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15 Tips for Half Term Family Skiing

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.     Half Term Skiing Top Tips   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

Top 5 Festive Ski Holidays

Experience the Ultimate White Christmas What better way to ensure a white Christmas than in a ski resort? Christmas ski holidays give you a charming and traditional setting for enjoying the festivities with friends and family. Chalets and hotels are delightfully decorated, Christmas dinner is taken care of by the staff and you may even get Father Christmas stopping by for a visit! Skiing at Christmas also means that you enjoy guilt free overindulgence after a morning on the slopes. Here's our top 5 Christmas' with a difference:     5. St Anton, Austria If you want to celebrate the festive season to the max then St Anton is your place. If you are looking for a party rather than Father Christmas, this is the resort to go to. View more about St Anton   St Anton village © TVB St. Anton am Arlberg / Thomas Klimmer 4. La Rosiere, France For a family friendly Christmas, La Rosiere in France is the place to be. The attractive, tree lined resort shapes the perfect setting for the festivities. Christmas eve kicks off with an torch-lit descent and instructors ski show, before waking up to beautiful snowy slopes on Christmas morning. View more about La Rosiere   La Rosiere © Julien Gadet 3. Pragelato, Italy This cluster of small authentic style chalets is perfect if you are looking for an intimate Christmas with your family or group. The rustic alpine setting makes an enchanting retreat for festive period. View more about Pragelato Club Med Pragelato Chalets 2. Mayrhofen, Austria Discover the true spirit of Christmas in Mayrhofen this winter. If you’re arriving Christmas week you can catch the last weekend of Advent at the Forest Festival to experience Tyrolean customs, the Christmas markets and enjoy the special anticipation of Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day head up the Ahorn and visit one of our favourite mountain bars, the White Lounge. The bar sits inside an Igloo and is the perfect stop for the first drink of this special day and creates an unforgettable festive experience. View more about Mayrhofen   Mayrhofen Advent at the Forest Festival 1. La Tania, France For the perfect Christmas Ski Holiday this season head to the winter fairytale village of La Tania for a truly festive atmosphere. With fantastic ski slopes, chocolate box style chalets and the beautiful picturesque alpine setting, you are guaranteed a magical Christmas. On December 24th there is a Christmas party which Santa skis down the mountain to join in and then lifts are open as usual on December 25th for a fun packed day on the slopes. View more about La Tania   Christmas in La Tania Wildcard: Lapland Head to Santa’s home for Christmas for a once in a lifetime experience. This winter wonderland tucked deep in the Arctic Circle will make all your childhood wishes come true. Meet Santa, take a ride in a Reindeer sleigh, go husky sledding and unearth this magical land. For more information on holidays in Lapland, call us a speak to one of our Lapland Experts View more Ski Holidays at Christmas or December Ski Deals   By Krystelle 

What To Consider When Booking Your Family Ski Holiday

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. 5. Accommodation with Childcare 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 4. Ski School 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  3. All Inclusive with Club Med 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 2. Childcare Equipment 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. 1. Where to Buy Kids Ski Gear 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. By Krystelle View our board on Pinterest here

Top 5 Family Friendly Resorts

A ski holiday is a great opportunity for the family to spend some quality time together. With family-friendly accommodation, ski schools and a range of family fun, there is no better way to spend time away with your family. We spoke to 11 year old Zara and here is what she had to say: "I love skiing, I have been skiing for seven years now and visitied lots of ski resorts. My favourite ski holiday was Meribel, I love the snowpark and the beds in the Hotel Tarentaise are super comfy. Tignes is a really friendly resort, Evolution have great English speaking instructors and after a day on the slopes I love skiing back down to resort and hearing the music blasting from Loop Bar. I go to the swimming pool most evenings and love the husky rides. In La Plagne it is so easy to go bum boarding after skiing as the hotel is on the piste. There are lots of children in La Plagne so ski school and kid’s club was really fun."     Top 5 Family Friendly Resorts   1. Meribel With a huge range of beginner and intermediate pistes, it is the perfect resort for a family holiday. Children benefit from plenty of beginner friendly ski areas, and will love the mini boardercross and animal themed Moon Wild. 2. Tignes Skiing in Tignes in so vast, it is great for all abilities. There are several free lifts for beginners and has excellent ski and snowboards schools. Children will love the après ski in Tignes, with ice skating, bowling, swimming pool and Husky rides. 3. Saas Fee Saas Fee has one of the largest beginner areas separate from the main slopes, yet is still next to town and right behind the Chalet Hotel Annahof. Families will love the Ice Pavilion and the 3500m high revolving mountain restaurant. 4. La Plagne This skiers Paradise is an ideal choice for families of all abilities. There is an excellent selection of family friendly accommodation throughout the resort and has a great reputation for it’s encouraging ski schools. 5. Lapland Children will love skiing at the Home of Santa Claus. Families can enjoy the thrill of Reindeer sleigh rides, husky sledding and snowmobiling. Ski resorts are much smaller in Finland but there is so much more to experience in this magical winter wonderland.

