THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO SKIING FOR TEACHERS
A ski trip can provide the experience of a lifetime for school pupils, no matter their age, gender or skiing ability; from the absolute novice to the aspiring pro there is something for everyone. Plus, the opportunity to learn new skills and see some amazing sights is too good to miss.
For teachers, planning a ski trip can be daunting as there are so many things to think about; parental permission, the perfect location, accommodation, booking transport, health and safety and getting the right deal.
With ski trips becoming a lot more accessible to all sorts of schools of all types the responsibilities often fall to a few teachers, our expert team is there to support you at every step, from planning, preparation to support while away, plus making sure it comes in on budget.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be an expensive or stressful experience for the trip/tour leader – make planning your trip a piece of cake with the complete guide to ski from inspireski.
Choose your trip’s location
Europe or North America? Both locations are home to some of the world’s most beautiful skiing resorts with the best slopes and instructors. However, which you choose will depend on your budget and what you want to get out of the trip.
European locations can be more cost-effective as you can travel by coach and on comparatively shorter flights. The range in price can, in some cases, vary more too. Western European ski destinations like Andorra, Austria and Italy traditionally have some fairly expensive resorts however there are more and more great hotels available that can accommodate groups comfortably on a more stringent budget specifically for large groups. There really is something for everyone!
In many cases European ski resorts benefit from a backdrop of some of the most jaw dropping scenery and quintessentially traditional ski villages in the world. Many are just as you would imagine them as a child, with authentic mountain chalets, charming local restaurants and an indescribable mountain village atmosphere.
An added benefit for choosing a European option is that it gives your pupils the chance to practice one of the languages they are likely learning in school. Ski resorts in Italy, France or Germany will often be able to provide ample opportunities for the students (and staff) to practice.
European destinations often lend themselves to multiple destinations in one trip. Firstly, the geography is smaller, and areas of interest are closer. Canada and the USA you can normally stop in the major city you fly into, but then any additional locations will involve extra flights. In Europe, you can be in another major city in less than half a day’s coach travel.
Resorts in Canada and the USA are normally very well equipped and have a large variety of slopes for everyone from beginners to the more advanced skiers. Combine this with very predictable snowfalls and some very uncrowded resorts, fast lifts and very safety conscious approach and you have all the makings of an amazing ski trip.
You can also add to your experience with a city stopover at the beginning or end of your ski trip. This is a real bonus for many schools and one of the reasons they choose to ski further afield. Having a few days seeing the sites of “The Big Apple” New York, Boston, Calgary, Quebec or Ottawa to name but a few is an absolute must!
There are also fewer language barriers, which can make some aspects of the tour easier. Hospitality and service levels in American and Canadian resorts are also renowned.
Choosing the best ski resort for your school
Once you have decided on the country, you need to think about which resorts will offer the best experience for the students. You will want your trip to be inclusive of students no matter their skiing ability. Choose a resort with a variety of runs that cater for different experience levels is important. Building children’s confidence on skis early on will make for a more enjoyable trip, therefore finding a resort with a focus on the instructors to guide beginner skiers is vital for most school ski trips.
The length of your trip will also determine the resort you choose. If you have a week or longer, you will want to be looking into some time allocated for non-skiing activities. Non skiing activities, or après ski, can be tailored so suit budgets, but can range from snow shoeing, to trips on snowmobiles and ice driving for older students. You can book paintballing or if you find the right time, have live music and festivals close by. Many trips will include some time in local towns or cities with the opportunity to find Christmas markets or local cuisine depending on the time of year you travel.
Insurance, safety and the important stuff
- It’s vital to obtain parental permission well in advance of the trip. Make sure to outline the health and safety element you’ve covered for total peace of mind.
- Make parents aware of the costs and any extras they might need to pay for or organise. This may be hiring skiing equipment, non-ski activities and spending money.
- Make sure students’ passports are in order!
- Your pupils are your responsibility on your trip and ensuring their health and safety should be your number one priority – have a list of emergency contacts before you head off on your ski trip.
- It’s important to remember that insurance for ski trips will be different to that required for other trips – do your research into this beforehand.
- It’s important to ensure trips are ABTA protected and ATOL (6053) bonded offering school groups complete financial protection if anything unforeseen were to arise. Of course, all inspiresport and inspireski trips are full protected.
Preparing your students for their ski trip
We would recommend taking students out to practice on indoor slopes in the UK before you travel to get a feel for their skiing abilities. This will build confidence and mean you can assess their safe levels of skiing well before the trip. Skiing isn’t dangerous when done right, tell pupils what they can expect from the trip and the steps they can take to ensure their health and safety. As partners with Snow Sports Wales, inspireski have access to Cardiff Ski Centre for all schools local to the area to go and enjoy some pre-trip skiing.
Give all pupils attending the trip a list of what they need to pack – e.g. clothing to keep warm and any safety equipment they need…
- Waterproof ski jacket
- Salopetters (Ski trousers)
- Thermal base layers
- Ski gloves
- Ski socks
- Neck warmer
- Changes of clothes for Après Ski (well after the skiing!)
- Indoor shoes
- Scarves hats and gloves for the town (Ski gear may need to dry out in between days)
- Travel clothes
The boring stuff!
- Plug adapters
- Suntan lotion
- Spending money
- Personal toiletries
- Rucksacks for day trips
Tips from the experts
Joyce Watts from TOT: HOT OR NOT
Decide on a home-base when arriving at the slopes in case the group gets separated as not all members of the group may have mobile phones. Expect to ski for only a few hours or half a day so plan plenty of extra activities.
Susan J Sohn from GetRealLive
Buy proper clothing. Second hand is an excellent option because kids grow out of the clothes so quickly and, in some cases, the gear may have only been used for one season. Make sure you have GOOD ski socks.
If you have any asthmatics in the family, make sure they have their Ventolin on them and close to their body. Ventolin can freeze, so body heat is necessary to keep it at the ready.
Esther Harper from 1Cover Travel Insurance
It is important to remember when skiing with kids is that safety is paramount. Even if the kids in the group are good skiers, it’s always best to go to resorts that have the infrastructure to deal with children. Many resorts are targeted towards experienced skiers or have a raging nightlife – and that’s not going to be appropriate for groups of under 18s.
When travelling with children be sure to plan the correct level of insurance coverage should the worst happen, as many countries do not have a nationalised health service and trips to the hospital can be expensive.