“‘Twas in the merry month of May, when green buds all were swelling…’ Well, not in Val d’Isere they weren’t. Through the gorges it’s still winter, and the skiing is fantastic,” says John Yates Smith of YSE Ski.
Val d’Isere closes this weekend but Tignes and Val Thorens are both open for another week’s skiing. If you can’t make it to either of them, don’t despair: summer in the Alps can be a wonderful experience, too, with scenery every bit as beautiful as in winter. Plenty of activities are on offer, such as hiking, cycling, golf and a whole range of watersports. You can also go summer skiing in a range of resorts over the months ahead.
However, if you’d rather wait until the winter, check for next year’s ski holiday deals on the websites of major operators such as Crystal Ski, Ski Total, Inghams, Mark Warner, Neilson, and Skiworld. It’s always worth having a look at what the ski specialist travel agencies – such as Sno, Snowfinders, Alpine Answers, Momentum Ski and Snow-Wise – have on offer for next winter.
Summer in the Alps
Wildschonau Valley from £349pp with Inghams
The Wildschonau Valley is great for hikers, with some superb walking trails and unspoilt scenery. Stay seven nights half board at four-star Hotel Sonnschein from £349pp (saving £393pp), departing May 24. The price includes return flights from Gatwick to Innsbruck and resort transfers. Regional flights are also available from Manchester (+£39) and Edinburgh (+£39). For more information visit Inghams.
La Plagne for £400pp with Esprit Sun
Stay in the attractive village of Belle Plagne, where accommodation is in Chalet Hotel Des Deux Domaines located close to the village centre. It now costs £400pp (was £578pp) based on a family of four, (two adults and two children under 12) at £1,600 (was £2,312) staying in a Paradiski suite. Outbound travel is on the July 9 and includes return flights from Gatwick to Geneva, resort transfers, a free day trip to Annecy, free guided walk to a dairy farm, free morning sun squad and sunset club for children, use of spa including an indoor pool. Seven nights half-board accommodation includes light packed lunches and children’s high tea. Further details from Esprit Sun.
Alpe d’Huez from £302.50pp with VIP Chalets
In Alpe d’Huez you can try summer sledging down the luge run – minus the snow. The hidden lakes make it an excellent place for fishing, too, and there is also a lake designated for children’s fishing. Five summer chalets are all built around a cobbled courtyard, sleeping two to 15 guests. For example, Chalet La Maison has mountain chic decor and four en-suite bedrooms with private balconies. Self-catered prices start at £105 per room per night, or £302.50pp based on eight people sharing for a week’s sole use of the Chalet. Breakfast can be added for an additional charge. For more information visit VIP Chalets.
Chamonix from £152 with Pierre & Vacances
Stay at the three-star Residence La Riviere in Chamonix Sud, 300m from the Aiguille du Midi cable-car and five minutes from the resort centre. It is made up of two wooden buildings: La Riviere and Les Aiglons which contain some nicely renovated apartments. On Friday May 16 it costs from £152 for a one-bedroom apartment in La Riviere sleeping four people for three nights. Go to Pierre & Vacances for more information.
Selva Gardena for £579pp with Crystal Summer
Stay a week half board in three-star Chalet Salvan in the resort of Selva Gardena for £579pp (save £110pp). Selva is in the Dolomites, which are one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world. The departure date is June 28 from Gatwick to Verona with Thomson Airways. Resort transfers are included. For more information contact Crystal Summer.
Learn a language in Seefeld from £2,554 for a family
Where better to learn a language than in the country itself? The Tirol self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking tour in Seefeld is perfect for families, with walking through meadows and forests, and luggage transported to the next destination. Children can try their German skills by helping with the navigation, asking for directions and ordering an Apfelstrudel after a hard day in the mountains. Seven night’s accommodation half board at three different hotels from £2,554 (ages five to 12 years) or from £2,744 (13 to 15 years) sharing a family room – or from £2,914 for a family of four in two twin rooms. Price includes luggage transfers between the hotels and is based on departures from July 18 to August 26. Flights are not included. Further details from Inntravel.
Cycling in Haute Tarentaise for £120pp with Peak Retreats
Haute Tarentaise is a great place to explore by bike with a traffic-free cycle path along the valley that follows the Isere river from Bourg Saint Maurice to Aime. Stay for seven nights self-catering in Bourg Saint Maurice at the four-star Le Coeur d’Or residence for £120pp. This includes return ferry crossings and is based on four people sharing a two-bedroom apartment. There is free wifi and access to on-site pools and a spa area. More information from Peak Retreats.
15% off whole catered chalet bookings in Sainte Foy
Book a whole catered chalet before June 1 and get 15% off. Book early to make savings of over £3,000 – this excludes Christmas, New Year, February Half Term and Easter and the offer is based on full adult occupancy of a chalet. Visit Premiere Neige for details.