Be warned: if you’re choosing a skiing holiday for the first time, you’ll almost certainly end it by being bitten by the skiing bug. So, if you’re prepared to get hooked on skiing, you’ll need to start thinking about your destination. You don’t need to go further afield than the USA, which boasts plenty of fabulous skiing resorts, but there are also some fantastic destinations in Europe for those who don’t mind taking their skiing adventure further afield.
The slopes of the mountainous West in the US have earned a well-deserved international reputation for excellent skiing, but the East Coast has its fair share of genuine skiing jewels. New Hampshire’s Bretton Woods, for example, features no fewer than 102 alpine trails and other trails. There are also world-class amenities in the resort, so you’ll have plenty of choice over accommodation, dining and those après-ski activities.
If you’re bringing the kids with you, the biggest and most family-friendly ski resort in North America might be your optimal choice: Smuggs Notch in Vermont. Family-friendliness is in its DNA and there are plenty of off-the-slope extras to keep the kids occupied when they’ve taken their skis off, including an ice rink, indoor and outdoor heated pools, a kids’ zone and a full program of family activities.
Those of you considering a hop across the pond to Europe might want to try out one of the world’s biggest ski resorts: Les Alpes 2. Its high-altitude glacier slopes guarantee excellent snow conditions for skiing throughout the year. Children as young as 1 can enjoy this resort, sliding on the snow with the ingenious ‘Baby Snow’ device invented by one of the resort’s own instructors. Older kids can try out the thrills of a ski jump, minus the risks: the resort features a “Big Air Snowbag” for safe landing! Teens (whose preferences are sometimes neglected in ski resorts) can also try out a mini snowmobile, an ice glider, a winter Segway and even help the ski patrol team open the slopes.
If you’re going to need to keep an eye on your budget, you’ll find it hard to beat Madonna di Capiglio resort in Italy. It’s extremely popular among families with school-aged children and offers excellent value for your money (and fabulous Italian cuisine to sate you hunger after a day on the slopes).
Before you set off, decide whether you want to invest in a set of alpine skis . True beginners might do well to rent skis at the resort initially to find out which size and style most suits them before making a purchase. But whether you buy skis or not, you’ll need to ensure you’ve invested in the right ski clothing. A breathable waterproof and windproof outer jacket is a must to shield you from the wind and keep moisture from your second layer of clothing. Your second layer is for warmth – a fleece or a wool jumper – while your base layer should be designed to keep you dry by wicking sweat away from your body.
In summary, when you’re contemplating a skiing holiday, you’ve got plenty of options stateside and in Europe, whether you’re taking kids in tow or you’re on a budget. But remember, once you’ve started, you’re going to want to get your skis on again and again. Enjoy!