There’s a nip in the air and that means just one thing – ski season! We discover the very best places for a family ski holiday you’ll all treasure.
Whether you are a family of beginners or seasoned skiers, a holiday on the slopes provides the perfect opportunity to get out of London and enjoy sweeping mountainous landscapes and clean mountain air. It comes as a welcome break for urban families and the children love it.
Nursery Slopes: How To Plan Your Family Ski Holiday
When To Go on Your Family Ski Holiday
If you have pre-school children, you’re lucky – you can plan to travel outside of school holidays, thus avoiding the price hikes the travel industry imposes on parents.
For those who have to follow the constraints of the academic year, the period over New Year and February half term are renowned for being busy – especially as both state and independent schools have their half terms at the same time (as well as French, German and Austrian school holidays). With Easter Sunday 2023 falling on the 9th April, though, you’ve also got the option of plenty of resorts offering enough snow to enjoy some late-season skiing with your little ones.
Where To Go: Best Family-Friendly Ski Resorts
Avoriaz in the French Alps is a true family destination – and being car-free, means that all accommodation is ski-in, ski- out, limiting any of those long morning queues for lifts.
Norway is fast becoming a popular choice for families to discover Scandinavia. The Trysil resort, the largest in Norway, boasts the biggest children’s area in Northern Europe. The Northern location ensures a longer ski season from November to late April, which helps out with time or school holiday restraints.
Courchevel and The Three Valleys, France
If you love skiing in style, Courchevel is for you. The Courchevel 1850 Village des Enfants is the largest enclosed and secure children’s only ski area in the world, or for a slightly cheaper option, the rest of the Three Valleys – Méribel, Val Thorens, Les Menuires, La Tania, Saint Martin de Belleville, Brides les Bains and Orelle – offer an abundance of child-friendly accommodation at various budget levels.
Aspen, Colorado, USA
If you fancy going a little further afield, Aspen, Colorado is a great option for intermediates. The Rocky Mountain range is beautifully groomed and like most things American, enormous. The long distance (flights to Denver are 10 hours) turns the trip into a fully-fledged adventure, with no language barrier.
Where To Stay: Best Family-Friendly Ski Hotels & Kids Clubs
The good news is that most ski resorts lend themselves to family groups, so it is not difficult to find accommodation to fit your needs.
Club Med, Val d’Isère, France
Offering 215 deluxe bedrooms and suites, families can look forward to a luxury stay focused on experiences, from gourmet to wellness, in an exceptional setting in the new Club Med in Val d’Isère for a luxury all-inclusive ski holiday.
With a Mini Club Med® and a Junior Club, the Resort assists children and teens as they learn to ski or snowboard as well as offering a wide range of other activities. There are lessons for everyone and every skill level, so they can make progress, and for every age group, so they can have fun together.
Portetta Hotel, Courchevel, France
Set on the slopes at Courchevel 1650, Portetta is a superb ski-in ski-out hotel for a luxury family ski holiday, boasting a prime location at the centre of the resort. Here, the mini-Explorers club is exclusively for Scott Dunn guests staying at the hotel and will be completely complimentary for those staying between 9 January – 11 February, 2023.
Offering a well-equipped playroom and superbly located for the ski school meeting points, the club provides a convenient ski school drop-off and pick-up service, allowing a day free from disruption. With a large array of exclusive activities available for the little ones, guests can expect plenty of hot chocolate and crèpe trips, snowy play, treasure hunts and winter market visits. Guests looking to book ski lessons for the whole family when staying at Portetta can consult their dedicated Scott Dunn ski specialist, while Scott Dunn Explorers kids clubs offer a fun-filled and memory-packed holiday with an inspiring range of expert-led activities, perfect for families who love to come to the mountains and for parents looking to ski further afield.
Le K2 Chogori, Val d’Isère, France
For those staying in Val d’Isère with slightly older children and looking to book ski school lessons are encouraged to utilise Scott Dunn’s in house ski school specialist at Le K2, who will no doubt encourage them towards the likes of New Generation, which offers children’s lessons revolving around games, challenges and adventure!
After a long day on the slopes, guests hoping to translate this family fun to their hotel of choice are encouraged to stay at Le K2 Chogori, which offers a luxurious and traditional mountain getaway. Perfect for all ages, Le K2 Chogori’s dedicated staff love nothing more than looking after children, and kids will feel totally at home with the properties a gaming room, featuring various consoles and plenty of toys, arts, and crafts for the little ones – meaning children of all ages will be kept entertained.
