Where shall we go for this year’s ski holiday? For many snow-seekers, this is one of the winter’s trickiest and most important questions. There are so many different factors to take into consideration, such as group members’ ski levels, resort requirements, budget, nightlife preferences, ski schools and childcare requirements, ski access and park/off-piste requirements. All of these factors must be weighed up and prioritised when making those all-important ski holiday resort choices.
The Ski Area
Perhaps the most important consideration when researching your ski holiday is the ski area itself, as this is where you’ll be spending most of your time! Although on the face of it the majority of good-sized resorts have slopes to suit all levels, a little further research or knowledge brings up many resorts which are unsuitable for a variety of reasons.
The best way to keep everyone in the group happy is to stick to large ski areas where you’re sure of good learner slopes for the beginners, intermediate blue and red pistes then perhaps a few steep blacks, snow parks and off-piste potential for the advanced skiers in the party.
French ski areas such as the Three Valleys (incorporating resorts like Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens,) the Espace Killy (Val d’Isere and Tignes) and Paradiski (Les Arcs and La Plagne) as well as Austrian resorts such as Solden or St Anton all offer a range of terrain suitable for all levels, where groups of skiers can rest assured that there will be gradients suitable for their skiing level with scope to progress if needed. At an altitude of 2300m, Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe and is an excellent choice for beginners, families, and advanced skiers!
Once you’ve got a good idea of what resort choices to make, you’ll be considering the different accommodation options available in each. From hotels and self-catered apartments to chalets from 2* to top end 6* luxury, the choices are seemingly endless. Take a look at the website accommodation-val-thorens.co.uk for help finding accommodation to suit any needs!
Large groups tend to prefer block-book one large chalet and take it all to themselves. Skiers on a tight budget can either gather friends early and book during the low summer season when early deals are available, or book in small groups of two to six people in the last minute market. Whether you’re looking to book in bulk or hopefully nab a room against the clock, you can see what is available by visiting
Chalet-hotels are good for this because they often have a few beds left at the very last moment. Luxury seekers with an eye for the finer things in life and a budget to match can choose from high-end 5* or even 6* chalet and hotels.
Easy ski access is an important requirement for the vast majority of skiers, and different groups vary between insisting on 100% ski in/out properties to being happy with either a walk, a resort driver or a public bus to get them to the slopes.
Although a generalisation, the easiest ski access is often found in those purpose-built resorts which all have accommodation blocks sitting right by the side of the pistes. Whilst they win no awards for charm or prettiness, for parents with children or groups of young adults keen to focus on having fun and scoping out the slopes, effortless ski access is a real priority.
READ MORE: My Tips for First Time Skiers
In ski resort choice, overall ‘family-friendliness’ is determined by very many different factors but parents’ preferences and requirements are often very similar. Families with children in tow should ideally focus on resorts with a swift airport transfer so they don’t have to keep the children amused in a long coach transfer. Resorts offering high-quality ski schools, good nursery slopes and reputable childcare all factor highly amongst skiing families too.