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Feb half term- ski resort in Europe but with alternative activities nearby?

(33 Posts)
anneyc Mon 04-Jan-16 13:49:01

We have taken the kids to De Kempervennen Centre Parcs in Holland for the last 2 years - it has a snow dome so has been great for the kids to learn to ski, and then enjoy all the other benefits of a Centre Parc holiday. They are now ready to hit some real slopes but still want to have the option of other activities, anyone know of any resorts that can offer this sort of thing? The kids are now 9, 11 and 13, they particularly enjoy cycling and swimming. Thanks in advance!

icklekid Mon 04-Jan-16 13:50:40

Plenty resorts in Europe I've been to have a swimming pool and ice rink but obviously cycling isn't really in season

Gattabianca Mon 04-Jan-16 20:32:23

I don't know of any ski resorts that offer anything similar to Centre Parcs, not in the Alps. Avoriaz has a lovely indoor water park as well as typical winter sports activities. You can stay in Innsbruck itself and combine city break with ski holiday.

Eastpoint Mon 04-Jan-16 20:35:38

There is a Kinderhotel in Serfaus in Austria which a friend of mine has recommended. Serfaus isn't well known amongst Brits but it has lots of runs. It also has lines like zip wires you can go on if it isn't too windy (but they are open in the winter).

Eastpoint Mon 04-Jan-16 20:37:23

Kinderhotel

dontcallmethatyoucunt Mon 04-Jan-16 20:48:42

Tignes has a few other activities. ... are you sure they won't want to ski all week though? I know a family that goes for a month to Tignes and I can see why you'd have a break from that. A week though, I'd be miffed to have to do something else!

helenwilson Sat 16-Jan-16 08:07:44

We have been to both Salen and Are in Sweden and these resorts both have good pool complexes, particularly Salen which includes slides, surf rider, various pools, spa area for adults, thermal pool etc. both these resorts also have husky rides, snowmobiling and ice rallying. Are also has zip wires which are open in the winter I think, although we did not go on them. We use the pool a lot when we go on holiday there but it's always at the end of the day - after spending all day on the slopes (just as I want to curl up on the sofa and rest !) skiing in Sweden and Norway is run by one big company called skistar.com - have a look on their website for more info.

Eve Sat 16-Jan-16 08:17:59

Helen, Sweden sounds interesting to ski, is it expensive?

varicoseveronica Sat 16-Jan-16 14:11:24

I think I'd hesitate about booking a week at a ski resort unless you mostly want to ski all week.

Half term is notoriously pricey, add in lift passes, lessons and equipment hire and you'll end up paying a vastly inflated price for a mountain holiday.

Having said that, skiing has been some of our most successful holidays because everyone wants to do the same thing.

helenwilson Sat 16-Jan-16 23:09:25

Hi, re cost, the total for six of us (we have four children) at Feb half term is about £2.5k, which is broken down quite approximately as £650 for a weeks self catering ski cabin ski to door) two bedrooms, 6, maybe 8 beds if you include sofabed) four person places are cheaper (and there are cheaper six person places if you don't want ski to door). £600 flights to Stockholm vasteras for six people plus luggage with Ryanair (only airline flying there but closer than other Stockholm airports - we flew to Trondheim for Are resort), £350 for nine person people carrier (this could be saved on obviously but six of us plus luggage needs a big car !), the drive is four hours which is the downside with Sweden but it's an easy drive, roads are very well kept, no windy mountain roads etc ! Then about £500 for lift passes for two adults and two youth (11 and 9 - children aged 7 and under are free), this includes small early booking discount, and about £300 for ski hire for two adults and four children (again small discount for early booking, £80 for adults and £35 for children). That is £2,400 but in fact I haven't included ski lessons which three of mine have are are £80 a week for 75 minute lessons (quite short). The lift passes also include entry into the massive pool complex. There's a soft play for littlies too plus bowling/cinemas etc and nice spa etc. That cost is obviously for six, the lodges are all bigger than Frrnch accommodation, even the four man ones (they all have large ski clothing heaters like massive hot fridges and most have saunas) On balance the fixed cost is about £650 for ski to door accommodation and £250-£350 car hire depending on what you need, and then about £340 per adult (pass, flight, hire), £290 for children aged 8+ excluding lessons, and £140 for children aged 7 and under (no pass required, just flight and equipment). Feb half term is the most expensive time, the season lasts until May so Easter is good too - I wouldn't go over Christmas, too dark but Feb is fine. I haven't included food costs as there's a local supermarket and we self cater - we'd buy the food anyway in the UK. The costs above are quite "luxury" you can lift passes with the pool for a bit less, or accommodation a bit further out, or a smaller hire car........ You can also fly to Gothernberg I think, or Stockholm Arlanda but it's a longer drive. It's all book able (except flights and car hire) through skistar.com so it's really easy. You can ski cook food on the mountain as there are big fire pits everywhere, so you don't have to buy lunch etc out every day if you are on a budget.

helenwilson Sat 16-Jan-16 23:14:18

Hmmmm, just reread my message and it's a bit long and confusing !! Typing on my phone lol ! Basically we have had lots of fun there and are going back to Salen again this year - no broken bones yet lol !

dontcallmethatyoucunt Sun 17-Jan-16 09:37:45

helen I'm sold grin

We've just skied Ruka and I love the vibe.

I will investigate!

