Travel News » September 2009 » Ski for free this winter

Ski for free this winter


First-timers on the slopes are being offered free ski packages from five UK tour operators who have teamed up with 30 resorts in six countries to offer beginners complimentary equipment hire, ski or boarding lessons and lift passes.

Absolute beginners need only pay for flights and accommodation, the only catch is they have to state that they have never previously been on a ski holiday. Friends who have skied before can join them, but they will have to pay for ski packs.

The Freshers Ski Week ( concept, which was launched last winter, has been extended to two weeks this year ? one week in January and one in March. Participating tour operators are Crystal Ski, First Choice Ski, Inghams, Neilson and Thomson Ski.

Resorts where free ski packs are available include Andorra, Zell Am See in Austria, La Plagne and Val Thorens in France and Saas Fee in Switzeralnd.

Further information is available from where beginners can choose their ski resort and then click through to the relevant tour operators to book.

Before making a final decision, beginners are best advised to look at other options as cheaper packages may be available even when the cost of ski packs has been factored in.

None of the Italy's resorts are participating in the scheme, and yet these offer some of the best and most affordable skiing for beginners.

Things for first-time skiers to consider when choosing a resort are the accessibility of the nursery slope, the quality of the ski school and the availability of grfeen and blue runs they can progress to.

Some of the bigger, well-know resorts are best avoided as prices there will be higher than in the smaller, lesser-known resorts and there's no need to pay a high price for a lift pass to access slopes that are too hard to ski.

Good options for first-time skiers are Bansko in Bulgaria or some of the smaller Italian resorts or lesser-known Austrian villages.

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