Heading for the slopes this season? Richard Smith of Ongosa.com reveals why it’s important to choose the right instructor
Skiing and snowboarding can be an idyllic family holiday, but many parents prefer a customised package over standard classes to cater for their little ones’ needs, and rightly so. When it comes to booking your trip and a personal instructor, here’s how to find your perfect match:
1. Under-fives need a local crèche so they don’t get overtired from too much skiing. Don’t overdo their lessons, unless your child is a bundle of energy. An hour or two each day of fun ski play is more than enough.
2. Don’t overstate your child’s abilities. The more honest and detailed you are, the better experience you and they are likely to have. If you’re putting your kids in a group, it’s better to match them by level rather than age.
3. When picking a ski school or instructor, don’t just ask about group size but also how many instructors will be in the lessons. Two adults per group means one can teach while the other can help to keep an eye on the children, and get them on and off the lifts.
4. Smaller, owner-run ski schools tend to offer better customer care: they’ll treat you as an individual and be quick to solve any problems you might have. These guys do tend to be hard to find, though, and get booked up quickly, so do your research ahead of time.
5. If you choose to book your child into a non-native speaking lesson, encourage them to ski behind the instructor as much as possible. That way, they can copy – kids are great at watching and learning.
If you don’t want to travel too far, these stunning resorts are located in the French Alps…
Les Arcs – 1,600m – 2,000m
For guaranteed snow, Les Arcs in Savoie is a safe bet. In the heart of the Alps, it comprises five purpose-built villages situated at different altitudes. Beginners are more than catered for, with fir-tree lined nursery slopes.
La Plagne – 1,250m – 3,000m
With cable car links to Les Arcs, La Plagne is made up of 10 villages, all with something different to offer. There’s an extensive range of nursery slopes for beginners, and glacier options for the more advanced.
Courchevel – 1,300 – 3,230m
This resort is hugely popular with families, and deemed one of the largest and safest ski areas in the world. New for 2016 is the innovative Aquamotion, a state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor swimming and wellness complex.
Les Gets – 1,100m – 2,000m
Packed with traditional Alpine charm, Les Gets began as a small farming community. The slopes offer an ideal ski area for mixed abilities, and little skiers will love the mini train.