Where’s your next Alpine Ski Destination of Choice?

(2019-07-18 17:31:44)

Ask any ski holiday group leader what it’s like gathering the gang for the annual alpine getaway, and they’ll tell you it’s not always easy balancing the different requirements of the people in their group. From nervous learners to non-skiers, après boozers to mile-hungry powder-lovers, there are a lot of boxes to tick when groups of friends gather together to hit the slopes.

Settling on one ski resort for your next alpine ski holiday takes thought, and there’s a lot to weigh up when working out where best to go. Here, we offer up a few factors worth considering for your next winter holiday to the mountains.

Slopes for all levels

With more pistes to choose from, larger ski areas such as the Three Valleys and the Espace Killy in France, or the Arlberg in Austria, offer groomed slopes suitable to a wonderfully wide range of skiing and snowboarding abilities, but some resorts do still stand out for certain groups like beginners or experts.

Chamonix, for example, boasts an impressively diverse range of terrain, but it’s still best-suited to powder-hungry expert skiers and boarders. Elsewhere, resorts like Les Deux Alpes offer impressively high altitude for early- and late-season skiing, but the limited range of slopes means advanced skiers and riders may get bored in a week’s visit.

Chamonix boasts an impressively diverse range of terrain

If you have youngsters of learners in your group, we recommend resorts with nursery slopes close to town – to save valuable energy for the slopes. Alpine destinations such as Morzine and Avoriaz in the Portes du Soleil, les Arcs and la Plagne in the Paradiski area, or resorts like la Rosière are great examples. Equally, intermediates need a good range of blue runs to get around on and advanced adrenaline seekers may want the snow parks, steep black pistes and off-piste potential found in places like Tignes and Alpe d’Huez in France, Verbier in Switzerland or St Anton and Ischgl in Austria.

Families with children in tow

Childcare requirements like nursery or ski school are of particular importance to parents bringing their little ones to the Alps, and families often base their resort decisions around a resort’s childcare facilities. Considerations include whether your resorts of choice offer chalets or hotels with hassle-free in-house childcare services, or whether you’re happy with the resort-run facilities. To stay competitive, many ski resorts today are spending extra time and money on their family-friendly facilities, and destinations like les Gets, Courchevel and les Arcs in France or Obergurgl and St Anton in Austria all work well for parents and kids. Here, you’ll find all the tobogganing, ice-skating, crèche facilities, sports centres and nursery services you’ll need!

Keeping control of costs

If you’re gathering the troops to hit the snow next winter and looking to enjoy the Alps on a budget, there are plenty of great resorts to turn to which offer lower prices, but easy links into larger ski areas. For instance, La Tania is a great little village with a couple of good bars and all the amenities you’d need, and it sits right between Courchevel and Meribel in the Three Valleys ski area in France. So you get access to one of the world’s best ski areas, without the cost of the neighbouring mega-resorts.

Equally, the resort of Vaujany sits across the valley from its better known neighbour, Alpe d’Huez, and is a haven of cheap apartments and inexpensive amenities. The charming base-villages of Peisey and Montalbert sit quietly below the tree line beneath the French resorts of les Arcs and la Plagne respectively, offering cheaper accommodation rates and a great deal more character than their larger neighbours. Over in Switzerland, anybody keen to experience the slopes of Verbier without foregoing a fortune should simply stay in Nendaz, a beautiful little village on the outskirts of the ski area with superb links up to the valley.

Plenty of great-value accommodation in high-altitude Les Arcs

Outdoor adventure away from the groomed slopes

Aside from the terrain parks and pristine pistes, the Alps are about far more than skiing and snowboarding – and groups with non-skiers among them need to give thought to non-ski activities. Resorts like Meribel and Morzine are great for snow-shoeing, with snowy hiking trails running through the alpine wilderness offer ideal conditions for snow-shoeing.

