Thinking of ski chalet breaks? Before booking, consider the following:
This literally means the property is situated on the slope. The definition is somewhat overused because it allows property owners to charge more for their property because of its perceived proximity to the slopes. In reality many ski-in, ski-out properties are situated away from the slopes with a walk, or even short bus ride to the lifts. That’s not to say that there isn’t genuine ski-in, ski-out properties available for a good price, you should be wary when booking.
Sites and travel agents offering genuine ski-in, ski-out properties will have a map showing the actual location. Often these properties have beautiful views, and a short walk into the town or village you are staying in.
This may sound obvious, but the number of rooms doesn’t equate the number of people a chalet can sleep. Often chalets sleep two to a room and also have sofa beds. So, a chalet with four bedrooms may sleep up to 10 people. The more the merrier and the cheaper it can be.
To Self-Cater, or not to Self-Cater?
You can save a lot of money by loading up your car – if you’re driving – either before you leave for, or when you arrive at your chalet, Supermarkets and local shops on the continent are well stocked with quality produce giving you the opportunity to try something new.
Choices in catered ski chalets can relieve you of the stresses of preparing meals for an extended-family sized group, but what it often doesn’t offer is variety. Having a rota in your self-catered chalet means something different every night. If you’re skiing on the Continent, buying alcohol at the supermarket will certainly be cheaper than only drinking at bars.
Real Bang for your Buck, Pound, or Euro
Many property owners are seasoned skiers who have bought the chalet as both investment and a base when skiing themselves. Often they have kitted the property out with media systems that can include games consoles, a flat screen TV, sports channels, etc. In the relaxation department, some chalets are include their own spa, so after a day on the slopes you can relax in a Jacuzzi, or sweat in a sauna.
These chalets tend to be pricier, but if you’re counting on coming home refreshed and rejuvenated, it might just be worth it.
Equipment – Hire, or Buy?
Ask yourself have you done it before and will you do it again? If the answer is yes, then it might be worth purchasing your own skis, or board, clothing and boots. If you go down this route it’s also worth purchasing a sturdy ski/board bag in which to transport your new toys. Airlines are not as sympathetic to your equipment as you’d like and often have prohibitive regulations that demand you check your ski’s or board into the baggage hold. Transporting your gear in a single bag ensures it all stays together and (hopefully) arrives in one piece.
Hiring has its pitfalls too. Research the resort and how many shops offer equipment hire rather than relying on the website you’re booking with to sort it out for you. Often their equipment isn’t great and having handed over your credit card details, you’re locked into an agreement. Looking around can get you great equipment at a good price.
With the array of chalets and destinations ski chalet breaks can be a wonderful experience, exposing you to glorious landscapes covered in tranquil snow.