Ski Holidays in February
Ski holidays in February offer the best skiing conditions of the entire winter season. However, this does not mean that skiing in February is the answer for everyone. Here we look at the benefits of choosing a February ski holiday but also some other factors to keep in mind when making your plans.
Ski holidays in February for the best snow conditions
By the start of February, Alpine ski resorts have been open for at least 6 weeks. This has allowed time for the large snowfalls of the deep winter months to lay a great snow base, both on and off the piste. Even in a non-vintage snow season, the snow cannons have also had enough time to create a decent base using artificial snow during the colder months.
Nobody can ever guarantee the weather in the mountains but ski holidays in February are most likely to give you the ideal compromise between snowy cold weather and some warm, sunny days. You have the best chance of avoiding the bitterly cold and stormy weather you could expect earlier in the season, but are also more likely to avoid the extreme warmth that turns the snow to slush later in the season. In February, the temperatures tend to allow skiing in great conditions all day. The days are also starting to get longer, giving you an extra hour of light - ideal for more skiing or enjoying some apres ski as the sun starts to set.
UK February Half Term ski holidays
The UK half-term school holiday always falls in February and in recent years UK schools have taken the second or third week of February, usually with the north having the earlier of the two weeks and the south taking the later week.
For February Half Term 2019 nearly all UK schools are taking the week starting 16th/17th February which means there will be higher demand than normal for this one week of the calendar. Scottish schools are generally taking the week starting 09th/10th February 2019.
Families with school aged children are limited to skiing early in the season at Christmas or New Year, late in the season at Easter, or in the middle at half-term. Due to the ideal snow and weather conditions, February half-term is the most popular option. This high demand does make February half-term the most expensive week of the season to ski and also causes resorts to be very busy. If you can be flexible on your choice of week then half-term is certainly worth avoiding.
European February School holidays 2019
In France, the half-term holidays work a little differently in that the country is split into 3 zones with each having two weeks, covering a total period of four weeks from early-mid February to early-mid March. These holidays have quite an impact on how busy the French resorts are throughout this time of year. The whole of this period would be classed as peak season in terms of hotel rates.
French School Holidays for 2019
Zone B (The North and South East): 10th February - 24th February.
Zone A (Middle France including Dijon, Lyon and Grenoble): 17th February - 03rd March.
Zone C (Paris and the South West): 24th February - 10th March
The busiest two weeks are:
17th February - 24th February 2019 (Zone B and Zone A)
24th February - 03rd March 2019 (Zone A and Zone C)
The first of these very busy French weeks also coincides with the main UK Half Term school holiday.
In general, Austria, Switzerland and Italy do not suffer from half-term crowds quite as much as France. However, Fasching (carnival) week in Austria is very busy with hotels booking out well in advance. Italy though is a great option to choose as a February ski holiday destination as there are no Italian school holidays in this month. The hotels charge very reasonable rates and are not as booked up as hotels in other alpine countries for the mid February period.
Full choice of resorts in FebruaryBeing the middle of the skiing season, when snow conditions are at their peak, means that you can safely consider even the relatively low altitude resorts. It never hurts to be high up but there are many lower resorts which have so much to offer, if you pick the right time of year. These tend to be the traditional Alpine mountain towns and villages which have much more charm than some of the high altitude, purpose built stations.
Traditional resorts with great skiing in February:
- Morzine and Les Gets
- St Anton and Lech
- Madonna di Campiglio
- Cortina d’Ampezzo
- Grimentz, Zinal and St Luc
When to book your February ski holiday
If you are skiing at half-term then you should get your skates on – up to a year in advance would be the ideal time to secure your holiday. You can take advantage of some early booking offers while having the widest choice. The longer you leave it the less choice you will have and last minute deals are few and far between. For other weeks in February the usual rules apply – bigger groups are advised to book early but smaller groups who are a flexible and looking for a bargain might be able to pick up a last minute ski chalet deal.