Skiing with teenagers can mean a lot of fun. Skiing as a family, watching their skills develop and seeing them enjoy themselves taking on more and more of the mountain is a real joy. As your teens find their ski feet, they will also strive for a bit more freedom, both on the slopes and in resort, so a good resort choice is key. Ski holidays can provide a welcome break from the stresses of everyday life for the whole family, allowing you to relish in mountain experiences together. Whether your children are 13 or 19, you will enjoy some quality time together and make memories that will last a lifetime.
As your children get older and their skiing develops, you will find that the ski resorts you can explore become much more varied.
The best resorts for teenagers will be those with a lot of variety in the skiing. Whether they want to venture off piste for the first time or try their hand at freestyle in a safe environment, there are many resorts across the Alps where they will be able to feed their appetites for adventure. Before you book, check what on-slope extras the area has, such as race areas, fun zones and freestyle parks. For example, the famous ‘Stash’ in Avoriaz is always a popular one with teens. Developed by Jake Burton himself, this is a new type of ecological snowpark, with super fun freestyle features created using trees and wood in keeping with the surrounding forest. Don’t be surprised if your kids want to take on this run again and again.
Saying this, don’t feel like you have to look only to the large resorts with expansive ski areas such as the 3 Vallees or Portes du Soleil. Many parents with teenage children prefer smaller resorts as this provides less opportunity for teens to get lost increasingly heading off on their own. It can be pretty nerve wracking to watch your teenage kids ski off by themselves into a 600km ski area!
Remember it’s all about safety first though – so be sure to check your child has all the necessary safety knowledge if you are heading off piste or into a freestyle area. If you’re not sure on this, it may be a good idea to get them a private instructor, even if just for a day or two, to take them through the key safety elements and the best practice for what they are doing.
You will want a resort where they can entertain themselves both on and off the slopes, so those with additional activities such as toboggan runs, ice rinks, aqua parks or bowling are always a good bet for kids of any age. The recently opened Aquamotion in Courchevel offers youngsters not only a huge indoor and outdoor aquatic area but also a surf simulator, a huge climbing wall and a variety of sporting options.
However, with teens, they are more likely to want adrenaline-inducing off-slope activities that they can show off to their friends. Some resorts have activities such as zipwires and alpine coasters, which are often a hit with the adults too!
A larger resort will probably be your best bet with teenage children, especially if you are travelling with other families, as your children will be keen to have a little freedom to explore the shops and activities in the town centre.
For those in their late teens, it’s worth noting that they will probably also want a resort where they can have a taste of that famous slope side après-ski, so they will probably prefer a more lively resort than a charming yet sleepy Alpine town. You’ve also got to consider that their friends may have booked to visit a certain resort and they want to follow suit so that they can meet up, in which case it’s always good to ask them whether they have a preference on destination.
If you’re not completely set on Europe, why not even head further afield to the USA or Canada? With older children, long haul flights are less of an issue and they are sure to love exploring different parts of the world! You can even combine a ski trip with an educational trip to Vancouver. What could be better than a week’s skiing combined with a few days’ amazing city break?
Our favourite resorts when travelling with teenagers: Saalbach, Morzine, Avoriaz, Mayrhofen, Val Thorens, Tignes, Les Arcs, Ischgl, Alpe d’Huez, Arinsal
What to Pack
You may think this is much more simple with older children, as they can pack for themselves. However you do need to make sure you check over what they’re bringing to ensure all the essentials are there! Things such as ski socks and snoods may be overlooked in favour of their favourite t-shirts and hoodies, so you need to be sure they do pack all those necessary items.
It’s also a good idea to make sure your teen has a good skiing backpack. If you are letting them go off with their friends for the afternoon, at least you can be assured that they have water, piste maps, phone and charger, snacks and money – just in case! Snacks are doubly useful because teenage stomachs sometimes seem like bottomless pits and with mountain restaurant prices as they are, you don’t want them feeling the need for two lunches and a plate of chips!
TOP TIP: Bring a questionably large supply of adaptor plugs as you will never seem to have enough with the multitude of technology that teens need constantly charged these days!
At this age, childcare will be less of an issue as your children will generally either be in ski school, ski with you or entertain themselves with their friends or siblings.
Younger teens may still be having ski lessons. If so, try to ensure that they are with a group of the same age and level; there’s nothing worse as a teenager than being stuck in a group with younger skiers. They will want to be with kids their own age who they can get on with and with an instructor who lets them have fun, as opposed to simply taking them through the drills.
As they are older now they may not want ski lessons at all, they may prefer to just ski with you. If this is the case and they are competent enough, let them! No-one wants to spend a holiday on the mountains doing something the don’t want to do, so if they aren’t enjoying ski school, don’t force it!
There may come a point when your teenage kids are better skiers than you (dare we say it!) and will likely be happier to push their limits. This can be worrying for a parent, scared they will hurt themselves freeriding or get lost off piste. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to consider a different type of tuition. Many teens will cringe at the very words ‘ski school’, but ‘freeride’ or ‘freestyle camps’ are likely to immediately have them hooked. Here, they can have all the adventures they want, but will be looked after by a more experienced and safety-minded powder hound!
If you are travelling in a group, a catered chalet may be your best option as you can have exclusive use of the facilities and it will feel like a real home-away-from-home. This means that your kids will be able to have a little more freedom. Location is also important here; ski-in, ski-out chalets will definitely be well received by teens, but equally so will a chalet with a central location, with easy access to the town centre. This is also beneficial if you have older teens who might want to sample the local nightlife – the closer your accommodation, the less you will worry about them walking home in the cold.
If you opt for a hotel, hotels with evening entertainment are always a good bet. They may be too old for kids’ clubs now, but hotels with quiz nights, live music, swimming pools etc. will definitely keep them entertained and provide an outlet for all that teenage energy!
With teenagers, it’s also less likely that they will be willing to share one large family room for a week, so think about what sort of room setup you would like and be sure to request adjoining rooms, or rooms next to each another.
- If you can, travel in a group with other families with children of similar ages and abilities. This will enable your child to have more freedom and entertain themselves, as well as meaning they will have a buddy to ski with.
- Though teens have an uncanny ability to sleep in and miss breakfast, it’s important to ensure they are getting a good, hearty breakfast to fuel them up for the day ahead!
- It may be tricky to peel your teen away from their phone to kitted up and out the door, but once you threaten to hit the slopes without them, they will most likely jump to attention! Just remember, you might need to make a few stops here and there on the mountain for those all important Instagram stories!