How to Spot & Avoid Fake Ski Chalet Websites

A guest recently shared that they almost booked their ski holiday through a fraudulent company. Unfortunately, this has been going on in the ski industry for a while, and still persists today. We want to make sure you are aware of these and know how to spot them, so that you can avoid ski chalet scams.

What are fake ski chalet websites?

Fake websites posing as agencies or chalet companies will either create a fake chalet from stolen photos around the web, or pose as an ‘agency’ with multiple chalet listings.

These sites will steal photos and copy descriptions directly from other websites, which can make them seem legitimate at first glance.

We unfortunately have heard various stories over the years of holiday-makers losing their money to these types of scams, and we do not want that to happen to you. Here is how you can avoid ski chalet scams:

avoid ski chalet scams

1. Check Their Online Presence

First, check their online presence across multiple platforms. This includes social media, review sites (Trip Advisor, Google, etc.) and digging deeper into their website. All of these things should have a history.

Are they on social media? For how long? How many followers do they have? Are people interacting with their pages and writing positive feedback? You can get a good sense of how genuine a company is from their social media profiles. And if you don’t find one at all, that’s definitely a red flag. It would be rare that a legitimate ski chalet company had zero social media presence.

Check TripAdvisor and Google to see if they have genuine reviews that have been there over time.

Dive into their website more. Do they have a blog where they share local info and have been doing so over a few years?

2. Look for companies with organic search results

Do you know the difference between a paid (advert) Google search result and an organic (unpaid) one? 60% of Brits don’t, according to a 2018 study.

Although many reputable and legitimate companies pay for Google Ads, the organic search results will only contain legitimate companies. Scammers will not be able appear in the search results without paying for them.

It can be hard to spot, but a paid advert will have a small box marked ‘Ad’ just to the left of the URL (see below). You’ll notice how many adverts are listed before organic results appear. Not only is it best practice to go straight past the ads to avoid scams, but generally the best sites will appear at the top organically.

google ad vs organic search results

3. Check for different payment types

The biggest warning sign is if a website only accepts payment via bank transfer. They do this purposely so that you have no guarantee on your purchase and are put in a vulnerable position. Look for a company that offers a variety of payment types (which may include bank transfer) but will often include credit/debit card, PayPal, etc.

When in doubt, pay by credit card so you have a layer of protection on your payment.

4. Availability for busy weeks

The majority of these scams are running during the busy weeks of the season – Christmas, New Year, Half Term and Easter. These are weeks with high demand, and thus limited availability, which is where the scammers come into play.

If you’re searching for one of these busy weeks at quite short notice, and it seems too good to be true, it probably is. That Feb Half Term chalet you found in December at a bargain? Be careful…

5. Search on Companies House

If it’s a UK company, look on Companies House to find genuine company information.

If they’re a foreign company, get in touch with the local tourist office. The tourist offices will know reputable companies in the area and they may even have a list of chalets and agencies in their resort that they could check for you.

call up or phone to avoid ski chalet scams

6. Phone them

Scammers have a harder time hiding behind the phone. Moving your communication away from solely email is a good way to avoid ski chalet scams.

If it is an agency site, search for the chalet website directly. Get in touch with them to see if indeed they work with this ‘agency’.  If it is a ski chalet site, ask to speak to the owner or director. This person should be an expert on their chalet and be able to answer any and every question you have. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about things you feel a bit uneasy about.

Contact details should be easy to find, and that includes a phone number. Definitely don’t keep your communication solely to email if you feel uncertain.

Book in confidence with Ski Dazzle

Book with us directly for the best rates and know that you can book in confidence. We’ve been helping holiday-makers enjoy their time in La Tania since 2002, and you can find guest reviews going back many years both on our website and across multiple platforms including TripAdvisor.

We accept debit or credit card, along with bank transfer. You can also find us and our history on Companies House.

Getting to the Alps: Everything You Need to Know

So you’ve decided that you’re coming to the Alps this winter. Amazing. Now, how to get there?

Many people opt to fly into the Alps, however both driving and taking the train are two other options. Here are all the pros and cons, and what to take into consideration before you decide how you’re getting to the Alps this winter.

