The journey there. The first hurdle. And one many have fallen (out) at. The nagging consciousness of simultaneously burning annual leave time whilst not doing something enjoyable is the kindling to a potentially devastating breakdown in group relations. Communication and cooperation are more important here than any other point of the trip. If driving to an airport, get the parking pre-booked so that can be settled before other expenses are incurred (and take a picture of where you’ve parked!). For those opting to drive, ‘Surviving the car journey’ is essential reading. Alternatively, taking a coach or the train relieves the burden of driving from one unlucky soul as well as sparing the environment a little extra carbon. Whichever form of transport you take, a Bluetooth speaker is invaluable; if not for the journey then for adding tempo to the unpacking session.
Ingredients for Bolognese, and a crate of balcony beers, don’t pay for themselves and as they are to be distributed throughout the group equally it makes sense they come out of a kitty. Whilst this needn’t go as far as state appropriation of property and drastic land reform, a pool of money that can be used to pay for necessities the whole group benefits from and prevents those ‘could you send me that £1.32 for the coco pops?’ messages. A Bluetooth speaker is another public good that could be paid for through the kitty if someone doesn’t bring their own.
Book in advance
Like any other holiday destination, ski resorts and chalets often offer good deals on advance booking so if you can get your friends to commit to a week (easier said than done), there’s a every chance there will be money to be saved. Additionally, the majority of resorts allow you to purchase your ski pass beforehand which can both save money and prevent the wait for everyone to go through the process individually. Make a note to bring a Bluetooth speaker whilst sorting your passes so you don’t forget!
Help the newbies
If it’s a holiday where skiing happens to be the activity of choice, as opposed to a ‘first lift up, hot chocolate breaks are for the weak’ type of trip, there’s a good chance there will be beginners and less experienced skiers amongst the group. Recommending ski schools as well as offering some advice on what to pack (Bluetooth speaker) can be particularly useful and providing old or spare gear saves the hassle and cost of renting.
You don’t have to do everything together
Inevitably there will be a disparity between how people want to spend their time; be that based on ability or simply personal preference. Resorts will only have so many pistes that can cater to both the ‘first timer’ and the ‘I’ve been to my parent’s chalet in Verbier since I could walk’ members of the group. Going off in smaller groups and agreeing to meet later satisfies everyone’s interests. Something you can do together is make a playlist of songs everyone enjoys to play through the Bluetooth speaker.
Uno. Articulate. Monopoly. The family classics hold their own amongst today’s highly technologised entertainment. And there’s something about the interior of a ski chalet that lends itself to board games. Light a fire, have a hot chocolate and give your optic nerve a break with some more traditional, screen-free fun. Complete the homely ambiance with a few tunes from the Bluetooth speaker you remembered to bring.
Cooking is another area that can benefit from a more pragmatic approach at the cost of the utopian ‘everyone helps with everything’ approach to the trip. Like with skiing ability, there will be the ‘I’ve burnt my ready meal’-ers and the ‘I thought I’d just whip up some pan-seared salmon fillets for brunch’-ers of the group. I’ve found it’s best when a couple of people take responsibility for cooking and the others pitch in with cleaning up rather than everyone tries to do a little bit of making dinner. If only there was a phrase about too many people working in the kitchen at the same time compromising the quality of their cumulative efforts. Superstition by Stevie Wonder is a great song to cook to if you were at a loss with what to do with the Bluetooth speaker…
*Most important tip*
Be friends with someone who owns a chalet
I’ve been over the numbers and it turns out that when you can stay at a friend’s house for free you end up spending significantly less on your ski trip. Whilst the costs may be incurred emotionally through regular reminders of their superior slalom technique, the financial toll is significantly reduced. Just make sure it comes with a Bluetooth speaker.