Insider secrets on booking the best ski holiday

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We’re sure you are fully aware of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday madness, which means you’ve probably been inundated with discounts and sales on everything from electronics and technology to…you’ve guessed it…holidays! In true #ERVcommunity style we’re working with our partners in the travel industry to bring you their tips on bagging the best ski holiday deals this season, as well as some deals of our own. After all, it’s not all about us! If you missed our blog on ‘getting the best black Friday deals’ you can read it again here. In this blog we’ll be revealing some secrets from our industry insiders on the best places to go for weather, quiet pistes, group booking discounts and some unmissable offers too.

 

Where should you go to avoid the lift queues?

If early indications are anything to go by, we could be blessed with an abundance of snow this season, but you can never be too sure. It always pays to go high, but you could be battling lift queues and dodging ski schools.  So, is there an optimum time to ski and where should you go to avoid the crowds?

If you have children it’s difficult to avoid peak skiing times, Skiworld’s Head of Marketing, Robert Dixon recommends “checking the dates of the Parisian school holidays, as often our UK holidays fall over different dates, and the slopes will be quieter over February half-term in these instances”.  If you can travel further afield, the vast North American resorts are a great bet – their “super-efficient” lifts mean queuing times are minimal compared to Europe.

Tim from Action Outdoors understands that, if you’re taking children skiing it’s impossible to avoid peak periods, but he recommends skiing smart – “If you have lessons, your instructor will get you queue jumps, so that’s a big advantage, and they’ll know the best places to find quieter slopes” The Europeans are creatures of habit when it comes to lunch breaks, “take lunch early/late and ski through lunchtime, usually between 12-2pm you’ll find you have the slopes to yourself.”

 

When is the best time to ski?

The very end of the season is a fantastic time to ski . You can get some super cheap deals, a great tan, and some of the best powder turns I’ve had have been at the end of April”  Tim, Action Outdoors

If you have a bit more flexibility as to when you ski throughout the season, you’ll want to weigh up the compromise between powder, sun and how busy the slopes are. If you like a more leisurely holiday, then March is the time for you. Getting up early enough for first lifts and skiing the corduroy, having a leisurely lunch and a couple more hours in slush before clocking off early for some sunny après is the way to do it at this time of year.

Skiworld say they’ve “seen excellent snow conditions lasting well into April the last couple of seasons, particularly in high altitude resorts such as Zermatt, Val d’Isere, Tignes and Val Thorens”, think goggle tan lines and carving up the piste in a t-shirt!

 

Where would you head to for some Christmas snow?

The early snowfall across Europe is giving us some indications that we could be in for a white Christmas. Conditions in Christmas 2015 and 2016 were a bit iffy, so for those of you who want to get away over the festive period, make sure you head somewhere high if you’re in Europe. The usual suspects Val Thorens, Tignes and Val d’Isere will be your best bet for snow-sure pistes, but we’re told by our friends in the know that many resorts such as Les Deux Alpes have been investing in snow-making facilities in recent years.

Val d’Isere. Picture Credit: Skiworld

Christmas doesn’t all need to be about skiing though; Tim from Action Outdoors says, “it’s worth considering somewhere like Chamonix for an all-round experience, the French do Christmas differently to the Brits, and spending time in a proper mountain town under the watchful eye of Mont Blanc could make for a memorable Christmas.”

 

“If you’re after a truly Christmassy experience, we’d recommend heading to one of the chocolate box resorts, such as St Anton or Val d’Isere” Rob, Skiworld

 

How can I get discounts on group or early bookings?

The season is fast approaching, and many chalets and hotels are filling up fast especially for big groups. So, how can you get in on the best deals for you and your friends or family? If you’ve got lots of buddies you’re in luck – for Action Outdoors “the bigger the group, the more free and half places (they) can provide”.  Action Outdoors setup is perfect for big groups, their UCPA centres cater for groups of friends, students and the military.  Each UCPA centre has multi-share rooms, with large dining halls, buffet meals and group lessons. We challenge you to make this your biggest trip yet!

Skiworld have ‘late availability deals’ throughout the season with discounts on departures a month or two before departure dates. If you can think that far ahead, look out for super early booking for 18/19 deals for whole chalets, which are launched in January 2018 and will run for the whole season. If you’re keen to get everything wrapped up in one payment too, Skiworld offer their ‘ski-all-in’ deal, which includes ski hire and lift pass on top of the usual flight and half board packages. Check out which chalets this applies to and compare the savings of up to £450pp!

It pains us to say this (but we know you all love a bargain!) If you’re looking for unmissable deals for season 18/19 set a reminder in your calendar to start your search in August and September. This is when travel operators kick off with their super early booking deals.

“The bigger the group, the more free and half places we can provide” Tim, Action Outdoors

Where do we head for unmissable deals?

Skiworld launched their ‘white week’ last week and have 50% off all EU chalets departing between 6th and 13th January with prices for a week from £349. We’re told spaces have been booking up fast, so you’ll need to get in on the action before the offer ends today!

Action Outdoors also have some unmissable offers on at the moment including an all inclusive week in Chamonix for £587 including 23 hours of ski lessons departing on January 6th.

Thanks to our winter partners Skiworld and Action Outdoors for collaborating on this blog, watch out for more insider tips and offers throughout the next few months!