This week has been ski week. We’ve told you about some great family ski chalets, Club Med’s plans for family skiing over Christmas, how to manage a ski holiday with kids and extreme skiers, and what to do on a ski holiday if you don’t ski. In our final update, we decided to invite extreme ski fan Jason, Helen’s husband, to share his thoughts on making the transition from skiing black runs for thrills, to skiing with the kids. He has some top tips on some of the best ski resorts for children and adults too.
I’ve been really lucky, and have skied the world, though only recently with my family. Looking back on some of those great experiences when I was without kids I’ve tried to think which would be the most family friendly. Gone are the days when I left home with a passport, some currency, and a hip flask – there are so many more things to consider when you’re skiing as a family, cost, safety, and thermal socks, to name just a few! But your ski journey doesn’t have to end when children arrive. Here are some options to help make family skiing go smoothly.
Family skiing image courtesy of Shutterstock
Tips for skiing as a family
Value for money
Skiing isn’t the cheapest holiday for families, especially when you’re limited to school holidays. There’s a huge concentration of ski fans heading out to the slopes in just a few short weeks, and demand is high. But there are ways to limit your spend, and still have a great trip. Cervinia, in Italy is one of the more affordable resorts. It’s where I met my wife, so I have fond memories of a great week on the piste, but there are good reasons to go there with children too. Cervinia has a lovely village feel, lots of pizza places, and a nice balance of runs to suit all abilities. Not so much for the advanced skier, though it links easily to Zermatt, for more challenging terrain. Just remember to take your passport skiing, or you’ll end up in Switzerland for the night!
Snow at Easter Holidays
Go high! Snow quality can be unpredictable at Easter, depending on when it falls, and there’s nothing worse than a week in a ski resort with no snow. Though not an obvious choice Val D’Isère was perfect for us. The nursery slopes were not the most convenient to get to, but there is a good gondola lift to avoid the lower, slushier slopes, and the snow higher up is great, and the pistes not to busy. There’s also some glacier skiing, and once you’re at the top, the runs into Tignes are good for beginners and intermediate skiers.
Go further afield
The USA and Canada are my favourite destinations; they have some of the best snow, empty slopes and polite staff, but is it worth taking the family? Actually, although it’s further, if you can take a slightly longer holiday, the cost per day works out similarly to the European resorts, so provided your children can cope with a longer-haul flight, I wouldn’t hesitate to ski Stateside. Lake Tahoe is my recommendation here; stay in Heavenly for top-notch skiing, great Nevada entertainment and good value for money at the hotels, as most of them are funded by casinos (which you obviously don’t need to frequent)!
Get there quick
If a week feels like too much of a risk, or you want to avoid the school holidays, Geneva has lots of flights from the UK and it’s a quick and easy transfer to some of the best resorts. Chamonix has a good variety of skiing, and though it’s not the most convenient split across different mountains, if you stick to one mountain per day it’s a great option. Therer’s good public transport too, so it’s easy to get around with a family and all their ski gear.
Ski in, ski out
We were pleasantly surprised at how our kids took to the mountain, with minimal complaining, but being able to ski straight to your accomodation takes out the walking in heavy boots, with heavy skis, which makes a significant difference to the hassle factor with kids. The purpose built French resorts are the obvious choice for ski-in, ski-out and La Plagne lots of slope-side options, with mixed terrain that’s good for the advanced skiers as well as the beginners.
Do you go skiing as a family? Have you put skiing on the back burner now you have children? We’d love to hear your tips and experiences.