Beat the queues on this year's skiing holiday
Play it wrong, and it can feel like danger lurks around every corner, at the bottom of every slope. Choose the wrong week, the wrong time of day, or even the wrong slope and the frustration of queuing for the lift inevitably awaits you. And then tempers rise, elbows become pointed, and shuffling towards the barriers becomes uncomfortably competitive. It's a wonder skiing remains the object of such affection for so many people. The question, then, is how to minimise time spent in the dreaded queues. Below, we outline two options for avoiding the queues and recommend making a trip to a less crowded resort this winter.
Strategy one: make the best of a busy resort
You are not powerless when you find yourself in a busy resort at a busy time. Follow these suggestions to get the most of your skiing holiday:
- Get up early. Getting the first lift - think 8am - not only allows you to make tracks through virgin snow, but also guarantees the shortest queues of the day.
- Beat the ski schools. Getting up early will do this, but also spend a little time identifying - and then avoiding - the slopes most popular with ski instructors.
- Hit the quieter parts of the resort. For instance if you're in La Rosiere, check out the satellite village of Les Eucherts, or if you're in Les Gets then head across town to Mont Chery.
- Ski over lunch. The upside of over-crowded cabins at lunchtime is an emptying of the pistes. If you can satisfy your hunger with a packed lunch then do so; if not, pack plenty of Mars bars and have a late lunch when the crush is over.
- Use local knowledge. Ask your chalet hosts or ski instructors for their favourite pistes and parts of the resort.
- Make use of drag lifts. Overtake less hardy skiers put off by the discomfort of drag lifts relative to chair lifts.
- Avoid Saturday to Saturday transfers, and make the most of other skiers' departures on unusually quiet slopes.
- Brave bad weather skiing. Don't let falling snow and thick cloud put you off! As long as you're sensible, less clement weather can be a blessing, as fair weather skiiers stay in the village.
Strategy two: choose a quiet resort
Instead of having to make do in a busy resort, following the pain-minimising steps outlined above, why not choose a quieter resort? Although to the uninitiated it might seem a daunting task, those in the know can point to an abundance of quieter, equally exciting snowsport options that are available.
La Rosiere is one of many lesser known resorts in the French Alps, situated in the same region as more popular ski resorts, such as Val-d'Isere and Les Arcs, but without the attending hordes. Across the Atlantic, Canada's Whistler Blackcomb, host of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, offers a fantastic resort and skiing area without the crowds that characterise some of the resorts in the US and Canada.
For more information on skiing in La Rosiere head to Snowcrazy (www.snowcrazy.co.uk), and book Chalet Bergerie for a fully catered luxury ski holiday you're guaranteed to fall in love with. Book for January through March now for just £500pp.