Taking a ‘reverse ski weekend’ is a great way to enjoy some of the most luxurious hotels, chalets and activities in ski resorts at a more affordable price. A reverse ski weekend is different from a ‘regular’ ski weekend because instead of travelling on the usual days – out on a Thursday and back on a Sunday – you travel out on a Sunday and back on a Wednesday.
Both options give you three nights’ accommodation in the Alps. Depending on your flight times, both could require just two days out of work. On a reverse ski weekend, you can leave resort early on a Wednesday and be at your desk that same morning. With the reverse ski weekend you have some great advantages over a traditional ski weekend.
Larger choice of luxury chalets and hotels
Hotels and chalets tend to book up for most weekends during the season well in advance. Not only do you have to organise your trip much earlier, but you also tend to pay premium prices, as hoteliers know they will be able to sell their rooms.
However, outside of peak season dates such as Christmas, New Year, half term and Easter, few of these luxurious properties are completely full. This means that better rates can be available for some superb properties.
An excellent option for a reverse ski weekend in France would be the Hotel Le K2 in Courchevel 1850. With two gourmet restaurants, Le Kintessence and Le Black Pyramid (the former has two Michelin stars) and a wine cellar with over 1000 bottles to choose from, this is a location worth seeking out.
Less expensive flights
Whether you fly with British Airways, Swiss or easyJet, you will typically find that flights will cost significantly less if you fly out on a Sunday and back on a Wednesday.
Most of the traffic to and from the Alps is based around travelling to the Alps on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, with return flights on Saturday, Sunday or Monday. By travelling on these lower demand days, you can instead spend your money on upgrading your accommodation instead of giving it to an airline. This could mean upgrading to a quality property such as Chalet Maurine in Verbier. This is probably the best located chalet in Verbier and can sleep up to 16 people, so will fit groups for most trips with the ‘boys’ (or girls!).
Not only are you staying in a hotel and flying on ‘off-peak’ days, but you will also find that the slopes are less crowded on a reverse ski weekend. Many world class ski areas such as Les 3 Vallees, Verbier, St Anton, Chamonix and Zermatt are much busier on Saturdays and Sundays with day-trippers. These visitors tend to be more local and might visit these ski resorts from the larger cities of Geneva, Lausanne or Zurich.
Your main ski days will be Monday and Tuesday, which are always the quietest in resort. Not only is there more space on the slopes and the off-piste, but you will find it easier to book private instructors or a guide for discovering the back-country. This is the perfect opportunity to try a challenge such as the Vallee Blanche in Chamonix. Accessed from the Aiguille du Midi cable car – the highest in Europe at 3842m – this famous run should only ever be attempted with a guide.
It offers a huge total vertical drop of 2727m over 18km across the seracs and crevasses of the Mer de Glace glacier and will thrill even the most experienced skier or snowboarder.
No interruption to your social life
If you travel on a reverse ski weekend, you don’t need to miss any family commitments or other social events in your calendar. You can still be at your children’s football or rugby match, or that lunch with your mother-in-law that you really don’t want to miss! There’s no ‘brownie points’ that have to be saved up – after all, all you’re missing is work. You can still spend as much time with your family as you want over the weekend before flying out late on Sunday. Plus the other added bonus is that you miss some extra commuting – wouldn’t you rather spend time on the mountain than on a train or in a car?
Where ever you choose for your next ski weekend, consider making it a reverse ski weekend and you could find you never travel Thursday to Sunday again. Enjoy your skiing!
Richard Lumb is Owner of Kaluma Travel.