Is skiing only for the affluent? German discount player Aldi doesn't agree. From Thursday, Aldi will kit out a family of four for the slopes of Les Deux Alpes and Méribel for close to £150, including two-way radios. Ski socks cost from £3.99 and jackets under £20.
Will Britain's middle classes love Aldi skiwear as much as they like its cut-price Manuka Honey and Alpenmark smoked ham? %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
There's a good chance - if the quality's right. John Hill, editor of the Good Ski Guide, says skiing is still seen as an affluent past-time when it should be open to all. "It's fantastic Aldi has launched a range that offers not only great value but is also of comparable quality to brands on the high street."
"I'm sure this will open up the fun, thrill-seeking world of skiing to a whole new audience, of all ages and backgrounds." Not a bad sales puff for Aldi. In terms of prices, Men's and Women's Salopettes come in at £16.99 and children's ski trousers and jacket are priced at £14.99.
Aldi reckons in can save you almost £250 for kitting out the average family by opting for its togs. How durable though the kit is, time will tell. A poster on one UK ski site claims that the Aldi ski gear is made by Crane Sports in Germany.
Rent, don't buy
"Don't be put off because it seems to [sic] low priced - the quality is excellent," it says. Other winter Aldi gear, particularly for cyclists, has come in for good reviews. However, other retailers to look to on the good value skiwear front are Matalan, Decathalon and Sports Direct.
Go Outdoors has also had good reviews which offers a 10% year discount if you buy their discount card for £5.50. Don't forget TK Maxx. The welove2ki.com shopping list strongly advises against buying your own skis, boots and poles.
"It's standard to procedure to hire them all, in the ski resort, on your first week – which will cost from about £50 all in, depending on resort and country." The same goes for ski helmets.
"The one thing that is worth buying now is your base layer – what used to be known as 'thermals'. Despite the name, a base layer provides almost no thermal insulation whatsoever: its purpose is to be dry, and stay that way, no matter how sweaty you get, or how wet the clothing on top of it."
The five worst holiday disasters
Aldi gets family of four on slopes for £154
If you are a victim of a strike, or any other event beyond the airline's control (including ash clouds!), they must offer you a refund (in which case it's up to you to find a way home) or an alternative flight. While you are waiting for the flight you have the right to food and refreshment and accommodation.
If you are on a package holiday, your tour operator is entirely responsible for looking after you until you get back to the UK.
This is more likely to happen due to the financial crisis, but in some situations you are covered.
If you pay by credit card and it's over £100, you'll get a refund from the card company.
Your travel insurance may well cover you too, but check before you go.
Talk to the airline, and if it is temporarily misplaced they should arrange for it to be sent to your accommodation, and you should be either given cash to cover the essentials in the interim.
If it's completely lost you must wait 21 days and then make a claim for compensation. If you are travelling as part of a package you can claim costs from your operator.
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The only protection that will guarantee you will be looked after without running up a horrendous debt is by having travel insurance - which often covers up to £10 million of costs.
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If you have anything stolen, your only protection is insurance. You need to tell the local police immediately and get a crime reference for your travel insurer.