There are lots of things to consider when choosing where go for your family skiing holiday! So where do you start? We have compiled a top 10 list to help.
Here are our Ten Top Tips!
The resort must be snow sure
Particularly if you are taking your holiday early or late in the season – what’s the point of a skiing holiday if there’s no snow! Don’t take the Tour Operators word for it either – consult impartial websites. Snowforecast.com gives resorts a snow sure star rating. the Where to ski and snowboard website can also offer useful insights about snow conditions. Remember it’s not all about altitude, other factors are important too. Have a look at the “Will there be snow page?” of our website for more information.
Think carefully about how you will get to resort
Travelling with children can be stressful and tiring! Avoid long flights and long transfers. Although skiing in Canada and America seems very appealing the long flight times make it a no no if you’re travelling with young children. Probably best to stick to Europe. You can dream about a transatlantic skiing break when the children are older (maybe they’ll be able to pay for themselves by then!) Look for short transfers, some of the French ski resorts are an easy 90 minute transfer from Geneva, others area cruelling 4.5 hour bus ride away up with twisty (nausea-inducing) ascent for the last 45 mins.The snow train is a great way to travel with kids, hop on at London St Pancras and hop off 7 hours later in the heart of the Alps. If this appeals to you then look at resorts in the Three Valleys area of France (get off the train in Moutiers) or the Paradiski Area (disembark at Bourg St Maurice).
Make sure the resort gives you easy access to the piste and ski-school for the children.
Do not consider anything where you have a long walk or even worse a bus ride to the slopes. Remember you will have to carry not only your own skis but your children’s equipment as well. Ideally you want to be in a chalet right next to the piste or a short walk from a ski lift. Don’t be afraid to quiz your Tour Operator about the exact location of the chalet. They should be able to tell you exactly how to get to the piste each day. If they can’t or give you a fuzzy answer don’t book with them! A ski in ski out chalet location is perfect!
Quiet villages are best.
If you are holidaying with young children you are best to avoid the busy resorts where Apres-Ski goes on until the wee small hours of the morning. The children will need a good sleep to cope with the physical demands of learning to ski and you’ll probably appreciate a good rest too! If the village is traffic-free so much the better!
Pick resorts in extensive ski areas
Resorts offering lots of variety are ideal so that the grown ups can have fun too! The Three Valleys Area in France has 336 runs over 600km of piste. So, ideally, you want a small village in a large ski area to keep everyone happy.
Resorts with good nursery slopes and lots of green/blue runs
are essential for children learning to ski. Examine the piste maps of your shortlisted resorts and ask questions before you book. Look at independent websites. Where to ski and snowboard gives you the percentage of blue runs in each resort and lots of other useful information!
Look for good ski-schools with well qualified instructors.
Find out if instructors are English speaking. Don’t forget to ask about class sizes and timings. Some Tour Operators include lessons within the price of their Childcare make sure you understand how this works. Family Ski Company are the only company that are allowed to have members of their staff (the lovely Ski School Helpers) working in the “Jardin Des Neiges” with the instructors. It’s amazing how having a friendly face around can put the children at ease allowing to enjoy the lessons and improve their skiing.
Think carefully about the childcare
available in resort for your children. Make sure that staff are English speaking, well-trained and DBS checked. Ask about ratios of carers to children and the sort of activities the children will be doing. It’s absolutely crucial that you are satisfied that your children are happy and well-cared for otherwise you won’t enjoy your hard-earned time on the piste.
If you are travelling with babies under 24 months it’s important to think about the effect of altitude.
Even as adults we feel the effects of altitude getting out of breath and puff and pant bit more than usual. Babies and infants often struggle at high altitude and an unhappy child will spoil the holiday for everyone. When you have little ones in tow it’s best to base yourself at a lower altitude (under 1500m) with access to higher altitude skiing.
Choose a resort that offers other family-friendly activities
just in case you want a break from skiing. Things like tobogganing and bum-boarding are fun for parents and children. Lots of resorts have swimming pools and sports centres. Ice-skating is another option, some resorts have an ice-rink but be careful not to pick up any injuries! There are some lovely walks in most resorts, try snowshoeing if you are feeling a bit more adventurous! The ultimate thrill would be a trip down the Olympic Bobsleigh run in La Plagne or a ride on Speed Mountain (a rail toboggan) in Reberty.