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Booking our first trip - not a clue

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Daughter took up snowboarding for GCSE PE and we need to film her on the slopes before the deadline in Feb so we are trying to book something this December (looking at 15th for 7 days) but I haven't got a clue what I'm doing. Advice from friends is to go high as it's early in the season but others sniffed at that and said we'd have snow anywhere in the alps.

We'd prefer self catering so we can eat when we want to and we have fussy teens but I have to be honest most of the apartments look like student accommodation!

As this is our first ever trip, I'm torn between not wanting to pay a fortune and taking a more expensive option just to make sure we have a better experience.

I found a cracking deal in Bansko but wasn't sure if it was too early in the season and not high enough and another at Montgenevre.

Any advice/recommendations would be appreciated. We are a party of four, 3 adults and one teen age 15 - 3 boarders 1 skier, all beginners although 15yr old is considerably further on than us at Xscape/Hemel and would love to have a brilliant first holiday so we'll enjoy many more to come.

ps: Do you think a ski school would do filming?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@imustbemadme, Welcome to SH.

Go high - suggest an apartment in Tignes, very snow sure and glacier if required but not pretty town. Choose a large apartment they tend to be very small.

Alternatively go high in Austria, eg Solden or Kaprun glaciers.

No experience of Bulgaria, cheap but i'd not think snow-sure, its really early 15 December. Or leave until nearer the time and see how it pans out, last couple of years have been good early in Europe but its not always the case.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@imustbemadme, welcome.

Yep, as @Markymark29, suggests, that's really early and not only do you want to go high, you want to go somewhere that's actually running the lifts.
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Hi @imustbemadme, welcome to Snowheads!

+1 for checking when the resort plans to run its lifts!

If you find a suitable resort, and there are many Snowheads with both broad and deep experience to draw on, you might be able to organise a DIY trip quite easily - broadening your choice of resorts.

It is early, the resorts should be quiet.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Thanks for your replies. I don't mind DIY holidays at all, have noticed prices creeping higher and higher since I've been dawdling with it for weeks now!
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Quote:

that's really early and not only do you want to go high, you want to go somewhere that's actually running the lifts.

Absolutely. Anyone who said you'll get snow anywhere in the Alps in mid December is not giving you good advice! And even if there is loads of snow many resorts won't be open then.

In terms of France, Tignes is probably the best bet. There are plenty of apartments which are not like student accommodation. For example (random google search) :

https://www.theskicompany.com/apartments/village-montana/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwu_jYBRD8ARIsAC3EGCLu5umseHimZuk5siLjQcVcYa2OxDDrif48Ql_NxDdpIC4BlV_z2TAaAkV2EALw_wcB

Yes, a ski school would probably do the filming - it's remarkably difficult to get good action shots yourself unless you are proficient in skiing backwards whilst filming at the same time. One option would be for you to do private lessons together as a group - then there'd certainly be no problem with filming. Somebody else would be able to recommend a good snowboard instructor/school in Tignes. But beware - it's a big resort - and at that time of year you could probably get around it only by bus (or by lifts/pistes too challenging for beginners). You need to look carefully at geography of accommodation in relation to ski school meeting places/beginner friendly lifts. Also beware that some French ski school (ESF) snowboard instructors are not that great (though they'll all be brilliant skiers). One of the other ski schools could be a better bet. There are plenty of Tignes experts on SHs to advise.

DIY to Tignes not a problem - just be aware that even in mid December it might be impossible to book good accommodation mid-week, so be wary of the cheapest air fares.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:
Advice from friends is to go high as it's early in the season but others sniffed at that and said we'd have snow anywhere in the alps.

Well it's certainly not correct to say you would have snow anywhere in the Alps. We were going to Le 7 Laux on 20/12/2014 but they didn't open - and they have decent altitude skiing - so we had to switch to Tignes. On the flip side we went out on 18th December 2011 to ADH and there was snow all the way down to Oz where we stayed. In to be sure of snow in advance you need to go high. If you can leave it late (and for the date accommodation will be plentiful) then it opens things up to go to smaller (and therefore cheaper) resorts.

Another question is TO v DIY. Going with a tour operator can be cheaper but not always and can be less hassle but not always. If you are used to booking other holidays DIY suffice to say it's probably the way to go.

Will you fly or drive? That has implications across the board.

Ski schools often do some filming, in order to aid instruction but it's not guaranteed and it probably won't be enough for what you need. However, if you contact them in advance to say what you do need they may well be able to help. I think you will need their sign off anyway right?
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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!
imustbemadme wrote:
Thanks for your replies. I don't mind DIY holidays at all, have noticed prices creeping higher and higher since I've been dawdling with it for weeks now!

