So you’ve finally taken the plunge and you’re going to take the kids away for a holiday on the snow but where do you go? You may already have some ideas, but the resort you remember fondly from your twenties, which had a great après scene, may not be the best option with babies, toddlers or young kids in tow!
Priorities with children will centre around making your life, and theirs, as easy as possible. So questions you may want to ask are:
- How far are the nursery slopes from the main accommodation in the resort?
- What other activities, apart from skiing or snowboarding, are available?
- What childcare options do we have?
- What is the transfer time from the nearest accessible airport to the resort?
- How near is everything? Will I have a long walk or drive between the slopes, childcare pick up and the chalet/ apartment/ hotel?
Some of the above will need more consideration than others depending upon the age of your children. Really young ones will need a nursery whilst the teenagers are likely to want a park with jumps and rails. There are number of places that list family-friendly resorts such as those listed in The Telegraph and Guardian newspapers. But beware, as some of these are more geared up for skiers than snowboarders. Below are a few I have highlighted.
Good family resorts in Europe include:
Avoriaz, France: traffic free centre with good, accessible ski schools and a newly built indoor water park. Plus if you want the little ones to snowboard MINT Snowboard school specialises in teaching the little ‘uns. Avoriaz won the World Snow Awards for most improved family resort in 2012 and is welcoming to snowboarders with several snow parks.
Les Gets, France: has a compact centre with all accommodation close to the slopes. It is also close to Geneva airport (50km) so has a short transfer time. There is a dedicated children-only area of the mountain and mostly blue and red runs for them to progress to. However, there is a snow park and an area the other side of Les Gets called Mont Chery, which has mostly black and red runs for the more adventurous members of the party.
La Rosiere, France: despite marketing itself to families, and there a number of family tour operators based here such as Esprit, Crystal, Inghams and Thomson, La Rosiere is one of the resorts more attuned to skiers.
Saas Fee, Switzerland: traffic free centre but geared in winter towards families who ski. In summer, due to its high altitude glacier, summer freestyle parks, pipes and boardercross course, freestyle snowboarders abound. But it is not really a place for families wanting to snowboard in the winter.
Laax, Switzerland: a real snowboard orientated resort with great parks for the teenagers and gentle tree-lined pistes for beginners to progress to. Laax hosts several freestyle snowboard competitions including The Brits and is probably best avoided by families with young children when the comps are in town.
Selva Val Gardena, Italy: a relatively short transfer time from Innsbruck (under two hours) and a pretty, traditional village. Childcare can be limited unless you are travelling with a specialist tour operator as Italian families tend to take grandparents along for child minding duties. Despite a plethora of skiers making up 90-95% of slope users we had a great family holiday here with Italy providing delicious food and good value.
Good family resorts in North America include:
Tremblant, Canada: a long way to travel with small children but Tremblant has a good reputation for being child-friendly with ski in and ski out accommodation and other non-snow activities such as snowmobiling, dog sledding and a water park. The Kid’s Zone for those aged 3-12 is being launched this season helping children to get to grips with snow sports through play.
Smugglers Notch, USA: another long-haul destination but this resort in Vermont is consistently mentioned in various company Top 10 resorts for family friendly resorts and has won many awards. There is the dedicated Burton Riglet Park which has a ‘treehouse’ designed for 3-6 year olds: checkout the clip below.
As well as the kids you also need to consider the adults in your party as their priorities and desires will need to be taken into account. After all it is their and your holiday too, so have fun researching and happy hunting for your perfect family resort.
Ta ta for now,