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Feb Half Term 2022 - Montgenevre, Flaine, Dolomites???

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi

On the day I was due to arrive in Alleghe for my first ever trip to the Dolomites (and to do the Great War Circuit and Sella Ronda), I'm putting my mind ahead to next year. I've rolled the Alleghe trip forward 12 months so will hopefully make it onto the Sella Ronda next year.

However, I'm also looking at a ski trip for the family, joining up with 2 other families. 6 adults, 6 kids (all aged under 10 and all skiing for the first time). With Easter being late next year, we're pretty much tied to half term (starting Sat 19th February). Don't want to take the kids out of school as they've missed enough school this year.

Things we'd like:
- Decent standard of accommodation. Catered chalet would be nice, but might be limited in a post-Covid world. Self catering chalet also fine, failing that some of the nicer apartment hotels look good - each family could have their own unit.
- Proximity to ski school for the kids. In terms of ski school, with 6 kids we could just get a private instructor.
- Good selection of beginner / early intermediate runs. Would be nice to be able to get the beginners up on the mountain proper later in the week.
- Village with enough going on (restaurants, non-ski activities, sledging etc).
- Short-ish transfer (though willing to sacrifice this to get the right place).
- Somewhere not too busy at Feb half-term!!

Based on everything I've seen and read on here, I really fancy getting to the Dolomites. Somewhere like Corvara / Colfosco sounds ideal, but I'm really struggling with finding the right accommodation that is close to ski school. Any suggestions on this? Is English widely used in the lessons?

Failing that, I like the look of Montgenevre. Good off-slope activities for the family, nice green mountain runs to progress to and somewhere like Le Napoleon looks good. https://www.cgh-residences.co.uk/winter/residences/le-napoleon-14
What are the queues in Montgenevre like at February half term?

One of the families was due to go to Flaine this year and stay in Les Terrasses d'Helios. They can roll their booking forward to next February, so that is an option (but they aren't wedded to it). The accommodation looks good, swimming pool is a bonus. But my real fear is that Feb half-term clashes with French Zones C (Paris) and Zone A next year and so Flaine will be absolute carnage. Should we avoid it?

Any views on the above to help narrow it down would be much appreciated. Key thing really is getting decent accommodation near to kids ski school, ideally without crazy queues in Feb half-term.

Of course, any other places I haven't considered would be most welcome. Specific accommodation suggestions would be great.

Thanks in advance.
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I think the general consensus here is that France at half term is a bad idea, esp when it's a Paris week.
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@Pippo9, While Easter is late next year the school holiday starts before it on 2nd April I think.

The Grand Massif is one of my favourite ski areas but I'd probably avoid it at half term as I've heard some of the links can get busy (good for Easter though).

Montgenevre might be ok for half term as it is linked to Claviere in Italy so I expect one could ski over there to avoid the crowds but have the benefit of staying in high quality accommodation at Le Napoleon. We have stayed in Le Napoleon and it is ideal for families. The pool, spa etc is good and you only have to cross the road to put your skis on and you are virtually at the ski school meeting point. It is definitely far more central than Terraces de Helios is to Flaine. The ESF and ESI (Apeak) are also both very good in Montgenevre. We have skied in the resort many times with our kids from aged 5 to teens and love it. We booked through Peak Retreats and would recommend them if you are looking for a TO self drive package. Montgenevre is only an hour from Turin if you want to fly.

I haven't been to Italy for a long time (other than skiing over from France) so will leave it to others to make Italian recommendations.
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Pippo9 wrote:
Hi

- Somewhere not too busy at Feb half-term!!

But my real fear is that Feb half-term clashes with French Zones C (Paris) and Zone A next year and so Flaine will be absolute carnage. Should we avoid it?

.


Grand Massif is very very busy at half term, having done it many times in the past, we tend to avoid it now unless the kids are in competition classes and i can get a off-piste class, but the lift queues if you are not in a ski school class are grim, and pistes are not much better
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Montgenevre lovely. We’ve been 2 x half terms running. Ok during week but Italians descend to get to their apartments at weekends, and people get bussed in if snow poor elsewhere as montgenevre’s snow is more reliable. I don’t think there’s many catered places but there are apartments and hotels mainly. We stayed right in the centre the first time but found it too noisy. We stayed over in Obelisque the second time and thought we’d get buses but they were so erratic we walked or took the little button up and skied across to the gondola. It’s a compact town with ski school meeting place right in the middle on the front de niege. There are lower green runs next to the village and a long one from the top right down. Personally I hated that one as it was always crowded and was used by more advanced skiers to get back to town so there were a few collisions from impatient “skilled” skiers weaving in and out. Being sheltered it could also be a bit icy - that said I’m a nervous skier so don’t let me out you off!! The leisure centre (Durancia) is brilliant (pre covid) - well worth a visit. Short transfer from Turin. Nice restaurants in town, not much on mountain. We did love it there but came back with respiratory infections both times so have cut our losses and won’t return again!
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Thanks. Some very useful information?

