10 of the best-value family ski trips

Winter sports breaks can be seriously expensive during February half-term and the Easter holidays but there are bargains if you know where to look

Les Contamines, France

Action Outdoors is the UK partner of UCPA, a French non-profit group that works to make outdoor sports holidays affordable. Its all-inclusive ski trips offer some of the best value going, with ski hire and 12 hours of tuition included in the price. Les Contamines, in the Mont Blanc region, is a friendly, quiet resort with higher than average snowfall that’s often overlooked in favour of big-hitting neighbours Chamonix and Megève. The slopes are especially suited to beginner and intermediate skiers, and the town is picturesque.
From £654pp at half-term (departing 10 February) with action-outdoors.co.uk, including 7 nights’ full-board, 6½ days’ lift pass, 12 hours’ ski instruction, 6½ days’ ski equipment hire and evening entertainment. Accommodation-only options are available and under-3s go free. Return Eurotunnel crossings from £150 per car. Tolls and fuel about £136 according to viamichelin.com

Pamporovo, Bulgaria

chair lifts at Pamporovo

Food and drink bills can push even the best-planned ski holiday over budget, but that’s not a worry at Hotel Perelik in Pamporovo, Bulgaria (booked through Crystal Ski Holidays), as all food and drink is included in the price – as are lift passes, kit hire and ski school. Pamporovo is a sunny resort with lovely views, great terrain for beginners and intermediates and a highly rated ski school. It’s also easy to navigate. Kids will love the hotel’s bowling alley, games room, swimming pool and pizzeria.
From £944pp based on four sharing at half-term (departing 10 February) with crystalski.co.uk, including flights, transfers and 7 nights’ all-inclusive accommodation. Reduced rates for single parents sharing a room with children

Stöten, Sweden

Nursery slope at Stoten, Sweden

Aside from the astronomical pricing, one of the most frustrating things about skiing in the Alps in the school holidays, especially February half-term, can be the crowds. This isn’t an issue in super-quiet Stöten (pronounced “stir-ten”) as it’s barely on the radar of British skiers and snowboarders, and its wide, pristine slopes are quiet even at peak times. The resort is small and cosy, and the gentle terrain is perfect for beginners and improvers. Fun non-ski options include dog sledding, snowmobiling and swimming.
From £679pp at half-term (departing 11 February) with skisafari.com, based on two adults and two children self-catering at Stöten Mitt Apartments (option to upgrade to half-board), including flights and transfers. Ski hire costs around £65 a week, ski school around £103 and a week’s adult lift pass is £166 (stoten.se)

La Thuile, Italy

La Thuile, Italy with Crystal Ski

A speedy lift system to spread guests efficiently around the mountain is important at peak times, to avoid spending the holiday queuing. La Thuile’s modern lifts certainly do that, which makes for quiet slopes, many of which face east, so the snow stays in good condition for longer. The resort has lovely views of the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa and Mont Blanc and plenty of long, wide runs great for intermediate skiers and snowboarders and beginners who want to progress. La Thuile also links with the French resort of La Rosière.
From £525pp at Easter (departing 1 April) with crystalski.co.uk including self-catering accommodation in Planibel apartments, flights to Gatwick and transfers. A beginner ski or snowboard pack including lessons, lift pass and kit hire costs £392

Vallorcine, France

Source Holidays ski, yoga and circus camp in Vallorcine, France

Reasonably priced family ski holidays are hard enough to find, let alone ones that include kid-pleasing activities such as circus skills, igloo building and torch-lit snowshoeing. Yet La Source is offering just that in Vallorcine this winter with its Ski, Yoga & Circus Camp. Families can ski by day in Vallorcine, which is connected to Le Tour in the Chamonix valley but has its own quiet nursery slopes (Chamonix can be unbelievably crowded at half-term), and by night children can join a circus workshop and put on a show at the end of the week.
From £795 for adults and over-12s, £635 for 5-11 years at half-term (departing 10 February) with sourceholidays.com, including full-board accommodation, daily yoga, circus skills and lift passes. For Eurotunnel and driving costs see Les Contamines above. Kit hire costs around £45 for the week including helmets. Lessons extra

