A lot of people had a skiing holiday booked in 2020, and like most of the world, they were unable to go. Those same people pushed their dates and were hoping to go around…..now. That too, is not happening.
Which means that skiing later this year (a very strong possibility) or early next year (an even stronger possibility) is going to be a very popular option.
With 60% of people who had a ski holiday booked this year pushing their dates to next, rather than get a refund, the time is right to start thinking about, planning for and even booking your trip – now.
There are so many options out there – all inclusive, self drive, DIY, self catering etc etc. To make the right choice is very personal, but below I have tried to outline some options of resorts, to give you some ideas of where might work and how.
First things first – if you are tied to school holidays, you need to know 2022 holiday dates: half term is W/C 14th Feb and Easter weekend 15th – 18th April.
It looks like most state schools will be breaking up on Friday 1st April (although this does vary), meaning that Easter is right at the end of the holidays and you can bagsy 17 nights of holiday, if you wanted to.
For those of you who want to go skiing at Easter, you need to look out for resorts with high altitude. As someone in the know said to me ‘Height is right’ when it comes to skiing, although I don’t think that applies to my 6″ 7 husband who has committed to never putting a pair of skis on in his life….
Those resorts will obviously be good for February half term too. Most ski resorts are going to be good at Christmas – but some might work better than others. In this instance, although you may get more chance of snow in the higher resorts, it’s generally thought that it’s more festive in pretty little villages, lower down in the valleys.
Les 2 Alps, France
This resort has the largest skiable glacier in Europe and 200km of slopes with elevations of between 1280 – 3523m. The resort is 1.5 hours transfer from Grenoble airport. With the majority of slopes good for beginners, there are still good options for intermediates and advanced skiers, including some amazing off piste adventures to be had. It’s a lively resort with some really nice apres ski activities (like night time husky adventures) and lots of different accommodation options. Drive time from Calais is 11 hours.
With 107km of slopes, and an elevation range of 1793 – 3082m, this one is great for families, with only a one hour transfer time from Innsbruck Airport, and really good nursery slopes for little ones. This place gets 5*’s for snow reliability and although there isn’t a huge amount of lively nightlife, if you are there with young-ish children, you’ll find most of the action happens just as the lifts close and then quietens down quite a lot – which will help you get them home for bed on time. Another thing to bear in mind is that Austrian ski schools are more likely to start at 10am – (whereas in France it’s 9am), which could work either way for you. There is also a plethora of small, independently owned, family run hotels in this resort, including ones with swimming pools – good for young kids when bad weather doesn’t allow for skiing.
Val Thorens, France
From this resort you can set off to tackle The Three Valleys, an area which makes up the biggest ski area in the world. The other resorts that share the valleys are Corchevel and Meribel, (amongst others), but it’s Val Thorens which sits at 2300m – the highest in Europe. It has 140km of slopes, a very lively apres ski scene, and an excellent lift system as well as being a ski in ski out resort. VT is often viewed as the best place for intermediate skiers, so for families who have skied before with older kids, this would be a good option. There is also Europe’s highest zip line which takes 1min 45 secs to complete at speeds of up to 100km an hour, and the Cosmojet toboggan run. If you wanted to be somewhere quieter in the same vicinity, you could try St Martin de Belleville, which sits alongside VT. The resort is approximately 2 hours from Geneva Airport and about a 9 hour drive from Calais.
With elevations of between 944 – 2320m, this is not particularly high resort, but what it lacks in towering peaks it makes up for in festive spirit. The village is beautifully decorated every Christmas and in the middle of it is a snowy field that is both a nursery slope and playground. The locals go hard on traditions and you are likely to end up going to midnight mass whilst drinking hot chocolate and marveling at the picture postcard scenery. Your ski pass covers 210km of pistes, of varying levels and there are several family friendly toboggan runs. Its a one hour drive from Bern airport, and most of the accommodation are hotels, ensuring a relaxing stay for all.
Think classy Christmas traditions (wreaths and traditional festivities rather than blow up Santas), loads of stuff to do for non skiers (lots of nativity themed snow shoeing routes and a lovely Christmas market) and Father Christmas makes a visit with his elves – they can also cover all the pistes with artificial snow if Santa doesn’t deliver the good stuff. There is 140km of slopes to choose from, so this is still a skiing holiday, but with added festive extras.
Is another excellent option for Christmas, especially if you have a mix of skiiers and non skiers, or for those of you who have older children who are beginner skiiers. There is loads to do apart from ski, like husky sledding, banana boat rides (but onland down a slope), and sleigh rides and it has an extensive network of cross-country skiing trails (Norwegians outdoor sport of choice). The village is 1km away from the slopes but that just gives you more chance to admire the amazing scenery, and two of the slopes are floodlit at night, just to add an extra element of wow factor.
All these places are obviously in Europe and I haven’t given prices for any of them – nor have I covered them all. There are so many options, and it all depends on personal needs and preferences – but hopefully they give you a taste of what’s available.
Package deals for these kind of holidays are probably quite appealing right now as they offer security and loads of flexibility.
Below I’ve collated a list of resources you may find useful. I hope this helps cut through some of the noise!
For destinations that aren’t the Alps have a look at Ski Safari
Club Med specialise in all inclusive ski holidays
Crystal Ski – describes itself as the UK’s favorite ski tour operator, all it’s holidays are Abta and Atol protected and they offer a no charge amendment system
Ski World offer ski holiday packages – in these times it might be worth considering a package, even if it’s not what you normally do – you’re sure to pick up a good bargain and it is a way of guaranteeing security.
Erna Low specialise in self catering ski holidays
Ski i – do tailor made ski trips
Sno – a very good way of finding the resort that would work best for you
Ski Famille – chalets with inhouse childcare