You’re planning your first family ski holiday? Taking the family skiing is an amazing experience as the kids are at just the right age. To ensure that your experience doesn’t end up going downhill, we’ve put together a few top tips worth thinking about when booking.
With years and year of experience on the mountains, we’ve booked more than a few family ski holidays so take it from us, getting it right is easy, it takes just a little preparation. See our top tips for making your first family ski holiday awesome.
Choosing your resort
This is the most important family ski holiday decision you have to make. The Alps are filled with resorts – there are literally hundreds! And choosing the correct one for your family is key.
Pick a resort that has plenty of gentle, beginner-friendly slopes. In the classification system you’ll be looking for a resort with plenty of green pistes or even nursery slopes, such as Saint Lary Soulan.
It’s also important to find a resort that has plenty of ski schools on offer. If you or the kids have never skied before, it’s crucial to buy yourselves some lessons. Don’t make the mistake of so many before you and think you can teach each other – it’s a messy, stressful way to learn, and could be dangerous. Ski instructors are fully trained, and will have you up on your feet and whizzing down the mountain in no time.
Check out our list of ski resorts that are brilliant for families.
Picking a chalet
Choose your chalet wisely. Be honest – will you end up carrying the children’s skis and poles as well as your own if you have a walk to the pistes? If yes, then we highly recommend renting a chalet close to the pistes. Either that or ensure there’s a free shuttle bus from your accommodation to the slopes and town centre.
If you can find a chalet that offers kids clubs and activities as well, all the better! That allows you to continue skiing in the afternoon when the little ones are tired of the slopes.
Plan your entertainment
It’s important to choose a resort that gives you plenty of entertainment options. What you want is for all ages to be well-occupied throughout the holiday. Most likely in the mornings you’ll all head to the pistes to go skiing! Whether you’re climbing on the lifts to go to the blacks, or you’re shuffling along to the ski school, skiing is definitely the order of the morning in the Alps.
Come lunchtime, organise a café to meet in for some well-earned grub, and a run-through of the morning’s escapades. Easy on the vin chaud though, if you’re planning on heading back out to the slopes!
Younger children might want to try something different in the afternoon. Most resorts offer indoor swimming pools, bowling, tobogganing, and arts and crafts clubs. So there’s never a chance of the little ones getting bored.
In the evenings, most resorts have a good selection of restaurants and bars to go to, depending on what you fancy. Val Thorens and Les Deux Alpes are particularly good for après. Some restaurants also offer takeaway services, if you all just want to curl up around the fire in your chalet.
If you’re travelling with teens and older kids, see our guide to après ski holidays, for the low-down on great resorts with lively evenings.
Hiring ski gear
Having the right gear is important on any ski holiday, let alone your first family ski holiday! Wearing gear that’s old, too thin, or doesn’t fit will result in being damp, frozen, and sporting several blisters! Trust us, it’s a recipe for tantrums.
Order your gear rental when you book your holiday, but get it all fitted in the resort. That way the experts will be able to fit your boots, helmet and skis correctly.
If you want to buy your ski jacket and salopettes, gloves and goggles, you might find discount stores such as TK Maxx useful. They stock equipment for all ages at an affordable cost.
See our essential ski packing list and use our handy checklist to ensure you’re slope-ready.
Sorting out the timings
Consider booking your family ski holiday in the Spring. An Easter holiday will be slightly less chilly, often with gloriously sunny days on the mountain. It’ll also generally be a touch quieter and cheaper as well, so you shouldn’t have to worry about the resort being overwhelmed by families. It does, however, mean that the snow won’t be guaranteed, and the later you go, the higher the chance that the snow may be melting.
If you can afford not to, try not to book those crack-of-dawn flights. They’re alluringly cheap, but both you and the little ones will be exhausted by the time you get to your chalet. Whether it’s lunchtime or not, all you’ll likely want to do is have a quick bite and flop into bed.
The most important thing is not to overthink your first family ski holiday. It’s going to be awesome! Remember that this is a family holiday, and not a sports extravaganza. Get browsing our gorgeous French ski chalets, and start planning today. And if you do want to do a little preparation, take a look at our ski fitness exercises!