There are alternative ski-life options to ‘ski-in-ski-out’ and they come with a host of perks. From going home leaner and fitter to benefitting from cheap ski accommodation and finding secret resorts… this is why we think ski-in-ski-out is so last season.
Trust me, I was the worlds most committed ski-in-ski-out advocate. In fact, until March 2017, I had never done anything else, but two trips at the back end of last season completely changed my view on this so-called luxury perk. Whilst I still understand all its benefits, particularly for families, I’m now an active seeker of the secret places that require a bit of additional effort when it comes to ski accommodation locations.
As you will know, James and I are touring in a motorhome, and that somewhat restricts the places you can stay in resort, but it also affords us the luxury of chasing the best snow conditions. Yes, there’s an admission that we’re fair weather skiers. If you have a whole season to play with, you really don’t have to don your double thermals and purposefully head out into a blizzard. That’s one of the many perks of extended adventures.
Let’s look at the facts
People covet ski-in-ski out for a number of reasons and if we’re all honest, the most important of these is bloody ski boots. Hideous articles of torture. I win. I have Apex boots – if you don’t know what they are, check out my gushy blog and change your world. Soft ski boot designed for comfortable walking, a luxury denied to the affluent ski-to-the-door crew.
Secondly, carrying skis. Unfortunately, I don’t think any level of innovating is going to solve the absolutely horrendous task of carrying skis and poles. It’s shit. Everyone knows it. There is a part solution to this – ski carrying backpack – they’re largely as good as the price you pay. They come in women’s fit (I already have a women’s fit ski carrier in the form of my trusty partner but if you’re all women’s lib about it, you need a backpack), and they make you look badass like an off-piste guru.
Whilst you still have to lug the weight around, a backpack is liberating beyond belief and you have the added entertainment of the ski-lift-bag-panic. This consists of wrestling with a backpack (the better your backpack, the more dramatic this scene), poles and an oncoming chair lift. There are 3 outcomes:
- Gracefully swivel your pack onto you front and look very ‘backcountry pro’ as you elegantly secure the safety bar with all your kit neatly about you
- Balls the whole process up, get your pack half off, poke someone in the face with a flailing ski pole and end up with your bag by your ears and your poles across all chair occupants
- Totally forget you have a backpack until it’s too late, panic and then resign yourself to a chair ride that is a combination of not falling through the gap and trying not to look like you’re defecating on the lift as you’re pushed forward by your over loaded saddlebag. Worst bit – you’ve squashed your baguette
Here are three we’ve given a thorough going over and are our recommendations.
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Then there’s the exercise
I was listening to a podcast the other day (Knowledge is Powder – check it out, magazine style show) and discovered an alarming fact. The better you are on the slopes, the few calories you burn. It’s obvious when you consider it but it rather scuppers the justification for substituting fruit and veg in our diets for cheese as our principle source of nutrition. And even if you’re not a Winter Olympics hopeful, you’re still not burning anywhere near as many calories as you think you are. My point is that a morning constitutional with skis, poles, boots and baguette on board is no bad thing. You’ll go home leaner (or less porky) and you’ll get double leg day at a discounted price.
How not to ski-in-ski-out
You could simply not tick the ‘ski-in-ski-out’ box on your ‘refine search’ as you trawl tour operator websites. That would be the first port of call.
You will discover the most incredible places a little off the main drag in resort – you’ll find them with a bit of independent research or a scan through AirBnB.
Don’t discount resorts you’ve never heard of (Google Vaujany). Europeans are far less obsessed with ski-in-ski-out than Brits and consequently have some staggeringly beautiful resorts all to themselves.
…And if you really want to experience the high life, you could consider renting a motorhome for the best views in town at a fraction of the cost!