As lucky as we have been over the last few glorious months, the summer is drawing to a close and it’s time to look forward to trips over the winter months to keep us amused until the spring.
If you’re currently putting together a ski trip for you and your buddies then there will always be much debate over where to go depending upon cost, travel options, snow reliability, terrain and of course ability. The first few of these variables are easily taken into consideration with a simple comparison of the options that different ski resorts and mountain towns have to offer.
Ski group dynamics
Factoring in the abilities of everyone can however make the process a whole lot harder especially if you’re a large group. Ultimately if you’re a group made up of skiers and boarders from beginner through to off-piste guru, you have to ensure that the person with the least ability will be able to even leave the chalet otherwise they may well be unhappy. Therefore if you pick somewhere beginner friendly, this can leave the more advanced skiers under-challenged.
The options are, find a mountain resort with great beginner and advanced slopes (can be difficult), pick somewhere at one end of the scale, leave your beginner friends behind or take the plunge and ensuring they are IMFGA or UIMLA qualified, hire a ski guide.
The latter option may seem rather indulgent seeing as ski holidays are not the cheapest at the best of times, but it can really open up a resort to you beyond the pistes and localized off-piste areas. Hiring a local ski guide provides you with someone who is qualified to safely show you around the mountain region and can use their local knowledge to find you the extreme lines you’re after (if your ability allows). If there is several of you of the same ability then depending upon the extreme nature of the areas you want to ski, a private ski guide for a group may take up to four people. Sometimes group numbers are lower, other times higher but ultimately you have to bear in mind that a guide will have to manage each one of you in potentially dangerous situations so for your safety and enjoyment, they may limit the number. Costs in Europe generally range between €250 – €400 per day but this can vary between resort, time of year, activity, size of group and qualifications held.
Find a ski guide
When looking for a guide, ensuring that they are suitably qualified to be taking you off piste or backcountry is priority number one. This also applies to whether you need a skiing, climbing or walking guide. Other factors you may want to consider are the language they speak, where they are based and for piece of mind, the experience they have in mountainous regions both for pleasure and guiding. Rated Guides provides profile information and contact details on guides for hire in mountain towns and ski resorts across the world. By encouraging past clients to review and rate the trips they have been on with guides, it can give future clients help in choosing the right private ski guide for their needs.
Other ways of finding local guides is through local ski resort websites, guiding agencies and searching for individual guides online. Of course word of mouth is also always one of the best ways to find a guide as long as you trust the person you are receiving the recommendation from!
So have an enjoyable but safe trip in the mountains and if in doubt, hire a ski guide to take you to those untouched powder fields waiting for you.