The world is full of great places to ski. In fact, the selection might seem a bit bewildering. Browsing brochures and websites will show you some wonderful pictures, but how do you know which ski resort you would really enjoy the most?
To pick the right time for your ski holiday, you have to consider two factors, the crowds and the weather.
Some people love the feeling of being immersed in a big, bustling crowd of like-minded enthusiasts who can share the skiing experience with them. Others prefer a quieter and less hectic holiday in a place that’s somewhat out of the way.
The popular, well-known places deserve their good reputations. They’re wonderful places to ski, and if you’re one of those folks who love being in a crowd of people enjoying the same thing, they’re perfect. On the other hand, those who prefer smaller crowds and quieter holidays should bear in mind that it is still possible to enjoy a big-name location without big crowds if you're careful to pick an off time.
For instance, spring skiing is popular with some. The snow may not be quite as good as in winter, but even the most popular of resorts have their slower time, and spring is usually it. If you’re willing to trade maximum snow for minimum crowding, spring may be a good choice.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for maximum snow, there are some general factors to keep in mind. Traditionally, February has been the best time for snow in most Northern Hemisphere locations. However, the weather is never entirely predictable, and the warming trend of the last several years has made snow come later in many places. Warmer climate conditions also mean the snow will melt sooner, so the window of opportunity is fairly narrow.
Even when ample snow falls in February, this is often the most crowded time at resorts. However, this may be good. If you’re a college student, it may be the best time for a holiday because there will be lots of your fellow students in the resorts creating a party atmosphere. Of course, you should also be aware that prices will generally be higher during these peak times.
In most locations, snow will be melting by mid to late March, so booking after that is risky. Early March is probably best for optimal snow. Of course, each location has its best time, and this will vary from year to year.
Tour packages take these factors into consideration, and your travel agent should be able to give you current information about the kind of snow and the social scene that will probably prevail at various times and places.
Economy is another factor to be considered, and there are some locations where a ski holiday can deliver big fun without a price tag to match. In terms of natural beauty, good skiing and low prices, one of the best nations to visit is Bulgaria. This country’s total amount of ski area is smaller than some nations, so ski resorts may be a bit smaller. Having said that, it is hard to beat the gorgeous scenery and excellent ski conditions there, and you’ll end up paying a lot less for your holiday than in some other places.
Andorra is another nation that is growing in popularity as a ski spot. This nation, almost unknown to the rest of the world until recent years, is comprised of 168 square kilometers of mountainous terrain squeezed between France and Spain. The national industry is tourism, much of which is oriented around skiing. The whole nation is duty-free, so everything is wonderfully cheap there. Even if you come for the skiing, don’t forget to shop the local shops for fabulous bargains.
There has been a great deal of investment in Andorra’s tour industry recently, so resort facilities are generally modern and state-of-the-art. There is a fully interconnected lift system linking all the resorts in the country, so you can cruise from one to the next and sample the skiing everywhere. Accommodation and dining are excellent and cheap, a perfect combination.