Just read this after writing my reply.

Order of booking:
Flights (if applicable) - book asap closely followed by transfers/car hire as needed.
Tunnel or ferry crossing (if applicable) - not so critical on timing as flights but still earlier the better.
Ski school - the best ski schools and instructors will naturally book up reasonably although given the week you are going it's probably less of a panic. But no point in waiting. Of course this booking commits you to a resort at the time you are booking - depending on the deposit/cancellation policy.
Accommodation - if you didn't have to worry about ski school for the week you are going you could leave it late but given you will need to sort ski school out you may want to just commit early to everything.
Equipment hire - again, if committing early you may aswell book this aswell.

Budget ski apartments often aren't luxurious but then that depends on your expectation. We don't find it an issue because if you are out all day skiing somewhere to flop out, cook a decent meal and then crash, doesn't need to be. Smaller resorts give you more bang for your buck. Austria is better but more expensive.
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Yes thank you, will contact a ski school in advance re the video.

We are not good at driving so will definitely be flying. I'm terrified of booking it and getting it wrong but I suppose that can(and has) happened when I've done summer holidays.
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@imustbemadme,

Don't Panic

May ask where your daughter is learnig to snowboard. Can you film here there?

What are the rest of the class doing?

Are you after a skiing/snowboarding holiday and just using your daughter as an excuse (which I admire BTW)

As for where to go. Then if you really want only to video your daughter then try Landgraff in the netherlands, a 500m long indoor slope that does good deals for August. If you want a holiday then like the others I would book something up in Tignes. There will be a lot of good value choice that week. Try Simon Cooke (http://rebelalliancesnowboarding.com/) for snowboarding instruction.
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She has learnt to snowboard at Xscape in Mk but has been doing freestyle at Hemel as she has a long list of things she has to be able to perform for the GCSE criteria. It is possible to film there but they told her she would immediately lose 50% of her marks because it's indoor, familiar terrain, so we have all learned to snowboard with the exception of the hubby who refuses and reckons he can still ski since he learnt when he was 12 (hmmm, think he's going to need a few lessons)

It was her choice to do snowboarding, the school tried to get her to do football which she could have done in house but where's the fun in that!

Thanks for the link
Quote:

Try Simon Cooke (http://rebelalliancesnowboarding.com/) for snowboarding instruction.
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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.
imustbemadme wrote:
... It is possible to film there but they told her she would immediately lose 50% of her marks because it's indoor, familiar terrain,


Seriously?! Who's they? Maybe worth double checking with the exam board. I think Inside Out Skiing run GCSE skiing packages at Hemel so they'd be aware of penalties for using domes.

My son did the AQA skiing version this year and it required a fair amount of footage which is something to bear in mind if you're booking lessons to learn the required skills and then paying again to have them filmed afterwards. It took us ages mainly because as soon as the camera went on, he forgot how to stop. I must have taken about 20 clips of him not quite stopping.
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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
@imustbemadme, did the filming stuff for my son's GCSE the year before last (skiing not boarding) and it's not too onerous at all really - happy to give you some tips offline if you want. It was good fun to be honest.

As for trip - yes what everyone here says - high, Tignes best bet and with luck you might be able to get to Val as well. Big French resort accomodation can generally be small and "student like" to the unitiated so whatever you do don't book a 4 person place it'll liekly be a rabbit hutch.
Book flights to GVA and a transfer and accomodation - or if it's a first trip it might be worth using a tour operator - that early in the season you'll likely get a deal on passes with a TO?
ski holidays     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
He got full marks by the way (whereas his Football was shocking!!!)
ski holidays     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
imustbemadme wrote:
We are not good at driving so will definitely be flying.

Means two things: 1) you can go anywhere and 2) you need to book asap. IIRC flights for Christmas have already been on sale a while. Nearest Airports to Tignes: The two main Airports near Tignes are Lyon (220 km/137 miles) and Geneva (170 km/105 miles). Flights to Chambéry (140 km/87 miles) and Grenoble (160 km/100 miles). Another option is the train. If interested in that you can search the boards here for info or ask on this thread.

imustbemadme wrote:
I'm terrified of booking it and getting it wrong but I suppose that can(and has) happened when I've done summer holidays.

Think of it like booking a normal holiday with the extras of ski instruction, ski pass and ski hire. All of which are pretty simple to do.

Another option in France is Val Thoren - a similar distance from the airports stated above.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

Seriously?! Who's they? Maybe worth double checking with the exam board. I think Inside Out Skiing run GCSE skiing packages at Hemel so they'd be aware of penalties for using domes.




