Helen is the skier of our team, and it’s around this time of year that she packs away her bikini and starts dreaming of the snow. Of cruising along wide open pistes while the more adventurous members of her family seek out powder and off-piste thrills. With her husband and two children she’s done both self-catering ski trips and fully catered chalet holidays. All this week she’s sharing news from some of the major ski operators and resorts, to help you decide what kind of ski holiday is best for your family. Here she selects five different family ski chalets from booking site ChaletFinder, each with something different going for it. Which one is your best fit?
Five great family ski chalets
I’ve been skiing for over thirty years. I met my husband on a ski holiday, and although we briefly deserted the slopes when our children were babies, we headed back to the mountains as soon as we felt they were old enough to cope. We nervously watched them get to grips with their new surroundings and unfamiliar equipment, hoping that they wouldn’t find the whole thing too stressful and refuse to return. We needn’t have worried – they loved it. They spent every evening of our first family ski holiday telling tall tales of parallel turns and hilarious wipeouts, just as we always had, and they’re now the first to pounce on the brochures as they drop through our letterbox in the run up to Christmas.
Best for guaranteed snow
The quiet mountain charm of La Tzoumaz might have you thinking that this resort – famous for its family-friendly approach to life – isn’t for the ski freaks in the family. But that’s where you’d be wrong. This tiny settlement is peaceful and more affordable than its high-profile neighbours, such as Verbier, but it has the whole of the Valais region on its doorstep, with its famous off-piste opportunities, and sunny nursery slopes. It’s at high altitude and boasts glacier skiing, so you can be sure of some snow even in warmer weather. Chalet JanLuke offers a warm, spacious living space where you can enjoy stunning uninterrupted views across the mountains while the spa room and sauna and the outdoor terrace jacuzzi are the perfect way to unwind and ease those aching muscles at the end of a day on the slopes.
Best for luxury
Les Gets has grown massively in popularity in recent years, and is now a firm favourite of families with children of all ages. It’s not surprising, given the amount of activities for families available in the French resort, from the American-Indian village themed children’s ski area, to dog-sledding, ice-skating, and hot-air-ballooning for those less inclined to spend all day on the piste. Chalet Les Chats Bleus looks really luxurious, with a spacious living area complete with cosy fireplace, en-suite family rooms, drying room and a dedicated playroom. I’ll be spending most of my time in the hot-tub on the terrace, sipping champagne as I gaze out at one of the best views in Les Gets.
Let’s face it, skiing isn’t the cheapest holiday, but if your family has the bug, they have the bug, and finding an affordable family ski chalet is an option if you choose Bulgaria. Pamporovo Village is a group of 38 chalets set away from it all in the forest close to Pamporovo. A home-from-home, with your own kitchen, there’s also the luxury of the on-site restaurant for those nights when a hard day on the slopes leaves you less than enthusiastic about cooking for yourself. For self-catering nights, the small and cosy chalets have an upstairs bedroom where the children can snooze while mums and dads relax by the wood-burning fire downstairs.
Best for getting away from it all
Champoluc, in Italy, is a great-value, family-centric resort which oozes charm and character. Part of the well acclaimed Monterosa ski area, Champoluc steers away from noisy and busy night clubs, and instead has a relaxed but sophisticated Italian character perfect for wining and dining with the whole family. It also boasts a newly added wellness centre providing somewhere to relax and unwind in between the more energetic days. The resort can’t be reached by car in the winter, so you’ll take the ski-lift, or catch a ride on the snowmobile for a fun way to start the holiday! Chalet Gol is fully catered, so you’ll need nothing more after a day on the slopes than to ease aching muscles in the sauna and sink into a home-cooked meal.
Best for authentic style
I love the traditional style of Fort Notz, in the picturesque village of Bernese Oberland, in Switzerland. I can almost smell the fresh air and hear the dancing that is bound to go on within its walls. Well, perhaps not, as this chalet has been fully renovated from the 18th century original, and now combines antique furniture and silverware with designer towels and sheets, combining luxury with an authentic Swiss experience. It’s ski-in, ski-out, which is always a blessing, and even more so when you have children who really, really do not want to carry their skis, or walk a single step further in heavy boots at the end of the day! It gives access to every level of slope, as well as cross-country and hiking trails, and there’s even a mountain railway nearby so even the non-skiers can make the most of the stunning panoramic views.
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