Flight Centre's consultants all around the world have extensive experience with ski holidays; booking them for customers and embarking on their own. We've found four who were more than happy to share their own stories and tips with us including holidays in Japan, skiing through Europe and snowboarding in Queenstown.
Flight Centre KEW
Ryan Harvey ranks himself as an intermediate snowboarder with a comprehensive knowledge of what is available on the Australian ski scene.
“I love the snowboarding that is available here in Australia, but the vast quantities of powder snow found at Whistler make it an attractive option for keen skiers.
“The excellent snow and big variety of runs make it lots of fun for all levels of skiing. One run, the Peak to Creek, lasts for an hour, and combines great skiing and sightseeing.
“Whether you ski or board Whistler, you can do 'Fresh Tracks'. For $20, you get to head up to Whistler for breakfast from 7.15am to 8am. This is usually limited to the first 650 people at the lift, and you are guaranteed the best runs and powder.
“After a long day skiing, Whistler comes alive, and I recommend a must-do for any visit there, no matter what the age, is to go to the ‘apres’ at the Four Seasons Hotel and sample some Smores.”
If you are skiing in the US and you want to buy new ski gear, get it there; it is much cheaper. Another bonus with skiing in the US is that most airlines have a greater carry-on allowance. This enables you to take two pieces of carry-on, which is a great packing solution when taking your ski boots.
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Flight Centre North Brighton
Alexie Morgan has a very strong European ski pedigree after working in Chamonix for a season. Lexie, born and bred on the Gold Coast, caught the skiing bug when she first saw snow on a family trip to Perisher when she was 15. Lexie moved to Europe in 2007, where she experienced the best of European skiing.
“It really is great skiing in the most beautiful landscape, and offers a great experience for families and groups on a European holiday, no matter what level of skier or snowboarder.”
Lexie, who has also skied at Whistler, and loves the village atmosphere of this very picturesque part of the American Rockies, strongly recommends for both northern hemisphere destinations to leave enough time to visit the surrounding area and stay off the slopes.
If you have a seven-day trip, try and give yourself a couple of days off to explore the fantastic location you are in. Skiing is also hard work – give your body a break. This applies to all members of the family and allows the destination to become part of your skiing holiday.
Flight Centre Carindale
Emily Fallon is a confirmed skier with 12 years' experience on the snows of Vermont, New Zealand, Australia and, most recently, Shiga Kogen in Japan. With this type of experience, Emily cannot help but have a favourite, and for her it is the powdery snow and the variety in Japan.
“Shiga Kogen is a wonderful big village with eight large and quite distinct ski areas. The scale of the place means you can easily spend a week there and not get to ski all of the areas. I loved the variety of ski runs that cater for beginners through to advanced. And this just doesn’t apply to skiing – you can swap skiing for snowboarding at just about any of the runs.
“Not only is the skiing fantastic, there is also the habitat of a large group of Japanese snow monkeys near Shiga Kogen, where you can take a tour 30 minutes from the village centre to see these snow-crusted primates.
“The other great thing about Shiga Kogen is that it is an easy train ride from Tokyo, so you can mix a city break and skiing experience into the one holiday.”
I recommend to hire all of your ski gear in Japan, as the quality of the hire equipment is very good, likely to be brand-new, and already prepped to help you hit the slopes faster.
Infinity Team Leader
Wayne Anderson is an aficionado of all things snowboarding from his experiences in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
“I can’t pick a favourite, because each has its own range of unique benefits. Canada has big mountains, heaps of snow and fewer crowds. Here in Australia there are lots of places where you can stay on the snow, and the short distances to get to ski lifts are great bonuses.
“Then there is Queenstown, New Zealand, which has so much to do on top of the skiing, especially for families, like the Shotover Jet, Walter Peak Farm and ice-skating.
“Even the apres-ski has a child-friendly element to it. One of Queenstown’s most famous eating places is Winnie’s Pizza, which is open nearly 24/7 and pumps out food constantly.”
I have three practical tips for the novice skier and/or snowboarder:
- You can hire just about everything, but for hygiene reasons you have to buy your own goggles and gloves, so try and buy inexpensively before you go.
- Wear layers including thermals and use a piece of bubble-wrap to pad your backside when starting out snowboarding. You spend a lot of time bum-down on wet, cold and hard snow.
- Chemical hand-warmers are the best when your fingers go numb from chilly below-zero temperatures, and disposable ones can be picked up very cheaply all over the place.