Posted by - Richard Visick on Tue 25th September 2012
When looking at where to ski, holidaymakers often associate Switzerland with the jet-set crowd. Big-name Swiss resorts such as Klosters and St Moritz fill up each winter with many of the world’s most glamorous and famous personalities. Moreover, the majority of Swiss resorts have plenty in the way of upmarket shopping and glitzy nightlife, neither of which are top priorities for most skiing families.
However, families always feel welcome in Switzerland, and the country’s resorts have plenty of characteristics that help make a successful family ski holiday: fast lifts, modern facilities, lots of extras and efficient service everywhere you go. The Swiss know exactly what you need to keep the stress levels down so you can enjoy the time spent with your family, ski on some of the best slopes in Europe and take advantage of a host of amenities that are bound to keep you and the kids entertained for the duration of your break.
Furthermore, Switzerland doesn't have to be eye-wateringly expensive. For example, visiting cosy, traditional restaurants serving up delicious local treats instead of going to premium establishments aimed at an elite crowd is just one sure-fire way to save on outrageous expenses. Indeed, if you are used to the prices associated with some of the big French resorts, you may well think that Switzerland represents somewhat of a bargain. So, where to ski with children in Switzerland? These are some of our favourite choices.
Not a cheap option, but one of the Alps’ best skiing experiences, and therefore still great value for money. Zermatt is a gorgeous car-free town that has hugely varied skiing and plenty in the way of things to do off the slopes. It is a relatively large resort, with 13,000 hotel beds, meaning it has great facilities. This does not come at the expense of good looks and charm, though, as Zermatt still has that chocolate-box feel complete with cobbled streets that kids (and parents!) find so alluring. Whatever age or standard of skiing your children are at, they’ll have plenty to occupy them, since there is nearly 400 km of skiing around the resort, and links into Cervinia in Italy, too.
Less well-known than other Swiss resorts but very popular with British families, Wengen is a friendly village with plenty of atmosphere. Like Zermatt, it is car-free, meaning it is safe and easy to get around with kids. If your children have yet to learn to ski, you’ll appreciate the friendly nursery slopes and ski schools with a reputation for efficiency. The ski area in Wengen is exciting and varied, while the 6 km black run which starts at the top of the Schiltorn mountain (where there is a fantastic revolving restaurant) is a particular favourite with many. Wengen’s nightlife is generally relaxed, but you will find some friendly, lively bars to enjoy if you want to hire a babysitter for the evening. For inclusive childcare, stay in the Club Med village.
Murren lies just over the other side of the valley from Wengen; with the right lift pass you can access the same ski area. Of the two resorts, it is the quieter, so is an excellent choice if you are travelling with young children. For relaxing family ski holidays in the snow, Murren’s car-free streets lined with wooden chalets are hard to beat for a cosy, warming atmosphere.