Frequently Asked Questions
It is the Party Leader’s responsibility that all group members have the correct documentation to travel, both passport and visa. If you or any member of your party is not a British Citizen or holds a non-British Passport, you must check passport and visa requirements with the Embassy or Consulate of the country(ies) to or through which you are intending to travel.
All members of your party should hold a valid passport. Some countries require a passport to remain valid for a period after the date of entry to that country (around 3-6 months). You are advised to check the requirements of the destination at time of booking.
It is advisable to take photocopies of all passports both for you whilst on the trip and to leave behind a copy with your UK based point of contact.
You will need to supply Max Ski with the passport information of all those travelling. Ideally we would like this as soon as possible.
Currently, you can still apply for a Collective Passport which can be used for the majority of European countries, although there is a small cost to this (£39) and which needs to be completed 12 weeks prior to departure:
Be aware of some of the conditions of travel on these types of passport however, especially if any member of your group has to travel separately, or if the named party leader can no longer travel and a new leader has not been appointed and/or named on the collective passport.
It is common for school/college trip parties to have one or more students who are non-British or EU nationals. If you are unsure as to whether your student needs a visa or not, then please follow/use the links included below to find out whether one is required or not. As long as enough time has been allowed for processing of the visa, then it should not be a problem.
Embassy links – Europe (for our most frequently used destinations):
http://italy.embassyhomepage.com/ – Italian Embassy
http://austria.embassyhomepage.com/ – Austrian Embassy
http://www.uk.diplo.de/Vertretung/unitedkingdom/en/Startseite.html – German Embassy
Embassy links – North America & Canada
http://canada.embassyhomepage.com/ – Canadian Embassy
https://uk.usembassy.gov/ – US Embassy
If you are a GBR citizen, you must apply for an ESTA before you travel; entry to the USA will not be permitted without one. A charge of $14 applies.
All qualified Visa Waiver Program travellers are required to obtain Electronic Travel Authorisation (ESTA) prior to departure to the USA. This application must be submitted no less than 72 hours prior to departure, and can be applied for by following/using this link:
All eligible countries for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) can be found on the above website. Please do check all specific visa requirements for all passengers you plan on taking with you on your Max Ski Trip.
Other useful contacts:
For all up to date passport information, we recommend you visit:
- https://www.gov.uk/browse/abroad/passports or
- Call them on 0300 222 0000
If any of your group are non-EU nationals, it is worth visiting the British Council website too:
Max Ski cannot accept responsibility for any cost or fines incurred due to non-compliance with the above nor can we accept any liability if you are refused entry into any country due to failure on your part to carry the correct documentation.
Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS)
A number of countries have introduced legislation which stipulates that full passport details must be provided in advance for all passengers travelling by air. This legislation is applicable in the USA and many European countries, including the UK.
You will need to provide us with all passport information of those travelling. You can either email copies/information to us or collate information through a Google Form. It is critical that we receive this information in a timely fashion, not only to get it to the airline on time, but also so that it can be checked for any errors in advance. Any name mis-spelling or a wrong name can incur a name change fee, which can in some instances be a whopping £110. Please be sure to check, as we don’t want you to have to pay anything you don’t need to.
Some flights will not issue boarding passes before you fly. A Max Ski representative will most likely assist you though check-in.
Security measures are thorough and with a large group, it can take additional time to get through all measures. We will allow for between 2-3 hours for this process, prior to departure. If you have arranged for your own transport to the airport, Max Ski will not accept responsibility for missed flights due to a late arrival, either planned or otherwise.
This does vary across flight providers so we will let you know what the restrictions are in advance of your trip. Most airlines (not all) will allow for a discrepancy on individual weights of bags, if the total group weight does not exceed the total individual baggage allowance allocation. Any excess is usually charged for each additional kilo (prices can be expensive).
There will also be hand luggage restrictions (size, weight and dimensions). Again, this varies according to your flight provider. Any sharp objects or liquids exceeding 100 ml will be confiscated (including any prescription medicines), so please ensure that all party members secure these in their hold baggage. As a precautionary measure, we would also advise all party members to pre-pack any necessary liquids in a clear, plastic, sealable bag, which should contain no more than ten items. Only one plastic bag per traveller is now allowed and any items over the allocated ten can be confiscated. Snags like this through security can slow your whole party down, so anything that can be done in advance is readily encouraged.
You and your group are of course welcome to take your own skis and boots. Please be aware however, that charges will apply and vary considerably, depending on the airline. Please be aware that some carriers will not accept pre-booking of ski carriage. We will let you know of the conditions and prices prior to your trip. Should this be something you wish to take up please get in touch as soon as possible.
