Long sunny days and potentially the best snow-cover of the season, combined with startlingly low prices, make the Easter school holidays in the French Alps a much better bet for families than half term. Here’s why, from Peter Hardy at welove2ski
Rock bottom prices
A late Easter – and they don’t come much later than this one – presents tour operators with a huge headache. How do they sell ski holidays at a time when our thoughts are veering towards beach rather than snow? The answer is to slash prices in the weeks leading up to Easter. An April ski holiday this year can cost almost half the cost of travelling at half-term. Here at The Alpine Club we have 2 very special offers for Easter – Chamois Lodge, 30th March £9,995 for 9 guests – save £2000; Chalet Abode, 30th March £10,995 for 10 guests – save £3000
Longer days and less crowds
The British half-term coincided this year with both the Paris and Belgian school breaks. This led to uncomfortably crowded slopes in all the main resorts. The usually high-season date of April 5 – the first week of the school holidays – should be one of the quietest of the season, with the regional spring breaks for French schools all scheduled for the end of the month. Longer days and milder temperatures allow for much more skiing time.
Great snow conditions
After a difficult first half of the season in the lower resorts, snow conditions across the French Alps have finally gained an A* for excellence – and there’s every chance that first-class cover will remain in place until late April.
In recent years, winter in the Alps appears to have shifted several weeks forward. The second half of the season has proved to be snowier than the first, with some of the best skiing of all to be found in April.
Sunny weather means you can eat outside – so much nicer than in a darkened restaurant. You can also save money and give restaurant lunches a miss by packing a picnic in your apartment (a filled baguette and a drink in a plastic bottle or flask) and carrying it in a rucksack. It’s easy to find a suitable area to sit on near the piste.
Easier driving conditions
Travelling to the Alps through Champagne and Burgundy becomes a pleasure in April rather than the wintery ordeal at half-term. You still need to carry snowchains, but it’s less likely you’ll need to use them.