Eve Sun 17-Jan-16 09:55:47

Thanks for that, Alps is so expensive and crowded going to look into it for Easter.

Lookd at the piste maps yesterday and looks ideal for a family who mainly ski red runs. Nice wide undulating slopes.

helenwilson Sun 17-Jan-16 10:27:19

We liked it because when we first went my ds2 was only two and the extra activities appealed. I think people are put off because they think it's hard to get to but actually driving over there is very straightforward (I remember driving up to the Alps in a blizzard with a sheer drop on one side - never again !) This year they've had the worst snow in a while but it's looking better now - not all the blacks are open but there is more snow forecast before we go in Feb and it's only my 11 year old who cares about black runs. We like all the family friendly bits, for example there's a ski through "snowman land" with puppet shows, little wooden huts and and obstacles (green run), plus the fire pits and the worlds only ski through McDonald's (ok, maybe not very cultural !) We also like the little slalom courses that time you, and the acrobatic park (even good for kids, particularly adventurous boys !) There are not very many English people there but everybody speaks English and it's very friendly. It is colder than the Alps but we don't really notice it with all our ski gear on. It is quite smart, clean and modern although I haven't been to the Alps for about ten years - I can remember staying in ski to door accommodation in Avoriaz which was about 10m square and was supposed to be for four ! It was s/c with two sets of bunk beds and a two ring electric hot plate lol ! Swedish accommodation is bigger and the "clothing ovens" are brill, even over lunchtime it's nice to put on toasty ski boots and gloves etc for the afternoon ! I'm not sure about catered chalets though - not totally sure they exist but you can obviously eat out. Are (or-ah) is good too but you can't be a complete beginner to ski to door which made it harder for us with littlies. Fine for those who are happy on blues though and great night skiing there. I would say that I haven't been to the Alps for ages so I'm comparing very recent trips to Sweden with quite old trips to France - perhaps not a fair comparison.

dontcallmethatyoucunt Sun 17-Jan-16 10:51:02

We want to ski at half term, but the crowds in France put me off. After skiing in Ruka Finland, going north really appeals.

Which was simplest to get to helen?

helenwilson Sun 17-Jan-16 23:22:13

First of all you should look on the skistar website because I'm not sure how much accommodation is left for this half-term, I don't think there's a lot of choice in Salen - not sure about Are. Most of the accommodation is Sunday to Sunday I think. We fly to Stockholm Vasteras from Standsted and then hire a car, this year we have friends joining us who are flying to Gothenberg and also Arlanda (longer drive) both of which fly from more UK airports. Driving over there is easy and snow chains are not required, all cars have winter tyres and we've had no problems doing the drive. For Are, it's easiest to fly to Trondheim and it's an easy (1.5-2 hour drive), best airline is Norwegian (this is a couple of years ago) although you can also go with KLM but the flight is not direct. I think you will struggle with flight prices to Trondheim now, but Vasteras is OK. If you're genuinely interested then do look on the skistar website - you book everything there. They are also helpful on the phone too - we had to change our ski school times this week and it was easy.

dontcallmethatyoucunt Mon 18-Jan-16 15:46:55

Thanks Helen, I'm a bit of a planner, I'm thinking 2017 grin. Thanks though, really useful.

Eve Mon 18-Jan-16 17:48:26

looking at this seriously for Easter this year.

Oslo has good price on flights , assume no border issues?

helenwilson Mon 18-Jan-16 21:20:27

We flew to Trondheim (which is Norway) when we went to Are (Sweden) and there were no border issues, we did see it but only as we drove through. We did have to take a bit of Norwegian Krona as well as Swedish Krona as we thought there was a toll road (there wasn't....)

helenwilson Mon 18-Jan-16 21:24:31

Reviews are so limited on Scandinavian skiing - I bet it's even better at Easter but I can never get time off work. Feb is fine, lifts are open till 4:30 ish but earlier than that and the days are too short. There are other places too on their website which are a bit smaller but are getting quite a lot of investment in new lifts etc. Salen and Are are the main resorts though.

dontcallmethatyoucunt Tue 19-Jan-16 06:35:04

One of the families at school are going this year, I think they are doing Norway flight and driving over.

After skiing in Ruka we are sold in terms of conditions - so much snow! If I was so over planned, we'd go at Easter I think. The season for Ruka goes on until May, but getting there is difficult.... I'd been mulling over a last ditch attempt at snow for half term grin.

Eve make sure you come and report back if you do go.

I have a slight ski addiction and this isn't really helping

dontcallmethatyoucunt Tue 19-Jan-16 06:35:51

* If I wasn't so over planned

anneyc Tue 02-Feb-16 10:20:42

Thanks for all the info peeps.. Liking the sound of Scandanavian skiing but hubby is adverse to flying, so looking for a resort to drive to, will check drive times for next year.
I have now booked for Feb.. I found a Centre Parks in Germany (Parc Hochsauerland) which is close to the Winterberg and Willengen ski resorts. They're not the Highest mountains so fingers crossed for snow (forecast looks great at the moment). It's a good compromise as not sure whether any of the kids will be up for full on skiing yet, so the holiday won't be a complete disaster if not.

Eve Wed 03-Feb-16 12:01:49

booked to go to Salen 1st week easter.

Fly to stockholm and explore for a day then drive to Salen and spend week there.

Am very excited

MrsGuyOfGisbo Wed 03-Feb-16 17:00:30

month to Tignes envy

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