Q How early should I book to make sure I get the best family ski holiday deals this season?
Early booking (in September/or October) often pays off with free kids’ places, lift passes, tuition and equipment rental, plus the best choice of slope-side accommodation. If you chance a December departure, book a resort with at least 5,250ft altitude at the base, topped with a glacier, to guarantee snow. Easter falls early in 2018, on 1 April. That’s no joke for skiers but snow conditions should still be good.
Crystal Ski has a limited number of free kids’ places. An example Easter: price £3,321 for a week, for four staying at the three-star Hotel Sportiv, in Obergurgl, Austrian Tyrol. This includes half-board accommodation, free child place, Gatwick-Innsbruck flights, transfers and use of the hotel’s kids’ club. Crystal’s ‘Slope Ready’ deals, meanwhile, include a lift pass, equipment hire and tuition in select resorts across Europe.
Action Outdoors offers unbeatable value for family ski breaks during the school holidays, with tuition, equipment, lift pass, and full board, quality hostel accommodation at key resorts across the French Alps, for a rather incredible £685pp.
Val d’Isere, at 9,500ft, has snowmaking facilities and one of the earliest openings in the Alps: 25 November. Ski France is offering 30% off for early bookings. Travelling in December, self-catering in a one-bedroom apartment for seven nights costs from £120pp; return Geneva flights from £56 with easyJet.
Further afield, Ski Safari has 10 nights at the slope-side, five-star Fairmont Chateau Whistler, in British Columbia this February, in a family room (sleeps four) from £1,565pp including return flights London-Vancouver with British Airways, and transfers.
Family favourite: Schlosshotel Fiss, Austria
Where? In the Tyrolean resort of Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, an hour from Innsbruck.
Why? Five-star family facilities without the fuss.
What? This piste-side spa hotel pleases everyone, from beginners (two ski schools right outside) to pros (lift-linked resorts means easy access to miles of runs), and there’s kit hire on site. The spa has an indoor/outdoor pool and dedicated family and adults-only areas (don’t miss the cleverly sound-proofed waterslide).
Hungry? Breakfast buffets are refined yet immense; five-course dinners artfully include children. The complimentary kids’ club caters from tots to teens; early dinners are followed by movie screenings so adults can dine in peace.
How? Rooms from €640 (£580), per night.
Published in the Winter Sports 2018 guide, free with the October 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)