Family Ski Holidays

Infants & babies, toddlers, children

Babies

The prospect of taking a baby skiing can be very daunting but it will hopefully be easier than you think!
If you have older children in the group and are restricted to travelling during school holidays then you may want to consider an Easter break as opposed to February half term as the weather will be warmer and slightly more comfortable for young infants.
If you are not restricted to school holidays and have a bit more flexibility of when you can travel then it is probably best to avoid school holidays as these are the most expensive weeks of the season.
Unless you have a non skier in the group who is able to look after the baby all day then you will need to think about childcare. Many resorts have a local creche or there is the option of booking with a tour operator who offers in-house childcare or booking a private nanny.If you need childcare, Esprit ski have dedicated BAT (baby and toddler) weeks where they offer fantastic value savings for families with babies and toddlers including free infant places and half price nursery places.
See our childcare section for more details
When deciding which resort to go to, we would recommend choosing a lower altitude resort with a shorter transfer so you can keep travel time to a minimum.
Our recommended resorts for families with babies are La Rosiere, Les Gets, Morzine, Avoriaz and La Tania.

Toddlers

You may be feeling a little apprehensive if you are taking toddlers to the slopes for the first time but choosing the right resort and accommodation will hopefully make the trip as hassle free as possible.
If you are restricted to school holidays then you will be limited to which weeks you can travel. With younger children, you might want to consider going during Easter holidays as opposed to half term as it should be a lot warmer and sunnier on the slopes.
Unless you have a non-skiing carer in the group then it is likely that you will need some form of childcare. If you are flexible on which dates you can travel then Esprit ski operate selected BAT (baby and toddler) weeks throughout the season where they offer fantastic value savings for parents of babies and toddlers. These include free infant places, half price nursery places and half price spritelets and snow club savings.
Booking with Esprit ski is one form of childcare available for families with toddlers.There are other operators who can also offer supervised activities during the day to fit around ski school with staff able to take children to and from the lessons each day allowing parents to enjoy the slopes. As an alternative, there is also the option of booking a local creche in resort or a private nanny.
If you are travelling with young children, you will want to head to a resort with beginner friendly slopes. You will also likely want to keep travel time to a minimum so choosing a resort with a shorter airport transfer time will be a priority for you. Our recommended resorts for families with toddlers include Les Gets, La Rosiere, La Tania, Morzine and Avoriaz.

Children

Depending on their age and ability, children may want to ski all day or only part of the day, whether it be in ski school or with mum and dad. Whichever one, most ski schools can be flexible and we work with several tour operators who are able to offer ski lessons and kids clubs within the package which is often a really easy and hassle free way for families to enjoy the ski holiday.
Certain resorts are more family friendly than others, and as children get a bit older they might want to start enjoying some apres ski and potentially staying out a little later in the evenings; but we’re sure most families with children will want to avoid to heards of drunk university students!
Taking this all into consideration, our recommended resorts for families with children are Meribel, Alpe d’Huez, Morzine, La Plagne and Les Arcs.


Teenagers, Young adults, Parents, Grandparents

Teenagers

Teenagers tend to crave their freedom and might not want to spend the whole holiday with mum and dad. It might be the case that they are in ski school or they are left to explore the slopes on their own with everyone meeting up for lunch and apres ski.
Teenagers will likely not need any childcare but they may want to book into a kids clubs so they can mix with other children their age. Several operators we work with have kids clubs throughout the day / evening for teenagers to enjoy.
Recommended ski resorts for families with teenagers are Val d’Isere, Meribel, Alpe d’Huez, Les Deux Alpes and Verbier.

Grandparents

If you have grandparents in your party who are not planning on skiing then you will want to choose a resort with some activities for them to do. You will also probably want to consider a relatively flat resort and choose accommodation that isn’t too far from the resort amenities.
Our recommended resorts for families travelling with grandparents are Val d’Isere, Les Deux Alpes, Verbier and Morzine.


Pregnancy, Disabled & Others

Pregnancy

You may be wondering if you should ski or not when you’re pregnant. Every woman is different and although exercise has been proven to have many health benefits during pregnancy and they say that the cold mountain air really helps with morning sickness; skiing isn’t the most leisurely sport so it you are unsure then the best thing will be for you to speak to your doctor / midwife who will be able to offer professional medical advice.