Anyone with any specific recommendations on Dolomites that meet what we're looking for? Or anywhere else for that matter? Austria?

Sounds like Flaine is a no go. I don't want the first family trip to be dominated by big queues and busy pistes.
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I should add, our school doesnt break up till 8th April 2022 for Easter, so we'd be looking at 9th to 16th. Which I fear is too late.
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@Pippo9, Corvara and Colfosco are more expensive and I think a busier part of the Dolomites.

If you’re giving priority to beginner/early intermediate skiing, I suggest you look at what Santa Christina Gardena had to offer. Can’t recommend specific accommodation but getting close to ski school shouldn’t be too difficult.

Another very pleasant, mostly gentle, slightly more off the beaten track area, is Alpe de Suisi. Also worth a look. Not stayed there but my impression from day trip was that they aim at families and offer quite a few non-skiing activities.
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@Pippo9, if no choice but to go to France at half term, I’d think about the Maurienne valley. The Les Sybelles lift pass area might have some slightly less manic options...but I’d definitely choose Italy over France.
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@Pippo9, W/C 8th April would usually be ok in Flaine or Montgenevre as both have high altitude north facing slopes. I think Montgenevre would be the better option though for your group. I went to Montgenevre for that week a couple of seasons ago and had an excellent holiday. The Claviere side shut early in the week (not because there was a lack of snow but because the Italian side always shuts down earlier). However there was still enough to keep a family group happy on the Montgenevre slopes and the runs weren't busy. We noticed a few UK school groups. Montgenevre has a good snow record and is usually open until the end of April.
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I've been following this thread with interest; how do-able are the Dolomites resorts for a drive and self-cater family holiday?

Having signed up for this year's pre-BB, I've been looking at the stunning images on the Sella Ronda webcams; the whole area looks amazing!
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Thanks for the feedback so far.

Anyone with any specific accommodarion recommendations (hotel or apartments / chalets) for Italy or Austria? Something near to ski school meeting point for the kids.

Feels like Italy / Austria is the way forward for half term. Just can't find the right place / accommodation.
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I had an apartment in a French resort for 15 years and would NEVER go anywhere in France at half-term when it clashes with one of the Paris weeks. In fact I'd do a lot to avoid half term. Rather juggle with snow conditions at Easter, and enjoy the longer days and better chance of cold beers on a warm terrace.
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@Pippo9 Never been to the resort or accommodation below, but that doesnt usually stop me giving an opinion! I have been researching Flachau in Austria for a jan 22 trip and it may fit some of your requirements.......short, motorway transfer from Salzburg. Extensive slopes described as good for early and intermediate cruising with fast lifts. Town big enough for food whether self catering or dining out. Reasonable prices it seems, too. Plenty of accommodation. The one I will suggest, based on nothing more than the speed and friendliness of their response to my email with an excellent price, is Pension Unterhof www.unterhof-flachau.at . You cross the road to go through a gate and ski 100m down to a fast chairlift where there is also ski hire, apres bar, ski depot and a ski school (which i dont need so havent looked into). The property offers bed and breakfast or apartments and reviews seem good. Town is close enough to walk. As I say, never been to the town or accommodation, but there are Ski Amade experts on Snowheads if you need any specific advice and i only put forward the village suggestion and weblink as 'worth a look'.
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Re Corvara & Colfosco:

English is definately spoken in Ski schools. Area is becoming more and more popular with English speaking visitors

In Corvara, the closest hotel to the ski school meeting point (next to the Boe Gondola) is Hotel Arkadia. A short walk away across the river are the hotels: Villa Tony, Marmolada and Posta Zirm. EVen the Italia, Villa Eden and La Plaza are not a great distance away if walking along the backstreet neside the river (best to leave ski gear at the ski school though). Several apartments nearby as well.

In Colfosco, the ski school is next to the Sodlisia chair and Colfosco gondola. Road leading to it from the main street is Str. Sotdlijia. Lots of apartments along here. Nearest hotels are the Gran Risa and Centrale. Hotels Borest, Luianta and Romantik Capella are further out the village but are right at the end of the Sodlisia chair, which is where the main practice slope is in Colfosco.

