Thousands of lucky British children will be going skiing for the first time at half term. For their parents it will be a brilliant break – but only if planned properly.
To help you plan and organise your debut on the slopes, here are our expert top tips for families.
Find more advice on family skiing here.
1. Don’t waste money on expensive ski clothes for your children; they’ll outgrow them by next year. Borrow what you can and also scour the charity shops. 2. Sew name tags on all your children’s ski wear. There’s then a chance they’ll come back from ski school and other outings wearing their own clothes. 3. If you need a pushchair, take one with large wheels. Then it won’t get stuck in the snow. 4. Pack sun block sticks not sprays. Then you won’t have to take your gloves off when you want to rub it on. 5. Don’t pack any best clothes. They’re wasted in a ski resort. Use the space for extra gloves and hats. 6. If you need a baby bottle warmer take your own. Then you won’t have to queue to share the only one in the chalet. 7. Imagine the mess a broken bottle of Calpol would make in your luggage. So take sachets instead. 8. If your child needs disposable nappies, find room for a pack of your usual brand in your luggage – they will be much more expensive in resort, if available at all. 9. Don’t forget slippers 10. If there’s a coach transfer to the resort, sit as near to the front as you can. There’s then less chance of a windy road making your children sick. 11. Write you mobile number on a child’s hand or arm if they’re going to ski school on their own. 12. Don’t be tempted to go to watch your children in ski school. It could distract and upset them. 13. Invest in a set of walkie talkies. Then if you get separated on the slopes you can call each other. 14. Three rigid rules for all the family – never ski without a helmet, never ski alone and never ski after drinking alcohol. 15. Take snacks and entertainment for the plane and coach transfer to resort. As half term is one of the busiest weeks of the season, delays are likely.
View our last minute Half Term ski holidays
There’s recently been some speculation about how safe skiing is with all the injuries the contestants have experienced on the current season of ‘The Jump.’ Comparing skiing and ski jumping is like comparing football to gymnastics. They are 2 separate sports that use different equipment, require different techniques and performed in different locations. Both skiing and ski jumping are extreme sports, you have to understand the risks you are taking when signing up to these snow sports. Just like any other sport, if you abide by suggested safety rules (FIS Rules of Conduct) you can experience these fantastic sports in a fun and safe manner. The contestants in The Jump take part in a wide variety of snow sports that are all considered extreme sports. Many of the sports attempted in the show are normally only carried out by professionals. The average skier wouldn’t have ever tried ski jumping, skeleton or snow cross. The risk of injury in skiing and snowboarding is low, for every 1000 people skiing and snowboarding in a day, on average between 2 -4 will need medical attention (0.2-0.4%). Sports that have a higher risk include: Football, cycling, baseball and basketball. Find out more about staying safe in the snow.
Don’t confuse skiing with ski jumping. Learn the facts here:
1. Location: A Ski Jump VS a Skiers piste
Even the easiest ski jump wouldn’t be touched by most skiers, ski jumps are generally reserved for the professionals.
A ‘green’ piste is the easiest slope on the mountain and is designed for beginner skiers. A green piste has between 6-25% gradient. As a skier progresses they can move on to the blue, red and then black pistes.
2. Skis: Jumps skis VS Mountain skis
Jump skis are 1 and a half times the athlete’s body length.
Mountain skis normally come up between your chin and the top of your head and then snowboard come up a little shorter.
3. Clothing: Ski jump suit VS ski wear
A skier would get extremely cold on top of a mountain in a tight onesie!
4. Air Time: Flying 100m through the air VS Keeping your skis on the slope
There’s no jumping involved on the mountain unless you choose to. Skiing just involves gliding across the snow on skis.
5. Bindings: Jump bindings VS Mountain Bindings
On a jump ski, you are essentially attached by a toe clamp at the front and just a cord at the back of the boot.
On a mountain ski you are secured into a step in binding that clamps at your heel and toe in order to provide maximum support.
Read more expert guides | View ski deals | Safety in the Mountains
Take a look back at the best ski videos of 2015. Last year was an excellent year for skiing and snowboarding as technology continues to advance, as athletes reinvent freestyle tricks and as people become more creative with media. How will 2016 top this? Earlier this year we put together our top 5 videos from winter 2014/15, so we’ve picked some fresh favourites for this end of year round up. 2015 was full of amazing snowsports videos and films, from record breaking freestyle to hilarious ski humour to Hollywood style cinematography in the world’s most exotic snowy locations.
