Best ski resorts for early and late season school trips
27 Jan 2020, 16:13 by George Bazire
February half term is always the priciest option for a school ski trip. But are there any alternatives?
Our travel experts have been organising ski trips for years. To be sure of snow you might assume you have to accept high prices and go over half term. But we've found a bunch of resorts where you're virtually guaranteed white stuff even at Christmas and Easter. Choose one of these and you could save a snowy fortune.
Best ski resorts for authentic Austrian charm: Wagrain, Austria
You get access to the whole Snow Space Salzburg ski area at Wagrain. That's 60 descents and several hundred kilometres of pistes! And there are lots of easy slopes perfect for beginners. But it's not just the skiing that we love here. It's the ambience. Wagrain is the perfect alpine ski village with a stone church and chocolate box chalets and shops. It's magical at Christmas. Accommodation is the swanky Markushof youth hostel and everyone gets free access to the Waterworld leisure park with its indoor and outdoor heated pools and saunas.
Best ski resort for small groups: Serre Chevalier, France
Serre is absolutely vast and there's a glacier here so you're guaranteed skiing year-round. But size isn't everything is it? We’re talking quality and variety too! With 50 slopes for beginners, 50 for intermediates and a stack more for real experts, students are bound to progress really fast. But what really sets this resort apart for smaller school groups is accommodation. Unlike most resorts you can stay in a cosy chalet-style at the recently refurbished Chalet Petit Sport. It sleeps around 30 and all rooms are en suite. You're right by a ski lift too.
Best ski resorts for beginners and intermediates skiing at Christmas: Passo Tonale, Italy
Skiing early season is guaranteed at Passo Tonale because you can access the Presena glacier. At heights up to 3000 metres, you're bound to find snow. And if you think the higher you go the harder the skiing, think again. Glaciers offer gentle slopes and fluffy snow, perfect for beginners and intermediates. The Hotel Piandineve is just 20 metres from the nearest lift and groups can ski back for a hot lunch making it great for chillier December trips. Italy tends to work out quite a bit cheaper than elsewhere in the Alps and kids love the food!
Best value ski resorts for Easter school groups: La Plagne, France
One of France's most popular resorts, La Plagne is another vast ski area with pistes for all levels. Highlights for school groups here include the cosy traditional chalet-style accommodation with open fire and great games rooms and the daily packed lunch which means you get more time on the slopes. But what really sets La Plagne apart is the high altitude skiing. There's not one but two glaciers here. The Chiaupe Glacier and the Bellecote Glacier offer skiing well into the Easter holidays. So you can go late season which is way cheaper and still be sure of top quality skiing.
Top ski resort for boutique-style accommodation: Alpe D’Huez, France
Here's another top drawer French high altitude ski resort were you're guaranteed skiing early and late in the season. There are over 40 green pistes here so it's ideal for beginners. We've found some brilliant accommodation too. Tucked away in friendly Oz en Oisans moments from several lifts, the Moontain Hostel is a super-cool hostel. Think edgy industrial styling with graffiti art work, faux fur seats and zinc ceiling lights. It's hip, but it's practical and comfortable too. Students love the smart touches like USB ports, funky chill out zones and even an app for cashless payments.
Best ski resort for atmosphere: Zell am See, Austria
Zell am See's a favourite for school ski groups for lots of reasons. The Kitzsteinhorn glacier here means you can ski at Easter and pre-Christmas, no problem. But the town itself is also one of the real draws with its cobbled streets, traditional alpine houses and ancient medieval church of St Hippolyte. The location is perfect, on the banks of a glassy alpine lake with the mighty peaks of the Schmittenhöhe and Kitzsteinhorn soaring behind. There's also lots to do off the slopes with indoor swimming pools, ice-skating, curling and even sleigh rides.
Find out more about our school ski trips.