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Trade cerulean waters and powder-soft sands for snowy slopes and alpine trees with a ski trip. Europe is known as having some of the best ski destinations in the world from France and Switzerland to Italy and Austria, and with close proximity to the UK you can easily spend both a weekend break and a longer holiday in the mountains. Whether you consider yourself a pro or this is your first time, our expert team have compiled 16 top tips that you should take when booking a European ski getaway.
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  • Joe Head
    Sales Support

    Expertise: Expert skier, intermediate snowboarder and Level 2 instructor
     

  • 1)    When it comes to Europe the ski season tends to start in December and end mid-April so bear that in mind when booking your travel.

  • 2)    Europe has a destination for all levels of ski ability. France should be your go-to for beginners. Whether you decide to jet down the pistes of Courcheval, Meribel or Val Thorens, there are plenty of green and blue slopes which are the best to build your confidence. Experts will find their new stomping ground in Switzerland thanks to its steep mountains and abundance of black and red runs while Italy offers a mixture of runs for intermediates or if you’re part of a group that has varying experience.

  • 3)    In terms of hotels, it’s always best to stay near a ski lift to guarantee you’re never too far from all the action. For beginners, opt for a hotel that’s close to the bottom of the mountain. Many of these properties have access to exclusive car services that can take either yourself, your equipment or both back from the slopes. I’ve found that first-timers are often caught off guard at just how heavy some of the equipment can be!

  • 4)    Getting involved in après-ski is one of my top recommendations. From La Rogue Restaurant & Après-Ski and Le Farinet Verbier SA in Verbier to The Mooserwirt and Krazy Kanguruh in Austria, there is some amazing nightlife out there! I recently went to Folie Douche in Meribel for après-ski and it was amazing. To find out more about my experience click here.

  • 5)    W Verbier is an amazing hotel for skiers who are after a luxury getaway as it’s the only ski-in, ski-out resort in the area. It has a relatively short transfer time from the airport compared to other Verbier hotels which makes it fab for a short weekend break. There’s a concierge service that can organise fantastic ski activities and more, and the après-ski facilities are wonderful. If that wasn’t enough, there are also six restaurants and bars, a spa and chalet-style accommodation. 

  • Jenni Bonifacio
    Sales Support Manager
    Expertise: Novice skier, novice snowboarder. Repped a five month ski season and itching to get back in the mountains!

  • 6)    One of my top tips is to pre-book as much as you can from lessons to equipment hire and ski passes! No matter your destination and how many ski schools there seem to be, they often get booked up well in advance. To avoid disappointment, I would say to secure lessons at least a couple of months prior to travelling. When it comes to hiring equipment, make sure to research the best stores in the area. However, when booking with Winged Boots, we are more than happy to assist with booking lessons, experiences and equipment on your behalf so please let us know when enquiring about your next getaway.

  • 7)    Listen to the experts. Even if you’ve been skiing before, one thing I’ve learnt is to always take the advice of the ski experts whether that be the instructors or equipment hire professionals. Even if you think your boots are too tight, trust me, they’re not! If they’re loose then your bruised shins will soon let you know.

  • 8)    Watch your alcohol consumption. Yes, you’re on holiday and après-ski is awesome and should definitely be a ski getaway staple however due to the change in altitude, alcohol can affect you in ways it otherwise wouldn’t back home. Pace yourself!

  • 9)    While you may think that when you’re going skiing you have to wear the thickest coat and trousers known to man, it’s so crucial to layer. This is exceptionally important in March and April when the sun can be warm even though you’re surrounded by snow. Wearing sun-protection is an absolute must as snow reflects UV rays and can cause sun burn.
     
    Winged Boots Recommends: Coola Classic Sport Face SPF50 White Tea, £30, spacenk.com

  • 10)    Invest in good quality ski googles. You can get blinded from the flying snow even when you’re going as slow as 6mph. If you’re on the hunt for some fantastic ski googles, you can’t go wrong with Oakley. Founded in 1975, it has a great reputation and its products deliver when it comes to performance thanks to the high-tech science involved. 
     
    Winged Boots Recommends: Oakley Airbrake® XL Snow Goggle in Polished White/Prizm Snow Torch Iridium, £245, Oakley.com
     

  • Rachel Lane
    Content Writer
    Expertise: Intermediate skier who has regularly taken to the pistes since the age of two

     

  • 11)    Time is vital when booking your ski break with the amount of snow fall being a very important factor. While digging your edges in to a freshly laid carpet of crisp snow is tremendously satisfying, skiing while the snow is falling can decrease visibility which makes navigation down the slopes tricky at times. My top tip would be to visit Europe late in the season, towards March. There are less snowstorms which mainly occur overnight which leaves your days clear and sunny. 

  • 12)    Bring your own boots. Getting a pair from a hire store is great for beginners but if you’re a regular or know you’ll become one, it can take a few days to get adjusted. Having your own allows you to turn up confident and raring to go with boots that you know are going to work for you. Skis are something you can purchase but it’s not necessary. Renting skis from a hire store mean you can keep up to date with the latest technology and design year-on-year, and they’ll be prepped and adjusted in store for you personally. Your ski ability is taken into consideration, too.

  • 13)    Stay in catered accommodation. While during the holiday you may well be active and happy to go for meals and make the most of après-ski, some nights you might be tired from your day on the slopes and want to take the easy option. There are some incredible catered chalet options and hotels with amazing restaurants that will give you a true taste of both local and international cuisine.
     
    Image: Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains St. Moritz

  • 14)    Carry a snack in your pocket. When hunger hits on the side of a mountain you don’t want to be miles away from the nearest hill side restaurant or café. Avoid getting hangry by having a sugary snack or chocolate bar to tide you over and keep energy levels up.

  • 15)    Stay hydrated. With the combination of afternoon après and days of activity, don’t underestimate the amount of water you will need to keep your levels topped up. 

  • 16)    Transfer times are incredibly important when booking a ski getaway, especially if you’re only going for a few days. Choose a resort that’s too far away from the airport and you might spend most of your time travelling to your destination instead of skiing. Anywhere from one to two-and-a-half hours is standard when it comes to ski transfers in Europe.

    If you have a hankering to break in your new ski boots and head to some of Europe’s premier ski destinations, then Winged Boots has you covered. To book, enquire here or call one of our personal travel managers on 0203 816 0985 now.

Guy Humphrey

Guy Humphrey is a Content Writer

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