How to find your winter home

By marcellus, 15 Sep '12 at 12:36

So you've decided to take the plunge and want to do a ski season, probably one of the most exciting decisions you will take!! You may already have a job lined and some jobs come with Accommodation provided as part of your package. However, if you’re not sure yet or perhaps want more flexibility then here is the definitive guide to finding a home for your season.

At we initially ask you three simple questions;
1. What sort of accommodation are you looking for?
2. What is your budget?
3. Which resort you want to live in?

1. Types of Accommodation.
There are essentially two types of accommodation for the season in Ski resort;
a) Shared Accommodation
b) Private Accommodation.

Here we will look at what they are and the pros and cons of each;

a) Shared Accommodation
• These are properties where an owner/operator sells individual “beds” in a larger property.
• You will share the property with other people who also want to live as cheaply as possible.
• There is a wide range of quality of accommodation from “Hostel style” through to large chalets with hot tubs and games rooms.
• Generally properties are either “all boys” or “all girls” but in larger properties rooms will always be single sex.

• Lower cost
• Living with a ready-made group to ride/ski with
• Well positioned in resort.

• Can be cramped
• Living in a confined space with strangers
• Often not the best quality of accommodation
• Less choice if resort.

If you are going as a group of friends then it is possible to each book a bed in a shared property and then owner/operator will sell the spare beds.
However, you could also consider renting your own property for the season, which would give you a greater choice of resorts and still be very cost effective.

b) Private Accommodation
• This is where you rent an entire property for your sole use.
• Only those you invite into your home are able to come in.
• How large, the quality and location are determined by your budget.

• A real home.
• Privacy
• Location
• Usually better quality
• Quieter

• Can be lonely
• Will cost more

Types of Property
If you don’t want to share your home with others then this option is best for you.

The types of property available are;
• These are usually around 15/20sqm and consist of a main room plus bathroom.
• In the main room is everything; your bedroom, living space, dining area and Kitchen.
• In the UK they are usually described as “bed sits”
• Studios will usually sleep 2 as the bed is a sofa bed but some will sleep 4 with the 2 in the main room on sofa beds and 2 in the hallway on bunks.

Studio Cabine
• Usually around the 20/25sqm size and very similar to Studios with the addition of a separate sleeping area off the main room.
• This sleeping area usually is not much wider than a bed and contains a bunk bed.
• Studio Cabines will usually sleep 4 (2 in the main room on sofa beds and 2 in the cabine on bunk beds) but larger ones will sleep 6 with an additional 2 on bunk beds in the hallway.

• These properties are usually larger than 25/30sqm.
• The key thing with these properties is that there will be separate defined bedroom(s).
• They can have one or more separate bedrooms.
• They can have separate kitchens.
• They may even have separate dining rooms.

• At the top end of the property scale are chalets or complete buildings.
• These are the home in the mountains that we all dream of living in.
• It is possible that you might decide to rent one of these and then run it as a business by sub-letting the rooms either on a weekly or long term basis. This is usually not an issue but it is important that you have the owner’s permission to do so before you sign the contracts.

2) Budget
It is possible to rent a home season in a ski resort from as little as €2750 (£2225) in Europe and CAD$7250 (£4500) in Canada and for as much as you want to spend.

What do I get for my money?
You get the use of the property and its’ content. This usually included furniture, pots, pans and crockery but usually not bedding or towels.
Usually the cost quoted by an owner/Agent is only for the rent not including bills.

When do I have to pay?
Generally a booking deposit is required at the time of booking with the balance due before the season. Owners accept that they will earn less from a long term booking than weekly bookings, but the balance for them is that it is guaranteed income.

Are there any other costs?
Damage/Utility deposit – Typically 20% of the seasons rent but it is refundable after you leave.
Utility bills – These usually are not included in the rent and will be paid from the Damage/Utility deposit before it is refunded to you.
Taxe d’habitation - around the €1 per person per night is sometimes (but not always) charged.

3) Which resort?
Deciding where you want to live the season will often determine what you can afford to live in.

Another consideration is where in the resort you want to live. Everyone wants to be in the centre of the resort within easy walking distance of all the shops, bars, cafes, restaurants and lifts. This significantly increases the cost of accommodation in the centres.

However, if you are prepared to be more flexible there are some better value properties outside of the resort centre.
For example a 20sqm studio in the Centre of Meribel can cost you in excess €10,000 for the season. But in Brides Les Bains a 30sqm studio with communal Pool, Gym, Hot Tub and Sauna will only cost you €4250! Brides Les Bains is connected to Meribel Centre by a cable car that operates before and after the main resort lifts and takes about 20minutes or it takes about 15minutes to drive.

Most resorts do have a “low cost back door” but having a car with you to get around is beneficial.

Tips for finding your home for the season;
• Work out realistically how much you can afford to spend on Rent and Damage/Utilities deposit.
• Identify which resorts you would be happy to live in.
• Decide where in the resort you would be happy to live in.
• Create a list of “things that are important” to you and those which “would be nice”.
• Be prepared to compromise the things on your list to get the right balance in your home.
• If you want to live in a resort which doesn’t have shared accommodation and can’t afford your own Private Property then consider forming a group of others going out for the season and combining your budget so that you can afford to live there.
Whatever you are looking for, whenever you’re looking for it we at are here to help.

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