Author: Janet Galbraith
Organising a group ski holiday can seem quite daunting at the outset, and there are a lot of factors to take into consideration in order to find the holiday that is best for your group… however, it will all be worth it in the end! Here at Iglu we’ve broken the process of booking a group holiday down into a few simple steps to help you on your way to a stress-free holiday:-
Getting the group together:
It’s always best to have a firm idea of confirmed numbers before approaching your travel agents as it will be much easier to find a property to best suit your needs if the numbers are only likely to fluctuate by one or two. Talk to group members about what everyone is looking for, and try to establish a good middle ground for budget, type of accommodation and resort. Encourage group members to have realistic expectations – a little research will give everyone a reasonable idea of what is available.
Where do you want to go? How much would you like to spend? What is the skiing ability of the group; are there any non-skiers travelling with you? What type of accommodation and board basis are you looking for?
When deciding on your holiday destination, and discussing this with your travel agent, it is important to be clear on the type of holiday you are looking for, but it helps to have a little flexibility with dates, resort or budget. Start planning well in advance – if your dates are fixed, or you have your heart set on a particular resort, be prepared to accept that the ‘perfect chalet’ might not always exist!
It’s a simple truth: the further in advance you begin planning you holiday, the more choice you will have, and the better deals and discounts for groups will be available. Ensure all members of the group are ready and prepared to pay a deposit (or the full amount within 12 weeks of departure) to secure their holiday. Iglu can offer a variety of payment options to collect both deposits and holiday balance, including a secure online payment system, allowing every passenger to pay individually.
Call in the experts
A specialist ski travel agency such as igluski can do the work for you once you have established what you are looking for, saving you hours of research. They will search all the operators for the best holiday to suit your group and give expert advice based on their experience.
Which resorts are good for groups?
France is the ultimate ski chalet destination; you will find chalets ranging from 8 to 30 people, as well as a range or British-managed chalet hotels. France is great if your group is looking to take sole occupancy of a property, and also offers the greatest number of slope-side properties (something that is not that common in other countries).
Our choice: Chalet Tavaillons in Tignes
Austria offers a wide variety of hotels of differing sizes, including lots of ‘gasthaus’ – good value, privately run hotels, often on a bed and breakfast basis. St. Anton is the only resort that offers a wide selection of chalet accommodation, although there are a number of larger chalets in other resorts. Many ski resorts have developed around existing towns and so there is plenty to do for non-skiers.
Our choice: Hotel Tyrol in Soll
Italy has lots of guest houses and hotels, and resorts for a wide variety of abilities and tastes. Great value for families during peak dates.
Our choice: Hotel Ca Fiore in Bardonecchia
Bulgaria is the perfect place if you are a group of friends, on a budget and looking to learn to ski! Many hotels have great wellness facilities for prices you won’t find elsewhere in Europe, and Bulgaria offers excellent value ‘Learn to Ski and Board’ packages in resorts that cater well for beginners.
Our choice: Hotel Rila in Borovets
Andorra offers several good value resorts for intermediate skiers and boarders, staying in hotels; the tax-free status of the principality guarantees cheaper eating, drinking and shopping!
Our choice: Magic Pas Hotel in Pas De La Casa
Canada and the USA: There is something for all abilities across the water, and the general practice of 'room only' bookings really gives a group the freedom to explore all that the resort has to offer. If you pick your dates well, a holiday in Canada could cost you no more than travelling to the continent; try Banff in Alberta for some great package deals (and the lowest sales tax in Canada once you arrive) and Jackson Hole for an expert's paradise, as yet undiscovered on the British market. Bear in mind though that, at present, North American operators tend to cost a room based on full occupancy - which usually means two to a bed - and so some groups will prefer to pay a small additional supplement in order to have more space. However you can generally offset that additional cost with the strength of the pound to the dollar - an average beer in Banff is less than half what you would pay in France!
Our choice: Inns of Banff in Banff, Canada
Our choice: Cowboy Village Resort in Jackson Hole, USA
See our ski groups resort recommendations for more inspiration.
Before You Leave :
Make sure that your tour operator is aware of any dietary requests or special requirements for the group at least a fortnight before you leave – this will help your trip run smoothly as your ski chalet hosts can be fully prepared for your arrival. Ski and snowboard carriage should also be pre-booked as early as possible, to guarantee space on the flight. Avoid the rush in resort by pre-booking your group’s lift passes, equipment hire or lessons; this is especially important if you are travelling on a peak date (Christmas, New Year, Half Term or during the school Easter holidays). Please note that, in general, any amendments or additions to a booking should be done by the group leader.