If you’ve got little ones in your family and you want to introduce them to the wonderful world of skiing, we know that you’ll want to choose your resort with care. You might need to factor in child-friendly hotels, the quality of the ski school available, and other extracurricular activities to keep you all occupied until its bed time.
Luckily, Inghams have already done all of that for you! Taking into account all of the above as well as a little something extra for Mum and Dad to enjoy during their downtime, our handy Insider’s Guide to the best resorts for family skiing covers all the day time activities that everyone will have fun doing, so you can relax and enjoy some quality family time.
Many hotels offer an evening babysitting service while you enjoy some personal time elsewhere in the hotel, or the nearby bars and restaurants. Leaving your children in ski school for the day will guarantee an action packed schedule of skiing lessons, followed by fun and games in the hands of professional ski instructors and kind and affectionate child minders for the day.
Highlights: Small, purpose built resort / ESF ski school / Extensive Portes du Soleil ski area at the price of 1 lift pass.
One of the delights of Avoriaz (besides the stunning scenery, access to the Portes du Soleil ski area, snow sure, traffic-free, charming atmosphere… just to name a few!) is its design. The village is a purpose-built resort and because of that, no door is more than 50m away from the centre of the village, and the whole area is almost unbelievably convenient for the modern family.
The ski school for little ones is run by the internationall renowned Ecole du Ski Francais (ESF) and children from 3+ years old can join Piou Piou the big yellow bird in the Village des Enfants (Avoriaz 1800) and learn the very basics of skiing and snowboarding before advancing onto the Big Bear level once they can safely stop and turn. Lesson structure runs with lessons in the morning or afternoon and the rest of the time being occupied with a kids club; with play time and arts and crafts. Parents can be assured that their children will be occupied and well looked after during their time with the ESF ski school.
ESF now organise family lessons, so families can either stick together while learning a new sport in one go, or parents can be on hand during their children’s learning process. These small family groups needn’t be for complete beginners either, they also provide a perfect opportunity for the whole gang to polish their technique with the help of a professional.
The resort of Avoriaz itself sits on the doorstep of the Portes du Soleil ski area, which holds plenty of pistes and areas for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities, as well as even more off-piste opportunities for the more daring skiers! There is almost more than one exciting freestyle park for the more adventurous, including the Burton Kids Parkway for the little shredders.
For Mum and Dad: There is a great après ski culture alive and kicking in Avoriaz, with plenty of bars and restaurants on and off the piste. While the kids are in ski school or day care, take the opportunity to grab a drink, and soak up the beauty of the snow and sun in the Portes du Soleil.
Family fun: Don’t forget your swimming costumes! On a whiteout day families can head to the fun Aquariaz indoor swimming pool complex with water slides, saunas, whirlpools, and more. Pay at the local price, it keeps everyone active and happy!
If you’re searching for accommodation at good value and caters for everyone, then head to Le Saskia Apartments in the Falaise area. This hotel is extremely family friendly with a games room to keep the children occupied in the evening, and an unbeatable ski-in-ski-out location on the slopes. The hotel was recently renovated to a high standard, and is only a 5 minute walk from the centre of the resort.
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Alpe d'Huez, France
Highlights: Great resort for mixed abilities / ESF ski school / Les Deux Alpes included in lift pass.
Part of the Grandes Rousses Massif ski area, Alpe d’Huez is another resort that is fantastic to go to if you are skiing with a group of mixed abilities. There’s even something for the littlest of little ones, with pre-bookable ESF ski kindergarten school for infants (2.5 years-5 years old) and a pay locally non-ski kindergarten for babies and toddlers.
The internationally renowned Ecole du Ski Francais, ESF, ski school gathers in the centre of Alpe d’Huez village which is conveniently accessed from the nearby hotels and chalets, and ESF also offer guided backcountry tours for the more experienced skiers who want to stretch their wings a little!
Parents can rest and be at ease that their children are being well taken care of in the ESF ski school and child care day programmes. Cafes, restaurants and venues across the village are proud to be extremely child-friendly, and to boot there are many hotels that are exclusive to families with play areas, children’s dinner times and child monitoring in the evenings.
The best areas for beginner skiers and children are centred around the top of the Telecentre ski lift, with plenty of green and blue runs fanning out from this area, and advancing onto red runs so you can progress with ease.
For Mum and Dad: The sculptural ice caves at the top of the Grandes Rousses DMC lift might be a bit scary and intimidating for the young ones, but can make a wonderful stop-off for Mum, Dad and teens during a brief break to catch your breath. The Grotto des Glaces change their appearance every year and the stunning works of art are lit up with breath taking lighting displays and is well worth poking your head inside for a look around!
