Self Drive Ski Holidays

Holiday peace of mind has never been more of a priority.

When you let Erna Low arrange your Alpine ski break, you enjoy all the benefits of a snowsports specialist that’s been organising Alpine ski holidays since way back in 1932, constantly adapting our offering to meet the changing demands of our valued customers and changes in the wider world.

Customer service with the human touch has always been central to our ethos since our founder Miss Erna Low first pioneered the concept of the ski chalet holiday and a long line of innovations have followed in the generations since.

But for Alpine holidaymakers who want to feel safe and secure in the new normal, the self-drive, self-catering ski holiday is a concept whose time has well and truly come.

By travelling to and from your ski resort of choice in the exclusive company of your own group and dining, socialising, skiing and snowboarding independently when you get there, you can have the cathartic, hassle-free ski break you deserve.

Whether you’re an active family seeking ski holiday solace in a picturesque resort like Sainte Foy, an adventurous couple who want to sample the high-altitude delights of Val Thorens, or an expert solo skier keen to tackle the outstanding off-piste powder of Tignes, there’s no reason you can’t have the terrific break you’ve been yearning for.

Your holiday starts from the moment you leave home and with the open road ahead of you, the comfort of your own car and your family playlists on rotation, you’re in tune with vacation vibes straight away. With a huge network of professional connections, no one is better equipped than Erna Low to arrange every component of your customised ski break ̶ from your Eurotunnel tickets, to top accommodation and ski passes, equipment hire and even lessons.

With a self-drive, self-catering ski holiday, you’re in complete control from the time you roll out of your driveway until the day you return safe and sound.

Sounds superb? Call our booking team on 020 7584 2841 to find out more!

Why choose a self-drive ski holiday?

Convenience is the calling card of a self-drive, self-catering ski holiday from Erna Low and it could provide you with the reassurance you’re looking for. Your tailor-made Alpine break has every component carefully customised to fulfil the needs of every member of your group ̶ from travel to accommodation and everything else that helps you maximise your fun on and off the pistes. Here are a few advantages of the self-drive option:

  • Our strong partnership with Eurotunnel means we can easily source excellent Le Shuttle with Flexiplus tickets, which offer great value and confer priority boarding and access to the Flexiplus lounge. This is the equivalent of a first-class flight, therefore it offers a touch of luxury that enables you to rest and really get into holiday mode on your way from Dover to Calais. However, if it’s your preference you can also remain in your car for the duration of the journey.

  • Once you hit the road in Calais, it’s smooth cruising on the extra-efficient French Autoroute network all the way down to the Alps. There’s stunning scenery all the way down and many magnificent resorts are within easy reach, with journey times of 10 hours or less. If you’ve got a capable co-driver you can take turns in order to get some rest, but after a good sleep aboard Le Shuttle, the journey is perfectly manageable with one driver, while the journey there and back provides some calm, meditative time to transition smoothly from workaday to holiday mindset.

  • There are no luggage restrictions with a self-drive Erna Low ski holiday, so as long as your car isn’t so overloaded that you can’t squeeze in, each member of your party can take a few more home comforts with them than usual. And if you’re experienced skiers with your own equipment, you can load up your gear too and save on ski carriage charges. Furthermore, bed linen and towels are usually included in your ski accommodation deal, so there’s no need to carry your own, and your well-appointed kitchenette are will probably have a dishwasher and all the other mod cons, therefore your accommodation will feel like a home from home with chores kept to the bare minimum.

  • When you arrive at your awesome accommodation, you can check in without having to mix with anyone outwith your own group and to make things even smoother we can include pre-booked ski equipment hire and ski passes in your package so there’s no need to queue at outlets when you arrive. Once you unpack, take a nap and freshen up, you can head out to hit the slopes feeling completely calm and collected ̶ the majestic mountains of your winter wonderland await!

