Lucky, lucky, lucky them. Last winter, the Price family from Hertfordshire – Carsten, Hayley, Ashley and Jasmine – won the most amazing prize the British ski industry has seen for years: a winter’s-worth of family skiing holidays in the Three Valleys in France: including lessons, lift passes, clothing and ski equipment. Now they’ve come to the end of their journey – what have they learnt?
1. Ski with a big banana.
“One of you has to dress like a big banana,” says Ashley (below, left). “Like my Dad does. We can always see where he is – and because of that no-one ever gets lost.”
2. Prepare your body for the shock
“Nothing you do in your normal life will prepare you for the physical shock of skiing all day, every day,” says Hayley. “So for goodness sake, do what I didn’t – and get lots of exercise before you go.” (For example, by following Welove2ski’s ski fitness programme.)
3. Book a chalet or chalet hotel for your first holiday
The Prices stayed in Meribel with family-ski specialists Esprit at Christmas; with chalet-tastic Le Ski in La Tania over February half term; and in a self-catering Les Menuires apartment from Pierre & Vacances at Easter. They’re glad they started out in a chalet environment, staffed with Brits and offering breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner. “It’s all a bit bewildering, the first time you go to a ski resort,” said Carsten. “So having someone else cook dinner for you, as well as show you where to go for your lessons, is a real bonus.”
4. Splash out on private ski lessons if you can
“On our last holiday, Ashley and I were lucky enough to have a private instructor from the ESF,” says Carsten. “We learnt so much more quickly than when we were part of a bigger group.”
5. Don’t spend the whole holiday in ski school
“Don’t spend all your time having lessons and trying to improve,” says Hayley. “Yes, it’s really important to learn to ski. But the best time on the mountain comes when all get out on the slopes together as a family.”
So, can they ski?
You bet. Ashley and Jasmine both have their two-star skiing badges from the ESF (they finished top of their class), and Carsten and Hayley are skiing red and blue pistes fluently.
Oh yes – and in case you’re wondering which of the three Three Valleys resorts the Prices liked best it was…
…Les Menuires – rather than La Tania and Meribel! Not what you were expecting, huh? “We think this part of the Three Valleys has the best skiing for a family like ours,” says Carsten. “We’re looking for long, interesting intermediate-friendly pistes, and Les Menuires is full of them. We also like the way that so much of the accommodation is ski-in, ski-out.”
Check out our Family Skiing section for more family-friendly features. And click on this link to see the Price family’s winning video in the Easy Rider competition – which bagged them their amazing prize.