Thousands of lucky British children will be going skiing for the first time at half term. For their parents it will be a brilliant break – but only if planned properly.
To help you plan and organise your debut on the slopes, here are our expert top tips for families.
Find more advice on family skiing here.
1. Don’t waste money on expensive ski clothes for your children; they’ll outgrow them by next year. Borrow what you can and also scour the charity shops. 2. Sew name tags on all your children’s ski wear. There’s then a chance they’ll come back from ski school and other outings wearing their own clothes. 3. If you need a pushchair, take one with large wheels. Then it won’t get stuck in the snow. 4. Pack sun block sticks not sprays. Then you won’t have to take your gloves off when you want to rub it on. 5. Don’t pack any best clothes. They’re wasted in a ski resort. Use the space for extra gloves and hats. 6. If you need a baby bottle warmer take your own. Then you won’t have to queue to share the only one in the chalet. 7. Imagine the mess a broken bottle of Calpol would make in your luggage. So take sachets instead. 8. If your child needs disposable nappies, find room for a pack of your usual brand in your luggage – they will be much more expensive in resort, if available at all. 9. Don’t forget slippers 10. If there’s a coach transfer to the resort, sit as near to the front as you can. There’s then less chance of a windy road making your children sick. 11. Write you mobile number on a child’s hand or arm if they’re going to ski school on their own. 12. Don’t be tempted to go to watch your children in ski school. It could distract and upset them. 13. Invest in a set of walkie talkies. Then if you get separated on the slopes you can call each other. 14. Three rigid rules for all the family – never ski without a helmet, never ski alone and never ski after drinking alcohol. 15. Take snacks and entertainment for the plane and coach transfer to resort. As half term is one of the busiest weeks of the season, delays are likely.
View our last minute Half Term ski holidays
With so many new chalets and hotels popping up in various European resorts just in time for the coming season, we decided to give you a low down on our top 5 new places to stay on your next ski holiday. Whether it’s all inclusive, catered chalets or half-board you’re after, there are plenty of new accommodations that are bound to catch your eye.
The location of the Sunstar Alpine Hotel offers you access to a large linked ski area, with plenty of runs available for all abilities. The hotel boasts one-hundred and six bedrooms and is half-board, providing delicious buffet breakfasts, a five course evening meal and regular themed evenings, complete with a themed menu to match. The hotel lies in a quiet area of the resort, overlooking the forest and Untersee Lake, with the main village area just a few minutes walk away. Ski lifts are located an eight minute walk away and there is a free hotel shuttle bus and a free resort bus on hand to shorten your journey. Guests at the hotel will benefit from free wi-fi, ski storage with boot heating, a bar and a smokers lounge. After a long hard day out on the slopes, relax at the wellness centre with the indoor pool, steam room, sauna and fitness activities, plus massage, spa and beauty treatments. There is also table tennis, badminton, tennis and bowling available onsite. For those who are bringing children who are too young to ski, there is a non-ski kindergarten open six days a week.
The much loved and snowsure resort of Ischgl now welcomes Chalet Belmonte to the family - a large catered chalet, which sleeps up to forty-three guests. All rooms are ensuite and offer their own balcony or terrace area. The chalet is ideal for couples and groups, although cots can be set up in a number of the rooms if requested. The main lift is situated just a five minute walk away and the bars and restaurants just three minutes on foot. At breakfast, guests will be offered a choice of continental and cooked options and will also be provided with afternoon tea, a five course evening meal and a selection of complimentary wines. The onsite bar is a great place to wind down before your evening meal, with much deserved pre-dinner aperitifs and canapés on offer. As well as on-site ski boot storage, guests will also find a steam room, sauna and an infra-red cabin to soothe tired muscles after a hard day out on the mountain.
With a huge skiing area and a fantastic snow record, Tignes provides the backdrop to this brand new catered chalet, which sleeps up to nine people across four ensuite bedrooms. The chalet is ideal for families and groups and features a spacious living area with stunning views across the Grade Motte Glacier. The chalet also offers wi-fi access and handy ski lockers for storing your gear overnight. Located just twenty-five metres away from the lively bars and restaurants of Tignes Le Lac, this new chalet offers an ideal location for a ski holiday, with everything you need right on the doorstep. The Rossett lift is situated fifty metres from the front door and the Toviere lift just one-hundred metres, putting you in prime position to be one of the first up the mountain.
The well-known and popular Club Med resort has opened up a new luxurious hotel, this time located in the wonderful Val Thorens. The hotel features a contemporary design which uses spacious and light interiors, complete with floor to ceiling windows to offer guests stunning mountain views throughout. The hotel is all inclusive with a variety of flexible dining options available, including takeaway packed lunches and snacks so that you can make the most of your time on the slopes. You’ll also find bars serving complimentary drinks and a host of evening entertainment, including a nightclub. Also included in the package are free ski and snowboard lessons, access to snowsports such as tobogganing, plus a climbing wall, a fitness centre and a spa. All rooms in Val Thorens Sensations are ensuite and you can choose from a club room, deluxe room or suite. On top of this, ninety-percent of the rooms offer picturesque mountain views.
Getting away and hitting the slopes on a big group ski holiday is a fantastic way for family and friends to get together. Here are our top 5 resorts that will keep any group of friends or family happy throughout their ski holiday.
If you love the choice of skiing and attractions of large French resorts, but seek for a more cost-effective alternative then look no further than Soldeu. The attractive Pyreneean resorts sits at the centre of the Grandvalira ski area with access to a fantastic 210 km of pistes, so there is enough variety to satisfy the most demanding skier. With large properties, numerous restaurants, shopping and bustling night life there is plenty to do off the slopes as well. Andorra is well known for its duty free status and drinks are not served in uniform measures but by the amount that you want. This all helps to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere on ski holidays in Soldeu.
