Hi Louisa, We have been skiing as a family for about the last four or five years at easter as well as other times of the year and our children are now 7 and 8. We like the warm skiing Easter offers and the much lower prices, as you said half term Feb is so expensive. We have been to Montgenevre France at Easter twice, Puy st vincent France and this last Easter Livigno in Italy.
This is a favourite resort of mine and I ski there two or three times a year and have done on and off for about 20 years. It is on a high mountain pass between France and Italy [village is at 1860 metres) and due to its location is really snow sure. It has a massive easy bowl at the top which is all north facing so keeps the snow well, which even 1st/2nd day beginers can use all day long to get the very best conditions before returning back to the village on a really easy green run. There is on slope accommodation ski in ski out or accommodation centre village which is only yards from the slopes, with young children this is a major factor in our book as lugging four lots of skis, helmets for hundreds of yards is really hard work, especially in spring sunshimne which can get very warm. There is an excellent club piou piou run by the ESF, our boys went half a day for a week when they were three and four and loved it, they have a fenced off area with great big inflatable annimals on a ski track for them to ski around, thay have cakes and milk mid morning and spend the time between indoor games and fun and outdoor tuition, they even give the kids steering wheel to learn to ski with, when they turn the wheel to go around a corner on the track their body weight changes and they natually lean to one side and believe it or not they actually go around the corner turning on their skis, its great to watch. Last year they installed the ‘monty express’ which is like a mini tobogan run but its on a rail and goes back to the village from half way up the mountain, Its for children really but I think you can ride it with them, theres a video on the montgenevre website although I haven’t ridden it myself. We are going this year in a few weeks time, the week leading up to xmas so I’m sure our boys will give it a go then. The old main road from Grenoble to Turin used to run right through the centre of the village but a few years ago they built a massive tunnel under the resort and the road now goes under it so no through traffic which is a major improvement. The area including Sestrierre and Sauze D’oux were used for the Turin winter olympics in 2006 and major investment was put into the resort totalling about 100 million euros, this have really improved the whole resort and brought it up to date. In general all the slopes are easyish, some lovely long greens and blues, and also reds for your intermediate skier and a few blacks if you want. The highest town in France is down the road a couple of miles [Briancon] its an old walled fortress town and if you fancy a break its well worth a visit and also has big supermarkets. The resort has ice skating and other amenities also and a range of catered or self catering accommodation. I would reccommend it.
Puy St Vincent. We did Puy 3 years ago and we had a good and enjoyable week with good spring snow, icy first thing and wet or slushy in the afternoon. The runs are a little tougher than Montgenevre in general and I did not like the way all the runs came into one central run just above the 11600m village as it was a little dangerous with all standars of skiers skiing at different speeds. We went over to Montgenevre for one day as it is only half an hour or so away and it was the best day of our week with much better snow. Puy has some very pretty runs through the trees which our boys loved as they could go off and back on the piste round trees and through little trails. The Puy st V and the Montgenevre ski pass both let you ski a day each in other local resorts such as each other and also Serre Chavalier, Alp D’huez and one or two others, this si noce if you fancy a different day out.
Livigno. This easter we drove to livigno, its a very long sprawling resort with skiing in three separate areas. you can ski from one to the other but not down easy runs. It was very warm in the resort we were sunbathing outside our room at th eend of the day and it was nearly 20 degrees C at resort level. However, up on the mountain we had really good snow all week so I would recommed for the snow conditions. Its a chic duty fre resort and has some very nice restaurants, a great indoor spa for public use but a word of warning, it is a little bit isolated, I think th enearest airport is about a three hour transfer, we drove so this didn’t matter, we did it in 12 hours from calais with stops for fuel, toilets lunch etc. We did not experience ski school or nurseries in Livigno.
Wherever you go my advice is to stay high, Easter really can be very warm but a high north facing bowl or slopes will keep snow well into April as long as the season has been ok for accumulation. If its of interest I also have a great English contact in Montgenevre who runs his own company sorting our accommodation, hire, lift passes and transfers etc, I’ve used his company for a few years now, he lives out there with his family and provides a brilliant service. His name is James Hodson and his company is Go-Montgenevre. Please mention my name, [Adrian Taylor] if you do speak with him as this helps me keep in his good books for when I next book. Well I think that shoould give u a little help if you want any more info let me know, all the best Adrian.