The Perfect Group Ski Holiday: Booking for a Crowd

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The best time of year is holiday time. If you want the perfect holiday, it takes planning in advance and that goes for summer and winter holidays. When you are planning a getaway for a crowd, there are even more problematic nuances to contend with, and it becomes harder to focus on the details if you are dreaming about fun in the snow. The key to successful group travel is focussing on getting relevant information about location and accommodation, as well as finding the best deals.

Choosing a resort - Skiing Ability and Fitness

If you are planning a trip for a crowd, one of the key considerations is the skiing ability of each member of the travelling party. Beginners need nursery slopes and ski instruction; novices still need instruction and supervision, while intermediates need further experience to take on more speed, steeper slopes, bumps and off-piste. Advanced skiers are independent and need slopes that are sufficiently challenging. The best solution for a crowd of mixed abilities and varied ages would be a resort catering to all skiing levels. Such resorts also include snowboarding and suitable amenities for non-skiers.

Ski Gear

Group leaders shouldn’t have to be responsible for ensuring everyone has the right gear, but it is important that they check. Although most ski resorts have plenty of places to get hold of anything you might have forgotten, it is best that equipment is sorted before travelling. A good idea would be to nominate someone in the group to make a list of what is needed. There’s also the option to pool all the gear and see what is still needed afterwards. First time skiers are better off borrowing or hiring what is needed because it’s a mistake to shell out for a whole ski wardrobe and kit if after the first holiday it’s decided the slopes are just not “the thing” for them after all. For a first ski holiday it would be sensible to hire as many items as possible. More experienced winter holidaymakers can help the novices out in this respect.

Choosing Accommodation 

There will be a range of opinions within the group but, good news – there’s a range of options too. The resort chosen by consensus should offer plenty to choose from, but a small resort may not satisfy the needs of the majority of the group. 
 
There are many operators offering chalet properties for hire. They also offer package deals and special offers available online. Look around for special offers that include an introductory lesson or vouchers for drinks and club entrance. Of course, the most important thing is to ensure there are enough beds, and that sleeping arrangements are conducive to the dynamic of the holiday party. Chalets can be self-catering or catered; catered is often the favoured option as it leaves the holidaymakers more time for ski and après-ski. 
If the party wants comfort and pampering, it will be necessary to look into spa treatments, sauna and massage. This is usually available in hotels but not chalets. 
 
A chalet should be close to user-friendly button-drag lifts. The easiest are gondolas and detachables (they stop; you don’t have to leap off, great for beginners and mature skiers). 

Apres-Ski

If you’re young or young-at-heart, you want to be close to the action i.e. restaurants, bars, clubs and shops. If you’re a crowd of single people, you might want to meet other like-minded people. Your crowd is on holiday to ski but partying is just as important. Make sure your resort is suitably après-ski facilitated.
 
There are some destinations known for being lively and well suited to a younger crowd, for example, Kitzbuhel in Austria for the ‘cocktail crowd’ and Zermatt in Switzerland for music lovers. If you want to avoid such a lively atmosphere, opt for a more subdued après-ski destination. For luxury, choose a chalet in Megev, France close to Mont Blanc. The skiing is good and the shopping high-end, you  can also enjoy a variety of activities like hot air ballooning, helicopter rides, hiking, spas, galleries and fine dining restaurants. Megev attracts a more mature crowd.
 
Your crowd may consist of families with children, requiring a family-friendly destination. Most family resorts are purpose-built and it is sensible to choose a long run for children to learn and practice skiing. Parents can also benefit from a resort with a babysitting service. A small resort such as Aosta in Italy has a mini club for children aged up to 12 years. Tirol in Austria is pretty with traditional chalets, while Bernese Oberland in Switzerland has nurseries tailored towards British children from 6 months of age. Savoie in France is a mini resort, offering excellent value-for-money and free moving carpet lifts. 
 
The perfect ski holiday should have a comfortable catered chalet with a perfect host couple to take care of you. The level of busyness should suit your personal requirements. If you have children, there should be appropriate amenities to keep everyone in the travel party happy. If you choose an operator that is well established, with a long history of satisfied holidaymakers, your crowd has the best chance of having the ski holiday of their dreams. 

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