Ski holidays can be hard work, that’s why we tend to call them ‘ski trips’. You don’t call a week on a sun lounger a ‘beach trip’...that’s a holiday! At the beach you get up when you wish, and amble to breakfast in your flip flops. Long lunches are followed by even longer siestas.
Sporting activity on a summer holiday equates to a dip in the pool whereas skiing is a whole different ball-game. Up in the mountains we incinerate the candle at both ends. We stay-up way too late and still drag three kids and 4 pairs of skis to ski school before 9am. We then spend our days lethally attempting to both over-consume and over-exercise, before stumbling back to our chalets (not for a well deserved siesta and a soak) but if you're self catering, to go back out again and queue in a supermarket, because it’s our turn to make dinner for 12 people in a caravan-sized kitchen.
And we love it! Is there any holiday that shakes out the cobwebs better, and fills our lungs with clean air, and sends us back to our desks knackered but alive once more? Not even close. But does it need to be that hard? Well the good news is that things are starting to change, and the ski industry is waking up to the fact that a ski holiday can also be relaxing and not just for those who can afford the bling, all singing all dancing catered chalets.
For a start the hassle of organising a ski trip is getting easier. Once you spent half an hour in the lift pass queue on that irritable first morning. But now you can order online and get your passes cheaper before you go either at your official resort site or try and compare deals from an app like Liftopia. And then that other first morning delight, the ‘ski shop scrum’ is also going the way of the monoboard. Companies like Precision Ski and Tignes Spirit will instead bring the ski shop to you and fit you up in the comfort of your chalet. I promise you, those boots will feel a lot more comfortable with a beer in your hand.
The key factor enabling all this change is the arrival of the Internet. Having free WiFi on some ski lifts and less extortionate mobile roaming charges, means people are getting their phones out and allowing a new breed of online mountain service to spring up.
Our thing, Huski is a typical example. The time-killer we set out to nuke was the supermarket / cooking combo. We know that no-one who goes self-catering actually wants to ‘self-cater’! Don’t be silly. You go self-catering because you want to save a load of money, have your own space, and live your life without a schedule. So what about an online service that stocks up your chalet with dinner and drinks so it’s ready and waiting when you stumble out of the Folie Douce?
The internet isn’t just making ski holidays easier down in the valley; it is making life easier up the hill too. The classic difficulty of rounding everyone up for a lunch or dinner is disappearing with the arrival of tracking apps like SnowCru that show you where your ‘cru’ is at any point. We love it when technology allows everyone to get the kinds of services that only the big spenders used to get.
New Russian-made touring app Skadi gives you personal audio navigation. It won't obviously dig you out of an avalanche or know where to find the best vin chaud in Val d'Isere, but for only €2 a day it will turbo-charge the value you get from your lift pass. Fatmap also offers something similar with impressive 3D ski resort maps.
And if you are still unimpressed by all these peripheral improvements, and you just find the actual skiing a little too much like hard work, well there is technology for that too. How about your own pair of bionic ski legs from Ski-Mojo? These vorsprung-durch-technik leg supports will ease the strain of the day’s bumps, and leave you (and your kneecaps) ready to euro-pardee like a seventeen-year-old seasonaire on pay day.
So at last the digital age is creeping over the tree-line, and innovation all over the Alps is taking root. And of course us innovators know that we are firmly in the ‘solving first world problems’ camp. When we set up our “lasagne-delivery to time-poor chalet-dwellers” business we were not expecting humanitarian awards, but we do passionately believe that these are vital leaps forward for the ski holidays and environment we love.
The Alps and the people who live there need skiers to keep coming back, and in greater numbers. That means understanding how precious people’s time has become in today’s always-on world. Above all the ski industry must up its game on providing great service to everyone regardless of budget. We must collectively maximise people’s time and money so they can do more of what they came here to do. If we do, skiing in the Alps will remain the best holiday on earth.
Thanks to Paddy from Huski for this article.
Huski is an online mountain delivery service that brings ready-to-cook meals, groceries and a full range of drinks to chalets and apartments in ten ski resorts across France. Huski’s service is perfect for groups of adults or families staying in self-catered accommodation. They are able to offer a wide range of meal choices that caters for lots of different tastes and food requirements, from locally made restaurant quality french cuisine to crowd-pleasing international dishes and child-friendly comfort food.
Huski have an exclusive arrangement with the UK’s COOK food company to provide their high-quality ready meals in the Alps. They offer over 50 different dishes from cakes, to three-course meals, to delicious puddings.
In addition Huski has developed bespoke in-chalet menus with two well known local restaurants: From Le Monal in Sainte Foy, Huski offer classic Savoyard dishes like Fondue and Tartiflette, as well as luxurious starters and moreish desserts. From Maison Rullier in Seez Huski delivers artisanal local produce with charcuterie, terrine, casseroles and a selection of inventive puddings. The wine comes from one of the best known growers in the region, Adrien Vacher, but is also supplemented a by a full drinks list from further afield covering choices in champagnes, wines, beers, spirits and soft drinks.
How it works
There are two main ways people use Huski.
1.Order online before you travel out and arrive to a fully stocked chalet. Huski’s team will get access to your chalet from the owners or managers, and will supply everything you need from dinner and drinks for when you arrive, to a hamper of groceries and breakfast items.
2.Order day-by-day once you are in resort. For most dishes you can order on the day, and with 3 hours notice Huski will deliver within a specific timeslot between 4 and 6pm. So you can order from the lunch table and not having to worry about heading back before the lifts stop.
You can order via their website or you can also place orders by phone, where Huski's team of friendly bi-lingual helpers will answer any questions you may have.