Our Story

Sharing our passion for skiing since 1996

We’ve been tailor-making ski holidays since 1996, when Richard and Samantha Rice first started Ski Safari at their kitchen table.

Their pioneering ‘ski safari’ concept gave skiers the option to go on a ski holiday journey (‘safari’ means ‘journey’), skiing at multiple resorts and seeing more of the country they were visiting, hence the name!

1996 - The Start of Our Journey

The start of our journey

Richard and Sam set up Ski Safari from their London flat offering a handful of resorts in Western Canada - all of which are still available to book today!

Back then there weren’t many UK companies organising ski trips to North America, but Richard and Sam were convinced that other Brits would love skiing in Canada as much as they did.

📷: Sam and Richard at their first London Ski Show in 1998

1999 - Experiencing Every Resort

Experiencing every resort

After acquiring Ski US (a travel agency specialising in America), Richard and Sam added more resorts across Canada and the USA to the programme.

Determined to only feature resorts they’d skied at themselves, first-hand experience became the backbone of Ski Safari - and Richard and Sam did a lot of skiing!

📷: From the archives, dropping in in Canada

2002 - Moving to the Beach

Moving to the beach

Ski Safari moved out of London to a small office in Hove, where the company began to expand. We've moved office twice since then (once on the same road!), but we've never been more than a few steps from the beach.

To the delight of the growing team, staff ski trips became a regular feature, and still are today.

📷: The current Ski Safari office, just 300 metres from the sea in Hove

2006 - Exploring Switzerland's Peaks

Exploring Switzerland's peaks

Drawing on the knowledge and experience of new team members, we added a number of Swiss resorts suitable for shorter holidays and customers who wanted to minimise travel time.

We also continued to expand our ski safari options with road trips across the western states of the US and rail journeys on Switzerland’s Glacier Express.

📷: Morna, one of Ski Safari's first team members, in Switzerland in 2007

2008 - Discovering Japan's Powder

Discovering Japan’s powder

Wowed by the deep powder and fascinating culture on a recce in Japan, we added Asia to our expanding range of destinations. As with our other destinations, this included city add-ons in Tokyo and Kyoto, and ski safari options in both Hokkaido and Honshu.

Starting off as a niche product for hardcore skiers and snowboarders, Japan is now one of our most popular destinations for skiers of all abilities looking to try a different kind of winter experience.

📷: Rupert in Japan in 2008 - there are still some single 'pizza-box' chairlifts around, definitely an experience!

2011 - Cycling in the Summer

Cycling in the summer

We started offering leisurely cycling holidays in Europe and Asia with our acquisition of Freedom Treks, creating a year-round programme of active travel.

Also run by our team in Hove, Freedom Treks offers the same superb knowledge, honest advice and excellent customer service, helping customers choose from over 180 tours in 30+ countries.

📷: Sam and Richard cycling along the Danube with Freedom Treks in 2023

2012 - Introducing Scandinavia

Introducing Scandinavia

Based on a wealth of staff experience living, working and skiing in Norway and Sweden, we started offering some of the world’s best family skiing in Scandinavia.

This also opened up some exciting new ski safaris taking in world-famous railway journeys, spectacular fjords, magical Northern Lights displays and even Arctic heli-skiing adventures.

A decade later, Scandinavia has grown to become our most popular destination. With incredibly high levels of service in resorts, we're a perfect match!

📷: Richard in Åre, Sweden in 2012 

2014 - The UK's Highest Rated Ski Tour Operator

The UK’s Highest Rated Ski Tour Operator

We were delighted to have our high standards of service recognised in the inaugural Ski Club of Great Britain's UK ski industry consumer survey. We came top every year that the awards were held, from 2014 to 2020.

We're particularly proud of this award as it was based on a rating for our service by UK skiers, rather than just being a popularity vote based on a company’s number of customers or voting within the trade!

📷: The whole Ski Safari team celebrating in Trysil, 2014

2016 - Celebrating 20 Years

Celebrating 20 years

May 2016 marked 20 years of offering incredible tailor-made ski holidays.

We celebrated the Ski Safari way - throwing a birthday bash on the beach in Hove and flying the team out to Zermatt in Switzerland for a very special heli-skiing and heli-sightseeing trip!

📷: More team celebrations in Zermatt in 2016

2019 - A Larger Team, The Same Award-Winning Service

A larger team, the same award-winning service

Our team grew to 30 passionate skiers and snowboarders, but we continued to offer the same exceptional service.

Not only did we earn a sixth consecutive win in the Ski Club of Great Britain's Industry Awards, we also received our first British Travel Award for Best Ski & Winter Sports Holiday Company (small category)!

📷: Hiking above Norway's fjords in 2019

2020 - A Challenging Year, But Still On Top

A challenging year, but still on top

2020 was a challenging year for the travel industry, but we're proud to have continued to support our customers and in return pick up a seventh consecutive win in the Ski Club of Great Britain's Industry Awards and a second in the British Travel Awards.

📷: Muted celebrations in December 2020

2023 - Getting Back to Normal

Getting back to normal

With all of our destinations fully open again, travel was back to normal in 2023 and we began growing our team and exploring exciting new resorts to add to our programme.

Staff ski trips were back in full swing, with our team visiting more than a quarter of our destinations to refresh their knowledge and introduce new starters to the joys of skiing in Scandinavia, North America and Japan.

We also made it a fourth consecutive award for Best Small Travel Company for Ski/Winter Sports Holidays in the British Travel Awards 2023!

📷: Our whole team in Gausta, Norway. We were the first UK ski tour operator to offer this fantastic up-and-coming resort in 2023/24.

Today - still true to our roots

Richard and Sam still own 100% of Ski Safari and Freedom Treks, which are run by the same team from our coach-house offices, close to the beach in Hove.

A third of our team has been here for over a decade (a few are even over two!) and can draw from a wealth of first-hand knowledge of our destinations and experience operating successful holidays.

Our concept is the same as it was back in 1996 - we offer quality ski holidays that are tailor-made using first-hand knowledge and delivered with outstanding service.

We've recently received Feefo's coveted Gold Trusted Service Award - hopefully, the first of many!

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