Please note that ski/snowboard boots are generally not included in ‘ski carriage’ but should be contained within your standard baggage allowance.
This matter is often disputed for safeguarding and security reasons. The general advice is that hold baggage should be labelled with the individual’s name on and the name of the destination hotel, which should be clearly visible. Max Ski are unable to provide luggage labels in advance, but it remains your choice to avail yourself of any labels available at the departure airport. We do recommend, however, ‘labelling’ your group’s luggage in a distinctive way e.g. a bright coloured ribbon. This will make it easier to identify at the airport. Max Ski can provide coloured ribbons at no extra cost if you so wish.
As is usual, short-haul airlines will not provide complimentary in-flight catering. Drinks, snacks and duty free can all be purchased on board the flight if required. Long haul flights to the USA & rest of the world will include meals.
It is not always possible for your transfer coach to wait right outside the terminal building, both in our European destination airports and in the USA. Your Max Ski rep will call the coach driver upon arrival, which may mean that you and your party may have a short wait whilst the coach arrives; please use this time to check your baggage and use the facilities prior to your onward journey. On the rare occasion where you are not accompanied by a Max Ski representative, we will furnish you with the correct driver details so that you may communicate directly with them.
We use a number of reputable coach companies for airport transfers and for the longer coach journeys to resort. On long haul journeys the facilities on board usually consist of a DVD player, a toilet and a drinks dispenser. Please note that the toilet is usually only for emergency use, so where possible, please encourage all travellers to use the regular comfort stops as a first option. It is recommended that you bring your own supply of DVD’s for the journey and if your vehicle is fitted with a drinks dispenser, it is usual for the driver to charge for any drinks consumed from them.
Please encourage regular litter sweeps of the coach which you can then regularly dispose of. Pillows and anything to make the journey more comfortable are also recommended, however please just be aware of the luggage limitations and of the fact that bags won’t be able to be accessed until the final destination stop. If a large number of your group plan on taking skis and/or snowboards, please let us know in advance, as we may need to arrange for a trailer.
If you are leading a small party, it may be likely that you will be sharing with another group. We will endeavour to match you up geographically to minimise any disruption or additional unreasonable travel time to your group and we will of course notify you of this in advance. We would ask that all groups sharing coaches show courtesy and consideration to one another.
Departure times will be an estimated based on road, weather and travel conditions. Therefore please note times are subject to change.
Please be aware that routes to your final destination are at the discretion of the coach companies, but routes to Italy could include travel through France, Germany and Switzerland.
Drivers will require regular stops, as required by law, which will be scheduled along the route. Please ensure that your party take enough currency should they wish to purchase snacks and meals, as these are not included in your trip cost.
Your driver should be familiar with procedures at the port of embarkation. Ferry companies and ports have different times for check in; most will recommend that you are through passport control and ready to check-in at least one hour before sailing and in peak periods (February half term & Easter) two hours before.
We will inform you of the provisional departure and Channel crossing times, but please note that these are subject to final confirmation from the Channel crossing operator. Due to demand for peak crossings, your first choice of crossing may not always be available, despite us having requested it in advance.
In the unlikely event of a breakdown, your coach driver will contact his company in the UK for instruction. Where repair can be actioned quickly, a replacement vehicle will not be provided. If there is to be a prolonged delay, a replacement coach will be sub-contracted to carry out your itinerary.
Our aim is always to make your trip run as smoothly and as hassle free as possible. Occasionally things do happen which are outside of our control: weather, natural disasters, industrial action or air traffic control, all of which could affect your journey. Please rest assured that the Max Ski team will be working to ensure your journey gets back on track as soon as possible. Please be patient as we try to rectify the situation and come up with solutions for you and your party. These events are few and far between, however Max Ski’s experience in repatriating groups after (for example) the ash-cloud in Iceland, as well as several industrial disputes over the years, means that your group is in capable hands.
We will send you out a Google Form for you to complete prior to the departure of your trip. On this Form, each passenger should complete the medical and dietary needs sections. If your group did not complete the Google Form, it is your responsibility to please inform us of any special requirements. We need this information so we can notify the relevant hotel and/or coach company, therefore allowing for any reasonable adjustments. These details should also be reconfirmed at the time of travel.
Please ensure you read this section of your travel insurance policy in detail prior to travel. Any change in medical condition, regardless of age, must be declared at the time of incident. If this later results in cancellation and the change in health was not reported to the Insurer at the time, the Insurer will not award the claim.
