Are we there yet? No-frills skiing trips

Is there such thing as a cheap family skiing trip? A few weeks ago in this column I said the answer was no, after reader Jeff Powell wrote challenging me to find a ski holiday for his family for under a grand. But perhaps I was slightly unfair to Jeff, because he has since emailed me back to point out a canny way to get the kids some time on the piste.

However, you'll need to forego a few things here and there. Like going abroad, for starters. Cast aside those dreams of Alpine views and think instead of the slopes of dear old England, where ski villages, Snozones and Snowdomes are springing up.

These "giant freezers", which admittedly raise a question about their impact on the environment, make their own snow and stay open all year round.

You'll find "real" snow slopes at SNO!zones dotted across the country (0871 222 5670; xscape.co.uk), and a SnowDome in Staffordshire (08448 000011; www.snowdome. co.uk). They'll all help you to find local family hotel accommodation.

A greener alternative is the Sheffield Ski Village (08444 823823; www.sheffieldskivillage.co.uk), home to some fun dry slopes, high jumps and toboggan runs. Family tickets cost £49 per day, and if you fancy making a weekend of it, Purple Hotels (08444 823823; www.purplehotels.co.uk) offers family "skiover" packages at the Sheffield Meadowhall, where B&B starts at £49 per couple. Kids under 14 stay and eat for free when sharing with you.

You may be missing out on big mountains, but you'll also be missing out on eye-watering prices.



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