Easter Ski Holidays
Once the children come along, the days of slotting a ski trip in the off-season, for the cheapest rates and least crowded slopes are gone – but that doesn’t mean the enjoyment has to be.
Ski holidays can be an exciting, action-packed way to experience life through your kids’ eyes, full of wonder, curiosity, and an insatiable appetite to take on new challenges.
Even more importantly, they can instil in your family a sense of belonging and bonding, embedding memories in young minds that will last until they’re old, and giving you yet another precious experience of watching them grow and engage in life in a positive, healthy way.
No holiday is perfect, but a family ski holiday comes pretty close, and combined with the pageantry and delicious treats of the Easter season, there’s not much in life that can beat it.
Time off from work and school is a great way to de-stress and refill your emotional tanks for the next months of productivity, and adding the trappings and fun of a special holiday to it can elevate it yet further.
Imagine the crisp white snow, the crunch and creak under your feet as you tread through it amid alpine buildings, traditional music, and all with the breath-taking backdrop of a clear blue sky held up by majestic peaks.
Now add to it the fresh expectation of springtime, chocolate treats of the finest quality, special feasts and meals and tasteful decorations in shop windows and throughout the resort.
Little ones will be excited about the Easter Bunny, and egg hunts, and special games and films that highlight the season.
The whole ambience brings a quality to the experience that can be generated no other way.
Want to raise the value even more? Give an Easter trip as a Christmas gift to your family – so the excitement can stretch from December to April.
Why Ski at Easter?
There are a lot of holidays throughout the year, from term and half-term breaks to lengthy summer holidays and breaks around Christmas-time. Why is Easter special?
The obvious first answer is that the skiing isn’t going to happen over that summer break. That cuts out half the year right there.
Of the months suitable for skiing – late autumn, through winter, to late spring – the choices are to go over the Christmas Holiday, or on half-term break in February. Both of these are fine choices, but they have their drawbacks.
Christmas has all of the festive joy and decoration we’re looking for, but for many, this is the one time of year when the whole, extended family gets together and catches up on the last year’s events.
It is traditionally a time of decorating one’s home with a tree, and garlands, and other items, some of which require regular watering and care.
For most people, Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year, and spending it away with your immediate family can disappoint both those who are away skiing, and those extended family members who are left at home, devoid of a regular tradition.
This isn’t the case for everyone of course, but it is for many.
As for the half-term break, it won’t have the festive trappings, and will normally be very busy. It’s a good time to go skiing, don’t get us wrong, but if part of your goal is to make really memorable moments with your family, it’s not the best option.
It will likely fade into the unidentifiable miasma of ski trip memories. They will have a good time, and they will remember it, but not in the same, magical way as they might during a holiday.
Easter, however, does have the festivities, special designation, and overall atmosphere that we’re looking for, but with less probability of disrupting wider family traditions.
Unless your extended family has a tradition of getting together on Easter as well, you are probably transporting important traditions along with you; you can do them in your chalet or room at the resort just as you do at home.
On top of that, most resorts have things like egg hunts, Easter-themed ski runs, festive common area decorations, and special meals.
The trip itself might even become an annual tradition that you and your family keep alive. As the family grows, perhaps the annual ski trip will become a family institution – and you’ll have been its proud founder.
At the very least, you and your family will have a wonderful holiday, doing something fun together, and will know it was money and time well spent.
Resorts are part of their local community and, like any community, they partake in the festivals and traditions of the area and of the people from afar who come to live and visit there.
Not only does this mean special things to do at the resort, it also means that the wider community will have extra offerings for you and your family.
Resort events can include spectacles, like torch-lit lines of skiers snaking down the mountain; special shows, like Easter plays and film showings for the kids and family; and festive meals, both main dinners and little extras at the breakfast and lunch tables. Slopes are often decorated with themed items, and it’s not unheard of to see the Easter Bunny, ears and all, taking a run or two near the holiday. On Easter morning, indoor and outdoor Easter egg hunts are popular too.
Check out the resort website for any scheduled events, and even for special Easter deals. There might not be many discounts – it is a popular time to ski – but there are often bundles and package deals that result in savings, especially if you book well ahead of time.
Local communities get in on the fun too, often with malls and shopping areas putting on photo shoots, offering loads of sweet Easter treats in chocolate, candy, and baked goods.
Churches often have Easter pageants, and they will all have some kind of Easter service to mark the religious holiday. These often include choir performances and can vary from unrehearsed amateur to professional-grade quality. Check out online community bulletin boards – if you can find one in a language you understand – or ask your travel agent to check around to see what’s on.
Your agent has likely been there before, and will definitely have contacts in the area, so they are a great resource to help you attend any services or performances that are important to you.
Many restaurants, and most resorts, will put on a special banquet to celebrate the Easter holiday. Though these are traditionally based around a main meat dish, such as ham or goose, there are usually vegetarian options (both mains and side dishes) that cater to most diets.
The main Easter meal may be included in the package you choose, or it may be extra. Since it is a substantial meal, and depending on the size of your family, you may want to check ahead to find out the cost. If you can include it in your upfront payment, it will be less headache for you, and the whole family can enjoy as much as they want without worrying about over-spending or breaking the budget. Worry-free fun – that’s what a feast should be about.
Resorts to Consider
There are a lot of resorts to choose from, and each one has its own combination of features and benefits, but here are a few suggestions to get you started on the fun of deciding where you want to go.
Livigno is located in the Italian Alps, very near the Swiss border. It’s a high-altitude resort, which means the chances of good snow conditions, even in Easter, are increased. The resort is reasonably-priced, but is smaller than many.
If you are a beginner, or an intermediate skier with few (or no) aspirations to tackle more challenging runs, then it will suit you very well. For this reason, it is also popular with younger families, whose members are less likely to need a wide range of expert runs to choose from.
