If everyone doesn’t have a blast , then what are we doing it for? But of course, people want different things out of their ski trip.
Some people want first lifts, off piste guides and just a sandwich for lunch. Others are happy just to have made it onto the mountain for one run before a long lunch and hair of dog before hitting the après ski.
But anyone who has ever volunteered or been coerced into organising a group trip knows just how challenging it can be.
Come on. We both know it. It’s like herding cats and you have a diminishing amount of time in which to get them all democratically (or otherwise) up and down a large mountain without major incident. That’s priority one.
Priority two of course being everyone gossiping for the month after the trip about how great it was. That’s the kind of team morale boost that really helps build momentum. Momentum towards your goals. And naturally, there will be fun for all along the way.
Now, don’t be fooled into thinking a tailor made trip needs to have all the fur coats, champagne and helicopter rides of a Bond film (although that can be arranged). Neither does it have to be like that time during university when a hostel seemed like a quaint idea.
Destination is a Key Decision to be Made
Start with your destination selection which will bring with it a refined suite of trip features.
You start the ball rolling, Momentum takes over. Explore some of the most successful European spots with our local connections. Don’t forget… the sooner a few key decisions are made the better the fares and availability will be.
It pays to be clear about your guests’ range of skill levels.
For example Chamonix can usually stay off the shortlist despite being the first place a lot people think of for a short trip since no one in your group is sponsored by Red Bull and logistically it is a nightmare (unless your group is looking for more advanced adventures).
Meanwhile, less well known places like Courmayeur and Engelberg are delighting snow enthusiasts. These resorts have a classic range of slopes and all the charming facilities to support days of eating and drinking your way across the snowy landscape at whatever pace you may please. They are both perfect for group short breaks with better après ski than they are credited with.
Whether it’s business or pleasure or something in between, contacting a Momentum team member will quickly clear up what matches can be made between a destination, your ultimate goal, and your group’s abilities.
Pick Your Dates Carefully
Finding a date that will work for everyone that matters and is available is the next important challenge and don’t forget to factor in each country’s holidays.
Avoid the UK half term of course. France deploys its younger population to the snow for most of February and Italy and Switzerland have specific weekends to avoid for various carnivals and religious holidays.
If you want best value during the main season, early January is the ideal time. But there are also great deals to have on the shoulders of the season, pre-Christmas or April. I’m often amazed at what kind of accommodation you can fit in the budget at these times of year.
Another great way to optimise value is to hit the snow during the week, avoiding the crowds on weekends. This can open up a world of accommodation and deals not available over the weekend.
Choose the Best Transport for Your Group
If you are a large group the transport options for a ski trip will change.
To make timings work for a short break you are realistically going to need to fly. Getting from the airport to resort is the next challenge.
Forget the car hire, trains and buses you might consider for an individual trip. Private transfers can be expensive for small numbers but once you have a decent size group they become cost effective and the only sensible way of getting everyone to resort together.
Again, Momentum has detailed local knowledge to help get you there within your trip parameters as soon as possible.
One key variable people sometimes forget to factor in is how much energy your group are willing to (or capable of) expending on the journey there and back. We’ve all been there. Travelling can be exhausting.
Minimising the leave required and travelling after work can be popular but be ready for a late arrival in resort. Consider taking the afternoon off so you get there in time for a pizza on Thursday night and are ready to ski first thing on Friday morning.
Like wise people often want the latest flight possible home on Sunday and a full days skiing. But it is worth thinking about whether people will be in a fit state to ski on Sunday? And if so whether you are prepared to get home at 1am? Perhaps a half day skiing and being home to show your face to loved ones or even just a leisurely breakfast and lunch time flight is the way to go.
It all depends on the mood your group wants to go for, and what state you want to arrive home in.
Be Sure To Choose Accommodation Wisely
If everyone else is a crowd then what is your group? The main event obviously.
Whether you are a crowd of three, or more like a roman phalanx, your accommodation will always need the same comforts and will usually come as a hotel.
It helps to a have a cost per head in mind. If you have some specialised requirements Momentum will help get you there. As with the transport it is a question of snow-for-money. The more you self-service the less time you have for fun/work.
Chalets and apartments are usually rented by the week so are unsuited for shorter trips. If you have the exact number of heads for beds then you know you are getting your monies worth out of a chalet or apartment.
However, if the size of your group is not set in stone and booking flexibility is needed then hotels are the only option.
Who doesn’t love a cooked breakfast waiting for you without a finger being lifted? Dishes disappear. Log fires light themselves. In-house bar you say? Hot tubs. Saunas. A ski-in living room! Depending on budgets it is all there for the enjoying.
For large groups private meeting spaces in nice bars or restaurants can be arranged as well.
Get Your Gear Sorted
- Dragging large heavy luggage through terminals.
- Paying extortionate fees for airlines to take your skis/snowboard.
- Fitting skis and boards into hired vehicles or transfer buses.
- Carrying your equipment from the hotel to the slopes.
These are probably the main reasons snow resorts all across Europe are littered with good quality ski equipment at easy rental rates often with slopeside storage. Only the near professional honestly needs to take their hardware with them. Any ski/board style people want is catered to.
Here’s some of my tips on bluffing your way through your equipment selection like a pro. Make a list of who wants to do what and Momentum can ensure the ideal equipment will be available when you get there.
It sometimes helps to categorise people by the type of slope they want to spend the bulk of their time on;
Beginner: never been on skis before so won’t know any different
Carvers: sticking mostly to groomed runs.
Free-riders: crossing from runs to off-piste to parks.
Parkers: groomed jumps and pipes.
Powder Hunters: rarely on-piste and hopefully knee deep in fresh snow.
If people are unsure of what style they are focussed on, go for “all-mountain” or “free-ride” style equipment. It will be wide enough to float on powder (for when you get that magical snow dump) but also versatile enough to have fun on groomed runs or the odd jump.
Rental skis/boards can always be swapped while there so don’t spend much time worrying about this.
Entertainment Options Are Aplenty
Most snow resorts are well stocked with restaurants, bars and clubs. But if you have a particular activity in mind it pays to make sure your accommodation (or at least transport from your accommodation) is within easy, affordable access for you.
If you want some off-slope activities lined up your destination and dates will auto-feed your entertainment options. Of course, we have a multi-lingual team who can check every step for you to make sure you are getting what you want.
You can dip in and out of the events extensive program of racing, networking and après with live music and comedy. Your group can merge in with larger all-singing, all-dancing organised events while always maintaining the freedom to break away for that team dash to new heights of fun and frivolity.
Putting It All Together
- Form a list of the people in your group that are ready to commit with a deposit payment.
- Find a couple of dates everyone can make to give some flexibility to get the right deal.
- Pick your destination to suit your requirements based on our advice of what is feasible and will fit the bill.
- Select accommodation and transport to suit your budget and needs.
In large groups it can be near impossible to please everyone, so don’t try. And don’t have too many cooks spoiling the broth, i.e. keep the decision making group as small as possible.
From there it is a juggling of timetables, connections, and confirmations. Excel spreadsheets are your friend. I have a spreadsheet for all big trips. It removes stress by keeping track of all the threads and sorting out money matters.
It can be a daunting task when you undertake to be the organiser. But you have people waiting to help at any turn. Momentum will get you there.
Contact one of our great team and you’ll be creating an event that will see your social kudos rating go through the roof.