Young travelers to Europe next year can spend a week or two skiing with tour companies that cater specifically to the 18-to-35 age group. These programs are marketed internationally, so you have a good chance of making friends from a variety of English-speaking countries.
Top Deck operates one- and two-week ski programs in Austria and Andorra. The trips from London offer a choice of travel by bus or plane. Or you can meet the group in Europe for a reduced rate.
Top Deck has been taking young skiers to Soldeu, Andorra, for eight years. Rates begin at 99 (about $146 U.S.) for a seven-day trip by bus. This provides shared bed-and-breakfast lodging, without private facilities. The 14-day coach travel package begins at 159 ($235). Equipment rentals and lift passes are not included.
Top Deck also offers trips to Kirchberg or Zell Am Zee, Austria. There are one- and two-week trips, by bus or air. One-week coach trips range from 129 ($190) to 169 ($250) depending on the date you travel. Ski passes and equipment rentals are not included. For information, contact a travel agent or Tour Connection, 7531 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood 90046.
Two Types of Accommodation
Contiki Holidays offers seven- and 14-night ski holidays in Hopfgarten, Austria. Two types of accommodation are available. One has triple-share rooms with private showers; the other twin-share rooms with private facilities.
Rates are for joining in Austria although transportation from Munich may be provided, depending on the airline you use. Rates include breakfast and dinner daily. Seven-day holidays range from $138 to $339 depending on when you travel and the type of room you choose.
Fourteen-day holidays range from $304 to $545. A six-day ski package that includes equipment, a lift pass and 12 lessons costs $128 for a beginner and $210 for an intermediate or advanced skier. The 13-day ski packs are $210 for beginners, $219 for others. For details, contact a travel agent or Contiki Holidays, 1432 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim 92805.
Insight Tours offers ski programs in Neustift, Austria, about 30 minutes from Innsbruck. Return transportation is provided by coach from London. The ski package rates also include all meals, boots, skis, poles and 20 hours of instruction. Accommodation is in twin rooms. Ski lift passes are not included. Rates start at $515 for 10-day trips and $830 for 17 days. It is possible to start and end the trip at Munich for a reduced rate.
Insight Tours offers 10 other European tour programs for the 18-to-35-year-old traveler. Trips operate year-round, ranging from 10 to 36 days, and include destinations in Great Britain, Western Europe, Scandinavia, Israel and Egypt.
All of Insight's tours go from and return to London. Most youth travel operators do not charge single supplements. Instead, they arrange roomies (shared accommodation). On some tours you may share with four to six people.
Insight Tours will also arrange roomies but all their accommodation is twin-share with private facilities. They are also one of the few youth tour operators offering a regular program into Israel and Egypt. The company also claims to have a higher proportion of two-night (or more) stops so travelers won't feel rushed, and they try to use centrally located hotels.
They have added an 11-day Europe program (prices start at $795) and an 11-day British program that visits England, Scotland and Wales (prices start at $670). This year they have also included a free three-month membership in the Drifters Club for tour participants. The Drifters Club in London is a place where international travelers can meet for food and drink.
This company includes many sightseeing entrance fees in the tour cost. For example, in Vienna tour members visit the Spanish Riding School and in the evening go waltzing in Vienna's Stadtpark where Strauss used to play. You may discover that you enjoy doing something you might not have considered trying if you had to pay extra for it.
Some negatives are that the buses hold up to 52 people, which is quite a crowd, and the only meals included are breakfasts and a few national dinners and picnic lunches. You'll have to budget extra funds for many lunches and dinners.
For details about these programs, contact a travel agent or Insight International Tours, 17310 Redhill Ave., Irvine 92714.
A general caution about guided tours: Many guides supplement their incomes by commissions on purchases their groups make in certain stores. Be wary that you are not being pushed into buying at particular outlets.