Things to consider:

  • How many people there are in your party?
  • How far your resort is – both from the UK and from the nearest French/Swiss airports?
  • How much time do you have?

getting to the alps by plane snow mountains airplane wing

Getting to the Alps by Plane

Flying can be a cost-efficient and quick way to get to the Alps. This of course depends on where you live (distance to airport with frequent number of flights), and how close your ski resort is to the airport.

In general, most people fly into Geneva Airport. It offers a large number of EasyJet and British Airways flights in and out daily, and provides easy access to most resorts in the French Alps. However other airports to look into are Lyon, Grenoble and Chambery. Although they might have fewer flights, they can get you closer to your resort. For example La Tania is only 1hr15min drive from Chambery versus the 2hrs15 mins from Geneva.

You need to take into consideration the flight cost (plus baggage, which will be extra if you’re bringing your skis with you) as well as the cost getting to resort – via a transfer, renting a car or train.

From the airport

Transfers are simple and definitely take away any hassle. Someone is there waiting to take you to the transfer bus and drive you straight to your accommodation whilst you sit back and relax. Typically, a one way private transfer from Geneva to La Tania for four people costs approx 300 Euros. If you go for a shared option, the price is between 50 and 65 Euros per person. However, you might have to wait around in the airport for others or have a longer trip to resort because of other drop offs along the way.

You can rent a car at the airport, which usually works out cheaper than transfers if you have 4+ people. You also have the flexibility to leave and return when you’d like. And you can get around in resort if needed – which can be a huge perk. Make sure any car you rent has snow tyres on it!

There is also the option to take the train from the airport. However these are usually pretty inefficient (loads of stops) and still won’t get you directly into resort – unless of course you’re going to Chamonix!

You’re looking at roughly 7hrs travel time from arrival at the airport in the UK, plus any travel time to the airport. So this is definitely the quickest way to get to the Alps.

getting to the alps by car snowy trees

Getting to the Alps by Car

Driving can be a cost efficient way when you have lots of people and loads of luggage. Ski equipment for each person on a flight quickly ads up. You can also bring out food with you (which is definitely cheaper in the UK than France) if you’re staying self-catered, or you just want some goodies from home.

Once you’re in France it’s approximately 10hrs to Courchevel. Do keep in mind there are a number of tolls in France that you’ll have to factor into the budget.

Road trips can be super fun. And again, this gives you a car to use in resort which allows you to get around to places that the local buses might not be able to.

getting to the alps by train snow

Getting to the Alps by Train

Although it’s becoming less and less popular, there is a snow train that runs every weekend from London St Pancreas direct to Moutiers and Bourg St Maurice. There is one that leaves on Saturday morning and arrives in the evening. Or there is a night train that leaves Friday night and arrives Saturday morning. The overnight train gives you a full 2 extra days on the slopes, however they do not offer beds, so you are “sleeping” in a seat the whole night. You then just need to arrange a transfer from the train station, which won’t be too expensive.

The train is ideal if you live near to London or Ebbsfleet, and is the most relaxing of all the journeys, plus you get more time on the slopes if you opt for the Friday night departure.

Travelling to La Tania this winter? Here are all the details on distances from airports, cost of tolls, and more.

Top 5 Tips for Family Ski Holidays in France

When you’re going on a family ski holiday, you want to make the most of your time together. There can be a lot to think about, and a lot of different people in the group to please. However, France is a great option for a family ski trip. There are ski resorts in France that offer great value for money, whilst giving you access to some of the most stunning mountains in the world. Here are our top five tips for making the most of family ski holidays in France.

1. Choose a ski resort with a variety of pistes

It’s likely that you’ll have different levels of skiers in your family. Check out the piste map of your resort before you go and see what types of runs are in resort. Ideally, you want to have a good mixture of all levels. This gives little kids and beginners an opportunity to start on appropriately challenging terrain and gives the more advanced skiers adventure so that they aren’t bored.

And even if everyone is a beginner, you’ll want to be able to progress onto more challenging slopes as the week goes on.

family ski holiday kid child sledge sledging

2. Partake in some non-skiing activities

Another great way to make sure everyone in the family has fun, is to mix up the activities. Grab a bum board and go sledging around the village after a day on the slopes, or check out some of the larger sledge runs for bigger kids. Go see some live music and have a bit of an après session. Take a day or afternoon off skiing to go swimming at Aquamotion. Or treat yourself to a massage!

There are plenty of activities in Courchevel to keep everyone occupied.

