7 Tips for a Stress-Free February Half Term Ski Holiday (Essential Ski Packing List)
All skiing families with school-age children will know how busy the slopes get over February half term. December’s short, dark days make Christmastime a less attractive window for skiing, and the warmer Easter period carries a risk of less snow, so skiing in February becomes the best option. This unfortunately means heaving airports and long queues at the resorts, but there are ways to counter these disadvantages, avoid the stress and have an amazing time with the kids on the slopes.
So with February half term just around the corner, simply follow these top tips for an enjoyable and stress-free half term skiing holiday with the kids:
1. Book Everything in Advance
To save time and queueing when you arrive, book everything from your rental skis, boots, ski passes and lessons in advance if you can. Most ski tour operators do offer this option, and will simply deliver passes and other rented essentials to your chalet or hotel upon your arrival. This is a great way to secure a little extra peace of mind and ensure you can hit the ground running – or skiing – as soon as you get there if you so wish.
2. Be the Early Birds
Once you’re there, you’ll want to get up and about as early as you can each morning to beat the queues. Get to the lifts by 9am if you can. Some lifts even earlier, which is even better as this ensures you can get out to the slopes before the ski-school rush hour begins. An earlier start also means you can justify an earlier finish, so you can get off the slopes and back off to the chalet and a hot meal before the end-of-the-day rush begins. Bliss.
3. Stay Off the Beaten Slopes
A great tip for enjoying a quieter ski trip in February half term is to stick to the outer slopes. The central areas of ski resorts are always busier, but the slopes on the outer edges tend to be much quieter and just as perfect for family skiing. Yes, they take a little while longer to get to, but the glistening white glow of pristine snow and quiet slopes make the additional journey time well worth it. Besides, you’ll get much more room to practice your technique and enjoy the scenery along the way.
4. Seek out Expert Knowledge
If you’ve invested in some ski-school lessons for yourselves and the kids, you can take advantage of the expert knowledge of your instructors. They’re well practised in finding the quietest, prime ski spots away from the crowds, so you and your children can enjoy a quieter session without so much competition for space. Try it, even if you’re all past the beginner stage; it’s worth it for the peace and quiet.
5. Take Lunch Off-Peak
The resort restaurants become incredibly busy and full between the hours of 12pm and 2pm for the lunch rush. Skiing is hungry work, we know, but your lunch refuel doesn’t need to be a noisy, stressful affair. Try taking a few snacks and a thermos of hot drinks to eat throughout the morning and early afternoon to keep those hunger pangs at bay until 2pm; then you can enjoy the restaurants and have a more enjoyable late lunch after the crowds and queues have diminished somewhat. Make sure you double check the serving times of your restaurants before you do this, however, as some may stop serving between certain times.
6. Get Organised
The key to a stress-free Feb half term ski trip is routines and organisation. Sounds like a bit of a killjoy, we know, but it’s worth it. Little things like ensuring everybody’s ski passes are always kept securely attached to ski jackets (don’t be tempted to remove them!) will save you a world of hassle. Dry out everybody’s gloves and ski goggles each evening to ensure they’re ready to go in the morning, and keep essentials like money and tissues stocked up every evening in jacket pockets so you’re never caught short on the slopes. You’ll thank yourself later, believe us.
7. Ski at Easter
If you’re really no good with crowds, it is still worth waiting until the Easter holidays for a later ski trip. There are a great many benefits including longer days, a warmer sun and slightly quieter slopes. And, if you’re worried about slushy snow; don’t be. There are certain resorts where you are still guaranteed snow, such as Val Thorens in France, Zermatt in Switzerland or St Anton in Austria; they carry longer airport transfer times but are worth the distance if you have older children or fancy a more adventurous ski trip.
Val Thorens, France
Your Essential Ski Packing List
Now you’re all prepared for avoiding the crowds, it’s time to ensure you’ve got all the right gear to keep you safe, warm and comfortable out there on the slopes.
- Warm Jacket – A down jacket or quilted jacket is best
- Salopettes or Ski Pants
- Thermal Base Layers
- Warm Mid Layers
- Ski Helmet
- Sturdy Gloves or Mittens – Waterproof ones are ideal
- Scarf or balaclava
- Ski Goggles
- Rucksack – Make sure it’s big enough for all your essentials
- Suncream – Opt for a high SPF
That’s it! You’re all ready for a fantastic half term skiing break with none of the stress and all of the fun. Can you think of any tips we’ve missed? Share it with us below.