  • Booking is child’s play ̶ when searching for your resort accommodation, select the ‘self-drive’ option, drop your details in the form and hit search, then we’ll calculate the total cost in a couple of seconds. If you’re happy with the package you can pay securely online, or if more information is required you can contact us online for assistance or give one of our friendly sales advisers a call on 0333 251 3922.

A self-drive French Alps ski holiday has all the elements you need for a hassle-free family break, with comfort and convenience built in from the get-go.

Eurotunnel efficiency

With three crossings an hour during peak season, Eurotunnel is the quickest way of taking your car across the channel ̶ the journey on Le Shuttle takes a mere 35 minutes from start to finish.

A marvel of modern engineering, the Channel Tunnel opened on May 6th, 1994 and its subsea construction required the dedication and determination of 13,000 skilled and unskilled workers. Each tunnel boring machine used to carve its way through the chalk deposits along the tunnels length could chomp through an amazing 15 feet per hour and 11 of these amazing appliances were used during the project. The Channel Tunnel actually consists of three tunnels ̶ two carrying trains and a smaller, central service tunnel. The tunnel is 31.35 miles long and 24 miles of its length is underwater, each of the train tunnels is 24-feet in diameter and the north running tunnel transports passengers from England to France, with the south tunnel catering for returnees.

Eurotunnel Le Shuttle Flexiplus service has several super benefits because as well as dedicated check-in and priority boarding lanes and access to the Flexiplus lounge which serves complimentary snacks and soft drinks, you have the option of taking another departure slot if you arrive late or early at the terminal.

If you feel more comfortable remaining in your vehicle for the short crossing, you’re free to do so, but either way it’s hard to imagine a swifter or more efficient way of hopping across the channel and hitting the road down to the Alps.

Extra tips for your self-drive ski holiday

As you can see, a self-drive Erna Low ski break means practically every element of your holiday is taken care of, therefore all that’s left for you to do is enjoy yourself in some of the world’s most scenic ski areas.

The following extra tips are worth bearing in mind before you book:

  • Eurotunnel doesn’t accept LPG or hybrid-powered car, therefore you’ll have to travel in a conventional vehicle.

  • If your vehicle is over 1.85m in height or you’re attaching a roof rack, bike rack or trailer that will extend its height to reach that level, please let us know and we’ll check your dimensions and make the appropriate arrangements.

  • Some 7 to 9-seater vehicles can only cross via Eurotunnel, therefore if you’re rolling in a people-carrier, you’re in luck.

  • Buying a Sanef toll tag before you leave home is a brilliant idea ̶ hang this tag in a prominent position in your vehicle and you can fast-track through toll road barriers with your charges pre-paid.

  • Check you car is in tip-top condition before you hit the road by taking it into your local garage and having a mechanic give it a once-over. No matter how robust your roadside assistance cover is, you’re far better taking pre-emptive action to mitigate against breakdowns.

  • Make a music playlist to avoid arguments ̶ good tunes can definitely enhance your driving experience, but if you’re travelling with kids in tow, you’ll want to avoid arguing over which radio station to play. Therefore you should compose a holiday playlist that rotates everyone’s favourite tracks ̶ outrageous car dancing moves are optional!

  • Check with your mobile service provider that you can use your mobile phone once you reach the other side of the channel ̶ it’s a lifeline in emergencies and no one wants to be hit by expensive charges.

  • Bring plenty of food and snacks. If you choose to stay in your car during your Eurotunnel crossing and want to minimise pitstops on your way towards the Alps, stock up on everything from water to juice and sandwiches to fruit. Your journey is manageable, but if you’re hungry fatigue will set in and if kids have rumbling tummies kiss that harmonious car-ride goodbye!

  • Games and entertainment are a must for kids of just about any age, so if you want to keep them occupied and minimise complaints about feeling bored, make sure that their tablets and phones are fully charged and that they can access all of their favourite games, movies and TV shows.

  • There are some mandatory items and documents you need to carry in your car when you’re on the road in France. For starters, it’s mandatory to have a copy of your driver’s license and car insurance at all times, but you also need a GB sticker on your vehicle, headlamp beam deflectors on your lights, and a breathalyser, reflective jacket and warning triangle in the boot of your car.

