This is a guest feature from Neilson Active Holidays. Neilson’s passion for lifestyle sports over the last 40 years has driven them to create an exciting range of summer and winter holidays for people who find the best way to relax is to switch off by doing something – learn more on Neilson.co.uk.
When it comes to ski holidays for groups, it really is a case of ‘the more the merrier’. We all love sharing the joys of fresh snow, sunny mountain views and a well-earned aprés beer with friends: bring on the annual group ski holiday!
A ‘group’ can mean different things to different people: groups of friends, groups of families, groups of solo travellers, work groups etc. However you define it though, the group ski holiday is perfect for beginner skiers and boarders as well as experts (and every level in between) to come together and to find kindred spirits of similar levels to ride with.
So, here are some tips on how to make your group holiday run as smoothly as freshly waxed skis.
1. Find someone to take the lead
Get an organised group leader as they’re worth their weight in snow, especially at the start of the holiday. The first day can be a bit hectic when sorting out everyone’s equipment hire, lift passes, tuition times plus any teething troubles that may occur. A good group leader will calmly sort things out to make sure everyone is happy.
2. What’s your budget?
Every group has differing budgets. Some have no limit whilst others need to be careful with money, so it’s important to set a budget that everyone is happy with and then stick to it. Agree on what people want to have included in the budget too i.e. flights, transfers and accommodation, or the whole package including kit hire, lift passes and tuition.
Who and when?
3. Pick your dates
Choose the time of year you want to travel – this can effect how much you pay. If you don’t have kids in the group and you can avoid the school holidays, your price will be lower. You’ll find some great ski deals in January and March, but pre-Christmas is great value too.
If you do go in the school holidays, Easter can work out cheaper than other holidays. You’ll also have warmer weather which favours the smallest members of your group.
4. Vin Chaud Club or serious powderhounds?
Before you choose where to go, you need to understand the skiing and snowboarding ability levels of your group. Ask people how many weeks skiing or boarding they’ve done and get a sense of how hard they want to ski. Some people might be there to ski from the first lift to the last, while others will take more time to enjoy the piste-side refreshments and take a more measured pace.
If you have a variety of ability levels, choose a larger ski area as that’s more likely to cater for everyone. This also favours any non-skiers in the group as there will be more choice of activities on offer.
Where to stay
5. What kind of accommodation are you looking for?
Once you’ve worked out what people want, you can look for a suitable resort. The list of best ski resorts for groups is pretty large, so this is a good time to call up a travel provider like Neilson and get some advice. On the whole though, if you go for a large ski area, it’s likely that everyone in the group will be happy.
Once you’ve picked a resort, the most ideal place to stay for a group, no matter the size, is a catered ski chalet. They make a great little home from home where your group can relax together in front of the fire, make the place your own and create your own atmosphere. You also have the added bonus of having your very own host who will cook your meals, serve up the complimentary wine with your dinner and be a font of all knowledge for info about your resort.
6. Too many cooks
When choosing where to go, have a small circle of the group to bounce ideas off but don’t give out heaps of options to the wider group or you’ll never make a decision. Pick two or three ski resorts you think will suit the group and pitch those. After that, majority rules and (hopefully) everyone will be happy.
7. Money matters
One of the biggest frustrations is that people say they’re up for the holiday and they’re definitely in (probably from a conversation in the pub) but when it comes to paying up, it’s a different story.
A good tip is to tell people that the deposit is due two weeks before the holiday company needs it. This gives you a chance to chase people and issue mild threats of dropping them from the group and that it just won’t be the same without them!
If you book through Neilson, you’ll set up a My Neilson account which means that the rest of your group can login and pay their share of the holiday. This saves having to chase people endlessly for their cash!
8. Bigger can be better
For many reasons, the size of your group is important. If it’s a small group, you have more options of where to go, but the larger your group gets, you should pick a larger ski area with enough slopes to keep everyone happy. Also, the larger the group, the better your discounts will be.
9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Regardless of how many groups you may have organised, it’s always an advantage to get professional help. The Neilson sales team have been organising group holidays for years and there’s no question that they haven’t been asked (and yes, that is a challenge!)
10. Enjoy it!
The most important thing is to enjoy the holiday. There may be times when things get a little fraught, (particularly when you’re chasing people for money), but just remember to have some fun yourself too!
Find out more about Neilson group ski holidays
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