Family Skiing | Ski Holidays with Children
Read our guide to family ski holidays, we've covered everything from our favourite family-friendly ski resorts to packing tips! Read on or skip to content below.
There is no right age to teach your child to ski – wait until they feel ready to try out something new. This could be from as young as 3 years old or not until they are school age.
Try introducing them to skiing without putting any pressure on them, make it fun and they will probably love it. Like anything, if they aren't ready, don't rush them; try again the next year.
You could book a session at a dry ski slope or real snow slope in the UK…this will give a good indication as to whether your child is ready or not. It also gives them a head start in resort.
Look for a resort with plenty of gentle runs and nursery slopes. These are a must for children (and adults!) learning to ski. Ski boots and skis are heavy and children often get very tired even walking a few hundred yards in their kit so easily accessible nursery slopes are key.
Ski-in/ski-out accommodation is great for families as it means that you can ski from where you are staying, minimising the amount of walking you need to do with your ski equipment. These properties book up quickly, especially at peak times so it’s wise to book early. As an alternative, accommodation with a ski bus stop just outside makes getting to the slopes easier.
Off the Slopes
Choose a resort with plenty of activities besides skiing to keep everyone in your party happy in case any children aren't so keen. Accommodation that has a swimming pool is a real bonus for some off slope fun.
We've chosen all our resorts with families in mind. Here we've picked out a few that we think are particularly well-suited to families. Resorts labelled FAMILLE PLUS have earned recognition from the French Ministry of Tourism for improving resort services and facilities for families. Find out more about Famille Plus.
A winner of Best Family Resort in the World Snow Awards, and a Famille Plus resort, Valmorel is designed with families in mind. Its car-free resort centre makes it safe for children. Beginners have dedicated areas for learning and improving confidence. Aside from skiing, the Snake Glisse is great fun for families, come down the mountain on a train of sledges driven by an ESF ski school instructor! ESF ski school can be booked for children from the age of three. Three to five year olds go into specially adapted Club Piou Piou lessons (also known as Snow Kindergarten).
- 4* luxury apartments
- Quiet location
- Indoor swimming pool
- Pool table
La Rosiere is perfect for families (it boasts the Famille Plus label). As well good nursery slopes for beginners and plenty of blue pistes to progress to, it has a dedicated Saint Bernard themed fun track for children. Off the slopes, book a snowshoeing excursion tailored to families, or go for a magical walk through the forest. ESF ski school can be booked for children from the age of three.
We have a huge choice of accommodation in La Rosiere, including Lodge Hemera
Val Cenis borders the stunning Parc National de la Vanoise and is ideal for beginners and intermediates with green and blue runs down through the trees (including the 10km L'Escargot green run, which Val Cenis claim is the longest in the world!). ESF ski school can be booked for children from the age of three. Three and four year olds go into specially adapted Club Piou Piou lessons (also known as Snow Kindergarten). The tourist office organises various family-friendly activities, which have included a special evening torchlit descent for children. There's also a 900m long sledge track!
We have a good range of accommodation in Val Cenis, including Les Chalets de Flambeau
- Foot of the slopes
- Indoor swimming pool
- By a ski lift and ski school meeting point
- Pool table
Aussois (Maurienne Valley) - our favourite for value for money
Aussois is a charming village resort, which has gained the Famille Plus label for its excellent facilities for families. It is suited mainly to beginners and intermediates with green, easy cruising runs down to the village. ESF ski school can be booked for children from the age of three. Three and four year olds go into specially adapted Club Piou Piou lessons (also known as Snow Kindergarten). Aussois offers great value for money compared to more well-known resorts; on everything from lift passes and eating out to ski school.
- Ski-in/ski-out (snow and level depending)
- Ideal location - at the bottom of the slopes
- Opposite the snow kindergarten and ski school meeting point.
- Indoor heated swimming pool, a big plus!
Samoens (Grand Massif) - our favourite for traditional charm
Samoens has an excellent nursery slope area for beginners at Samoens 1600, one of the largest in the Haute-Savoie (reached by high speed gondola from village). From Samoens 1600, you can ski to Morillon, Les Carroz and Flaine. ESF ski school can be booked for children from the age of three. Three to five year olds go into specially adapted Club Piou Piou lessons (also known as Snow Kindergarten). Off the slopes, you can skate on the spacious ice rink with views over the mountains and sledge safely in the specially dedicated area at Samoens 1600.
- Walking distance to the high speed gondola to access the slopes
- Five minute walk to the main village square
- 4* luxury apartments
- Indoor pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room & spa
Going to ski school can feel like a big thing for little ones but learning in a group is great fun. The ESF (Ecole du Ski Francais – French Ski School) varies the activities in its lessons so children won't get bored. The ESF has lots of videos on its YouTube channel that will give your child an idea of what ski school is all about.
Skiing all day long is normally too much for most children. As a guide 8-12 year olds can normally manage about 3 hours, so 6 half-days worth of lessons should be just right.
If required, most ski schools can offer full days for children with a break for lunch. Some will offer skiing in the morning and activities in the afternoon, others offer skiing both morning and afternoon, this usually depends on the age of the child.
We can pre-book ski hire, lift passes and ski school for your family ski holiday so you have peace of mind that everything is organised and can budget for them before you travel.
Lift pass prices vary from resort to resort. In most resorts, children under 5 will get a free lift pass. Children will need lift passes if they are going to ski school. See our offers on lift passes as we often have some good deals.
ESF ski school can be booked through us before you travel (please note that in Les Deux Alpes we use the ESF & ESS ski schools).
Don’t forget your Wintersports Insurance!
- Sun screen & SPF lip balm
- First aid kit
- Adapters for chargers
- Books, toys, card games
- Ski gloves
- Buff® (a multi-purpose headscarf/bandana/neckwarmer)
- Snow suit or a jacket and salopettes
- Clothes to layer under jackets – vests, t-shirts, tights etc.
- Warm hat
- Snow boots
- Ski socks
- Small rucksack
- Little packs of tissues for those runny noses!
- Make time for a breakfast packed with carbohydrates (e.g cereal) to provide energy for skiing
- Wear warm, waterproof clothing – several thin layers are best as they trap warm air. Good gloves make a big difference to little fingers!
- Apply sun screen (Factor 30 or higher) and lip balm with SPF before you head out for the day and take spare lip balm and sun screen with you
- Before your child heads off to ski school or snow kindergarten (the equivalent for littler ones) make sure you pack them a little chocolate or sweet treat plus some fruit to keep their energy levels up, and something to drink
...Want more top tips, head over to our blog!
Read our top tips for Travelling to the Alps with kids
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Peak Retreats voted 'Best Family Ski Tour Operator'
We know family ski holidays. Peak Retreats was voted Best Family Ski Tour Operator at the Family Traveller Awards 2015 and was a finalist in the Family Travel Awards 2017.
We pride ourselves on offering a service that is tailored to families that gives skiers the opportunity to discover the real French Alps in some of the most family friendly ski resorts.