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Ski Holidays 2014

By Fiona Snow (fiona314@gmail.com)

Welcome back snow enthusiasts, often you can scour the internet looking for ski holiday offers, and ideas on the best places to spend your skiing holiday. Whether it’s your first year skiing or your fortieth, there is still knowledge to be gained from fellow skiers, including where to find the best cheap ski holidays that suit you best.

And so I’ve compiled more top tips on skiing holidays, from finding the best cheap deals to the best destinations in Andorra, Austria and France. From the Alps to the Pyrenees I can help you decide which resort best suits you and your party for your ski holidays 2014.

My top tips for this week, are about the best skiing holiday destinations for families with children, whether the kids are on the slopes carving it with the best of them, or being kept entertained in the resort’s top crèche I have what I believe to be the definitive list flying from Ireland and United Kingdom

From catered chalet options in France, to child friendly hotels in Austria and Andorra. There are plenty of choices, depending on your family’s make up and needs. Catered chalets for example aren’t for everyone, they’re typically associated with the more expensive end of the skiing market, for those with a more forgiving budget, however this assumption is often unwarranted. Many catered chalets skiing holidays out there can be amazing value for families, with discounts for children. Direct Ski for example offer discounts for children under the age of 12 in their French chalets, so already you’re slashing your skiing holiday budget if you have a young family.

So if you’re seeking tips on staying within budget for your upcoming ski holiday, and at the same time trying to find the best option for your family then here are my Top 5 Destinations for Families.

1.     If it’s your first time heading away on a skiing holiday with your family, the best option budget wise would be Andorra, in particular Arinsal and Pal. Arinsal and Pal have great B&B options, along with hotels and self-catering. The icing on the cake here is that you get the whole family on the slopes, and in lessons for cheaper than many other resorts across Europe.  Hotel Princesa Park, St. Gothard and Hotel Crest in Arinsal are favourites year in year out with customers.

2.     Soldeau is another great option in Andorra for families, away from the crazy nightlife of Pas De La Casa, but one can still enjoy the great Grandvalira skiing area offering some of the best instructors around. For the younger kids there is kindergarten, plus everything is located near the gondola, so not too much hassle lugging skis about.

3.     Niederau  and Oberau in Austria offer great ski holiday options for families, with amazing hotels like Hotel Sonnchein and Harfenwirt, which attract repeat customers. The reason for its popularity is value. You get to experience all the hospitality of Austrian skiing, but it’s a little kinder to the purse strings. Here they also offer kindergarten so parents can enjoy the Wildschönau Valley.

4.     If you prefer to ski in France, Chatered chalets all across France offer nanny services, along with crèche services. As mentioned before Direct Ski offer these catered options in Meribel, La Plagne, and Les Arcs, but to name a few, what’s not to love.

5.     Another top spot for families looking to check all the boxes, great skiing, great activities and instruction for kids and ample amenities should look no further then Val Thorens. It has the best of everything, a huge sport centre in the centre of town, hotels and self-catering options. Match this with amazing nursery slopes, plus unmatched off piste , there is more than enough to keep everyone occupied. From budget self-catering in Temple du Soleil to 4 star Hotel Val Thorens.

With the 2014 ski season fast approaching, my best advice would be to check out options early, and shop around for cheap ski holidays.

Skiing holiday advertising is a strange predictable phenomenon, the same formula applies to all it seems. It usually consists of a avid skier, in a wave of snow, speeding down a mountain with the name of the resort and ski company branded across it, each claiming cheaper deals than the next. Or often it can be a perfect looking family throwing snowballs in matching salopettes and jackets. Either way they’re safe, unlike the sport they represent.

But much like any great advertising campaign, no matter what the product is you’re trying to sell, it’s the company thinking outside the constraints of the ski holiday advertising box that can capture the imagination, or in the case of Direct Ski capture some media attention.

Direct Ski fly to many resort destinations across Andorra, Austria and France from the UK and Ireland, and last year they garnered the attention of media with their smartly controversial campaign, making ski holidays accessible to everyone was the campaign message, but it was the delivery that raised more than a few eyebrows.

