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You’ve been asked to carry out the seemingly impossible: your principal wants to head to the slopes for the first time, and take their family along with them. How do you plan a ski holiday for a family that doesn’t ski? Premium ski travel and concierge company, and our PA Collective partner, ALS Ski, has the answers. We asked CEO, Bella Seel, for the inside scoop on booking the perfect ski holiday for your principal. From choosing the right destination through to how to approach ski lessons and setting up alternative activities, they’re on hand to help.
Make sure you choose the right destination
There are a few key factors to take into account when booking the perfect destination for your principal’s family. Firstly, not every resort is family-friendly, so make sure you do your research. A quiet resort, like St Foy in France, will mean that your principal will get more out of the trip because they won’t have to deal with the crowds. You also have to think about accessibility – you can’t expect the family to be able to access a ski-in/ski-out resort when they’ve never even tried on a pair of skis. Another consideration is time: somewhere close to the airport may be worth considering if your principal is on a tight schedule.
A place like Meribel is brilliant for learning, as it’s surrounded by easier runs than somewhere like Chamonix! In general, Austria is renowned for being child- and family-friendly, but you’ll be able to find resorts in France and Switzerland which are suitable as well.
How to go about organising the skiing itself
Once you’ve chosen the right resort with good beginner areas and easy access to restaurants (important for the family to be able to stop and replenish their energy levels), the next thing to organise is the actual skiing. When considering the duration of their first ski holiday, try and opt for a longer vacation of 10 days to two weeks. If it needs to be shorter, Bella recommends a week minimum. It may be tempting to book multiple mini-breaks over a few weekends, but it will mean your principal’s improvement rate will be slower.
If you’ve enlisted the services of a concierge company like ALS Ski, they’ll organise all the logistics at the beginning of the trip. For example, they’ll organise for the ski equipment and staff to go to the chalet, so they can be fitted without the family needing to leave their cosy home-away-from-home.
Catering for the little ones
If your principal has young children, it might be useful to book them in for a lesson at an indoor snow centre before they start their holiday, like the Snowdrome in the UK. It will help them to understand the basics and how to stop themselves, so the family can at least have a small head start before they’re on the mountain.
On the slopes, Bella has five top tips for skiing with children:
- Always pack snacks
- Layering is key
- Clothes should be comfortable
- Good quality equipment is a must
- Tissues are essential (runny noses are a regular occurrence)
- Make sure the children love the ski instructor
- Start early, finish early
When booking a ski trip for the first time, it’s important to plan a few non-ski activities as well, because the family will most likely want a break at some point! Family-friendly fun activities include horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice-skating and curling. If you’re looking to book something for the adults, think about snow mobile-ing, hot air ballooning and sledging activities. After a long day of skiing, a session in a spa or an après ski function will also be well received!
If you’re a member of the PA Collective, email email@example.com for preferential rates and a personal introduction to ALS Ski. Non-members, send your CV and LinkedIn profile to firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.