There are a few expert areas, but not as many as at other resorts.
The lifts at Livigno are very modern and easy to use – great for families and beginners, and your access isn’t just limited to the immediate area.
Your lift pass for Alta Valtellina also includes access to Bormio and Santa Caterina lifts, including a free bus ride to each, and a half-price deal for one day in St Moritz. Bus rides range from an hour to Bormio, to an hour and a half to either Santa Caterina or St Moritz.
The surrounding village is friendly, has lots going on, and has that pretty, Alpine feel about it that will really immerse you in the reality of where you are and what you are experiencing. Some visitors have even broken out into yodels…
Tignes is nestled amid stunning mountains and rock formations, in the Savoie region of the French Alps. Its 300km of marked runs, most of them groomed, provide easy fun or challenges for all levels of skier in your family.
The area includes 78 ski lifts, which spreads out the crowds and keeps queues manageable, even during popular ski times.
The high elevation means good snow from October through to April, and makes it a popular destination for spring skiing breaks such as the Easter holiday break.
The village of Tignes is a lively place, fond of parties and celebrations, but there are also quaint little areas where you and your family can experience a quieter holiday experience.
There are historical sites and traditional architecture for those interested in learning the history of the area, and of course the usual shopping areas and restaurants.
Off-resort options for fun and relaxation include bars, cinemas and nightclubs, the Tignes Multimedia Centre, swimming pools and wellness centres – including face and body treatment facilities – and concerts of various kinds.
Tignes is best if your family is a bit older, teens and tweens especially, but offers some activities for the younger ones too.
Val Thorens (France)
Val Thorens is also in the Savoie region of the French Alps, and so boasts many of the same stunning views and majestic scenery.
It is the highest resort in Europe, at 2300m, and so it has some of the most reliable snow conditions for late-season ski holidays, as late as the first half of May. Once thought too high to construct a viable resort, it is now one of the most successful destinations in the Alps.
Higher elevation can mean lower temperatures, so make sure you have proper gear for colder days. The resort faces south, so it catches direct sunlight throughout the day, while the slopes mostly run on the far shoulder of the mountain, out of the sun, helping to keep snow conditions excellent throughout your stay.
There will be no lack of choice when it comes to skiing here, as Val Thorens is linked to the rest of the Trois Vallées ski area, which includes over 600km of pistes, making it one of the largest combined ski areas in the world.
Zermatt isn’t the highest resort in Europe, but it is the highest in Switzerland, meaning snow should be in good supply and great condition for your Easter holiday trip – it is even open for skiing all summer!
If your family includes a lover of moguls, they will adore this place, but there is enough variety to keep all members of the family happily shooshing down the slopes.
The skiing is divided up into four main areas, and it even has a connection to a couple of Italian resorts, via the Plateau Rosa glacier.
You won’t need to range far though, as this resort has all of the fun, events, and facilities you and your family might need.
The town is car-free, so you can stroll through it immersed in safe, friendly foot-traffic, taking in the restaurants, cafés, cinemas or other attractions. If you time it right, you can even catch Zermatt Unplugged, the resort’s annual April music festival.
At a slightly lower elevation, but still fine for skiing until the last days of April, is Obergugle.
What you might lose in sheer volume and condition of snow, you gain in sun-bathed slopes and warmer temperatures.
Many years you’ll get the best of both, and find yourself grinning your way down the slope with the sun on your face and truly excellent snow conditions beneath your boots. Younger skiers will also benefit from some milder conditions.
You might catch Skifinish Firn, Fun and Fire and join others for yoga on the slopes, or get swept up in the excitement of the Audi Nines, flying over stunning features and jumps – or watching the pros show their skills and bravado.
Cross country skiing, skating, curling, snowshoeing, and tobogganing are only a few of the activities that support and augment your family’s fun in this active resort.
Riksgransen, in the Swedish Lapland, is the most northerly resort in Europe.
What it loses in altitude it makes up for in latitude. A hundred years ago the village had to be indefinitely evacuated – there was simply too much snow to be managed by the systems of the day!
Their historical burden has now become the skier’s joy, as the snow conditions are reliable even late into the season.
The village is only 200m from the resort too, so you and your family can venture on foot to explore the shops, restaurants, and other amenities. It is a safe area, even at night, and you’ll have the added bonus of beautiful northern lights flashing through the night sky.
Enjoy luxurious Easter chocolates and treats, and the friendly atmosphere of this northern gem.
A little farther south, but still in Sweden, is Åre (pronounced like ‘aura’).
This resort is easily reachable from the UK, due to the recent addition of direct flights into western Sweden, and so you can be out on the slopes faster – and less fatigued – than if you endure the longer trips to more distant resorts.
Åre has more than a thousand acres of terrain, and is seldom very busy, meaning that you can spend more of your time on the slopes, and less of it in queues.
More shoulder room gives both little and big skiers the space they need to practice turns and stops and to get comfortable and confident on the snow – without having to worry about high-density ski traffic.
The lakeside town has all the restaurants, lounges, and entertainment you’ll want, including live music and zip wires and – perhaps more important at Easter than at most times of year – its very own chocolate factory.
Perhaps the best part about Åre for the family ski holiday? Children under seven ski for free!
From Åre to Zermatt, Riksgransen to Tignes, there are many resorts to choose from, and any one of them could be the magical location of your family’s Easter ski holiday.
Take advantage of the warm spring weather, the extra activities and treats of the holiday season, and the charm the festive atmosphere will add to your already-wonderful holiday experience.
A ski trip is great for a family, and can give back even more value when experienced during Eastertime. Look into your holiday options now – your travel expert is ready to help.