Where to ski on your first family ski holiday
Posted by - Craig Burton on Wed 25th July 2012
Going on a family ski holiday for the first time can be a defining moment, but it can also be daunting trying to work out where to ski. Pre-kids, your criteria for choosing a resort might have included finding the most challenging black runs and the best nightlife.
After children, however, there are many other things to think about. Availability of childcare, a good ski school, uncrowded slopes where your children can find their ski-legs and a good selection of child-friendly après-ski activities are likely to be nearer the top of your list.
So, where to ski with children? Here are three of our favourite family ski resorts:
Flaine’s 1960s concrete blocks are not the easiest on the eye, but that’s about the only disadvantage of the resort. It’s an entirely car-free area, making it a safe place for children to explore and play in the snow to their heart’s content. What’s more, when they’ve had enough of the cold stuff, there are several play parks to enjoy throughout the site.
There’s a special family-oriented ‘Acticross’ circuit within a short lift ride, which is designed for parents and children to work on their skills together. When the kids start to feel a little more confident, there are some lovely long green runs and a beginners’ area with all the facilities they’ll need. Finally, the snow cover throughout Le Grand Massif is up there with the best in France, so you can be guaranteed some great skiing on the odd morning when you want to set out alone.
Obergurgl is a small Austrian mountain village, offering all the chocolate-box charm often associated with that desciption. Very popular with families, it’s a wonderful place to introduce young children to skiing, with quiet beginners’ slopes, few lift queues and mostly ski-in, ski-out accommodation so the kids don’t have to lug their skis anywhere.
There’s a ski kindergarten in the centre of the village, where you can leave them for the day while you explore the excellent, snow-sure slopes and enjoy spectacular views over the valley from up high. After a day on the slopes, take the kids for a turn on the ice rink before you settle into one of the fine hotel restaurants that dominate the apres-ski scene.
For a truly luxurious family ski experience, head to Beaver Creek. This is family fun at its most varied, with fantastic skiing and a host of other activities for kids to enjoy.
Every day, a specially devised programme of family events is put on, often including activities such as story-time on the mountain and light shows. There’s also a children’s museum, cookie and cocoa served every day at 3pm, an ice rink and family-friendly fine dining. Childcare can be found for babies from two months up, while a fabulous ski school will ensure your young ones get the best early tutoring. If they need a break from the slopes, organised children’s theatre at the Vilar Performing Arts Center will certainly keep them busy.
There’s also plenty for you to enjoy, too, including 1000 acres of some of America’s best skiing, outstanding shopping, sophisticated nightlife, and five-star restaurants and hotels.