Best family ski resorts
We make choosing the best family ski resorts easy. Tap into our knowledge and experience and let us guide you as you will discover that family ski holidays are some of the best trips that a family can take. There are so many amazing memories to be made and, for the children, a lifelong love for a fantastic envigorating sport.
We understand that the first trip to the mountains as a family can be a daunting one – after all, it’s very different from going away with a group of friends! However, rest assured. We have been selling family ski holidays since 1992 and know which are the best family ski resorts, ones with slopeside accommodation, children clubs and some outstanding child friendly ski schools. Plan your family ski holiday right and you will enjoy a fabulous holiday with beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.
Top 10 ski resorts for families in the Alps
Obergurgl - Austria: High and snow-sure, lots of charm, short transfers, good quality hotels and interesting yet easy ski area.
Lech - Austria: Snow-sure, bucket loads of charm, short transfers, excellent quality hotels, large ski area and modern lifts.
Cervinia - Italy: Very high and very snow-sure, good value hotels, excellent on-slope restaurants, flattering ski area with wide slopes.
Les Gets - France: Very pretty resort & ski area, easy slopes, good ski schools, very short airport transfers and good value.
Valmorel - France: Purpose built with most accommodation being ski in ski out, easy and snow sure ski area.
La Rosiere - France: High and very snow-sure, easy ski area links with Italian resort of La Thuile, cheap chalet accommodation.
Plagne Centre - France: High and very snow-sure, excellent ski schools, most accommodation is ski in ski out, value accommodation.
Ste Foy en Tarentaise - France: High and very snow-sure, purpose built, easy slope layout means children can explore safely.
Meribel - France: Perfect base for exploring the Three Valleys, great ski schools, good mountain restaurants, wide range of accomm.
Val d'Isere - France: Fantastic new nursery slope area, excellent ski schools, modern lifts, snow-sure, wide range of accommodation.
The perfect family ski resort - things to consider
At Alpine Answers we are big fans of family skiing and know all the best resorts that will suit you and your family’s needs. Below is a list of attributes for ski resorts that you should look for when choosing where to go.
1) Ski resorts with short transfers
2) Easy Slope and ski school access
3) Resorts with good ski schools
4) Introduction to gentle après ski for younger teenagers
5) Resorts with childcare ski holiday specialists
6) Village charm with alpine culture
7) Ski resorts with cheap family accommodation
8) Family ski resorts with access to large ski areas
Best family ski resorts with short transfers
We all know (from our own experiences) that some children sadly do not travel well, especially if they are couped up in a hot coach on a winding mountain road. For some families with children that suffer from carsickness choosing a family resort with a mercifully short airport transfer (one hour or less travel time) is important if their holiday is to get off to a good start. Avoriaz is a purpose built resort situated just over an hour from Geneva Airport so perfect if you have children who don’t like to spend a long time in the transfer coach.
Most of the accommodation in Avoriaz is located in a truly ski in and ski out position and is also close to the ski school meeting points. This car free resort sits on a high, snow sure plateau with a series of very gentle nursery slopes which connect the accommodation options to the lifts. These green and blue runs are perfect for beginners and parents can let their children roam the resort in safety. For adults, you’ll have access to the whole Portes du Soleil ski region. With over 600km of pistes and several interlinked ski villages on the Franco-Swiss border it's the biggest international linked ski area in the world. It has plenty of skiing for all abilities!
Family ski resorts with easy slope/piste access
Getting young children to ski school on time can be quite a major ordeal, especially when they are too young to carry their own skis or walk in ski boots. Choose your family ski resort poorly and either your children, or you, might well be in tears before the ski day has even begun. There are two solutions to the problem of ski school access for children.
1) Choose a holiday company which offers a driver service, although please note that not all driver services were created equal. If you select a company that either offers a dedicated driver for your chalet, or at least a driver who is only shared by a few chalets, then this service is a godsend. All you then have to concentrate on is getting your children up, dressed, fed and ready with gloves, hats and goggles in time for the driver's pre-arranged pick up. Although this in itself is of course no mean feat, having a friendly driver to drop your children directly at the ski school meeting point is a delight.
2) Choose a ski resort with a practical layout whereby accommodation is never far from the ski lifts and ski school meeting points. If your accommodation is further away then make sure that there resort topography is relatively flat, or better still, allows you and your children to gently ski or push your way on skis to the lifts and ski schools.
Obergurgl is a small, traditional mountain village and getting around it is very easy. In fact no matter which hotel or chalet you choose you’ll never be more than 5 minutes away from the slopes or the lifts. This makes it a really popular destination for families as accessing both the skiing and the ski schools is so easy. Most of the excellent quality hotels and the chalets offer ski in ski out convenience and all the ski schools meet in the centre of the village. A short transfer time from Innsbruck Airport also makes this lovely high alpine ski resort a winner with families.
