We speak to Greg, who travelled with Inghams this ski season with a group of friends to Alpe d’Huez in France, to celebrate his 40th birthday!
Happy Birthday! Why did you decide on a ski holiday to celebrate your 40th?
It’s not just me who’s turning 40 this year, but two of my best friends from school also have their big birthdays around the same time. Now that everyone has families and other commitments, it’s hard to catch up these days, so we all wanted an escape from our everyday lives so we could spend some quality time together. We all prefer being active to just sitting around in the pub and we thought boarding would give us a sense of achievement in the daytime – then we could relax with a few drinks afterwards!
How many of you travelled?
We were a group of eight and we took over an Inghams chalet for exclusive use. We flew from different places around the UK and all met up in resort; it was super convenient!
When did you book the holiday?
Back in April last year. We wanted to book well in advance to ensure we got the exclusive use of the chalet we wanted – I had my eye on the Chalet Sarenne in Alpe d’Huez, which is quite popular with groups as it has a hot tub out on the balcony. Sitting in the hot tub with a beer after boarding was just the dream!
What did you love most about the trip?
There’s no better way to relax than escaping to the mountains! It’s like a different world. I love the clean air, crisp cold days, stunning scenery – I sounds cliché, but it really does get the adrenaline pumping.
I also just loved spending quality time with quality people… It was really important to us that we got a good chalet because we wanted somewhere we could just chill and have a laugh together. It felt like a home from home, it was good quality accommodation with a TV, comfy sofa, and our chalet host Nick was brilliant fun. In fact, the meals he cooked were pretty impressive: the food was hearty and tasty, just what we needed after a day on the mountain, and the wine with dinner went down a treat!
Were you all the same ski ability?
Not at all, we were quite a mix! There were four advanced snowboarders, two intermediate boarders, a beginner boarder and a beginner skier. The beginners had lessons in the morning and then spent time with the rest of us in the afternoons. I was worried they wouldn’t like it, starting at such a late stage, but they both picked it up really well and I know one of them is now looking to book another ski trip for next year!
We also picked Alpe d’Huez as it has a good range of runs, from Green to Black. The helpful thing about it was that it’s a bowl, so most routes come back into the same place and it was easy to meet up again at the end of the day.
Would you book again?
Absolutely! The trip was good value for money, the resort was cracking, we made some fantastic memories and it was a just great way to celebrate our birthdays together. The chalet was perfect for us: convenient location with all lifts, shops and bars very close by, and great for exclusive use with the added bonus of the hot tub!
Going through a tour operator like Inghams makes it so much easier when you have a group of people with different needs and it’s definitely a reason to book again next time. The travel aspect was so straightforward to arrange as people could travel from most places in the UK, and we pre-booked all our lift passes, equipment hire and tuition via the call centre, which was particularly helpful with us being of varying abilities.
What advice would you give to groups of looking to book a ski holiday?
I’d say, first and foremost, to choose a resort that best suites everybody’s level, as well as a suitable accommodation. Book early to make sure you get what you want, and to get the early booking discounts and group benefits.
I’d also recommend January as a great time to go skiing. We had four blue-sky days, a day of snow and one overcast day. The snow was in excellent condition because it stayed cold, and the pistes were lovely and quiet!
Finally, although people don’t always think they need it, I like to pre-book a few lessons because there’s always room for improvement and I love coming home feeling satisfied that I really improved my skills.
Check here for more information on Inghams’ group ski holidays.