The February half-term holiday coincides with some of the best skiing and snowboarding conditions in the French Alps, so taking your kids for a half-term ski holiday in France is a treat for the whole family!
With a massive network of professional connections across the Alps, you can choose popular family-friendly resorts in legendary lift-linked ski areas like The Three Valleys, Espace Killy and Paradiski, or quieter resorts where you might get the slopes to yourself and spend less time queuing.
We have a wide range of accommodation options in each resort, from value-focused self-catering chalets to well-appointed apartments and salubrious five-star hotels. If doorstep skiing is a prerequisite, we have a plethora of residences right next to the slopes and many are also close to the ski village centres, with apres-ski venues for adults and off-slope entertainment for children on tap. Not sure which is the best half-term resort for a mixed ability group? With our wealth of experience we can easily advise on the French ski resort with the best balance of gentle nursery slopes and green runs, intermediate blues and reds, expert black runs, off-piste areas and freestyle parks for snowboarders. Furthermore, if adults or children in your group need ski lessons, we can inform on the best ski schools in each resort and even help arrange private lessons if one-on-one tuition is best.
With Erna Low there are no half measures when it comes to organising the perfect half term ski holiday in France for you and your family ̶ we’re 100% committed to getting it right first time! If you’re ready to talk about booking your ski break now, call us on 020 7584 2841 for a chat.
Why book a half-term French skiing break?
There are many reasons that the half-term holidays are the ideal time to take a family skiing break in the French Alps ̶ here are just a few:
Perhaps now more than ever, it’s important for children who have been working hard throughout a challenging academic year to balance their studies with activities that are good for the mind, body and soul. But the combination of the dark winter days and British weather means that many kids are cooped up inside devoting spare time to social media and videogames, with a lack of healthy pursuits where exercise is combined with fresh air. Skiing and snowboarding are the perfect tonic for these winter blues and particularly cathartic for children with the extra pressure of exams. Plus, as well as awesome on-slope activities, there are ample off-slope activities like laser tag, swimming and the cinema, and the chance to experience another culture and perhaps even brush up on their French language skills. Even anticipating a half-term ski break in France can have a positive effect on children ̶ this type of goal can be great for stimulating them during their studies in the months preceding your fab family holiday.
As a busy parent you might be faced with a couple of basic options during half-term ̶ either take time off and try to entertain your kids at home (perhaps with a few excursions) or keep working and pay for childcare to look after them. Both of these options can be extremely expensive and, let’s face it, if you had the option of trawling around museums, shops and tourist attractions in your home region or schussing down pristine powdered slopes amidst majestic mountain scenery in France, you’d most probably choose the latter. If you book early you can often bag great deals on packages at exciting Erna Low resorts and also take your children’s needs into consideration from the very start so that you choose a resort and accommodation type that satisfies everyone’s needs.
Conditions in many French Alps resorts are at their absolute peak during the February half-term holidays, therefore you can expect superb snow retention on the pistes (particularly on shaded north facing runs at high altitudes) and regular dumps of fresh powder which enhance off-piste skiing opportunities no end (although it’s always safest to hire a local mountain guide to take you off-piste skiing). While early signs of spring often mean sunny days (especially on south facing slopes) you’ll still need to wrap up warm with lots of cosy layers at this time of year, but as long as everyone packs sensibly you’ll have the absolute time of your lives out on the slopes and every resort has ski shops where you can pick up items you’ve forgotten to pack or misplaced ̶ from gloves and socks to jackets and more. If you want to see the Alps at their best, half-term delivers the all-action break you’ve been yearning for. As you can see, half-term is a hotspot in the French Alps skiing calendar so be sure to talk your plans over with your family and book as soon as possible in order to reserve your first choice of accommodation.
Top tips for a half-term French ski break
Booking a half-term French ski holiday with Erna Low is hassle-free because we’re here to listen to your needs and help you every step of the way. But you can make the process even smoother by taking a look at the following tips:
Involve your entire family in the holiday planning process from the very start so that everyone feels involved and invested. If your final choice of resort and accommodation is a compromise which takes everyone’s needs into consideration, it’s more likely that the holiday itself will be a success. Furthermore, by having a family meeting when you arrive and are settled in, you can discuss everyone’s priorities and try to fit them all into an itinerary. Although this approach might feel slightly regimented, it’s worthwhile because when everyone’s involved in collective decision making, maximising holiday fun is reliant on you all working well together and respecting one another’s views.
Be aware that, even on holiday, older kids will still want some private time and space to talk to their friends back home on social media, catch up with gossip and share selfies of their skiing exploits, or watch movies or TV series. Making time to participate in these home from home activities is sensible because everyone needs a little downtime when they’re busy doing nothing in particular and relentless trips out to the pistes based on a packed timetable can be off-putting for anyone.
If you want to grab a great deal, be prepared to think outside of the box and choose a smaller and lesser-known resort where the skiing is still excellent, but you’ll bump into a lot less people on the slopes. And even although our best advice is always to book in advance, please ask us at any time if deals are still available, because we’ll always do our best to deliver and if you’re prepared to consider self-drive options and resorts that are slightly off the typical tourist track, you could have some last minute luck.
We strongly advise you to pre-book extras like ski equipment hire and ski passes with us before you leave for your French half-term ski break. This is the busiest time of year for many resorts so ski gear might not be in plentiful supply and you might have to queue around a snowy block to pick up your passes. We’ve forged close connections with a range of ski hire providers over the years and we can always find excellent deals that save you cash and provide peace of mind. Furthermore, we can also advise on the best ski passes for your style and ability so that you’re not spending unnecessarily and getting the most out of your experience.
