Planning a Family Ski Holiday

Family ski holidays are a huge amount of fun, but without a little bit of planning, things can quickly turn a bit trickier. But don't worry, we're here to help and by following our simple guide, you'll be guaranteed to have a great holiday.

But if this is your first time skiing with children, or you’re skiing with children of different ages and skill levels, it’s worth doing your research before you decide where to go. There’s nothing worse than booking a hotel at the far end of the village with the ski school at the other, and you definitely don’t want to be skiing at Europe’s biggest après resort when you have two young children to look after.

To help make your ski holiday run as smoothly as possible, we’ve put together this complete roundup of what you need to know when planning a family skiing holiday. Bringing you all the best family skiing advice from the Ski Club’s Rep community, don’t forget to join in the conversation on our Facebook page where you can find advice from over 18,000 Ski Club members.

Which ski resort is best for families?

The key to a successful ski holiday is picking the right ski resort. You need quality accommodation, children for your kids to mix with, a relaxed atmosphere, a wide variety of slopes with a range of difficulties, decent ski schools and adequate childcare facilities.

Fortunately, to save you the hassle of undertaking days of research, we’ve listed the six ski resorts encompassing all these qualities.

Avoriaz, France – Small, family-friendly and with excellent quality ski lessons, Avoriaz is probably the most popular ski resort for families in Europe. Find out more on our Avoriaz Resort Guide.

Obergurgl, Austria – Snowsure with a jolly, traditional atmosphere, Obergurgl is a traffic-free village that combines charming decor with child-friendly hotels for an ideal family ski destination. Find out more on our Obergurgl Resort Guide.

Flaine, France – Purpose built, hassle-free and with the nursery located right next to the slopes, Flaine is ideal for families looking to hit the snow this winter. Find out more on our Flaine Resort Guide.

Lech, Austria – If you’re looking for quality ski tuition, don’t look any further than Lech. Playing host to one of the oldest ski schools in Europe, Arlberg school is a major attraction for families across Europe. Find out more on our Lech Resort Guide.

Pila, Italy – For an option that is neither French nor Austrian, make sure you consider Pila. Hidden above the Roman town of Aosta, the family-friendly Italian atmosphere will make for a delightful week for all the family. Find out more on our Pila Resort Guide.

Arinsal, Andorra – If you need an option that balances amazing value with beginner slopes, then look no further than Arinsal. With a free lift pass for children under 15, a free helmet for kids under 12 and a free creche for children under 6, Arinsal is doing all it can to attract families this winter. Find out more on our Arinsal Resort Guide.

How do I book a ski holiday

Booking a skiing holiday is a significant commitment, and you have a lot to consider before making your booking. What is your budget? Do you want an all-inclusive or self-catered chalet? Do you mind being located outside the main resort? Many decisions that will impact how you book and how much your skiing holiday will cost. If you know your basic requirements, then you have a variety of booking options. These are:

Book with a tour operator

  • One of the best ways to book a skiing holiday is directly through a tour operator. Although it may be slightly more expensive than booking chalets and flights separately, the ability to book flights, accommodation and ski passes in one booking can remove a lot of pressure. Plus, tour operators seek out the best packages and can provide you with helpful information regarding your chalet, the location of the gondolas/ski lifts and the best local bars or restaurants.

Book directly with a chalet

  • Another option is to book directly with a chalet. Bypassing tour operators can save you significant costs and the chalet will usually be able to provide you with gear rental and ski passes at a discounted cost.
  • Make sure to check out the Ski Club resort specific Facebook Groups. With resort Reps providing helpful information and news about the local area, you may be able to find a chalet or hotel bargain. Find out more here.

Book flights, accommodation and ski passes separately

  • If you’re a savvy shopper, and you know how to use tools like Skyscanner, Booking.com and TripAdvisor, then you can make significant savings by booking your flights, hotel, ski pass and ski gear separately. Don’t forget to make further savings by joining the Ski Club and receiving hundreds of discounts on flights, hotel, ski school and so much more.

What accommodation option is best for families?

Accommodation – is the centre of your skiing experience. After a day on the slopes, there’s nothing better than returning to your hotel room or chalet, slipping out of your ski boots and giving your legs a well-earned rest. So, as you can imagine, it’s important that you book the right type of accommodation for you and your family. These are the options available:

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 while on holiday.

Club Hotel – these can be good as they usually 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 lunchtime, so apartments work well as you can go back for a rest and lunch, often cheaper too. Though you should watch out for inflated supermarket prices and bring a bag of staple supplies with you if you are driving.

Hotel – the most limiting in terms of flexible meal times and room arrangements, yet many families do have successful holidays in hotels, especially smaller, family-run hotels.

Do we book ski schools before we fly out?

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 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 pre-booking your ski school, as some book up very quickly.

Do we need ski insurance?

Ski insurance is an absolute must. Do not cut corners when purchasing ski insurance. Terrifying figures for mountain rescue can total £10,000 to £20,000 on mainland Europe, with figures more than doubling for North American skiing holidays. Fortunately, if you’re a Ski Club of Great Britain premium member, you can receive the best winter sports insurance money can buy. Find out more here. 

Important: Do not assume that your free bank insurance or annual holiday policy will cover you unless it specifically includes winter sports cover. Check out our insurance guide here.

What ski equipment do we need?

If it’s your first family ski trip, you will probably want to hire all your ski or snowboarding equipment when you’re in the resort. Ski equipment can be quite expensive and the transportation costs for a whole family will be eye-watering. You will need to hire:

  • Skis
  • Poles
  • Boots
  • Snowboard
  • Helmet

What ski clothing do we need?

If it’s your first ski trip, you might be able to borrow ski gear from friends or family. If you don’t know any friendly skiers, then you can always check out the Mountain Warehouse or Aldi early winter deals. Alternatively, if you are a Ski Club member, you can access a variety of amazing discounts with retailers like Snow and Rock, Cotswold and Go Outdoors. Find out more here.

Ski clothing you will need includes:

  • Ski jacket
  • Ski Trousers
  • Fleece or gilet
  • Thermal socks
  • Waterproof gloves
  • Thermal base layers
  • Ski goggles

What in-resort activities are available for families?

After a few days of skiing, you and your family may well find yourself in need of a rest and to do something away from the slopes. Thankfully, ski resorts offer a variety of non-skiing activities to help you relax. These include (among others!):

  • Ice skating
  • Tobogganing
  • Swimming/spa
  • Winter walking

For further information check out our more detailed guide by clicking here.

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