Guide to booking a ski short break
(Snow Finders top 10 tips for booking short break holiday)
1. Choose a resort with a shorter transfer time. Bear in mind that places such as Morzine, Chamonix, Les Carroz, and Megeve are just 1-1.5 hours from GVA whereas places such as Val d'Isere can be up to 4 hours away.
2. Never book your flights first and then worry about getting your accommodation later - we get so many clients getting caught out this way and having to ditch their flights.
3. Be realistic with your price expectations. A 4 day short break isn't going to be 4/7ths of the cost of a week long package holiday. There are constants that cost the same such as the flights and chances are the transfers will be more expensive on a short break owing to the economies of scale (a private transfer for 4 will be a lot more expensive than a package coach for 52). In addition, accommodation providers will not give you the same rate per night for a short break as they would for a week long holiday. If you think that a flight and transfer is likely to be around £250.00 pp and most 3 star half board hotels will be around £100.00 pppn then you can see that a four day ski break is likely to cost around £650.00 pp. Of course, you can pay less and a lot more.
5. Choose your dates well. Try and avoid Christmas, New Year, February, early March and Easter. The ski world doesn't revolve around the British half term. During February and early March we have lots of mid winter school breaks across Europe causing an influx of skiers from scandinavia, Belgium, France, Czech Republic, and Russia etc. Bear in mind that the French have a four week holiday period starting in early Feb and often finishing as late at 12/13 March.
6. The most expensive flights tend to be those that will be going out on a Thursday or Friday at 0600 res and those coming back on a Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday at 2200 hours. The airlines aren't fools they know us skiers want the last flight home so we can ski all day that day of a short break.
7. Clients always come on requesting a Thursday to Sunday/Monday 3/4 night short break but this actually splits up two salient weeks for a hotelier. So, be canny and ask for a 3/4 night break from a Saturday - this actually means the hotelier is only part selling one week and not two.
8. Try not to be mesmerized by the big name resorts (unless you have a big budget to match them). Places like Val d'Isere, Ischgl, Courchevel, Zermatt don't need to part sell their weeks and if they decide to it isn't going to be cheap. Skiers are far better off thinking Morzine, Saas Fee, Klosters, Crans Montana, Kaprun, Champoluc, etc.
9. Don't be mesmerized ski huge ski areas. You are there for 3/4 days skiing so you don't need 600km of piste. If a resort with 180km is good enough for 6 days skiing then a resort with 90km of piste is fine for 3 days.
10. Think about your transfers. 95% of Snowfinders choose private door to door transfers as these are the swiftest and most reliable, hassle free way of getting to and from your resort. Sure, you could do a shared transfer and then sit at Geneva or Innsbruck airport for 1-1.5 hours whilst the other travellers' flight comes in only then find out on the return that the transfer company are collecting you 5 hours before your outbound flight and so eating into your skiing time. You could also choose car hire...great. Be prepared for a queue at the car hire desk at 10 pm on a Friday night, get hit another €40.00 for snow chain hire (compulsory in ski resorts), find out that your luggage won't quite fit into your car for 4 (let alone your skis), get hit for road tolls and petrol, find your way to resort in the snow and pitch black following a dog-eared 10 year out of date map. Oh, and then locate a car park at €7.00 a day charge................only to find that you have to dig the car out of the snow on your return as you didn't want to pay the €12.00 a day charge for underground parking. I know which way I would choose - private transfers every time.
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"I just wanted to say thank you so much for all that you did organising our holiday to Winter Park, the hosts were excellent and Founders Cabin really lovely. The service we received from Snowfinders, specifically Hayley, was second to none and we will not hesitate to book through you again in the future." Mr Tom Nash, Elgin, Invernessshire. (Winter Park, Colorado. Dec 2011).
Snow Finders arrange tailor-made holidays across Europe, North America, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and South America. Whether you wish to stay in a ski chalet, condo, or ski hotel we are able to offer the best advice and service to maximise your time on the slopes and minimise your time away from the office. On line we have a selection of hotels and chalets that will accommodate more unusual itineraries so feel free to browse. Our best advice is to call us today and talk through your requirements.
Most Alpine hotels and chalets will be very strict on a 7 day holiday starting from and ending on a Saturday or sometimes a Sunday. They may only deviate, if at all, from this on very early and late season dates, i.e. before Christmas and after Easter. This presents huge problems for clients that are limited on time and this is where Snowfinders expertise comes into affect. Generally across Canada and the US you can arrive and depart on any day of the week but minimum stays may apply especially during peak dates such as Christmas/New Year, Presidents week, Martin Luther King weekend, Easter etc. French and Austrian hoteliers have always resisted anything other than 7 night holidays starting on a Saturday but this is changing slightly in some resorts. Swiss hoteliers have always been a little more flexible but again this will depend of the date.