If you're fed up of limited availability, crowded slopes and sky-high prices in February half term, then how much more relaxing, peaceful and better value to go skiing in the October half term instead?
Early season skiing in October is limited to glacier areas, but on the upside the slopes are less crowded and you’ll be the first to try out the new season’s equipment at one of the big ski test festivals.
The first of the World Cup races will be taking place too (in October at Solden, Austria) so you could time your trip to coincide with one of them and get all the excitement of seeing the world’s best racers in action. And if you like a bit of park life, a big draw at virtually all of the autumn-opening ski areas are their snowparks - as good in autumn as mid-winter.
Les 2 Alpes - opens Oct. 22 to Nov. 1st then reopens for the winter season from Dec. 3.
"Enjoy the Glacier" event on opening weekend (Oct. 22-23) is when you can test the new season's ski/snowboard gear from the top brands up on the glacier. For this weekend only, the resort operates a discounted lift ticket rate of €24.50 per day. From Oct. 24 - Nov. 1, lift tickets are are €29.50 per day.
Tignes - opens Oct 1 (snow conditions permitting). Take the funicular up to the Grande Motte Glacier and carve up the 20km of slopes on the glacier (2704-3456m). Opening hours of the glacier are 8:30am-2:45pm. A day's ski pass is €37.00; €186 for 6 days.
You can also watch the professional ski teams during their training sessions or take a break and enjoy the autumn sun. If you buy a 2-day ski pass (or more) you get access to the lagoon pool.
"Halloween in Tignes" event (Oct. 29) is a horror weekend with dinner, DJ pool party, ski pass, horror movies and access to wellbeing centre for €88 per person.
Hintertux - OPEN with a discounted summer ski pass rate of €42.50 until Oct. 7; €51 from Oct. 8. Currently running 10 lifts/18km slopes.
Pitztal - OPEN is Austria's highest glacier (3440m) and is offering the discounted summer ski pass rate of €40 until Oct. 6; €48 after that.
Other October options in Austria include the Kaunertal, Kitzsteinhorn, the Mölltal glacier, the twin glaciers of Solden, the Stubai glacier close to Innsbruck and the Dachstein, not far from Schladming.
Breuil-Cervinia Valtournenche - Opens for the weekend October 22-23 and every day from Oct. 29th; €32 for half day.
Passo Stelvio - OPEN. The glacier (2760-3450m) is now open and offers 12km of ski slopes every day for €42 per day.
Val Senales - OPEN. The cable car lifts you up to the station at Hochjochferner in just six minutes from where a five-mile-long (8km) downhill run is possible with additional trails available from linked chairlifts.
Saas Fee - OPEN With plenty of recent snowfall, Saas Fee's glacier is currently running 8 lifts running and 20 open slopes.
Zermatt - OPEN Operating Europe's highest lift up to 3,899m, the glacier currently has 14km of open slopes and 14 lifts running. The resort opens fully for the season Nov. 26.
Other autumn choices, which may only be open at weekends until the main winter season begins, include Glacier 3000 between Les Diablerets and Gstaad; the Titlis Glacier above Engelberg another; the Vorab glacier at Laax the third and the Diavolezza glacier in the Engadin Valley close to Pontresina and St Moritz.