This is interesting thank you. It was one of her PE teachers whose son is also doing snowboarding for his GCSE. Don't get me wrong, we're really excited to go now we've all learnt to do it. Now I just have to pay attention to the advice on here.

The deadline for the video submission is before half term in Feb otherwise we could have gone in February without as much of an issue about snow sure resorts but we don't want to leave it all to the last minute.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@imustbemadme, We got told that Feb half term was the deadline too. But when we queried it, we found out that they were quite happy for us to do the filming at half term and submit the video afterwards. What they didn't want was loads of kids editing videos of sports in half term that they'd filmed earlier in the year and then handing them in afterwards back at school when it's obviously less convenient to assess.
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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?
Penry wrote:
imustbemadme wrote:
... It is possible to film there but they told her she would immediately lose 50% of her marks because it's indoor, familiar terrain,


I think Inside Out Skiing run GCSE skiing packages at Hemel so they'd be aware of penalties for using domes.

There is a message on their website that says: "Due to recent changes to the AQA exam criteria we are not able to perform exam to their standards."
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Bit odd to have a GCSE requirement that can only be fulfilled abroad.

No chance of that nonsense post-Brexit, eh? #controltakenback
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@imustbemadme, if you don't rent a car and drive to Tignes from the airport you'll find transfers will cost much the same as the flights - it's quite a long transfer to Tignes. But less worry - especially if it's very snowy, (as you hope it will be, of course). A car can be useful in Tignes if the links between the different areas are closed or too difficult for you as beginners. Last December I picked up a French hitch hiker in Tignes le Lac whose car was parked - free - in one of the lower areas where he had his own apartment. Not all buses were running - too early in the season, and the linking and lower pistes were closed. So the only way to get around, other than walking (long way) was to "faire le stop". But the following week, after massive snow fall, the road I'd driven down with him was shut because of avalanche risk - early season snow can vary enormously. But a car is not essential by any means and can be a massive and expensive pain to park when the weather closes in.

You're right about your husband, by the way. Unless he's a natural athlete he will do well to have lessons - though if he decides not to, you'll get a few laughs.
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imustbemadme wrote:
Quote:

Seriously?! Who's they? Maybe worth double checking with the exam board. I think Inside Out Skiing run GCSE skiing packages at Hemel so they'd be aware of penalties for using domes.




This is interesting thank you. It was one of her PE teachers whose son is also doing snowboarding for his GCSE. Don't get me wrong, we're really excited to go now we've all learnt to do it. Now I just have to pay attention to the advice on here.

The deadline for the video submission is before half term in Feb otherwise we could have gone in February without as much of an issue about snow sure resorts but we don't want to leave it all to the last minute.


As its for her GCSE, surely that justifies an in term holiday Toofy Grin
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@RichClark, you'd think!
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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!
Layne wrote:
Penry wrote:
imustbemadme wrote:
... It is possible to film there but they told her she would immediately lose 50% of her marks because it's indoor, familiar terrain,


I think Inside Out Skiing run GCSE skiing packages at Hemel so they'd be aware of penalties for using domes.

There is a message on their website that says: "Due to recent changes to the AQA exam criteria we are not able to perform exam to their standards."


From the AQA Assessment Scheme: 2 parts, 1st Skills, 2nd Full Context.

Quote:
Skills:

Students can be assessed outdoor on snow or indoor on snow. They cannot be assessed on dry ski slopes.

Basic turning – turning both ways using parallel or carved.
Stopping/parallel stop/skid to halt – stopping to the left and right.
Linked turns over distance – whole indoor snow zone run or outdoor run including narrow and wide turns at different angles.
Traversing in both directions – different speeds/angles.
Skiing at speed – slalom through gates/round poles or moguls or tight turns.

Full Context:

Students should perform two timed runs on appropriately challenging slopes against the clock. These can be in an indoor snow zone around 10 poles or on an outdoor slope. If outdoor, the colour of the run chosen should be appropriate to the level of ability of the performer.


So I'm not sure why they can't deliver AQA. Total poles < 10 ?
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@under a new name,
Quote:

Bit odd to have a GCSE requirement that can only be fulfilled abroad.

As far as I know Scotland still hasn't achieved independence yet. Nor has County Durham.

@imustbemadme, Does she have to do Freestyle which may be a bit tricky since the courses may not be set up at the very begining of the season. However it is good to see a youngster taking up snowboarding. I suspect it is not an easy GCSE to get.

