bet, since flight lands at 8 p.m. (get out the airport at 9?) and it's a relatively short transfer. The resort is not super high altitude (which I've learned is important for late March) .. but it's a relatively short transfer and seems beginner friendly. Does that make sense? Any other/better resorts? Also we're on a budget so looking at the "self catering" options to keep cost down. That said, we'd spend a little more to be above "basic", and if there are real bargains at the 4* or 5* level we'd definitely pay a little more. I was also thinking something relatively close to the slopes, as I'm not sure how much a hassle it would be with the kids and a bus journey to/from the slopes each day - but should that be a a major consideration? Or should we get the best place we can within the resort and not worry too much about a 400-500m walk to the slopes?

Gear
We're going to be hiring boots/ski's etc. at the resort . I assume for us any "entry / bronze" level ski's / boots etc. will be fine?
For stuff we need to buy before we go - any advice on where to buy? We're thinking Decathlon since it's pretty cheap and we don't want to spend a fortune as there is a (small?) risk that we'll never do this again! I've read "buy Merino wool base layers" etc., and various other advice ... but I guess we've jackets, salopettes, goggles, etc. also to buy, so we can't go crazy. Also, we want the kids to be warm and comfy ... but given it all won't fit next year I guess there's a middle ground to be found? Any advice on what's the most essential item(s) where it makes sense to pay a bit more? Any recommendations on other places to buy (in the UK, retail or online?).

Ski pass
Given that we're novices - and I would imagine that we'll be still spending time on the nursery slopes for the first day or two - does it still make sense to "pre-buy" a lift pass before we go? There are a few companies (sunweb?) that include the 6 day Grand Massif lift pass ... but for us might be cheaper to see how we get on and buy when there for the days we need? Or (if possible) just buy a lift pass for the local Flaine area .... or is it likely that even as novices we'll get bored (or the same green/gentle blues?) in Flaine and need the Grand Massif one?

General advice
We're mega-excited to be doing our first ski holiday ... any other advice gratefully received, especially if it's regarding the kids. I think we can handle the basic holiday stuff ("take sun cream"!) ... but what other advice would you give first time skiers?

For anyone that responds - thank you in advance Smile

Zed

p.s. Do we need to take a "ski lock" for rented Ski's? i.e. if we go on for lunch somewhere?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@zedzed_uk, welcome to snowHeads!

You're brave booking flights before you have a holiday nailed down, especially landing that late in the day. As you allude to, you've limited your choice of resorts to those a short distance from GVA. You will probably need to book your own transfers in advance; there are buses etc from GVA to various resorts but i don't know how late they run. A package deal with a tour operator might have suited you better as first-timers. Flaine is good for beginners and the Grand Massif area is good fun.

The entry level hire equipment will be fine but never ever accept the ski boots you're offered until you feel comfortable in them. They will be the one of the biggest factors in determining whether you enjoy your week, it's no fun on the snow if your feet hurt all the time. As beginners, boot comfort is all-important IMO. Don't feel tempted to do them up too tightly. Also, check your hire skis have decent edges and that the bases are not missing great big chunks. French hire shops can spot beginners a mile off. You'll need to hire helmets for the kids; I would recommend you all get them. Make sure they are snug fits, not too loose.

Other gear (clothing) - if you think you might not go again after this trip, I would advise borrowing as much as you can from friends etc who ski. You shouldn't need millions of layers etc in late March.

As first timers, you should expect to fall over a lot, so if you buy area lift passes get the resort insurance at the same time. Just ask for them "with insurance" or "avec assurance". It costs about E2.80 a day IIRC but if you have it they will medevac you from the mountain without charge, rather than you having to claim it from your travel insurance company. If you pre-buy lift passes, you can get the Assurance retrospectively by popping down to the lift pass office with the passes and getting it added on. Keep the receipt!!

Yes, get a ski lock. Just a cheap combination cable one will do. Plenty of threads on this subject on here, but in short, if you cable your skis together when you stop for a break, nobody will take any of them by mistake - and it happens more than you'd expect.

