The slopes can get busy at any time of year, but especially if you are limited to skiing during school holidays. Read on for my top tips to avoiding the crowds, even during peak weeks...
Book lift passes before you arrive to be sent out to you to avoid having to queue to collect on the first morning.
First lifts - check the timings (not always 9am) and get there a few minutes early.
If possible try to avoid starting your day at the central lift area where most ski schools meet. In Val d'Isere this is at the bottom of the Olympique/Solaise lifts - so instead head to the Funival in La Daille or the Telecabine in Fornet and take the less travelled route.
Try to avoid certain bottle neck areas at certain times of day, when people are trying to get back to resort at the end of their lessons. Eg the Marmottes & Fontaine Froide lifts at 11.45/12 and the Tommeuse back to Tignes at 11.45/12 and also 4.
Book a lesson - skip the lift queues with an instructor and find the less travelled routes/cut throughs.
Adjust your daily timings to make them different from the masses. Most people will have lunch between 12 & 2 and stop skiing around 4. So try and plan to get first lifts, stop for a coffee around 11.30 (most ski schools will stop around the 10.30-11.30 window so avoid this as restaurants may be busy), have lunch around 2.30 and ski again until the lifts close.
Try to plan your holiday dates over the traditional changeover day. Here in Val d'Isere we get limited numbers of people coming for a weekend break and with the traditional changeover day being Saturday this makes for much quieter slopes at any time of year.
Make sure you check the school holiday dates for different countries and regions. You may be confident that you are avoiding UK school holiday dates (remember that private schools usually have extra weeks than those generally advertised) but if you turn up in France during the Parisian holidays then you may be in for a shock.