Non skiers, or experienced adults who have yet to attempt a trip with children, can often be daunted by the prospect of taking young children to the Alps. However, a well planned family ski trip can be relaxing, enjoyable and memorable for everyone. Follow our top five tips, from family ski specialists Ski Famille, for taking young children on a skiing holiday.
1. Pick a efamily-frindly resort with a short transfer time Opt for a resort that doesn’t involve too long an airport transfer to minimise travel time which is potentially the most stressful part of any holiday. Don’t rule out driving or taking the train – for some families these can be great ways to get to the mountains and can add to the great adventure.
2. Choose your childcare If you are travelling with babies and toddlers who are too young to ski, you will need some kind of childcare. This may mean taking grandma; it may mean travelling with a family specialist, such as Ski Famille, who offer childcare or it may mean booking a local crèche. Carefully consider which option you think is going to work best for your family. For local babysitting requests, try Ski Pals website which aims to hook up parents and local services.
3. Select ski tuition carefully You want small groups and child-friendly instructors who can empathise with the needs of both you and your children. Ski instruction is particularly important for child beginners. Get it right and they’ll be hooked for life; get it wrong and convincing them to return to the slopes could prove hard work!
4. Take proper clothing Waterproof gloves, toasty socks and decent goggles make a big difference. Young children will need two snowsuits as one is likely to get sodden after an epic snowball fight or a prolonged tobogganing session. Borrow from friends if at all possible – with small children you’ll probably only get one week’s use.
5. Relax and enjoy yourselves It’s a family holiday in a beautiful environment not a test of endurance! We can't over emphasis the importance of this last one. Think holiday first and skiing (or boarding) second and you'll get more out of both. If you are an experienced skier, you may have to step back from your “out on the first lift, back on the last” approach and adopt a more laid back approach while your children find their feet – then after a few holidays you’ll be struggling to keep up with them!
One of our most family-friendly resorts is Les Gets, in France, which has won numerous awards for its excellent childcare and junior skiing facilities. The slopes around Les Gets are fairly gentle and quieter than many, making it a great choice for children and beginers alike. Don’t be put off if you’re a competent skier yourself though: access to the Portes du Soleil ski area opens up a wealth of challenging runs – parents can wax their skis and nip across to Switzerland for lunch, before collecting the children for tea and cakes at the end of the day! Retaining much of its Savoyard charm, Les Gets is a classicly pretty ski resort. For apres ski, you’ll find an outdoor ice-rink, toboganning, and dog sledding. Ski Famille has six fabulous chalets in Les Gets. A week in the stylish ski in/ski out Chalet Mouflon, complete with its roof-top hot tub, costs from £1,410 per adult and £1235 for children aged two to 12 years) half-board and ferry crossing or airport transfers. As the name suggests, Ski Famille are specialists and their expertise shows in every aspect of your holiday. Childcare takes place within your chalet and costs are inclusive of five days childcare.
So how do you choose your resort? See our highlights for the coming season to help you find the perfect family ski resort.