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Feb 2021 Half Term ?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just back from a tremendous week in the Dolomites (stayed in La Villa).

Was pretty darn busy in places though , to the point where it got too much.

Kronplatz was incredibly busy (lots of Russians ?).
Could not do our planned WW1 tour as the 2 man chair (Sass de la Vegla) appeared to have broken down and there must have been 200 people queuing for it.
And could not get to Cinque Torri as the taxi queue at Armentarola was ridiculous.
Lots of pistes got dangerously busy
lK half term but only a handful of brits around our end
A lot of germans (or Austrians) , netherlands , France etc etc. Plus Carnivale / Fasching events happening (although mardi gras next week).

Next year - everything seems to align in the same week . Virtually everyone is off and it is Carnivale week.

And the prices obviously are very high for flights / accommodation etc

So what to do ?

Avoid the week entirely ? (mooting taking kids out of school but wife not happy about that option)?

Go somewhere completely different (USA ? Norway?).

Or suggest me somewhere likely to be quieter...?? Very Happy
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
go at easter?
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 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?
Handy Turnip wrote:
go at easter?


Well yes , at risk of sounding spoilt , we will be going at Xmas and hopefully 1st week Easter too...before French break up.

So missing Feb HT completely is the other option unless I get a better suggestion.
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We did Sälen one half term. We stayed in Tandådalen which wasn’t too bad, Lindvallen was noticeably busier but we had promised the girls a visit to ski through McDonald's.

Again there were local holidays matching with UK, when we went but from memory not quite the worst match.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Your last two are arguably the same. And I would suggest your only option aside from not going.

We go Christmas and Easter and couldn't do a third week. Have toyed with going HT on occasion but as you've discovered there are a number of downsides.
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@sheffskibod, if you're going more than once and can fly from London area airports, buy a BA flightpass and solve the cost problem. Works out about £100-140 return per person for flights on any dates.

The only lift queue of any significance I encountered in the Chamonix valley all week was when one lift was offline for maintenance, and the alternative had much lower capacity. I've skied half term for years (and xmas, NY and Easter) and it's never nearly as bad as the hype.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@snowdave, is this because they aren’t there or you were able with knowledge to avoid them?

Also how busy were the pistes themselves?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@NickyJ, A combination. Some areas (e.g. Argentiere) never had any queues – it’s not exactly a family-friendly area. Other areas had them but we knew how to avoid. However, the “knowing how to avoid” can be done with basic reading of a piste map and knowledge of ski school times. If ski school ends at 11.45, at 11.15-11.30 any main lifts near to resort (i.e. that enable instructors to get their group up and down for the last run, arriving back at ski school at 11.45) are typically busy.

One of our instructors described it to us years ago, as thinking about how the crowd flows around the mountain and to different areas. The resort runs are typically very peaceful first thing in the morning, as everyone heads far away, and then migrates back towards resort. In the Chamonix valley (unusual due to poor/no linkages between ski areas), the same also happens on a larger scale with ski areas – the crowd, broadly, moves from ski areas close to Chamonix at the start of the week, to areas further away mid week, before returning closer to home on the last day to make ski rental return easier.

PS Edited to add - the flight passes for next year are already available... at the same price as this year for mine.
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@snowdave, we found Serre Chevalier fine as long as you could avoid certain points. Unfortunately having children and other family in ski school meant we couldn’t avoid those pinch points.
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
Quote:

it's never nearly as bad as the hyp

There have been a number of reports this half term suggesting it's been every bit as bad as the hype, even though our half term has not coincided with one of the two Paris weeks. There are some places where local knowledge helps a lot, but if you have children, or other party members, in ski school, it's not practical to head off to some isolated valley and enjoy the peace and quiet. If I were doing a Christmas and/or Easter trip (both much preferable to half term in my view) then I'd forego half term. I used to enjoy the drive to (and even sometimes from) the Alps - I did it a lot, often solo, but I'd not contemplate it at half term. We several times took our kids out of school to ski one of the very cheap weeks in early January, but I know it's harder nowadays. If I could only ski with crowded slopes and big lift queues I'd never have bothered - even if those times were not also stupidly expensive.
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Last year we went to La Clusaz at half term and this year Les Contamines - I didn't find either of them noticeably busier than Val Thorens the last couple of Easters nor Val d'Isere a couple of Christmas' back. Both half terms there were base station and ski school choke points but we are good at splitting up and filling lifts unlike a lot of folks. At various times we also had good long lengths of piste to ourselves.

