All-Inclusive Ski Holidays
Everything you need for your ski break – For one great price!
The concept of the commercial, all-inclusive holiday, is only about a hundred years old, but it has evolved significantly in that time.
What was once the realm of the very wealthy, is now available to a much wider range of budgets, and the packages have adjusted to include products for almost every kind of traveller – skiers included.
The hassle-free nature of all-inclusive holidays has made them one of the fastest-growing travel industry products.
But What Does It Mean to be ‘All-Inclusive’?
This should be an easy question, but the truth is, it depends.
Some packages include absolutely everything you need on your trip, from your front door to the destination and back: food, drink, fun, lodgings, transportation… everything. This kind of package is expensive though, and since most people prefer to get themselves to the airport, pay for their own alcohol, and want the freedom to choose from local restaurants when they feel like it, they are rare.
Most often, an All-Inclusive offering is simply a package deal for accommodation, some meals and some drinks. By purchasing what you need in a bundle, you save money. Travel specialists put these bundles together, based on their skill in the industry and their experience with the destinations, add a fee, and the result is a great value to the customer. The fact that they purchase a lot of these deals, and often, means that resorts give them better prices than you could get as an individual.
In short, the customer gets a tailored, high-value product at a great price – and doesn’t need to fuss with arranging the details.
Ski-Focused All-Inclusive Holidays
Since skiing, unlike many other types of holiday, requires significant equipment, passes to ride lifts, and access to often-remote skiing facilities, it is an ideal holiday type to take advantage of all-inclusive benefits.
Family ski holidays are especially favoured by all-inclusive packages, because wherever there are more needs, and those needs vary widely, the advantages of bundling the services multiply. The overall value increases, so you get more for your money. You’ll also avoid most of the work of hammering out the details. Especially if this is your first ski trip, or you have a busy life (and who doesn’t?) then that alone is a pretty attractive feature.
You can get more enjoyment for your money and avoid hassle at the same time.
All-inclusive holiday packages don’t always include all meals and drinks. Travel agents often use terms such as ‘full-board’ and ‘half-board’ to describe their offers, so it’s useful to understand this jargon beforehand.
Full-board packages usually include breakfasts, lunches and evening meals. Alcohol is often extra, though sometimes one drink per meal is included. Any food and snacks eaten between main meal times is usually extra as well.
This kind of deal works well if you want to eat your main meals at the hotel. You can still explore and try other places, but the main expense of your meals – and the decision of where to eat them – has been decided beforehand. Sometimes you’ll be given a choice of a few restaurants on the resort, or there may be only one main one.
Some resorts and travel agencies widen their full-board services by covering drinks and snacks taken outside standard meal times. Because different people consume different amounts of snacks and drinks, this addition is usually quite expensive – unless you are a pretty heavy drinker, or consume a lot of food between meals, this might not be a good value.
Providers will almost always price for heavy users, so if you are a moderate or light drinker and snacker, you will pay a high price for what you use. It is also important to really know what you’re getting into if you sign up for a package like this. Thoroughly go through the terms and conditions to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Also note that breakfasts, lunches and dinners are defined by standard meal times. If you sleep past the designated breakfast times, you’ll miss it and go straight to lunch. Likewise, if you come in too late for supper, you may find yourself paying for something else, on top of what you paid for your all-inclusive.
Half-board packages, on the other hand, usually include breakfasts and suppers, but not lunches.
Again, snacks and drinks in-between cost extra. Such bookings are best for families who plan to spend the day-time outside, or exploring adjoining villages or towns.
They are great also for those who prefer to spend the entire day on the slopes.
Read the Fine Print
These definitions and explanations are general guidelines, however, and the actual details of a package vary for certain countries, resorts and providers.
Take the time to read through everything regarding a package – not just the flashy stuff – and understand what you will receive and what you won’t, and what you’ll pay for any extras. If the terms used in the brochure lack a detailed explanation, ask the travel agent to provide you with more information.
All-Inclusive Resorts for 2019/20
Another term you will probably run into is the ‘all-inclusive resort.’
