By Emma Trill on 27 November 2018

We’ve all been there, your family or friendship group has started to discuss your next holiday destination, and heading to the slopes seems to be the winning idea. That’s when the FOMO (fear of missing out) takes hold, and you begin to get anxious as to whether it’s worth joining them. But fear not, there’s much, much more to ski resorts than skiing itself.

More time to enjoy the mountain chalet charm.

The mountain scene you’ll be met with will make you feel like you’ve walked straight in to a postcard. If you’re lucky enough to have booked one of these fabulous mountain chalets, then you’re going to want to make it more than just a place to lay your head.

Gabled roofs aplenty, their charm radiates the surrounding area (or that could be the heat from the traditional log burner inside!), and you’ll find more cosy surprises waiting for you once you cross the threshold. While the rest of the group head out into the cold, you can throw a blanket over yourself, snuggle up on the sofa and sip on a rich hot chocolate to warm you through while you plan your day.

Depending on your group’s size and budget, your chalet could come with some cool extras. Hot tubs are a prominent feature in the larger chalets, and mean that you don’t have to go out for après every night! But it also means you can stretch your legs and enjoy the room while your friends or family are off exploring the slopes. Saunas are also very common, which means you don’t necessarily need to spend money visiting the sauna at the local leisure centre.

Cosy up by the traditional log fire in your mountain chalet

What can I do while everyone else is on the slopes?

To begin with, spending time in unfamiliar surroundings can bring out the adventure in us all. While your friends and family are out finding new runs to traverse down, you can explore the town and surrounding areas, to begin to piece together your week’s agenda.

Walking is a popular activity, and an excellent way to explore your surroundings while getting some exercise and fresh air. It’s amazing what you can find when you’re not looking for it – you might come across a cool bar with a great deal at après, or a café with the best hot chocolate in the resort.

 Hot Chocolate is a must if you're on a chilly mountainside

If you purchase Winter Sports Activities with your Columbus Direct travel insurance, you’re able to also have a go at the following winter sports, alongside over 150 other sports and activities:

  • Glacier Walking

Some ski resorts will be based around a glacier. This means the ski season can last longer than a resort not on a glacier. Take a guided tour and you’ll be amazed at the formation the ice takes. Tignes and Chamonix are two of the best resorts for glacier walking, so look in to it if you’re staying there.  

  • Skidooing

Skidooing, aka snowmobiling looks like a lot of fun. It’s always nice when you don’t have to use any energy to get up the slopes, especially if you don’t have a lift pass! So while the others are building up the lactic acid in their legs, you’ll be having the ride of your life, and the snowmobile will be the one taking the strain!‡ no cover under the Personal Accident section

  • Sledging

Relive your favourite childhood winter pastime, rent a sledge and join in the fun hurtling down the slopes! Usually, where sledging is on offer, the resort will have a lift, so you can hop on and conserve energy ready for your next ride!

  • Tobogganing

Similar to sledging, but a toboggan has no rails or runners underneath it – all that’s between your bottom and the snow is the toboggan seat! They’re generally easier to steer than a sledge as you have a lower centre of gravity – some even have left and right brakes to help manoeuvre the slopes. One of the best toboggan runs in Europe is the Moriond Racing run in Courchevel. It’s 3km of competitive racing with your peers, as you travel through tunnels, zigzag’s and overpasses to the finish line.

  • Snow Shoeing

Another way to get out for a walk, but allows you to experience the slopes without worrying about slipping over due to lack of appropriate footwear! Most resorts will have snow shoes available for rent, ask in the local ski/snowboard rental shops if there’s no where you can see doing rentals. Guided walks are often available, but you’re just as welcome to go out and explore for yourself – just be sure to bring a resort map!

Sharing is caring, so share your experiences!

While your friends or family may be up on the slopes making their own memories, you’ll be able to share with them what you’ve discovered during the day. While you may not get a say in who is voted “donkey of the day” due to their on-slope shenanigans, you may have seen a comical scene during your day to join in the conversation.

Skiing is a very tiring sport, and there will be a day during the trip where some of your peers may want a morning, afternoon or full day off the slopes to recover. That would be the perfect time to perhaps encourage them to come and have a try at something you’ve found during your trip so far. Or it may be the perfect opportunity to share a spa or shopping day with them, and just enjoy the company.

The main thing is that you have fun with your friends or family while on holiday

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