Follow these tips and your self-drive ski holiday will run like clockwork, plus you’ll earn boundless brownie points from your family ̶ you can thank us later!

Delightful destinations

You’ll find superb skiing and snowboarding conditions and facilities across every Erna Low resort and since we’re snowsports specialists who have visited over 100 resorts and have all worked in France during the winter season, we can personally vouch for the high levels of customer care you’ll experience. But the strength of the French Alpine ski sector lies in its diversity, so there’s an ideal resort for every individual party, based on criteria like your skiing style and aptitude, whether you’re a mixed ability group or all at a similar level of development, travelling with kids or older relatives and your preferences for apres-ski, cuisine and off-slope facilities and amenities. To give you an idea of what’s on offer for your self-drive ski holiday, here’s the lowdown on just a handful of first-rate resorts:

  • Val d’Isère is 10001.9km from Calais and, traffic permitting, the drive takes around nine and a half hours. The jewel in the crown of the expansive Espace Killy ski area in the Haute Tarentaise, this famous resort is the first choice for many British visitors, sits at a lofty 1850m altitude and offers high-altitude skiing on slopes that exceed 3400m under the Pointe du Montet. With a history as an operational ski resort that stretches back to the 1930s, it gained global prominence during the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics when its famous La Face run hosted the Super G and Giant Slalom competitions. There’s probably more to offer intermediate and expert skiers here, but if you’re travelling with children or less experienced adults, they’re catered for with ski schools, nursery slopes and green runs. Finally, if you want to venture out of your chalet for an evening, the apres-ski is some of the best in the world.

  • Courchevel 1850 is 959km from Calais and if driving conditions are decent you can get there in under nine hours. Part of the Three Valleys ski area, which is the world’s largest lift-linked ski domain, this pristine powder playground actually comprises four different resorts set at different altitudes. The Three Valleys has a whopping 600km skiable area to explore that’s full of on- and off-piste opportunities for skiers and snowboarders alike, but even in the immediate vicinity of Courchevel there are 150 km of slopes suitable for all aptitudes at an impressive range of altitudes from 1224 right up to 3248m. Kids are well catered for with several ‘Zen Zones’ which have gentle nursery slopes and child-friendly chair lifts, while much of the accommodation here offers ski-in/ski-out convenience as well as complete comfort. Courchevel is also a great choice if you like to occasionally treat yourself to the finer things in life ̶ there’s retail therapy in chic designer boutiques and a feast for foodies with seven Michelin-starred restaurants and many other excellent eateries offering everything from haute cuisine to tasty snacks.

  • Samoëns is a gorgeous Gran Massif ski resort 871km from Calais and with a good run you can reach there in just over eight hours. Nestled in the heart of the Savoie Mont Blanc region, this classic French mountain resort is classed as a national heritage site, therefore it oozes charm from every nook and cranny and boasts a beautiful 12th Century church and pedestrianised village centre where you can stroll around taking in the awesome architecture and timeless ambience. There are lots of lovely blue and red tree-lined runs for intermediates here but the huge 14km Les Cascades run and off-piste powder in the Gers bowl satisfy advanced skiers. A respectable resort height of 1600m and favourable microclimate mean Samoëns is snow-sure throughout a season that runs from December through to April and there are several outstanding accommodation options close to the slopes and town centre facilities.

A self-drive self-catering ski holiday from Erna Low satisfies all of your requirements in terms of safety and security, enables you to have the time of your life on some of the world’s most wonderful ski slopes and helps you enjoy a therapeutic holiday amidst breath-taking scenery.

Whatever the size and composition of your group, we can customise every element of your holiday so that everyone feels completely fulfilled and ensure that your travel arrangements create a reassuring corridor taking you there and back again.

When you want self-drive French ski holidays with a certain je ne sais quoi, Erna Low inspires confidence whenever you get behind the wheel.

Tempted by self-drive ski holidays? Contact us for a chat!