by Fiona Bell | 19th October 2023
Organising a Group Ski Holiday – A Survivors Guide
by Admin | 31st March 2023
Organising a group catered chalet holiday is not for the faint hearted, but with the right planning and preparation, you can create a memorable experience for everyone involved.
Here is our guide to organising an epic catered chalet holiday for a group of family or friends:
1. Determine the size of your group: Make sure to set a limit on the number of people in your group. Whilst it’s great to go away with a large group of friends, you don’t want to end up with a crowd so large that it looks like a ski resort flash mob every time you leave the chalet.
2. Choose your destination: How to choose the best ski resort for you? Consider the level of skiing ability of your group carefully. You don’t want to end up with a bunch of beginners on a black run, unless you’re looking for some YouTube-worthy wipeout footage.
Swipe to view our selection of resorts below 👇
3. Find a chalet: Look for a catered chalet that ticks all your boxes; whether it’s a resort central location, close to piste or a hot tub to soak in after a long day on the slopes. And if you opt for that hot tub, maybe make sure your guest list contains only those people with whom you’d be happy to share a bathtub (see point 5).
4. Catering: A catered chalet is by far the most relaxing option for a larger group because so much is included! Just remember to find out if anyone has any allergies or dietary requirements and let your chalet know well in advance. Your friends will not thank you for a last-minute catering surcharge or mid-holiday trip to the medical centre brought on by an allergic reaction. Also, calories don’t count on a ski holiday, so feel free to indulge in that extra slice of cake.
5. Room allocation: Unless you want to spend your entire holiday refereeing disagreements, it’s important to plan the room sharing arrangements carefully. Consider pairing up people who have similar habits or standards. There is always at least one monumental snorer, one person who bounces out of bed at 5.30am, and one person whose suitcase is suspiciously lacking in clean pairs of pants for a 7-night holiday……ear plugs and nose plugs are a good backstop.
6. Lift Passes: Intermediates/experts – you know you’ll regret it if you don’t go for the full area pass. Complete beginners, don’t worry about keeping up with the group and shelling out for the full area pass. You’ll basically be learning to sidestep up slopes and snowplough down almost flat runs for most of the week, and you don’t need a full area pass for this. If you want to experience a different view, or meet the group for a lunchtime bottle of Rosé in another area, you can get half day pass upgrades, or pay for a single trip up on the lift to achieve that. On second thoughts, if you’ve had half a bottle at lunch, better get a return trip.
7. Ski/Board Equipment: Most resorts will offer several options for hiring equipment. Whether you are looking for the highest quality, new season equipment, or comfy, easy to control beginners gear – pre-booking will always get you the best prices. As group leader, it is your responsibility to ensure that beheadings and concussions are kept to a minimum by showing your newbie friends how to carry skis properly. (Hint: not horizontally on your shoulder 🙄)
8. Lessons: If you’re a seasoned pro, consider hiring a private guide to show you the best untracked off-piste and local mountain restaurants. Then you can spend the evening both boring and confusing the rest of the group with phrases such as ‘backcountry’, ‘transceivers and ‘probes’. If you’re a beginner, get lessons and wear a helmet.
9. Transport: If you’re flying to resort, apply normal ‘cross-packing’ rules with a mate to make sure that you still have some socks and pants even if your suitcase goes missing at the airport. Also, give some thought to transfers from the airport. Shared or single seat transfers can be difficult to come by for some resorts, and your best option is usually a private minibus transfer. Golden rules? Book early, and book with a licensed and insured reputable company. Nothing says “rookie mistake” like finding yourself stranded at the airport or in resort, cursing the suspiciously cheap transfer company your mate persuaded you it would be fine to book.
10. Delegate: As group leader, you’ll be managing the booking and payment processes, deciding room allocation, making sure everyone has all the information they need, and answering constant questions from that one mate who simply doesn’t listen. On top of this, you’ll need to provide the chalet with a certain amount of information about each guest; name, ages (if under 18), dietary requirements, lift passes, birthdays/special requests, arrival and departure times etc. We recommend you identify the biggest excel ninja in the group and tasking them with collating all this information in one uber-spreadsheet. We all have at least one spreadsheet junkie in our lives, and this is their moment. (Hint: want to be disgustingly organised? Use a Google Form to collect all the info for you 🤓).
11. Take the plaudits: Congratulations! You are officially the brains behind the most successful and memorable group catered chalet holiday ever! Legendary, never to be repeated and the chief topic of conversation at group gatherings for years to come.
Stand up, take a bow and wait for the praise and free drinks to start flowing in from the rest of the group……….or not (ungrateful wretches).
Morgan loves nothing more than to chat about ski holidays (we’re just warning you!). He knows our resorts and chalets inside out, is a dab hand in a chalet kitchen, and has some great restaurant recommendations (particularly if you’re looking for anything cheese-related! 🧀).