Winter sports breaks can be seriously expensive during February half-term and the Easter holidays but there are bargains if you know where to look
Action Outdoors is the UK partner of UCPA, a French non-profit group that works to make outdoor sports holidays affordable. Its all-inclusive ski trips offer some of the best value going, with ski hire and 12 hours of tuition included in the price. Les Contamines, in the Mont Blanc region, is a friendly, quiet resort with higher than average snowfall that’s often overlooked in favour of big-hitting neighbours Chamonix and Megève. The slopes are especially suited to beginner and intermediate skiers, and the town is picturesque.
• From £654pp at half-term (departing 10 February) with action-outdoors.co.uk, including 7 nights’ full-board, 6½ days’ lift pass, 12 hours’ ski instruction, 6½ days’ ski equipment hire and evening entertainment. Accommodation-only options are available and under-3s go free. Return Eurotunnel crossings from £150 per car. Tolls and fuel about £136 according to viamichelin.com
Referred to as ‘the dark side’ by locals for its north-facing slopes and lack of bright lights, the village of Villaroger wants to raise its game without becoming brash
Most skiers have heard of Les Arcs, but few know about Villaroger, a rustic village at the far north-eastern tip of the ski area with a handful of chalets, one bar, two restaurants and a couple of old chair lifts. It is known by locals as “the dark side”, not just because of its north-facing slopes, but because Villaroger is about as far removed from the apartment blocks of Arc 2000 and Arc 1600 as it’s possible to get.
This winter, however, things are looking brighter. Forty new snow cannons have been installed on the slopes above Villaroger to make sure there is enough of the white stuff to keep the village accessible throughout the ski season, and link it to the vast ski terrain of Les Arcs and La Plagne. Next year another 26 cannons will go in, at a total cost of €1.8m, and within three years a faster, more efficient system of ski lifts will open.