You may be surprised to hear someone tell you to book your next ski trip at the start of Summer, especially if you’ve only recently just returned from your last one and have thoughts of your beach holidays in mind. But there is method behind my madness!
What are the most important aspects of booking a ski holiday? Going when you want and where you want! This is especially true if you are travelling with school age children given that the peak school holiday periods always get booked up first.
Christmas and New Year
Luckily these dates don’t tend to move about too much, year to year, or between countries! However, there are some elements that are worth considering.
Christmas skiing in 2017 is 23rd December and New Year skiing starts 30th December. These are the busiest weeks of the ski season and if you want to spend Christmas in the snow, then you should be booking NOW as already most good accommodation will have been reserved.
But don’t forget that Russian New Year holidays last from 30th December until January 8th, so the Three Valleys can be busy then too. This time in early January is also popular with the Southern hemisphere countries such as Australia and South Africa as they have their main school holidays for the year during the European winter.
The main UK half-term dates for 2018 are departures on Saturday 10th February 2018 and Saturday 17th February 2018. So that is two weekends where travel from the UK will be very busy. The exact half term dates will depend on your local area, but the main week which covers (most of) London and the SE, schools will break up on Friday 9th February 2018, other areas in the UK will be breaking up on 16th February 2018.
Good news for British families planning on skiing in France is that the UK February half term isn’t clashing with the Paris schools in 2018. This can make a big difference in many resorts. The slopes won’t be so crowded and ski schools will have space. However, demand for skiing holidays over this busy week always outstrips supply so early booking is essential, especially for the English-speaking ski schools or in resorts such as Meribel, which are very popular with British skiers. There will be some French areas on half term holidays from the 10th and it’s worth noting that the Dutch holidays may also start early as they have ‘Carnival’ that week.
Easter is early this year on 1st April so skiing for the week starting 31st March will be popular as skiers will want to take advantage of an early Easter and therefore colder conditions, that hopefully means better snow!
So which part of your skiing holiday is the most important bit to book first?
I think this just pips accommodation, but really you should be doing both at the same time as they are slightly dependent on each other (although airports do service multiple resorts of course).
Even now, the costs of flights for the peak weeks are very high. For example, a family of four flying Heathrow to Geneva for February half term in 2018, on a reasonably timed flight, will be paying around £2,000+ for the flight alone.
These will only become more expensive as time moves on, so book those flights now!
Ski Cuisine is already full for February half term, but we do have availability in some chalets for the Christmas and Easter periods. Again, the earlier you book, the better the chance of getting the accommodation you want and the better the prices will be!
It’s school holiday time so the ski school lessons will be filling up fast. The English-speaking ski schools are the first to fill up and it’s important that they are booked at the same time as the accommodation. If you leave it too late, then there will be no availability and you will be left with the choice of going with a school you don’t want or expensive private lessons.
Apart from availability, there are good reasons to book early. You can make the most of the low deposits that are required to lock in your plans and you can spread the costs, which is no bad thing!
You’ll have increased peace of mind and reduced stress without any last-minute panic or disappointment.
Think outside the box as well. It’s not all about February half term or Christmas and New Year. Have you thought about that first week of the season? It’s really good value, there are empty slopes and great snow conditions as it’s been so well looked after in the run up to the grand opening of the resort. Ski Cuisine have some real bargains for the first week, so why not sign up now?
And if you're looking for an excellent January bargain, book Chalets Cecilia, Veronica or Sorbier for 13th January arrival and everyone in your chalet will receive a free 6 day lift pass worth £260! Check availability here.