Iirc last Feb HT didn't coincide with Paris and coronavirus may have done us a favour this year so perhaps our experience isn't typical?
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 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.
@always29, I'd say that Val Thorens and Val D'Isere are generally busier than Les Contamines. I've not skied at La Clusaz but have been to Les Contamines, just for the day, quite a few times (though I always started on the Belleville side, not up from Les Contamines village, which helped). I was generally used to quiet pistes and always found the big Tarentaise resorts unpleasant in comparison, even in supposedly quiet periods. Not to mention expensive!!
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 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
Val Thorens at Easter felt busy to me - much much busier than a lot of other places we have been
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@always29,

I'd say that Les C is generally considerably quieter than the high profile resorts at HT. It's in part because the constraint is the car parking and the bubbles out of the village. Once you are at Etape there are plenty of lifts and pistes to serve those skiers.

Equally, I think VT is disproportionately busy at Easter because lots of skiers really want to go HIGH at Easter. Les Contamines is ridiculously quiet at Easter and almost always has great skiing.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I have been at Les Contamines at the end of the season with great snow and absolutely nobody around. It's not just the big Tarentaise resorts - I also found the Sella Ronda too busy in early February - not peak season.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@pam w, have to agree about the costs- part of the consideration for these family half term weeks has been the lift pass and found the value for money great in both Les C's as we don't do high mileage while kids are in ski school part of the day. A family lift pass for Les Contamines was under €700 vs €998 for 3 vallees.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
If I had to do France at half term then Les Contamines, accessed from the Belleville (Hauteluce) side would be one of my top choices. Praz sur Arly would probably be another. Not Les Saisies - the main bowl is much too busy, especially if snow is poor in other areas.
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 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?
@sheffskibod, that is worrying! Every other year carnevale and fasching clash with UK holidays and this year should have been good. We went in 2017 and it was not busy like this at all. Am getting ready to book next year half term. Oh dear! Crying or Very sad
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@snowdave, under what criteria do you get £140 pp return? For 12 flights / 12 months, booking 90 days + in advance all uk airports to all italy works out at £140pp per single flight. So £280 return. I didn't look at any other options so maybe less choice will bring the price down. Sorry to hijack the thread.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@mini_mo, the all Italy option is quite expensive - we looked at this for Venice in Feb and Naples in August but in the end went for 8 return flights LGW-Venice and took the train down Italy with a few stops along the way. The flight pass was about £1300 for the 8 return flights, booked 60 days in advance and 12 months validity.
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mini_mo wrote:
@snowdave, under what criteria do you get £140 pp return? For 12 flights / 12 months, booking 90 days + in advance all uk airports to all italy works out at £140pp per single flight. So £280 return. I didn't look at any other options so maybe less choice will bring the price down. Sorry to hijack the thread.


You can set the valid from date to when you need your first flight out then the don’t use 12months, set to 3months
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@mini_mo, starting mid December for 24 flights, 4 people, 4 months, LGW to GVA. I do the 4-hr freedom option which works out £1,637, the 14 day option is cheaper (and the same price as 90 day, so you might as well do 14!)

The key thing that reduces the price is to lock in specific airports, and, at least for the GVA route, LGW and LCY are _much_ cheaper than "all london" and LHR in isolation.

Narrowing the window, as NickyJ says, also pulls the price down a bit.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
simonbaddeley wrote:
@mini_mo, the all Italy option is quite expensive - we looked at this for Venice in Feb and Naples in August but in the end went for 8 return flights LGW-Venice and took the train down Italy with a few stops along the way. The flight pass was about £1300 for the 8 return flights, booked 60 days in advance and 12 months validity.


I found Turin cheaper than other Italian airports - though be warned they seem to reduce their number of flights out from April, which this year coincided with the Easter school holidays. Now whether they are deliberately coincided with school holidays (used aircraft for other routes which have increased demand due to Easter holidays).
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
snowdave wrote:
@sheffskibod, if you're going more than once and can fly from London area airports, buy a BA flightpass and solve the cost problem. Works out about £100-140 return per person for flights on any dates.

The only lift queue of any significance I encountered in the Chamonix valley all week was when one lift was offline for maintenance, and the alternative had much lower capacity. I've skied half term for years (and xmas, NY and Easter) and it's never nearly as bad as the hype.


Sheffield based so London airports are all a bit too far (with exception perhaps of Luton).

Manchester is always the preferred option.
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