If you do decide to ski then you will probably want to head to a quieter resort so you can avoid big crowds on the slopes. If you decide against skiing but are still planning on heading out to resort then you will want to choose somewhere with a few non-skiing activities and ideally a resort that is relatively flat to avoid you walking up big hills.
Our recommended resorts for pregnant families are La Rosiere, La Tania, Les Gets and Sainte Foy.


About

If you have young children in your family and you don’t have a non-skiing carer in the group then you will most likely want to book some childcare for whilst you’re away.
There are several different options available in resorts depending on the ages of you children and the level of care you require. There is the option of booking a local creche in resort, booking with a tour operator who offer in-house childcare or booking a private nanny.
Whichever one you choose, we would recommended that you book your childcare in advance especially if you are travelling during school holiday as as you can imagine these are the most popular weeks so do get booked up early.


Creche

Several resorts will have creche facilities available. In general, these will be for younger children and are quite often run by French speaking staff. See our individual resort pages for details on the creches available in your resort.


In-house childcare

We work with several operators who offer in-house childcare. Many families prefer this as they tend to offer similar style care that you would receive in the UK. The majority of the childcare operators have kids clubs for most age groups and will also offer ski lessons from 3yrs. Families have a bit of flexibility as there is the option of booking half days or full days, and some will also offer evening kids clubs or babysitting.
The main operators who offer in-house childcare are: Ski Esprit offer catered chalets and chalet hotels in a variety of family friendly resorts including Alpe d’huez, La Plagne, Courchevel, La Rosiere, Les Arcs, Les Gets, Meribel, Tignes, Val d’Isere, Obergurgl, St Anton, Kuhtai and Gressony.
Esprit offer a range of childcare from 17 months and ski lessons from 3 years.
Mark Warner offers childcare and lessons in their chalet hotels in Tignes, La Plagne, Meribel and Les Deux Alpes.
Ski Famille operates family only chalets in Les Gets, La Plagne, Reberty 2000 and Les Bruyeres, They offer childcare from 4 months and ski lessons from 3 years.
Club Med offers an all inclusive package and provides childcare and ski lessons in resorts across the Alps.


Private Nanny

Booking a private nanny will most likely be the most expensive form of childcare but if offers families complete flexibility with what childcare they want to book during their holiday.
Our recommended private nanny companies that operate across the Alps include but check out our individual resort pages for details of who operates in each resort:
T4 nanny is one of the loveliest companies in the Alps. Their handpicked staff offer excellent childcare services in Val d’Isere, Tignes, Meribel, Courchevel, La Tania and Les Arcs.
Jelly and Ice Cream provide childcare and babysitting in Val d’Isere, Tignes, Sainte Foy, Meribel and Courchevel.
Merinannies is a private nanny service operating in Meribel, Courchevel, La Tania, Chamonix, Megeve, St Anton, Lech and La Clusaz. Snowbugs provide friendly and trustworthy nannies in Courchevel, La Tania and Meribel.
Cheeky Monkey’s provides high quality childcare in Morzine.
Jack Frost’s is the longest running childcare provider in the French Alps and offers high quality service in Morzine, Les Gets and Avoriaz.
Snowlittle provides professional childcare in Les Arcs, La Plagne, Sainte Foy and La Rosiere.


When to go

For families booking a ski holiday, choosing the right resort will most likely be your main priority. There are several factors to consider to help you come to a decision:

It is quite likely that you will be restricted to travelling during school holidays so you will be limited to Christmas, New Year, Half Term and Easter weeks. Unfortunately as these are the most popular weeks of the season, that means they are also the most expensive.
If you are looking to keep a hold on the budget then Easter week will be cheaper than the others and you will generally be able to get some good last minute deals on flights and accommodation.
If you are travelling later in the season, you might want to consider heading to a higher altitude resort which will be more snow sure. Travelling later in the season also means that weather is warmer making the conditions slightly more comfortable for young children.


Availability of childcare and ski school

It is more than likely that you will want to book ski school or childcare for your children. Pretty much every resort will have a ski school that will offer both group and private lessons for all ages and abilities.
There are also several options available for childcare. Certain resorts will have creches but these are generally only for younger children. There is also the option of booking with an operator or private nanny. See the individual resort pages for details of what childcare is available.
If you are planning on booking ski school and childcare then we recommend that you book in advance as they can be very popular and tend to get booked up early.


Suitability of slopes

If it is the children’s first time on the slopes or perhaps they have skied a few times but are not ready to tackle the more challenging pistes, then you will want to head to a resort with a good nursery and beginner area. Many resorts offer free lift passes for under 5yrs but for older children there are generally a few free nursery slopes that they can learn on before buying a lift pass for the whole resort.


