Hit the heights for less

PRICE IS WHITE: With a fresh dump of snowfall in Euro­pean re­sorts, now’s the time to book that ski break, says Jeremy

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Travel -

LUNG­ING tem­per­a­tures across Europe have brought huge snow­falls to ski slopes in France and Italy, giv­ing fam­i­lies leav­ing it late to book this year great value ski­ing across a wide se­lec­tion of re­sorts.

Last-minute hol­i­days in Jan­uary have been sell­ing for up to 30 per cent off brochure prices and there are plenty of early Fe­bru­ary bar­gains too, be­cause French schools have later half terms than those in Bri­tain this year.

Andy Per­rin at Ing­hams says: “The book­ing pat­tern over Christ­mas and New Year was un­usual this year, be­cause book­ings didn’t really get go­ing again un­til Jan­uary 7 af­ter the long break.

“That de­lay has trig­gered good deals in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary: we have a seven­night stay at a new ho­tel in St An­ton from £479, vir­tu­ally half-price.”

But Per­rin warns that skiers shouldn’t be guided by price alone: “There are lots of £299 deals about,” he says, “but what’s the point if you ski all the in­ter­est­ing bits by the end of day one?”

The ex­perts also urge hol­i­day­mak­ers to take the cau­tious ap­proach by book­ing into higher ski re­sorts, from 5,000-6,000 feet up­wards, to be on the safe side: the north­ern Alps for in­stance, got great snow in early-De­cem­ber, but has strug­gled with milder air since.

Cathy Rankin, mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor at Pierre et Va­cances (PV-Hol­i­days), says: “Prices at half-term are prob­a­bly 20 per cent be­low those for the same time in 2012, be­cause Bri­tish fam­i­lies hit the slopes from Fe­bru­ary 9 and 16, while French fam­i­lies ar­rive from Feb 23 and March 2. “For fam­i­lies driv­ing to the slopes, this will be a big ad­van­tage: mo­tor­ways will be less busy, ski schools less crowded than usual.”

P&O Fer­ries’ Dover-Calais fares start at £37 each way, with links to ac­com­mo­da­tion with PV-Hol­i­days on its web­site.

Mar­ion Tel­snig at Crys­tal Ski says: “Lead­ing op­er­a­tors who have seen small falls in the over­all num­bers of skiers in the past two win­ters are con­fi­dent num­bers will move back up­wards this win­ter, if only slightly.

“With the snow look­ing great for the rest of the sea­son, peo­ple think this is ‘make up your mind time’.

“Early in March, we have dis­counts around 25 per cent; seven nights allinclu­sive from March 9 in three-star Ho­tel Brunerie, Les Deux Alpes, is down £240, from £950 to £710, with Thom­son flights into Greno­ble and trans­fers.”

Flexiski of­fers a lux­ury three-night break in Chalet Amalien Haus in St An­ton, Aus­tria, in late Jan­uary from £595, in­clud­ing chalet din­ing and trans­fers from Inns­bruck, sav­ing £375.

Tel­snig says: “You also get good deals by go­ing high early from April 6, par­tic­u­larly in France which has so much snow you can prob­a­bly ski un­til June.” Egypt: Ana­to­lian Sky Hol­i­days (0844 273 3586, www.ana­to­lian­sky.co.uk) has a seven­night cruise along Nile this spring, with prices from just £979 per per­son (sav­ing £196). Sail­ing on the MS Nile Pre­mium, the trip from Luxor to Aswan, via the Tem­ple of Horus, de­parts on Fe­bru­ary 11. The price in­cludes re­turn flights, trans­fers and ex­cur­sions to the Val­ley of the Kings, Kom Ombo, the Tem­ples of Kar­nak and Luxor, Phi­lae and Aswan. Paris: Three nights for the price of two in Paris with Kirker Hol­i­days (0207 593 2283, www.kirk­er­hol­i­days.com). Cost­ing £478, the of­fer, valid on Fri­day ar­rivals to March 29, in­cludes ac­com­mo­da­tion at the four star Royal St Honoré, close to the Place Vendôme, Eurostar, re­turn ho­tel trans­fers, a two-day Mu­seum Pass, Métro tick­ets and a cruise along the Seine. Har­ro­gate: Rud­ding Park (01423871350; www.fi­ho­tels.com) is cel­e­brat­ing be­ing again named the UK’s num­ber one ho­tel by TripAd­vi­sor by of­fer­ing dis­counted pack­ages. An overnight stay with din­ner in its two AA-rosette restau­rant, now costs £71 per per­son (sav­ing £44.50) un­til the end of Fe­bru­ary (sav­ing £44.50). Please note: Read­ers are ad­vised to check th­ese of­fers when mak­ing book­ing in­quiries.

PIC­TURE: GETTY IM­AGES

LIFT-OFF: There are last-minute bar­gains to be had on fam­ily ski breaks in Europe for half term.

PIC­TURE:PA

UN­FOR­GET­TABLE SIGHTS: The Water Palace in Jaipur, In­dia.

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