Family friendly ski resorts – France & Austria
A ski holiday can offer excitement, fun and a family experience like no other. It’s a rare thing to find an activity as immersive as skiing, or snowboarding; one which the whole family can pursue – with relish!
The perfect family ski resort needs to combine terrific terrain and superb snow with a hassle-free, family-friendly environment. Activities off the piste need to be as good, and varied, as on-piste, all in the interests of family harmony!
For those families looking to make their holiday budget go that little bit farther, keep an eye on tour operators special deal newsletter alerts. Liftpasses and ski hire are sometimes overlooked, but considerable savings can be made here. An excellent example is Alpine Elements’ ‘Kids Ski Free’ offer: Savings of up to £218 can be made per child as this offer includes lift pass, skis, and boots!
Here are three of this writer’s favourite family resorts, and typical accommodation.
There is no question that La Tania offers amazing value as a gondola lift gateway to the heart of the Trois Vallèes, with Méribel on one side Courchevel on the other. Built for the 1992 Winter Olympics, this traffic free resort has many ski-to-door hotels and apartments, a small but satisfying range of restaurants and bars, along with end-of-day leg-friendly Green and Blue home runs. In fact, The Telegraph considers La Tania to offer “Good value, access [to a] big ski area.”
Hotel Montana not only ticks all of the ski convenience boxes but includes features such as its own pool, sauna, hot tub and steam room, a large comfortable lounge (with Sky TV, and an open log fire), bar (with piano!), large restaurant and breakfast rooms. The start and end hassle of the ski hire trudge is not one that the Montana’s guest endure; the hotel has its own ski hire shop in-house! For families used to herding a gaggle of off-spring up and down flights of stairs, the Montana has lifts to all floors, with mountain or valley views from all bedroom balconies.
Few resorts offer the combination of chic and value; Val d’Isère manages to pull it off!
An enviable lift system, including the funicular, whisk you to the surrounding peaks of the extensive Espace Killy. Near the very centre of town, the Font de Neige is where many pistes finish. This is the ideal place for families to meet up after ski lessons, childcare or a hard morning bashing the pistes! There are restaurants and bars galore, out-door sun terrace seating is a must, and there is room for restless little ones to play within sight of the still resting adults!
The indoor Centre Aquasportif is a firm family favourite, with it’s ‘lazy river’ and fountains as well as a beach style seated area; those less interested in splashing about can happily read, chat and generally relax on the loungers. There is a separate swimming pool with marked lanes for those more serious about their swimming and looking to do lengths. The Centre offers many other activities such as a climbing wall, gym and aqua gym, a superb Spa, and even a golf simulator!
Hotel Gelinotte (with a Certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor) is near enough to restaurants and bars without being too close that late night revellers may be a nuisance. A courtesy minibus is available on a regular basis if necessary however, the ski bus stop is a short walk away. Features include a pool, steam room and sauna, with a lovely sun terrace overlooking Val d’Isère itself.
The restaurant also offers panoramic views over the town, towards Le Fornet. With a separate bar, TV lounge and two snug lounges, there are places for the whole family to call their own!
[h2_heading]Les Arcs 2000[/h2_heading]
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The dream team combination of high altitude (actually 2,100m), good snow and great value make Les Arcs a perennial family favourite.
Many of the properties are either ski-to-door or very close to it. Now linked, via the amazing double decker Vanoise Express gondola with La Plagne, the two super resorts form the extensive Paradiski area, offering 450kms of linked pistes! Bars, restaurants and shops are doted around Les Arcs, meaning only a few minutes walk to all nearby facilities.
Chalet-apartments such as the ski-to-door Chalet Monterosa offer a typically welcoming Savoyard décor, with the added advantage of the apartments’ swimming pool, sauna and steam room complex. Balconies offer mountain and valley view’s – perfect for that après ski drink as the sun begins to set! There is a nearby lift allowing pedestrian access to the car-free Swiss style Les Arcs 1950, with it’s family friendly central square fringed with cafès, restaurants and boutiques.
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