Family fun: If there’s one activity that everyone in the whole family will love, it’s husky sledding! A sledge pulled by a team of exciting husky dogs who are yapping and jumping to go, you can cruise through the beautiful alpine landscape on this exhilarating adventure that’s perfect for all ages.
Let Inghams take over the house keeping when you stay with us at Chalet Pregentil, a chalet perfectly designed for families and small groups of friends. Located at the heart of the old village in Alpe d’Huez, the nearest lift is only a two minute walk away and the Telecentre lift will take you to heart of the resort. Terms and conditions apply to children under the age of 11 staying in chalets.
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La Plagne, France
Highlights: Expansive Paradiski Ski Area / Loads of extracurricular activities / ESF ski school.
La Plagne sits alongside Les Arcs in the extensive Paradiski ski area, which makes it a fantastic resort for a family that has children and relatives of mixed abilities. From the gentle blue runs that are scattered around the bottom of the mountain to the more challenging blacks over by Arc 2000, there is something for everyone.
Children can benefit from the internationally renowned Ecole du Ski Francais (ESF) ski school, children as young as 4 years old can join Piou Piou’s ski class, where they’ll learn the basics (aided by Piou Piou the big yellow bird!) before they can advance on to Bear’s club. There are lots of centres where the ski schools gather in the Paradiski ski area but there are several exclusive children’s nursery slopes and kindergarten areas in Plagne Centre and its surrounding areas.
There is still plenty of fun to be had on the snow when not skiing or snowboarding! La Plagne holds not one, but two extensive tobogganing runs that are great fun for the whole family: Colorado and Eldorado runs. There is also the new ‘Airboarding’ form of tobogganing that can be enjoyed once the lifts close, and enjoy the last run back to the village in a family ‘snakegliss’- where you join your sledges and toboggans together to make your way down the mountain in a snake formation. There is also an ice cave worth visiting (at the top of the Bellecote gondola), and in Bellecote there is a heated outdoor swimming pool that is available at a local price.
For Mum and Dad: And worth mentioning that if you’ve got children 14+, there is the Olympic Bobsleigh run in La Plagne that is open every day of the week to the public (except Mondays) and lets you become an Olympic bobsleigh champion for a few moments! You can have a go on the run yourself, but it certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted!
Family fun: If you’ve got a bigger gang to entertain in the evenings once the lifts have stopped and the sun has set, then perhaps you’d be interested in heading to the bowling alley at Belle Plagne. The alley comes with a bar too, if you fancy a pint of beer or a glass of wine.
The wonderful Hotel Carlina offers some fabulous family rooms with bunk beds for the little ones in Belle Plagne. A prime ski-in-ski-out position and a 5 minute walk from the centre of the resort, the hotel offers a friendly and homely atmosphere. There is also a play room for children, and a spa, pool and sauna suite for the adults to enjoy.
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Highlights: Austria’s Most Beautiful Village’ / Tobogganing / Night time skiing.
Heralded as Austria’s ‘Most beautiful village’, Alpbach sees an enormous influx of British families heading out to this quaint little town every year to get their snow fix. The ski area is best suited for intermediate skiers and there is a fantastic ski school offering classes and lessons to a variety of different ages and abilities.
Kids from the age of 4 years old can join Bobo’s Kinder-Club with the safe and protected child-exclusive nursery slopes in Inneralpbach. Learning to ski is fun with activities and games based around the learning, and good piste etiquette is taught too, aided by the support of Bobo the Penguin and professional ski instructors. There are lessons available in English, and kids are encouraged to progress rapidly and advance on to becoming brave, independent skiers.
For the older children and young adults who are already strong skiers and snowboarders, there is an exciting freestyle snowpark in Alpbach with a variety of obstacles, kickers and boxers to keep them entertained! You can even get some professional tuition in the park with the help of the local ski school.
If you fancy a break as a family from skiing and snowboarding then why not opt for a spot of tobogganing? There are eight tobogganing runs across the Alpbachtal Seenland area and there are many traditional huts along the way where you can stop off in for a snack and a quick drink! Grab a Tyrolean Specknödel (bacon dumpling!) and wash it down with a drink before continuing to the end.
There is also a full après ski culture that takes place as some very popular bars in the area, so once the lifts have closed head to the bars (many are welcoming of children too) that are clustered around the base stations and near the ski bus stops.
