When it comes to a successful family ski holiday, it so often comes down to getting the details right. A long transfer to start your holiday can set things off on the wrong note, as can rolling up to a big, soulless concrete resort without much atmosphere.
Fortunately, though, you can’t go wrong on a family ski holiday to Austria’s spectacular Tirolean regions. The flights to Innsbruck are short, the airport small enough to pass through formalities quickly and then whichever resort you choose, the transfer will be short.
Then Tirol’s ski resorts themselves are very easy on the eye, with alpine chalet-style buildings, most often nestled in a picturesque, wooded valley with the snow-capped mountains above. They’re real, year-round communities, they love families and offer great childcare facilities and ski schools, as well as plenty of family-focused accommodation options and off-slope activities. There are also better-value ski passes for families than in much of the rest of the Alps.
The choice of Tirol is easy. It’s just picking which resort that’s the tricky bit – not that you’re likely to go wrong whichever one you choose.
Offering the best of both worlds, the Ski Juwel region was created when lifts and slopes were linked between the Alpbachtal and Wildschönau valleys a few years ago to create one of Austria’s larger ski areas. But it’s still made up of lots of small- to medium-sized villages and there’s a very relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere in each.
Although there are some challenging black runs and freeride routes most of the slopes are rated blue (easy) or red (intermediate) and both The Snowpark Alpbachtal and Family-Park Schatzberg have easy Beginner Lines with small jumps and obstacles. There’s plenty of fun to be had when not skiing too, with activities like being a co-pilot on a piste basher or igloo building on offer. Ski Juwel offers a big choice of ski schools, two ski kindergartens for children, and family lift pass discounts on offer. It’s all just 45 minutes from Innsbruck.
If you’re looking for a big ski area for your family, it doesn’t get much bigger than the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental with its 288km of slopes, many of them wide and easy. These are served by 90 swish gondolas and chairlifts, several of them with special child locks to ensure no danger of slipping on the ascent, giving added peace of mind.
There are special beginners’ areas for children as well as childcare services for babies and toddlers, and no less than 22 ski schools to choose from. Taking a break isn’t an issue either with an incredible choice of 80 mountain huts for a pitstop anytime. And you can visit the igloo village or have more fun on the toboggan runs and fun slopes if you want to take your skis off. There are nine resort villages to choose from here, all great for families.
Located on a sunny plateau, the villages of Serfaus, Fiss and Ladis are a great option if you have good skiers or snowboarders in your party, because while most of the slopes are geared up to beginners and intermediate skiers, there are lots of challenging runs and exciting freeride terrain too. The lifts climb up to a very snow-sure 2,820m too, opening up a big vertical.
The entire ski resort revolves around families with the “Murmli Crèche” in Serfaus or “Berta’s Kinderland” in Fiss able to care for babies and toddlers, then child-focused teaching at the Kinderschneealm on a giant snow play and practice area.
Off-slope facilities are fabulous too with the PlayIN Indoor Playground in Serfaus featuring an incredible twelve climbing walls, two climbing towers, an obstacle course, a bouldering room and a six-storey soft-play facility. You can even rent an e-buggy or mountain buggy to swap for your pushchair to make getting around with a baby or toddler on the snow a piece of cake.
St. Johann in Tirol is a lovely small town with a pedestrianised centre and its own perfectly family sized ski area. All the facilities you need are here, on and off the slopes, including non-ski childcare, a choice of four friendly ski schools and even a “baby hotel”. Older kids and teens will love the fun park with jumps and obstacles and parents will like the discounts on lift tickets for children and youths. There are several great swimming and spa complexes in the area, including the Panorama Badewelt with its giant water slide. There are also zipwires, a climbing hall and for younger children the fabulous Murmis’s Kinderland with its 1,200-square metres of softplay heaven.
A long-time family favourite surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Silvretta Mountains, the Silvapark Galtür has a very snow-sure reputation which also makes it very popular with freeriders. The Silvapark is divided into five sectors and includes the children’s snowy paradise of Siggi’s Bambiniland. A great place to learn and have fun the slopes ere include ad an easy slalom track, wave line and more. The “Zwergerlwelt” and the “Abtenauerland” offer more superb learning areas for children, whilst teens will prefer the more challenging Action Park.
For more information: visittirol.co.uk