Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better! Registration's totally free, of course, and makes snowHeads easier to use and to understand, gives better searching, filtering etc. as well as access to 'members only' forums, discounts and deals that U don't even know exist as a 'guest' user. (btw. 50,000+ snowHeads already know all this, making snowHeads the biggest, most active community of snow-heads in the UK, so you'll be in good company)..... When you register, you get our free weekly(-ish) snow report by email. It's rather good and not made up by tourist offices (or people that love the tourist office and want to marry it either)... We don't share your email address with anyone and we never send out any of those cheesy 'message from our partners' emails either. Anyway, snowHeads really is MUCH better when you're logged in - not least because you get to post your own messages complaining about things that annoy you like perhaps this banner which, incidentally, disappears when you log in :-)
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
durr, I forgot...
Or: Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

New Year 2019 vs Half Term - thoughts?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi, we're a family of intermediate skiers that have skied for the last few years, biting the bullet of February half term. With help from a bunch of you, we're heading to Les Saisies this year - well excited!

Anyway, my husband might need to take more holiday over New Year this year (2019/2020). It's been ages since we've skied new year (well before the kids). So, two ways of thinking - go at New Year with holiday allocated or take unpaid leave (lose £600!) and go Feb Half Term. Feel a bit caught between a rock and a hard place.

Can't comment on Les Saisies as a resort as not been there yet. But found a place in Vallandry (linking to Les Arcs) that's free for New Year. My thinking being higher=better???? And also thought maybe Vallandry would be cheaper than being in Les Arcs.

We drive down to the Alps so prefer not to have to drive too far - hence sticking to France. Again, I know how busy the roads are in Half Term but are the same or worse at New Year.

Thoughts/comments/advice much appreciated!!
snow report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I think New Year is always a gamble. You never know when the snow is going to come, and if it's going to snow on your side of the Alps, plus it's super crowded at New Years (I think more than half term).

3 years ago, I was in Tignes over Christmas, bordering New Years, and as soon as the post Christmas folks arrived, it not only got really crowded, but the snow was scarce, and the piste bully's couldn't keep up with maintaining the pistes. The snow that was there, was getting super hard and icy. I actually felt it was dangerous with all the rookies out there, if you turned to avoid them, you could end up tripping on a branch or a rock. In fact, I got knocked over twice by snowboarders, whilst I was standing still.

So, that all said. Reschedule Christmas, and go at Christmas. Even if the snow is thin, it won't be as crowded, and it is likely a bit cheaper as well.
snow report     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@kettonskimum, as @HeidiAmsterdam, says New Year is the busiest week of the year, though I think this New Year was especially busy with many French skiers taking a bridging holiday on the Monday and skiing the early part of the week.

Vallandry at 1600m is fairly high and snow sure. If the snow is dodgy at the base many skiers take the lift down. We skied in the Vallandry area a fair bit this New Year and the snow was actually OK and the crowds survivable if you kept off the blues. I don't think it is any cheeper than say Arc 1600.

Christmas week is less crowded than New Year and if you get the chance I would take that week in preference. Or you could look at Easter 2020, which is April 12, significantly earlier than this year.
snow report     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
There’s a lot of talk about NY being incredibly busy but we successfully booked at the last minute this year, AND went for less than a week and spanning a Saturday. We went (family of 4) to Davos based on snow at the time and didn’t see a lift queue all week either (waited 1 cable car at the bottom first day).
France may be different, but the experience has definitely made me realise that there are almost always last minute options and at least that way you have more chance of the snow and weather making your holiday as enjoyable as it can be.
ski holidays     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Hi there. Thanks for your comments. Just looked at Easter 2020 and schools break on 3 April so we could easily be in a resort on the 4th or 5th April. Again, never been at Easter but aware that some people only ever go then - so there must be something right about it! Assume higher=better for that time of year? Not sure what traffic is like/how busy pistes are. Most comments I've read in the past suggest the French don't really ski then (in the sort of numbers you'd find at Feb Half Term).
snow report     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
@kettonskimum, Easter is quieter than New Year and Half-term, especially if the school holidays don’t overlap with the actual bank holiday weekend. I really like skiing at that time of year, and mostly it is fine, especially if you go high. If it’s unseasonably warm the pistes can get a bit soft and slushy in the afternoon, and freeze hard overnight. But a more leisurely breakfast wards off the worst of that. As a bonus, the weather is often more pleasant and the days a little longer.

