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Will parents be tempted by a term-time break as Sochi 2014 inspires families to ski?

As it gets to the midway point of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Team GB are sitting with two medals – a bronze from boarder Jenny Jones and gold from slider Lizzie Yarnold.

As a result of the coverage and recent success, it seems that more Brits are taking to the slopes. Both dry slopes and indoor snow centres in England have seen a huge spike in the number of visitors this season. The GO SKI GO BOARD campaign, which was launched in 2013 and designed to increase the excitement around the country, has been providing all-inclusive sessions and refresher courses at more than 35 slopes around the UK.

This level of engagement is a huge boost for Britain’s future chances at the Winter Olympics, but it could cause trouble for parents as a survey finds they still plan to take their kids on holiday during term time. February half term is one of the most popular weeks for skiing and snowboarding, but also one of the most expensive – often twice that of the low season.

Families that have been inspired by the Winter Olympics and want to test out their skills on real snow will either have to pay up or run the risk of a fine. Last September the local authorities started to clamp down on children missing school for holidays. One couple that took their child on holiday to Greece for a week returned home to a £1,000 bill for a fine and costs.

School head teachers had been allowed to grant up to 10 days’ holiday for children each year under ‘special circumstances’. That leeway has now gone altogether, meaning parents may have to pay as much as double the price for holidays. Despite the threat of a fine, a poll by Club Med has found that almost half (48%) of people would still take their children on skiing holiday during the school term.

The operator also said that a surge in bookings for the week before half term suggested parents were definitely trying to take advantage of the cheaper prices before school officially closes down for half term. One area where parents won’t want to make cutbacks is in taking out adequate winter sports travel insurance.

Date Created: 18 February 2014

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