Any parent who loves to ski or snowboard wants to take their kids skiing. It is fair to say that the best and therefore most popular time of year to do so for the best snow conditions is the week of February half term. With this being one of the busiest weeks in the calendar for every European ski resort you it is worth thinking and booking ahead to ensure you and your family have a holiday to remember for all the right reasons. Here are our top things to consider to make your half term ski holiday a success:
1. Before booking anything, do your resort research
Resorts vary enormously. Elements of a resort to consider are: number of slopes suitable for your family’s level of skiing (is there a good selection of beginner/intermediate/advanced slopes/snow parks?), is the ski area large or small? What is the lift infrastructure like? Are you going spend hours of your holiday queuing for lifts? What is the resort/village like? Will there be enough going on to entertain your family or do you want a quiet getaway?
For what it’s worth (and yes, we know we’re biased but here we go) we believe Meribel to be amongst the best destinations for families with children of all ages for a number of reasons:
- The wide range of pistes for different abilities including some great beginner and children’s zones at the Altiport
- The huge size of the ski domain. This means that once the queues have dissipated after the morning ski school rush, everyone has spread out throughout the 3 Valleys meaning less queuing during the day than at other smaller resorts
- Plenty of entertainment going on both on and off the slopes during half term including a chance to meet avalanche rescue dogs, watch a torchlight descent, swim in the pool, have a game of 10 pin bowling or relax at the cinema.
2. Book your accommodation and travel early
It is a given that prices during the half term holidays are higher than during term time. To secure accommodation and travel shop around to find the best deal for your family. What is included in your accommodation price? Catered packages can often work out more cost efficient whilst allowing you to have a more relaxing break than self-catered deals. Also, don’t think that you have to go basic to get a good price. Simply basing yourselves slightly outside the main resort can guarantee you a number of extras including a hot tub, free Wi-Fi and private minibus shuttle to the slopes which can mean you get on the slopes faster than someone staying closer to the piste who has to walk.
3. Plan your journey
Whether driving to resort or flying and getting a transfer, roads to resorts get busier (and we mean busy!) later in the day on arrival days. If you can arrange to arrive in resort by lunchtime you can save yourselves a lot of time sat in traffic. This also gives to time to relax into your accommodation and familiarize yourself with the resort before your first day of skiing.
4. Book your ski hire in advance
This can save you a lot of time (and effort) on your arrival day. We work with Slide Candy who deliver your pre-booked kit to the chalet and then pop down to ensure a good fit once you have arrived. Their prices are competitive, you get the kit you want and there’s no queuing in hot, busy shops or carrying your equipment back to the chalet – winner!
5. Book your ski lessons in advance
Bagging a good ski instructor or the right type of group lesson for your kids (or yourselves) is central to your family progressing on the slopes and enjoying their skiing or snowboarding. There are some fantastic British run ski schools in Meribel offering a variety of lessons but they do get booked up quickly so think ahead and don’t miss out.
6. Order your lift passes in advance
Ok, the lift pass office isn’t going to sell out of lift passes but the queues can be enormous so make life easy on yourself and book your lift pass through your accommodation provider. You won’t lose out price-wise and it means there’s no need to queue and you waste no time in getting on the slopes on your first day.
7. During your stay, maximize your time on the slopes
The quietest time on the slopes during half term is the magic 2 hours between 12 and 2pm when the majority of people will stop for lunch. So why not fill up at breakfast or take a snack to munch on a ski lift and wait until later for a lunch stop / break? Beating the ski schools to the lifts in the resort centre (or waiting until after they’ve departed) can also help as they get priority in the lift queues. Ski schools in Meribel set off at 9.15am, 11.30am and 2pm. There are often quieter pockets of slopes in resorts too so why not ask your chalet hosts where they’d be skiing?
8. Book, book, book
We currently have availability in both our chalets in Les Allues, Meribel this February half term and will be providing a full chalet service including breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner, minibus to & from the slopes and an earlier 2-course children’s dinner sitting. All we need is a £150 per person deposit to confirm a booking. We also have a self-catered apartment available for groups of 2-4 people. So what are you waiting for? Book now.
Chalet St. Joseph (sleeps 16, catered): £699 per adult, £599 per child aged 12 and under
Chalet Les Cabris (sleeps 8, catered): £749 per adult £649 per child aged 12 and under
Apartment Petit Cabri (sleeps 2-4, self-catered): £750 total