While travelling with your family can be stressful, it can also provide you with some of your most treasured memories. To be able to experience incredible destinations with the people you love by your side – there’s nothing better. Now, call us biased, but we believe that family skiing holidays are far and away the best possible holiday you can take with your loved ones. So, we’ve put together our top 8 reasons why family skiing holidays are, in our view, the best family holidays around.
1. Everyone will have fun
Some people seem to have this idea that family skiing holidays are stressful, full of long journeys, cold and crying children, lost gloves and goggles… However, this is not the case! They can be some of the best, most fun weeks you spend together as a family. Granted, there probably will be a few tears now and then, but that’s the nature of an active holiday. It’s impossible to simply strap on a pair of skis and sail off like a pro; most children will have a few tumbles through the learning process.
However, this doesn’t mean they won’t be enjoying it. For every sobbing second, there will be a huge chunk of time where they are really enjoying themselves, out in the fresh air, learning something new and making new friends in the process. Not everyone takes to it immediately and there may be a couple of tears and tantrums along the road, but at it’s core, skiing is fun! As your child progresses and becomes more comfortable on their skis, this will become evident in their smiling faces and soon you won’t be able to drag them off the slopes!
If you choose a renowned family-friendly resort such as Les Gets, your children are sure to enjoy the many fun zones, such as the ‘Grand Cry‘ territory, an American-Indian village on the slopes! Complete with teepees, activities and a warpaint workshop, the slopes feature a bordercross piste, on-slope interactive games, treasure hunts and even outdoor speakers. Or, try the ‘Mauve Slope by Milka‘, which is both a fun piste as well as an introduction into the Alpine environment, with animal figures peeking out around every turn to help educate children in the local nature.
It’s not just the children that get to have fun either, but the adults too! Choose a resort such as Les Gets, where children can enjoy themselves in the highly entertaining beginner’s areas, while mum and dad can make the most of the huge amount of great skiing that can be accessed (here across the magnificent Les Portes du Soleil area).
2. It’s an Active Holiday
We all know the importance of a healthy lifestyle, particularly for children. It’s important to promote this, getting them engaged in an active lifestyle and encouraging an interest in outdoor activities. Skiing does all of this, keeping your children active all day and thoroughly enjoying themselves while out on the slopes. It’s the perfect holiday for children, giving them a way to channel that seemingly endless energy into something productive and enjoyable. It also means that by the end of the day, they will be tired, happy and much more likely to get a great night’s sleep!
Again, this doesn’t just apply to younger members of the family; skiing is good for all ages, increasing fitness levels and giving you a good workout every day. Plus, if your muscles are getting sore by the end of the week, it’s the perfect excuse for a relaxing massage. The mountain air is so good for you, and getting out and about in the midst of some of the world’s most incredible scenery can do wonders for your mental as well as physical health. However, while a healthy lifestyle is important, you are exercising everyday and balance is encouraged. (What I mean by this is it’s OK to return from a day of skiing and have a piece of cake. Or a fondue. Or both).
3. New Skills
Not only is skiing good for your health, it’s also great for your mind. According to research, learning a new skill can slow cognitive ageing. Adults taking up skiing for the first time will benefit hugely from the positives that come with taking up something new.
However, it is a lot easier to learn in your younger years, which is why many parents elect to take their little ones skiing as soon as possible. Learning the skill early in life will stand them in great stead when it comes to the potential for skiing in the future. Who knows, you might have the next Chemmy Alcott on your hands!
While being able to ski is by no means a prerequisite for enjoying a ski trip, learning the skills early means that your children may be more confident participating in school skiing trips, perhaps even doing a ski season or simply finding a new passion they will treasure for life! Take it from me, your children will definitely thank you later.
4. Superb Food and Drink
This brings us aptly along to our next point – the food in the mountains is absolutely delectable. As a cheese-lover myself, it’s possible that this slightly sways my judgement here, but in my humble opinion, the hearty Savoyarde cuisine is the perfect accompaniment to a day’s hard work on the slopes. Whether it’s the cosy mountain huts where you can stop off for an alpine lunch or hot chocolate, or the beautiful traditional restaurants down in the resort, you’ll find an abundance of good food in the mountains. In Les Gets, there is even a local market on a Thursday where you can purchase local produce – just in case you needed any excuses to bring home some deliciously smelly French cheese!
