Looking for a holiday that’s fun for the entire family? Want to go skiing in the Alps? Whether you’re teaching your wee one about the all-important snowplough or getting a few hours of freedom while the kids are at ski school, a ski holiday is a fantastic way to entertain the whole family.
When you’re planning a family ski holiday, it’s important to choose the right resort. You’ll want to go somewhere with plenty of green and blue trails, off-slope activities for when their little legs get tired and of course, comfy chalets. Our informative guide features some of the best ski resorts in Europe to help you plan your next kid-friendly adventure.
Based in the heart of the Les Trois Vallees region -- one of the world’s best and largest ski resorts, Courchevel has trails suited to all skill levels. Young children can stay at the resorts’ nurseries while the adults cruise the blacks and children over three can learn how to ski with the guidance of professional instructors. Courchevel was also one of the first ski resorts to use the Magnestick, a safety vest worn over children’s ski suits which holds them onto the chairlift with magnetism.
The Swiss ski resort is a popular destination for those travelling with small children as it offers a wealth of on and off-slope kid-friendly activities and facilities. Most of the ski trails are quiet and there’s a good selection of green and blue slopes. Adults will enjoy Gstaad’s seamless mixture of high-end, luxury restaurants and accommodation with its traditional village atmosphere. You might even see your favourite celebrity here!
Surrounded by towering mountains with extensive trail network, the traffic-free, purpose-built village of Avoriaz in the French Alps is perfect for a family-friendly ski holiday. On your arrival, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Avoriaz has wood-clad chalets with ski in/ski out features and your luggage is brought to your accommodation by horse-drawn sleigh. Kids can spend the day at Village des Enfants, a centrally-located childcare facility or enjoy the special children’s slopes.
While Finland may not have the Alps, Lapland has fantastic family-friendly ski resorts. Levi’s gentle landscape has many green slopes, perfect for beginners, and offers English-speaking ski schools. This ski resort even has a dedicated play area, where kids can enjoy a range of fun activities like sledge racing. Off the slopes, kids can meet and feed reindeer, take a sleigh ride pulled by sledge dogs, or visit Santa Claus. Levi is also guaranteed to have snow during the winter months, something the adults will surely appreciate.
High in the mountains of Austria lies Obergurgl. Obergurgl, as one of the highest villages in Austria, is one of the snowiest parts of the Alps. The town lacks through traffic so is relatively quiet and receives few day visitors. On the slope, you’ll also find plenty of green and blue runs and quaint traditional-style chalets for a well-deserved rest. Kids will love Bobo Skiclub, which offers outdoor activities for children over three, or if the weather is too chilly Bobo Kindergarten hosts indoor fun.
Saas-Fee with its picture-perfect scenery and traditional buildings is known as ‘the Pearl of the Alps’. The village has no through traffic, so children can run about without too much worry while the mountain has a large nursery slope with plenty of gentle greens and blues. As such, it’s an ideal place for beginners, adults and children alike.
One of the best ski resorts in Austria, Alpbach is a popular destination for European families. Imagine a traditional Austrian ski resort and you’ll envision Alpbach -- wooden gingerbread-style chalets spread out from the local church and a ski slope leads directly into the village. Children will love the easily accessible nursery slopes and fun-filled ski kindergartens while adults will enjoy Alpbach’s charming atmosphere.
Head off the beaten track to Arinsal, a European ski resort perfect for families looking to save a few pennies. In addition to fantastic blue and red slopes, there are many great money-saving options; for example, children under 15 get a free ski pass when adults pre-book and free helmet hire when hiring skis and boots. Adults will especially enjoy the fact that there’s a free daycare for children under 6 when adults book a ski lesson.
A short drive from the ski resort of Lech am Arlberg is the small, traffic-free village of Oberlech. Here, you’ll find many four-star hotels, exceptionally snowy and easily accessible slopes and a fantastic ski nursery. Kinderland Oberlech has creche facilities for children over the age of two and some hotels also offer childcare services. From Lech, you can access the slopes of Warth and Schrocken by gondola or take a lift to the more advanced slopes of St Antonby.
Escape the mega-resorts of Les Arcs, Val d’lsere, Tignes and La Plagne by heading to the smaller and quieter slopes of La Rosiere. This village’s slower pace and relaxing environment are perfect for families and there’s plenty of intermediate and advanced trails. From here, you can also access the north-facing trails of La Thuile.