For trips to EEA countries, each person travelling should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), formerly the E111 card. Applications for these can be picked up at the Post Office or can be done online:
Expiry dates should also be checked before travel. The EHIC card entitles the holder to medical attention in state run hospitals only.
It is a requirement that all medical centres and hospitals in North America obtain written consent from a parent or guardian prior to treating a minor. Many resorts require our groups to bring their own ‘loco parentis’ or ‘consent to emergency care’ forms with them, completed and signed by each parent on behalf of their children. As a supervisory adult, you may be expected to sign these forms when you get to the hospital.
As skiing and snowboarding are inherently risky activities, even with all the risks mitigated, there is still the chance that you or a member of your party could end up in hospital abroad. It is therefore imperative that you have adequate travel insurance cover before you travel. This will be a condition of booking. The policy you choose should be examined thoroughly before you travel, in order to ensure it covers you for all the required eventualities and that you then print off a copy and take it with you to resort.
If a member of your group should suffer a serious illness or injury involving hospitalisation whilst you are away on your trip, you should immediately contact your insurance company. It should also be noted that many private clinics will not actually treat the ill or injured party until proof of insurance has been demonstrated.
Your insurance company will normally require the following information:
- Your policy reference number.
- A contact telephone number.
- Location of the hospital/clinic and the treating doctor’s telephone number.
- Name, address, usual GP and age of patient.
- Details of the booked travel arrangement.
- The medical problem.
Following your call, the Medical Assistance Company will undertake the following:
- Contact treating doctor/medical centre for details of the illness/injury.
- Guarantee hospital/medical costs where necessary.
- Establish the necessity for repatriation. This will be on the recommendation of the treating doctor, not the patient or their family.
- Arrange repatriation as specified by the doctor. The Medical Assistance Company will arrange ambulances/flights/nurses etc, as necessary.
- Where repatriation has been organised, the group leader will be contacted by the Medical Assistance Company for them to pass relevant details.
- The Medical Assistance Company may require the contact details of the Next of Kin.
Please remember that it is the duty of a supervisory adult within your party to stay with the sick or injured child, who may have to remain in hospital after the group has departed. Max Ski representatives will not be able to undertake this role for legal reasons.
Useful notes if you make a claim
- Keep receipts and appropriate documentation, such as doctor’s fees and prescription charges. Claims cannot be made without them. Please also ensure that you have adequate means to pay for such treatment up front.
- Police reports must be obtained to claim for lost or stolen property. Local police should be contacted quickly to obtain a statement and ensure that investigation is started whilst you are still in the country.**
- Notify your insurance company as soon as possible.
- You must notify the insurance company of a claim no later than 31 days after your return. Regrettably we cannot make claims on your behalf; they must be submitted by the Party Leader.
** If articles are lost or stolen whilst in the care of the airline, a claim must be made directly with the carrier at the airport on landing. You will need to complete a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) form at the airport. Please ensure that you do not leave the airport before completing this form and handing it back for official processing.
This will vary according to a number of factors. It will depend on the age of your group, the chosen destination and sometimes the hotel itself.
Generally speaking, pupils will be accommodated in multi-bedded rooms (3+) unless we are otherwise advised and accompanying staff in twin. Single rooms, which are subject to availability, can sometimes be subject to a single supplement.
Some other points of which you may wish to be aware are as follows:
- Certain hotels still have rooms with double beds but the majority will be in single beds.
- ‘Continental twins’ is a term commonly used on the continent. This is a double bed base frame with two mattresses; individual bed linen and duvets are used.
- Please bear in mind that there may be other schools in the same hotel as your group. We will always try to work with your requests in terms of rooming, but when it is peak season, it may not always be possible to accommodate your specific requests.
- Where possible, we will try to arrange it so that other members of the public are not on the same floor as your students, however please consider that this may not always be possible, especially during busy periods.
- Towels and soaps are provided so pupils will not need to take up valuable luggage space and weight with them.
- We suggest you assess the rooms for any damages as soon as you occupy them and report them to the hotel staff and to us, as soon as possible to avoid any potential damages payments on departure. It is also advisable to do this check on your day of departure too.
- If your trip is to the USA, the occupancy rules are different. Hotels are strictly based on a four student occupancy or two adult occupancy of a room with two queen beds. Supplements are payable for under-occupancy at all times, which will vary according the hotel selected. Single rollaway beds are available in some hotels which will allow you to increase the occupancy and therefore reduce the supplement payable for under-occupancy. Supplements do vary, but we will advise you of these.
