Bright blue skies, long sunny days, stunning scenery and late season snow mean that Easter ski holidays in France are fantastic for fun-loving families.
And while the popularity of Easter ski excursions is beginning to rise, Christmas and half-term holidays remain busier times, therefore it’s still a cost-effective time to visit.
A traditional time for rest, relaxation, regeneration and rebirth, the natural wonders of the Alps look amazing in the Easter sun and everything feels dew-fresh and delightful.
Skiing and snowboarding are superb activities for kids and adults alike and there are several great resorts that have snow-reliable slopes right through until the end of the season, while off the slopes you can embrace all the excitement, energy, culture and customs of a traditional French Easter.
At Erna Low we have visited over 100 ski resorts over the years and all of our staff have spent at least one season working in the Alps. Therefore we’re well-versed in the best resorts at this time or year, the type of accommodation that suits every member of your party down to the ground and the off-slope entertainment for all ages and apres-ski for adults that maximise your enjoyment every day.
We’ve been involved in ski package holidays since 1932, so we’re no spring chickens and this means that no one is better placed to hatch a winning plan for your cracking, customised Easter ski holiday!
Why Easter is an egg-cellent time for a French ski holiday
If you usually book your skiing holiday for earlier in the season, or are a first-time skier or snowboarder, you might be wondering whether an Easter ski holiday is genuinely a good idea.
However, pick your resort wisely and you’ll still enjoy superb snow conditions later in the season (not to mention that every resort nowadays has robust snow-making facilities), plus for many visitors, the warmer conditions and seasonal ambience are much more conducive to a well-rounded holiday which provides just the right balance between outstanding off- and on-slope activities
Here are a few reasons Easter is the ideal time to take to the slopes:
Joining in enthusiastically with on- and off-slope activities provides kids with some respite before the busy run-in towards the summer holidays when they return, and it’s also an excellent opportunity for parents to press pause on the usual routine and get some much-needed rest and relaxation.
The clear blue skies at this time of year mean that you’re really seeing the mountains at their best and don’t forget your sun cream because you really can catch a tan in this environment! Further, although it is a popular time of the year to visit, the sunny ambience means that everyone in your resort will be in a much more amiable mood, even when you’ve occasionally got to queue for a lift.
Another advantage of skiing at this time of year is that it’s brilliant for beginner skiers because it’s so much more pleasant finding your feet when you’re not struggling to keep your fingers and toes warm ̶ adult and child novices alike can enjoy an amazing introduction to skiing and snowboarding at this time of year, meaning they’ll feel far more encouraged to return, continue progressing on their learning curve and perhaps even develop a lifelong passion for these marvellous mountains. Longer evenings also mean that lifts are open a little later, meaning that skiers of all aptitudes can really get their money’s worth from their ski passes and, if you’re in a resort that’s part of a lift-linked ski area, venturing further afield to explore new pistes is more manageable.
The staff at Erna Low partner resorts will ensure you have an amazing time whichever season you choose to visit, but by Easter they’ve had a full season of experienced and newer staff working together harmoniously, so they’ll have polished their operations to perfection and you can expect peak levels of customer care. As well as ensuring practical services like linen, laundry, food and drink are delivered to the highest standards, your hosts are always happy to provide you with insider tips on how to make the most of your stay, with awesome advice on everything from the best childcare facilities to the most scenic spots and hidden gem restaurants where you can sample lip-smacking local fare and take in panoramic views.
If you’re flying to your resort, sticking to the luggage weight limit can be a struggle, but the warmer weather means you’ll need lighter jackets, less layers of clothing and less bulky items like flasks for warm drinks and heavy gloves and socks. However, at the other end of the spectrum, self-drive ski holidays are becoming more popular because you can reach your resort without mixing with anyone outside your family group and although you still won’t need bulky winter clothing, no weight limit in your car (apart from creaking suspension!) means that you and your family would have the option of carrying some home comforts with you ̶ whether that’s laptops, Bluetooth speakers or favourite board games for cosy nights in.
