When you pick your resort - you should take your group's skiing experience into consideration: do you have lots of beginners? Intermediates? Experts? If you have a mixed ability group, then you need a resort with lots of options - something for everyone. Les Houches, for example, is a little known resort in itself - ideal for mixed groups as it is predominantly blues and red, with great beginners areas - however, it is also ideal placed in the Chamonix valley for experts to experience the blacks of Grands Montets and some of the best off-piste in Europe! If you are all expert, think about La Grave or Chamonix.
The country you choose to visit may depend upon your budget. The "newer" ski resorts in Bulgaria will be cheaper for accommodation, food, lift passes, etc. Though 37% of all skier still choose France. Switzerland and Austria hold some of the most expensive options - the price reflecting how well known the resort is: - Nendaz luxury chalet
Your budget will also affect the quality of the chalet available to you. Put simply: the more luxurious chalets cost more. If you find an amazing deal with flights and transfers included, in a chalet whose photos look amazing - be sure to check the photos were actually taken in that chalet, and are representative of it! Wide angle lens can make rooms look bigger than they are. Professional lighting may have been used to disguise the pokey room in the attic. Ask how big the actual rooms are! If food is photographed, ask whether it was a "stock" photo? - or did they take it themselves?
Self-catered chalets often cost less than being catered - but be careful about false economies. Ask the following questions: how far is the local supermarket? Is it within walking distance? If not, you may need a car or bus.
Owner-run vs managed chalets
Owner-run chalets tend to differ from managed chalets in that the chalet hosts will most probably care more for the chalet as it is their home and business. They may also care that you enjoy yourself on your holiday - as repeat clientele are very desirable - much more than some ski-bum just-out from college fancying one more year of the easy life before having to join the "real world".
The days of spag bol are long gone - these days, catered chalets can rival restaurants in terms of quality and diversity of food.
If the chalet offers a "professional chef", ask about their experience and qualifications. Did they run a top-notch restaurant in London or did they used to work as a sous-chef in the "White Horse" working mens club? Also, especially with the managed chalets, chefs work to a very closely-controlled budget. You also run the risk of them quitting immediately before you arrive having decided chalet-work was not the endless days of powder snow they imagined, but harder work than as a full-time chef in the UK!
For the best holidays, chalets where you can both ski in and ski out provide you with the most time on the piste, and the minimal amount of fuss and time wasted. You save time because you don't have to wait for transport to the lifts at the start of your day, nor hanging around for transport back to your chalet when you've finished. This is especially useful if you are a beginner or you get tired early.
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