4 reasons to go skiing outside school holidays

It has to be said: you can really hit the jackpot in the mountains outside school holidays. With fewer people on the roads, empty pistes and tempting prices, there’s a greater range of options available. So for the lucky ones who aren’t tied by termtimes, here are four ideas for your next off-season ski break.

An Epicurean lesson at the Traye Refuge

Picture this: an isolated hamlet between lake and mountains in the Three Valleys, a dream location facing Mont Blanc, with luxurious, eco-friendly extras. At the Traye Refuge (External link) , you get up close and personal with the best of the Alpine scenery. No need to look for the views here; they’re everywhere. Whether from the seven bedrooms, the dining room or the spa – you’ll get an eyeful. And the same goes when you’re out skiing of course, but also dog sledding, snowshoeing, and during cooking classes and themed nights. It’s a big thumbs up for this ‘alone in the world’ atmosphere, ideal for a retreat for two.

The International Ice Sculpture Competition in Valloire

Why not base your holiday around an event? We love the Ice Sculpture Festival (External link) in Valloire – the name might not be much of a draw, but the show is enormous fun. Once the temperatures drop at the end of the day, you can shuttle over to encourage the 20 artists at the grindstone and observe the progress of the works. The final flourish is scheduled for late afternoon on Saturday 17 January with a festive awards ceremony and traditional son-et-lumière fireworks display. This event, directly inspired by Canadian traditions, takes place from 14-17 January 2020 on the Verneys plateau opposite Galibier. It’s the only one of its kind in France.

A yoga retreat in Le Grand Bornand

Dynamic yoga in the morning and an adventure through the Aravis massif in the afternoon: this is the basic promise of the ‘stage detox’ at the Auberge Nordique (External link) in Le Grand Bornand. And the surroundings lends themselves particularly well to the practice of this secular discipline. On the programme is lymphatic drainage, breathing, reflexology and body balance, as well as Nordic walking, hiking and even the harvest of birch sap. The perfect itinerary to leave the daily grind behind – and at the end of the day you can banish the last toxins in the sauna, steam room or the salt grotto of the Auberge spa. Highly recommended for everyday stressors.

Live the ‘hygge’ lifestyle in Val d’Isère

Wood, stone and a chimney fire; a hot drink, plaid blankets and a good pair of woollen socks. At Chalet O Valala (External link) in Val d'Isère guests are introduced to ‘hygge’, the art of living Danish-style. In an atmosphere of perfect purity, you can alternate between the quiet intimacy of the library area and the warmth of the spa. The best idea would be to invite your friends and take over all six bedrooms and 500 square metres of this seriously classy chalet. A private chef is present six days out of seven, and will cater to the whims of each guest. One of life’s luxuries that’s even more accessible out of school holidays, when prices take a downward slope.