All the ski domains will have snow in February; however our recommendation is Samoëns in the French Alps with a ski area which extends up to nearly 3,000m so you won’t go short. Samoëns offers access to the 265km of linked slopes in the Grand Massif ski area, and there are some fantastic mountain restaurants, including Lou Caboëns just below the gondola station, and the cosy La Luge a Téran at the bottom of the Gouilles chair.
December (before Christmas) and January (after New Year) are good months to ski if you enjoy quiet slopes and cold, dry snow. But if you like a little après-ski in the sunshine and long leisurely lunches, or you have a family and need to fit in some half-term skiing, then February and March are ideal.
Skiing in February
Perfect for families
By the third month into the ski season, the days are getting longer but it’s still very chilly — although recent years have shown us not to rely on traditional weather patterns. Unlike later in the season, when it’s best to choose domains that are high and reasonably snow-sure, February is good for lower domains and also allows the whole family to ski together while the school holidays are in full swing.
February is also about half-term skiing, when the family-friendly French resorts of La Plagne 2100, Avoriaz, Les Arcs Panorama and Grand Massif Samoëns come into their own. As well as the entertainment and activities put on by Club Med, most ski resorts organise extra child and teenage-friendly activities via their Kids’ Clubs during half-term and French school holidays, from discos to torchlit descents to free face-painting. Kids can take group ski lessons and make new friends on and off the slopes, or you can spend time as a family cruising the massive ski areas of Paradiski® (comprising 425km of slopes) and Les 3 Valleys (600km of slopes).
Discover our tips to make the most of your family half-term skiing holiday.
Skiing in March
If you have very young children, March ski holidays are unparalleled for family skiing. The weather is generally a bit warmer, so kids can enjoy time on the slopes without getting cold fingers and toes. The ski lifts are open for longer and there’s an almost guaranteed chance of a sunny lunch on the slopes or a post-skiing beer at the end of the day, watching the sun go down on the terrace.
With temperatures warming up a bit, to be guaranteed good snow the best places to ski in March are resorts at a decent altitude. These include Val Thorens (the highest domain in the French Alps, at 2,300m with slopes to 3,230m); La Plagne 2100 (centres between 1,970m and 2,050m, skiing to 3,250m on the Glacier de Bellecote), or Val d’Isère (set at 1,850m, with slopes to 3,300m) ideal for intermediate and advanced skiers.
Cervinia in Italy sits at 2,050m with slopes to 3,480m and can be cold in mid-winter, but by March it has warmed up substantially, and there’s less chance of the link over to Zermatt being closed. The high-altitude ski resort of Avoriaz is also a great place to head, especially with teens who will enjoy The Stash, an award-winning natural snow park.
All of these high-altitude ski domains are excellent snow-sure places to ski in March, and offer an extensive selection of north-facing slopes (cold snow out of the sun, great for afternoon skiing) and south-facing slopes, which are warm in the mornings and soften up if it has iced overnight.
Because March is so popular, the slopes can by busy, particularly during Easter holidays, so this is the time of year to relax, soak up the sun and ambiance and take it easy on the pistes and in the bars. With lifts open longer, it’s easy to do.