Best of luck! snowHead
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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 Zed, welcome to Snowheads, and welcome back to the slopes!

You asked a lot of questions so expect you'll get a lot of advice (starting with the above) but I'll limit my list to a few things I found really useful:
1) a Ski Web (a strap for carrying skis comfortably over distance, other brands are available) is great if you're not lucky enough to get ski-in-ski-out or a free shuttle bus to a gondola/lift. They're great for kids too, and means you won't end up carrying their skis as well as your own.
2) do borrow goggles, gloves (or anything else) from friends/family, or you can buy these at Trespass, Mountain Warehouse, Decathlon for very little. Midlayers (microfleeces) and thermal underwear from supermarkets is fine (yes, merino is better if you can find it, but the ordinary stuff is also fine for March temperatures).
3) if you have to buy, almost brand new stuff can be found on eBay: look for sellers who'd spent a fortune before discovering they hate skiing (!). When you find that in the description, be sure to check out all their other items too as they might be selling other useful skiing bits and pieces!
4) hire or buy helmets for you all, as a clonk on the head is somewhat inevitable - not just a fall on the slope or a chairlift bar, but also someone's badly carried skis, negotiating a wet floor while carrying your lunch tray, or that icy patch next to the gondola. Our family obey the 'Helmet on, boots on: boots off, helmet off' rule.
5) buy Compeed blister plasters (in a variety of sizes) and keep in a pocket in your jacket. A blister can seriously ruin your day (or your whole week), act fast. These seem to work so much better than the cheaper brands, and are worth the extra cost.
6) stretch out any tight muscles each evening - this helps eliminate the '3rd day burn' I suffered on my first week!
7) call it a day BEFORE you are all exhausted... Easy to say, but hard to stick to if you're loving every minute on the snow! Resist doing 'one more run' if you're already tired, as you'll be more susceptible to making mistakes. Stay safe, and ski another day!

I hope you find some of this useful - I remember planning my first trip, and can empathise with how excited you are... What a grand adventure you're all going to have! Very Happy
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@zedzed_uk, I think you have a good plan. Also look into going to Avoriaz in PDS. Higher, all accommodation is totally ski-in ski-out, no cars in the resort. We found accommodation on holiday letiings. There is also Airbnb.

Assuming you are fine finding a transfer, you’ll be arriving wherever you go quite late. My advice is take it easy the first day. Leasurely breakfast, go collect your kit, have a go on the green slopes (should be fine with the practice you mention you’ll have prior), early lunch. And book your family lesson in the afternoon.

I’d buy a ski pass for the whole area from day 1 as I think you may get further than you think.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I'd be seriously tempted to have a lesson or two here before you go to maximise the fun time on holiday, even if it just means that you're comfortable putting boots & skis on & sliding about on the flat. Hillend is a useful resource & the Braehead indoor 'real' snow slope is really good fun for a couple of hours & MUCH nicer to fall over on than plastic.
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Hi @zedzed_uk, welcome to Snowheads!

You sound like you are taking a very sensible approach. Yes, the more time you spend getting a few lessons before you go, the better. It sounds like your two children are going to be totally ready to show you how to do it. They will get tired eventually, and tired legs don't work so well. Reckon on some restorative stops for hot chocolate, coffee or a vin chaud/beer for you!

+1 for borrowing kit where you can for your first trip. And consider 2nd hand kit for the children in any case, as they grow so quickly that trousers and jackets that fitted one year might not fit the next!

There are loads of resorts within a shortish transfer from Geneva. I spent our first family week in Avoriaz, and I'd recommend that resort for some nice easy skiing.

Have fun, and post a report on here to tell us how you got on.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
if your kids are ahead of you because of lessons on the dry, are you better off putting them in a ski school while you & the missus have private lessons?
Just wondering if there is a chance your kids getting a little bored going over old stuff + they pick it up a lot quicker than we do because they have less fear! (You be surprised how much fear of feeling your going to fast will hold you back).