Though it is not fast you can get a train from Geneva (or Lyon) airport to Bourg st Maurice then a bus up to Tignes. There are an abundnance of apartments in Tignes. I would look in Val Claret for easy access to the glacier. Most are advertised as either one or two rooms and the floor area is given. Use this figure rather than the supposed number of people who can sleep there (actually this figure depends more on the bathroom facilities rather than the actual number of beds)

Quote:

As its for her GCSE, surely that justifies an in term holiday Toofy Grin

Surely it is not a holiday if she is working towards her GCSE.
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Quote:


As its for her GCSE, surely that justifies an in term holiday



Absolutely taking a week out of school to go!! I am determined to have flights booked this week at least!
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We did the snowboarding GCSE filming thing last February with my daughter so this is what we did, however I imagine that each exam board might be slightly different.

Her school was running their ski trip to a resort I wanted to go to anyway (they don’t offer snowboarding), so we went there. We were lucky enough that her PE teacher was happy to spend a couple of hours with us one afternoon and did some of the filming himself. This worked really well as he knew exactly what was needed.

If your daughters school was running a trip somewhere that wasn’t too extortionate for you to go to and her PE teacher was willing to help, I would really recommend considering it!

Apart from that, one of us always had the GoPro filming. We also filmed her on one of the resorts ‘timed slalom runs’ and filmed the final time at the finish (one film, no breaks for edits), as well as filming her on a black run. These were some of the ‘specific’ criteria.
IIRC the film presented for her GCSE general ‘snowboarding’ had to be one, uninterrupted, run (of your choice, so film everything). Not lots of edited best bits. If the ski school in resort agrees to film during a lesson, make sure they (and you) full under the criteria.

Hope this rambling might help a little and hope you have a great time wherever you end up snowHead
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Having seen this thread I thought I would see if rock climbing was a permitted activity for GCSE and it is!

The assessment says that the activity can be performed both indoors (a gym in the american parlance) OR outdoors. I think the variation in the outdoor situation as significant as that betwwen indoor and outdoor skiing. Perhaps more so since I have come across good indoor climbers who have had once go outdoors and it scared them so much they never went again. Oddly I have never met anyone in skiing where that was the case. Having said that I have met some really good dryslope racers who have never skied on snow.

@imustbemadme, Enjoy your 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
@johnE, since when did Scotlnd have reliable enough skiing that you could book a week in considerable advance and expect with confidence to ski every day?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Is Alps D'Huez a possibility this early in December?
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@imustbemadme, Wouldn't risk it - I would go for Val Thorens or Tignes, being the 2 highest resorts in Europe.
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@imustbemadme, welcome to snowHead
I knew you would get good information and advice on here Laughing
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I'm looking at Val Thorens but it says lift pass prices aren't available til Autumn. Can anyone give me a fair idea of how much it is for 6 days, roughly?

Just had a quote for £499 per person in Val Thorens inc flights, transfers, self catering accom and 6 day lift pass but it is staying in one of those shoe box apartments, Le Cheval Blanc. Is this a good deal for 4 of us?
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

Wouldn't risk it - I would go for Val Thorens or Tignes, being the 2 highest resorts in Europe.


Thanks x
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Scrap that I found it, the lift pass is £235pp for Val Thorens I think as we're buying 4 ?
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:

Is this a good deal for 4 of us?

Yes!
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pam w wrote:
Quote:

Is this a good deal for 4 of us?

Yes!


Thanks Pam, we may have to compromise on the accommodation then, I've just tried to do all of it separately and I'm coming way over that price before I've even got transfers in.
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Tignes for snowboarding.
Have a look resort websites as that may be official opening week ao could have offers,etc.
Quite a few resorts do family lift pass packages as well.
You could look at innsbruck which have 5 resorts and a free bus including kuhati a beginner resort & staubi a glacier. Kitzbuhel is less than hour away on train as ir worgl & a other options. Snowboard hire is not cheap however! At least not as cheap as other places. If she has to do specific jumps, rails, grabs, etc. Then make sure it has a park & try to find a specislist instructor. If it was Bansko then I could give you a name of one, however imo bansko is not a snowboard heaven - its icy poo-poo snow. Finally a lot of resorts have artificial snowmaking facilities... oh and one last thing Valloire has a big air bag, so could fim some jumps & not worry about landing.
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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!
Valloire.net for resort
Valloire.com for accomodation deals. If your diy route then look at sunweb & snowtrex as the accomodation includes lift pass
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Try this guy for Val T. We stayed there a while back. It isn't luxurious but we tend to ski, drink and sleep so the main requirement for accommodation is 'close to the slopes and the bar'.

http://www.alpineskistudio.eu/
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Mr.Egg wrote:
Valloire.net for resort
Valloire.com for accomodation deals. If your diy route then look at sunweb & snowtrex as the accomodation includes lift pass

I guess you didn't spot the dates the OP is planning to travel.

I'd pick a resort that is open on the week beginning 15th December if I were you (not Valloire on that basis).
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