With no Italian school holidays in February, and the surge of Europeans heading to France and Austria, these resorts tend to stay quiet at this time of year. Not because they’re second rate – far from it –it’s just that people who ski here don’t schuss and tell. Good snow, gob-smacking views and low prices (we haven’t even got round to the food…) - hats off to anyone not shouting from the rooftops about half-terms here.
Best Italian ski resorts at Half Term for:
Staying in an Italian ski chalet makes the week comfortable, sociable and best of all – hassle-free. Most come with chalet catering (breakfast, afternoon tea and an evening meal, 6 days of the week) but Club Med takes this one step further at Club Med Pragelato Via Lattea, a cluster of chalets that usually come with full board, ski passes and ski lessons.
For a more traditional chalet holiday, intermediates will love Selva’s Chalet Soldanella, where the first piste’s only 50 metres away for access to the Dolomiti Superski and Sella Ronda.
Hotel-sized properties plus chalet catering add up to a sociable break on the snow. Chalets on steroids, these tend to have more rooms, bigger communal areas and often extra facilities like wellness centres. The Chalet Hotel Cristallo fits right into chic Courmayeur; hidden off the main Via Roma you won’t be far from some of the classiest establishments (pop down the road for fine dining at Cadran Solaire on the chalet host’s night off). In Champoluc, the Chalet Hotel Breithorn is an easy walk to the gondola for the beginner and intermediate slopes - and to keep things simple, you can ski back to the same point at the end of the day.
If you’re planning a half term holiday with little ‘uns, opting for a family ski chalet (often with on-site childcare) could make the week a whole lot easier. One of our favourites is Chalet Hotel Valverde in lovely Gressoney - the Children’s Snow Park’s minutes away and for access to the Monterosa ski area, the Punta Jolanda chairlift’s right next door.
Take a break from the 9-5 with bed and board in a fine Italian hotel. From family-run lodgings to big spa hotels, half term in the Italian ski resorts can be more reasonably priced than you ever dared to dream. Half-board often includes a continental breakfast and mama’s home cooked suppers, while B&B sees you fuelled up in the mornings, with the freedom to try local restaurants later on. Full-board covers all bases, letting you get on and enjoy the snow.
To save euros for an extra glass of Grappa, Livigno’s awesome value for money. Hotel Garni Francescato has a terrific location right in the centre of San Rocco, for easy access to duty free shops, lifts, bars and the ski school meeting point.
The snow’s usually in good supply at this time of year, but in one of Passo Tonale’s hotels (we like family-friendly Hotel Delle Alpi), you’ll ski some of the best conditions in Italy. Cervinia is another safe bet for snow-sure skiing – if you’re planning to book lessons, consider going all inclusive at the Club Med hotel, where everything from meals to ski school is sorted in the package. Keen skiers can ski out of the Breuil Hotel to get out bright and early on the slopes.
If you’re looking for a quiet base with swift access to the incredible Dolomiti ski area, stay in Selva’s ski in/ski out Hotel Alaska. The beginner slopes are moments away as well as the Dantercepies gondola, which takes you straight onto the Sella Ronda.
Like Ragú and spaghetti, apartments and Italian ski holidays just go together, especially if you’re hunting a half-term of privacy and price-cutting. Whether you’re sampling the “dolce vita” with a new restaurant every night or going all Gino D’Acampo from your kitchenette (your accounts will thank you, if relatives don’t…) – the week ‘s entirely up to you.
Nature’s blessed Sestriere, 2035m in the heart of the Milky Way, with the skiing dreams are made of (it hosted the 2006 Olympics). Head down to Borgata and the Banchetta apartments for a very Italian, back-to-basics hamlet which enjoys mostly queue-less chairlifts season-long.
If there’s anything skiers love more than Bardonecchia’s other-worldly woodlands, it’s the low price of dining here (even by Italian standards). In a Campo Smith apartment, you overlook the piste and lift, just 10 minutes from the Al Pik Bo wine bar, a mecca for weekending Italians.
La Thuile’s quite a bit quainter than Bardo, where the Planibel apartments are just seconds from the nursery slopes and Bosco lift. It’s connected to La Rosiere, for racking up serious mileage and the kudos of skiing two countries in one day. Little kids can be looked after by the Bosco Incantato club till 6:30pm – just enough time for an apperitivo before pick up.
A foodie’s heaven, fine (and quite well-priced) restaurants like the Stube Hermitage are a dime a dozzina in lively Madonna Di Campiglio. You’ll find the dramatic Dolomites a backdrop best paired with the peaceful setting of the Residence Catturani apartments, that gaze out onto the Nube D’Argento lift.