Driving To The Alps With Kids

Kirsteen, keen skier and mother of two, gives us her top tips on driving to the Alps with kids. This was our third drive to the mountains — and one of many road trips around France — so we thought we had it all sussed but this time there were a few key differences and we learnt a few new tricks for next time. Travelling on a peak travel date in the school holidays This will make a significant difference to your journey, we of course realised this, but underestimated exactly how much of a difference. Although our previous trips had been during the school holidays they were at Easter. This time we were heading down to the Alps for the week either side of New Year along with an army of 4x4s from the home-counties and half of Holland, Belgium and France. This resulted in very slow moving traffic from just before Lyon, all the way to Moutiers. There were no accidents or road works just weight of traffic. We were quite prepared that there would be more traffic and thought we had planned accordingly but had misjudged quite how many other people would be making this road trip too. Overnight stops We usually incorporate an overnight stop, which makes the journey less stressful in the event of any hold ups. All but one of our trips have included an overnight stop. On one occasion we were leaving on the Sunday and had to get back for school on the Monday, so had to do it in a ‘oner’ which was fine as there was no snow and we didn’t have any hold ups but could make for an unpleasant day if there were. On our first two drives to the mountains we did the lion’s share of the driving on day one and stopped overnight near Lyon, leaving a short drive in the morning, a leisurely lunch and plenty of time to explore the resort on the day of arrival. This is what we will do in future — on the most recent trip we decided to leave late in the day and overnight in Reims and although we left Reims at 6.30 am with the aim of ‘beating the traffic’ I think the only way we would have beaten the traffic would have been to have stopped much further south, near Lyon for example. Channel Crossing - Eurotunnel I’m not good on ferries so it is the only option for us and I love it. Also if you are early you can usually get on an earlier crossing. Maps/Route/Sat Nav We have developed a habit of relying upon a viaMichelin print out of the route, which nicely details the exact signs that you need to follow and has successfully guided us to many a destination without a hitch, in the last few years we have also started using the sat nav (or not). However, our latest experience taught us that you do really need to track your route on a proper map and be ready to deviate from these new fangled means of navigation in unforeseen circumstances — unless you are happy to put full faith in your sat nav (even when it appears to be telling you to go in completely the wrong direction). I would also suggest finding a reliable road traffic information site for the country you are travelling in so you can check the travel updates en-route. Early in the journey the sat-nav kept warning us of phantom traffic works and delays that didn’t materialise, so when it added several hours onto our journey time and tried to send us on a completely different route we ignored it — probably to our peril. But you never get to find out. Whichever route we had taken it was going to be longer than it should have been. Motorway service stops/aires There are motorway stops at least every 20kms on French motorways. They vary from a toilet in field with a couple of picnic benches to a full choice of restaurants, shops, petrol station etc. You do have to pay attention to the signs so you know what to expect as they do vary a lot. On peak dates it is worth having a few essentials with you as many of the motorway services become incredibly busy and there are long queues for everything. 1: Water 2: Toilet roll (essential if you are going to brave the ‘hole in the ground’) 3: Snacks It is also worth filling up on petrol as early as you can as the further south you go, and the later in the day it is, the worse the queues are. On the southbound journey there is the most fabulous looking ‘aire’ that we are yet to stop at. I have finally noted down where it is so that we can plan accordingly next time. It is called ‘Aire de Jugy’ and it is on the A6 after Chalon Sur Saone/Saint Remy. It has the most fantastic play park and looks great for a run around. You know you are getting close as there are giant toadstools at the side of the road as you approach it. Snowchains Everything you read about snowchains says practise putting them on before you go, we did and it was well worth it. Our previous journeys were for end of season ski trips so we didn’t need to worry about snow chains — you obviously need to check the weather before setting out as there can be significant late season snowfalls. Even though the forecast was clear and we could see on the webcam before we left that there wasn’t much snow on the roads in the resort we still needed the chains for the last 20 metres of our journey! At the end of a very long day as the light was fading and in freezing temperatures we were very pleased that we had done a practice run at home. Essential Items for driving in France It is compulsory to have the following items in your car when driving in France: Warning triangle x1 Reflective vests x1 Full valid driving license GB sticker/number plate Spare bulbs Spare pair of glasses (if required for driving) For more information on items to take, routes and tips take a look at our ‘Driving to the Alps’ feature.