February half-term can be busy and unfortunately is one of the more expensive times of year to go skiing however there are still some resorts which are good value despite being high season and there is still availability!
Our main criteria as a French family is to find good value, ski in/ ski out accommodation with something else to do besides skiing and finally but most important a resort with a good snow record! You’ve probably noticed, but French people don’t like queuing…I admit, I am one of them – anything more than 5 minutes is unbearable! So we also look to choose a smaller resort which access to a large ski area or one with an efficient lift system.
Bearing this in mind we have visited Valmorel, Les Saisies, Valloire, La Toussuire, Les Coches, Le Grand Bornand & La Rosiere as those resorts ticked all of our boxes…If you never heard of these resorts or can’t even pronounce their names, no worries you are not the only one! Which is why they are still well kept secrets!
A few years ago we visited Valmorel as a family and loved it. It was extremely convenient with ski-in ski-out accommodation, easy access from the motorway so not too many hairpin bends to drive up and has skiing up to 2550m so is pretty snow sure. Valmorel is a purpose built resort, with lots of self catered apartments but unlike some of its neighbouring purpose built resorts it’s easy on the eye!
“Le Telebourg” is a free gondola for non skiers & pedestrians, which links the village centre with the accommodation in Le Mottet – which proved very popular ride with the kids! More so than the skiing sometimes! It is a very easy resort to get around and the children’s club is conveniently located just at the base of “Le Telebourg”. The ski area is a decent size; it took us few days to explore it all before finding our favourite run – a great tree lines piste where you can pop off the side and disappear into the forest! Valmorel is linked with St Francois Longchamps, which is also a great value traditional village in the Maurienne Valley.
Another family favourite is Les Saisies, located just 40 minutes from Albertville and 20 minutes from Megève. When I visited to Les Saisies, the Espace Diamant ski area (about 175km of runs) had not yet been created, so it is definitely on my list of places to go back to in the near future. The accommodation on offer in Les Saisies includes 4* apartments with indoor swimming pools, always a bonus with the children, and is great value for money. Les Saisies is perfect for beginner and intermediate skiers and if you are skiing with little ones, you will be able to take them everywhere with you! The resort called itself “the easy resort”; it has a lovely relaxed feel and some of the prettiest scenery in the Alps.
Our latest find is Le Grand Bornand, a resort only 1 hour from Geneva and 45 minutes from Annecy, well worth agreat stop en route if you are driving. “Le Village de Lessy” residence is located in Chinaillon the highest part of the resort which is a 10 minute drive from the village centre. You will find everything you need in Chinaillon for a week’s holiday – ski shops, restaurants, supermarket, the “boulangerie”, a crèche and ski school. If you have young children it works very well. The accommodation is very close to the slopes (you cross a road, take a lift and walk 50m and you are at the lift), so you can even pop back for lunch which is very handy if you have kids.
The ski area is great for beginners and intermediates; there are some great sun terraces and restaurants on the slopes which are not too expensive. There is a really fun terrain park – not just for the kids! – with an area suitable for beginners which will build your confidence. Once you’ve gone down once, I bet you’ll try again, and again… For the more advanced skier, there is the Free-ride section where the terrain is not marked or groomed, with steep chutes and gullies – it is worth noting though that this is off piste so isn’t covered by ski patrol.
These are just few of the tips you will receive if you call Ski Independence. We know the French Alps very well – all of the team are avid skiers and boarder and the majority have worked and lived in the resorts we sell. So, if you’re not too sure where to go for half term or want some inspiration then give us a call!