Skiing and snowboarding holidays are great. All you need is a bit of snow and a slope. But what about your choice of accommodation? A winter holiday in a ski chalet is ideal for staying together with friends and family. Here’s how to choose the best ski chalet for your ski holiday.
Whether it’s for the challenge of taking up and mastering a new sport, the adrenaline rush of speed on the snow, the thrill of exploring new terrain or simply an enjoyment of spectacular mountain scenery and the joy of the great outdoors, there are many wonderful reasons why people take up and enjoy the sport of skiing.
In the European Alps alone, skiers have a wealth of terrain to explore. From popular resorts such as Meribel and Courchevel in France or Verbier and Zermatt in Switzerland to lesser known gems such as Ischgl or Solden in Austria or Arabba in Italy, the range of resort choice is staggering!
These days too, many ski resorts are working hard to attract visitors not just for the skiing, and there’s more to do off the slopes than ever before. Alternative extreme sports such as parapente and dog sledding are complemented by more sedate options like snow shoeing and hiking to offer visitors a wealth of activities to enjoy both on and off the pistes.
The trend continues on the accommodation front as well, and visitors to the Alps can choose from all kinds of ski properties for their week on the snow. Hotels and self catered apartments are popular, though for the ultimate Alpine experience few options come close to the relaxation and fun you can have being looked after and cooked for in a traditional catered ski chalet. With so many options available it can be difficult to decide, so this guide has been compiled to help you choose the chalet break best for you.
Photo courtesy of Toprural on Flickr
Catered ski chalet versus self-catered apartment
Regardless of your budget, the major advantage of going half-board catered is that you don’t have to worry about your cooking and cleaning for the week – that’s the chalet hosts’ job! Whether you’re looking for 6* luxury, mid-range value or shoestring skiing, going catered gives you less stress and more ski time.
In Val d’Isere, the 6* luxury chalet Marco Polo is one of the most jaw-droppingly opulent ski chalets in Europe. Facilities and services include private chefs catering to your every culinary fancy, chauffeurs, in-house bar, heated outdoor seating plus private swimming pool and hot tub. This is a really no-expense-spared chalet.
Meribel’s 4* chalet Bachal is an excellent value catered chalet offering fully en suite rooms, terrace with valley views and wifi. Chalet hosts are on hand to deliver the chalet’s set menu each day and the location for ski and town access is superb.
Morzine is a great value resort, and the 2* Miramar shows just how far your money can go. This cheap and cheerful chalet-hotel offers basic, clean and comfortable accommodation across a range of bunk and twin rooms and a communal games room. The buffet-style evening meals are homely and hearty, just the thing to keep you energised for busy days on the snow.
The one thing that ties these different properties together is that they’re all catered, so you don’t have to lift a finger during your ski holiday. With chalet hosts on hand to undertake the cooking and cleaning, you can focus on relaxing, partying, skiing and enjoying yourself.
Image courtesy of SNOW OPERADORA on Flickr
The benefits of self-catering ski chalets
There are two sides to every coin, however, and many skiers shun the catered accommodation options in favour of self-catered chalets and apartments each year, which offer a level of privacy and freedom that catered accommodation just doesn’t give.
Going self-catered gives you the freedom to choose your own meal times, without having to work around the evening plans of your chalet hosts. If you have had a big apres ski session at one of the local slope-side bars or enjoyed one too many glasses of chalet wine, then why not enjoy a relaxed lie-in followed by a late breakfast at your own leisurely pace before heading up onto the pistes? Going self-catered gives to the freedom to enjoy your day the way you want to.
Image courtesy of Ski-Boutique on Flickr
Menu freedom is another attractive aspect of the self-catered ski holiday. Many people proactively enjoy planning meals, buying ingredients and delivering delicious, home-cooked meals and the thought of giving that up to be cooked for by a seasonnaire chalet host is far from ideal!
Also worth mention is the undeniable conviviality of the self-catered skiers’ dining table. Groups of friends rotate two-by-two for each day’s menu planning, shopping, prepping, cooking and washing up, bringing a wonderful feeling of team work to proceedings, a feeling which is often compounded up on the slopes as friends bond over the joys of skiing together.
If a week isn’t long enough, work the winter season
Of course, there is a third way… Many people of all ages and from all walks of life who love skiing feel a week on the snow just isn’t enough. Instead of shelling out their hard earned cash on a meagre week’s skiing, they opt instead to run their own catered ski chalet. Why pay for the privilege of peppermint fresh air and stunning mountain vistas for a week, when you could get paid to work out in the Alps for five full months of the winter ski season?!
You can enjoy the benefits of a ski holiday whilst being paid to be there, living and working amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Whether you’re looking for an academic break between college and university or to escape the rat race of city life, working a ski season is a most wonderful way to spend a winter.
If you’ve been bitten by the ski bug and just can’t get enough of the fresh stuff, you’re certainly not alone! Whether you choose to get your snow fix in a catered chalet, a self-catered apartment or by working the winter season yourself, you can be sure of one thing: when it comes to the having fun in the great outdoors, nothing comes close to skiing!
This article was written by Anna Campbell, a freelance journalist and a seasoned traveller – she brings these two passions together to contribute travel blogs across the web to inform other holidaymakers. Currently based in London, Anna enjoys getting away from the bustle of the city as often as possible.
Find out More about Ski Chalet breaks available this winter
If you want to find out more and book a ski chalet break, Catered-Ski-Chalets offer the most detailed insider knowledge available, and staff have actually visited the chalets in their portfolio, so you are guaranteed the best advice on selecting the right catered ski chalet for your ski holiday.