For Mum and Dad: When the kids are being looked after for a full day in ski school, grab a pair of snowshoes and discover one of Alpbach many scenic winter walking routes. There are over 70km worth of routes around the area, and you can even enjoy make the most of the hotels offering evening babysitting and indulging in a romantic torch lit night time excursion with a guide
Family fun: On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays the pistes at Reith im Alpbachtal are lit up with flood lights and stay open from 6:30pm to 9:15pm. Take this great opportunity to practice your skiing with your children during this extra time on the slopes before heading back to the hotel.
Slip into the worry-free holiday mode at the Romantik-Hotel Böglerhof in Alpbach. The hotel is exclusive to Inghams and includes free child supervision for children ages 3-12 years old (6 days a week). The hotel is also centrally located in the heart of the village with the ski bus stopping directly outside. There is also a leisure area with a heated outdoor/indoor swimming pool, saunas and a steam room.
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Highlights: Small resort / Ideal for beginners and intermediates / Child supervision in selected hotels.
Families love the small, unpretentious skiing on offer in the Austrian town of Obergurgl, the ‘Diamond of the Alps’. The lift systems are modern and efficient, and the village has no through traffic and few day visitors, so remains quiet and uncrowded by cars and people. The resort is also extremely snow-sure and has been praised for its good coverage over the years.
A great resort for beginners and intermediate skiers, many people who come to Obergurgl are seeking a relaxed pace of skiing and snowboarding, away from the fast crowds. The village is jolly, with a good and lively après scene in the afternoon that packs up early for the evening so the children can get some rest.
Children can join Bobo’s Kinderclub for ski lessons from the age of 3 years old, and there is day time supervision (including lunch and an afternoon of activities). Bobo the Penguin introduces fun and games into learning how to ski, incorporating good piste etiquette into the games and activities. An afternoon at Bobo’s may consist of handicrafts and playtime in the snow. Alternatively there is the Kindergarten club for babies and toddlers who are too young to learn to ski.Older kids who are independent skiers and snowboarders will enjoy the Funslope (non-freestyle terrain) as well as the Quattro Snow Park (freestyle terrain with kickers and boxes), which pushes their abilities and boundaries to give them a confidence boost.
For Mum and Dad: There are some wonderful gift shops in and around the village of Obergurgl that include sportswear, fashion, souvenirs and gifts. Great opportunity to find a unique gift for any upcoming birthdays and festive seasons.
Family fun: Pull your ice skates on and take the little ones out for some fun on the ice! A flood lit ice rink sits opposite the old St. Bernhard’s mountaineers chapel in Obergurgl, you can enjoy a spot of hand-in-hand ice skating in the evenings after the lifts have closed.
You can enjoy staying in a prime ski-in-ski-out location at the base of the Hohe Mut and Rosskar lifts in the Hotel Edelweiss & Gurgl in the centre of Obergurgl. A buzzing après ski bar sits on its doorstep, and the hotel is also home to one of the finest pool and spa areas in Obergurgl. With Inghams Plus you can also make the most of the late afternoon-evening child supervision on offer, available Sunday-Friday (minimum age 4 years old).
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Highlights: Two countries, two resorts covered by one lift pass (Switzerland, Zermatt- Italy, Cervinia) / Extensive modern lifts / Great for older children and young teens.
If you have slightly older, and independent children who can ski and snowboard on their own without the help of the ski school, then perhaps a more sophisticated resort like Cervinia is the best place to head. The domain stretches over the Italian border into Swiss Zermatt, so there is plenty of terrain to explore and take at your own pace.
Cervinia is a great resort for anyone, from beginners to intermediates to improve on their abilities. It is also a very popular destination for Italians who travel up to the mountains at the weekend and enjoy a relaxed and calm pace of skiing and après culture.
The Italian ski school, Scula dei Sci, is limited in the area (and only runs Monday-Friday), but Inghams are happy to help you arrange English lessons for your little ones. At Plan Maison there is a kindergarten play area that is cowboys and Indians themed, and can be reached by cable cars from Cervinia, the area is very snow-sure due to altitude.The skiing itself is extensive: wide and easy runs are serviced by fast and modern lifts from Cervinia and you can ski down to Zermatt on the other side which is great if you have teens and young adults skiing as part of your group because they have the independence to explore and push their boundaries.
For Mum and Dad: If you’ve booked your trip over the weekend then you’re in for a bit of après ski fun! The whole resort comes to life on Friday and Saturday with Italian families who travel up from Milan and Turin to get their snow fix, so why not join in for a bit? One of the most popular bars in the village is at the Chalet Hotel Dragon - The bar is run and hotel is run by Inghams.
