Wednesday, 22 August 2012 8:42 PM
Skiing is a fun pastime that millions of people enjoy, and if you're thinking of joining them there are a number of steps to follow to make sure your skiing getaway is memorable for all the right reasons. Choosing the right destination and sticking to a budget are just a couple of things to consider when organising a ski break.
Where do you want to go?
France, Switzerland and Canada are among the world's most renowned locations for skiing, but where you decide to go will depend on where you plan to travel from, your budget, how much time you can devote to your holiday and other issues. European locations are often easier and cheaper to get to from the UK, but Canada is ideal for a longer break on the slopes, for example.
If languages might be a barrier, it's wise to look for a resort where English is widely spoken, and if you're planning to take children with you might want to pick a spot where they can have a go at activities like ice skating or snowboarding as well as skiing.
What do you want to do?
Aside from the obvious skiing, if you want to get involved in other activities you should check out what the resorts you like offer in the way of alternative sports and apres ski. Many places have an ice rink, some have gyms or fitness suites, there's usually a snowboard park and resorts often have facilities for dog sledding, tobogganing, snowshoeing and more.
If you want to go out and experience the nightlife, look for somewhere with a lively apres ski scene, as these places tend to have a good variety of bars, pubs and sometimes nightclubs you can visit when the sun goes down.
Some resorts are set in picturesque villages with little more than shops to visit, but others boast a range of stores and a number of attractions away from the slopes, so you can really get the most for your money.
What sort of accommodation are you after?
From basic apartments to luxury ski chalets, there are all sorts of types of accommodation to choose from. Some places have ski-in, ski-out facilities and are close to the slopes, while others are located further away in secluded spots where you can also take leisurely walks among the snow-capped evergreens and return to a roaring open fire.
Depending on your budget, you might be happy with basic accommodation, or you may decide to spend a little extra to benefit from the services of a chef or a nanny to look after your children so you can spend some quality time with your partner.
What's your skill level?
If you're entirely new to skiing, you might want to have a practise before you embark on your trip overseas. After all, you might resent shelling out for a luxury holiday if you spend the entire time falling over or trying to balance on your skis.
Book a session or two at your local slopes or skiing centre and get a feel for the sport. It's also wise to book any tuition you want to take while away before you travel, as lessons can fill up quickly.
A final consideration before you jet off is the clothing and accessories you'll need for your break. Visit stores to try on jackets, trousers, hats, goggles and gloves, or browse online and compare prices.