M Lodge Hotel and Chalets, Saint Martin-De-Belleville, France
Brand new for December 2022 and launching ahead of the epic 2023 Alpine World Ski Championships held in Méribel and Courchevel in February next year, M Lodge Hotel and Chalets is the ultimate choice for an extravagant ski trip. Nestled into the mountain side with immediate access to the ski slopes, the chic resort is a true delight in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville.
M Snow Academy is the private ski school where different levels and style of lessons can be arranged, from alpine skiing, off slope, adults and children. The offers incredible facilities including a large swimming pool, Spa du M Lodge and the exceptional Table du M Lodge restaurant.
Armancette Hôtel, Saint-Nicolas de Véroce, France
Armancette Hôtel, a family-owned hidden gem in the remote town of Saint-Nicolas de Véroce, is a perfect destination for those looking to rejuvenate the mind and soothe the body after a long day on the slopes. Located at the centre of the five-star hotel, Armancette’s spa is a calm setting marked by pure serenity, overlooking the mesmerising Dômes de Miage mountain peaks beyond.
There’s also kid’s club for the little ones, and the option for larger groups – or those looking for ski-in ski-out facilities – to book one of the three standalone chalets which can sleep between 8 and 14 people.
Where To Stay: Best Family-Friendly Chalets
Best for Children: Chalet Machapuchare, Val d’Isère
Chalet Machapuchare commands uninterrupted views of the entire valley, from La Daille across pretty Val d’Isère. Sleeping up to 15 guests in 7 luxurious bedrooms, it offers the very best of serene alpine living. Perfect for families with school age children, the sprawling property features an indoor private pool for splashing about after the slopes, a cosy superbly equipped cinema room and snug areas for reading books and playing board games. Parents are well-catered for, too, with a spoiling outdoor hot tub, state-of-the-art gym complete with Peloton bike and a massage room.
Organised by the family concierge on hand 24/7, Purple Ski chalets have activities on offer that range from in-chalet visits and presents from Santa Claus, igloo-building, sledging, mini skidoo trips, horse and carriage rides, dog sledding, ice skating, treasure hunts, cinema evenings and more. Disney+ is also provided in all properties and kids will receive a complimentary Nintendo switch to play with and enjoy during their stay. Additional toys suitable for a range of ages can also be provided on request. All Purple Ski chalets come complete with a professionally trained, Michelin-star level private chef, so parents of fussy eaters need not fret. From teddy-bear picnics to pizza making evenings and kid-friendly menus nothing is too much trouble.
Best for Teens: Chalet Foinbois, Méribel
The perfect pick for families travelling with restless teenagers, the rustic-luxe Chalet Foinbois sleeps up to 15 guests across 7 bedrooms, ensuring plenty of room to spread out. Complete with a games room, gym and cinema room (perfect for those Disney+ movie marathons) and outdoor hot tub, this alpine bolthole will feel like the ultimate home-away-from-home. Enjoying a central location in Méribel Village, just a 5-minute chauffeur ride from the main ski lift and surrounded by restaurants, bars, shops and more, there’s plenty to explore – if families can tear themselves away from their private winter wonderland.
Best for Multi-Generational Escapes: Chalet Iona, Méribel
Set in its own secluded orchards, Chalet Iona offers unparalleled views across 13 pretty villages and settlements – stretching towards the Vanoise National Park and the magnificent Grand Bec mountain. Perfect for large families, Iona can be joined with Chalet India to accommodate up to 15 guests in total, meaning the extended family can be housed in their own private quarters.
Parents and teens will love the in-chalet sauna and outdoor hot tub while Chalet India can be transformed into a sprawling play area for little ones. Large communal living spaces provide the perfect setting in which to gather and enjoy a family feast, a movie night or even a dance party with the chalet’s very own vinyl collection and classic record player!
Chalet Carat, Courchevel, France
Nestled in one of the Alps’ most famous resorts and part of the extensive Trois Vallées ski domain, Chalet Carat offers timeless accommodation for up to ten guests.