Family fun: Try something a little different on your holiday this winter- in Cervinia there is a 1km long area of piste dedicated to the exhilarating sport of Snowscooting and Airboarding! Airboarding has taken the world by storm as a new, faster and easier alternative to the classic sledge, and is makes for a huge amount of fun.
Make the most of Inghams Plus when you stay with us at the Hotel Punta Maquingnaz in Cervinia. As part of the resort deal you can get a free child lift pass as well as free child places in ski (terms and conditions apply). The Hotel Punta Maquingnaz sits in a great location in the centre of the resort, a one minute walk away from the Cretaz draglift. There is also a spa with a Turkish bath, sauna and relax area.
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Saas Fee, Switzerland
Highlights: Snow sure / Small and intimate resort / Family-friend ski funpark.
Crowned as ‘the Pearl of the Alps’, Saas-Fee is a great little resort, very snow-sure and wonderful for families. There is a very large nursery area with gentle green and blue slopes which advance on to a network of more challenging runs you can tackle at your own pace. The village is traditional and car-free (traffic only goes to certain areas), which allows people to wander about the streets at leisure, and the standard lift pass will also cover Saas-Almagell and Saas-Grund in the valley.
The ski area is relatively small which can be a blessing for families who prefer to stay together. Kids can join Snowli the Rabbit’s ski school in Saas-Fee, and expect expert tuition in a safe, enclosed environment with skiing starting at 3 years old and snowboarding at 7 years old. There are organised childcare packages that will keep your little ones occupied for the day that include lessons, lunch and afternoon play time.
For the budding freestylers there is the Morenia freestyle park which has a variety of obstacles for all abilities. Saas-Fee is a haven for the intermediate skier, so the resort remains relatively tranquil during the day.There is a good choice of restaurants on and off the mountain, and the après ski culture comes to a quiet end in the early evenings so families can return to their chalets and hotels and have a restful night.
For Mum and Dad: Cross country skiing, or Nordic skiing as it is better known, is a peaceful and therapeutic yet demanding exercise that will see you gliding across the snowy landscape, as opposed to downhill! It is a child-friendly activity too if you don’t feel like splitting the gang up.
Family fun: Why don’t you all have a go at the Saas-Fee Funpark? Not to be confused with a freestyle terrain park, the fun park is full of gentle bumps, obstacles, features and woodland runs. Ski through tunnels, under arch ways and don’t forget to high-five the big pillow on your way out! It might be a short and quick feature but it’s great fun to do together as a team.
With the nursery slopes adjacent to the hotel, the Hotel Sasserhof has an unbeatable location, and better yet- there are FREE child places on offer (T’s&C’s apply)! There is an extensive spa and wellness area that is also open to children with a kid’s paddling pool.
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Highlights: Small, back-to-basics ski resort / Spas and wellness centres in the village / Jungfraujoch viewing station- highest point in Europe.
The resort of Wengen, nestled into the Jungfrau ski region that includes Grindelwald and Mürren, is a quiet and unpretentious area, great if you’re looking for some down-time with the family in a small area without much hubbub. But while the children are at ski school, the Jungfrau Region is at your finger tips with the extensive ski lift network covered by one pass.
The small village is almost completely traffic free, and the ski schools gather right at its heart. The ski school that operates in Wengen is very back-to-basics and no frills attached type of school that offers lessons in morning or the afternoon. Children can participate in group lessons in the morning and enjoy a fun-filled afternoon at Snowli the Rabbit’s Kinderclub. You can opt for full or half-day classes to suit the needs of your children, and more advanced kids can arrange to meet their parents after their lessons for an afternoon of family skiing.The Red and Black League ski courses are in place for the more advanced kids who really want to push their boundaries, and they take place for a whole day.
Wengen is a great place to head to if you’re looking for a quiet family-orientated place in the evenings, for there are very few, if any, rowdy nightclubs and bars. The short high street is lined with a few shops and acts as the hub of the village, so a little shopping wouldn’t go amiss.
For Mum and Dad: If you want an afternoon away from the skiing and snowboarding, and away from the kids, you’ll be pleased to know that hotels around Wengen open the doors of their spas and wellness centres for drop ins at a local price. So unwind a little at the spa and wellness centre in the Hotel Victoria-Lauberhorn where there are saunas, steam rooms and massages on offer.
Family fun: Jump on the train and enjoy a day out with the family to the Jungfraujoch viewing station- the highest point in Europe! You can catch the funicular railway to the top station which leads through the Eiger and Mönch mountains to the most spectacular view at the top. There is also the Schilthorn revolving restaurant to be found there.
