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24 Feb, 2016

Why Ski At Easter?

Skier getting their skis on

Thirty years ago, going on a family ski holiday was considered a real luxury, or at least only reserved for those who are in the upper reaches of the middle classes. Now, in the wake of budget airlines, better transport facilities and more affordable accommodation, the ski holiday has become a lot more accessible and feasible. Having said that, the Government and authorities certainly seem to be trying their hardest to make it as difficult as possible to go on a family ski trip.

Officially, we are not allowed to take our kids out of school to go on trips (even ones like a ski holiday that will benefit them greatly in the great University Of Life), so we are forced like cattle to only go away in school holidays.

Now, with the ski season only five months at best in Europe, our choices are limited to Christmas, half-term and Easter.

It goes without saying that the February half-term is often the most snow sure, but for this reason, it is the most popular time of year to go and so, therefore, can be busier out there on the slopes.

Another factor to consider is that because Half-Term is at the peak of the ski season, it can be colder out on the mountains. Make sure you have all the proper gear including neck warmers that you can pull up over your nose to keep the bitter wind and driving snow away from your face

Christmas is a pleasant time to go and there is something magical about being in the snow at this time of the year. But, whilst many people believe December, January and February are the only months where snow covers the Alpine slopes, there’s actually far more to offer beyond that and many believe the best is yet to come.

The Easter break falls right in the middle of that late-season period and it’s my personal favourite time to hit travel to the Alps. It’s normally quieter on the slopes that it is during the other school holiday times and the snow is usually surprisingly good and in recent years it has been fantastic at Easter with a fresh dump of snowfall across most large areas of the Alps.

For me though, the best thing about Easter Skiing is the weather. There is no better feeling than shredding the slopes in the bright glorious sunshine! There seems to be a different and relaxed ambience out on the slopes, with many skiers and snowboarders casually weaving down the slopes without a jacket on, and in some cases, just a T-Shirt. At lunchtimes, the mountain restaurants have rows and rows of deckchairs full of skiers and snowboarders packed out with sunglasses, tanning themselves as if they are on a beach in Benidorm. In these conditions, a very high sunblock screen is a must (including a lip seal) - it is amazing the number of people who do not bother or simply forget and then look like a lobster by the end of the day.

The days are also longer and brighter so you can squeeze more slope time out of the afternoon. And believe me, you will want to! I have always found that because the weather is warmer, I am not itching to get off the slopes and head to the nearest alpine bar to get a hot chocolate or Glühwein as soon as it is 3 pm Instead, I want to shred every minute that I possibly can until the chairlifts close, then head over to the nearest deckchair with a cold beer in hand (and of course with the mandatory sunglasses on), to drink in the atmosphere and beauty of the Alps, enjoying the warmth on my face of the last rays of sun that the day has to offer. Bliss!

Easter skiing is also cheaper because it is not peak season, with excursions and lift passes reduced in price from that of the Half-Term holidays. Family ski holidays can be expensive so booking for Easter really can save a lot of money.

Bear on the slopes ski on the sunny slopes

So the next big question is where to go? The obvious answer to this, just like in the quiz show Play Your Cards Right (if you are old enough to remember the 80’s show presented by the one and only Bruce Forsyth) and go Higher! The higher the resort the more snow sure it is likely to be.

In France, you could consider the Espace Killy resorts of Val d’Isère (1,850m) and Tignes (2,100m). Val d’Isère has many north-facing slopes and so it’s not as affected by the spring sunshine as some other ski areas. Tignes is not only higher, but it also boasts glacier skiing at Grande Motte (3,400m) which can stay open for 9 months of the year!

Val Thorens (up to 3,200m) is Europe’s highest major ski resort and is about as ‘snow sure’ for Easter as you can get. Also, while considering France, you can do no wrong in heading over to the Paradiski area to Les Arcs and La Plagne, This vast ski area is one of the biggest in the world and offers something for everyone; including glacier skiing.

If you want to travel further afield than France, then you may want to consider Zermatt (up to 3,899m) in Switzerland. Zermatt has a huge glacier ski area as well as some of the highest slopes in Europe. The scenery is spectacular with the iconic Matterhorn dominating the skyline.

In Austria, the lively resort of St.Anton (up to 2,450m) boasts a great snowfall record for March and the beginning of April with fresh snow dumps not that uncommon.

So, if you want a family ski trip on a budget, would rather ski in the glorious sunshine rather than being so cold that your toes feel as if they are being gnawed by a Snowvole, and enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere with fewer crowds, then Easter time is for you.

To find out more about how you can book an Easter ski break, call one of our ski experts on 023 8020 6971 or email