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December19th

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There are certain things we want out of a holiday – action, enjoyment and relaxation. We love ski holidays but all too many times the experience has been a tiring one up with the first lifts and down at dusk. A good ski holiday mixes sport and relaxation in equal measures. Here’s how to enjoy a relaxed snow sports holiday with a little touch of indulgent luxury.

Take a lesson. You’re never too old to squeeze in some time to practice and taking a half day lesson or ski school is a good way to ease you back into your skis or board. It may only take a couple of hours for a refresher or to learn a new technique, leaving the rest of the day for play. Family skiing holidays can be fantastic fun but hard work too. Find options to fit your needs, your children’s age and ski ability. Many hotels provide crèches for different ages, it’s worth finding out about evening crèches or a babysitting service for the occasional night off. Also, check children’s ski schools, as many resorts offer free boot hire for children.

Take the stress out of dining and find a chalet that includes a professional chef who can provide anything from a three course dinner or cake for tea to a generous cooked breakfast. Dinner rounds off the day nicely with the feeling of a private dinner party. A skiing holiday doesn’t mean spending every waking hour on the slopes. Beginners tire by lunchtime so find a good restaurant and spend some time replenishing your energy. Take a leaf from the Italians’ book – they do a lot of their socializing at lunchtime with chatter and wine, so the slopes are empty.

Rather than hitting slopes every day I like to try alternative winter sports. Most resorts have a wintry ice rink, try cross country skiing, hire a skidoo or just go for a stroll. Winter wonderlands make for lovely walking and photo opportunities. Another great way to relax on holiday is a spa day. Some resorts include treatment rooms where harmonious surroundings, and herbal soaks will help your body, not to mention your mind, wind down after the excitement of the day. There’s nothing better than an aromatherapy massage, body wrap, or facial to relax.

Some hotels have saunas, heated pools and beauty salons so you don’t have to go far to be pampered. Le Vald’Isere in France has a heated pool, Schweizerhof in St Anton Austria has a sauna and a beauty salon while Berangere in Les Deux Alps, France boasts all three. Finally, start as you mean to go on. Go to a reputable travel agent who specializes in ski. At Mark Warner, consultants are on hand to offer advice and plan your trip. So, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro you can ski without a worry. You never know, you may even come back relaxed!

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