There’s been thinly disguised excitement in the French Alps this week as the snow finally returned to the delight of all.

The big winner was the southern Alps with Montgenevre scoring the biggest single accumulation of 30cm (a foot) although other areas including Serre Chevalier and Isola 2000 clocked up at least half that. In the Northern Alps the falls were less spectacular but most areas managed at least a few centimetres.

75% of pistes are currently open in the huge Portes du Soleil area which links a dozen resorts in France and Italy including Avoriaz, Chatel, Morzine and Les Gets .

“The vast majority of the Portes du Soleil ski area is still open, with good conditions on piste. The slopes are busy with skiers enjoying both the snow and the sunshine! The record amounts of snow that fell in November and December set the resorts in good stead for the winter. Cover was topped up with 10cm of fresh snow on Tuesday and with more snow forecast for the beginning of the week, the pistes should remain in perfect condition for the school holidays.” summed up Sara Burdon, the area’s UK Press Officer. It’s a very similar picture across the main French resorts.

Val d’Isere for example reports 144 runs open, the snow 1.2m (four feet) deep at high elevations and that a representative survey of the 600,000 people who have skied there so far this winter found that 98% were happy with the experience!

As this is the ‘Family holidays’ period in France, it’s worthwhile for families who are hitting the slopes over the next few weeks to make sure they get the best value possible on the slopes. Particularly as this is peak season when any low season discounts there might be before Christmas or at the end of the season do not apply.

When buying lift tickets it is well worth checking prices and often booking and paying online before arriving in resort and make sure that if the resort offers a Family ticket detail, and if your family group qualifies to take advantage of it, you do!

The deals typically offer 15-25% off the combined price of all your lift passes if purchased separately but the rues usually insist that you all buy passes for the same duration, at the same time and the same ‘type’ of pass. For example you can all buy a Meribel Valley pass or all buy a 3 Valleys pass, but not half one type and half the other.

If you do qualify though, apart from the lower prices for the passes, most family schemes allow groups with children aged up to 16 or 18 to pay the children’s price when bought in a family group. Normally children aged 12 or 13 up to adulthood are asked to pay the full adult price in France if they’re just buying a regular individual’ ticket, so this is a further benefit worth taking advantage of!


Posted by Patrick Thorne on Monday 21 Feb 2011

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