For rest and relaxation, sauna facilities are a great way to enjoy a little off-piste pampering – and St Anton is a fine spot for this. The resort is home to a wonderful wellness centre, where visitors can enjoy everything from spas and saunas to massage treatments and more. And for something a little more energetic, resorts like Val Thorens and Alpe d’Huez also offer sports centre facilities such as climbing walls, tennis and a whole host of further activities to enjoy.

Early-bird offers to help you save on the slopes

Over the summer months, chalet companies and tour operators work hard to incentivise large groups to book ahead – and helpful deals such as buy-one-get-one-free lift pass offers, 2-4-1 deals on ski hire, or bumped-up group discounts are more common. Group leaders as yet undecided on resort choices can save their friends and family members hundreds of pounds over a week’s alpine ski holiday, just by keeping an open mind on resort choice and casting an eye over the latest deals and offers.

Savoyard charm or ski-to-the-door

What’s your priority in choosing your next ski destination, traditional alpine character or ski in/out access? Of course, you can sometimes have your cake and eat it, but as a general rule, older mountain towns like Chamonix or Ischgl have more charm and character, while newer purpose-built villages like Tignes or Avoriaz have easier ski access.

In choosing your resort preferences, consider whether you want a pretty town centre for afternoon strolls, relaxing cafe stop-offs and pleasant surroundings or a purpose-built one for easy ski access, short walk to the amenities and guaranteed high altitude. Of course there’s a degree of crossover here as many traditional towns offer high altitude and ski in/out access too, but it’s a good place to start. What’s the priority; aesthetic or function?

If your trip is all about breath-taking views and quaint villages, then you may be best suited to resorts such as Morzine, Chamonix, Serre Chevalier or the lower villages of les Arcs and la Plagne. On the other hand, if piste-side location and flawless access to the slopes and amenities of the town are the priority, Tignes, Avoriaz, les Menuires, Val Thorens or Flaine are strong options.


Although there are quite a few skiers who feel the best way to save money is to drive out and go self-catered, it can be a lot more effort and it doesn’t always work out cheaper than an all-inclusive package. On peak dates like Christmas and New Year chalet prices are inflated because demand is higher, and in such cases it can be cheaper to drive out. But overall, the best value for money is found in chalets and hotels offering the full package; flights, airport transfers, accommodation and meals on a half-board basis. The accepted ‘extras’ include lift passes, ski hire, lessons and après ski, as required.

Many people also choose to buy their flights separately. In such cases, it’s worth undertaking a little research into the different resorts serviced from various airports. To save money it’s also worth buying your flights early as possible to get the best prices, and you can even sign up to various airlines’ mail shots to alert you when your flight path prices get released.

The snow train is also a decent way of getting to the Alps on a budget, and can also be pleasantly inexpensive. With careful planning you can even travel through Friday night, arrive early on the Saturday morning and gain an extra day’s skiing! Booking a late train on the following Sunday can also give you one more day on the snow.

The bottom line really is that although skiing is a comparatively expensive pastime, the value for money can be outstanding! Few other hobbies have as much to offer as skiing, and quite apart from various health benefits it offers, skiing is a wonderful way to see the world with friends and family, enjoying the great outdoors together and returning home happy.

Timing your booking

In a nutshell, leaders of large ski groups need to rally the troops over the low-season summer months. It’s important to take advantage of the large group discounts and other tasty incentives that chalet companies dish out – they’re trying to drum up business when the phones aren’t ringing and savvy groups leaders can really capitalise.

Smaller groups (let’s say, groups of 2-6 people) can leave it a great deal later and watch chalet prices tumble in the last minute market. Again, the groups which get the cheapest prices are those with the greatest resort flexibility, but whenever you look to place your booking the general rule is the later you leave it the cheaper it’ll be, but the less choice you’ll have. So it’s a fine line to tread, but a fun one!

It’s also worth noting that large chalet-hotels often have the best prices in the last minute market, as they try hard to fill the last few rooms for each departure date.

For more details on our latest selection of tempting ski holiday offerings, reach us today on 0203 0800 202 or find us via our handy chat service.  We’re here and ready to help.