Organising a school ski trip

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Teachers know that organising a School Ski trip can take a lot of time. How do you go about making the Ski School Trip planning process quicker and easier for Teachers?

One of the hardest aspects for a teacher is undoubtedly the bureaucracy and burden of risk assessments. Ski Adaptable help by easing paperwork through ensuring we do the leg-work when it comes to risk assessments, pricing, travel plans and giving teachers peace of mind that their school ski trip is being sorted whilst they complete the other tasks at the school. With hundreds of resorts in Europe alone, it can also be a time-consuming task in researching and selecting the right ski resort. Ski Adaptable inspect each resort, and so based on a few questions about a group we can recommend the most suitable resorts to a teacher. In addition, teachers know that by booking with ski Adaptable their trip is financially secure.

Safety is always a big concern for parents when it comes to School Ski trips. What measures do you put in place to ensure a safe and risk free trip?

Skiing carries obvious risks, but Ski Adaptable go above and beyond to ensure we minimise these risks giving teachers real peace of mind. Ski Adaptable is a member of the School Travel Forum – a body which strives to implement the highest safety measures on school trips. Being part of the School Travel Forum, we undertake a substantial Safety Management System which covers all health and safety concerns for suppliers including travel, accommodation and in resort suppliers such as ski hire and ski schools – this is externally verified each year. We also include full comprehensive winter sports travel insurance and include helmets as standard for all party members. What’s more, we can offer party leaders funded inspection trips so they can pre-check the resort, accommodation and suppliers for themselves.

School Ski trips can come in all different shapes and sizes, what different types of accommodation do you offer to the various groups?

Because all school groups are different, we have a huge range of accommodation options in ski resorts. From ski-to-door chalets, to city-centre hotels, sole occupancy accommodation to larger accommodation with an abundance of facilities onsite. We don’t try to be all things to all people, but what we do have is a huge range of accommodation offerings and we can always find something suitable for our groups. Whats more, we personally inspect each and every ski accommodation we offer and can provide onsite risk assessments at no extra charge.

Between the lessons and actual skiing there isn't much spare time during the day but what happens in the evening when it's too dark to Ski? Are there other types of activities that schools can take part in?

Ski Adaptable offer a huge range of evening activities for our groups. When we visit resorts, we scour them to come up with the best activities for when the skiing is finished. In many of our accommodations, we also arrange in-house activities such as discos, karaoke and quiz nights – these always go down a treat!

What would you say are the most important educational benefits of students going on a ski trip?

Mountain resorts are set in some of the most stunning yet traditional places in Europe and the US, and thus provides a perfect place for students to embrace other cultures, and get to grips with practicing other languages. There are other important personal skills that students develop on a school ski trip which should not be underplayed, such as personal organisation, discipline, learning a new skill and bonding with fellow classmates. As such, we are developing our ‘Ski Skills’ program to recognise and enhance these personal development skills.

What factors should schools consider when deciding on where to take their groups skiing?

The make-up of your group is crucial. How old are the students? What is the ski ability of students – beginners, mixed, intermediate? When can you travel? What is your budget. All of these factors need to be considered as it is important that stats of a resort such as altitude and KM of piste do not attribute what will be right or wrong for each group. For example there are some world-class ski areas in the Alps, however if your group is primarily all beginners why choose a resort based on the fact it offers hundreds of KM of piste when in fact beginners will only benefit from a fraction of that, yet still pay a premium. Also, another tip to consider is consider travelling at Easter over February Half term (if you have to travel in school holiday periods). Easter is much more cost effective and warmer, yet choose the right resort and the snow can be brilliant, and slopes quieter too.

What's included in your Ski packages?

We work on a basis of complete transparency right from the outset. We include all travel, accommodation, ski hire, lift pass and lessons in addition to food and insurance. Evening activities are sometimes included, and this is marked on our quotations. When our groups arrive in resort, they have everything paid for and booked – so they can just enjoy the skiing!

How would you recommend travelling, by Coach or Plane?

Flying is obviously the quick option, but not always the correct option. Each group really needs to consider their own situation. If travelling during February Half Term, prices can be excessive from airlines and hence most groups tend to travel by coach during this period. Smaller groups may work out cheaper by air as they have to pay for empty seats on a large coach, however coach almost always works out more cost effective if travelling during holiday periods. Coach travel whilst being longer, is a door-to-door service and we only use our best coaches for this type of trip, being full executive and modern coaches. Plus, travelling by coach has the benefits of being able to use the coach in resort for shuttles to the slopes if required and evening activities.

What happens if there's no snow?

All of our resorts have a great snow record, and we only offer resorts in periods where historically they have been open. As a backup, Ski Adaptable provide a snow guarantee which means we will guarantee to find snow for your group within a 2 hour journey, or we will offer reimbursements per day of no snow. Many of our resorts also have the added backup of skiable glaciers.

What sorts of food can be provided on Ski resorts? For example are you limited to only French food in France, Italian food in Italy etc?

We personally sample the food in resorts (perk of the industry!). we try to ensure the food is ‘student friendly’ whilst being healthy and varied each day. Obviously each country will have its own offering and style, but food is one area where we often get teachers telling us how surprised they are that their students loved it so much.

I would imagine skiing everyday can get a tad exhausting for the students, are there many other daytime activities schools can do if they fancy a day off?

Not many schools take days off skiing on a school ski trip, however they may decide to cut a days skiing short. We provide a 1:8 free staff ratio in case some students decide they don’t want to ski so there is adequate staff cover. We have organised everything from sledging competitions, to shopping to trips to avalanche training – our office team in conjunction with in-resort reps are on hand to adjust the program accordingly.

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