Part 2 and the final installment, If you have not yet checked out Part 1 you can do so by clicking here. So after Part 1 you will have a good starting point and here I will continue to share with you the rest of my tips, methods and advice to have a cost effective and excellent Ski trip!
Ski Gear Rental
Here is another big saving opportunity, generally we will pay between £40 – £70 pounds per person for a weak of ski gear rental (Helmet, boots, decent gear). The price varies depending on if you wanted exceptionally good equipment or if you just want to trial it out for your first year. Either way, what you must do is have one person book all the gear for everyone. Again, you can utilise the online spreadsheets for this by asking everyone to fill in their details. Then you can simply email your requirements off to all the Ski shops in the area and ask them for the best price they can do for your dates.
Here is a screenshot of our groups actual details which were sent to the local Ski shops for quotations before last years trip.
The Ski and Snowboard Rental market is an extremely competitive one at the Ski resorts so having a big and potentially guaranteed order land on the lap of a Ski shop is a big deal. Ask for the best discounts, or upgrades. I have ordered Ski gear for 14 people which worked out at more than half the price I was originally quoted online. If one Ski shop is significantly closer to your Accommodation or Ski Lifts but they are a little more expensive just tell them, there is nothing wrong with being honest here.
“Look, you are 15% more expensive than Johns Ski Rental but I would rather give you the order, can you offer us any further savings?”
Take advantage of having a group size more than the average 3 or 4 family size, Rental shops want your business and generally they are managed/run by easy going, pretty cool dudes who know that you need to save a few bucks to enjoy a great trip!
Not allot you can do here. Generally the cost of the Ski pass is the cost and that is it. Best result we have had in the past is ordering the Ski pass online and getting 6 days for the price of 5. It is worth doing a quick bit of research to see if any deals are available if you buy your pass early or order online.
I made the mistake on my very first Ski holiday of buying a cheap discounted Ski jacket. I paid a big price on comfort over the next 2 years with it as I was getting completely wet in the thing. It was very warm, and it was was reasonably waterproof. Waterproof much in the same way as a black plastic bag is waterproof. It was a sweat machine!! Granted it cost me around £40, but I wish I had spent a bit extra. Being cold is shit, being wet and cold is super shit! Here is my advice.
If it is your first trip – Borrow someones Ski gear if you can (Jacket and Pants). If you cannot, then buy something of reasonable quality but don’t break the bank as in the off-chance that you find the holiday is not your thing you wont have spent too much.
If you are buying something for your first time, get something ugly, forget about brands and go with practicality. The ugly and slow to sell gear is normally heavily discounted in the off seasons. Get something waterproof but look for something breathable. I am not going to go into the particulars of this here but if you want to know more about what to buy and what all the surprisingly technical numbers a ski jacket comes with check out this guide on sportpursuit.com.
If you love it, you want to go every year for the rest of your life then look at getting yourself a GorTex Jacket. I did last year, they are excellent and very expensive. Look for one that is half price or a good second hand one and don’t look back.
Depending on where you are going this can vary allot. There might be a local coach, a train or someone might have a car. Most years we order and book a private mini bus transfer to collect us from the Airport and drop us back and the end of the week. Again, send them all your details and ask for a quotation.
If you have a smaller group it is easier to use a shared transfer which are even cheaper. Spend a bit of time on the research of the available methods and book something a few weeks before your fly off.
If you are anyone in your group need lessons. Consider a private lesson for a few of you at similar level from a ski instructor. You can generally find them all over the mountain and you will not require booking much more than a day in advance. If you get 3 or 4 of you together the costs can be cheap and work out ad £20-40 for a couple hours private lessons.
3 Tips to be a top Ski Trip Manager
Keep online backups of everything
Dropbox it all! Know everyone flight number if you are on different flights, have the Chalet owners number. Contact details and maps of all the shops you will need right away (ski rental shop, lift, supermarket)
If you do put yourself forward as the STM, you friends will greatly appreciate it but your position will come with some responsibility. You need to get things done, and sorted if they go wrong. Always keep your friends informed however but let them know everything is under control.
Keep a kitty from the start
From the day you collect deposits. Inform your friends that you will be collecting a misc cost of around £10 or so to be kept as a buffer money. Imagine one of your friends misses their flight to no reason of their own? I am sure you friends wont mind the Kitty money being used to get them on the next one!
What if a Taxi doesn’t show up? The STM has the kitty cash to get it sorted.
What if the chalet has no toilet paper, or supplies (they normally do have) – Kitty cash can save your ass!
What have we used the kitty cash for in the past? Most years we get to the end of the week with some money still left over and as a little tradition on our last night we go out for a meal a a group. We put the Kitty cash towards this meal for us all or spend it all in the bar afterwards. It is always a great finish to the week and a nice celebration that we avoided any disasters.
Why would anyone want to be the Ski Trip Manager?
Because, you make it all happen!
If you are lucky enough to have a group of great friends, and you have been brave enough to put yourself forward as the STM and everything has gone well you can be proud of your achievements and know that you have done your part in getting a great event to take place and you can put your feel up the following year and let someone else take the position and try out do you.
At the end of all our trips, if everything has went well (so far it always has) we all chip in a buy a gift for the extra efforts the STM put in to make everything happen. In the past we have gotten gifts of a GoPro for the STM, customised Ski Jackets, high end ski backbacks for days off piste and lots of free drinks of appriciation on the final night of the trips.
But honestly, having done this myself. What makes it all worth it is having gotten everyone together for another great week and adding to the lifetime of memories we as a group of friends all have together. That is the best reason to do it.
5 most costly mistakes to avoid on your trip
- Being without food and drinks on the slopes.
- Not having investigated or already arranged your ski gear rental (this will cost you at least double if you do it on the day).
- Eating out on the mountain and every evening.
- Not shopping around for the best deals on Chalets, Gear Rental, and Transfers.
- Leaving things too late!
Top 3 Best investments for your trip!
- A hydration pack, you don’t need anything expensive. I used this one for 2 years and still use the internal bladder of it now in my new backpack (which was a gift for my role as the STM on the last holiday). I cost me £11 and £2 delivery at the time and is absolutely excellent value. I bought it from Amazon if you want one. Tip: I put a drop of cordial into mine in the morning before going out for some fresh orange tasting cool liquids. 2 liters has always lasted me a full day.
- Nothing is worse than being sore all week, so if you are a beginner Skier I would recommend using some wrist supports. And if you are a beginner Snowboarder I would recommend some cheap Knee pads. Not only will they help when you fall (if you are learning to snowboard, you will fall…allot at the start), but when you are sitting around waiting you can rest on your knees without any pain! Again, a good investment. I use simple padded ones which again, from Amazon were about £11.
- Good gloves!
As promised, here is my excel sheet to book and manage a large ski trip as a STM!
I have de-personalised it somewhat and made it more generic but it will give you a great starting point if you want to take the position of a STM in the future. If so good luck and enjoy one of the greatest weeks possible!
Ski Trip manager