Family ski holidays are a great chance to spend time together whilst enjoying an outdoor winter activity. This guide will show you how you can plan your family ski holiday including important considerations and the best family ski resorts…
Higher altitudes can lead to altitude sickness which may be a problem for some young children. If possible, choose a resort at a lower altitude when travelling with kids. When choosing a higher altitude resort (3,000m or above), you can reduce your chances of sickness by spending the first night at an accommodation in lower altitude (1,500m – 2,000m) to acclimate yourselves.
One of the more challenging elements of a ski holiday is getting to the resort itself. Ski holidays often involve long transfers by coach, taxi or train, this is something which children are unlikely to enjoy so look for resorts with easy transfers from the airport.
It’s unlikely that younger kids will have the stamina to ski for the whole day, so it’s important to check what other activities are available. Many ski resorts have toboggan runs, swimming pools and more to help keep kids entertained throughout the day.
It’s always best practise to check the quality and quantity of ski schools available. Is there a wide range of choice with slope lessons, including ones with English speaking instructors? To avoid delays and headaches, you can book lessons in advance and plan to arrive a day early to rent the equipment and get everyone’s lift passes.
It’s important to make sure the whole family have the right ski clothing. For first time skiers, ski packages are a great option as they include essential equipment for a fraction of the cost. Be sure to layer up with cosy thermals or base layers, and don’t forget to pack snow boots and head tubes for extra protection from the cold. Read our Top 9 Essentials For Your Ski Trip blog for more tips on what to bring, and our The Layering System blog will tell you how to layer each piece together.
█ = Ski Resorts
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As one of the highest ski villages in the Alps, Saas-Fee has been rated as the Alpine resort with the most reliable snow cover. Not only does this put minds at ease, this location is also popular for Summer skiing on the glacier and therefore is a great year-round destination. On top of skiing and snowboarding, Saas-Fee offers winter sporting activities such as sledging, ice climbing, snowshoe trails and Bavarian curling, to name a few. The picturesque village is located on an old farming community providing charming architecture and idyllic street views. Saas-Fee is quite small and it is easiest to get around by walking – the village itself is car free. If you’re looking for a resort with more than snow-filled activity, then Saas-Fee’s leisure centre is a perfect hideaway. With a 25m pool, kids’ pool and waterslide, hot tub, a variety of saunas and steam rooms and a gym, there is a lot for you and the family to sink your teeth into.
Arinsal offers some fantastic beginner slopes which are set high enough for optimal snow all season long. The English-speaking ski schools this area provides are of a fantastic standard, allowing you and the family to get up to speed with the slopes in no time. Not only does Arinsal provide free lift pass for kids under six years old, many of the hotels contain an abundance of entertainment including bowling, arcades and live music.
Niederau, located in the Wildschonau Valley, is the perfect resort for family ski holidays. There are some great gentle runs within the village, and scope to move onto more intermediate pistes. The accommodation here is family friendly and there are some great childcare options for kids from six months to 11 years old. Non-skiing activities include horse-drawn sleighs and bobsleighing on top of plenty of opportunities for winter walks.
As the fifth largest ski area in France, Alpe d’Huez is a fantastic place to learn to ski. There is a wide array of beginner slopes with the green and blue runs situated close to the resort. The resort also offers some excitement for intermediate skiers with one of the longest ski runs in the world! There are plenty of non-skiing activities on offer from ice driving, ice skating and sleigh rides to outdoor swimming. There are over 40 restaurants to choose from with a wide range of cuisines…..even fussy eaters will be satisfied!
Pila has a great selection of nursery slopes for children to hone their skills and is car-free, which adds to its charm. Off the slopes there’s also tubing and a play area to keep kids amused. The mini club here caters for kids up to age 12, so parents can enjoy some time on the more challenging slopes around the resort. If taking a day away from skiing is something you are looking for, the nearby regional capital of Aosta is the perfect tick box. Linked from Pila by a high-speed gondola, the bustling and historic town is fenced with Roman walls plus many other remains such as a magnificent amphitheatre.
Geilo has some of the most reliable snowfall in Europe, and tends to be a quieter resort, making it ideal for beginners. The slopes here are well maintained and the ski school has instructors who speak fluent English. The resort also offers a great range of non-skiing activities to help keep children amused including bowling and swimming. Geilo is an affordable opportunity to take a family ski holiday outside the alps, whilst still enjoying all the benefits skiing in Europe.
La Plagne is made up of a collection of small villages, each different from the next creating a great variety of surroundings. It has a wide array of different ski terrains with some fantastic nursery slopes for beginners and young children. The 1,500m long Olympic bobsleigh run offers the ultimate winter theme park ride with its 19 bends. Rides are available in a four-seater bob raft all the way down to a ride in a ‘speed luge’ for one person. On this ride, thrill-seekers lie on their back in a protective cage and travel down feet first….one for the brave we think!
Kranjska Gora is one of the smaller resorts on our list but it is a perfect destination for younger families and beginners. The ski school focuses on building children’s confidence through its range of nursery slopes, all of which are not too far from the accommodation. There are many family friendly hotels to choose from, packed with a variety of activities including ice skating and indoor tennis.
Borovets is the leading ski resort in Bulgaria, attracting thousands of winter sports fans every year thanks to its mix of excellent facilities, stunning slopes and magnificent weather. The resort offers some great beginner slopes for those starting out thanks to its extensive ski school facility. Off the slopes, kids can enjoy bowling, swimming and sleigh rides. Borovets is cheaper than many alpine resorts, making it a great place for a family ski holiday on a budget.
For a memorable ski holiday, why not take the family to the home of Santa Claus? Although the ski areas in the Lapland region are small, they are covered by snow nearly all year round and offer gentle slopes – great for the little ones. As the resorts are located close to the home of Santa, they are very family friendly and finding non-skiing activities won’t be difficult. Plus, if you’re lucky, you could catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights or the big man himself!
Now you know how to plan your perfect ski holiday, check out our range of ski clothing to get the whole family ready for their time on the piste!