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Mon 29-01-18 9:54; edited 2 times in total
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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!
@Mr.Egg, +1
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
I think Flaine is a good option, and the accommodation there is pretty much all ski in, ski out.
Booking the basic ski boots and skis is probably OK. The trouble with being a beginner is that you don’t really know what a good fit is for boots. People will tell you that you should expect your feet to hurt, however that should not really be the case. If they do, go back to the boot hire and ask to change them. I see you have been advised to take blister plasters..in my opinion you should not get blisters. If you do, change your boots!
Having family private lessons sounds good, but I do agree that your children may learn more quickly than their parents (darn!) so ski school may be a better option for them.
For a private instructor in Flaine, I can certainly recommend Lynne Stainbrook http://www.flaineskiclinic.com/.., very pleasant, quietly spoken, and confidence inspiring.
If you do book private lessons, then it might be worth asking the instructor which lift passes to buy in light of your ability.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Worth reiterating the 'stop while you're still ahead' - could have done with that advice on my first ski trip a couple of years ago, it's awful finding that your body has stopped working when you've still got a couple of kms down a mountain to get home. I'll also add - consider carefully before you have a couple of vin chauds up the mountain if you have to ski down. As a beginner I found it impossible to ski after a drink (when the action isn't second nature being a little bit fuddled makes it all more difficult - sounds obvious but it's so tempting to have an extra drink when you're knackered!).

The horrid sports direct have very cheap base layers etc online. Also worth looking in charity shops for jackets and trousers at this time of year. Socks though - worth getting some decent socks, not the tube socks which tend to slip and get uncomfortable. Even if it's just a couple of pairs, cold feet in ski boots are the worst thing ever!

Hope you have a lovely trip!
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I would normally say that going so late in the season will mean that the resorts are not as busy as peak time, so you should be able to wait to choose a resort, and that way you can book it a couple of weeks before you leave after checking snow conditions and snow forecasts....

however, I've just realised that the weekend you return is the long Easter Bank holiday, so I'm not sure how quickly (if at all) people book that long weekend for a ski break and how willing hotels are willing to accommodate them over a full week's booking (as it is so late in the season).

Perhaps the snowheads can answer that one? Will the accommodation start getting booked up for the Easter bank holiday?
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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.
ElzP wrote:
... Also worth looking in charity shops for jackets and trousers at this time of year. ...

+1. Local shops here have already started putting signs in the window "ski gear available". And some of it may be high quality and only used for one or two weeks - people find last year's kit no longer fits them, so they get something new.
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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
Borrow what you can, or buy good stuff. I have found when I bought "cheap" stuff "just in case" that I was then stuck with it for the next five years. But frankly if you've all been doing lessons and are looking forward to it so much, I think the chance of you not liking it is close to zero. I believe Decathlon stuff is well designed at the price they sell it.

If you can get an overnight locker near the lift, it saves you having to lug your stuff to and from the accommodation if that is a few hundred metres away.

Good call on plasters, and on quitting at 3pm for the first couple of days to avoid injuries. Think of this holiday as an investment rather than you have to get every last minute on the slopes. An injury will sour the taste and make you think twice about going next year.

Be prepared to write off the first lunchtime to go back and complain about at least one pair of boots and get replacements Smile

Ski lock not so necessary, splitting skis is just as effective (one of yours and one of your partners here, the other assymetric pair four racks away).

A controversial statement - don't be afraid to go to bed at 10pm and sleep, to be well rested for the next day. Helps your learning.

Enjoy Smile
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Orange200 wrote:


A controversial statement - don't be afraid to go to bed at 10pm and sleep, to be well rested for the next day. Helps your learning.

Enjoy Smile


But I thought this was standard (lucky to be awake at 10pm!!) You mean there are people who actually manage to keep their eyes open for more that getting through dinner after skiing?! Shocked
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@zedzed_uk, Hi Zedzed - just sent you a PM.
ski holidays
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Gear - . As a word of warning, I went through the same process two years ago and my son and I now use precisely none of the stuff we bought for that first trip.