I’ve skied April in Les Arcs a lot, and with the exception of one year it’s been fine for snow.
latest report     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:

Most comments I've read in the past suggest the French don't really ski then (in the sort of numbers you'd find at Feb Half Term).

That's true - and keeping away from resorts where Brits go is a good idea at Easter. I would definitely choose Easter over New Year. Yes, some altitude is helpful at Easter but the aspect of slopes is equally important - ideally you want a mix, so you can choose sunnier facing slopes in the icy morning time, then shadier slopes in the afternoon. I've skied loads of Easters in Les Saisies with no problem but it wouldn't be the best choice if you need to book ahead. But for Easter, the best bet is not to book ahead - there'll be plenty of accommodation available in French resorts and last minute booking shouldn't be a problem.

New Year is the worst week of the year to ski. Christmas much better - but as noted above, both are unreliable for snow - this year Austria has had much better early snow than France, sometimes it's the other way round. Late booking is your best bet and as you drive and will just need accommodation, that's not a problem if you're reasonable flexible.

Les Saisies will be busy at half term - I know the area well, if you need any specific advice.
latest report     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
This is all brilliant! My gut feeling (which is normally ultra reliable) says to go Easter 2020 then. It'll be an interesting comparison and I'm sure will be fun in a different way. Worse case, we don't enjoy as much and return to Feb Half Term.

Although the temptation would be a high resort, I reckon having somewhere with different aspects is probably the way to go - choosing best am slopes and pm slopes.

But clearly the message here is to book late (which for me is going to be nail biting, having to book almost a year in advance each year for Feb Half Term). Happy to do this but, if we were looking to arrive first week in April, how late are we actually talking? Not sure I'd fancy leaving it until mid-March.....or is that really OK? I tend to use the French sites to book (Abritel etc).

Pam - we were in contact about Les Saisies as a potential resort for this Half Term a number of months ago. In fact, your positive comments encouraged me to book there. We're staying near the Chenavelle piste (50m from Bertrand Sports, closest lift La Legette I believe). We've also taken the step of booking a private lesson for the kids and avoiding ski school - so I'll make sure we get our lift timing right to avoid the start of those! So, mainly the week is about exploring and checking out the other neighbourhood areas too. If you have any advice then please message me - and I will to you if I think of anything specific! Thanks! Very Happy
latest report     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@kettonskimum, the point of booking late is to be able to “chase the snow”. It might be that resorts in Austria have much better snow than resorts in France for your chosen week, or vice versus, so having an open mind about where you end up is a good plan, not just the specific resort but a wider geographic reach up to country level.
snow report     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
To add to what others have said New Year week is very busy and seems to have got busier each year. In La Plagne, talking to local restaurant owners they have seen a shift from Christmas week to New Year. It was certainly quiet Christmas week and then New Year was easily 'half term' busy!
snow conditions     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Another vote for Christmas and Easter. Having done those as well as New Year and half term, I'd always choose quieter slopes and maybe less snow than packed slopes. Since 2005/6 we have skied pretty much every Christmas and yes we had a few poor years, notably 2014-5-16, when you consider we are not a 'high-resort' in Les Carroz we have always been able to ski and enjoy ourselves.
snow conditions     
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
A further advantage of skiing at Christmas is that you miss Christmas in the UK. Ski resorts are fun at Christmas and even if the weather isn't perfect, you spend so much less time sitting round watching the telly and eating too much.
ski holidays     
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
pam w wrote:
A further advantage of skiing at Christmas is that you miss Christmas in the UK. Ski resorts are fun at Christmas and even if the weather isn't perfect, you spend so much less time sitting round watching the telly and eating too much.


