Public Health Agency of Canada
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada // Essential information for Canadians abroad
Don’t just pick any old destination and avoid making your choice based on an ad you happened to see, especially if you are a newbie.
It is important to consider your skiing skills, as well as those of your travel partner, your accommodation preferences, and the services you expect from the resort. All these considerations must be taken into account in your selection of a suitable ski resort.
2. Know your options before choosing your vacation dates:
- · January is generally colder. It is a snowy month with variable weather.
- · Although February heralds the start of the European school vacation, it is still a feasible period that brings milder, less variable weather.
- · March is perfect! There is snow on the ground, but the sun drops in more often with its lovely warm rays. However, the unpredictability of the weather can wreak havoc on your plans at the drop of a hat, particularly in the mountains.
- · As for “spring” snow, it is seldom seen before the last week of March or early April.
3. If you are looking for a village and a ski resort on the Old Continent, there are four grand countries to choose from:
France, Switzerland, autriche, and Italy.
Each of these countries is unique in its own way. They are littered with major ski resorts, but remember that the steepest slopes are not necessarily found at the highest elevations.
- · France is the ultimate ski destination.
- · Switzerland offers top-notch skiing, lodgings, and cuisine, as well as an extraordinary welcome.
- · autriche is the spot for a personalized ski experience and a unique ambiance where you will discover and fall in love with the customs of alpine life.
- · Finally, although Italy remains mysterious for many, it provides just the right amount of structure.
3.1. If you are looking for a village and a ski resort close to home or out West
There are many destinations to choose from, each with its own unique features:
Quebec, Vermont, Maine, British Columbia, Alberta, Montana, Colorado, and California are home to ski resorts that will not fail to enchant you.
Take your pick among traditional ski resorts (in a village setting) or modern, futuristic resorts – The choice is yours!
4. The plane trip:
- · The key is finding the best options to get you where you want to go.
- · Beware of misleading, and occasionally deceitful, destination-centric advertising.
- · The carrier has only one responsibility: getting you to and from pointA and pointB.
· The first thing to consider is the length of the flight in relation to the length of your vacation – i.e. the time between your departure and your return, which can be 4, 5, 6, 7 days or more.
- · Make sure you get a good rate, flexible bookings, the best possible in-flight service, as well as access to other services.
5. Airport transfer
This often turns out to be one of the most important elements of your journey. Make sure you fully understand these arrangements, especially if you are travelling on your own.
Transfers for group excursions are generally problem-free, since arrangements are made to have a chartered bus waiting for you at the airport.
If you are travelling on your own:
- · Regular buses are an option, but scheduling issues are not uncommon, particularly on the return trip.
- · Rental cars are not an option since they are quite expensive, particularly when you weigh the cost against the usefulness.
- · The chauffeur-driven vehicle (taxi) is definitely the best solution for solo travellers and small groups.
- · Trains are not recommended, since they rarely connect with any degree of efficiency with your chosen resorts.
6. Hotel or apartment?
- · Given their structure and services, hotels are the most popular venue. Hotels provide facilities, such as lounges with fireplaces, bars, game rooms, pools, thalassotherapy centres, and fitness centres that make it so much easier to cope with foul weather and other annoyances.
- · While apartments and studios provide a cheaper alternative, they may lead to other problems, such as a lack of structure and services, as well as issues with meals and social activities, etc.
Give it some thought before choosing.
7. Our group package:
· Our group package, which includes an expert guide who specializes in your chosen destination, remains the ideal solution.
· It is important to remember that there are many skiers who consider themselves experts on these specialized destinations after a single ski trip in the Alps.
· Your guide serves a very important purpose – his goal is to ensure that each member of the group fully enjoys the many benefits that so often make the difference between the vacation of a lifetime and a mediocre trip.
Once again, it is a personal choice. However, if you think group packages are like boot camp, think again – all group members enjoy total freedom.
- · Skiing involves risks that must be taken into account.
- · It is important to be adequately insured from the moment you begin your holiday until the moment you return home.
- · Cancellation insurance and combined travel insurance should meet all your needs.
- · Make sure you have a comprehensive plan that will cover you in the event of a skiing accident and that includes coverage for an early return home due to an accident or some other mishap.
Why take a chance? This type of insurance is quite inexpensive, so give it the consideration it deserves.
9. Off-piste... DANGER!
“Although we may revere its slopes, the mountain can be merciless. I am convinced that there would be far fewer victims, if skiers had a better understanding of a few compulsory safety regulations.
Off-piste skiing is reserved for certified skiers. I recommend retaining the services of a local professional guide. Ski schools offer good individual and group programs. Professional guides are well worth the cost, because they know where to find freshly covered slopes and they will show you all the best local spots – in other words, they are your guarantee of maximum enjoyment!!!”
10. Did you know?
- · What could be more exciting than planning a ski trip? We eagerly look forward to that moment when we will open our eyes upon a magical landscape, fill our lungs with fresh air, and boost not only our spirits, but our bodies as well.
- · Fuelled by our own enthusiasm, we try to plan the perfect adventure down to every little detail. However, when preparing to face winter conditions, skin care and overall physical fitness require just as much planning as your luggage.
- · Your skin should be well hydrated at all times, particularly when you are planning a plane trip followed by high altitude exposure to sun or harsh weather.
- · Consider using a moisturizer that suits your skin type to counteract the harmful effects of the air inside the plane cabin which tends to be very dry, low in oxygen, and often stale.
- · Once you arrive, the higher altitudes will increase your hemoglobin concentration which will enhance your overall oxygenation rate.
- · After you get over the jet lag, you will be ready to take on the slopes, the wind, the snow and the sun! But beware of sunburns! The combined effect of the wind, the cold, and the sun reflected off vast expanses of snow can be quite damaging.
- · It is important to learn how to protect yourself – wear good sunglasses and use sunscreen with UV protection, which, as long as you remember to reapply it regularly throughout the day, will also keep your skin well hydrated and protect you against burns and frostbite.