If you’re seeking a decent snow base and good weather, try skiing in February. The winter sun is still too distant to melt the snow which keeps it light and fluffy, and longer daylight hours have begun. Before booking any ski holiday, remember that there’s always a chance of regional school holidays, so check first. We’ve come up with some options to help you avoid the February crowds.
Bonneval sur Arc is a true hidden gem in France. This small resort remains quiet even during peak weeks, making it the perfect place to ski in February. You may have seen the ski area and village during the Tour de France as it backs onto the famous Col de l’Iserans — one of the toughest ascents in the race’s history. The piece de resistance is the village itself, which remains as rustic as the day it was built (in stone), providing a traditional French experience off the slopes. It’s our favourite pick for skiing in February.
Bonneval sur Arc is 1.5 hours from Chambéry airport and 2.5 hours from Lyon International airport, with bus transfers available from both. It's 2 hours from Grenoble airport, where car hire is available. The nearest train station is at Modane, which also has bus transfers. If you’re driving, take the A43 motorway and turn off at exit 30 towards Modane, then the local 1006 road towards Lanslebourg. In winter, the high passes of the Col de l’Iseran and the Col du Mont Cenis are closed to cars.
Bonneval sur Arc is an ideal ski destination for families or groups of mixed levels. The size of the resort means it’s easy to meet for lunch and enjoy the picturesque scenery whether you dine in the village or on the slopes. Beginners can learn on quiet flat areas and progress confidently. There’s a snowpark and a boarder cross for adventurous intermediates, and plenty of terrain both on and off the trails for more advanced skiers. There’s also a free shuttle bus down the valley where you can explore other ski areas such a Val Cenis.
Although the resort is small, make sure everyone in your group has a trail map, and choose a meeting point if you’re separated from your friends or family. If you choose to venture off the marked trails, remember to wear an avalanche transceiver (beeper) and know how to use it. Make sure your ski insurance covers any extra activities, such as glacier skiing or cross-country skiing.
Over in Italy, Gressoney is the middle valley of the Monterosa ski area. The area is huge, yet it remains uncrowded, even during school holidays. It offers both wide-open groomed runs for all levels and seemingly endless off-piste options. Ski guides and heli-skiing trips can be booked here, and you can fill up on the inexpensive and delicious Italian food on offer each evening. Although you could spend a week with the single-valley lift pass and not get bored, the full three-valley Monterosa pass is a worthwhile upgrade for the scenery and variety alone.
With just a week of February school holidays or none at all, North American ski resorts don’t suffer the same month-long influx of holiday makers seen in Europe. One that offers something special is Arapahoe Basin in Colorado. An hour’s drive from Denver, the resort isn’t huge, but it attracts intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders keen on enjoying the giant powder bowl. All levels of skier and snowboarder are catered for, and you’re unlikely to find the jet setter posing in moon boots here.
Learn the ropes on the fields with our helpful guide.
Stay safe in the snow and learn more about snow safety.
What you should do in an avalanche.
Our guide to saving time and money with your luggage.