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The French Alps ski specialist

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.

What age should children learn to ski?

What to pack for a family ski holiday

Top tips for a happy family ski holiday

Ski school

Organising ski extras like equipment and lift passes

How to choose a resort for a family ski holiday  

Our favourite family-friendly resorts 

When you're ready to book, browse our resorts and book online, call our dedicated team on 023 9283 9310 or drop us an email at reservations@peakretreats.co.uk. Alternatively, tell us what you're looking for and when you'd like to go on this form and we'll find the perfect ski holiday for you.

What age should children learn to ski?

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. In resorts, children can usually go in to lessons from the age of 3 to ski and 8 to snowboard, although there is some variation in some resorts. 

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 next season.

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.  Read more advice on prepping kids for a ski holiday.

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Skiing with Children
Children who Ski

What to pack for a family ski holiday

  • Sun screen & SPF lip balm - you can get sun burned in the middle of winter at altitude
  • First aid kit - just all the basics you may need
  • Adapters for chargers including the in-car if you're driving
  • Books, toys, colouring books and card games
  • Ski gloves - these should be good quality, warm and waterproof
  • A multi-purpose headscarf/bandana/neckwarmer
  • Sunglasses/Googles
  • Snow suit or a jacket and salopettes 
  • Clothes to layer under jackets – vests, fleeces, t-shirts, tights etc.
  • Thermals
  • Warm hat 
  • Snow boots
  • Ski socks - we recommend a pair a day as little people tend to get them wet walking about!
  • Small rucksack
  • Little packs of tissues for those runny noses! 

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Top tips for a happy family ski holiday

Make time for a breakfast packed with carbohydrates (e.g. cereal) to provide energy for skiing. Full bellies make happy skiers!

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

Looking for more top tips, head over to our blog! Read our top tips for Travelling to the Alps with kids and get some great advice straight from our clients in our Ultimate Guide to Driving to the Alps

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Ski School


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. 

ESF Ski School
ESF Ski School

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 and ability of the child.

Have a query or need some advice? Call our dedicated team on 023 9283 9310 or tell us what you're looking for and when you'd like to go on this form and we'll find the perfect ski holiday for you.

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Organising ski extras

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 before you leave and you won't have any suprise costs in resort.

Ski Hire - We can offer 7 days hire for the price of 6 allowing you to pick up your equipment the day of your arrival, so if you've booked ski school, you're ready to go on Sunday morning.

Lift Passes - Lift pass prices vary from resort to resort. In most resorts, children under five 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.

Ski School - 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). 

Ski Insurance - Don’t forget your Winter Sports insurance! 

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How to choose a resort for a family ski holiday

We are passionate about ensuring your whole party has the best time on your ski holiday, so along with the advice below, please do feel free to call us on 023 9283 9310 to discuss your specific requirements.

Family-friendly slopes - 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 - This type of accommodation is great for families as it means that you can ski from/to 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 (such as Christmas, New Year and February half-term) 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. 

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Our favourite family-friendly resorts 

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.

Valmorel

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).

Accommodation Recommendation: La Grange aux Fées is a 4* prestige residence is ideally located in an elevated, quiet and sunny position in the Hameau des Lanchettes. Ski-in, ski-out convenience could not be better as the residence is adjacent to a chairlift which takes you to the top of the Lanchettes.  There's an Indoor swimming pool - ideal for unwinding after a day on the slope and there's even a paddling pool for the very youngest.

The resort of Valmorel

Valmorel - the resort

A typical apartment at La Grange aux Fees

A typical apartment at La Grange aux Fees

La Grange aux Fees from the exterior

La Grange aux Fees - ski-in/ski-out

La Rosiere

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 which our guests always rave about. 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.

Accommodation Recommendation: We have a huge choice of accommodation in La Rosiere, including Le Lodge Hemera. This accommodation is in the heart of La Rosiere and a short walk from the ski lifts. The apartments in this 4* luxury residence have access to great facilities including an indoor pool, sauna, steam room and spa.  

The snowy slopes of La Rosiere

Skiing in La Rosiere

A typical apartment at Le Lodge Hemera

A typical apartment at Le Lodge Hemera

The indoor pool at Le Lodge Hemera

The indoor pool at Le Lodge Hemera

Val Cenis

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 and 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! 

Accommodation Recommendation: We have a good range of accommodation in Val Cenis, including Les Chalets de Flambeau. These luxury apartments are in sunny position at the foot of the slopes, by the Pré Novel chairlift and the ski school meeting point. Facilities include indoor pool, children's pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room and spa. 

The longest green run in the world is in Val Cenis

Val Cenis lays claim to the longest green run in the world

The indoor pool at Les Chalets de Flambeau

The indoor pool at Les Chalets de Flambeau

Chalets de Flambeau Typical Apartment

Chalets de Flambeau Typical Apartment

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. Aussois is an enchanting and sunny ski resort with plenty of history and a great atmosphere for a memorable family ski holiday.

Accommodation Recommendation: Les Flocons d’Argent is a ski-in/ski-out 3-star residence ideally located at the bottom of the slopes, opposite the snow kindergarten and the ski school meeting point. There is a mini-market, boulangerie, a snack-bar and a ski school desk within 200m and the resort centre is about 400m away. There's also an indoor heated swimming pool, a big plus for the post ski wind downs! 

Aussois - the resort

Aussois - the resort

Les Flocons d'Argent

Les Flocons d'Argent

A typical apartment at Les Flocons d'Argent

A typical apartment at Les Flocons d'Argent

Samoëns (Grand Massif) - Our favourite for traditional charm.

Samoëns has an excellent nursery slope area for beginners at Samoëns 1600, one of the largest in the Haute-Savoie (reached by high speed gondola from village). From there 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. 

Accommodation Recommendation: We have some great accommodation in Samoëns, including La Reine des Prés. These lovely 4-star apartments are really well located close to the Grand Massif Express gondola, close to the main village square. Facilities include indoor pool and spa.

View of the traditional village of Samoens

Samoens has traditional village charm

Reine des Pres apartments - exterior

La Reine des Pres apartments

A typical apartment at La Reine des Pres

A typical apartment at La Reine des Pres

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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, was a finalist in 2017 and won again in 2018! 

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.


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