A family ski holiday can be the most rewarding week of your life, precious memories you will treasure forever. However, as many parents will know, getting away as a family can also be deceptively stressful, requiring military-style organisation, operation and planning. Ski holidays in particular can seem quite daunting when travelling with little ones – from ski lessons to getting all the right kit, there’s lot think about. However, family ski holidays offer some of the most fun you can have together (in our opinion anyway…) so we’re giving you our key tips to make this year’s ski trip as stress-free as possible.
Choosing the Perfect Ski Area
Choosing the right ski area for a family holiday is hugely important. Whilst some resorts are perfect for beginners, with easily accessible nursery slopes, gentle pistes and easy lifts, they can sometimes be quite limited in their offerings for more advanced skiers, so parents may find themselves doing the same runs over and over. You really want a resort that the whole family can enjoy to the utmost – remember you are all on a well-deserved holiday, so it’s worth doing that little bit extra research to find somewhere you will all appreciate.
You need somewhere that truly has it all, from gentle beginner slopes to more challenging intermediate runs and enough expert runs and off piste to keep advanced skiers thoroughly entertained. Somewhere well connected, with good lifts, family friendly charm and plentiful on-piste mountain huts for those all important hot chocolate stops… – simple right?! Whilst finding a resort that boasts all of these traits may seem like an impossible task, there are some brilliant resorts that are ideal for families. Our top picks are smaller resorts based within large areas, allowing you to benefit from the best of both worlds, a combination of small-town charm and big-time skiing.
Les Menuires is a quiet resort that benefits from a prime position in the huge 3 Vallées area. Like its livelier big brother Val Thorens, the high altitude of Les Menuires means that the snow here is some of the best in the Alps and offers brilliant skiing across a lengthy winter season. For beginners, this makes the process of setting out on your skis for the first time much more enjoyable – there’s nothing worse than trying to get to grips with skiing when you’re struggling with icy or slushy conditions. Plus, it means that adults and more confident skiers can happily explore the vast expanse of the 600km 3 Vallées area which, with reliable snowfall, offers some highly enjoyable off piste and powder opportunities. Les Menuires itself is a small resort which offers great value and prides itself on a warm, friendly reception for families. One of the many reasons it’s so popular with families is that 80% of the accommodation here is ski-in, ski-out, giving that level of convenience that is so important when travelling with younger children.
Another fantastic resort for families, Les Gets combines brilliant skiing with a range of off-slope activities that youngsters are sure to enjoy. A beautiful traditional Alpine village, it’s sure to be a hit with children and adults alike, with easy access to the 650km area of the Portes du Soleil. What’s more, it benefits from a lovely short transfer from Geneva airpot, so is perfect for restless little legs that don’t much care for three hours sat on a transfer bus!
Finally, La Plagne is a tried and tested favourite in the quest for a stress-free holiday. Boasting a ‘Family Plus’ label, La Plagne has long been acknowledged as one of the top family destinations in the Alps, with it’s commitment to the family meaning a number of dedicated activities, packages and children’s clubs available for all ages. The entertaining and engaging nursery slopes are a particular hit with the youngest skiers, whilst adults are sure to find more than enough fun and varied terrain across the Paradiski area, which La Plagne shares with neighbouring Les Arcs.
From fat biking and husky rides to the famous ‘snakeglisse’ toboggan, in La Plagne there’s almost as much to do off the slopes as there is on them! It’s the perfect destination to really harness that boundless energy kids tend to have and allow them to truly enjoy every second of their holiday.
Getting the Childcare Right
Childcare is a hugely important part of a stress-free family ski holiday and getting it right can really make your trip. There are often a number of childcare options available in resorts, however for the most personal, high quality and efficient childcare, it’s a good idea to travel with a tour operator such as Ski Famille, who offer exclusive in-chalet childcare for children between the ages of three months and 12 years. This can be an absolute lifesaver on those busy mornings and evenings, meaning you don’t have to worry about which of you is on childcare duty, finding local childcare options or wondering how to settle a number of energetic youngsters.
In-house childcare is a real treat, with qualified nannies and childcare staff coming to you in the comfort of your own chalet. Not only does this keep the children comfortable and at ease when meeting their new friends for the week, but it allows you to enjoy yourself safe in the knowledge that your little ones are enjoying themselves. This service is also fully flexible, to allow you to personalise your childcare to suit your specific needs. Childcare includes ski school lessons for children from three years upwards and can be arranged through the company, meaning childcare remains consistent and children are not confused by a number of different new faces each day.
Another benefit of travelling with a family focused tour operator is that you can rest assured that your children are in the most capable and well qualified hands. Staff at Ski Famille, for example, are recruited in the UK and undergo enhanced DBS checks, as well as being fully reference checked and First Aid trained. What we love is that these staff share a passion for not only providing the utmost in quality child care, but also a love of the mountains. This reflects in their work, with this appreciation of the mountains being passed on to the children.
Chalets are often an integral part of a ski holiday, with many families preferring the comfort and charm of a private chalet to an apartment or hotel. It’s true, there is something truly special about settling down by a log fire after a long day’s skiing, snow falling outside whilst your hosts prepare dinner, safe in the knowledge the only other guests around are your family or friends. What’s more, family focused companies often provide chalets perfectly equipped for those travelling with young children. With Ski Famille, not only does each property have it’s own playroom, but high chairs, cots, off-road buggies, nappies, wipes, baby monitors and sterilisers are all also available free of charge.
For families, a hugely important part of a stress-free ski holiday accommodation is ease and convenience and Ski Famille pride themselves on finding the perfect bases for families. All their chalets are close to the slopes and even boast hot tubs, saunas and/or steam rooms, meaning ultimate relaxation opportunities for busy parents! A dedicated host and chef for each chalet ensures that the family are treated to fantastic home cooked meals each evening, perfect for those hungry stomachs after a day’s hard work on the slopes.
Enjoy Every Minute!
Family ski holidays offer some of the most precious times spent as a family. With tour operators like this, you can strip out the hassle of a family holiday, leaving you with simply the joy of a family holiday in the mountains, a fantastic, unique experience you will treasure for life.
To see your children enjoying the mountain air or making their first turns on skis is truly amazing, especially when you can also enjoy epic ski adventures safe in the knowledge your children are enjoying themselves. A holiday all ages will enjoy, free from the stresses of everyday life – what could be better?! So our final tip is to enjoy every moment. Savour the time you are spending as a family and have the most incredible time both on and off the slopes, that’s what ski holidays are all about!
For more information on family holidays with Ski Famille, head to: https://www.skifamille.co.uk/
All Image Credits: Gavin R Vertigo / Ski Famille