Winter holidays create magical memories and provide a fantastic learning environment for children both big and small. It’s a chance for the whole family to spend time outdoors, with nature in the mountains, and enjoy a peaceful break from hectic everyday life. Learning to ski and snowboard is possible both in the UK and abroad, and most resorts have ski schools for learners of all ages. So no matter the age of your family members, it’s never too early to learn the skills which will provide a lifetime of exciting holidays.
Where to go
The secret to enjoying family time in the snow is clever planning. Many people are put off by the idea of family ski holidays because of all the preparation needed. It’s true that ski holidays require a little bit more planning than your average beach break, but everything can be arranged in advance and there is plenty of help available. When planning you should firstly think about which location is best for your group. Popular family resorts include Tignes, Avoriaz and Flaine in France, Obergurgl and Lech in Austria, Pila in Italy and Arinsal in Andorra. The resorts have numerous things in common from a relaxed atmosphere, a wide variety of slopes, beginner runs, decent ski schools to adequate childcare facilities where your children can meet and make friends with other kids. These traffic-free resorts also provide a safer environment for children.
Accommodation and activities
Each resort will offer different accommodation options. There are plenty to choose from such as self-catered chalets, catered chalets, apartments and hotels. To make travel time shorter for the little ones, many families opt for all-inclusive hotels which are close to the ski lifts in the centre of the resort. However, chalets located slightly outside town can also provide a relaxing environment away from the centre. The location of your accommodation will depend on the needs of your group. When considering ski accommodation with children – there are a few helpful things to bear in mind:
While bearing these tips in mind, it is also worth researching which ski school is most suitable before you book –keep an eye out for positive reviews and testimonials. Check which colour the runs are close to your accommodation: green is easy (perfect for children) and the next level up is blue followed by red or black. Make sure you always know that the run leading back for the day is the right level for you and your group. If you want to mix up the family activities, there are also often a variety of non-ski activities such as tobogganing, ice skating and leisure centres to keep kids entertained.
Equipment and insurance
When it comes to equipment, consider whether you want to buy or hire. Reasonably priced skiwear can be found in Decathlon, Mountain Warehouse and TK Maxx. It is always more economical to hire skis and snowboards in the resort - especially if you are travelling with family - as this reduces the amount you need to carry. The process is also very simple: collect the equipment when you arrive and keep it in a ski locker for the duration of your stay, then drop it off at the end of the trip.
One of the best ways to book a ski holiday is direct with a tour operator. It will be slightly more expensive than booking flights and accommodation separately, but it can take the pressure off and make the process easier for the person booking. Tour operators can provide a range of options to suit your needs and budget, plus ensure you have all the amenities which you need close by. Alternatively, it is possible to book directly with a chalet which can save costs, but flights and transfers will need to be bought separately. RocketSki also include flights in their packages and can give lots of useful advice about great resorts for children. They have some fantastic resorts including Serre Chevalier in France and Claviere and Passo Tonale in Italy.
Ski Club of Great Britain offer a family membership which includes many useful discounts on clothing, equipment, holidays, indoor slopes and more to enhance your skiing experience. Insurance is absolutely essential on any snowsport holiday and should be a priority. Ski Club of Great Britain members receive 15% discount on Ski Club Travel Insurance which is one of the most comprehensive available on the market and staff can give advice on which package is best suited for you. Ski Club’s Reps programme gives access to helpful English-speaking resort representatives who can give information and advice specific to your destination. Membership also provides access to weather forecasts and historical snow reports for hundreds of resorts, plus four issues of Ski+board magazine.
Thinking about a skiing holiday for your next family adventure? Find out more about planning family ski holidays, when to go, children’s ski clothing and more on Ski Club of Great Britain family holiday pages or give us a call on 020 8410 2000 for expert advice.