When is an early-booking ski discount worth having? When it lets you save money on a peak-week trip.
Top of the “offs” at the moment comes courtesy of French self-catering specialists Pierre & Vacances, which is currently offering 20% off early bookings of its apartments – and is including almost all properties and almost all dates in the deal (which ends October 31). That includes February half-term and New Year, normally the two most un-discounted weeks of the ski season.
For example, apartments in the newly-refurbished Residence Les Chalets de Solaise in Val d’Isere are being offered at 20% off over New Year, from December 26 to January 2 – at €1359 for a studio apartment, sleeping 2-4. The Residence is in the middle of town to boot: so you won’t have far to stagger from Dick’s Tea Bar in the wee small hours of January 1.
Meanwhile, at the Residence Les Sentiers du Tueda in Meribel-Mottaret two-room apartments (sleeping 2-4) are available at 20% off from February 9-16 (one of the half-term weeks), for €1530, accommodation only.
Other early-booking ski discounts we like
*Many North American ski resorts are offering accommodation at discounted prices, which are then being packaged up with flights and transfers by tour operators. For example, a week’s accommodation at the Vail Cascade Resort, in Vail, Colorado, is currently being discounted by 30% for the February half term weeks. With Select Ski a week’s holiday for a family of two adults and two children costs £4,4740 B&B, Feb 16-23 for two adults and two children, including flights and transfers (offer closes September 30).
*Mark Warner is offering a £50pp discount if you book your holiday by October 15, and pay in full, for all dates, including New Year and half term.
*In a bid to get more first-time skiers onto the slopes, Crystal is offering a total of 300 “First Time” packages to 16 resorts, with free tuition, equipment and lift passes, once you’ve bought your flights-and-accommodation package. They’re not available over the school holidays – but even so, if you’re booking cheap accommodation such as a self-catering apartment, you’re likely to get more money off this way than by waiting for a last-minute discount.
Don’t book now if you’re planning to ski in the low season
By way of contrast, the early-booking ski discounts that are not worth having are the ones for ski holidays that fall outside the school-holiday periods, especially early December, mid-January and March (except Easter). Okay, so there are a few exceptions. If your holiday has to be in Val d’Isere and there are ten of you in the party, and you want to book a chalet in its entirety, okay – even if you’re holidaying in January it’s probably worth booking now, because there’s a very limited number of properties available that will fit the bill. But if you’re prepared to be more flexible, and are travelling in a smaller group, you’ll almost always find a cheaper holiday at the last minute. Keep an eye for trends in the discounting scene on our Deals page – and aim to buy your holiday less than two weeks before your departure date.