With interactive meals such as fondue and raclette, you can give your children a culinary experience they may not have ever had before. Dinnertime is always more enjoyable when you’re involved in it yourself, while the fact that your plate is never really full, just constantly being topped up, means that you can eat as much as you possibly can!
Many tour operators offer catered holidays, meaning that breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner are included in the holiday price. This usually entails a full choice of cooked or continental breakfast, a different cake each day for afternoon tea, and a full three course dinner. Plus, the wine’s not bad either and with many all inclusive packages, it’s complimentary with dinner! For parents, it’s fantastic not to have to think about cooking or buying dinner, simply being waited on is a great, relaxing way to spend a holiday. For children, the amount of choice and great children’s menus offered by most tour operators are sure to be a hit.
5. Off-Slope Activities
Believe it or not, ski holidays aren’t just about the skiing! In many resorts, they have a whole host of off slope activities to ensure you and your family are kept entertained day in, day out. One of the most popular resorts for families in the Alps is La Plagne 1800. Though it’s set within the awesome Paradiski ski area, there’s a lot more to do here, from ice skating to zip-lining, ski-dooing to paragliding. Piscine Bellecote, the outdoor swimming pool, is a particular favourite with families (don’t worry, it’s heated to a lovely 29 degrees!). There’s nothing better than relaxing in the water whilst taking in the mountain air and the spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. For more adventurous children (and adults!), La Plagne’s ice caves and igloo village are also a must-visit. The ice cave structure is home to some remarkable ice sculptures which are definitely worth a look, while the igloo village is a magical experience, where you can eat a delicious meal surrounded by some incredible igloo architecture!
Or, if you just can’t stay away from the slopes, many resorts offer tobogganing facilities. In La Plagne, the Colorado Park 1500m luge tobogganing run is a great hit with children and parents alike. Or, if you’re feeling really brave, give the La Plagne bobsleigh a try – a real adrenaline-inducing experience!
While we have focused on La Plagne here, most ski resorts offer a similar range of off-slope activities which are fantastic for entertaining energetic children. Or, if all this seems a bit much, simply wander the streets and take in the alpine charm of these delightful resorts!
Some parents choose to put their child into ski school for full days, so that their ski time is their own. Others prefer to use half-day ski school and ski with their children the rest of the day. It’s completely up to you, but either way, you will have a period of the day to yourself, to really relax and enjoy your ‘me-time’ on the slopes.
Alternatively, you can choose a company with in-house childcare such as Ski Famille. This allows you to benefit from a range of flexible childcare options all from the comfort of your own chalet. This means that you can ski all day to your heart’s content, whilst being safe in the knowledge that your little ones are being looked after by highly professional childcare staff. Plus, children tend to love having these new friends with whom they eat lunch, play, go tobogganing, do arts and crafts. You can enjoy yourself to the maximum, while knowing that they are having the best time too! Their childcare programmes begin at 4 months with qualified in-house nannies taking care of those from 4 months to 4 years, so there really is something for all ages.
7. Life Lessons
“Fall seven times, get up eight” – a slight cliché, yes, but a valuable life lesson nonetheless. Most people use this phrase as a metaphor for picking yourself back up again in life. In skiing, this is physical. It’s about literally picking yourself up, shaking it off and carrying on.
With skiing, you learn these valuable lessons. You learn to persevere and to try and try again until you get it. When you do get it, it’s the best feeling, not just because you’ve finally done that parallel turn, but because you know you put so much effort into it and it has all paid off. This in turn will grow your self-confidence and your faith in your ability, allowing you to achieve above and beyond your own expectations.
This is why for both adults and children alike, learning to ski can be so beneficial. For parents of children learning, you will be a part of this journey, the encouraging helping hand that will be so important to them. Yes, there’s a lot to learn when it comes to skiing, but it teaches you much more than just skills on the slope.
8. Reaping the Rewards
One of the most rewarding things about family skiing holidays is seeing how much your children come along throughout the week. It can really be amazing the amount of progress made in just one week.
The joy in seeing your child nail their first parallel turns, or even their first red run, is only furthered by seeing the fun they are having themselves. We’d always recommend taking a camera or a phone out so that you can film your child on these occasions. They love to see how much their skiing has come on and they will enjoy having something to show their friends when they return home.
Many ski schools hold ‘races’ at the end of the week, where children are timed and presented with medals (everyone gets a medal regardless of their time). It’s great for children to be rewarded for all their hard work throughout the week and form them to really feel like they have earned something at the end of it.