Top Tips for Timing your Ski Holiday Booking

(2019-02-12 11:11:02)


Questions like resort choices, who to bring, and budget soon rear their heads when you decide to gather your group for a trip to the Alps, and for first-time ski holiday bookers it can seem a little daunting. Winter 20/21 is now on sale, so to help early birds and group leaders who’ve perhaps never organised their friends’ or family’s ski trip before, we’re sharing a few ski holiday booking tips to help you get the best value for money. 

For some groups of skiers or snowboarders, timing their ski holiday is a balance of factors such as weather, costs and altitude, and for others it’s more a case of when the kids are free from school. Whatever the constraints and requirements for your own trip to the mountains, the timings of research, reservation and travel are key.

When to book

Whether you’re in the market for a cheap and cheerful dash to the snow or a truly special 6* luxury chalet, value for money is something we all aim for. So the question is, when to book to get the best bang for your buck?

During the pre-season and summer months leading up to the start of winter, chalet companies and tour operators promote large discounts for big group bookings. Equally, when the start of the season ticks round, last-minute deals see prices on accommodation tumble as each departure date comes and goes – ideal for small groups of late-bookers looking for a bargain.

So, whether you should book your ski trip over the summer or wait till the winter ultimately depends on your group size.

a ski gondola in the Alps Timing is key when planning and booking your escape to the slopes

Large groups

If you’re a large gathering of pals hoping to book exclusive use of a large chalet and have it all to yourselves for the week, we recommend deciding on your resort choices and beginning research over the pre-season and summer months. This way, you’ll make the most of the big-group booking incentives available, and you'll choose from the widest range of accommodation options in your top ski resorts of choice. 

Small groups

If you’re a couple or a group of 4 to 6 friends with an open mind regarding ski resort choice – and happy to share a larger chalet or hotel with others – there’s no obvious need to book early. Perhaps keep an eye on certain chalets or hotels catch your eye, but you’re best to use your flexibility to your advantage. Ski chalet companies try hard to sell all their beds for each approaching departure date, so the last-minute market is full of great deals.

When to go; families

Parents with children in school are rather stuck on this point, as their timetable is set more by their children’s school calendar than by their own timings. Christmas, February half term and the Easter holidays are prime ski time for families keen to hit the Alps, though of course such high-demand dates do tend to come at a premium.

Families keen to make a saving can avoid the busy February half term and ski in the Easter holiday instead - it’s cheaper, it’s quieter and it’s sunnier. Although the snow is slushier at this time of year, staying at high-altitude resorts like Tignes, Solden, Val d’Isère, Les Arcs or Zermatt means you can make the most of the beautiful spring conditions.

ski poles in the snow The size of your ski group will have a big effect on the best timing of your research and booking

When to go; adults

For groups of young adults or perhaps older skiers happy to leave the kids behind, things are a little more flexible and they can head out to the slopes at a time which suits them.

Lower-altitude alpine destinations like Morzine, Kitzbuhel, Les Gets, Montchavin, St Martin de Belleville, Mayrhofen or Serre Chevalier are generally best avoided in the early- and late-season, for risk of poor snow coverage. To be fair, many of these resorts do have access to high-altitude terrain – but ultimately it’s a sensible decision to head to the higher slopes of resorts like Val Thorens or Tignes during the early December and later April weeks.

Date choice

Christmas, New Year, February half term and Easter half term are amazing times to hit the Alps among family and friends, but high demand on peak dates does push the prices up. If you’ve got the flexibility to hit the snow at any time during the winter season, then avoid the extra skier traffic and increased prices associated with these peak dates and head out when it’s quieter and cheaper.

Climate conditions

Weather is also a factor to consider when deciding when to hit the slopes. The winter weeks of December, January and February may have the best snow but they also have the lowest temperatures – there are few sunny terraced lunches to enjoy at this time of the year! On the other hand, March and April see progressively slushy snow but wonderful, bright blue skies and warmer climes.

Whether you gather two or twenty two friends for this year ski trip, opt for a luxury chalet or a budget hotel, or choose a sunny spring week over a snowy January one, it’s worth paying attention to the timing of your research and booking process. For more advice on the resorts and accommodations for this season or next, we’re on hand to help. Drop us a line on 0203 0800 202 for the accommodation options in your resorts of choice, or reach out through our online chat service.

a snowboard holiday in the Alps