Skiing has always been an expensive pastime – and as sterling slides down the fiscal mountain, it has got even harder to take a family on holiday to the Alps.
Do not despair, however. There is no need for you to cancel your half-term jaunt. We have done the sums and you will be pleasantly surprised at what we’ve found.
All prices are based on a family of four travelling at half-term.
Skiing has always been an expensive pastime but there’s no need for you to cancel your half-term jaunt this year, despite the wobbly pound
Pick your resort
Les Arcs 1950 is a pedestrian-only, ski-in, ski-out resort above Bourg Saint Maurice in France and is ideal for families.
It is part of Paradiski, the world’s second largest ski area, where there are three ski resorts (Les Arcs, Peisey-Vallandry and La Plagne) linked by one of Europe’s largest cable cars: the Vanoise Express.
A four-person Arc 1950 Le Village apartment from Erna Low, built for self-catering and with a ski locker at the end of the corridor, gives direct access to the piste within minutes.
All four areas of Les Arcs (Arc 1600, Arc 1800, Arc 1950 and Arc 2000) have gentle slopes near the apartment and there are lifts that have been specially designed for ease of-use for beginners.
Les Arcs 1950 is a pedestrian-only, ski-in, ski-out resort above Bourg Saint Maurice in France, and is ideal for families
The altitude means these slopes are normally snow-sure right through the season and the resort is family friendly, with creche facilities (Cariboo 1950) and it also welcomes pets.
A one-bedroom apartment at P&V Residence Le Village Arc 1950, booked through Erna Low (020 7584 2841), with a pull-out sofa, costs £1,994 for the half-term week.
In term time, apartments start from around £994 and Easter holiday pricing for a similar apartment is from £1,242.
Accommodation = £1,994
Eating and drinking
One of the biggest advantages of a ski-in, ski-out apartment is that you can go back for lunch each day and guzzle quick-cook ravioli and salad for a combined cost of around £6 instead of the usual £43 on the mountain.
Shopping at a supermarket for food all week means that you can treat yourself one night to dinner at the Le Mazot mountain restaurant, at a cost of £86 for the whole family
The best of France – bread, wine, chocolate and £8.60 ready-roasted chickens – are available at the supermarket.
The reasonable prices mean that you can treat yourself one night to dinner at Le Mazot mountain restaurant at a cost of £86 for the whole family.
Food and drink = £200
Get kitted out
Shop around for children’s ski gear, opting for cut-price, but warm Lidl thermals (around £5 per item) and socks (£7 each), and colourful, good quality Mountain Warehouse sale jackets (£30), salopettes (£30) and ski gloves (£12.50).
The resort’s Precision Ski shop offers 40 per cent off ski rental when you book online
To hire a set of skis, boots and poles would normally cost £153 per person for a week, but Precision Ski (Arc 1950) offers 40 per cent off ski rental when you book online, bringing the bill for a family of four to £367.20.
Equipment = £536.20
Drive, don’t fly
One of the biggest savings is to take your own car.
Expect to pay around £250 each way for fuel and tolls. Eurotunnel crossings cost from £78 each way.
Avoid flying and drive instead. This costs around £250 each way, including fuel and tolls
The snow train from London to Bourg Saint Maurice is another option, but tends to get sold out for half-term within hours of tickets going on sale.
Parking for the week, within the apartment block, costs £86.
Transport = £742
Paradiski does not disappoint. It has 425km of runs that go up to 3,250m high and link the resorts of Les Arcs, Peisey Vallandry and La Plagne.
Six-day passes for the Les-Arcs/Peisey Vallandry area cost £196 for adults and £178 for kids
Six-day ski passes for the Les-Arcs/Peisey Vallandry area, which has 210km of pistes, cost £196 this year, compared to £255 for the full Paradiski pass. Children’s passes are £178.
Anyone buying a six-day pass also gets to ski free for the half- day before the pass starts.
Lift passes = £748
Improve your style
Splash out on your own instructor from Spirit by Evolution 2, the ski school favoured by British families.
Two hours of private ski instruction costs from £81 for two people of similar level or from £120 for three or four people.
Splash out on a private ski instructor at a cost of £81 for two hours with two people
By comparison, a morning group lesson with the ESF ski school for six days per child, aged six to 11, costs £157.
Ski school = £120
Total for a family of four for a week = £4,340.20*
* Prices are subject to currency fluctuations.