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We want to ski and snowboard in France at Easter. Is that too late?
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Q We are planning a skiing holiday over Easter. Our 12-year-old son is a good skier, but wants to try his hand at snowboarding. Which resorts are best for this and where will we have a good chance of snow so late in the season?

Q We are planning a skiing holiday over Easter. Our 12-year-old son is a good skier, but wants to try his hand at snowboarding. Which resorts are best for this and where will we have a good chance of snow so late in the season?

K Rising, Farnham

AFinding that all-important combination of good snow, a warm welcome for children and snowboarder-friendly slopes may seem a tall order for one resort. But don't worry, as France offers some fine options.

For many, Easter is the last chance to take to the slopes before the snow disappears. The holiday falls quite late this year, so many skiers will be keeping their fingers crossed. That said, there is a good chance of ample snow late in the season, as snow cover this year in the Alps has been good.

Things to bear in mind when choosing your resort are suitable terrain for beginners, close proximity to the slopes and ski school, wide pistes and an extensive lift system. It is also important to make sure the ski school you choose offers instructors, ideally whose first language is English. Resorts with chair lifts and cable cars are preferable to those offering predominantly tow-and-drag lifts, which are a tiring experience for an adult, let alone a 12-year-old.

High on my recommended list is the purpose-built resort of Les Arcs (00 33 4 79 07 12 57; www.lesarcs.com) in the Tarentaise Valley. It is made up of three villages at 2,000m, 1,800m and 1,600m. Most of Les Arcs' accommodation is within easy reach of a lift. Les Arcs has good snow reliability; most of the runs are above 2,000m, so it ought to retain its snow for Easter. This self-proclaimed "home of snowboarding" is also perfect for novices and offers long, wide beginner and intermediate pistes of the blue and green variety. In addition, only 29 of its 65 lifts are drag lifts. Les Arcs is a child- and boarder-friendly resort, and if your son takes to boarding in a big way, he can practise some trick boarding on the resort's "half pipe" and "snow-park" features.

Thomson Ski & Snowboarding (0870 606 1470; www.thomson-ski.co.uk) offers a family room in a four-star hotel in Les Arcs 1800, for £1,883 for the three of you. This includes return flights to Chambéry from London Gatwick departing on 12 April, transfers to the resort and all meals. Remember that there will be additional costs: a six-day lift pass is £98 for a child aged 12 years and under, and £115 per adult. Four hours of group boarding tuition per day and equipment rental for your son will cost about £168 for six days.

If you are looking for a more authentic Alpine experience without the purpose-built blocks, consider the rustic charms of Serre Chevalier (00 33 4 92 24 98 80; www.serre-chevalier.com) in the southern Alps. Voted the best all-round resort in France by the World Snowboard Guide in 2001, Serre Chevalier is actually four separate areas – Briançon, Chantemerle, Villeneuve and Le Monêtier-les-Bains – linked by a series of lifts. Your son will have no problem perfecting his boarding on runs situated around the natural snow bowls of Le Frejus (Villeneuve), Le Grand Alpe (Chantemerle) or the lower slopes of Monêtier.

Serre Chevalier, or Serre-Che as it is nicknamed, is not as high as Les Arcs, but as most of its slopes are north or north-west facing, it keeps its snow better than most. Famous for its spring snowfalls, Serre Chevalier is sure to have a combination of great snow and sun over Easter. There is also a variety of snowboarding features, such as a half-pipe, in Villeneuve.

Less expensive than Les Arcs, a week in Serre-Che, departing 13 April, will cost £1,071 for all three of you with Crystal Ski Holidays (0870 848 7000; www.crystalski.co.uk). This includes return charter flights from Gatwick to Turin, full-board in the chalet-style Club Hotel Yeti in Chantemerle and transfers. Lift passes for your son will cost about £64 for a local pass or £74 for the area pass – £89 and £103 for adults. Six two-and-a-half-hour group lessons per day with an English instructor from the Ecole Ski Buissonière (00 33 4 92 24 78 66) will cost about €110 (£65) per week for your son.

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