Remember also that although half-term ski holidays are an excellent idea, there are other times of year when you can still have a fantastic time and these days it always helps to have a ‘Plan B’ when it comes to travel plans. For instance, Easter skiing is becoming increasingly popular and while snow conditions in some resorts aren’t quite up to the standard you’ll find in February, some high-altitude resorts boast brilliant late season snow and if you and your family are willing to hang on for a few months you could take the same holiday with significant savings as prices for many packages can be more economical.
Self-drive half-term French ski holidays
Several French ski resorts have short transfer times from nearby airports, but if you’d rather drive than fly nowadays, a self-drive, self-catering half-term ski holiday is an option definitely worth considering.
If you’ve got the time to bookend your ski break with a day’s travelling on each side, this can be an economical way of holidaying and because there’s no weight limit with your car you can carry your own ski equipment and a few home comforts.
A Flexiplus ticket on Le Shuttle entitles you to priority checking and boarding and access to an exclusive lounge selling complementary snacks and soft drinks, but the journey only takes 35 minutes and you’re free to remain in your vehicle if this makes you more comfortable.
Once you reach the other side, many of our partner resorts are less than 10 hours’ drive from Calais so the journey is manageable provided you’re feeling fresh and rested. To suss out the costs of self-drive half term ski holidays simply select the ‘self-drive’ tab on our online form, enter your dates and details, hit ‘search’ and you’ll see your cost-effective price in a couple of seconds.
Best half-term ski resorts and accommodation in France
There are many ski resorts in our selection that are excellent choices for a half-term holiday, but some are particularly well suited ̶ here are just a couple of great recommendations:
Flaine is a snow-sure Haute-Savoie resort that’s part of the Grand Massif ski area, which has a huge 365km ski area with 62 ski lifts linking 139 pistes for skiers of all aptitudes. A purpose-built resort, it was constructed in the 1960s in the distinctive Bauhaus style and although the buildings aren’t to everyone’s tastes, the ski-in/ski-out accessibility is extremely convenient for half-term holidaymakers, as is the fact that it’s pedestrianised. Located in a large, natural, north-facing powdery bowl, the skiing here is excellent and perhaps best suited to intermediate skiers, with lots of wide cruisy blue runs and manageable reds that include steep sections to spice things up a little. For kids and beginners there are two good nursery areas, several green runs and a long easy blue run to progress to. Off the slopes you’ll find an ice-skating rink and children’s toboggan run, plus bowling, a driving simulator and the Aquatic Centre in Flaine Forum, which has a large pool as well as spa and sauna facilities. Childcare is available at a nursery that caters for children aged three months to six years old and if you get the opportunity to indulge in the apres-ski there are a number of lively bars, like Le White Pub and Diamant Noir.
Les Terrasses d’Eos is a luxury accommodation option located in the upper part of Flaine which offer ski-in/ski-out convenience in a serene forest setting with panoramic views across the valley. Beautifully built in stone, slate and wood in the traditional Savoyard chalet style, these contemporary ski apartments are decorated in calming rustic colours and are airy and ambient thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows that open out onto a balcony. Situated close to the resort centre as well as the slopes, entertainment and fantastic food are a short stroll away but if you feel more comfortable eating at home, each residence has a fully-equipped kitchen with all the mod cons. There’s a children’s play area to keep little ones entertained and a wellness area that includes a hammam, sauna, heated pool and hot tub with mountain views. For a family-friendly accommodation option where you can pamper yourself, this takes some beating.
Les Menuires sits in the Belleville Valley and it’s part if the expansive Three Valleys ski area, which has a mind-blowing 600km of pistes to choose from, all linked by and efficient lift system. Often overshadowed by its fellow Three Valleys resorts Courchevel, Méribel and Val Thorens, Les Menuires actually has much to recommend it as a half-term ski location. The resort altitude here is a respectable 1850m and has some of the highest quality red and blue intermediate runs in the entire area, plus if you’re looking for a stunning scenic run, you can take the lift all the way up to the 2084m Pointe del la Masse summit and cruise all the way back down on the blue Bouquetin run. Younger children are spoiled for choice here with a 4km long sledging course, rapid rail-mounted toboggan and the Boukty Snow Camp Play Area in the middle of the resort which has igloos, hide and seek obstacles and various other activities. Apres-ski is laid-back here, but you can still have a fun evening out at venues like Le Tilbury and Le New Pop.
Les Chalets du Soleil are a cosy accommodation option in Les Menuires which combine traditional Savoyard wood-panelled exteriors with chic contemporary interior décor. Available in various configurations for groups of 4-6 and 10-12 persons, there’s doorstep skiing here and Wi-Fi throughout. All chalets have a terrace with terrific mountain views and at an altitude of 2000m you’ve got a bird’s eye view of the beautiful surroundings. Comfy and stylish apartments have a landline telephone and flat screen TV tuned to international channels, while the posh onsite wellness area has a sauna, hammam and fitness equipment. If you’ve been looking for a warm and welcoming bolthole that’s conveniently located close to the slopes, Les Chalets du soleil is the discerning half-term holidaymaker’s choice.
It’s never too early to book for half-term and as you can see Erna Low has an excellent range of resorts and accommodation options available. If you book ahead of time and are prepared for a little hustle and bustle, we can certainly find you a great deal in the most popular resorts, but quieter ski villages can be just as enjoyable if you’re open to new suggestions.
With generations of experience in organising tailor-made ski holidays that suit customers down to the ground, Erna Low is always your first choice for half-term French Alps ski breaks.