Once again, GB’s Billy Morgan pushes the boundaries of freestyle snowboarding and stomps a trick that everyone else can only dream about. On his last run of the ski season he lands the world’s first quadruple cork:
‘French Mountains’ created this hilarious comedy video of sayings overheard in French ski resorts. For anyone that has had a ski holiday in a resort in France, you would have heard quite a few of these before!
GB snowboarder, Jamie Nichols, goes bigger and better for his 2nd stunt at The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead. Here’s what Jamie gets up to in the summer months in the UK:
This fast paced short ski film starring Kevin Rolland and Julien Régnier features locations all over La Plagne – evening skiing down the Bobsleigh track! It’s super stylised, fun-filled and amazing to see all the locations used in and around La Plagne.
The perfect video to see how far snowboarding, and snowsports, has progressed. It’s easy to see why this is our favourite video of 2015:
As the UK’s largest online ski specialist, we work with over 50 ski tour operators so we can offer the widest range of ski properties and holidays to help find our customers the perfect ski holiday. Alpine Action is one of the tour operators we work with who offer 14 catered ski chalets in the 3 Valleys. The ski chalets offer quality accommodation run by very experienced staff. In December 2015, Alpine Action took 3 of our ski experts, Seb, Ian and Rufus, to Meribel to discover the Alpine Action ski experience. Here is Seb’s account of his trip:
Alpine Action run a very slick operation in Meribel and La Tania - everything was done to ensure we had a relaxing time. We were transferred quickly and efficiently to Chalet Serpolet in a brand new coach and we were treated to a drinks reception upon arrival by our two chalet hosts (who were very friendly and helpful throughout our stay). Alpine Action boast an impressive portfolio of chalets, all of which have their own character and style - they range from the traditional cosy chalet (Chalet Cote Coeur), the modern (Chalet Toubkal) and the retro (Chalet Rosalie with it’s smashing 70s bathroom). What the chalets all have in common is that they certainly fall into the more luxurious end of the market - our chalet featured an outdoor hot tub, sauna, games room and a spacious living area (very comfortable sofas).
Rufus, Ian and Seb
The Meribel chalets are all located within walking distance of the resort centre, but Alpine Action employ several drivers that whisk guests straight from their chalet door to the lifts in private minibuses. Once you return from the slopes in the evening, you simply give a driver a call and he will take you straight back to your chalet. Evening meals were always an interesting experience - first up were canopies (mozzarella on a shortbread base), accompanied by sweet wine and the warm glow of the log fire. We were then served served with some of the best chalet food I have come across (the salmon and the duck were particular highlights). Dinner was followed by a cheese board and port (and beer pong).
The duck dinner, Chalet Cote Coeur & the salmon meal
The resort of Meribel is centrally located in the 3 Valleys, so it serves as a great base from which skiers can explore Courchevel and Val Thorens. We were shown around the ski slopes by the Alpine Action boss, Ian, whose knowledge of the 3 Valleys is second to none. He took us on a ski trip over to Les Menuires and then up to Val Thorens (there was some great powder snow there), before he treated us to a meal in Pizzaria Du Motteret (where I would thoroughly recommend the Hawai Pizza). We also spent a morning skiing into Courchevel (although the snow was a bit icy here), before venturing down towards La Tania, where there was some relaxing tree skiing (and another fine pizza at the end). The run down from the top of the Saulire Express down to Meribel (with some spectacular scenery in the dying light of the day) was a highlight for me.
The town of Meribel is great for those who enjoy apres skiing. Some of the best bars we went to was the Rond Point Bar (good live music in there) and the Meribar (ideal for a quick drink while waiting for your driver). For those wanted to experience some good nightlife I would recommend Barometer (try out the Mutzig beer in here) and Jacks. If you wish to dance the night away, look no further than O’Sullivans (formally known as Dicks T Bar). The great thing about Meribel is that all the bars are located around the town centre, so you never have to walk very far from one to another.
The Alpine Action experience is certainly memorable and it is one I would certainly recommend for people looking for high end accommodation, good food and great customer service.
By Seb Mearman
Chalet Trois Coeurs
Chalet Rosalie One
Chalet Rosalie Two
Chalet Cote Coeur
Chalet Toubkal One
Chalet Toubkal Two
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