3. Organise things in advance

There is something to be said for the over-organiser when it comes to family ski holidays. We’re big fans of booking as much as you can in advance so that you can start relaxing as soon as you get to resort. Things to book in advance:

  • Childcare – If you have a small child who won’t be skiing, book them into the local creche or secure a nanny to come to your chalet.
  • Ski Hire – Usually you can get great deals on ski hire when you book in advance, then all you have to do is pick it up once you arrive.
  • Ski Passes – Again, you can often get discounts when booking through your accommodation provider, and they can have it waiting in your chalet for you upon arrival. One less thing you need to organise yourself.
  • Ski School – For your children who are skiing, it’s highly recommended to book them into lessons beforehand, especially during school holidays. Groups book up early, and it’s a great chance for them to ski with other children and gives you some time on the slopes without them.
  • Restaurants – If you’re going for a catered ski chalet, book your chalet hosts’ night off dinner well in advance. Restaurants fill up quickly, especially in La Tania!

fondue france

4. Indulge in the local fayre

When in France, right? Because you are going to a country with some of the best food in the world, take the chance to indulge. The French Alps is well-known for gooey, cheesy deliciousness. It’s a great opportunity to share different food and culture with your children as well. Three cheese dishes we highly recommend:

  • Tartiflette – A baked dish made up of potato, onion, lardon, and the star of the dishL: Reblochon cheese
  • Raclette – Originally this was a way for famers to use up cheese that was starting to go hard, however now it’s a favourite in the Alps. A Huge chunk of raclette cheese is put under a heat lamp on the table & as it melts you scrape it off onto your plate of potatoes, salad & meats.
  • Fondue – You likely have heard of fondue – a melted pot of cheesy goodness that you dip pieces of bread into. There are a variety of different types of fondue you can order. We’ve found some with morel mushrooms in them before. Yum!

5. Stay somewhere lovely

Choose a great accommodation so that everyone can relax – yourself included – in a lovely environment. We have three beautiful chalets in La Tania, France which are all perfect for a family ski holiday. Check out Chalet Juliette, Chalet Dahu or Jamais Bleu. All are perfect for relaxing family ski holidays in France, partially due to the hot tubs you can dip in after a day’s skiing (amongst many other amenities).

Child Friendly Ski Holidays

Large Group Ski Chalets in La Tania

If you’re looking for a ski chalet for a large group in La Tania, you’ve come to the right place. Or perhaps you have your group organised, but aren’t exactly sure what is the best accommodation for you. Here are some things to consider to help you decide what type of chalet is right for you.

One of the best things about coming away with a large group, is that you get the entire chalet to yourself, which can leave you feeling more free to do as you please. And once you’ve sorted out the perfect ski chalet for you, all the rest of your holiday planning will fall into place.

Catered or self-catered

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Make this decision early on based on your group’s needs, and it will help steer your decision making.

If you want all your meals taken care of, and don’t want to have to worry about sharing food costs or the responsibility of cooking – catered chalets are the way to go. This generally keeps things a bit more simple and gives you more free time.

If you want more independence, and the ability for your group to split evening plans (maybe half go out for dinner and the others stay in), and the chance to try more restaurants – self-catered is probably best for you.

You can find a variety of both catered or self-catered chalets in La Tania, we have a mixture of the two types here at Ski Dazzle.

large group ski chalet

Great dining area & lounge

Sometimes ski accommodation can sleep a certain number of people, but it’s not fully accommodating to a party of that size.

You want to ensure that the chalet you choose has a dining table big enough for your whole group to sit around comfortably. Not only is this just a practical thing but leads to nice socialising over breakfast and dinners.

Also make sure the lounge is big enough to sit the majority if not all of the party at once. Maybe you want a big screen so the kids can watch movies at night. Or maybe you want a log burner that you can sit in front of with your glass of  wine. Whatever you want to do on your holiday, make sure the lounge has that.

Specific party needs

Do you want a hot tub? Is proximity to the piste important? Do you want ensuite bedrooms?  Make sure you know what is important to everyone in your party.  Although at times it can feel impossible to meet everyone’s needs, once you have an understanding of the most important things, it will make the decision process easier.

large group ski chalet

We can help

We have two large catered ski chalets in La Tania, Courchevel that sleep 14 people.