All-inclusive resorts are resorts with a standard, all-inclusive package policy. These generally include lodging, three daily meals and beverages, and other services – mostly a choice of sports, spas and outdoor activities.
All-inclusive resorts often specialise in a specific activity – skiing in this case – and cultivate a culture of amenities fully customised and tailored to the needs of this particular sport. All the resorts mentioned by name in this article, both in Europe and North America, fall into this category.
Skiing resorts and tour operators frequently offer all-inclusive packages tailored to specific types of travellers, depending on the time of year: families during Christmas, couples in February and so forth. Other resorts cater to the needs of certain types of travellers, such as singles, couples, adults, or families. These have facilities and entertainment options that best suit the needs of these demographics.
Still, certain skiing resorts are particularly known for their advantageous all-inclusive packages. Val d’ Isere and Tignes, for instance, up in the French Alps, share the combined skiing terrain of Espace Killy and are widely famed for their snow-sure terrain and great variety of main mountain access.
They boast numerous lifts, more than 15 different ski schools (some British-run) and some of the best chalets in the Alps. Resorts like these present an excellent chance for families, friends and couples to experience a high-end alpine skiing experience through favourably-priced all-inclusive packages.
For a different character, but also great value, the North American skiing resorts of Jackson Hole and Breckenridge in the USA, and Whistler and Banff in Canada, attract thousands of skiers through all-inclusive holiday bargains. These packages are known mainly for their unsurpassed food and drinks deals and fine lodgings – all on-site for some of the best skiing in the world. They take a long time to get to, however, and so a day or two of your holiday will be consumed by travel… possibly another couple for jet-lag recuperation.
What Would an All-Inclusive Ski Holiday Include?
When it comes to food and drink, this depends on whether you have picked a full-board or a half-board package. As for other amenities, services, entertainment and perks, this can vary a lot.
All-inclusive deals should include your accommodation. Many packages include flights and ground transportation to and from the resort.
For ski holidays, lift passes should be included – and make sure there are no small-print restrictions on them that might conflict with your family’s plans.
Equipment hire should be included, unless you have your own gear, and it’s worthwhile to make sure it is available at the resort site – not in town or somewhere you have to go to pick it up. If you have any beginners in your family, or a more advanced skier who wants some specialized tips, you’ll want lessons included as well.
The idea behind the all-inclusive package is to remove the hassle of arranging things from the traveller, and put it on the provider instead. Know what you want, and let your travel agent set you up with the package that ticks all of the boxes – or at least the ones that are most important to you and your family. Then you can concentrate on the whole point of the holiday: fun and relaxation with your loved ones.
The Pros and Cons of Booking an All-Inclusive Ski Holiday
For every destination, there are a hundred ways of travelling and experiencing it – probably more. Each of these will have its pros and cons, and each of these pros and cons will mean different things to different travellers.
In other words, what really matters is what your family wants… and that’s what will make a particular package deal the right fit – or the wrong one. In general though, all-inclusive deals have some pros that nearly everyone can appreciate.
Save Time, Alleviate Stress
Obviously, booking an all-inclusive holiday package saves you the hours and trouble of surfing the internet and planning every little bit of your journey by yourself, including tickets and transportation, lodgings, equipment hire, and so on.
You get to focus on the fun parts – what to do, what to see, what kind of accommodation you want, where will you eat – and the burdensome parts – the details, phone calls, bookings, confirmation emails, reservations, deposits, and repetitive form-filling – is taken care of by a professional.
Even an experienced skier with dozens of ski holidays in the past, won’t be able to stifle a smile at the thought of setting all of that work aside, all with the knowledge that it will be done right, by a travel specialist who has done it a hundred times before, and knows just what to do.
Get the Best Value for Your Money
Sometimes all-inclusive packages look expensive, but once the details are all worked out, and all of the true expenses of your holiday are factored in, they are often lower than if you had tried to book everything yourself, and nearly always give you a better overall experience than you would have had if you had done it all yourself.