Someone mentioned Seiser Alm as well. Main ski school here is at Compatsch at the mountain station of the Seis/Sieser Alm gondola leading up from the village of Seis (Siusi). At Compatsch, lots of hotels though some are expensive. Hotels are: Seelaus, Alpina, Urthaler, Rosa, Zorzi, Bellavista, Piccolo and Plaza.

Hope this helps
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@Pippo9, Sent you a PM
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Pippo9 wrote:
I should add, our school doesnt break up till 8th April 2022 for Easter, so we'd be looking at 9th to 16th. Which I fear is too late.

I ski early, mid, late winter and spring. That week from the 9th to the 16th is possibly the best week to ski. You need to go high with North facing slopes for best results. We ski Tignes at this time of the year
Resort will still be fully open, not too busy. Every chance of fresh snow. You'll be able to have lunch/acres ski booze up in the sun
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@Pippo9, thanks for starting this thread, it's been helpful to learn more about the Dolomites and Austria as family destinations.

I've only taken my family skiing at Easter, only in France and of that, mainly the 3 Valleys. If you can bear self-catering, the Spring Family Bash (SFaB) could work - a week of SnowHead families in Val Thorens, staying at the Hameau du Kashmir. It has worked very well for us. Val Thorens offers some great Easter skiing.
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I'm not sure you're going to get catered
Chalet in the Dollies.
The best resort I've been to for young kids is Risoul. Amaxing sweet shop, sledging run and easy blues from the top.

Corvara and Colfosco are the quiet end of the SR in my opinion as soon as you're off the Ronda circuit. Lots of nice hotels in corvara.

Montengeve has great links and offers skiing in Italy too.

France, high altitude - at half term. Would touch it (Except Risoul, of course)
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Thanks again. Some great input here.

With regard to the family bash in Val Thorens, what would that be like for first time kids? Near to ski school? Also, is it busy in late season - I kind of assumed people congregate there and Tignes (amongst others) due to high altitude.

I guess I really fancy Dolomites. Was meant to be there right now. In terms of Alta Badia, what would be the better area? I've seen some people say Colfosco has the best beginner area, but Corvara a better town. Have also seen some people say Corvara and Colfosco can have busier slopes due to being on the Sella Ronda. Some have suggested San Cassiano may therefore be better, but I've also read reports of gondola queues there (maybe from people coming through the Hidden Valley) and that the gondola is away from the village and needs a shuttle.

Decisions decisions. Feels like Dolomites half term, maybe Mongenevre (but likely to be busier). Avoid the Flaine option.

Otherwise late season high altitude in France.

Will also look at the Austrian options sent here. Thanks for the input so far.
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pam w wrote:
I had an apartment in a French resort for 15 years and would NEVER go anywhere in France at half-term when it clashes with one of the Paris weeks. In fact I'd do a lot to avoid half term. Rather juggle with snow conditions at Easter, and enjoy the longer days and better chance of cold beers on a warm terrace.

Same - had our place in the Grand Massif for more than 15 years and only done half-term once. It was pre-kids and we had been there for a few weeks WHF and skiing, nephew flew over for half-term - NEVER AGAIN. We ski Xmas and Easter school holidays and avoid February even for long weekends.
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@Pippo9, I've only stayed in San Cassiano once, but my accommodation was an easy walk. we left our skis/boots in lockers at the bottom of Gondola.

If you want a ski in - ski out

https://www.frohsinn.it/it/


====

" Have also seen some people say Corvara and Colfosco can have busier slopes due to being on the Sella Ronda " Only a small section where the 'Ronders' pass through.

Colfosco is definitely better for beginners, and has its own side valley (Edelweiss ?) as people advance


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Sun 31-01-21 13:08; edited 1 time in total
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Colfosco definitely best beginner area and initial progression slopes. As Cameronphilips had said it's only busy on the Sella ronda slope. But there is an alternate slope that veers off part of the SR section and brings you back to the plans frara gondola Station. The main learner slope only has SR teaffic on the far right side heading down so is perfect for beginners. The Edelweiss Valley above the village is off the SR and thus quieter. Even if you take the plans frara gondola up to Jimmy hut, you can ski back via the first slope immediate left coming out the hut, thus avoiding quite a long section of the SR that comes down from Dantercepies.

Corvara is only busy where the Boe slope on the SR comes down to Boe and Borest gondola stations. Otherwise its much quieter in the main ski area above the village that links to La villa and san cassiano.

Your right about San cassiano gondola being busy but I suspect its quieter early in the morning. I only noticed it busy during the day.