- Any damages caused to the room, either intentionally or unintentionally, must be paid for by the Party Leader, prior to departure. Please retain all receipts for future claims.
We will send you a rooming allocation document to complete near the time of your departure.
Most hotels have phones in the rooms. Please be advised that phoning home from them can be more expensive than usual, so if you would like this option removed from the room, we advise that you speak to one of the hotel reception staff.
Rooms are serviced on a regular basis in hotels, but it would be helpful to hotel staff for pupils to keep their rooms relatively tidy.
Check-in times are always flexible with the hotels we use and the hotel staff are very accommodating with regards to various arrival and departure times. In the event that you don’t depart until the evening, you will normally be able to leave your baggage somewhere within the hotel, or on the coach, once you’ve checked out of your room.
Many European cities have introduced a European city tax, which have been introduced by local governments to improve tourist infrastructure within the cities. Max Ski have covered this charge prior to your arrival, so you will not need to pay for these separately.
Prior to your trip with us, we will send you out a Google Form on which your pupils will have the opportunity to tell us of any food allergies, intolerances and preferences. Please be sure to check the information on this Form in order to ensure it is correct. If you choose to inform us of all your party’s preferences via an alternative method, then that is fine, however we will still need advance notice in order that our hotel partner can prepare adequately for your stay.
Some hotels will try to provide food that we are used to in order to prevent wastage, whilst some try to offer a range of local dishes which aren’t too elaborate. This may not always be to the pupils’ liking, so it is advisable to talk to them about this prior to departure.
Although we continue to work with our hoteliers on dietary requirements, in our experience, special dietary requirements are not always fully understood. If you have a particular problem then please work with us to find a solution and make suitable suggestions to the hotel. It may, in exceptional circumstances, be advisable to take some food items with you. Although we will advise the hotel of any special dietary requirements in advance, please do re-confirm this with the hotel staff and Max Ski rep when eating.
If you wish to take your group out to a local restaurant/pizzeria one evening as a treat, please let your Max Ski rep know at least 24 hours before, so that they can inform the hotel and prevent unnecessary wastage.
Depending on your arrival or departure time, your meal could involve a hot or cold buffet, or a packed lunch/breakfast.
Eating on the mountain
If you have been quoted for an on-mountain lunch for your group as part of a full-board package, we will allocate your group with a restaurant and a meeting time. We will try to stagger you meal time with other schools so as to reduce the queue and waiting time. This, however, is not always possible as ski instructors often work the hour that your group will be taking its lunch, especially during busy periods at February half term and Easter. We ask for your patience as we help pupils through our ticketed lunch system.
In the USA lunch will usually cost somewhere in the region of $12-18. Your Max Ski rep can arrange a voucher system for you in advance, should you wish to reduce the amount of cash you would like your pupils to carry. Please advise us whether you would like to take advantage of this system.
Ski fit will take place as soon as possible upon your arrival. In some cases, this may mean a trip up the mountain to one of our ski shops on the day of your arrival, if time and lifts permit. Where this is not possible, on the first morning of your ski trip, we will take the earliest ride up the mountain to ensure we can get everyone set in time for ski lessons. As there may be more than one school having to do this, we ask for your patience as we help everyone get the equipment which is right for them. Please note that you and your pupils should have a long pair of ski socks to hand for ski-fit, in order to ensure the best possible fit for your ski boots.
Prior to going on your trip, we will have asked you to complete our Google Form which asks for shoe size (in UK size), height (in centimetres) and weight (in kilograms). You will also be asked for ski-experience in either weeks (for Europe) or ‘Type’ (for North America). Again, if you choose not to complete this Form and instead use your own method, this is absolutely fine, however, we will still need this information from all those going skiing. We will send all of this information to the relevant ski-shops in advance of your arrival so that they can get in all of the necessary equipment and/or set-up equipment in advance. This is also very useful information for planning for the number of instructors required, so we thank you in advance for your co-operation.
In addition to providing the above information, some American/Canadian resorts require you to complete a ski-fit form prior to your arrival, as well as a ‘loco parentis’ and a Release from Liability Waiver form, which we will send you to you prior to your trip. After the ski-fit in such resorts, individuals should retain a copy of the receipt they receive which will be used to check all equipment against the computer log as it is handed back in.
The equipment on hire to you will be of a standard package and will include skis, boots, poles and helmets. If any individual wishes to upgrade their package, then this must be discussed with the ski-shop and any difference in price will be charged to the individual concerned. Any breakages or losses of equipment must be reported as soon as is practically possible and a charge will be levied by the ski-shop in order to replace or repair the item. This charge must be paid at the time by the individual concerned or party leader, however please be sure to retain the receipt for follow-up insurance claims.
