What's the best time of year to go skiing?

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What’s the most important part of a skiing holiday? The snow, of course! Over the last few years, snowfall has come later than anticipated in the main European ski resorts, meaning it’s important to plan your trip well.

Here are our top tips to help you prepare yourself for any weather, so that you can put your best ski forward if the snowfall is underwhelming this season.

Time it right

This is the fourth year running that the Alps have been low on snow over the winter period, with many slopes in Switzerland and Austria remaining closed. With families paying an average of £800-£1,000 per person for their holiday, a disappointing ski season could turn out to be a costly mistake.

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Snow is vital for a good ski holiday, so make sure you keep up-to-date with the latest forecasts and don’t arrive to the party too early or too late.

Traditionally, European ski destinations open between November and April, while December, January and February are the best months for guaranteed snow if you’re heading further field to North America.

Typically, when snowfall is underwhelming, snow cannons come to the rescue, artificially topping-up the slopes. Unfortunately, with a drought in the Alps this year, a large number of resorts have been forced to switch these off, meaning tourists with bad timing could be left disappointed.

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Choose the right ski resort

The weather can be unpredictable, but there are plenty of ways to keep track of it. Keep up-to-date with the latest snowfall information using a website designed specifically for this purpose, such as The Ski Club of Great Britain.

Remember, if you’re booking a trip later in the year, choose a skiing resort with an altitude of 200 metres or above. The higher the altitude of the skiing area, the colder it is, meaning that any snow that does fall will last a lot longer.

Protecting yourself on the slopes

Skiers to snow are like moths to a flame. Unfortunately, when snowfall is minimal, skiers have been known to cram onto one slope, and this can lead to an increase in accidents. Try to avoid areas which are overcrowded to protect yourself from mishaps.

Make sure you’re adequately insured and that the sports and activities you’re doing on your holiday, such as skiing and snowboarding, are covered in the winter sports provision of your policy.

Protecting your investment

Imagine your perfect skiing holiday: two whole weeks in a winter wonderland. But what if, when you jumped out of bed on the first morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, you were informed that the slopes were shut because of lack of snow? How can you cushion the blow?

In 2014, many Brits found themselves in this very situation, with a large number of slopes below 2,000 metres missing their anticipated light dusting of white stuff. When skiing is impossible for whatever reason, or it’s not cold enough for artificial snow to be created, it might be possible to get a payout from your insurer. These payments can vary hugely from £20 upwards per day. The money can be used to help you travel to a nearby resort that does have snow!

Make sure your travel insurance covers compensation due to no snow, or you could find yourself spending your winter getaway huddled-up indoors, cursing the weather.

Annual travel insurance quote - includes cover for piste closure

Preparing for your skiing holiday is about more than just packing – make sure you’re ready for your trip by keeping an eye on the weather and covering yourself with adequate insurance in case the snow doesn't make an appearance. 

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