Our top tips for planning a ski holiday with children and teenagers.

There's a lot to consider when it comes to planning a family ski holiday and choosing a suitable resort, especially when dealing with a range of ages and ability levels. Depending on whether your children are young and just starting out, or seasoned teenagers with loads of experience, everyone will have their own ideas of what are the most important factors. But here are a few things to think about…

Terrain

Unless the entire group are beginners, it's likely that you'll want a resort that has some challenging terrain to explore, as well safe slopes for beginners and confidence-building blues. Smaller resorts often have ideal slopes for learning, but it's a bonus if they're connected with larger resorts for more advanced skiers to stretch their legs.

Ski Schools

Finding the right instructor, guide or ski school can turn an average holiday into an amazing one. If you're taking younger children on a ski holiday it's worth doing your homework, as it could pay off in spades. There are websites such as comeskiwith.me that help you make a choice, or get involved in the Ski Club's Chat Forum or Facebook resort groups and ask others for their recommendations. You'll want to find out where the ski school is based and which learning areas or slopes they use - staying close to the nursery slopes and ski school meeting places will make the start of your day a whole lot easier. If you're travelling at peak times such as half-term or Easter, we would recommend to pre-book your ski school, as some book up very quickly.

Transfers and Travel

Some resorts in the Alps are as little as 30 minutes from key airports such as Innsbruck and Geneva - a real bonus if you've got younger children. There are some little Tirolean gems, including Kühtai and Seefeld, which are under 60 minutes from Innsbruck airport. From Geneva airport, you can easily access excellent family-friendly resorts such as La Clusaz and Les Gets.

Non Skiing Activities

While some children are bitten by the skiing bug early and will want to ski until the last lift, some (especially younger children) may not have the interest or energy for day after day of skiing. Some resorts offer a great range of non-skiing activities including sleigh rides, tobogganing and ice-skating, not to mention indoor activities such as water fun parks (for instance the spectacular Aquariaz in Avoriaz)

Cost

When you’re footing the bill for a ski holiday for the entire family, costs can add up fast - transfers, meals, accommodation and equipment. There are a plenty of tour operators out there putting together excellent packages for families, including Mark Warner, who offer Ski Club members a 10% discount. The cost of a 6-day lift pass can vary hugely too – so if you’re looking for a resort that caters to beginners and intermediates, it may be worth heading to a smaller resort where lift passes will be much more affordable.

It’s also worth checking out the discounts available to Ski Club members, which include transfers and equipment hire.

Accommodation

What type of accommodation is best for you and your family?

  • Chalet – it can be great fun to take a chalet with another family or join in with families you don’t know. It’s also a good way for your children to make new friends which will help to keep them entertained whilst on holiday.
  • Club Hotel – these can be good as they normally have a bar, and sometimes swimming pools and other facilities such as table football, DVD rooms etc.
  • Apartment – great if you want to have full flexibility with meals and some private space to relax in rather than just a hotel bedroom. Children often need a rest at lunch time so apartments work well in that you can go back for lunch, often cheaper too, though watch out for inflated supermarket prices. Take a bag of staple supplies with you if driving.
  • Hotel – the most limiting in terms of flexible meal times and room arrangements but many families have successful holidays in hotels, especially smaller, family-run hotels.

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