Less Crowded Resorts at Peak Times

It’s well-known that February half term is the most popular week to go skiing, with families trying to fit in a visit to the slopes during the school holidays. While family time on the snow is brilliant fun, what’s less enticing, is over-crowded pistes and long lift queues. It is, however, possible to escape the crowds with the right choice of resort. Read on to discover a few of the quietest ski resorts at half term.

Villars, Switzerland

Villars is one of Switzerland’s quietest ski resorts at half term, with outstanding views stretching from Mont Blanc to Lake Geneva, with Geneva itself just around an hour away. From its timber clad chalets, to its snow laden forests, Villars has retained that wonderful, traditional Swiss feeling. The streets are safe and friendly, and the attractive centre offers numerous shops, bars and restaurants.

Villars itself offers a great range to pistes for beginners and intermediates and is highly regarded as a family friendly ski resort with children 9 and under having a free ski pass. More advanced skiers can enjoy a few black runs and excellent off piste options. Villars links to Gryon and Les Diabelerets by ski lift and mountain railway, creating an extensive and varied ski area with awesome views.

Les Menuires, France

If you are looking for the quietest ski resorts at half term, but don’t want to compromise on size of ski area, Les Menuires is a fantastic choice. The resort has direct access to one of the world’s largest ski areas, The Three Valleys, with over 600km of piste. Often overlooked for the likes of Val Thorens, Méribel and Courchevel, the village of Les Menuires sits at 1,850m, just below Val Thorens and has its own ski area, comprising of 160km of beginner-intermediate runs.

It goes without saying, that if you venture into the wider Three Valleys, you’ll find the slopes are very busy over half term. However, around the lesser-visited Les Menuires, the slopes remain fairly quiet. This creates a family-friendly environment, where children can learn to ski in the local area, away from the crowds. In fact, the French tourist board has awarded the resort the ‘Family Plus’ label, for its family-friendly offering. Ski schools, children’s clubs, tobogganing and husky rides are all part of the fun.

Trysil, Norway

Perhaps less publicised, Norway’s resorts are a fantastic destination for a family-friendly winter holiday, with all sorts of activities on and off the pistes for a truly magical week. Despite this, compared to the Alps, you’ll find some of the quietest ski resorts at peak holiday times here, with blissfully uncrowded slopes, restaurants and bars.

Trysil is Norway’s largest ski area and has regularly been voted Norway’s best family resort. The resort is home to over 70km of pistes, full of varied skiing with lovely blue cruisers, tree line skiing and wide-open bowls. Trysil has a unique area known as Knettsetra which is a hub for all skiers at lunchtime, helping to create a really vibrant atmosphere.

The majority of accommodation is ski-in ski-out which makes getting everyone onto the snow a relatively easy option each day. The après-ski scene is distinctly laid back and families will love the water park at the Radisson Blu.

Wengen, Switzerland

Wengen is an attractive, pedestrianised village, oozing with charm and a welcoming atmosphere, making it easy to understand why families love it here. A traditional mountain railway at Lauterbrunnen takes you up into the lovely village, which is pedestrianised. Situated in the spectacularly scenic Jungfrau region, the views over the Eiger are awe inspiring, especially when in Grindelwald, also on the ski pass. Yet surprisingly it’s one of the quietest ski resorts at peak holiday times, yet certainly one of the most magical.

Though famous for the terrific mens downhill run on the Lauberhorn, the resort is popular with families looking for something a little special, in pretty and less stressful surroundings.  Wooden chalets, cosy mountain huts and beautiful tree-lined pistes make for the perfect Alpine retreat. Off the snow, try out one of the resort’s tobogganing runs. Or for something a little different, have a go at curling on Wengen’s natural ice-rink. On your return just don’t tell anyone else how quiet and blissful you have found it!

Westendorf, Austria

Westendorf is one of Austria’s quietest ski resorts at half term, without compromising on the ski area. Westendorf is part of the larger SkiWelt  system, one of Austria’s largest linked ski areas – with over 280km of pistes to have a go at.

The family-friendly village has fantastic nursery slopes for beginners, just above the village. There are excellent ski schools here that try to make learning to ski, fun. Parents can feel confident leaving their children in ski school and heading off to explore the bigger SkiWelt area and perhaps onwards to Kitzbuhel. The slopes across the area tend to be quiet and less intimidating, making this a great area for intermediates too. The mountain restaurants are generally atmospheric and welcoming. Plus, there’s the added bonus of being a tad less expensive than French and Swiss ski resorts.

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