The trouble is that you have to be equipped to deal with any weather and you don't know how hot/cold you're going to get. You'll be exerting yourselves followed by periods of standing/sitting around. My guess is that late March in French Alps won't require much in the way of insulation compared to Scotland. Have you not got jackets already? Windproof, waterproof and breathable, and a fleece in a rucksack just in case. Thermal top is a good idea because it is more comfortable should you get sweaty. There isn't really an alternative to proper ski pants, but again don't go mad on the insulation properties.

Boots - everyone starts out with boots that are too big so you over-tighten which deforms the shell and is incredibly uncomfortable and makes skiing difficult. There's loads of threads on this site about how to choose the right size and put on boots. I suggest it's time well spent giving them a read and then while you're in Decathlon, practising getting it right. And in the rental shop, don't be afraid to ask to try something different if you don't feel your heel is snug and secure.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Lots of good advice. I'll only address kit.

Definitely rent helmets for all of you, and make sure they are comfortable. The first year I used a helmet it gave me a splitting headache. I would invest in good quality socks, 2-3 pairs. Boots, as mentioned, are THE key for beginners.

As for clothing: I'm a big believer in "buy once, buy quality." If you invest in comfortable merino underwear, it will last for years and you can use it for other things besides skiing. Jackets and gloves, too -- you should be prepared for any weather (last year the French Alps got a lot of late-season snow). Skiing is a costly sport, and I think it's a false economy to save 500 euros on cheap gear that could spoil a 3k holiday. I expect to get 10 good years out of jackets, pants, gloves etc.

I know there are plenty who will argue that Decathlon, Aldi etc make perfectly good gear. Sure, for fine weather, light snow etc. it will work. Or you can wear a wool jumper and knickers like Stein Ericksen.

Don't forget a Buff-style neckwarmer, good quality (i.e. nonfogging) goggles.

I'd recommend saloppettes rather than pants, as they will keep snow out when you fall.

Above all, have fun! It's a great family sport.
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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?
I've said it before on here, but have a look at Grand Bornand (GB). Perfect for beginners, 1hr from Geneva, proper little mountain town with loads to do off the piste, including Ice Rink, "Wellness" swimming pool, nice shops and a few decent and cheap restaurants. Good for a little cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the evening too. Cheaper lift passes than Flaine by some margin. Contrary to what others say, most of the accommodation in Flaine is not ski-in ski-out and your late booking might mean you're a bit of a trek from the Lifts. Also, for first timers, ski-in, ski-out isn't necessarily what you want. You don't want to be stuck on the mountain if skiing everyday is not for you.

Clothing - If you can't borrow, go to Decathlon in the UK. Can't do better than that for first timers.
Gear - Ski Hire in GB 20% cheaper than Flaine. Wherever you stay will have a guest rate in one of the ski-hire shops. There is also a GB Card which gets you additional discounts. Boots will cause issues, just accept it. You'll all find something comfortable after a couple of days. Lockers at the bottom of the lift for your gear.
Transfers: All pretty much the same but if you intend to stay in a "Town" like GB, Chamonix (not recommended for you) or La Clusaz, you might be better off hiring a car at the airport. Gives you some freedom and for 4 of you, the price will be about the same as a transfer by bus.
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Thanks everyone for the replies and encouragement! There's a lot to take in ... but I really do appreciate you taking time to give me your wisdom Madeye-Smiley

p.s. We can't wait to get on the slopes .. roll on March! Very Happy
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I'd look at Les Carroz or Morillon as I would say the runs in these resorts are more beginner friendly than Flaine. Les Chalets de Jouvence in Les Carroz is right at the foot of the piste if your budget will run to it. We have stayed there four times and it is a great base. Usually you can still ski to the door at that time of year. If not you can download by gondola.
If you want cheaper accommodation have a look at Morillon. There are lovely gentle blues and greens leading back to base. I'd recommend booking with Peak Retreats who have a lot of accommodation in the Grand Massif on their website. They will give a discount for accommodation only without the Eurotunnel (as you are flying) and while you are away they have a 24 hr emergency helpline.
You could manage with the massif pass and just ski Samoens, Morillon and Les Carroz..that will be more than enough if its your first time.
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Not a very obvious tip, but cut toe nails before you go ;