Chalet Juliette is recently renovated in a modern style. It has a spacious lounge with lots of comfy sofas for everyone in your party to relax and is located just a few metres away from the slopes.

Chalet Jamais Bleu offers traditional Savoyard charm and style with the luxury of modern amenities. The huge windows in the lounge offer stunning views.

Both of these chalets have our full catered package with which includes indulgent things like a free massage, champagne arrival and canapés.

However, we also have a self-catered chalet, Chalet Dahu, which sleeps 12. This ski-in ski-out chalet has a lovely open-plan living and dining room, with hot tub. We also offer catering options to include dinner, bread and a drinks delivery service.

Any of these chalets sound like they’d be perfect for your group? Book now, or get in touch if you have any questions. We’re always here to help.

What To Expect on a Catered Ski Chalet Holiday

Ever wondered what the whole catered ski chalet concept is all about? Maybe your friends go away each year and you want to know what the fuss is all about. Or maybe it’s on your radar for next winter and you need some more info. Catered ski chalet holidays take a lot of the hassle out of a ski trip. With your meals prepared for you, you’ll have more time to relax and spend your time doing what you came out for – to ski and spend time with family and friends.

What is a catered ski chalet holiday?

A catered ski chalet is a great option for skiers and boarders who want more time to relax after a long day on the slopes. You stay in a chalet near the slopes, either fully booked out by your party or shared with other holiday-makers, where board is included and served in-chalet by dedicated staff. Normally board includes hot breakfast, afternoon tea, and a four course dinner in the evening – with one or two days off during the week.

Catered Ski Holiday Large Group Ski Holidays

Why choose a catered ski chalet?

Firstly, you’re going to save time. And on a one-week holiday, time is precious! Loads of skiers and boarders choose a catered ski chalet because it gives them more time to spend with family and friends, more time to relax after a day’s skiing, and less to worry about. No need to go to the shop and buy all the basics for one week. No need to try and figure out what that packet says in French…

And aside from the catering experience, staying in a chalet is a must for any trip to the Alps. Unlike a hotel experience, you’ll feel homely and cosy in your own space. You can spread out, put your feet up in the lounge each evening, and be in the privacy of your own party at the chalet you call home for the week.

Self-catered chalets or apartments are also a great option if you’re looking for more flexibility. They also give you the opportunity to spend more evenings trying the local fayre in nearby restaurants.

What’s Included

Firstly – it says what it does on the tin – catering! Normally your board will include breakfast every morning with hot options most days, afternoon tea and homemade cakes waiting for you when you get back from skiing, and full dinner service – all hosted by your chalet host and cook. This is what we offer here at Ski Dazzle. Here’s a bit more detail about our food service.

There is usually one or two nights per week where the staff have the evening off. This is a chance to explore a local restaurant and perhaps get in your fill of fondue or raclette whilst in the Alps.

catered ski chalet dinner

Daily Schedule

8:00 – Breakfast is waiting for you when you wake up! Saunter into the dining area and feast on fresh croissants and bread, yummy jams and spreads, cereal, and 5 out of 7 days – a hot option (a full English is definitely on the menu once a week!)

9:00 – Head out on the mountain and enjoy your day on the slopes.

Lunchtime – Try out some of the great restaurants the area has to offer. Le Bouc Blanc is a great option for affordable yet delicious mountain food – based right here in La Tania. Or opt to have a packed lunch prepared by our team. You’ll find various picnic areas around the mountain, the perfect pit stop on a sunny day, and stunning views are included!

Late Afternoon – Head back to the chalet and dive into the homemade cake or biscuits waiting for you.

7:00 – Enjoy canapés and an aperitif in front of the fire before dinner service.

7:30 – Dinner is served. Four delicious courses to fill you up after a hard day’s ski. A variety of international dishes are on the menu along with a paired wine each evening.

After Dinner – Cap off the evening with a Nespresso coffee and petit fours in the lounge.

What about the kids?

Bringing little ones with you? More often than not, younger ones will have the option to have an earlier tea. This will be something homemade and tasty but catered to children’s tastes. Classics like spaghetti bolognaise and homemade pizzas usually make the menu.

catered ski chalet for kids

Sound like the kind of ski trip you want to have? We can help! Check out our beautiful catered chalets in La Tania and book you catered ski chalet holiday now. You can find availability here.