Do you LOVE skiing, but maybe not as much as you once did? Have things got a bit ‘samey’? Has it become a bit of a routine year after year? Well, maybe you are stuck in a ‘Ski Holiday Rut’.
The funny thing about a metaphorical skiing rut is that it behaves just like an actual skiing rut: You are cruising along merrily when you fall into the well-grooved track laid down by others, and you are no longer making your own turn…and not to push the metaphor too much – you must course correct or you’ll fall over.
Well, I am here to get you out of that rut. I want you to have the best ski holiday you’ve had in years, by ditching a few bad habits, changing the routine and investing in your game. This is how…
- Think differently about how you travel to the Alps
There are no easy ways to get to the Alps, but there are a few hard ones. An easy win is to kill the transfer…the last weary and often surprisingly expensive leg of any journey to the Alps. If you are an Oligarch you could fly straight into Courchevel in your private plane, but for the rest of us, the train option to Bourg St Maurice is almost as good. You can literally walk from the platform to the Funicular and be up in Les Arcs in 7 minutes. Alternatively go for a resort like La Clusaz, Chamonix or Morzine which are only about an hour from Geneva Airport. Not only will the last leg of the trip not be such a grind, you will also save on the randomly expensive transfers costs that come with lengthy airport runs.
Another good travel habit to get out of is the presumption that you have to travel like some pack animal when you go to the mountains. Shlepping massive bags of ski gear, especially skis and boots is a pain that these days you can outsource to specialists like SendMyBag.com and Sherpr.com. With the hidden baggage costs of the budget air crowd, it’s not even that much more expensive. Pre-sending your gear and breezing into the resort – while others labour like yaks – gives you the kind of inner peace that money just can’t buy.
2. Change The Accommodation Model
The fan of Catered trips will tell you it is about being looked after and not having to lift a finger – but they will also be on a schedule and not get to choose what they eat. The self-catered fan will defend the lower prices and freedom to play things by ear, but will also find themselves trudging to supermarkets and scrubbing pans.
Well, we might be biased, but we thought wouldn’t it be tremendous if you could have the prices and flexibility of Self-Catering – but with the molly-coddling and convenience of Catering? This is what we set out to create when we created www.hu.ski a food and drink delivery service for self-catered holidays. It’s a ‘third way’ that means you can arrive to a full fridge and a cold beer even if you are self-catering – and everyone gets to choose what and when they eat without having to go near a supermarket.
3. Become the better skier you were always destined to be
If you want to fall back in love with skiing go back to school. This might sound counter-intuitive but trust me…whatever your standard taking some time to get some tuition will reinvigorate your whole ski experience. The number of skiers you see who have not progressed since their 12th birthday because that was the last time they took a lesson is shocking. Poor technique and bad habits limit people’s ability to enjoy the whole mountain – but more than that, working on improving your skiing will invigorate both mind and body opening up all sorts of new pathways in your brain. In other sports like Golf, Sailing or tennis it’s totally normal for adults to be constantly learning, so why not skiing?
Connected to that, get a guide! Guides will open up the mountain and find adventures that you could never dream of doing by yourself. But more than that a good guide will also help you to ‘learn’ the mountain …to read the conditions, to feel the ebb and flow of conditions and to be more aware of how to handle yourself if things go wrong. In the old days picking a good or bad guide was a bit of a lottery, but these days there are some great new companies like ongosa.com or skibro.com who will labour to find someone great to your exact spec – and can even team you up with other to bring down the cost.
4. Ski Less!
So this is a controversial one, but what if you didn’t buy a week’s lift pass? What if you stopped calling it a ski holiday and you re-framed it as a mountain holiday instead? Suddenly all sorts of other activities open up that don’t involve going up and down the mountain for 6-days straight. You could go climbing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, husky sledging, parapenting, ski-dooing, ice-sculpting…heck, you could even take it easy and hit the Spa. But the point is that the moment you commit yourself to a 6-day pass you are locked into 6 days of feeling like you need to get your money’s worth by skiing from first to last loft and you miss all the other stuff that the mountain has to offer. Going for a 4 or 5 day pass means you make space to discover new things and you will also reinvigorate yourself for the days you do ski. Take a tip from the Victorians who used to come to the mountains for a whole heap of healthy and invigorating adventures long before skiing was even a thing.
5. Get Fit before you get to the Alps
A depressing fact of life is that every year you ski you are a year older and that usually means you are a year less strong or supply. The knock on effect is that your skiing technique, stamina and ultimately enjoyment is steadily reducing – and it seems to become less about the skiing and more about the Glüwein with each passing year.
A huge way you can break this rut is to get fit before you go. You wouldn’t sign up to a 10k without doing a few runs beforehand, but your annual week of high altitude exercise is usually entered training-free. Put some work in beforehand and not only will the skiing be a joy with stronger legs and an efficient set of lungs, but your annual ski trip will start to play a much more transformational role in your whole life. It will become a positive catalyst for a healthier life, and not just your Rosé and Tartiflette fuelled guilty pleasure.
You may agree with me about some of the ruts that are out there, or you may have others you feel you have entered into. But ruts are made to be broken and if we want to keep finding the fresh tracks it’s important to call them out once in a while. See you out there!
Paddy Griffith, Founder of Huski – Food with Altitude – across the French Alps.