I prefer staying in Corvara as I like the convenience of getting to both the main ski area and to Colfosco.
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@jimmybog, Cross post Wink


question for you -- where to you stay in Corvara ??
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We've stayed at the La plaza Hotel and the L'Table which was very handy as they had a shuttle to the lifts. Also stayed in the Arkadia but that was on a summer trip before they expanded the wellness area.
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Thanks.. always fancied Corvara, but never stayed there..
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@Pippo9, like @tomj, we've done the SFaB and enjoyed it! There were busier lifts and pistes but once away from the main queues in the mornings, no problems at all. The kids beginner area is walkable from the accommodation used and by the end of the week they may be able to ski down to it. We've done half term in smaller French resorts (inc coinciding with Paris week) and VT at Easter is definitely less busy. Other bonus of Easter is longer and slightly warmer days.

Can't help with other areas you asked about but Flachau was mentioned above and we've also been there during half term which was great for our mixed abilities families group of 20-odd - have a look at Sunweb for some good prices, you would have to sort your own flights and transfers but it's an easy enough drive from Munich if Salzburg flights are ruinously expensive.
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No-one has yet suggested Andorra. Soldeu or El Tarter, excellent native English speaking instructors. If half term includes Shrove Tuesday, it will be fairly busy Sat-Tue then dead after as the Spanish only get Mon-Tue as holiday. Avoid queuing by getting up before 9.30 and taking lessons which gets you in the priority line.
We book a S/c apartment but hotels are available. The main problem is the transfer if flying.
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Madonna di Campiglio.
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Having read this (and some other) threads, I’m coming to the conclusion that Colfosco is probably the right place for our half term skiing trip.

Does anyone have any tips/gems for accommodation. We’re 3 generations. Me and my wife, 3 x teenagers and my FIL. Happy with anything decent, be that self catering, catered chalet or hotel. Just needs to be within reasonable walking distance of the town/lifts (500m?).

Also, does anyone have local knowledge of the ski hire shops? Ideally would want somewhere near the lifts that allows you to rack your skis/boots in a heated locker each evening. Can’t abide having to walk any distance in my boots!
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 Poster: A snowHead
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My son, non-skiing wife and 3 kids went to Madonna for half term - they enjoyed it. They also visited Verona and Venice.
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Quote:


Having read this (and some other) threads, I’m coming to the conclusion that Colfosco is probably the right place for our half term skiing trip.

Also, does anyone have local knowledge of the ski hire shops? Ideally would want somewhere near the lifts that allows you to rack your skis/boots in a heated locker each evening. Can’t abide having to walk any distance in my boots!


The Colfosco ski school does ski hire and locker rental so that might be a good option as it will be right by the ski school. We do the same with the corvara ski school and it works really well.

Although looking at it, the ski hire seems to be from Sport Edoardo and that might be where the lockers are too. The easiest way to find out the details would be drop them an email.
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This is the combined Ski School/ Rental/ Restaurant in Colfosco :: The restaurant does a fantastic Hot Chocolate ! Madeye-Smiley


https://www.msrc.it/en/
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Cheers guys
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Pippo9 wrote:
Thanks again. Some great input here.

With regard to the family bash in Val Thorens, what would that be like for first time kids? Near to ski school? Also, is it busy in late season - I kind of assumed people congregate there and Tignes (amongst others) due to high altitude.

I guess I really fancy Dolomites. Was meant to be there right now. In terms of Alta Badia, what would be the better area? I've seen some people say Colfosco has the best beginner area, but Corvara a better town. Have also seen some people say Corvara and Colfosco can have busier slopes due to being on the Sella Ronda. Some have suggested San Cassiano may therefore be better, but I've also read reports of gondola queues there (maybe from people coming through the Hidden Valley) and that the gondola is away from the village and needs a shuttle.

Decisions decisions. Feels like Dolomites half term, maybe Mongenevre (but likely to be busier). Avoid the Flaine option.

Otherwise late season high altitude in France.

Will also look at the Austrian options sent here. Thanks for the input so far.


What about La Villa ? Gondola straight up to alta badia area - loads of mostly easy blues and reds there and great mountain restaurants.

Gondala less busy than san cass . Has a beginners area with a couple of chairs going slightly higher for progression .
This area is very quiet as only has a little through traffic with people going to badia to access santa croce (or kronplatz further afield).

Not as pretty as corvara or san cass , more funtional. But plenty of good value accomodation.

We stayed at the gran risa hotel bang opposite the bubble. It was very nice , mid priced
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