If you’re looking for accommodation for a winter sports holiday in Europe or North America then Kris Hunt says he’s built the website that can help you find your perfect place to stay. Kris is founder of Net Chalets and came up with the idea for the business after becoming frustrated trying to find a chalet for his own skiing trips.
Kris says that when he was younger he often ended up in the types of apartment blocks where, “they would demand your passport before they gave you the keys to your room.” As he got older he wanted better quality and choice but found it difficult to find suitable places online. “Many holidays are operated by big tour operators and favour certain resorts. These can be inflexible,” he says.
Kris’ solution was to create an AirBnB-like website that presents a range of independently owned chalets. “It’s all mountain-based accommodation, chalets and apartments. The properties are a mixture of catered and self-catering accommodation,” he told me. Users connect with the owners directly but the site only features accommodation in winter sports locations. “Users put in the details of what they are looking for, their likes and dislikes. Once they submit their requests, chalet owners can contact them directly with prices and availability,” says Kris. “It gives holidaymakers flexibility to talk to the operators who might be able to accommodate specific dates or requirements better than package tour operators.”
The site includes long haul winter sports destinations and Kris hopes that will encourage skiers and snowboarders to broaden their horizons. “A lot of people initially think of France for their ski holidays but there’s a lot more out there. You can go further afield, such as Eastern Europe. The Eastern European countries offer great value. We’ve got a few properties in Bulgaria and Slovenia and they are great for families, whereas the French resorts can be restrictive if you’re taking a large family. The service levels are great too. There are some places in Bulgaria which have hot springs, offering an additional activity to skiing and snowboarding.”
There are more options for people who are prepared to travel even further. “You can go to North America and get a completely different kind of ski holiday,” Kris told me. “I’ve spent a few winters in places like Banff and I’ve skied in Lake Louise. They have a different vibe and culture, different scenery and mountains. On the east coast of America you’ll find Mount Baker, where we have a number of condos. It holds the record for the most snowfall in one season. If you like powder snow, that’s a good place to go.”
So will people using Kris’ site find cheaper accommodation? “Yes. You are booking directly with the chalet owners and operators and not paying that commission to big tour operators with overheads.”
You can find out more at netchalets.com.