Tips for Booking your first Skiing Holiday

skiing lessons for beginners

So you’ve decided to head to the snow for the first time, and sure you have loads of questions, some of them have been asked and answered in our skiing forum. Here we pose the top seven tips that you should be aware of when deciding where to go to on your first skiing holiday.

  1. How Long : 1 week will be more than enough. Remember that you will be probably using muscles that you have never used before, and skiing as a beginner is tiring. Also there is a cost consideration, skiing is not cheap and a typical week can cost over €1,200.
  2. Skiing Lessons : This is something you should definitely do. It will insure that you get the most out of your holiday. Having friends show you how to ski, may save you money, but you will also be keeping them from enjoying the slopes. We would recommend that you enrol in a ski school. Most of these operate in the mornings, from 9am until 12.30pm, and are probably better that taking a full day. Having the afternoon free allows you to practise at your own pace, what you have learned already. And also insures that you don’t get too tired.
  3. Where : Choose a location with an English Ski School, most of the resorts do offer these, but it is something that you should check. Typically higher altitude locations have better conditions. But do remember that different ski resorts have different prices. As a rule of thumb Switzerland is more expensive than any of the other central Europe countries to ski in. Some Swiss even travel to Austria, where it is cheaper ! Most tour operators only offer a limited choice for location.
  4. When : Most resorts open in the first weeks of December and close after Easter. For best conditions, to insure that there is snow , we would recommend that you aim to ski between the middle of January to the middle of March. This should guarantee that you will have nice powder when you are going skiing. Christmas skiing can be hit or miss, and tends to be more on the expensive side.
  5. Insurance: Don’t forget about skiing insurance ! Remember that snowboarding and skiing are often considered extreme sports by insurance companies. So first check with your health insurance company (if you have one) to see if you are covered. While in Europe (& Switzerland) you are covered by the E111 card, so do remember to bring that with you. This only covers you in emergency cases, i.e. you are in pain and need some medical attention. But if on returning to Ireland you need follow ups, this is where your health insurance will come into play, to cover the costs of out patient care, etc.
    • Last year we have used Essential Travel Insurance. They offer full coverage while you are on holidays in the snow, and it costs under €20 per week. For more information click [here].
  6. Equipment: If you are just starting off skiing, it isn’t really worth buying all the skiing gear at the beginning. What will happen if you decide you actually don’t enjoy skiing and the cold/wet activity ? We would recommend that you buy at least some good gloves, socks, a hat and maybe goggles/sun glasses for the snow. Many sports shops offer the option to rent all the other parts of the gear you could need. Helmets are recommend for both children, but these can also be rented.
  7. Self Catering or Boarding : Here is one option that can save you some money. But renting a chalet for the week and preparing your own meals you can sometimes save up to 15-20% of the costs. If you are going to stay in a hotel, you should take the half board option, which just includes breakfast. At most of these resorts there are plenty of choice of places to eat, and you should use the opportunity to taste all the local specialities. You will normally be able to buy a hearty lunch on the slopes.
  8. Children: Most resorts cater more than adequately (ski schools/accomodation/entertainment) for the younger auidence so don’t be afraid to travel with a young family. Some ski resorts even have baby sitting services for the kids who are too young to ski. Children from the age of 4 or 5 are normally old enough and capable enough to start to learn how to ski. Normally children won’t start snowboarding until they are older, 12 or 13, due to the fact that heavy board can be a limiting factor.

starter skis

We hope that our guide will help you as you zoom down the slopes in 2008. Remember “Skiing is for everyone” !

18 thoughts on “Tips for Booking your first Skiing Holiday

  1. Thanks for the tips. Now it’s time to book something fabulous ! I’ve been researching my holiday for quite a bit, and I wasn’t convinced about it until I came across your nice site. Thanks Paul !

  2. Hi Paul,

    I am a single mother of 2 teenage boys, 13 and 16. We are hoping to go on our first skiing /showboarding holiday this year. could you recommend a budget friendly but not too cheap destination for us and also somewhere good for their agegroup. hoping to go around the end of February.


    Bernie O’connell

  3. Hi Bernie,
    Generally Austria and France and Andorra are cheaper than Switzerland.

    I would keep in mind, when you are booking, about the transfer times. Some transfers can be as much as 3 hours ! So with a 13 year old it might be best to check this out. There is a list of all the major Irish Ski Companies [here]

  4. Hi, I am hoping to go skiing for a week with a friend. But we’d rather if we could join a group so that it’s not just the 2 of us stuck with each other for the week. We’d end up hating each other! Any ideas about groups that go??? Can’t find any info on it.

  5. Hi Conor,
    I wouldn’t worry about going with one person. But if you can looking for groups you could always try out the TodayFM ski trip. I’m sure there are other companies who also offer packages for individuals.

  6. Hi
    I’m going on my first skiing holiday in bulgaria in february and i’ve been advised not to go to the ski school but to get private lessons for a few hours. I have no idea about skiing, i can’t even ice skate so would the private lessons be of more benefit?

  7. Hi all .heading to Bulgaria for a week on the 22nd mar ….with 2 other girls …

    1.should we try getting really fit cos ive been told the ole legs take a fair battering !!
    2.anyone go to pomparova bulgaria before ..staying at the finlandia hotel
    3.what is the nite life like at the resorts
    4.any other tips for us

  8. Want to go on first skiing holiday over the new year. where would be the best place for a family of 4 (teenagers 15 & 17) Reason for going to celebrate turning 50 so something special required! Thanks

  9. Hi, Have you any idea on how good skiing in Zakopane Poland is for beginners.

  10. Hi Paul

    I would like to take my family on a skiing holiday next year (Easter 2009). My son in 6 and has already been learning how to ski. My husband and I can ski a little but still feel that we need lessons. Where can we go that is value for money, good scenery, entertainment for our son, and ofcourse a ski school for all of us. We would be flying from Aberdeen (Scotland) so it would be nice to go direct.
    Please advise, this is the first time I have done this!!

    Many thanks.


  11. Hi there,

    We are thinking of going on a skiing holiday for Christmas. We have never skiied before and our children are 18 and 21.
    We will also have another couple with us who have a one year old.
    Any suggestions??

  12. Hey all,
    We are thinking of going on a skiing holiday for our honeymoon in Jan 2011, we have never skied before and would be greatfull for any suggestions on resorts and lessons….

  13. Hi, we are a family of 4 who really would like to try a skiing/snowboarding holiday. 2 teenage boys(13 an 16). Where do we start, we don’t have a clue where/when to go. Another consideration is due to health issues i won’t be able to ski/board but am happy to go and watch, will this be a problem?

  14. Hello Shell13, the best place to discuss where to go would be on our forum. there there are some seasoned skiers. One tip though is that most hotels in ski resorts will have a sauna or even a health spa, so aim for one of those and you won’t go wrong !

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