Thinking of going on a family ski holiday? Check out my top ten ski resorts for families from Crystal Ski and make sure you get it right!
It is so refreshing to see families getting together over dinner without iPads or ear phones in sight. To hear children chatting about what they accomplished that day and to see the pride in which they relay their stories. The fresh air, the exercise, the overall feeling that you are doing something good, makes skiing a great family holiday experience.
There are some things to watch out for though. You might not have happy kids at dinner time if your chalet is miles from the ski slopes, with no ski bus in sight! Likewise you don’t want to end up carrying two sets of skis and boots all the way home!
For this post, I got some advice from the ski specialists Crystal holidays who are the experts in family ski holidays. They also offer excellent childcare facilities in many of their hotels. Check out their family guide to the mountain which offers advice on childcare, ski school, what to wear, where to stay and lots more!
Home to the excellent 1st Wildschönau Ski School and Crystal Holidays Pepi Penguin Nursery childcare, Niederau is one of Europe’s top family resorts. There are plenty of wide nursery slopes and easy to use lifts. For any advanced skiers, your lift pass covers a further 145km in Alpbach. There are toboggan runs and horse-drawn sleigh rides and the nearby Wave Water Adventure World has plenty of slides for all the family.
Transfer time 1 hour 30 minutes from Innsbruck.
Chamrousse is an ideal choice for a first time ski holiday. With numerous self catering apartments built between the trees, not only is the setting perfect, but it offers great value too. There are plenty of slopes for beginners but advanced skiers can ski into Criox de Chamrousse, the highest point of the resort, for some black runs. There is a snow park, perfect for teenagers who have mastered the skills and a kids park for the younger ones. There are also lots of cross country skiing runs and best of all – your lift pass is free in this resort for 2016!
Transfer time 1 hour 30 minutes from Chambery.
Tignes offers a huge variety of accommodation to suit all tastes. Choose the family hotel Diva which houses the Crystal childcare team or the many chalets situated in the heart of the resort. It also offers slopes for all levels, with lots of nursery slopes and even off-piste skiing for any dare devils! It is part of the Espace Killy ski area, which gives access to glaciers in Tignes and Val d’Isère, but offers much better value than staying in the upmarket Val d’Isére. The resort is purpose built so lacks the winter wonderland feel, but offers world class ski facilities and non ski activities, such swimming pools and ice skating rinks.
Transfer time 2 hours 30 minutes from Chambery.
Avoriaz offers great facilities for a family ski holiday. Also purpose built so not quite the picture postcard, but good snow conditions are almost guaranteed. Kids will love the Aquariaz indoor water park. The natural snowpark with jumps in the trees, is great for any teenagers who are at an advanced level. It is car free so very easy to walk around and the streets are full of snow, so doorstep skiing is common with most accommodation. There are even horse-drawn sleighs if you want to get around the resort without walking!
Transfer time 2 hours from Geneva.
Alpe D’Huez, France
One of the sunniest and largest ski areas in France, Alpe d’Huez offers skiing to suit every level. It is home to the longest ski run in the world, the Sarenne, and has lots of beginners slopes very close to the resort centre. Choose to relax in the outdoor swimming pool, or try your luck at the bowling alley or ice skating rink.
Transfer time 2 hours and 15 minutes from Chambery.
When you think of Winter wonderlands, Alpbach springs to mind. It is one of Austria’s prettiest villages and with plenty of nursery slopes to keep the little ones happy. The ‘Ski Jewel’ from Alpbach to Niederau offers 145 km of piste for advanced skiers too. There is also an indoor swimming pool and outdoor ice rinks if you fancy a break from skiing.
Transfer time 1 hour 30 minutes from Innsbruck.
This quiet Italian village is located right on the border with France. This family resort is renowned for quiet slopes its short lift queues. It is connected to the Milky Way’s 400km of runs so perfect for advanced skiers too. There is also an ice rink and plenty of outdoor activities such as sledging and bum boarding.
Transfer time 1 hour 45 minutes from Turin.
Saas Fee, Switzerland
A high resort, snow is almost guaranteed in Saas Fee. There are lots of long ski runs with a dedicated family area close to the village where slopes are very quiet. The village is car free with plenty of good aprés ski bars to choose from. Kids will love the ice skating rink, swimming pool, dog sledding and the numerous taboggan runs. Every week there resort hold a flaming torch light walk and Swiss fondue night, a perfect way to round of a family day on the mountain.
Transfer time 3 hours from Geneva.
Seefeld hosted the Winter Olympics twice and recently the Youth Olympics so the skiing facilities are hard to beat. There is a separate area for beginners and intermediates as well as a large network for cross country skiing. There is an ice skating rink, a casino and plenty of restaurants and bars in the pedestrianised centre of the village. It also offers excellent floodlit night skiing with heated seats in their weatherproof chairlifts! It is also very close to Innsbruck if you fancy a day out sightseeing or even shopping.
Transfer time 45 minutes from Innsbruck.
Bardonecchia in Italy is located in a sunny valley, right on the French border. Kids will love the ice rink and sports centre and there are over 80 shops here if you fancy taking a day off skiing. Slopes are generally quiet with short lift queues. It is perfect for beginners and intermediates but your lift pass gives you access to Montgenévre in France if you fancy going a little further afield.
Transfer time 2 hours 15 minutes from Turin.
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