Easter traditions in the French Alps
Resorts make a real effort at this time of year to ensure that guests have as much fun as possible, so you can expect super games and events like Easter egg hunts on the pistes during the longer evenings, themed sledge races where guests and instructors dress up in seasonal costumes, and Easter eggs and chocolate treats hidden on and around gondolas and chairlifts by staff ̶ a choccy treat is the perfect tonic in between tearing down the slopes and having terrific fun.
Easter is known as ‘Pâques’ in French and one of the best things about celebrating it in a ski resort in France is embracing all the family-focused cultural activities it entails.
This is an exciting time for kids to learn about the delightfully different ways the French celebrate this international festival, many of which are familiar but add an extra touch of typically Gallic flair. Here are a few French traditions to look out for during your Easter ski break:
As well as the chocolate Easter eggs and Easter bunnies you’re perhaps more familiar with, you’ll also see plenty of Easter bells (known as ‘Les cloches de Pâques’). This stems from the Catholic tradition that church bells don’t sound between Good Friday and Easter Sunday to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus. According to folk legend, during this time they sprout wings and fly off to Rome for the Pope’s blessings, then return with his good wishes (and lots of other presents) in tow. This cute, charming custom means that you’ll have to make even more room for chocolate consumption ̶ c’est la vie!
The Easter egg hunt in France is known as ‘la chasse aux oeufs’ and it’s traditionally triggered by the Easter bells returning on a Saturday night, someone loudly proclaiming their presence on the Sunday morning after and kids then excitedly rushing outdoors, or around the house, to collect all manner of sugary treats including bells, eggs, bunnies, lambs and chicks. As is the case in Britain, the old-style Easter egg hunt used to consist of boiled eggs being painted and hidden, but these have gradually been replaced by the more palatable chocolate versions. That said, if you’re in a self-catering chalet or apartment, you’re free to boil and decorate your own eggs and then find a snowy slope nearby to roll them down if this is a family tradition you’re determined to keep up!
The traditional Easter meal is known as ‘L’Agneau Pascal’ and many families decorate the table with seasonal flowers like daisies and daffodils, as well as the odd Easter egg and bell. A traditional starter is asparagus served with boiled eggs and fresh grated chives and this is usually served cold, but the pièce de résistance is the main course of a delicious leg of tenderly roasted lamb, served with perfectly roasted potatoes and fresh garden vegetables. There’s no set dessert (although guests who aren’t yet stuffed can crack open leftover Easter eggs!) but sometimes a nest-style cake representing seasonal rebirth is provided or the first fresh strawberries of the season are served. You’ll find slight regional variations in terms of ingredients, but you should expect something similar to this Easter meal in an Alpine restaurant if you’re eating out, or perhaps you can even buy the ingredients from the local supermarkets and delicatessens and flex your culinary skills in your chalet kitchen?
As you can see, French Easter traditions aren’t a million miles away from what you’re used to in Britain, but they diverge enough to create some magical experiences for kids in particular.
Best resorts for an Easter French ski holiday
You won’t find peak snow conditions in every single French Alps ski resort at Easter as the end of the season is approaching.
However, there are several resorts which historically enjoy late season snow, good temperatures and long stretches of daily sunshine. If you want to get the best bang for your buck from your ski pass, here are a couple of fantastic resorts for Easter skiing:
Tignes is a high-altitude resort that often enjoys delightful dumps of late season pow, has an impressive 5 hours of daily sunshine at this time of year and average highs of 10°C. With the majority of slopes over 2500m (ranging up to 3456m on the skiable Grande Motte Glacier) and a massive 300km network of pistes for all abilities in the wider Espace Killy ski area, Tignes is a terrific place to ski in the Easter sun. Furthermore, the resort altitude is 2100m and there’s an average snow depth of 187cm in April, further backing up its snowsure credentials. As well as the seasonal Easter activities, kids can enjoy non-skiing activities like husky dog sledding, sledging and tobogganing, while indoor activities include swimming, cinema and bowling. There’s plenty of amiable apres-ski for adults in Tignes too, so if you do fancy venturing our for the evening you can sample the delights of venues like The Marmot Arms and Loop Bar.