This last Christmas was my best Christmas ever. We booked at our fav place, which is half board, and an EXCELLENT kitchen. We were there with my sister and her family. We did Christmas stockings on the 23rd, so keep gifts small, all had to fit in a stocking (OK we did have a couple of wrapped things, but still small). 10 am on the 23rd, present stress out of the way, the rest of the time was spent carving turns and playing board games.

No one shopped, cooked or cleaned. No one stressed about who was doing the shopping, cooking or cleaning, and was everyone pulling their fare share. Just excellent time with excellent food with my kids, sister and BIL and my nieces and nephews.

Loved. Every. Second. Of. It.
snow conditions     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
My personal experience.
Last 2 Easters in France, Les Arcs 2000 and Tignes le Lac. Amazing experiences.
Last NYE in Verbier. Besides being icy with no fresh snow, like in most French Alps, and utterly expensive (Swiss ski resort), it was madly crowded. Morning gondolas, all pistes and lifts were completed full with many boarders always stopping in the middle and plenty of skiers going from right to left with no notice.
There is a smart and funny topic here describing the New Year skiers (Savoie Prefect)
Learnt my lesson. Christmas in Austria, NYE at home, Jan to March everywhere there's good snow and definitely Easter in France.
If you'll go low for financial reasons, try to be as close to a direct gondola taking you towards 2000. Plenty of those in EK and Paradiski. Never been to 3V yet. Waiting for this year's EOSB
ski holidays     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Christmas 2017 in La Rosiere. Apart from snowmageddon on way home we had an amazing week. Great snow (lucky) , quiet pistes , no queues , space in mountain and village restaurants.
Opened our presents back home on New Year’s Day and went to the pub for lunch (at normal prices) then had a week of lazing about before going back to work. Cheap prices (went posh self catering CGH Lodge Hemera , it was fine but not sure self catering suits us)

New Year 2018 in Selva. Not such great natural snow but pistes in excellent condition. Very busy , queues for lifts in morning and during the day. Dangerously crowded home runs. Restaurants in town impossibly busy for lunch (ate in hotel most evenings). Mountain restaurants were mostly OK as there is so many of them.
Can be very expensive but went for a less posh hotel a 10 minute walk out of town (Hotel Ingram with Crystal , it was basic but excellent food , very clean and comfortable , super owners and staff ).

Off to Val D’Isère first week April (our LEA has fixed Easter school hols as first two weeks April regardless of when Easter falls) so will be interesting to see how busy it is as I think outside French and most UK hols...
ski holidays     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I think there’s a lot to be said for half term. It’s when the mountains and resorts are at their prettiest IMO.
You can go to low altitude resorts which I think are a lot more appealing than high altitude moonscapes with buildings with the aesthetic appeal of a multi-storey car park.

It’s worth looking at this thread if you’re considering Austria.
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=139730

Check your half term dates against the table, ideally avoiding NL and Germany as they make up a lot of the custom. UK half term isn’t necessarily that busy, especially if you go somewhere that UK tour operators don’t.
snow report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@kettonskimum, with the early April Easter break dates you mention, I would choose Easter anytime over Christmas / New Year and I definitely wouldn't lose £600 to stick with Feb half term.
Snow/resort wise, there will still be a lot of choice at that period unless the year is unreasonably warm. Early April typically only rules out the very lowest resorts (e.g. some of the Haute Savoie resorts that top up at 2,000m) and the south-facing ones (risk of slush / ice conditions), and you can wait before you book as others have said (can't advise on how late).
Roads will be much quieter for the drive down, with the bonus of longer days and less chance of snow-related chaos.
Accommodation will be cheaper than New Year (can't say vs. Christmas) and the pistes will be much less busy.
It will be warmer, especially important for the kids.
In short I don't see any real drawbacks to early April skiing...
ski holidays     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

Accommodation will be cheaper than New Year (can't say vs. Christmas) and the pistes will be much less busy

certainly true in France - accommodation is "low season" prices after the end of the 4 week school holidays - 9 March this year.
snow conditions     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
The costs with British tour operators are high for all school holidays - just book DIY and you avoid that altogether.
snow conditions     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
When discussing Easter skiing I should point out that with about 30 drives to les arcs the only time I've needed to use snow chains is Easter.
ski holidays     



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy