13 mistakes to avoid when booking a ski holiday

Touring or hiking, skinning or alpine skiing: whatever its nickname, its popularity has exploded, as have the ways to try it. Larger resorts from Kitzbühel to Courchevel build dedicated routes ideal for a scenic workout – without the need for a guide (you’ll need a trained host to venture off-piste). Val Thorens opens this season its first area dedicated to ski touring, La Camille: a groomed climb and two descents, one of which is ungroomed. When you’re ready for the backcountry, Zermatters Ski School (zermatters.ch) offers a five-hour guided taster experience for £232 pp, including equipment hire.

9. Travel by train instead of plane

Avoid the hustle and bustle of the airport by taking the train, as more than 5,000 British skiers did last season. Travelski Express (uk.travelski.com), exclusive supplier of the direct Eurostar service from London to the Alps (Moûtiers and Bourg-Saint-Maurice) offers civilized day trips, from London with wine and meals served in Premier and Business Premier . This winter, skiers will also be transported from the resort to their accommodation (or as close as possible under local access laws).

Returns depart from France on the Saturday after the last day of skiing. Packages include a direct train return, accommodation, transfers and a lift pass serving a host of French favorite destinations including, new this winter, Courchevel, La Rosière and Val Thorens.

10. Make it a multi-trip winter

Multi-station lift passes are a staple of skiing across the pond and it’s also a growing trend on the continent. There’s money to be saved by flashing your Epic Pass (epicpass.com) around the world – in Europe alone the Epic Pass gives 22 days of lift passes in 26 areas – five days in Verbier 4 Valleys, seven days at 3 Valleys, seven days at Skirama Dolomiti, three days at Ski Arlberg, plus 20% off food, accommodation and lessons. New this year, there is also unlimited access to Andermatt. Bonus: Vail Resorts recently announced that a cap on ticket sales will not affect Epic Pass holders. Plan.

11. Plump for some private benefits

The days of not moving the ice in giant group lessons are over. Make up for lost time with a tailor-made private instructor. Maison Sport (maisonsport.com) allows you to evaluate and choose from 1,200 independent instructors in some 350 European resorts. “Our site is unique in that you can really personalize your experience by speaking directly with the instructor before you arrive,” says Nick Robinson, co-founder of Maison Sport.

While you’re there, also forego the agonizing wait for coach transfers. VIP SKI (vip-chalets.com) makes the process easy with your own driver and private transfer from Lyon, Grenoble or Chambery airports at a very reasonable extra charge – from £12 return to Portes du Soleil and from from £48 round trip in the Tarentaises, if you stay in one of its properties.

12. Make it a season

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