School ski trip organisers

The cost of your school's skiing trip

Perhaps the most important consideration is price. How much is the trip going to cost your school, and most importantly, your pupils? Skiing, though not as elitist as it once was, is still quite an exclusive holiday option. More and more schools are able to give their pupils the chance to go on a skiing holiday, but if you don't want the parents to balk at the idea due to cost, you need to make sure you get a good deal in the first place. As well as give everyone plenty of time to budget and save.

Tips for getting the best price:

Have a good look at the provider websites for their best deals, as prices will vary according to date. February half term will be more expensive as this is when most schools travel, so if you can avoid half term, look at travelling early in the season or during term time. As well as being cheaper at these times, you will have quieter ski slopes and smaller lift queues. But do be careful you don't travel too early and risk poor snow conditions.

Something else that will affect the price of your school ski trip is your transport and how you want to get there. Flights and coaches are the obvious and most used options, though trains may be an option if you are based in the south of England. Typically, the trip providers will offer transport as part of the package but make sure your airport transfers to resort are included. Family holidays have changed from pre packaged to build your own, but for school ski trips, packages are usually still the cheaper option. The number of pupils you are taking will affect the transport price due to under occupancy supplements, and it will also affect how many free teacher places you are offered as standard. Most providers will allow you to negotiate for extra teacher places so it is still worth asking if you only have small numbers of pupils. Check the websites for details of minimum numbers for a better idea of how much your trip will cost.

The other big cost is of course your accommodation. Do you want to stay at a luxury ski chalet in the heart of a popular resort, or are you happy with youth hostel style accommodation a mile or two outside a small resort with less glitzy facilities? Some trip providers, especially the smaller companies, may only offer very limited accommodation options, while others will be able to give you a huge range of options.

What are club hotels:

You will probably come across the phrase, club hotel when looking at the websites of different skiing trip providers. In a nut shell, these are hotels that are exclusive to the provider, meaning everything can be geared towards you and your school. They are often located close to the piste with children in mind, offer better catering arrangements for children, are regularly inspected for safety and security and sometimes even have classrooms available. They are also cheaper as the operator owns the property and therefore sets the price!

Find out more about accommodation options below!

ski location

Which country and ski resort We have looked at how to make your trip affordable, but we haven't even talked about where you are going! By far the most popular choice is the Alps. They are relatively close to the UK, making travel less daunting, there is plenty of choice when it comes to resorts, and you can take your French and German teachers to help you communicate. France, Austria, Italy and Andorra are perhaps the most popular countries. The other option that quite a few operators offer is North America.

The USA and Canadian Rockies are still quite easy to get to, equally affordable, and offer some fantastic ski resorts. A third option is of course the UK. While we do not have the mountains, and we cannot always be guaranteed good snowfall, there are some good ski resorts in Scotland, and some excellent indoor ski centres dotted around the country. Choosing which resort to visit is actually quite difficult because comparisons include such things as the number of lifts, the graded run options and the typical snow conditions.

Snow is rather important so ask about it before you book. Some providers can guarantee snow! Not because they have any power over nature, but because they operate in resorts that run snow machines that keep the pistes in good working order during the season. It may sound silly, but the height of your resort above sea level is a factor to consider. Some of the lower resorts can offer better prices because their snow conditions are less favourable. The trip providers will be happy to tell you about the snow conditions in their resorts.

financial protection

Insurance and financial protection Let us start with the most obvious considerations, insurance and financial protection. Insurance for your trip will usually be offered by the ski trip operator through their partnership with a third party insurer, or your school may have its own insurance cover for trips. Do not take it for granted that companies offering school ski trips will have insurance, we coughed tea all over our keyboards the other day when we came across a provider who stated in their frequently asked questions that they did not have any insurance. As long as everyone in your group is covered in the country you will be visiting, the choice of insurance provider is yours.

Along the same lines, financial protection, is the insurance that the trip provider will have in place in order to guarantee your trip, should the company get into financial difficulty. Most companies will be insured directly with a traditional policy, and many will offer additional security in the form of ABTA or ATOL bonding.

From the ABTA website, "A bond is similar to an insurance policy. It's a formal undertaking from an approved bank or insurance company (bond obligor) to pay a sum of money to ABTA in the event of the Member's financial failure, primarily for the purpose of reimbursing customers who would otherwise lose money which they had paid."

And from the ATOL website, "ATOL protects you from losing your money or being stranded abroad. It does this by carrying out checks on the tour operators and travel organisers it licenses, and requiring them to take part in a financial guarantee scheme managed by the Air Travel Trust (ATT) which provides the funds to protect customers should a firm fail."

the small print

Ski school tuition Your school trip isn't simply going to be a chance for the children to play in the snow; teaching them how to ski will form an important part of their visit. With this in mind, check with each trip provider exactly how much tuition they are going to receive. The amount varies quite a lot, and will affect how you keep them entertained while in resort. The native language of the teachers is another factor you may wish to consider. Many providers are keen to point out that they employ English speaking ski instructors. Perhaps you would prefer the children to improve their French at the same time as their skiing skills. It is certainly something to consider.

Finally, make sure you read the small print. The headline price on one website cannot always be compared with the price on another. One may include all of your boot and helmet hire, where the other does not. Most package prices will be pretty much all inclusive, getting you to the resort and back, all your meals and skiing lessons, but optional extras are always available, and may change the price enough to make another provider more competitive than you first thought.

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