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How far in advance should you book your ski holidays?

So you’ve decided to go skiing this year. You’ve chosen your dates, according to the season’s opening and closing dates in the resorts. So you’re all ready for the next step – booking your stay, your activities and your equipment.

However, there are still a few things to consider.

When should you make your booking? Do you need to book several months in advance, a few weeks before you go or at the last minute? There are advantages and disadvantages, whenever you book.

Read on to find out when could be the right time for you.


Booking more than six months in advance

Ski slopes above a snowy village
Booking at the right time is essential to get your time on the snowy slopes- © Amelia Speight

This is known as early booking or first-minute booking. To get the best offers, you’ll need to book your holidays several months before you leave. There are several advantages.

What are the advantages?

Availability

Advance booking will ensure that you are able to find accommodation in your favourite resort. You’ll be able to choose your ski area and make sure that you can go away when the conditions are just right. In short, first come, first served!

This type of booking also gives you a great choice of available accommodation at the resort. You’ll be able to choose the chalet that best suits your taste, your budget and your needs (guest capacity, storage needs, star rating).

It’s worth noting that there’s the most demand for accommodation near the slopes, as well as those that can accommodate large groups or families, so we’d advise you to book early if you want to get close to the pistes.

Booking as early as possible is also essential if you plan to travel in the school holidays. The ski stations fill up quickly at these times.

Low prices

When you book well in advance, you can take advantage of the best offers and current deals.

Early birds can often enjoy reduced tariffs, sometimes up to 20% lower than the standard rates.

By booking early, you can get good rates not only on accommodation but also on trains and airfares, as well as offers on ski passes and equipment hire.

Booking well in advance also gives you access to “all-inclusive” packages.

These can be quite expensive, as they include your accommodation, lift passes, equipment hire and après-ski activities.

“All-inclusive” packages are often offered to early bookers as the resorts offer them lower prices.

Peace of mind

Advance booking gives you peace of mind when it comes to booking your holiday.

Organising a ski holiday takes a lot of time – you need to think about equipment hire (boots, skis, poles and clothes) if you are not taking your own.

It’s also useful to plan for lift passes and ski lessons as well as après-ski activities in the area.

When everything is planned and booked in advance, you can enjoy your holiday with complete peace of mind.

What are the drawbacks?

While booking several months in advance is the safest option, it can also present problems if you have a change of plan.

It’s possible that your schedule could change in the months following your booking. A family event, an accident or a problem at work might mean you are no longer available on the dates you booked.

If you have any doubts about your plans, it may be worth subscribing to an annual insurance scheme where possible. This will apply in certain conditions, so it’s important to read the small print before you sign up.

On the other hand, an early booking is no guarantee of good snow conditions.

Many travel agents offer insurance which gives you the option to cancel your booking if there’s too little snow (or even too much). So make sure you find out about the cancellation policy, which is vital if you make an early booking.

Browse ski chalets in the Alps

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Booking between one and three months in advance

If you book your ski holiday between one and three months before you plan to travel, you will still have a good choice of accommodation.

In addition, the cooler weather will give you time to plan ahead and get you in the mood for winter sports. However, with this sort of booking, you’re less likely to find great deals and offers.

You will also have the benefit of more information – if you see that the resorts are getting plenty of snow, you’ll be happier about booking your ski holiday.

In addition, by booking your ski holiday up to three months in advance, you’ll be more confident about your schedule. This will make it easier to organise your ski holiday without having to worry about the risk of cancellation.

Booking at the last minute (two weeks or less before you leave)

Two people book their holiday online
There are advantages to booking your holiday at the last minute © John Schnobrich

Last-minute bookings are ideal for people who are not restricted to certain dates.

This is often the case for younger people, couples without children at school and retired people. If you decide to book your holiday just before you leave, the last-minute offers can be very attractive.

The advantages

You can take advantage of very attractive promotions on last-minute bookings if you are aiming for a short stay, a weekend or a few days during the week, for example.

The tourism industry wants all the available accommodation to be occupied, so prices can be very tempting. It’s a good idea to keep a close eye on all offers.

Booking a last-minute ski holiday also allows you to discover new ski areas and new scenery. It allows you to take an unexpected break from your busy life for a few days to recharge your batteries and is ideal if you don’t mind making hasty preparations.

By checking the weather forecast just before you book, you can also be sure you’ll be happy with the snow conditions. And if there’s little or no snow, you can easily postpone your plans without any problems.

The drawbacks

Booking a last-minute ski holiday could be difficult if you want to go during the most popular weeks – and it might even be impossible!

The most popular weeks in the mountains are the school holidays: Christmas week, New Year’s week and the four weeks of the February holidays. And long stays are often more difficult to find, so it’s important to be flexible about your dates.

When you leave at the last minute, your holiday preparations may be rushed.

It will be difficult to book ski lessons, there will be fewer available activities on site and you’ll have to book lift passes and rent your equipment at the last minute. So it’s better to plan ahead if you can.


When to book is an important part of your holiday plans. Are you more of a planner, booking your holiday well in advance? Or perhaps you are an adventurer, going wherever the wind blows, depending on last-minute offers?

Whatever your situation, don’t hesitate to contact our team when you book your ski holiday. We will be delighted to help you!

About Author

Hi, I'm Lindsay, and I work on the editorial side of the OVO Network team. I'm based in Kent, England and love this job as it combines my passions for words and travelling to beautiful places.