Travel specialists know the ins and outs of each resort. They know what claims to believe, and which ones are stretched a little too far. They’ve been to these destinations and know what little tricks and tips will make your holiday better. Most of all, they book a lot of trips for a lot of people, and so resorts give them much better prices than they would give to you as an individual, if you were to contact them for a reservation – even on a deal.
You’ll pay the travel specialist for these services, but even after that, your final bill is often considerably lower than it would have been for those same products and services purchased individually.
Saving money would mean nothing if the amenities and services were disappointing. That is seldom the case with well-reviewed all-inclusive packages. They are organised by operators and resorts for years, constantly improving and adapting to the needs of modern-day travellers.
You get the expertise of the agent or manager, at a better price than you’d get doing it on your own… and you save the time and hassle involved. That’s good value.
Are there any cons to this hassle-free holiday offer? Yes. The main disadvantage of all-inclusive ski holidays is the general lack of flexibility and freedom to explore the area more thoroughly.
Since the value gain is largely due to having pre-paid for meals and activities at the given resort, exploring the neighbouring area and participating in any outside activities is less attractive. Why pay for another activity when you’ve already paid for access to one at the resort? The more you do this, the less value you’ve achieved.
Despite this limitation, skiers that have never visited a specific resort before will most likely have more than enough to keep them occupied and happy for their holiday. If you’re the type who really likes to take unscripted excursions through the local village or countryside, then opt for a less limiting option, like a half-board package.
It’s your holiday, after all, and you can tailor it to your idea of a good time – even within the confines of an all-inclusive deal.
All-Inclusive Ski Holidays for Families
If you plan to hit the slopes as a family, seriously considering an all-inclusive package is a great move, especially if your kids require lessons or supervision. Bundling all possible expenses helps keep the cost down, and eliminates planning effort and rookie mistakes.
Just make sure your operator knows in advance the age (and skiing skill levels) of your children and of anyone else planning to take some lessons.
Most ski resorts with a reputation of being family-friendly destinations offer all-inclusive packages for families at surprisingly good rates. You can give your family the opportunity to enjoy genuine luxury while sticking to your budget.
Some of these great resorts are excellent places to begin exploring what there is on offer.
Resorts with Great Deals
Avoriaz, in the French Alps, with its ideal beginner’s terrain and well-organised ski schools, is known for offering excellent childcare services and an array of child-friendly facilities, such as the Aquariaz water park.
La Plagne is another excellent choice, with a great blend of accommodation, outdoor activities and skiing terrain. Indeed, La Plagne has excelled in providing children and grownups numerous entertainment options, bundled together at excellent fixed prices.
Mayrhofen is another great option for all-inclusive family holidays on the Alps, thanks to its beginner-friendly pistes, and entertainment diversity. It caters to parents craving rest and relaxation, and to youngsters thirsting for challenges and excitement.
You could also visit the world-famous Meribel, home to the Altiport, the best beginner slopes in the Alps. Boasting a variety of family-friendly venues, like the Animal Trail Piste, the Moon Park, and a vast Arctic-themed play area, Meribel offers families the chance to experience most of what the resort has to offer in fixed-priced, all-in packages.
Go All-Inclusive for a Great Deal
Most travellers who haven’t tried an all-inclusive package are a bit sceptical at first. It seems too good to be true, that the easiest option might also be the best value and most enjoyable option.
The reality is that many people do go to the trouble to plan their own holidays, and that means that providers have to be extremely competitive in their pricing, and must offer the best experiences available. A well-referenced and reliable travel agency does just that – and you can be the beneficiary.
Providing streamlined booking, excellent prices, and value for money, all-inclusive ski holidays cater to a wide range of holiday maker, covering all aspects, from plane tickets and accommodation to recreation and food.
So, why not try it, at least once in your life? Choose a trusted and well-reviewed operator and read the terms of the package carefully to avoid misunderstandings. Your deal will prove a terrific value for money compared to the expenses of booking everything separately. All-inclusive includes a great deal of trouble-free enjoyment; it’s well worth exploring.