9 Tips for Planning the Perfect Ski Holiday
With so many snow holiday destinations to choose from and many factors to consider – booking a ski trip can be overwhelming for many of us. If you’re the one in charge of booking the next group ski trip, our 9 tips below will have you feeling less overwhelmed and packed with the information you need to book the holiday of a lifetime.
1. Choose your ski resort
There’s no better way to start planning an unforgettable snow holiday than deciding where you’ll be hitting the slopes! Choosing your ski destination will give you a clear idea of what budget you need, the different types of accommodation available, and which activities you can take part in during your holiday.
We are spoilt for powder-packed ski resorts across the globe, so if you’re looking to travel locally in Australia or far and wide you will certainly find a destination suitable for you and your group.
If you want a ski resort close to home in Australia, Perisher Valley offers fantastic facilities for singles, couples and families. Perisher is huge – in fact, it’s the biggest ski resort in Australia! It’s made up of four great ski areas, Perisher Valley, Mount Blue Cow, Guthega and Smiggins Holes, and each one is good for either beginner, intermediate or advanced skiers. Perisher also offers plenty of hire centres, ski lessons, restaurants and accommodation options so you’re sure to find everything you need for the ultimate ski holiday.
2. Know when to travel
Choosing your ski resort and travel dates are two decisions to be made before booking your ski holiday. If you’re tied to a certain week due to work or school holidays, this may influence where you can ski too.
Best time to ski in Australia:
In Australia, most resorts open their ski season on the June long weekend and will close at the end of September or early October, depending on snow cover. The peak season runs from late June or early July through to early September with July and August offering up the best snow and conditions, due to being the coldest months of the year.
In 2022, the Australian ski season kicked off early, with Perisher in NSW reopening their slopes on the 3rd of June, ahead of the long weekend, and Mount Hotham and Falls Creek joining in the fun not long after. If you want to save money or haven’t skied before, aim for September, which is a little more relaxed, less crowded and more cost-effective.
Best time to ski in New Zealand:
In New Zealand, the resorts tend to open in late June to early July. The resorts need a good month or two to get to a peak snowpack and get all of the terrain open. Many say the best months to a ski holiday in New Zealand with the right amount of coverage and wintery snow is mid-August to mid-September.
Best time to ski in the Northern Hemisphere:
The best time to ski in the Northern Hemisphere is in the main season from December to March. During those months, most resorts offer the best snow conditions, and it is possible to find less busy times between major holidays. Some resorts have their best snow in mid-January, while others have the perfect conditions in February or March.
3. Choose your accommodation
Choosing the best ski accommodation for your snow holiday is one of the more exciting decisions to make when researching your holiday. But with so many options available it can be difficult to know which is right for you and your travel party. You can choose to live it up in modern apartments, luxury chalets or exclusive hotels, or opt for a self-catered apartment, budget hotel or even hostel accommodation.
When deciding on your accommodation, make sure you check the exact location of the chalet you like. It’s also wise to check if it’s a ski-in, ski-out accommodation to be on the slopes and close to the nightlife, otherwise you’ll need to book transfers to the snow each day.
If you’ve chosen Perisher Ski Resort, our Eiger Chalet is a slice of mountainside paradise that may be the perfect accommodation for you. Nestled in the snow, with a world-class restaurant and a vibrant Apres-ski scene. All the hard work is taken out of it with breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner all taken care of. Surrounding yourself with like-minded chalet guests makes for a fun and sociable setting.
4. Get organised and know what to pack/hire
A snow holiday demands good preparation, and no matter how many times you’ve travelled to the snow, getting organised can be a challenge. Ski holiday packing is mainly about warmth and can require a few essentials for a pleasant trip. The last thing you want to do is forget to pack or hire an item that can be a costly experience once you arrive at your ski resort!
As with most activities or hobbies, buying all the gear can be a big investment. It’s always a good idea to give the sport a go before diving in and buying everything up front. If it’s your first skiing holiday it makes much more sense to hire gear where you can as much as you can.
From jackets, pants, boots, helmets, skis and poles many of these can be hired in advance at a relatively good price. If you’re travelling to Perisher Valley, check out our guide to hiring ski gear for everything you need to know before your visit.
5. Book your tickets and lift pass
Lift passes are your ticket to the mountains and most resorts offer tiered options which give you access to a range of different ski areas within one resort. Your length of stay and overall experience will determine which lift pass is best for you and the people you travel with.
Depending on your chosen ski resort, the Epic Pass might be a great investment. It’s a pass all packaged up that comes with a range of benefits and can be a cheaper option for many ski holidays.
6. Organise your ski transfers
The beauty of staying at ski-in ski-out accommodation is you don’t need to worry about booking ski transfers to the slopes every day. You’ll be right there on the snow and at the end of the day, simply ski back to the front door of your accommodation, unclip your skis and kick back for some relaxation.
The more you travel to ski resorts, the more you will begin to notice how much these places are designed to offer the best possible experience to skiers and guests. Ski-in ski-out is just one of many ways they can offer a memorable experience to travellers.
Alternatively, if you’ve booked to stay off the slopes, transfers are something you need to plan and book in advance. You can travel by bus, skitube or car if you have that option. If you’re holidaying in Perisher, the Skitube is a Swiss-designed rack-rail train that is the quickest and most convenient way to travel to, from and around the ski resort.
7. Plan your itinerary with fun activities
There are so many fun activities that you can do on and around the snow to fill up your itinerary. From shopping up a storm, tobogganing, snow play and lessons.
In the Perisher Centre (located on Front Valley) you will find an array of retail outlets to visit and shop. This is also where you will find a supermarket, medical centre, pharmacy, and post office, all close at hand ensuring a safe and enjoyable snow holiday.
If you’re keen to find somewhere to take the kids to enjoy some snow play, throw a snowball, build a snowman, or have some fun on a toboggan Perisher has a dedicated area for snow play.
Lessons or refreshers are great for beginners through to advanced. Whether you’re starting out or keen on an adventure, some pointers from a qualified coach can help you and the people you are travelling with get the most out of your week.
8. Book your restaurants in advance
Once you’ve booked your resort, it’s time to plan where you want to wine and dine. Ski resorts are busy, with many of them booking out in advance, and the last thing you want after a full day on the snow is to have nowhere to sit back, relax and eat.
Perisher offers some great restaurants and bars in a range of unique locations. From cosy bars, late-night spots and dining options you can choose from à la carte, càfe style, casual bistro, tapas, BBQ or grab and go. You’re sure to find a few great options to book.
White Spider is one of Perisher’s finest spot to wine, dine and unwind. Experience our fun Apres-ski scene or settle in for an unforgettable on-snow dining experience.
9. A few things to remember before you go
Now that your holiday is planned and your ski resort is booked, there are just a few things you need to do before you go:
- Buy ski/travel insurance – If you booked with your credit card, you can often get coverage through the credit card you booked with, or you can research the best travel insurance for snow holidays.
- Check the weather forecast – Like anywhere the weather is unpredictable. Make sure you check the weather forecast for your destination a few days before you travel so you can make any adjustments to what you’ve packed.
- Check your bank cards’ expiry dates: It happens to the best of us, an expired card on your big trip. The best thing you can do is check your card’s expiry at least a month before you go, ensuring enough time for a replacement to be received.
Planning your ski trip can be one of the most exciting parts of your holiday. From researching activities to looking at possible ski accommodation options available to you, you’ll soon be completely committed to making your dream snow holiday a reality!