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If you’re planning a ski holiday later in the season (i.e. March-May,) you must book your resort carefully, to avoid being disappointed by a distinct lack of snow. The key things to consider are; altitude, northerly latitude and reputation for snow (both real and manmade).
To help get your research started, we’ve listed our top 10 ski resorts for ‘late snow’.
Renowned for its world-class off piste, extreme sports opportunities and atmospheric town, Chamonix is a great European option for late winter sports, because the snow in the north-facing parts of the Grands Montets area stays in great condition until spring.
With most slopes north-west facing and above 1,800m, Ischgl is a great option for spring snow. They also boast lively après ski events (the opening and close parties are not to be missed), a glitzy urban village and wide, well-groomed slopes.
Most of Livigno’s slopes are above 2,000m, and this altitude mixed with extensive snowmaking creates a season which lasts from November to May. Prices are relatively low by European resort standards, and the slopes are suitable for intermediaries.
With world class terrain parks and a season which lasts until June, Mammoth is well worth the long haul flight. The terrains on offer include challenging above-the-tree-line couloirs, steep wooded inclines and plenty of beginner/groomed slopes.
Winner of the highest slopes in Austria (3,082m), Obergurgl’s pretty village, broad slopes and guarantee of snow, makes it the perfect late season destination. (Plus, the neighbouring Hochgurgl village is higher still.)
With some of the highest slopes in Austria (most above 2,000m,) and vast snowmaking (covering two thirds of their pistes), you’re pretty much guaranteed snow until May in Sölden. If you’re not yet a seasoned pro then head to the glaciers for blue slopes, more adventurous intermediaries can head to the main red slopes.
Val d’Isere offers north-facing slopes, and Tignes offers high altitude skiing (up to 3,400m), allowing them to remain open 9 months out of 12 each year – so you’re pretty much guaranteed snow. It’s no wonder that so many people (from families to freeriders) flock there every year.
Europe’s highest resort, Val Thorens in France has slopes reaching 3,230m, so you’re guaranteed good snow coverage and a long season – up to early/mid-May. With a piste running through the resort, lots of events and ski in/ski out convenience, Val Thorens is a great option.
Despite having south-facing slopes, Verbier uses extensive snowmaking installations to ensure the powder remains topped up on the lower slopes. If you prefer natural snow, you should still find good coverage on the upper slopes of the Mount Fort Glacier.
Zermatt is open 365 days a year, thanks to its northerly latitude and heavy investment in snowmaking facilities for the summer months. It also boasts Europe’s largest glacier ski area and the continent’s highest ski lifts.
If you’re planning a late season winter sports trip, just remember to invest in specialist winter sports travel insurance to protect yourself, your trip and your equipment against any unexpected holiday disasters. Ask us for more information and a free quotation.
Kids take to a lot of things like ducks to water – particularly activities which require a bit of adrenaline and could be considered scary. Riding a bike, learning to swim, riding a skateboard – it’s the fearlessness of many children that mean they often pick up these skills faster than a first-time adult!
You can add winter sports to that list too – especially skiing and snowboarding. That’s why winter sport holidays are all the rage for the whole family; these are incredibly fun activities that everyone can enjoy, and the kids will certainly thank you for letting them master them while they’re young.
There are extra safety concerns where your children are involved, though, so you’ll want to make sure you take the proper precautions. Here are some tips on how your whole family can stay safe on your winter sport holiday.
The first thing to decide when going on any trip is ‘where are we going to go?’ It’s a fun deliberation process, but when you’re taking your kids to participate in winter sports there needs to be a serious element too.
Make sure you research what’s on offer at each resort; for first-timer skiers and snowboarders, regardless of age, you’ll need a resort which provides well-regarded instructors and a high-quality lesson plan. You can often enrol in lessons at the same time as making your reservation.
If you don’t have your own equipment and will need to hire it when you arrive, you can also look into this prior to your holiday. Check out previous customer reviews, and give yourself an idea of what to expect before you get there. You’re looking for good quality skis and helmets.
We can’t stress enough the importance of having a high-quality, well-fitted helmet, especially for the kids. Skiing and snowboarding come with a little bit of danger – it’s what makes them such fun and thrilling sports – but head injuries can occur. Make sure both you and your kids are wearing appropriate helmets which meet safety standards at all times when on the slopes and bowls.
You’ve also got to make sure you’ve packed or hired appropriate clothing for these sports. Just because it’s often sunny at winter sports resorts (and you should apply sun lotion to your children’s faces to protect their skin), don’t be fooled – it’s probably going to be very cold. You should all wear several thin layers of clothing underneath your waterproof snow jackets and trousers.
The first layer should be a wicking material which will keep moisture away from the skin, then perhaps a fleece top or jacket as your second layer. Moisture-wicking socks are also essential to keep your kids’ feet dry, but only wear one pair – don’t be tempted to double up. You’ll all need control of your feet, and a good pair of waterproof boots will give you this while maintaining warmth. Throw on some waterproof gloves and your ski goggles and you and the kids are ready to hit the snow.
