The best ski holidays don’t always have to be the longest ones. It is possible, thanks to modern transport links and cheaper flights, to get away for the weekend. So, the best ski weekends might just be the perfect solution to the age old problem of how to squeeze maximum slope time from minimal annual leave.
You know the scenario all too well. You only have a fixed amount of leave each year and your annual ski week takes a big chunk out of that. Perhaps your wife or husband isn’t a skier so you’re using up family holiday time on your personal indulgence? Or perhaps you’ve already used the one week you can reasonably take off as it is, but you want more slope time.
There’s not a lot better in this world better than being in the mountains skiing. And I’m here to tell you that the answer to your problem, my friend, is the ski weekend.
Use up only one or two days of your annual leave entitlement for a full three or four days on the piste – that’s half a ski week for a fifth of the annual leave usage required for a regular ski week . It all looks much more affordable too – you’re halving many of your costs but satisfying much of your craving. Genius.
Travel out on a Thursday or a Friday and you miss those heaving airport check in and departure halls, the scrum for transfers, the Saturday traffic-jam crawl to the slopes and all the queuing for services once you’re in resort. And, if you’re craving isn’t fully satisfied, you can always book another ski weekend next month!
When planning the best ski weekends, there is a lot to consider not helped my a bewildering amount of options. Really you need professional help, fortunately there are businesses dedicated to delivering the best ski weekends who can help and won’t bankrupt you either.
You need quick transfers to resorts that are close to airports – 4 hours on a coach will not do. Also you need those in-resort ‘potential’ time-consumers, of renting gear and obtaining lift tickets, to be handled seamlessly. Get all that right and you’ll soon find you’re as hooked on ski weekends almost as much as you are on skiing.
If you are looking for the best ski weekends we recommend you try one of these companies, you may even get free lift passes:
iGOSki with free lift passes
iGOSKI (020 3051 8668) offer low priced three to four night weekend breaks to leading resorts that are close to the airport, so you’re quickly on the slopes. These include Les Gets (transfer only one hour), and neighbouring Morzine (transfer is one hour ten mins) and Avoriaz (transfer one hour forty) all of which are part of the excellent Portes du Soleil ski area and its 650km of slopes.
iGOSKI also offer trips to Chamonix which is also just an hour from Geneva. Chamonix is renowned for its advanced terrain and freeride skiing plus of course its very lively night life. Other resorts offered are St Anton in Austria and and La Tania in France which is part of the Three Valleys, the largest ski area in the world.
iGOSKI know that the best ski weekends are ones that fit in with you life and maximize your time on the snow. With that in mind they have long weekends (short weeks?) from Wed-Sun, Thu-Sun, Fri-Mon and Sun-Wed. Along with London Gatwick, UK departure airports include Luton, Bristol, East Midlands, Liverpool and Edinburgh. To make things a little sweeter iGOSKI is currently offering free lift passes on some dates to certain destinations so get in their quickly to save some money.
If all this talk of ski weekends has you hankering for a ski week then try iGOSKI’s sister company Alpine Elements. With all departures happening on Sundays you avoid many of the less savoury elements of Saturday departures. Offering chalet holidays at affordable prices to 11 of the most snow sure resorts in Europe you will have a great time with Alpine Elements.
Ski Weekends (02380 983 776) offer ski holidays to Austria, Switzerland, Italy and France. You can travel by air from seventeen UK airports to one of 23 resorts in Europe. Or travel by coach to save money and maximise slope time to Brides Les Bains which is linked with Meribel.
Ski Weekends offers long weekend breaks from Thursday to Monday giving up to four and a half days on the slopes. Company director Dan Fox says ‘Get it right and you can easily ski four days with just two days off work. Book two trips and that’s eight days skiing for four days off work’.
The company also offers the ‘reverse’ of a ski weekend, a mid-week break from Monday to Thursday giving up to three and a half days on the slopes, which Dan says is particularly good for shift workers or parents who can leave the children with the grandparents during the school week.
Ski weekends by coach run Thursday to Monday – leaving the UK on Thursday night and getting back early Monday morning. Overnight coach travel means three days on the slopes for one day off work. It also means accommodation costs are kept to a minimum making it very affordable.
Planning your own best ski weekends
Of course planning the best ski weekends yourself is possible, you might get it a little cheaper than going with the professionals. But be aware that it is not as simple as you might think. There are many resorts to choose from, multiple options for departure and arrival airports and it will take a lot of research to work out what will be best value for money and time.
From the airport you have the option a pre-booked transfer, hiring a car or taking public transport. Transfers can be expensive and in many cases are restricted to certain days and times. Hiring a car is never as simple as it should be and heading to the mountains you will need snow chains. Often finding resorts is trickier than you would expect, although satnav helps but of course you need European maps. For most resorts public transport is just not an option on a weekend ski break as it takes too long.
The final complication of planning the best ski weekends yourself is that much of the accommodation is booked by the week. Top hotels offer nightly rates but they are expensive so your options suddenly become restricted. You might find a good deal only to see that flights are booked up or you can’t get a transfer.
It is tying together all 3 elements of the flights, transfers and accommodation into the best ski weekend, for the right price, that is the tricky thing. We recommend you go with the experts as to top it all they are bonded so if something goes wrong ythe tour operator handles it and you do not lose out.