Ski resorts with good ski schools for children
It is very important to start your children off on their ski careers with formal ski instruction, either in a class or, if the budget will stretch, with a private instructor. Every ski resort has at least one ski school but the larger resorts have enough demand to allow more than one ski school to exist. In the largest French resorts there are at least 10 different ski schools to choose from and this healthy competition has driven the standards of tuition ever upwards. We generally will recommend the smaller, specialist ski schools aimed squarely the UK market but faced with competition from these schools the ESF (Ecole Ski Francais) has done much in recent years to up its game. Today it offers a great value alternative to the independent ski school offering.
Approximate ski school costs for the ESF (season 2016-2017)
Group lessons all day for 6 days (5 hours x 6 days = 30 hours) = 400 euros (13 euros/hour)
Group lessons half day for 6 days (2.50 hours x 6 days = 15 hours) = 280 euros (19 euros/hour)
Private instructor all day (09.30 - 16.30 = 6 hours) = 440 euros (73 euros/hour)
Private instructor half a day (morning or afternoon = 4 hours) = 350 euros (88 euros/hour)
If a good ski school is important to you then look no further than Tignes. This is one of the most snow sure resorts in the Alps and along with its perfect nursery slopes has an excellent selection of high quality British and French children's ski schools for you to choose from. Our top picks are:
New Generation. A high quality British run ski school. Offer both group and private lessons for children aged 4 years upwards.
Evolution 2. Will take young children from 3 years old and upwards. They also offer all day care with lunchtime supervision.
Best family ski resorts with gentle après ski
Après ski can be fun for all ages but it’s important for parents to find a resort that strikes a balance. Some of the well known après ski party resorts such as St Anton and Ischgl are too rowdy for most adults, let alone children and younger teenagers. Other resorts offer a slightly tamer and more manageable après ski scene (which parents might feel happier about) but are too large to allow teenagers to roam without worry. Val d'Isere, Meribel, Verbier and Zermatt fall into this category and are no places for a scantily clad teenager to get lost in when it's 3am and 10° below zero.
However, smaller village style resorts such as Meribel Village offer the perfect blend of excitement and safety. These resorts offer bars with a 'happening vibe' to keep your teenagers happy yet also offer a small enough environment for parents to allow their children to freely roam without worry. The English managed 'The Lodge du Village' in Meribel Village has a lively lounge bar upstairs (sometimes with live music) as well as a large sunny terrace which is an ideal spot to watch the sun go down with mates and a few beers/cokes!
Ski resorts with specialist family ski holiday companies
If you’d rather leave your children in the hands of childcare experts, then choosing resorts that offer this service is important. Esprit Ski has 13 chalets in La Rosiere, ranging from 5 – 31 beds, and will look after children from 17 weeks old with ski lessons for children as young as 3 years old. Children can be looked after all day and will participate in plenty of activities as well as enjoying for formal ski lessons.
Traditional family ski resorts with alpine charm
If you’re looking to avoid purpose built ski resorts and would rather a traditional alpine village for your family ski trip then Grimentz would work really well. This high altitude resort in Switzerland is relatively unknown and retains an authentic charm that many resorts have long since lost. There are lots of great accommodation options situated beside the slopes, or very close to the lifts, and there is also an excellent ski school for children. If you want your children to benefit from a cultural learning exercise as well as picking up the skills of a new sport then head for quaint resorts like Grimentz.
Best family ski resorts with cheap accommodation
The 8 different villages of Les Arcs have plenty of great value accommodation to suit all families. There are many, many smaller and older style self catering apartments (which we do not sell) and lots of catered chalet apartments which offer families extremely good value for money. The chalets in Arc 2000 generally also offer ski in and ski out convenience as well as free access to shared wellness facilities including indoor an swimming pool. The new Hotel Taj-i Mah in Arc 2000 maybe 5 star but it too offers great value for money for the quality of accommodation on offer.
All the various village developments and resorts of Les Arcs offer access to the same huge Paradiski domain with over 400km of pistes. This area is extremely snow sure (most of the skiing ranges from 2,000m to over 3,000m) and there is a wide range of wide well groomed slopes perfect for a family ski holiday.
Best family ski resorts accessesing large ski areas
If parents are advanced skiers but their children are beginners, then it’s important to choose a resort that is both child-friendly and one that also provides ample skiing with challenging terrain. La Tania in the Three Valleys strikes a perfect balance here – the largely car-free village is perfect for families and there’s a large beginners area. It is also extremely easy to access the whole of the Three Valleys ski domain from La Tania so there's plenty of possibilities for your childrens' progression and skiing for parents of all abilities. Other fantastic family ski resorts that offer 'backdoor' access to huge ski areas include St Martin de Belleville (also part of the Three Valleys) and Vaujany (which links to Alpe d'Huez).