by Frank V. Persall
Sometimes, if you are fortunate enough, you may live close enough to a ski area that you can drop in for the day and head home after spending time on the slopes. But if you want to venture further afield, you must find the right accommodation. You’ll often hear talk of ski chalets when you look at the various websites and information for the world’s favorite ski resorts, but what is a ski chalet and what is it used for?
A ski chalet is a form of private accommodation. When you book one, you won’t be staying in a hotel or other mass populated accommodation; this is more like your very own ski house where all your needs will be catered to. The word chalet comes from Switzerland and refers to a wooden house with eaves that overhang, typically in Alpine regions.
Now, while ski chalets are an excellent form of accommodation, particularly if you are travelling in a large group, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind when choosing which type you will go for. In this guide, we will be looking at the different types of ski chalets you can choose from and telling you everything you need to know to plan your next skiing holiday.
When you begin to plan your skiing holiday, you will notice that there are a huge number of ski resorts to choose from. Likewise, there is an incredible number of options when it comes to the type of property you would like to stay in at each resort.
A ski chalet is your very own house aside the slopes. When you think of an Alpine adventure (whether you’re in the Alps or not), you might imagine staying in a beautiful wooden house. Moreover, with some ski chalets having in-house staff such as chefs, butlers, and housekeepers, catered chalets are a popular choice.
If you are travelling in a large group, a chalet might be a good option. This is because some of the ski chalets out there are incredibly roomy and once you split the cost with the other people in your group, you will likely save quite a bit of money when compared to booking a hotel or other sort of accommodation.
Like many other types of property that you might stay in when going on holiday, the ski chalet comes in different levels. Where you might book a penthouse or presidential suite at one of the world’s luxury hotels or simply a bed and breakfast in the inner city, for a more budget option, ski chalets have a similar system.
Heading off on a skiing adventure doesn’t have to break the bank. While there are other things to factor in such as transport, equipment, spending money and what you will eat while staying on the resort, your accommodation doesn’t need to cost the earth.
One of the great things about the ski chalet is that it is not an exclusive type of accommodation that only the rich and famous can afford. While there are luxurious chalets with all the mod-cons and then some, a budget ski chalet is a comfortable and welcoming type of accommodation with a much more friendly price tag.
This is an excellent option for families who are working on a tight budget but also great for people who take more than one skiing vacation each year and want to save a bit of cash. You will often find that your ski chalet will still come with meals included and other little perks but this will vary depending on where you are staying and who owns the chalet.
One of the best ways to source good budget ski chalets is to look online. Sometimes, you might even be lucky enough to bag a deal on more high-end property. However, the budget chalets such as Chalet Grand Belvedere in Morzine, France, offers half board accommodation for just over $566 per person.
However, you will notice that these budget chalets are typically located further from the slopes and other amenities like gondolas. They come with little extras like boot warmers but most have shared bathrooms and none of the luxuries you would get with a high-end chalet.
If you don’t want to go for the basic option but also don’t want to splash out on a high-end chalet then the mid-range ski chalet might be the perfect balance between the two. These houses will normally offer an en-suite bathroom for each bedroom and will typically accommodate up to eight people.
In a mid-grade ski chalet, you will be provided with comfortable seating areas and good views over the ski resort although they won’t be quite as impressive as the ones you would get in a luxury chalet. What’s more, you’ll be located nearer to the action.
The mid-range chalet generally has a much more extensive food menu which is typical of a higher quality. Your chalet will also be near many of the resort's bars and restaurants if you fancy exploring a little more.
After a long day of skiing, your mid-range ski chalet will have a large open fire that will set the tone for the evening, and satellite TV provides you with ample entertainment when you want to wind down.
If you think about a traditional chalet, you might think of something with a rural or rustic feel to it. But some of the most renowned ski chalets at the top ski resorts are the height of luxury. As we have already mentioned, some of these ski chalets come fully catered with staff and everything you will need for a comfortable stay. A true holiday, after all, is about rest and recuperation. Being able to sit back and relax while the staff takes care of you is a truly wonderful experience.
These luxury ski chalets may come with a range of amenities and it will utterly depend on the resort as to what each chalet will offer. You will typically find that a luxury ski chalet will comfortably house between six and eight people. The property may come with a gym, jacuzzi, and en suite bathrooms for each guest. What’s more, you’ll generally find that there is a large open fire for gathering around after a long day on the slopes.
There are some high-end ski chalets that come with amazing views and their very own cinema and others that are known to include luxuries such as a wine cellar! These luxury accommodations give you everything you need and more for one of the most well-catered and relaxing getaways you will have ever experienced.
Another advantage of staying in one of these luxurious properties is the views! Perfectly placed to get a view across the ski village and the mountain, you’ll be able to watch nature in all its glory. In the Dolomites in Italy, there are some chalets with breathtaking views that rival those from the top of the mountain. But be aware, this type of accommodation can set you back as much as $31,633 per week!
If you are a keen skier who wants to make the most out of their skiing holiday then a ski-in, ski-out option may be for you. These ski chalets are placed as close to the mountain as you can get and offer the option to begin skiing from the moment you exit the chalet door. No time will be wasted getting stuck into the sport with this option but you’ll still get the excellent amenities and provisions you would in other types of the chalet.
If you have ever stayed in a beachfront property on your summer holiday then you might think of this as the skiing equivalent. Much of your time and money when at a ski resort is spent on things like waiting in line for the ski lift or hiking up the mountain by foot if you’re into backcountry skiing. However, when you stay in one of these extremely convenient chalets, all of these issues are taken away.
That said, because of how close to the slopes these chalets are, you will need to be willing to part with a little more of your hard-earned cash, especially if you want something more on the luxury end of the scale. If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime skiing holiday and want to pull out all the stops, we’d suggest going for this.
Upon leaving your ski chalet, you can literally put your skis straight on and get into the action. But what is most amazing about this type of chalet is that they are always located near to the best slopes with prime skiing. It’s certainly something worth forking out for.
A ski chalet is one of the many types of accommodation on offer for people taking their annual vacation at one of the world’s many ski resorts. Unlike a hotel, where you are sharing facilities with other people, a ski chalet is a private temporary residence that can come with a whole host of things.
From low-budget ski chalets that provide you with a basic, yet comfortable base for your skiing adventure, to properties that are at the height of luxury. There is something for everyone. What’s more, if you really want to make the most of your time at the resort, a ski-in, ski-out chalet will see you staying as close to the slopes as possible. So much so that you can ski directly out of your door and start your adventure.
No matter whether you are heading out on your first skiing holiday or you have already acquainted yourself with your favorite ski resorts, staying in a ski chalet is all part of the experience. But before you set off on your next adventure, be sure to check out our top skiing tips and tricks as well as a whole host of information on everything you’ll need.
About Frank V. Persall
Originally from the UK, Frank has a passion for skiing and anything snow related. He is currently on a never ending mission to visit the best ski resorts across the USA and the the World. Frank is happiest when he is on ski slopes with his wife and three children.