Short Transfer

It goes without saying that young children and long journeys don’t always go that well together so it is likely that families will want to pick a resort with a shorter transfer time. The average journey time for the majority of resorts is 2.5 hours however you may have to travel a little further if you want higher altitude. Take a look at our transfer page or individual resort pages for specific timings.


Non skiing activities

If you are travelling to resort with young children and have a non skiing carer in the group, or if perhaps you are not planning on skiing full days then you will likely want to head to a resort where there are some non-skiing activities to do. Common activities found in ski resorts include swimming, cinema and shopping.


Easy access to slopes

Keeping the distance from your accomodation to the slopes to a minimum will be an important factor when choosing your resort and chalet as no one likes a long walk in ski boots carrying lots of equipment.
A ski in/ski out property is ideal but otherwise you will want to pick somewhere with a short (and ideally flat!) walk from the slopes. Alternatively, booking accomodation with a driver service is a great option as they will generally pick you up from your chalet and drop you off at the base of the slopes so there will be barely any walking at all! It is important to note that not all driver services are consistent so you may have your own driver or share one with a few chalets.


Chalet

The type of accommodation you choose will completely be down to personal preference. We work with over 3,000 properties across the majority of resorts in both the Alps and North America. For families, the most common accommodation is a catered chalet but there is also the option of booking a self-catered apartment, hotel or all-inclusive resort.
A catered chalet is the perfect choice of accommodation for families. The convenience means that you don’t have to worry about cooking and cleaning and can spend more time on the slopes.
In your chalet you will be looked after by a dedicated host or team of hosts depending on your group size. What’s included and the level of service will vary across each chalet but in general it is breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner with wine along with daily housekeeping.
We have chalets of all sizes from small ones only sleeping 4 guests to large properties sleeping 25+. Depending on your group numbers, you can take a whole chalet for sole occupancy or book into at larger property on a shared basis. Some families enjoy prefer to have their own space and others prefer sharing as it allows them to mix with like minded skiers and holidaymakers and we have seen groups continue to go away each year with those they met on their first trip.


Apartment

In general, most apartments are self-catered. Booking a self catered chalet offers families complete flexibility with when and what they can eat. Self catering will work out cheaper if you plan on cooking for yourself but if you end up eating out every evening the costs will add up.
We have a large range of apartments that generally sleep a maximum of 8 guests so if you are a larger group you will most likely need to book more than one.


Hotel

Staying in a hotel offers more privacy than a shared chalet and also gives families more flexibility with meals. Guests can choose if they want to book on a bed & breakfast basis or half board. Some families tend to prefer this as they can enjoy going out for a meal in the evening or choosing from a menu in a hotel as opposed to a set menu that you would have in a catered chalet.


All-inclusive

Booking an all-inclusive hotel can be a great choice for families. Club Med have properties in resorts across the Alps and offer family friendly accommodation.
The all-inclusive package does initially seem expensive but it does include your flights, transfers, all food and drink (including alcohol), lift pass, lessons, entertainment and kids clubs. The club med experience is really easy and hassle free for families as everything is organised for you with the ski school and kids clubs all in-house. As you pay the cost up front, it does mean that you save spending whilst in resort


Beginner

The suitability of slopes is one of the most important factors when choosing which resort will be right for your group. If you are a family with beginner skiers, you are going to want to choose a resort with a good beginner area as well as one with good networks of blue and green runs for you to be able to progress to afterwards.
The majority of resorts will all have nursery slopes and some will also have dedicated children zones which is perfect for the little ones learning to ski for the first time.
Free lift passes are normally available for under 5yrs in most resorts, but for older children and adult skiers learning for the first time there are normally a few free lifts in the resort so it is worth using them before buying a pass for the main ski area.
Our recommended resorts for families learning to ski for the first time are La Rosiere, Les Gets, Les Deux Alpes and Obergurgl.


Intermediate / Advanced

Intermediate and advanced groups of skiers will want to head to a resort which has a good network of blues, reds and blacks and maybe even some off-piste for the very adventurous.
Recommended resorts for intermediate / advanced families are Val d’Isere, St Anton and Tignes.


Mixed ability

Resorts with a good beginner area but also challenging slopes for the advanced and intermediate skiers in the group.
You will want to select a resort with nursery slopes for beginners as well as a good mix of red and black ones which will be more suited for intermediates Our recommended resorts for groups of mixed skiers are Alpe d’Huez, Tignes and Les Arcs.





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