St Anton, Austria

Young skiers at St Anton, Austria

Popular resorts such as St Anton can be prohibitively expensive at peak times but Esprit Ski has a good deal for the Austrian favourite this Easter, and what’s more the chalet is in the resort’s charming centre within easy reach of the slopes. St Anton is renowned for appealing to advanced skiers and snowboarders but it’s also great for families, especially at the dedicated children’s areas of Nasserein and up at Gampen, while the ski school has a good reputation for bringing on first-time skiers and children. Off the slopes, kids can enjoy ice skating, tobogganing and indoor tennis.
From £947pp at Easter (departing 8 April) with espritski.com, including seven nights’ full-board, return flights from Bristol and transfers. Lift passes are free for under-8s and under-11s get free kit hire with an adult booking

Laax, Switzerland

snowpods flims

Camping may seem an extreme approach to budget skiing, but at Camping Flims, a five-minute shuttle ride from the main ski lift at Laax, heated snow pods are a great family option. The four-man pods are comfy and cosy, and the site is well maintained with its own cafe-restaurant. Pillows and sheets are included, but guests have to bring towels and sleeping bags or duvets. Laax is a top-quality resort, especially for snowboarders, with its superpipe and some of the best snow parks in Europe. It’s also a good place for children to learn to snowboard, with mini-snowboard-specific obstacles.
£422 for five nights in a four-person pod at Easter (arrive 7 April) with pitchup.com. A five-day lift pass is £131 adult, £66 child, five days of kids’ ski school is £178, and kids’ ski hire is £55 for five days through Intersportrent.com. Laax can be reached in 2 hours by shuttle bus from Zurich airport (£57 each way)

Arinsal, Andorra

Ski school on the nursery slopes at Comallempla, Arinsal,

On the border between France and Spain in the Pyrenees, Andorra has historically been a good choice for British families seeking value for money. In recent years, resort costs have risen but it still has the edge on price compared with the Alps. This is especially true for eating out, and Arinsal has a great range of restaurants including pizza, burgers, Mexican and sushi. It’s also the most family-focused resort in Andorra, with a good ski school and plenty of beginner and intermediate terrain including some lovely tree-lined skiing in the linked resort of Pal. Non-ski activities include snow tubing, snow biking and dog sledding.
From £918pp at half-term (depart 11 February) with igluski.com, including flights from Manchester, transfers and half-board hotel accommodation. Kids’ lift passes are free when pre-booked, ski school costs from £100 for a week or a pack with lift pass, lessons and ski hire is £125 for kids, £235 for adults

Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Evening in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Kranjska Gora is a small, pretty, family-friendly resort in the Julian Alps, near the Italian and Austrian borders. It’s Slovenia’s oldest ski resort and offers good value for British skiers and snowboarders, especially when compared to the Alps. The ski area is full of gentle blue runs, making it perfect for beginners and improvers wanting to build confidence, and the ski school teachers are friendly and speak good English. Special offers this winter for families include buy-one-get-one-free on kids’ kit hire and ski school tuition, as long as two adults have rented kit and booked at the ski school too.
From £915 at half-term (depart 11 February) with balkanholidays.co.uk, including flights from Gatwick, transfers, half-board accommodation at the Ramada Hotel, and entry to the Aqua Larix water park

Valmorel, France

Breakfast at La Grange aux Fées (Valmorel)

Valmorel is a nice looking purpose-built resort in the Tarentaise valley. It doesn’t offer much of a challenge for more advanced skiers, but its quiet green runs and easy blues make it perfect for beginners and children. The resort is car-free in the centre with gentle nursery slopes and play areas for younger children, while the bars and restaurants are good value for the Alps. Peak Retreats offers reasonably priced ski-in, ski-out accommodation with indoor heated swimming pool and paddling pool.
From £315pp at Easter (arrive on 31 March) based on five sharing with peakretreats.co.uk, including self-catered accommodation and Eurotunnel crossing. Lift passes are free for under-10s with an adult booking, ski hire is from £77 for the week and ski school from £134


Sam Haddad

The GuardianTramp

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