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Magazine

Flying Solo

March 2017

A family ski holiday is great, skiing with mates is always a laugh and a cosy night in an alpine lodge with your significant other has romance written all over it! But family holidays can be stressful, your loud mate will probably grate on you after a few toffee vodkas, and romance is good but is it better than first lifts on a pow-day?

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Time in the mountains by yourself also has its upsides (as well as the many snow covered DOWN sides!). You can go everywhere at your own pace and really enjoy the beautiful surroundings, without slipping into an inadvertent race to see who gets to the bottom of the piste first. For us guys it is probably actually safer, without mates to try to “one-up” in the park! Also ski resorts are actually some of the most social environments that this writer has ever experienced.

You can go into a bar without knowing anyone and chances are that just being in a ski resort means that you have instant common ground with the person sat next to you. There is one thing that most skiers love as much as skiing and that is talking about skiing! Walk into a random pub back home and start talking to a complete stranger about what you’ve done that day and you might get the odd raised eyebrow, but in a ski resort you can go into great detail about the run where you had to “hike for an hour to get to the secret untouched powder, but fell and lost a ski and spent another hour looking for it!” - that’s fine, you’re a raconteur!

flyingsolo2 Image: www.skiwelt.at

Bars are also a great place to meet new people to ski with. Some of my best friends were originally just ‘randomers’ in ski bars! Chances are that they are also on holiday so they will be more than happy for you to tag along. You might get lucky and tag along with a ‘seasonaire’ (someone working in the resort for the season) and they will show you the best slopes.

Another great place to go by yourself is ski school! You’ll be with people of a similar ability so can progress together. If it is your first time, most beginner ski groups are comedy gold! - ‘the scared-of-everything one’, ‘the fashionable debutant’ who wears too much fur and looks like a yeti from falling over so much, the kid who after an hour is too good and does 3 runs whilst you’re still on your first one, and countless other variations. If you are more accustomed to skiing and snowboarding, there are groups of like-minded people who just want to spend all day pushing themselves.

One pocket-friendly option for the individual traveller is staying in one of many hostels dotted around the Alps. UCPA is a state-backed non-profit French company that offers value all-inclusive ski and snowboard holidays in hostel-style accommodation for 18-45 year olds, with shared rooms. If the UCPA format suits your needs you are welcome to select your preferred package and make your booking through their website. UCPA have 24 centres in French Alpine resorts: Chamonix, Val d’isère and La Plaine amongst others. There are countless independent Hostels or Gites in most Ski Resorts worldwide. As well as not breaking the bank, you never know you might end up sharing a room with an experienced skier or climber who can give you priceless insider info.

Maybe travelling as a one-man (or woman) wolfpack is a bit daunting. If that’s the case there are many other options for the solo skier. Active Away provide ski holidays for individual skiers within a group setting; but staying in somewhat more luxurious accommodation than your average hostel. The company, who are affiliated with David Lloyd Leisure Clubs, is run by 2 professional tennis coaches, so you are sure to be surrounded by a sporty crowd. Their motto of “We want your holiday to be the highlight of your year” encapsulates the kind of environment that you can expect to be welcomed into if you choose to go away with them.

flyingsolo3 Image: www.theskigathering.com

Another option is The Ski Gathering, an organisation that: “Offers company when you want it, freedom when you don’t.” Shared chalet holidays for small groups or individual skiers who will avoid paying a single supplement. The Ski Gathering operates in three French resorts (Meribel, Les Gets and Morzine) as well as Bansko; Bulgaria’s most popular ski destination. Cold Fusion are a similar operation, in fact they are the largest in the French Alps, with chalets in Chamonix, Les Houches and Morzine. They aim to create a fun and social atmosphere in their chalets and the opportunity to meet new skiers and snowboarders from around the world.

In the age of Tinder and online-dating it’s not hard to find a niche to suit almost any taste; skiing is no different. Outdoorduo.co.uk is a specialist dating site for outdoorsy people, and if you are seeking downhill skiing singles or ski touring singles to date then it’s perfect for you.

After all that, if you still can’t find anyone to ski with (or choose to travel solo) and decide to hit the slopes by yourself, here are a few vital tips to help keep you safe:

  • Always tell someone where you are planning to go and when you expect to be home. And if you’ve travelled abroad alone then tell someone where you’re staying.
  • Always stick to the pistes.
  • If you’re nervous you can try to tag along with a group (even if they don’t realise).
  • Always take a fully charged phone with you! (I know first-hand that the fully charged bit can be a life-saver).
  • Take your EHIC card, personal insurance details and contact info. (in case of an accident).
  • Study the local piste-maps thoroughly and take them with you.

So never be afraid to head off on a ski holiday by yourself; whatever method you choose we’re sure you won’t be lonely for long! And remember Ski Resort Advisor was originally created for skiers looking to make connections - we have hundreds of registered members to say “hi” to!

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Matt Masson
Media Writer

Matt is a keen skier having learnt as a child, and takes regular jaunts to the Alps, especially the Chamonix valley.

He's also taught windsurfing and sailing in the past, and has a love of many other sports too!

He once ran a marathon to raise money for a ski charity.

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