Going on a family ski holiday this year? The first thing to do is make sure your chosen resort is family-friendly, in a convenient location, with lessons for all abilities, plenty of activities for the kids, and a range of accommodation options if there’s a big group of you. To help make organising this year’s ski escape easy, we’ve put together a list of our favourite ski resorts for families.
Les Arcs is situated in the Savoie region of France, and is made up of four resorts. Arc 1600 and Arc 1800 are positioned close together above the town of Bourg St-Maurice. Arc 1800 is the larger of these two, and offers the most diversity in terms of runs. Arcs 2000 and 1950 are a little further away, and the names of all resorts relate loosely to their altitude.
The towns themselves are fairly quiet, which creates a peaceful environment for little ones tired after a day on the slopes. In terms of accommodation, we’d recommend staying at the Taj-I-Mah. It’s located close to the beginner’s slopes and they’ve created a spa menu specifically for children so the whole family can relax together after a day on the slopes.
Located in Tyrol, Austria, this resort is known as the ‘Diamond of the Alps’, thanks to its reliable snow cover, traditional village feel and status as one of the highest resorts in Europe. The town itself maintains a cosy, old-world charm, centred around the Hotel Edelweiss & Gurgl, the town’s original inn. As a result, there’s little traffic – making it ideal for families with small children.
As for the slopes, there’s 110km of powdery piste to explore, connected by 24 lifts. The relatively small size of this resort makes it suitable for beginners or for experienced skiers looking to hone their skills. There are many family-friendly accommodation options, such as the bijou Hotel Olympia, which is just three minutes’ walk from the village centre (perfect for little legs).
The French ski resort of Val d’Isère connects to the neighbouring area of Tignes, and together they offer 94 lifts and an impressive 300km of piste. There are a number of diverse runs for every ability, and the snow-sure conditions make this a hit with locals and international visitors alike. You can find the resort accessible from both Geneva and Chambéry airports, so it’s easy to reach from the UK. In addition to the slopes, the resort also hosts a number of annual snow-sport events, such as the Critérium de la Première Neige, a celebration of the season’s first snow.
The town itself is centred around a number of old farmhouses as well as a 17th-century church, lending it a certain rustic charm. We recommend Hotel Christiania, it’s located right at the foot of the slopes and close to the Solaise gondola, a big tick when travelling with little ones and all their ski gear.
Whistler is one of the largest ski resorts in North America. It’s only two hours from Vancouver, making it easily accessible for families. The resort comprises two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, which together offer over 8,000 acres of piste to explore. It’s also one of the best resorts to visit for guaranteed snow – the average snowfall being an impressive 12m. The Whistler Ski School offers lessons for all abilities in the dedicated learning area, giving newbies a chance to practise in a safe environment.
Whistler Village is safe and traffic-free, offering a diverse menu of coffee shops, bars and restaurants. Family-friendly accommodation options include the Westin. They have a variety of rooms and suites catered towards families and offer great childcare on site and direct access to the slopes too.
Based in a traditional farming village, the ski resort of Lech remains an attractive alpine gem. When combined with nearby resorts Zürs and Warth-Schröcken, Lech offers a total terrain of 180km. It’s the place to go if you prefer your slopes a little quieter – visitors are capped at 40,000 a day. The resort also enjoys a medium altitude of 1,450m that makes it gentle for families, and along with its linked areas, it has the title of snowiest area in the Alps. Every winter, it receives around 10.6m of snow.
It’s easy to get to, as it’s just 90 minutes from Innsbruck and two hours from Zurich. Chalet Hotel Elizabeth Lech is perfect for families seeking comfortable and relaxed accommodation with easy access – it’s close to the village centre and beginner lifts Fluhen and Schwarzwand.
Craig Burton is Managing Director of Ski Solutions.
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