Family skiing holidays – our top tips
Posted by - Juliet Clemett on Tue 31st July 2012
Family skiing breaks can be great fun, but they do need a bit more planning than adult-only ski holidays. Seeing your children take to the slopes for the first time can certainly be magical, though anyone who’s ever had the pleasure of doing so will also know that there are a number of considerations to think about in order to ensure a relatively smooth time away for all the family.
If you have children younger than about three, they won’t be skiing but will need to be in childcare. You may also want to put older children in childcare for an evening or two so that you can get out and enjoy the resort’s bars and nightlife.
Some larger hotels have childcare on-site, which makes your life much easier, especially if you need a night-time service. If the hotel you want to stay in doesn’t have childcare, then there should be nurseries in the resort; just be sure to check that the one you book is English-speaking.
If your children haven’t yet learned to ski at all, then they will probably need to spend most of the week in ski school. Most resorts have more than one – it’s a good idea to look for a school close to your accommodation so you can avoid lugging your children’s skis around the resort to get to the meeting point.
Most schools will offer private lessons as well as group ones. These can help your children learn quickly as they get personal attention, meaning they can enjoy the rest of the week skiing with you. The downside is that they might not have the chance to make new friends. If your children can already ski, it’s still often a good idea for them to pay a visit or two to ski school to make sure they haven’t picked up any bad habits. Half-days give you the opportunity to ski the more challenging runs alone while also enjoying some family ski time.
Look for resorts with good facilities for children, as well as varied skiing for all levels. Try and make sure that there are plenty of nice, easy green and blue runs close to the resort where the kids can find their feet easily. For older children with more experience, look for a resort with a few short red runs where they can start to challenge themselves a little without pushing themselves before they are ready.
Also try and find a resort that offers a good choice of things to do in the evening. Family ski holidays are not just about the skiing – choose a resort with facilities such as an ice rink and bowling alley, so that you never have to hear the dreaded ‘I’m bored!’ when out on the mountain. What’s more, if the pistes are closed due to bad weather, you’ll have other activities to keep them occupied.
Choose a hotel with all-inclusive restaurants or one that’s close to a choice of good-quality family-friendly restaurants and away from noisy bars. Finally, short transfer times are a must, too – you don’t want to tire out the children before your holiday has even started.