If they are long, sometimes the nail (esp big toe) will rub against the boot and cause discomfort

as mentioned earlier If you can get an overnight locker near the lift, this is a godsend

If you are using a dig. camera, select the snow exposure setting

Ensure your jacket and trouser pockets zipped up, if left open, and you take even a small fall, your phone etc could fall out
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
dublin2 wrote:
Not a very obvious tip, but cut toe nails before you go ;

If they are long, sometimes the nail (esp big toe) will rub against the boot and cause discomfort

+1. At the very least uncut toenails can put holes in your socks, at worst they can press against the boot and end up very painful (and even go black and then fall off 3 months later Shocked )
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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!
Penry wrote:

Boots - everyone starts out with boots that are too big so you over-tighten which deforms the shell and is incredibly uncomfortable and makes skiing difficult. There's loads of threads on this site about how to choose the right size and put on boots. I suggest it's time well spent giving them a read and then while you're in Decathlon, practising getting it right. And in the rental shop, don't be afraid to ask to try something different if you don't feel your heel is snug and secure.


+1 on this. It's particularly tricky if your feet have an "uncommon" shape. People tend to compensate by going a size or two too large. I have very wide feet and used to do that too. The flipside is that your feet will lack the support they need and some muscles get tense, whether you want them or not. This can end you up with severely painful cramps in your feet. A professional rental shop gives your feet the attention they deserve. Of course, if you have the kind f feet that would require custom molding of the shell, this won't happen with rental boots. Still, the staff should be familiar with what they have in store and offer you their best possible fit. And if you do get pains, don't be shy about asking the rental shop for advice. They normally take pride in their business.
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just walked past Mountain Warehouse and I noticed they had a sale on their ski clothing. Not sure how good (or bad) their ski gear is though. Perhaps others can comment?

https://www.mountainwarehouse.com/clearance/ski/
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Sack the Juggler, Nothing wrong with MW stuff, have purchased jackets and trousers for the kids over the years and all been fine. It doesn't have a "label" and may not be as warm in extreme conditions but never had any issues.

Go Outdoors and Decathlon also do some good cheap stuff

EDIT: while I sort of agree with the comment above about buying quality, and not skimping on cost, with our kids jackets etc lasted a year and were then too small. The no brand stuff is fine in our experience for once a year skiers.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Mon 29-01-18 16:48; edited 1 time in total
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Little tips.

Walking up or down icy stairs in Ski boots carrying skis is a nightmare. Literally watch your step. Going down sideways is often better
When you get on a chair lift watch your head on the safety bar as it comes over.
A neck buff (not a scarf) keeps you suprisingly cosy.
Chair lifts stop when you're on then quite often. Lovely break in the sunshine, not so great in a storm.
I'd rather have a few quality bits of kit than loads of cheap stuff. Personally i find Decathalon stuff really poor fitting.
I find thinner socks in ski boots more comfortable than thick ones. I tried bamboo ones last time and they were pretty good.
Avoid cotton clothing at all costs.

Learning to ski was, without doubt, my funniest holiday. Enjoy!
ski holidays
 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.
Having been in a similar position last year when we took our first family ski trip in late March I will try to share a bit of wisdom around what went well or what I would do differently. We are a family of 4 - 45, 43, 11, 9 so very similar profile except I had skied quite a lot as a child and teenager!

