10 Tips and Tricks to Have an Impeccable Ski Weekend This Winter

By Richard Patey / November 29, 2014

Busy work schedules this ski season? A ski weekend – or a mid-week short break – is a great way to squeeze extra slope time out.

Maximizing time on snow with the least time out of the office is the name of the game (unless your office is the mountain). If you plan it right, one or two days off work can mean a three or four days of skiing!

You can fly on a Thursday afternoon and be back on Monday night – but be advised that fog and snow at Alpine airports can be a mayhem with flight schedules.

You can either opt to go to a resort that you already love or try a new one. Here are 10 tips and tricks to maximize fun on a ski weekend.

1) Book Airport Parking Beforehand

If you’re driving to the airport, arranging your car journey is vital. You can choose airport parking near the terminal or to save you time, you can try a meet-and-greet service. This will be essential too on your return, when all you want to do is to get home or – if it’s Monday morning – to go to work as quick as possible.

2) Travel Light

Go for a cut-price ‘no luggage’ airfares . Perhaps wearing your snowboard jacket and a mid-layer then squeezing everything into once carry-on wheelie bag? This will save you time too.

Online check in without hold luggage means you’ll  be able to go straight to the security and onto the gate. You’ll save the hassle of waiting at the baggage reclaim belt at your arrival airport. When you go with a top-tier travel company, you’ll find that all flights include a hold bag.

Protect your money by making sure that your whole package is covered by either ATOL or ABTA, just in case that the company you’re travelling with goes out of business.

3) Arrange Your Skis or Snowboard Hire Ahead

There are few ski specialists in the Alps that will come to your chalet or hotel by arrangement and fit bindings upon arrival. You can select the type of skis, length, and probably the preferred release setting.

This is way better than going to the nearest ski shop before the lifts open on your first morning and queuing with everyone else. You’ll be able to escape screaming children and their anxious parents who don’t want to miss the start of the ski school.

Let yourself enjoy your breakfast a little longer and save yourself time by finding a specialist that will let you book your rental even before you fly.

4) Organise Necessary Extras

It makes life so much easier if your lift pass has already been collected by your tour operator and is waiting for you in your chalet or hotel. Queuing at a window on a perfect blue-sky morning while the people in front of you can’t make up their minds about the type of pass they want is a definite no-no.

It’ll make your ski weekend so much easier if your tour operator has already collected your lift pass and is ready in your hotel or chalet. A perfect blue-sky morning will be ruined by queuing at a window with the people in front of you who can’t decide about what types of pass they would want to get.

Also arrange your appointments with your guide or ski instructor ahead of time to avoid arriving in the resort just to find out that your

Likewise, arrange the rendezvous with your guide or ski instructor well in advance, so that you don’t arrive in the resort to find your choice is already booked up for the weekend.

5) Choose Your Airport and Flight Times Carefully

Do you really need to spend hours traveling to London or Manchester if you only knew that there are 17 regional airports that cater flights to the mountains directly? I guess not.

Keep in mind that in terms of timing, the greater number of flights at one of the hubs gives you more flexibility.

Just a warning, natural conditions like fog and snow will surely be a factor with flight schedules. Sunday evening flights are excellent choices if you worry about work.

6) Keep Transfer times short.

An age old suggestion is to check-in to resorts near an airport. The usuals are: chalets in Morzine, hotels Innsbruck or lakeside apartments in Zell am See.

Life is too short to worry about transfer times. If you really want to go (sans the two-and-a-half hour travel) to Paradiski, Espace Killy or 3 Valleys, go ahead.

It is suggested not to travel afterwork or in the afternoon as you won’t get extra skiing time.

7) Ensure that your rent-a-car is equipped properly

If you booked a tour-operator, you will have minimal trouble as you’ll have your taxi or minibus driver waiting for you.

Things to remember:

*If you will rent a car, book in advance.

*Make sure you order snow chains.

*If possible, book a 4×4 vehicle with winter tires.

Sign up for premium services from rent-a-car companies, they usually offer advanced completion of your paperworks. Once you arrive, just pick up your keys and drive away.

8) Coach Travel Is Wallet Friendly

If you’re either tight on budget or time poor, then traveling by coach is a good option. There are a lot of good deals where a half-board packages for three days on the slope by coach start from £200.

Coach travel doesn’t mean that you’ll be bothered throughout the travel by some drunk twenty-ish who sings and shouts. Most coach weekenders are businessmen, they even work while on the coach.

9) Train Travel Can Increase Ski Time

You can maximize your time on the slopes by taking an afternoon Eurostar to Paris followed by a sleeper train going to Alps. You can drop your bags and get changed at your accommodation upon your arrival in the morning then hit the pistes.

10) Stay Adjacent to the Lifts

Organize a ski-in ski-out accomodation, or at least choose a base within a five-minute walk to the main mountain access lift. Saving a couple more minutes of unnecessary time can be spent going downhill.

Nobody wants to waste their time in the morning to wait for a ski bus. The pain is going to be doubled if you missed to follow tip #4 and have to go to a ski rental shop prior to catching the first lift. If you’re just staying in a resort for a short break or a weekend then saving every little time is a must.

Hope these tips will help you have an easy breezy mountain getaway this winter season.

About the author

Richard Patey

Skier & boarder by day, internet marketing warrior by night :) Did a ski season with Gav in Whistler back in the day and now live between Norwich UK & Jasna SK