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Help me Experts! Reasonably priced ski hol for family of 6 in Feb half term - am I mad?

(26 Posts)
43Today Wed 03-Sep-08 08:23:02

Is there such a thing? DP and I are thinking of taking our 4 kids (16, 2x12, 10) on a weeks skiing hol next Feb. His 16 year old did a ski trip last year with school, I used to be a good skier but haven't for 20 years or so - the other kids and DP are absolute beginners so need ski school.

Am thinking Europe, possibly Andorra or Italy. Probably fly but could drive. Price is important, but still don't have much idea of what is reasonable or not...

We could do self-catering. We really need 3 bedrooms cos the kids dont know each other very well, and me and DP want 'quality time' together as well (if we have any energy left after the skiing..)

What would you experts recommend?

DrGeorge Wed 03-Sep-08 08:31:03

I think this year is particularly difficult at half-term because all schools seem to be off the same week and also the French schools are off this week as well. If you are looking for an early booking discount, from what I have seen most have already gone. I would have a ring around some of the specialist ski travel agents - just google and you'll find loads and see what they say. Otherwise if you have the nerve and are prepared not to go then hang on until the week before and see what late deals there are. Otherwise think about going later - say Easter, it is usually a bit cheaper than half-term and if you pick a high resort should still be reasonable skiing.

Nettee Wed 03-Sep-08 18:40:51

www.fasttrackski.co.uk/ I think this is good for finding cheap skiing quickly

www.alpineanswers.co.uk is also good for searching availability across the board but this is not so much orientated towards finding a bargin

Nettee Wed 03-Sep-08 19:22:26

more advice - get hold of a Crystal brochure because they have most of the resorts in there and you can quickly reference the price of the lift pass, the transfer times, the piste maps etc.

I think a good value catered Chalet or hotel is cheaper overall than the price of an appartment plus food - also more likely to get 3 seperate rooms that way.

43Today Wed 03-Sep-08 19:56:13

Thanks for the advice. Am wondering now whether to postpone the whole thing to Easter. Presumably you would have to go for a high resort to get more snow?

Can anyone recommend family-friendly resorts that aren't famous for being expensive?!! For example, is Switzerland just unfeasibly expensive all the time so should just avoid?

DrGeorge Thu 04-Sep-08 11:31:09

As Nettee says get hold of a brochure and have a look, also check out the Where to Ski and Snowboard website when you've identified a few resorts, they have good independent feedback and look at how family friendly places are and what types of skiers the area suits. Went to La Rosiere last year - great for families - also Les Gets but i wouldn't book that for Easter until last minute as it's quite low and you'd want to check out the snow. Had good family holiday in Risoul - again not too expensive but quite long transfers to resort (3h)

Cosette Thu 04-Sep-08 11:41:00

How about Courchevel 1650 - the Courchevel area is great for all ski levels. In previous years we've driven down, and stayed in an apartment in Residence 1650 - via this agency - www.agence1650.fr/. The apartments are ski-in, ski-out from the 7th floor. There are shops immediately below, and plenty of restaurants - pizza places too. Opposite is a great boulangerie for morning croissants and after skiing patisserie.

We are a smaller family than you, but there are a range of apartments both in that block, and other ones nearby. From 1650 you have access to the whole 3 Valleys ski area.

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Wed 10-Sep-08 09:48:53

Cosette - you beat me to it - I remember your post form last year and was going to refer to it!
Would deffo go s/c and drive as the 16 and 12 year old will be adult price.
we normallt go every year @ half term but will avoid it next year for the reasons mentioned above - will be just too crowded.

AbbeyA Mon 22-Sep-08 16:50:42

I can't avoid half term, it is the only time we can manage so I would be grateful for any suggestions, I want it to be as cheap as possible. We don't want to drive. I think leaving half term week until the last minute will be risky.Has anyone been to Bulgaria?

DadInsteadofMum Tue 23-Sep-08 22:34:21

AS a family of 5 we save a fortune by putting the holiday together ourselves, flying Ryanair, hiring a car, booking s/c accommodation direct with somebody like Eurovacances, booking lessons and equipment over the internet.

A lot of work in advance but saved £200 per person.

We went to Serre Chevalier on this basis, twice good range of skiing and seems to be reasonably priced.

Miffyinsurrey Wed 24-Sep-08 18:03:38

We have also booked independently. We booked accommodation in La Rosiere with a company called Ski Collection (they have some lovely appartments on their website).