Sitting opposite the lifts and nursery slopes is the Hotel Sunstar Alpine, a family run hotel that has been recently renovated. There is a children’s play area and a cosy bar, as well as an indoor swimming pool with spa facilities available. Better yet- there are a range of activities that come free with your hotel reservation.
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Highlights: Snow sure / Great family atmosphere and Canadian charm / Snow-tubing.
Like many purpose-built resorts, guests who visit Mont Tremblant in French-speaking Canada (Quebec) can appreciate how easy it is to navigate the village of the resort, free from any sudden steep inclines and the chairlifts no more than a stones throw away from most of the hotels. It is a small resort, but offers a great variety of different pistes for all abilities.
Intermediates and beginners who are interested in taking it easy while skiing, stick to the ‘South Side’ of the resort, as for those who appreciate a challenge and ambitious teens who might be interested in a bit of freestyle, the black runs and freestyle parks are clustered around the ‘North Side’ of the resort. There is an ambitious 30-acre freestyle park here, available at a small charge.
One of the delights of the ski school hosted by Tremblant is how it encourages children to be environmentally conscious. Mother Nature Camp (hosted in the 2 acre Tam-Tam Zone, tucked to the left of the South Side of the resort) offers full day supervision for children ages 3-4 years old with an on-snow learning experience that includes nature walks in the snow, and getting the little ones acquainted with nature and animals as they learn to ski in a safe and controlled environment. Lunch and snacks are also provided during the day.
For Mum and Dad: While the kids are in ski school, Mum and Dad can enjoy a romantic snowshoeing excursion up into the beautiful peaks of the Rocky Mountains. Your guide will lead you to a cabin high up in the mountains where you’ll settle down for a hearty late afternoon lunch, hence the name of this excursion: ‘Snowshoe and Fondue’!.
Family fun: The fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down and the lifts close for the day! In Tremblant there is a great snow-tubing park that is guaranteed to be a barrel of laughs regardless of your age. Children as young as 4 years old can take part, and the best part is: stay in one of the resorts hotels and get free access.
Enjoy some of the Canadian charm in the village and stay at the Hotel Fairmont Tremblant, an extremely popular hotel in the town and it’s easy to see why! Parents can enjoy the wonderful swimming pool and spa on site, and children can even benefit from a games arcade.
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Highlights: Santa’s Lapland! / Excellent family destination / very gentle beginners resort.
If you want a real treat for the little ones that will brighten their eyes with wonder and give them memories to last a life time then how about a trip to Lapland to see Santa Claus himself? And then, of course, with a little bit of skiing on the side! Trips to see Father Christmas and his workshop can be arranged by Inghams when you book your holiday with us.
The resort of Levi sits within the Arctic Circle in Northern Finland, and is a charming small town that is blanketed in white snow for most of the year. There is Alpine downhill skiing available and families with young children will enjoy the cosiness that the resort and the small skiing area to offer. A back-to-basics ski school runs in Levi and will equip your children with the necessities of skiing so that they can advance with confidence as an independent skier. Most lessons adhere to a group structure but you can opt for private lessons too.
There is also a ‘Kids Land’ at the front of the piste where there are multiple activities happening every day that will keep children occupied for a few hours. From sledge races, to an adventure with Leevi the Wolverine in the forest, there is no limit to the fun going on at the Kids Land. For the littlest of people (6 months onwards), there is a warm and safe day care centre at Tenavatokka.One of the fantastic things about Lapland is, of course despite the fact that Santa and his elves are not too far away, the whole resort and area is extremely family friendly. Excursions are designed with children in mind, and you won’t find that attention to detail elsewhere.
For Mum and Dad: Northern Norway and Finland are famous for their signature saunas. Most spas are a bit reluctant to let children into their luxurious retreats, so while the kids are having their lessons or playing in the swimming pool, grab a quick break in one of the many different kinds of saunas that Levi boasts. A revitalizing experience for both body and mind.
Family fun: In most Alpine resorts, snowmobiling isn’t suited for the smaller kids and there is often an age restriction on this activity. However, in Lapland kids can enjoy a snowmobiling adventure from the safety of a wagon towed behind the snowmobile, and altogether you can dash through the snow! Inghams will be delighted to help you book your snowmobile safari when you arrange your holiday.
Families can enjoy a little independence in the K5 Cabins, located in the heart of Levi and only a five minute walk away from the Zero Point base station. The cabins boast of extremely comfortable accommodation with ample sleeping space on a mezzanine level for children and young adults. There are also some friendly reindeers on site, and for a couple of Euros you can pick up some delicious lichens to feed them with! There is a restaurant on site, but the rooms contain a few basic self-catering appliances (refrigerator and 2-ring hob).
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