Le Nevada is an excellent family-friendly accommodation choice in Tignes Val Claret which is definitely worth considering. Located in the middle of the village and just a few minutes’ walk from the shops and ski lifts, these cosy apartments feature traditional North American décor, with rustic timber furniture, tiles counters and soft furnishings in calming autumnal shades. Apartments are self-catering, but you’re close to resort cafes and restaurants and a home bakery delivery service can be arranged for breakfast. There’s Wi-Fi throughout, which is great for keeping up with your favourite entertainment via phone or tablet, and the jewel in the crown is the onsite wellness centre, which features a fitness room, pool, saunas and hammams in a cool complex surrounded by stone pillars and sleek glass walls.
Val Thorens sits at a lofty 2300m, making it Europe’s highest ski resort and naturally it’s a favourite for fans of high-altitude skiing and snowboarding. With a lower altitude of 1800m, upper slopes over 3200m and most of the skiable area well over 2000m there’s amazing on- and off-piste skiing here and it’s also a paradise for snowboarders, with a 70,000 square metre snowpark featuring all manner of kickers and tabletops, plus a pulsating quarter-pipe and big air bag to practice those huge jumps. After the seasonal activities are over, there’s still plenty for kids to do, with swimming and trampolining at the Val Thorens Sports Centre and a 1km Fun Slope which has enjoyable obstacles like bridges, tunnels and gentle jumps. The apres-ski is lively here, with La Folie Douce claiming Europe’s highest dancefloor at 2600m and nightclub Le Malaysia boasting the biggest dancefloor in the Alps, at 700 square feet ̶ either way, there’s plenty of room to throw a few shapes to your favourite tunes!
Le Hameau du Kashmir is a savvy choice for your Val Thorens Easter ski accommodation. This plush four-star residence sits at the entrance to the resort at the foot of the slopes, so doorstep skiing is standard, and the views are sublime. The salubrious apartments here are styled in the rich décor of the Kashmir region of India but they’re comfy and practical as well as being cool and contemporary. There’s an onsite bar and restaurant where you can warm yourself up with a posh hot chocolate or celebrate with a glass of champers, fuel yourself for a busy day ahead with a delicious breakfast or dine on delicious steak or lobster in the evening and as well as indoor dining there’s a scenic terrace with panoramic views of the Cime Caron. If you need to unwind all the way there’s also a well-appointed relaxation area with a gym, pool and hot tub, sauna and a plethora of luxe therapies and beauty treatments available that will reenergise you from the inside out.
In many ways, Easter might be the best time of the year to visit the Alps, especially for families.
Kids are kept occupied with lots of fun, wholesome and healthy seasonal activities which only enhance the regular snowsports activities offered at resort that are family-focused the entire year-round. And after having an awesome time in France they can return home feeling relaxed and confident about the rest of the school year.
Meanwhile, parents have peace of mind knowing that children are thoroughly entertained, and professional childcare is available of you want some rare alone time.
Combine these advantages with long, sunny days on the slopes and good skiing conditions, and you’ve got a recipe for a fantastic family break.
With a wealth of experience in Apline holidays and a heritage that stretches back to the 1930s, Erna Low is your first choice when it comes to customised Easter ski holidays in France. We can help you pick the right resort, arrange amazing accommodation, advise on travel options and include convenient ski equipment hire and ski passes in your tailor-made package, meaning all you have to do is turn up, switch into holiday mode and enjoy yourself.
With longstanding partnerships with a vast network of highly-rated ski resorts across the French Alps, you can trust us to deliver an excellent Easter ski holiday that will be the highlight of your year.