Situated in the exclusive Bellecôte area of the resort, the timeless alpine style of Chalet Carat seamlessly blends the beauty of the landscape with its floor-to-ceiling windows and a traditional wooden aesthetic, plus is has all the latest modern facilities including swimming pool, spa area and cinema room.
Ramada Residences by Wyndham Saalfelden, Austria
For a lower-cost option, this resort offers 500km of ski slopes and traditional experiences to beginners and experts alike and is ideally located between Saalfelden and Zell am See resorts. The Ramada Residences by Wyndham Saalfelden offers the perfect base to explore the area and skiers, snowboarders, no matter the age or level have plenty to do after a day out on the slopes.
From trying the Austrian cuisine, ice skating, tobogganing, sleigh riding, a massage from the on-site masseur, or simply relaxing in the resort-based residence, there is something for everyone.
Chalet La Connivance, Megève, France
Just a ten-minute walk to both the heart of Megève and the nearest ski lifts, Chalet La Connivance is both central and secluded, in an exclusive neighbourhood overlooking the resort.
Sleeping 10-12 people, on entering the chalet guests are welcomed by the beautiful open-plan living space, with far-reaching views over Megève and to the mountains beyond. The outdoor spa is a truly unique place with a landscaped garden flowing harmoniously around a wooden hot tub and barrel sauna.
Arla Luxury Home, Lech, Austria
Bursting with endless luxury, comfort and first-class facilities, Arla Luxury Home offers a prime slope side position with breath-taking town and mountain views. With limitless flexibility, the residence can easily accommodate up to ten people, offering five uniquely furnished and ensuite rooms, spacious living and dining areas and several terraces, each presenting a magnificent alpine view.
The chalet also includes a 24/7 host & concierge, catering, ski instructors, childcare, car & helicopter transfers, as well as complimentary use of the neighbouring Aurelio Spa.
Things to Remember: Family Ski Holiday Accommodation
Self-catering apartments are available in all ski resorts and offer the most independence. They also work out rather cheaper but it is important to remember that you might feel the need for a little rest and luxury at the end of a long day shepherding your herd down the slopes.
Ski hotels range from basic bed- and-breakfast to five-star resorts. This type of break means that someone else does the cooking, cleaning and washing-up and also offers facilities such as swimming pools, spas, gyms and play areas. Prepare to be pampered, but pay for it.
Picturesque ski chalets are typical of alpine accommodation. Chalets tend to provide a full- board experience which means that, unless you hire the whole chalet, you share your meals and leisure time with other guests. Staff are often on hand to sweep the children off to a crèche or separate dining area if requested. Chalets have recently upped their game and many now offer spa facilities to match hotels.
Each ski destination has its perks and it is a good idea to find out its secrets. For example, the French ski resorts are flooded with university students in the week before Christmas. Expect noisy crowds in the evenings, but quieter slopes in the mornings.
Top Tips For A Family Ski Holiday From ABTA
- Make sure everyone is covered with Winter Sports cover
- Pack layers to keep warm
- Always wear a helmet
- Carry a piste map with you at all times and choose pistes suitable for your ability
- Make sure children are properly supervised at all times
- Remember you’ll be doing a lot of exercise, which can leave you hungry and dehydrated – pack a few small snacks just in case
- Take extra care in the sun and remember to pack a high SPF cream with you
- And finally – children love winter sports but keep an eye on them to make sure they are not attempting too much – they will probably be better than you by the end of the week anyway!
There are conflicting views about what age is best to get your children on the slopes. The French strap on skis as soon as a child can walk, others think it is best to wait until they are about three. Whatever you decide for your under-fours, there’s a ski school to suit. And once you’ve strapped them onto their baby skis, you’ll be astounded at the speed with which they learn – and envious of how little fear they show. Even the most apathetic of families will find it hard to ignore the competitive streak that a day on the slopes can ignite!
With the mixture of skiing, tobogganing and other fun-filled activities at the kids’ club, a ski holiday rarely prompts the cry: “I’m bored!” from your little ones. Specialist family ski destinations are packed with nurseries, qualified nannies and instructors, plus they offer itineraries to keep everyone busy from morning until night.
Teaching your children to ski yourself causes mixed emotions – potential parenting battles can be offset by the pride in seeing them swoop off for the first time. If you choose to pay someone to do it for you, make sure to get a certified instructor with experience of teaching young children. Your resort is sure to have one.