I don't have a huge amount of experience with resorts and would normally advise to go high at this time of year - although there is a lot of snow around at the moment so should be a very good base for spring skiing!! Last year we went to Peisey in Les Arcs which is 1600 metres (similar to Flaine I believe) and, there wasn't much in the way of snow at our level but a quick chair to 1800 metres and there was plenty! Catered chalets may cost a bit more but save a lot of money on eating out or eve shopping so might be worth a thought. They generally do fairly hearty breakfasts and dinners so you won't need too much for lunch which you pay for!

Definitely rent skis and boots plus kids helmet hire will probably be free. For pretty well everything else we went to Decathlon. Really easy to buy and I was very impressed with the quality. Chances are at that time of year (we are also going that week again!!), it won't be too cold but when buying everything for all 4 of you it can get a lot of money if you start buying quality!! I went away again this year earlier in the month to Val D'isere when it was a lot colder so invested in a few more bits but the majority of what I bought still worked fine!

I haven't used ski locks but splitting skis as someone else recommended is a good idea. Most people won't take skis from mountain restaurants etc as they have to get them down but be more careful about leaving them outside restaurants etc in towns.

My kids did loads of lessons on dry slopes before they went and my eldest was skiing one of the blacks with me by the end of our holiday so I would definitely recommend that - you will all get loads more from the experience if you can get straight on with the skiing!!

They are likely to learn quicker than you guys but be patient and don't push yourselves (or each other) too hard. The first few days when you are skiing in a snowplow continually are really difficult but by around day 3 you will really start reaping the rewards!

Have a brilliant holiday!!!!
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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
Loads of good advice above and I won’t bother repeating it all.

Flame seems a good idea, or even Les Carroz.

Don’t feel the need to dress for temps of -20. It’s unlikely to be very cold. With any luck you’ll be in t-shirts and suffering from heatstroke then.

Ski-lock: absolutely not necessary. You will probably take out insurance anyway and even if you don’t, splitting skis is more than enough prevention. Almost nobody uses ski locks. V doubtful if anyone at all uses them for rental skis.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
"I don't want to." carries a lot of weight up a mountain. I learnt to ski on a group trip with a leader who believed that you can do anything if only you apply enough determination. It's a miracle no one was seriously injured. I'm not saying you're like that, but it can be very difficult to resist group pressure to 'just press on a bit': However much everyone else may feel like pressing on, if anyone wants to call it day then that's OK.

Have a protocol for if you get separated. Probably not that likely until your 2nd/3rd trip but agree what to you do if you stop and realise you're on your own. Don't assume that mobiles will work everywhere. It can be tedious to keep agreeing a default rendezvous (the base station, that café half way down, etc.) - until you lose someone.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Not sure going self catered will save money, especially in France. We used to do it, but found the cost of food in local supermarkets was high. Eating out for more than a couple of nights will get very expensive. IMO catered accommodation offers better value for money, and I've found the food has always been acceptable.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
My local Aldi has ski gear in at the moment, including merino base layers, so worth a look if you are thinking of buying some cheap clothing.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
re helmets - some friends paid more for a week's rental than the helmets would have cost to buy - the ski shop hadthe cheek to rent out the basic £10 decathlon helmets for E15!

I think Decathlon kit is great. I've used it for everything from skiing to ultramarathon to multi-hundred mile hikes. They are also great for returns if you ever have a problem; I had a water bladder start leaking after several hundred miles of running, and they replaced it without question.

I think Flaine would be a good choice, and this year there is so much snow you'll be fine. I'd look for an apartment as near as possible to the ski school meeting point, some that are on the slope require you to have a few days skiing under your belt before you can ski in/out.
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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?
Wow, you've had loads of good advice!

I would second @Perty's advice re Lynne Stainbrook, he is happy to take family groups.

If you go to Flaine, then you really need to stay in Flaine Forum or Flaine Foret for easy access. You do not need to be up in Hameau or any of the other more distant areas, fighting boots that you are not used to walking in on a bus, whilst carrying skis. If you go for Flaine or Les Carroz, I'm happy to respond in more detail as you narrow the options down.

