Snowboard group trip
August 26, 2010 10:35 AM   Subscribe

Snowboarding trip plan help: Europe, catered, 10-20 people. Anonymous because it's a surprise for a lurker.

I'd like to plan a snowboard/ski holiday and I'm not sure where to start. Even though I've attended in the past this is the first time I'll be organizing it.

Are there good message boards that I can peruse to get an idea of locations, chalets, resorts?

If you have recommendations, these are my queries:
- Been to France (Morzine, La Tania) a few times but open for other suggestions (maybe Italy but no idea if it's good). Probably a no for eastern Europe like Slovenia (at least for this trip).
- This is for mid January. Am I already too late to plan this?? We usually go in March and book in October.
- Looking for a catered chalet for 10-20 people. Last year was 13 people for £375 a person for a week, so something close to that would be good.
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Look into Tirol or Südtirol. Especially where I live: Ratschings or Gadertal. It's 30 minutes from Innsbruck airport and 2.5 hours from Munich airport. Vollpension is full board qns halbpension is just breakfast and supper. You might be grabbing a bite between slopes for lunch. The ski areas are excellent and there's lots to do in the evenings. The food is delicious and we're friendly people.
posted by uauage at 2:16 PM on August 26, 2010

The easiest way to do this is to call up a tour operator and ask, and book. You'd probably want to haggle over a group discount. Names that spring to mind include Skiworld, Mark Warner, Ski Total/Ski Esprit.

In my personal opinion, Skiworld is the best of those (disclaimer: I worked for them. My opinion is based on having seen their inside workings, and having heard the stories from other seasonnaires working for the other companies).

To be honest, there's not a huge amount to consider, because the size of your group will be the biggest constraint as to where you can stay. See if you can go somewhere high-altitude (e.g. Tignes), because you're more likely to have snow.

Booking early, you'll pay brochure price - i.e the full amount. This was often a sticky subject, because if you're willing to leave it late and don't care where you go, you can get significant discounts. So you'd get two groups staying in a chalet - one would have booked aaages ago and paid the whole price, the other would've plumped for X resort, X chalet last minute and gotten as much as 50% off. However, with a group of 10-20, I suspect you'll need to have some certainty, so probably best to book early.

Regarding add-ons etc. - don't book any kind of packed lunch before you go. Packed lunches used to be like honesty bars - a way for chalet hosts to make some extra money. You'd give them €X for the week, they'd do you a baguette every day. The tour ops are trying to gouge this now - you pre-book, pay €2X, and get the same thing at the end of it.

As for things like lift passes - I'm reasonably sure the tour ops don't make a profit on this, so if they try and sell you one on the coach up the mountain, take it. They should deliver it to your chalet, and it'll save a ton of hassle, because they'll either call it through and it will be bought that afternoon, or someone will pick it up for you in the morning (assuming they haven't pre-bought a few hundred).

Skis - hire them yourselves, they charge more and take a cut.

I've heard good things about St Anton and Mayrhofen, and worked Tignes (which has the Espace Killy, so plenty of good skiing).

Sorry I can't be more precise on location, chalets etc. - these companies have tons of places all over Europe, North America. Really, just call up - make it clear that you're ringing round various tour ops for a good quote, and you're not too fussed where you go. Tell them the group size, what you want, and when you want to go. Ask for their best quotes for two or three locations. Do this for lots of tour ops.

Look up each resort, work out if it's going to have snow, what the apres is like. Make a list of your favourites. Ideally, some of the resorts will overlap (e.g. two of them both offer a chalet in Les Deux Alpes). Call the one with the higher price, say tour operator "X" has said they can do it for £Y, can you beat that? Then call X and say tour op A has said they'll do it for £B. Batter them down on price, work the group discount angle. If you're a week or two after New Year, it's not busy for them, and they've been hit by the recession (less customers), they should be able to offer a discount. Make it clear that you don't want to pay brochure price.
posted by djgh at 6:05 AM on August 27, 2010

You might want to review the forums of Epic Ski. It is a pretty common question to ask about the different resorts in Europe. Not sure how much real estate chatter will be there but there will certainly be a lot of talk about the different ski areas.
posted by mmascolino at 6:05 AM on August 27, 2010

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