Naturally you’ll always be keeping an eye on the kids, but both you the parent and your children must be aware of your surroundings. Always keep an eye out for signs on your ski and snowboarding runs – they could be letting you know about difficult terrain up ahead. You should also be checking out the terrain yourself; either vigorously as you go or beforehand to make sure everything looks safe before your kids set off.
You should also stress to your children the importance of knowing how to stay within limits – both in terms of exploring terrain, but most importantly in their own skill level. Don’t let your children tackle the black runs when they’ve only just mastered the easiest slope in the resort! Take everything one step at a time.
Oh, and make sure you know when the ski lift is coming so you don’t get hit in the backside!
For peace of mind, financial reasons, and for your family’s safety, you should ensure everyone is covered by winter sports travel insurance. It covers your family for all medical emergencies, personal belongings, cash, equipment and more, and with our family policies your children are covered for FREE – saving you money to have fun with on your holiday.
We hope you have a sensational winter sport holiday, and that everyone stays safe while having a huge amount of fun. If you still need to get your winter sport travel insurance, get a quote now.
Any type of sport comes with a certain risk attached, whether that risk is damage to equipment or personal injury. Winter Sports are no different, and typically can cause a lot of injury, ranging from bruises and sprains to broken bones and head injuries, and worse.
If you will be participating in Winter Sports during your holiday, such as skiing and snowboarding, it is extremely important that you invest in adequate travel insurance before you depart. Quality travel insurance should protect your possessions and sports equipment, and provide medical help and assistance if you are injured abroad.
When purchasing Winter Sports Travel Insurance always make sure that;
For more information, watch our Winter Sports Travel Insurance video:
Waxing your skis is an important part of keeping them maintained and in good condition; the wax protects the bottom of the skis and lessens friction to allow best usage. Here are our top tips for waxing your skis;
> A waxing iron
> Quality Wax (heated to product instructions; if the wax is too hot it will damage your skis, if it is too cold it could be ineffective)
> A brush
> A wide scraper (never use a metal scraper as it will cause damage)
Although protecting your skis is important, it is vital to have insurance that protects you against injury and illness as well. A reliable policy should ensure that your property is protected in the event of theft or damage, as well as covering other holiday disasters such as cancellation, medical emergencies, no snow plus much more. It really is a must-have purchase before heading on a winter break.
Every year thousands of people get on airplanes and head off on ski holidays abroad. Skis are not allowed to be carried as hand luggage on an aircraft, so must be checked in as luggage. To make sure your skis arrive safely and are not damaged during the flight, here are our top tips for packing and travelling with skis.
If you want an adventure, to work abroad or to enhance your CV this winter season, then a working winter holiday could be perfect for you.
Every year the winter season creates hundreds of job opportunities around the world, as holidaymakers flock to popular destinations such as France, Switzerland and Canada. This extra influx of travellers need to be looked after, and this is where you come in.
Depending on what skills you have, what type of person you are, and what kind of experience you want, there is usually a variety of positions available. Just remember that every company and establishment has different definitions of roles, and different positions available each year.
As a Chalet Host you will have daily contact with guests, preparing their meals, cleaning their chalet and generally making sure they are happy during their stay.
As a Rep you will usually be responsible for providing customer service and making sure that everything flows smoothly at your resort; you will look after guests, answer questions or queries and help plan events.
This can involve cleaning rooms, serving food or drinks, and generally assisting the hotel in anything they need, it could even involve food shopping and preparation.
As well as serving drinks and interacting with guests, you could also be required to clean the bar, monitor stock, and cash up.
Although one of the least glamorous of the jobs available, this job requires no interaction with guests, and no language skills. The clue is in the title; basically you will do all the washing up.
Jobs such as Ski Instructors, Nannies and Chefs are also available, but mainly require previous experience and qualifications.
Of course in order to ski, you need to have a pair of skis – however it is not a simple as taking any old pair off the rack, just because they are a nice colour and have great decals! Your skis should be an extension of your body if you want to get the most out of the Piste; so you have to take the time to find a pair that is suitable to your height and the type of skiing you want to do. Are you a beginner, intermediate or expert? Downhill or Cross Country? Racer or Slalom?
So – we have the boots, and we have the skis, all that we need now is some contraption that will keep the boot fitted to the ski. Let’s look at bindings.
Bindings are made up of the following parts:
No matter how good you are you will need ski poles (unless of course you are Eddie the Eagle and just want to launch yourself into mid air!)
By now you will not be surprised to discover that even the humble ski pole is a technological marvel. It is not just a stick with a handle at the top and what is known as a basket at the bottom. Ski Poles come in different shapes and sizes, again depending on the type of skier you are. Here is what you need to look for:
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