The best transfer setup for the Grand Massif is www.gomassif.com
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
+1 for “have a plan...if separated”- I i I followed the “wrong jacket” on a number of occasions when learning the ropes. Very very easy to do. less concerning now but being lost on the mountain in fear of encountering a black run by mistake was no fun. As mentioned, mobiles don’t always work.
Another tip- if you haven’t had a bad weather lesson but inadvertently find yourselves in a blizzard/ whiteout and not in trees use the piste markers on one side (or both if you can see them) to guide you down. Looking to the next post gives you an idea of the slope you are on if you can’t see it and/or snow contours. Stick together. Go slow. Side slip down if you can’t ski or feel out of control- remember you won’t always know what hazards are just off the piste. If possible put the slowest skier in the front. And if you or anyone get separated from your group don’t be afraid to ask to ski down with someone else. Most people will be only too happy to oblige.
Now no more “elf and safety”! Enjoy Very Happy Very Happy
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Walk down stairs BACKWARDS !! When in ski boots
Seriously
Especially on concrete steps
Even if there are handrails

When you fall over, the first thing you must always do is laugh
Compulsory, whether anyone else can hear you or not

All of you have phones with you

Take mini mars bars for when you’ve fallen over a few times

Have a fabulous time
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
wotnowalshy wrote:
Not sure going self catered will save money, especially in France. We used to do it, but found the cost of food in local supermarkets was high. Eating out for more than a couple of nights will get very expensive. IMO catered accommodation offers better value for money, and I've found the food has always been acceptable.


I've found food in French supermarkets costs about the same as Uk supermarkets if one stops at a valley one.. Some things like wine are cheaper. When travelling with kids you can also buy the food they like. Resort supermarket prices are a bit higher but there are still cheap options.

When we "self cater" our lunches up the mountain are the substantial cost. However, if one is in half board accommodation presumably you would be paying extra for lunches anyway.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Oh, one last thing to mention - make sure everyone in the group knows how to read a piste map! I left it out as I thought it was too obvious, but I have known people who ski and have no clue where they are, where they've been, or how to get back to the hotel! Laughing
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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!
If you need/want to save money, "self catering" is the best way to do it. We use the travel time to plan our meals for the week and make a shopping list. That way you're not tempted to eat out when you can't decide what to make for dinner or don't have the ingredients. Even if you have to hit up the local Sherpa or Carrefour in the station it's gonna be a LOT cheaper, not to mention with tired kids it's much more pleasant to just saute some chicken breasts with pasta and salad.

We make dinner reservations ahead of time, usually for Monday, Wednesday and maybe Friday night. If the weather is nice we usually have a simple picnic. Otherwise, if we can, we'll eat lunch at home. You can easily drop 100 euros on lunch for a family of 4.

snowymum wrote:
wotnowalshy wrote:
Not sure going self catered will save money, especially in France. We used to do it, but found the cost of food in local supermarkets was high. Eating out for more than a couple of nights will get very expensive. IMO catered accommodation offers better value for money, and I've found the food has always been acceptable.


I've found food in French supermarkets costs about the same as Uk supermarkets if one stops at a valley one.. Some things like wine are cheaper. When travelling with kids you can also buy the food they like. Resort supermarket prices are a bit higher but there are still cheap options.

When we "self cater" our lunches up the mountain are the substantial cost. However, if one is in half board accommodation presumably you would be paying extra for lunches anyway.
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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.
Other half really ought to get down the dry slope. Just learning how to put on boots, attach to skis and stand up on them waves a couple of days hassle on the snow
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Personnally I would bother with any fancy ski specific clothing under a jacket and trousers. In latish March it will be starting to warm up and keeping cool and dry will be the big challenge. At that time of year I would probably only have a T shirt under my jacket and even then the jacket will be undone a lot.

The main thing I think no one has mentioned yet is sun block. The sun is very powerful at 2000+ metres and under a cloudless sky us British burn to a crisp (which is why the French liken us to lobsters). Apply plenty of factor 50 and remember the crown of your head and your neck and upper chest.
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