Snow holidays are about so much more than just the skiing. Besides the spectacular surroundings and fresh mountain air, most ski resorts offer a wide range of activities to suit the whole family. Whether you are an adrenaline junkie working on your bucket list, wanting to absorb the culture and sights or a fluffy-socks-by-the-fire kind of person there is something for you. Have a look through our list of favourite things to do or give us a call to let us know what you are looking for!
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A common question we get, particularly from fit and sporty South Africans, is ‘Do we really need ski school?’ Our answer is ‘Absolutely, YES!’
Read more on Group Lessons, Private Lessons and a bit of ‘cyber-prepatation’…
Sounds fabulous doesn’t it! But how do it work? Where do you get the kit? How do the ski passes work? And the lifts? And more importantly how do you get down?
Snowboarding happens on the same slopes as skiing, you use the same lifts and can go for lessons at the same ski schools.
You wear snowboarding boots that are strapped on to the snowboard – both of which you can hire at the most local ski rental shops. It’s well worth buying proper snow boarding socks as they are designed with padding in the right places and less likely to disappear down your boots.
Imagine the scene: Snuggled up with family on an open horse-drawn carriage sipping Glühwein or hot chocolate as one slides (almost) silently through the snow-covered countryside. It’s the stuff memories are made of!
Most ski villages, certainly in France, have ice rinks – either natural or artificial – that open to visitors throughout the season. In some cases, like Lac de Tignes in Tignes (France), these are natural ponds, lakes or streams that ice-over in the winter. There is something magical about skating on a frozen lake surrounded by snow covered mountains and the big outdoors. In other cases, villages have artificial open-air and/or closed ice skating arenas.
Skating is generally free (except for skate rental) or covered by your multi-day ski pass.
Tobogganing and sledding are two of the quintessential snow activities and require very little skill or expensive equipment. Many resorts have dedicated runs within their snow and fun parks.
Toboggan designs and sizes vary but they are typically comprised of a moulded plastic seating area, which rides directly on the snow, a raised or curved edge at the front and a rope handles to hold onto. Like most equipment, toboggans can be rented in resorts.
Don’t forget your helmet.
Sleds (or sledges) are a little different from toboggans as the seating area (deck) rides above the snow on two parallel skis or runners. Smaller sleds will have rope or plastic handles to hold onto. Again, sleds can be rented in most village sports shops.
Whilst this is a relatively gentle activity a helmet is always a good idea.
Also known as a motor sled. However, just think quadbike with skis for wheels! This a great activity for the whole family and a wonderful way to see the surrounding area away from the slopes. More often than not, this is a guided activity and will require helmets, which are available to rent.
Do you want to Build a Snowman?
Well you can! Pretty much anywhere you like because there will be snow everywhere you look! Whilst there is much debate around the best snowman building technique we would suggest starting by creating a solid ball core and then ‘rolling it up’ with more snow to make it bigger.
If you want your master piece to last don’t build it on a walkway or road that gets cleared on a regular basis.
You will definitely need water proof gloves – in fact, having a second pair is a great idea as one pair can dry out whilst you using the others.
You will hear this term a lot in the lead-up to and during your holiday, as it is an important part of any ski experience. Some would suggest it is the most important part of the holiday…!
The term literally means ‘after ski’ and refers to a range of social activities that take place immediately after the days’ skiing comes to an end and before the evening programmes start.
Traditionally it was an opportunity for groups of friends to gather over a cold or warm (typically alcoholic) beverage, enjoy some great music, share stories of the day on the slopes and relax in the afterglow of a good days skiing. (Note: Skiing stories are often bigger than fishing stories!).
Of course, these days après ski takes many forms, from raucous slope-side parties hosted by celeb DJ’s that go late into the night to the altogether more refined gatherings on late afternoon sun drenched cocktail decks. Either way, it is a wonderful part of the day!
Enjoy the culture and history of Europe! Day trips can be organized for site-seeing. Please ask your SkiCompany consultant.