How Modern Ski Resorts Are Increasing Access
Booking any type of holiday where you have to account for special needs is tricky, and ski holidays can be difficult enough to book anyway. Unlike a standard beach bum holiday, there’s the extra equipment and activity passes to account for, upping the expense as well as the admin duties. If you’re a beginner on the slopes or needing to account for mobility issues, the good news is that more and more resorts are widening access to snowsport and aprés-ski activities.
Generally speaking, the best ski resorts for beginners or disabled access are over the pond in the USA and Canada, recent hosts of the Winter Paralympics, with great wheelchair facilities and ski schools. However, the sheer distance puts it out of the price range of a lot of skiing Brits, on airfare alone. Fortunately, closer to home France is showing to be a rising star in accessible skiing, with over 150 ski schools offering lessons on Handiski. A catch all term for specialist equipment for disabled skiiers, this can include a variety of snowboards, skis, and sleds all adapted for different uses to maximise accessibility on the slopes.
As Blue Badge Style write, everyone falls over when they first ski, levelling the playing field (or in this case, levelling the slopes) in sporting experience between able bodied and handicapped skiiers. This is why ski schools are so important, encouraging beginners to get back on the sled and not feel silly doing so. Iglu Ski write that family favourite Alpe d’Huez, ski lifts have been improved over the last year to increase accessibility into 2016. With their range of beginner schools for different ages and abilities, they look set to remain popular with families and large groups.
Accommodation is steadily improving as well, with many resorts and chalets offering disabled access rooms and family friendly suites to invite new customers. The move towards targeting groups which may include non-skiers is further expanding the entertainment repertoire of ski resorts. Whereas the activities of ski trip were once limited to skiing and aprés-ski drinks, you can now go ice skating, spectate from the viewing gallery, or squeeze in a spa weekend. Sleigh tours are widening access to the sightseeing aspects of ski holidays, allowing holidaymakers of all abilities the opportunity to explore Alpine villages, enjoy ‘ski safaris’, and gaze at the gorgeous mountain views with ease. At some resorts you can even try your hand at mushing on a sled driven by a pack of husky dogs, which are incredibly popular amongst children and adults.