How often have you sat in a pub or over a meal with a group of friends and said ‘let’s all go skiing together’? And how often have those conversations fizzled out in a flurry of conflicting emails, Facebook messages or What’s App chats as you struggle to figure out who’s actually going, what kind of accommodation you all want, and even where you might go?
So, for anyone who’s ever dreamed of sitting in a cosy chalet with their best pals, and chatting about the day’s skiing over a bottle or three of red, here, with the help of our own friends at Crystal Ski, are our seven tips for turning that ski dream into a reality.
BEFORE YOU GO
1 Take charge
Democracy is a fine thing, but not when you’re planning a ski holiday. Someone’s got to be boss at this or you’ll drown in a welter of well-intentioned suggestions. If it was your idea, you take charge, do your research and when you have something you’re happy with, go back to the group. Crystal Ski have advisors who can help you kick around the options till you find one that works. Use them. *
2 Self-catering or catered chalet? You make the call
Either can work, but that’s the trouble. Either/or options will just lead to confusion and even conflict. And trying to cover every request for a hammam, or a husky-sled ride to the lifts will drive you mad. Frankly, your friends will all secretly thank you for doing the leg work so they don’t have to.
3 Likewise on where to go – and when.
If you throw this one out for discussion you’ll never get a decision. So, keep it simple. Choose an easy-to-get-to ski resort with good all-ability terrain so powder lovers can get their fix while the more inexperienced can work their way from green to blue. As for dates, if your absolute best friend is a teacher, then only half-term or the Easter hols will work. If that’s not an issue, you decide. January is obviously cheaper, but in March the sun’s usually warmer and the ski days are longer. Once you have a plan, present your idea as a simple ‘who’s in?’
3 Don’t be afraid of commitment
OK, so we don’t recommend insisting on a full payment on the spot. Everyone needs a bit of notice. But it’s likely your holiday of choice will ask for an upfront payment when you book, so a deadline for a down payment is essential. With Crystal, group discounts are available all season for groups of 10 or more booking together. And the larger the group size, the greater the maximum saving. So, first step: find out who is actually in and set a date for a firm commitment, so that when you book you can then ask for their deposit. And be sure they know when the balance is due. Here you might have to appeal to their better nature so you don’t end up paying out of your own pocket for your skint mate who then drops out.
4 Don’t panic if you need to make late changes
Most of us have at least one friend who’s a tad flaky when it comes to commitments and for whatever reason is sorry but something has come up and so.... And perhaps someone knows someone who really really wants to tag along. Not to worry, Crystal will make name changes for free if you need them to (up to four weeks before departure when flying with TUI).
4 Call room service
Sort out who’s sharing with who before you go to save any room shot-gunning wars. Crystal will email you a room list so rooms can be allocated in advance.
5 Extra, extra…
Who’s having ski lessons? Who needs equipment hire? Sort out all your ski extras before you even get on a plane. Crystal can call group members separately to arrange payment and their ski essentials – lift pass, equipment hire and tuition - so you’ll have more time to spend on the slopes (or in the bar) once you arrive in resort.
6 Make friends with your tech
Download the free, custom-made Crystal Ski Explorer App and get familiar with the ‘My Friends’ feature. It’s a really useful way of locating your friends, wherever you are. You can see where everyone is at - on the piste or in resort - and work out where to meet for a drink or maybe tackle that final run of the day together. It's secure and simple to use - only the friends you invite can see where you are and share their location with you
7 There’s a time for everything
And the check-in desk an hour before departure is not the time for someone to realise they’ve forgotten their passport or gone to the wrong terminal. Draw up a final check-list for your friends and make sure everyone knows what time you are meeting, exactly where and exactly what they need. One thing worth considering: if you’ve got a chatty bunch of mates, you might want to consider taking the ski train. Not only do you get more space for your luggage (including your skis/board), you and your group can all sit together, making it the sociable way to travel. Check out snowcarbon.co.uk
Actually, if you’ve done all the above, all you need to do now is ski!
For more information or to book visit crystalski.co.uk
**If you're a group of 10 or more, get in touch with Crystal’s team so that they can help you find the ski holiday to meet all your needs. Call 020 8610 3123 to discuss your options. (Groups of 10+ can’t be booked online)
In association with Crystal Ski