Les Deux Alpes has an extensive ski terrain and is snowboard friendly, with one of the best freestyle parks in Europe. With an impressive snow record, the ski area peaks at a huge 3600m so is guaranteed snow throughout the season. This mixed ability ski domain lends itself to all levels of skiers and snowboarders alike with endless fun to be had both piste side as well as village side in the bars, restaurants and other sports facilities that this fun filled town has to offer.
Set in the beautiful Ziller Valley, Mayrhofen has long earned its place as one of the world's top ski and snowboard resorts. The ski area is large, varied and high. The terrain offers a good mix of cruisers and steeps and is well laid out for beginner skiers around the mid station of the Finkenberg. For advanced skiers there is the Harakiri piste, as well as some impressive off piste ski terrain. There are good quality and affordable accommodation options which makes Mayrhofen a top resort choice for families and large groups . Mayrhofen is famous for the legendary end of season blowout, Snowbombing and has some of the finest Austrian après bars to keep you entertained throughout your holiday.
Skiing in Tignes in so vast, it is great for all abilities. Joint with the just-as-amazing resort Val d’Isere, the 300km Espace Killy ski area is one of the most loved circuits in the world. Tignes is perfect for adult groups with the large selection of accommodations and après across the resort, and families will love this ski area with the fantastic beginner areas and excellent ski and snowboards schools. Children will love the activities in Tignes, with ice skating, bowling, swimming pool and Husky rides on offer. I have had amazing ski holidays in Tignes with both family and friends groups, and still consider it to be one of my favourite ski resorts.
There is no surprise that Sauze d’Oulx is a firm favourite amongst British skiers, with over 400km of pistes over the extensive Milky Way ski area there is excellent skiing available for all skiers. From the stunning tree lined runs of Sportina to the black runs of Mount Motta and Mount Sises. With long hours of sunshine you can ski all day long then party all night long in the lively town. Down in resort, Sauze d'Oulx's original village has retained its old world charm, while the newer part provides all you need for a fun-filled holiday. The transfers are short, the accommodation is good value and the food is delicious.
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Skiing can bring such enjoyment for the whole family and with a little preparation in advance while booking your ski holiday, you and your children will love the whole experience more and they will end up being keener than you by the end of the week. Here are our top tips to think about when planning your exciting adventure.
Choosing your ski accommodation is a big decision for any ski holiday, and is even more important when deciding for your family trip. There are many factors that can make your week on the slopes an easier and more enjoyable experience so you can make the most of your time in the mountains. Being near the slopes and ski school meet point is paramount and makes the mornings less hassle when getting the kids, plus equipment, to ski school on time. There are some resorts and accommodations with childcare that take care of your children throughout the ski day so you can head for first lifts and the child care team will take the little ones to ski school and pick them up again after so you can stay out till last lifts. A catered chalet or club hotel provides the perfect setting for any family ski chalet holiday. Cosy surroundings, an intimate level of service and professional childcare all add up to a perfect week on the slopes. There are plenty of holiday options with childcare available in your chalet or hotel so you can enjoy peace of mind during your week. Childcare services include qualified English speaking nannies, exclusive ski school classes, variety of services depending on ages and flexible care. In selected resorts there is evening child care available which is perfect for children who aren’t quite ready for bed when it is time for the adult only dinner. Evenings are normally themed with a variety of games, storytelling, quizzes or even a mini disco! Resorts in France with evening childcare
Many resorts have an array of ski schools available but some of our ski holidays have the added bonus of exclusive small ski classes just for selected accommodations. With classes with no more than 8 children per instructor, you can have peace of mind that your children are having a safe, enjoyable time on the mountain whilst learning to perfect their turns.
Ski schools in France & Switzerland
For complete satisfaction on your family ski holiday, you cannot beat the services from an all-inclusive Club Med holiday. For 40 years Club Med has been running clubs for infants through to teenagers and has adapted its facilities so that kids can discover the pleasures of winter sports, as well as the fun of skiing. Some family holidays do not cater for teenagers, but at Club Med your youngsters will love their winter getaway with ‘Special Teenager Ski Programmes’ that gives them a chance to experience all techniques of alpine skiing, from freestyle to slalom and ski jumping. Read about our family trip to Club Med Valmorel
Igluski are pleased to offer a wide range of family ski holidays that can cater for children as young as 3 months. The correct childcare is key to a good family ski holiday and rather than packing all the toys and kit you need for the week we can help you find the perfect family location that will have basic childcare equipment already in resort, such as cots, monitors, bottles and much more.
Little Skiers are our favourite supplier of kids ski wear. It’s a family business, run by parents who love to ski, so they really know what they’re talking about when it comes to figuring out what to pack for your first ski trip with the family, along with what sizes you will need . They are a one-stop shop for everything from skis to helmets and jackets, so if you’re thinking about preparing for next season, head over to their website. We recommend taking an extra pair of gloves to avoid expensive purchases if they are misplaced, plus a good base layer as the kids will enjoy their day on the slopes much more if they are warm.
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"Just home from Christmas in Val d'Isere... this was the best ski holiday I have ever been on. Val is stunning, the hotel fabulous, staff sensational and skiing out of this world. We booked through Iglu. They were fantastic. Peter had great ski knowledge, offered advice and went the extra mile. " - Pamela (Dec 2015)