Ready, Set, Snow: Top Tips for a Hassle Free Family Ski Holiday
Whether you want a chalet, catered or otherwise, it is just one of a long list of decisions you’ll have to make before you can book your family ski holiday.
You know you want to go skiing, you know you want to take the kids - but sometimes it can feel a little daunting, planning a ski holiday that will ensure that you get to enjoy yourself and that the kids will love it as much as you do.
From making choices about which resort to choose from to whether you want to stay in a hotel or chalet, catered or self catered, there is a lot to consider when organising a family ski holiday. So here are my top tips for making the process a little bit easier.
Not all ski resorts are the same. Some have a reputation for partying and après ski, some for great extreme skiing opportunities, but what you need is a resort with a reputation for offering good family options in terms of skiing, ski school and après ski activity. Things to look out for are resorts with a good number of blue runs and activities like tobogganing, bowling, ice skating and dog-sledging. These are all clues that the resort is attempting to target the family market.
You may think of skiing as a winter sport, but there are different seasons within the skiing calendar. Winter skiing is likely to have the best fresh powder snow but be warned: it can get extremely cold, so while it’s great if your kids are boarders or off-pisters, it could put off more fair-weather skiers. The snow at Easter is less predictable, but you can often get great sunshine and do lots of mountain-top outdoor dining. Only you can know what your kids are likely to prefer.
If your kids are fussy eaters or you particularly like to cook, then a self-catered chalet or apartment could provide a good, low cost option. If, however, you want to save yourself the stress of food shopping after a day on the slopes, a chalet, catered by external staff, could be the perfect option. Of course, if you really want to indulge in a relaxing break and put a bit of distance between yourself and the kids, then splashing out on a hotel could be a rewarding indulgence. Whatever accommodation you choose, make sure that there are communal spaces for you and your family to congregate at the end of the day so you can hang out and exchange stories – a roaring log fire will definitely help here.
If you’re booking a family holiday then you’ll need to think not just about what kind of accommodation you want, but also where your accommodation is going to be in the resort. The most hassle-free option is, of course, a ski-in-ski-out location; this means no-one has to catch a bus or walk for miles carrying heavy equipment.
Take the stress out of arriving at the resort by having booked things like ski school, ski equipment and passes in advance. Any kind of childcare, including ski schools, can get booked up early, so as soon as you know where you’re going, get online and book up all the vital extras you’re going to need.
Whatever age your children are, they are going to need something to keep them entertained when they’re off the slopes. If they’re teenagers then you’ll want to make sure the accommodation has WiFi. Some also provide board games, which can be a great way to wind down in the evening. If your kids have bundles of energy, a pool, ice-rink or even local games room could all be worth checking out before you book.
With so many elements to consider, it can be a challenge - but be prepared by doing your research in advance. Know what you want: hotel, chalet, catered food or self-catered, and book your equipment before you arrive. That way, by the time you get to the resort you’ll be stress-free and ready to ski.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Belinda Smythson works for Ski Amis, a specialist ski travel agency and booking service that has been helping avid skiers craft their perfect winter holiday for over a quarter of a century. If you're looking for the best catered chalet deals in the Three Valleys, Paradiski, Espace Killy or Chamonix Valley, Ski Amis is the go-to company for winter sports fans searching for the holiday of a lifetime.