Direct Ski tore up the ski holiday company advertising manual and instead created a smart yet controversial campaign, invariably starting a class war. With slogans like “Skiing holidays for Shazza and Kev, not just Hugo, Spencer, Millie and Binkie,” it’s no wonder they caught both customer and media attention alike. Along with the inventive ad campaign approach, they also offered a 30% discount to anyone called Sharon or Kevin just to sweeten the deal. It’s definitely one way of bringing skiing holidays to the masses.

This wasn’t the first time that Directski.com has been marred with a little controversy as a result of their marketing campaigns. In 2010, they were heavily criticised for claiming that its ski holidays were “affordable for all… even Geordies.” There were more than a few Geordies that had something to say about that slight.

But it’s all relative, and if it gets more buns of chair lifts, be they Geordies or Chelsea then the everyone is laughing.

It can be a daunting task selecting the ideal location for your first skiing holiday abroad, especially if you know next to nothing about skiing, resorts, skiing tuition or companies such as Direct Ski offering inclusive packages and cheap deals. With so many factors in play it can often snowball and result in information overload. So my aim is to take the stress out of choosing your holiday destination with some top tips and destination suggestions that may just fit the bill.

 

The general pitfalls when heading away skiing for the first time is buying what you think is amazing ski deal, but forgetting that you have the extra cost of add ons of ski passes, equipment and ski tuition to factor in. Also, location of your accommodation in relation to the slopes can be a key factor in people’s decision making. Remember dragging skis and boots to and from ski lifts each day can be troublesome, so keep in mind distance from lift when scrolling through accommodation options.

 

I’m going to run through some key resorts in Andorra, Austria and France for first times ski holidays 2014, that offer the best options for beginners. Often your choice can be based solely on getting a cheap deal, or perhaps other criteria feature higher on your list of essentials, like catering for families, great nightlife and amazing terrain and scenery, but whatever the draw, I’m going to recommend the top resorts flying from the UK and Ireland for first time skiers for their 2014 skiing holiday .

 

1. Arinsal and Pal, Andorra has got to be top choice for skiing holiday destination. Why? Because it encompasses everything most first time skiers are looking for - great skiing tuition, great slopes, cheap all inclusive deals to include flights, accommodation, transfers, lessons, equipment and ski passes. Basically all you need for a first time ski holiday is nestled here in this Andorran resort. With cheap self catering options for those looking for no frills skiing, to more 4* rated hotels, like the St. Gothard. Arinsal and Pal has it covered.

 

2. Another great European choice for first time skiers is La Massana, Andorra. The Vallnord ski area is linked by cable car with nearby Arinsal and Pal, and there are plenty of ski deals to be found in the local hotels like Hotel Magic, so it makes the resort popular for couples, families and even beginner groups starting their life long affair with skiing.

 

3. If you’ve always dreamed of log cabins, strolling in a quaint village and to the slopes with your skis under your arm, relaxing in the evening with a hot chocolate, then the slightly more up market Austrian resorts are popular for first time skiers. Mayrhofen for example is the perfect picturesque Austrian village. It’s great for beginners, with lots of slopes to progress on also, so best of both worlds.

 

4. Meribel in France is another great option for first time skiers. It can be slightly more expensive in France compared with Austria and Andorra in terms of food and drink, but a lot of the resorts offer top class tuition from ESF, and lots of ski in and ski out options, which means you can practically ski back to your accommodation. Meribel not only has self catering options, but hotels and even catered chalets, so you can get a really authentic skiing experience.

 

5. Lastly, another gem is Niederau in Austria. Niederau is nestled in the Wildschönau Valley, and price wise always delights. It’s a small skiing area, but perfect for those trying out their ski legs for the first time. With hotels like Schneeberger and Simmerlwirt there are great options for families. Ski passes, equipments and tuition is also reasonable in the area and cheap deals are often offered on inclusive package deals to the resort.

 

So whatever you’re looking for from your first holiday my top 5 recommendations for ‘Key Resorts for First Time Skiers ,’ can be a start off point for your research. Plenty of options all across Europe from Andorra’s fun and family friendly Arinsal and Pal to France’s famous Meribel resort.

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Contact:Fiona Donnellan
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