All ski schools will insist on the compulsory wearing of helmets for the duration of the lesson. Please see our Ski Helmet Policy document for more information.
All loan equipment will have a barcode or handwritten number on it. Your Max Ski representative and/or ski-hire shop owner will make a note of all of these numbers, which can be consulted on a daily basis to assist with locating misplaced equipment. In some cases, names labels will also be provided.
Your lift pass requirements will be discussed with you prior to your trip with us. Once you arrive in resort, these will be issued to you by your Max Ski Representative. Max Ski will have paid a 5 Euro deposit for all your lift passes. If one of your party wants to keeps theirs as a souvenir it will cost 5 Euros.
Please be aware that ski pass operators do not offer any duplicate lift passes. Any lost lift passes will be charged at full market value for a replacement, so please remind pupils to leave all lift passes in their ski jackets on a day to day basis. As the system is electronic in Europe, there should be no need to remove them to gain access to any of the lifts.
Ski tuition in all countries will be provided by the local ski schools and all instructors will be English speaking. Standard lesson packages are four hours long, split equally either side of a one hour lunch break (subject to weather conditions). We will always try and request preferred ski times, although we aim to have most lessons start around 10am. During peak periods however, we may ask you to be flexible with your start times. Where your group split is small, there may be a requirement for your group to join with members from another school to make a complete group. Should you wish to employ another instructor purely for your group, then we can try to sort this out for you but the additional cost will be that of the schools to meet.
Ski tuition is based on groups of 10 pupils of the same ability and snowboard instruction is based on groups of 8 for the same ability. Skiers and snowboarders taking lessons will not be mixed, and pupils participating in the different sports are not to join on to other groups at will.
On the first morning, students will take part in a small ‘ski-skills’ test in which they can demonstrate their skiing ability. Please note that often students will say they are experienced but in reality, they may not be as skilled as they say. The instructors will initially split the groups according to what they observe. We trust the professional judgement of the ski schools we would ask that you advise your students of the format for group selection in advance, thus managing their expectations about perhaps not being with their friends. In exceptional circumstances, individuals can move groups if their ability proves to be far in advance/less than the majority. Ratios and progression of the whole group are also a key factor to consider in these scenarios.
During busy periods, it can sometimes be difficult for instructors and pupils to identify one another. For safety and security, we will offer you the option of being able to physically identify your students through a method which could include armbands, ski-school vests, helmet covers or tags, for example. It will remain your decision against your Risk Assessment as to whether you choose to take it up or not.
It is usual for all group members, who have taken part in ski lessons all week, to have their achievement marked and commemorated in some way.
Each resort will have its own system and customary way of doing things, but broadly speaking, an ongoing ‘assessment’ of individual progress will be noted and encouraged by the group ski instructor over the course of the week. This may also culminate in a final assessment or on-piste challenge. Each person under instruction will receive a commemorative certificate/card against which individual progress and level has been recorded and which can be used again and in different resorts. These cards will be handed out to everybody at the end of the week in a presentational format. The ski instructors usually like to hold this ceremony and it can be done either on the mountain or back at the hotel. The location and timing will be discussed with you advance.
Customs and social etiquette on the continent do differ from our own. The Italian custom, for example, may be something which you may wish to advise your students about in advance, as it involves kissing on both cheeks, which your students may not be used to. Gifts for ski instructors to thank them are not expected or demanded, however many students do like to do this; this remains at your discretion as Party Leader.
Temperatures and conditions on the mountain can vary from anything between -20 degrees celsius to +20 degrees. Please bear in mind that conditions can change in an instant so preparation is key. Please also note that from time to time there may be certain lifts or runs closed and some evening activities may become unavailable e.g. ice skating or night skiing, as a result of adverse/poor weather conditions.
Max Ski have a Ski Equipment & kit list document, which you may wish to consult for further information and advice.
Wherever you choose to take your Max Ski trip with us, we will endeavour to make your trip as memorable as possible, for all the right reasons. Please do tell us if something is not to your liking or has not gone according to plan. We will strive to put things right for you as soon as we can. Your satisfaction and the enjoyment of your students is our priority.
We sincerely hope that you and your pupils have a fantastic time away with us. Thank you so much for choosing to ski with Max Ski; whether you are a returning client or a new one, every school is as equally important to us. Upon your return if you would be so kind as to complete our online trip questionnaire that would be very helpful. Your comments and feedback are extremely important to improving our service.
Please let us know if you have any questions at all.