When to Go Skiing with the Family

The timing of when you go skiing with the family can really affect your experience, so here is our guide to help you make the right choice for your trip.

After a long car or plane journey with children, you want to look forward to a relaxing holiday with clear pistes. Unfortunately, if you choose the wrong time, the pistes could be swamped and the holiday could turn into a logistical nightmare. Timing is key for ski holidays with children, and it is possible to have a relaxing time if you book wisely.

Many tour operators have fantastic early bird deals to take advantage of, so if you're travelling in a group you can save money if you start the booking process several months in advance. If your children are learning, it is always best to book professional instruction with ski schools, so make sure you secure lessons at the booking stage.

If you have children who are at school, chances are you will be holidaying in the mountains during what are traditionally known as the 'peak ski weeks' - Christmas, New Year, half-term and Easter. If your children are younger than this, then you are free to holiday whenever you like to during the season and you may get the best conditions, lovely quiet pistes and the best prices by avoiding these key weeks.

You may decide to take your school age children skiing outside of the school holidays. This is possible but at the discretion of your children's school, as this subject has been known to cause concern over attendance. Please do speak to your school before deciding to do this to see what their policy is.

Below is an indication of when schools break up but there is a lot of variation and it's best to check directly with the school itself. Independent schools can break up one, if not two weeks earlier than state schools and sometimes have completely different half terms.

Half Term

Exact dates vary in the UK but it generally falls mid-February. The Independent sector sometimes take two weeks instead of one. In France, half term can span the whole month of February, but the middle two weeks still tend to be the busiest. Italians do not take a half term break so Italian resorts can be a good option at this time. It’s important to remember that holidays vary between different regions in the UK. A useful resource for finding dates for different European countries is www.schoolholidayseurope.eu


Easter is often overlooked for ski holidays, but even when Easter falls later in April, it can be an excellent time for family skiing. Aim high, so that you can be sure of decent snow cover, or even head to a resort with a glacier. Milder temperatures and longer daylight hours can make for a comfortable family ski experience, and the quieter slopes make it a good time to learn too. Here are a few suggestions of high resorts in the Alps:

France: La Plagne, Val Thorens, Val d'Isere, Tignes, Alpe d'Huez, Les Deux Alpes and Les Arcs

Switzerland: Saas Fee, Zermatt, Engelberg

Italy: Cervinia

Austria: Obergurgl, Obertauern, Hintertux, Lech, Sölden, Stubai, Pitztal,

Kids Ski Free

Many resorts offer discounted or free ski passes for children. It's important to bear in mind that these passes are generally available alongside the purchase of a full price adult pass and on the condition that the children are accompanied by a responsible guardian. The offers are also sometimes unavailable on multi-day and seasonal passes so it's best to check with the resort before you book.

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