by Lucy Aspden, The Telegraph, October 6, 2017
We all have that friend or family member who takes it upon themselves to question our choice of spending valuable holiday time in the mountains rather than on the beach. “What’s the big deal about skiing?” they ask. It’s this question that Crystal Ski Holidays goes some way to answering in its latest video campaign.
The 90-second video is a game of expectations versus reality. While the voiceover questions what non-skiers might believe a winter holiday to be about, the action-filled footage shows the complete opposite.
This quirky new production from Crystal got us thinking – what are the most common misconceptions about ski holidays? And if you have friends and family who might never consider heading to the mountains, how can you prove to them that ski holidays are often what you least expect?
1. 'It’s too expensive'
Winter holidays aren’t reserved for the lifestyles of the rich and famous any more, with a host of budget-friendly resorts catering for even the most thrifty holidaymakers. The price of ski holidays has come under fire recently, with sterling’s tailspin threatening to spell disaster for the ski season, but skiers and snowboarders are being encouraged to book early for the best prices and make the most of incentives advertised by some operators.
2. 'Taking the kids would be a nightmare'
We won’t deny family ski holidays often come with a few twists and turns along the way . But thankfully, family-focussed operators such as Esprit Ski, Ski Famille and Mark Warner have got everything covered, and resorts are keen to welcome families of all ages to the slopes. Not only is it a great way to keep the family active on holiday, skiing or snowboarding together also provides the chance to make holiday memories like no other. But be warned, parents – there’s a possibility that one day you’ll be the one trying to keep up with them.
3. 'Why would I trade sun for snow?'
The phrase "goggle tan" exists for a reason. Visit the mountains in spring and you’ll get the best of both worlds – blue bird skies, bright sunshine and slopes with a season’s worth of snow. Grab a deckchair, slap on the sun cream and enjoy some high-altitude tanning.
4. 'I’m going to spend the week falling over'
We won’t deny that it’s going to happen at some point, but as long as you're safe and in control, it's usually only your dignity that’s bruised. And it makes for great viewing on YouTube.
5. 'Exercise isn’t fun on holiday'
Yes, skiing and snowboarding is technically a sport, and yes, technically you’re spending your holiday working out, but we challenge you to find one skier or snowboarder who says the ache in their legs after a day on the mountain – whether it be from freestyling in the terrain park, cruising the pistes or reveling in the off piste – isn’t worth it.
6. 'The accommodation resembles an old barn'
We beg to differ. Luxury chalets are a big thing in the Alps. We’re talking indoor climbing walls, wine caves and movie rooms – you name it and there’ll be a luxury chalet somewhere in the mountains that’ll have it. Even if your budget doesn’t stretch to the hefty price tags of these fancy dwellings, there’s a choice of hotels, catered chalets or self-catering apartments at every price point.
7. 'I’m too old to learn to ski'
Age is just a number, they say, and this couldn’t be more true on ski holidays – just look at the over-90-year-old skiers proving just that. When it comes to learning, we guarantee on the first day of lessons every beginner in the group will be just as baffled by the term “snowplough” as you are.
8. 'There’s nothing to do but ski'
Ice skating, dog sledding, paragliding, ice diving, ice driving, swimming, indoor surfing, snow shoeing… need we go on?
9. 'The food and drink sounds boring'
Trust us, it’s not all just cheese, bread and cured meat. As our list of best holidays for foodies proves, the mountains are a haven of Michelin stars, fine dining and local delicacies which you’ll only ever get to sample in these snowy climes.
10. 'I’d look ridiculous in the kit'
Guys, the 1980s were a long time ago and ski fashion has come a long way since then (although we’re not saying the retro look isn’t coming back into fashion though). Kit is now not only super-technical, with new innovations in goggles, helmets and jackets, it also meets every budget – and brands have gone a long way to make even the dreaded one-piece suit fashionable.
11. 'Why would I go all that way without knowing what I’m doing on the slopes?'
Check out our list of the top UK indoor ski centres and dry ski slopes and that’s that problem solved. As we proved back in February, it is possible to learn to ski indoors in the UK – in just six hours, believe it or not. This is a great option for those nervous first-timers who might be wary of splashing the cash on a ski holiday without the guarantee of actually enjoying the sport when they get there.
12. 'Ski holidays aren't relaxing'
Once the lifts shut, if you’re not caught up in an après bar somewhere, it’s time to make the most of the rejuvenating qualities of the mountains. Whether it’s a scenic walk, a spot of mountain yoga or a trip to a local spa, the health and wellness scene in ski destinations is becoming increasingly popular. If all else fails, the chalet’s hot tub with a glass of something fizzy is always a good place to start.
13. 'The nightlife is all oompah bands and lederhosen'
In truth, this is partly correct. However, it’s those oompah bands and lederhosen that make the nightlife world-famous. The number of festivals in ski resorts grows every season, with high-altitude cabaret at venues such as the Folie Douce and late-night raves in igloos at events like Snowbombing creating some of the fondest (albeit slightly blurry) holiday memories. Don’t believe us? Check out Ski Sunday presenter Graham Bell’s pick of the best après bars and clubs.