Get ready to swoop with sheer de­light

The Sunday Telegraph - Travel - - Front Page -

ou’re go­ing to love it, I prom­ise.” Ah, the words of the ski­ing or snow­board­ing evan­ge­list. You’ve heard it from a ski­ing spouse, zealot friends or en­thu­si­as­tic chil­dren, who are cer­tain they’ll be able to lure you into the chapel of the moun­tain. They’ve told you how ski­ing com­bines the swoop­ing ex­hil­a­ra­tion of surf­ing with the cy­clist’s sense of jour­ney­ing. They’ve told you about the thrill of feed­ing a need for speed, mas­ter­ing a new skill, com­muning with na­ture ( just don’t men­tion mind­ful­ness) and cel­e­brat­ing your achieve­ment with the après ski.

But still you’re not so sure. You’ve no idea how to plan it or what to ex­pect. Or per­haps you’re just un­will­ing be­cause you’ve heard tales of der­ring-do, of first-timers be­ing taken by friends to the top of steep slopes and told, “You’ll work it out soon enough”, of adults be­ing thrown into a class of five-year-olds be­cause they were so hope­less.

Here we ad­dress those nag­ging rea­sons why you’ve never taken the plunge – and give you all the in­for­ma­tion you need to en­joy your first time on the moun­tain and keep you com­ing back for more. You’re go­ing to love it, we prom­ise…

QYHow do I even ar­range a ski hol­i­day? If you’re used to in­de­pen­dent travel, you might find things trick­ier in the moun­tains. Trans­fers are long and These have changed since the days of rice-pa­per walls be­tween rooms, din­ners of tuna bake with a corn­flake top­ping, ac­com­pa­nied by Château de Vi­nai­gre wine. Stan­dards – and prices – vary, but well-trained staff, flex­i­ble high-qual­ity meals, and maybe a spa are on of­fer. Some ac­com­mo­date as few as four peo­ple (and there are also ro­man­tic, sin­gle-room bolt-holes). mak­ing you com­fort­able – and there are plenty of these in the Alps, es­pe­cially in Aus­tria and Switzer­land. If you choose the higher end, then the ser­vice and fa­cil­i­ties will eas­ily wash away any tum­ble-re­lated aches and pains. Plus, it’s easy to keep

steep, and you need to or­gan­ise so much – lift passes to get you (and the chil­dren) up the moun­tain, skis and boots, lessons at ski school. So book a pack­age hol­i­day, at least the first time.

Q Who can help with that? Spe­cial­ist tour op­er­a­tors such as Crys­tal (crys­tal.co.uk) of­fer spe­cific be­gin­ners’ pack­ages. For fam­i­lies there are ex­perts such as Esprit Ski (es­prit­ski.

com), which will ar­range child­care and lessons. For all-in­clu­sive ski hol­i­days, spe­cial­ists such as Club Med (clubmed. co.uk) go the whole hog with lunch, drinks, child­care and evening en­ter­tain­ment all part of the deal.

Qy­our­self to your­self if you pre­fer.

Like chalets, these are run by Bri­tish tour op­er­a­tors, so no eclec­tic, in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence, but plenty of like-minded ca­ma­raderie and a whole lot of value.

What if I want some­thing a bit lux­u­ri­ous? Worry not. The higher end of the mar­ket fea­tures high-spec chalets and four and five-star ho­tels, pro­vided by the likes of Con­sen­sio (con­sen­sio chalets.co.uk) and Scott Dunn (scottdunn.com). Ski-ori­en­tated travel agents and be­spoke spe­cial­ists in­clude Ski So­lu­tions (skiso­lu­tions. com) and Mo­men­tum Ski (mo­men­tum­ski. com). Fancy four days in an apart­ment with a view of the Mat­ter­horn, he­li­copter trans­fers and cham­pagne on tap? Just ask…

QWhat if I don’t ski? Many Alpine re­sorts were hol­i­day des­ti­na­tions be­fore crazy Vic­to­ri­ans tried “ski-run­ning”, so there’s no lack of ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties.

Stick at it and you’ll soon be smil­ing, main; chil­dren quickly get the hang of it, be­low left

Chalets have come a long way

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