The Ski Club's guide to the best time to take the family skiing.

Many tour operators have fantastic 'early bird deals'. If you're travelling in a group we would also suggest you book early. If you have a small family or don’t mind your group being split up in resort then you can get some excellent late deals. Most ski schools let you book lessons in advance, so if possible we would advise you to do that as well.

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 and New Year, half-term and Easter. If your children are younger than this, then you are free to holiday whenever you would 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, and this subject has been in the news quiet a lot over the last few months. 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. 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.

Easter

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, Les Arcs

Switzerland: Saas Fee, Zermatt, Engelberg

Italy: Cervinia

Austria: Obergurgl, Obertauern, Hintertux, Lech, Sölden

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


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