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The diy route to the slopes

ср, 03/28/2018 - 13:30 Марина

Skiing holidays are financially ruinous for most large families, but if you are prepared to organize them yourself, you’ll save money and get a better holiday. Skiing is like malaria: once it’s in your blood it tends to stay there. After three winters’ remission, we decided to hit the slopes again. But I had forgotten that if skiing does not cripple you physically, it will financially.

After some weeks looking out for cheap ski deals for two adults and four children, aged 14, 12, 10 and 8, I was beginning to despair. Even the cheapest bargain becomes catastrophically expensive when multiplied by six. So we decided to do it ourselves. The Continentals don’t use tour operators, so why should we Brits?  We found accommodation by telephoning the Office du Tourisme  in a number of resorts and asking to be sent information about their meubles saisonniers. The tourist offices sent us lists of private accommodation, with the owners’ telephone numbers. The ski brochures from the big operators helped here, because they featured photographs of many of the resorts we were interested in, and we were able to pinpoint apartments close to the slopes.

Taking your family skiing should be fun and an informal chalet or chalethotel can be the perfect choice for a family ski holiday. Throw in some excellent english speaking childcare and/ or ski school you can guarantee that both you and your children will get the most out of their family ski holiday. If you are taking older children, who already ski or snowboard then a ski in/ski out hotel or chalet could be just the ticket.

Two decisions immediately helped cut costs. We drove and drove, to the French Pyrenees; the Alps are nearer, but lift passes and lessons are cheaper and better, the people are friendly, and the locals ski for fun.

We chose Gourette, a small station about an hour’s drive from Pau. We saw no other Brits during our week in there. There were plenty of Spanish families in Gourette there for sport not for the après-ski. The hooligan element, both French and Spanish, appeared to go to Andora. On Wednesday afternoon, busloads of school – children from Pau and the surrounding towns came up to the village for their weekly lessons. For a few hours the slopes took on the appearance of a multicolored anthill. The rest of the time, including weekends, there were no lift queues.


Task 1.  Choose the right variant to finish the sentence


  1. The writer says that skiing holidays are …
    1. too expensive for her.
    2. good for family holidays.
    3. a good way to save money.
    4. cheaper when organized by yourself.
  2. Comparing skiing to malaria the author wants to say that…
    1. skiing is very dangerous.
    2. it’s very difficult to give up skiing.
    3. skiing takes out the money like a disease.
    4. skiing damages you both physically and financially.
  3. In “so we decided to do it ourselves” it   refers to …
    1. arranging a tour on their own.
    2. finding the cheapest tour operator.
    3. calling continental tourist officials.
    4. setting up a tour agency for skiing tourism.
  4. Driving to the place helped…
    1. save money.
    2. save a lot of time.
    3. make friends with lots of people.
    4. find cheaper places.
  5. Having met no other British people the writer was …
    1. disappointed
    2. confused
    3. satisfied
    4. amused
  6. The schoolchildren come to Gourette…
    1. once a week
    2. for a week.  
    3. every week. 
    4. at the weekend.


Task 2. Choose the correct answer to the question


How did the author find the suitable resort?

  1. Through a tourist office.
  2. Through ski brochures.
  3. Making telephone calls to the resorts.
  4. With the help of a Tour operator.


What does the writer say about hooligans?

  1. There were not many hooligans there.
  2. The only hooligans were from Andora.
  3. She didn’t see any hooligans.
  4. French hooligans didn’t like the Spanish.


What brought the author to despair?

  1. The limited number of ski deals.
  2. The cost of skiing tours for children.
  3. The absence of cheap deals for big families.
  4. The necessity to take all the children on holidays.


How does the writer feel about her holiday in Gourette?

  1. She found it very expensive.
  2. She thought that there were too many people there.
  3. She liked it a lot.
  4. She thought that it was good only for children.

Task 3. What do you think of DIY holidays:  (vote)


– it’s a great idea in order to save money

– it may be too rough and leads to spending more due to the lack of knowledge

– it’s an interesting experience

– your own variant

Answers: Task 1:  d, b, a, d, d, a;  Task 2:  b, a, c, c.


#skiing, #family, #resort, #budget, #DIY, #hobby, #holiday