Affordable Family Ski Holidays During School Break

As a family, ski trips are likely to be restricted to the school holidays which can mean higher prices and busier slopes. But be flexible on where you ski and you’ll find that affordable holidays and avoiding the crowds are easily achievable.

For the best value ski breaks avoid the biggest resorts and opt for lesser-known destinations, such as Åre in Sweden and Trysil in Norway. Take your time when booking and look out for half term ski deals and Easter offers on family accommodation, ski passes and travel.

Åre, Sweden
A less-crowded resort that’s relatively unknown by UK skiers, Åre (pronounced ‘aura’) has a good-sized and expanding ski area – December 2013 sees the opening of three new chairlifts and new terrain. Managing to avoid the limelight means that Åre’s slopes are quiet, even during the school holidays – so rather than worry about speed-freaks knocking you off your feet, you can enjoy safer family skiing. It’s also a good bet for late Easter trips, with snow-sure pistes holding onto the white stuff as late as May. You’ll find plenty of non-skiing family activities too, including ice-fishing, dog sledding, zip-lining and even moose kissing!

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Trysil, Norway
One of Norway’s most affordable options, Trysil is a magical resort on the Swedish border. The views from the mountain tops take in forests, sparkling rivers and herds of elk. Trysil enjoys a long season too, so it’s perfect for December and Easter ski trips. Lift queues and crowded slopes are unheard of here and most of the accommodation is ski-in/ski-out, so you can expect a relaxing ski break. Voted ‘Best Alpine Resort for Families’ in Norway, Trysil’s ski area includes three purpose-built children’s areas as well as child friendly slopes and jumps.

Saalbach Hinterglemm, Austria
Austria is a better value option than France or Switzerland and Saalbach Hinterglemm is a cheaper alternative to St Anton or Lech. An excellent lift system, superb snow making facilities and floodlit slopes which stay open until 9:30pm each night mean you really get your money’s worth here.

USA
If you’re skiing in Easter, USA resorts are also worth considering, as America’s holidays don’t coincide with UK schools, meaning quieter slopes and cheaper prices. Staying in a self-catering condo (apartment) in a family-friendly resort like Heavenly or Breckenridge can also help to keep costs down.

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Christmas holiday ski deals
Despite being one of the most expensive periods in the ski calendar, you can still find affordable holidays for Christmas and New Year. Late deals are a good way to go and don’t necessarily have to mean last minute, with many offers appearing two or three months prior to the departure date. This season, Christmas ski deals in Are and Trysil can save you up to £200 per person, for example, and there are good January deals to be had in Innsbruck (Austria) and Cortina d’Ampezzo (Italy). Don’t be put off if online deals have expired or sold out, it’s worth giving ski companies a ring and asking if they can offer a discount over the phone.

February Half Term
One of the busiest weeks of the year, you may be surprised to learn that there are still bargains to be had in half term. Some of the best ski deals for February 2014 range from discount prices at the Copperhill Mountain Lodge in Åre and the Geilolia Apartments in Norway, to cheap family rooms in Banff, Canada.

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Easter holidays
Easter is one of the best times to pick up a school holiday ski deal. Easter falls later than usual next year, so it’s worth keeping your eye out for April offers when many resorts drop their prices to fill beds. April can be a great time of year to ski as a family, as the warmer weather can make for more relaxed days on the mountain. Don’t let stories of scarce snow put you off, as most resorts have excellent snow making facilities and, if the pistes get too slushy by the afternoon, you can always try activities like snow shoeing or sledging.

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About the author: Tara Rogers is a professional travel writer for Ski Safari – tailor-made ski holiday specialists.