© Ian Huyton
School holiday ski trips to Les 2 Alpes
The February holiday is the most popular period in Les Deux Alpes and other ski resorts. Many people regard it as the only time to ski if they have children in school. However, there are six school holidays per year in the UK and other European countries, and Les Deux Alpes is open for skiing for five of them. In fact, out of twelve to fourteen weeks of British school holidays, Les Deux Alpes is open for all but one.
With skiing here being possible most of the year, we thought it would be a good idea to look at the pros and cons of each school holiday period for a family ski trip, beginning with Christmas.
What better way to see in Christmas than a ski trip to the Alps? A white Christmas is almost guaranteed, and the resort will bend over backwards to entertain the children with a Christmas theme centred around Santa’s grotto. The downside is that, in poor snow years, it is the early season weeks that suffer the most. However, Les Deux Alpes always has snow-sure skiing on the upper slopes thanks to the glacier.
Pros: Quieter than other winter school holidays; a family Christmas in the snow is a magical experience.
Cons: Early season snow is not always good but, in a high-altitude resort like Les Deux Alpes, there will always be good skiing on the upper slopes and the glacier.
The second week of the winter holidays tends to be a bit busier, partly because many families want to spend Christmas with the extended family, and partly because other groups often go on a New Year ski trip. Being a week later, the snow will often be better than Christmas, and will almost never be worse.
Pros: A great time to party; the snow is often better than Christmas week.
Cons: More expensive and busier than Christmas; early season snow can be poor some years.
February is the time when most people book their ski holiday. Right in the middle of the season, the snow is usually good. Because of its popularity, this week is the most expensive of the winter and the queues will be at their biggest.
Pros: The most reliable period for good quality winter snow.
Cons: The resort will be very busy; this is usually the most expensive week of the season to book with a tour operator
The Easter holiday is often overlooked for skiing but it can be one of the best times of the year for family skiing. The days are longer and the weather is warmer, which makes looking after little ones that bit easier. The snow is consistent, even if the lower slopes might be icy first thing and slushy later. The upper slopes will remain in good condition throughout the day and the resort will be much quieter than in February.
Pros: The weather tends to be warmer and sunnier; the slopes are much quieter than in February; spring snow is consistent and reliable.
Cons: The lower slopes will be icy in the mornings and slushy in the afternoons; the runs back to the resort may be in poor condition.
A summer skiing holiday is not at the top of most skiers’ lists when planning a holiday but, as part of a multi-activity break, it can be well worth considering. The skiing takes place in the mornings, leaving afternoons free for watersports, mountain biking, tennis, golf, climbing and hundreds of other activities. With warm weather, a relaxed atmosphere and lower prices, summer is an ideal time for a family holiday in the Alps. Note that if you are keen to ski, the glacier conditions are usually better in July than August.
Pros: A long school holiday gives lots of choice of dates; many fun activities are possible besides skiing; accommodation is much cheaper than in winter
Cons: Skiing is only possible on the glacier in the mornings; the available terrain is limited.
The resort only opens for a week in October but this is a great time to get a sneak preview of the coming winter. Ski and snowboard test weekends give you the opportunity to try out next season’s new equipment, and prices should be quite reasonable. The downside is that the terrain is limited to the glacier. This is open all day, unlike in summer but there are few other activities on offer. It would not be the best choice for your main ski holiday, but it is a chance to squeeze in a cheap extra ski holiday, or long weekend, before the main season.
Pros: You get to ski before anybody else and try out next winter’s kit; prices are cheap; the glacier is open all day.
Cons: The terrain is limited; there are few other activities available.
Spring half-term is the one school holiday when the resort will be closed, although it can be a great time for hiking in the Alps. Just remember that Les Deux Alpes is an awesome destination for a family holiday year round!