The appartment we booked is also in the Crystal brochure and would be much more expensive with them.

We have arranged our own travel via Eurostar. The ski collection holidays are appartment only so you could do self drive, train or book your own flights.

You would be able to book your children into English speaking group lessons with the ESF or other ski school, depending on the resort.

Good luck with booking your holiday

inthemistsoftime Wed 24-Sep-08 18:14:00

Have you heard of Samoens? a small family resort in between Morzine and Chamonix, still at reasonable prices.

Although Feb half term is always busy in all resorts.

Good luck

AbbeyA Wed 24-Sep-08 19:43:19

I am beginning to see that the main problem is it having to be half term-everything I have tried is full!

DadInsteadofMum Wed 24-Sep-08 21:32:21

Having just booked our skiing trip I know what you mean.

Accommodation is still plentiful, what has gone are all the seats on the charter flights that the package companies book have gone. If you do it independently you will stil find availability. [hangs head in shame as has booked package trip this year]

DadInsteadofMum Wed 24-Sep-08 21:32:50

Having just booked our skiing trip I know what you mean.

Accommodation is still plentiful, what has gone are all the seats on the charter flights that the package companies book. If you do it independently you will stil find availability. [hangs head in shame as has booked package trip this year]

AbbeyA Thu 25-Sep-08 08:39:30

I am finding that the flights are difficult-the price goes down on the Monday! The accommodation tends to be free either side of half term but not the half term week. I will have a look at Samoens.

AbbeyA Thu 25-Sep-08 09:45:34

I have just looked for chalets in Samoens-most of them are available for the whole winter season except the week beginning 14th and 15th Feb! I get the impression that the Alps are going to be crowded for half term and empty for the rest of the time!!

Miffyinsurrey Thu 25-Sep-08 09:53:08

Abbey A - have you tried phoning ski collection or searching their website..they have some lovely appartments.

If you are struggling to find flights many french resorts can be reached by train. I expect the direct eurostar is pretty full but one can get a eurostar to paris and change on to a french train to the alps..it works out cheaper than the direct eurostar but there is the hassle of crossing paris.

Hope you manage to find something soon.

AbbeyA Thu 25-Sep-08 10:00:11

Thanks Miffy-I had seen that eurostar was full but I hadn't thought of changing trains.
I will try ski collection I see you mentioned it earlier. We are not helped by wanting it for 9 people.

Miffyinsurrey Thu 25-Sep-08 10:34:32

I have noticed there is information on the ski collection site about stations near resorts and journey times.

There is also a company called Peak Retreats who have accommodation in samoens..I think they are linked to ski collection.

Erna Low also have quite a few appartments I think.

AbbeyA Thu 25-Sep-08 10:45:56

Thanks-they are a useful site and have some vacancies!!

sinclair Fri 26-Sep-08 19:36:17

The switch in Paris isn't bad - you go from Gare du Nord to Gare du Lyon, it is a couple or 3 stops on the RER and the whole transfer takes about 20 minutes. Book rail tickets separately as they come on sale (and therefore the price is cheapest) at different times. You can book eurostar on their website and French side through sncf.com.

Having said all that we are still looking for Feb too - very very busy ...

Miffyinsurrey Fri 26-Sep-08 21:14:59

Yes the change in Paris is fine if you have children old enough to carry their suitcases!

We had to get taxis to and from St Lazare for a sleeper train as it was impossible to get down to the metro with 2 young children, pushchair, 3 cases, 2 bootbags and 2 other bags!!

Sinclair is right about needing to book as soon as the tickets come out. I think the Eurostar tickets come out three months before travel. The SNCF are around 2 months before travel (but I would check daily online between 3 and 2 months before as last year the SNCF ones came out a few days earlier than expected and the cheap tickets had already gone).

Once one has the tickets we have found it really enjoyable to go skiing by train. Our children loved the train journey as much as the skiing (but they are younger!)

LunarSea Thu 02-Oct-08 13:34:18

I second Peak Retreats and Samoens - one of the nearest resorts to drive to as well.

Itsthawooluff Thu 02-Oct-08 13:39:10

We fly on Friday, stay overnight in "ravel Lodge" type hotel (? 80 for family room for 4) close to airport, then drive up to resort on Saturday.

But requires one day more precious holiday sad

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