When it comes to family ski holidays there’s plenty to think about. If tied into a school holiday week and travelling early or late in the season, picking a high, snow-sure resort makes perfect sense, while for a peak-time February half-term break a good-value, family-sized self-catering apartment can help reduce costs.
Chalet-based holidays can offer more privacy and flexibility for family groups than hotels which is why French resorts, which are strong on this type of accommodation, tend to be particularly popular with families. As well as in-chalet chefs who can cater to individual family requirements, operators can also offer onsite nannies and babysitting.
Age and ability of offspring are also key factors. Resorts offering convenient nursery slopes and plenty of easy green slopes are an obvious choice with nervous beginners in tow, while big areas with challenging runs, terrain parks and off-piste options will give children who are older or just more confident plenty to do.
Crèche facilities and kids clubs with supervised lunches can work well for parents who want to enjoy some independent time on the slopes, and large chalet-hotels with communal games rooms and swimming pools are a good bet for sociable families.
Below we single out 10 great holidays to suit all budgets, skiing or snowboarding abilities and child-care requirements, offered by the best of the family ski specialist tour operators in a range of resorts that fit the bill.
Unless otherwise stated, prices are based on a family of four (two adults and two children aged under twelve years) including flights, transfers and chalet board. Accommodation is in shared or adjoining family rooms. Prices quoted are the starting rates for lowest and highest season.
Best for convenient ski-in/ski-out chalets
Les Coches, France
Small, modern and with easy access to the large Paradiski area shared by La Plagne and Les Arcs, Les Coches is a convenient base on the La Plagne side with plenty of piste-side, family-friendly chalets. The Family Ski Company offers three exceptionally convenient ski-in/ski-out options that can accommodate one to four families, and provides child-care for children aged three months to 12 years. Sheltered wooded slopes and open runs combined with a children’s ski school garden make this a particularly good bet for young beginners and improvers.
From: £2,354/£6,896 with The Family Ski Company including transfers. Child-care from £399 per week. Excludes flights.
Best for good-value family apartments
Among the easiest resorts to drive to from the UK and with a broad choice of self-catering apartments, Chamonix is a top choice for families looking for value. This bustling base at the foot of Mont Blanc also has good train connections. The four-star Residence La Ginabelle, with 64 apartments and a swimming pool, close to the resort centre, suits all ages including older teens wanting to be close to lively nightlife.
From £1,369/£2,617 with Erna Low based on four sharing a one-bedroom apartment, including a return flexiplus Eurotunnel crossing.
Best for in-chalet child-care for young children
La Plagne, France
The large choice of reasonably priced, chalet- and apartment-based accommodation makes La Plagne a family favourite. Ski Famille offers Chalet Nicole, sleeping up to 30, in Plagne 1800, one of the best of the resort’s 11 separate base villages to stay for easy access to ski school and the vast Paradiski area that also includes Les Arcs. Child-care for children aged four months to 12 years is organised onsite.
From: £2,564/£7,196 with Ski Famille. Child-care from £299 per week.
Best for sociable, child-focused accommodation
The high, purpose-built resort of Tignes offers plenty of plus points for families including reliable snow and a big ski area for all abilities, shared with Val d’Isère. Young beginners and improvers can have fun in the Gliss’Park, with its mini boardercross course and parallel slalom course. Exclusive to ski operator Mark Warner is 52-room Chalet Hotel L’Ecrin with pool and spa in Tignes Val Claret at 2,100m, 10 minutes’ walk from the five main lifts. It has child-care and clubs for children aged one to 12 years
From: £2,596/£6,996 with Mark Warner. Child-care from £225 per week.
Best for snow sure, sunny pistes for all abilities
With a season that runs from November to early May and long hours of sunshine, Cervinia’s 160km of long, gentle pistes are well-suited to children who are building confidence. Pick of the family-friendly hotels is four-star Petit Palais at the end of the long Ventina red run with onsite ski hire and modern rooms. Older children can hang out at the Indian terrain park, one of the best in Italy, and the more confident can also explore the linked slopes of neighbouring Zermatt.
From £2,740/£7,056 with Crystal Ski Holidays.
Best for comprehensive childcare for under-12s
St Anton, Austria
The authentically Tirolean town of St Anton has plenty of character and young children are well catered for at the dedicated family ski area in the Nasserein sector. Close by is Chalet Hotel Pepi Gabl, offered by family specialist Esprit Ski, sleeping up to 90 guests, and providing child-care and clubs for 17 weeks to 12 years. The onsite nursery provides an evening clubs where children are looked after while parents eat, plus supervised lunches and well-equipped play areas.
From £2,966/£8,232 with Esprit Ski. Half-day child-care from £290 per week.
Best for family fun on and off the slopes
Part of the huge Trois Vallées ski area, Courchevel has a reputation for high prices, but chalet-hotel accommodation in the lower villages offers families good value for money. Ski Total offers Chalet Cascades in Courchevel Moriond, sleeping up to 78 guests, near the main Ariondaz gondola. Off the slopes, the Aquamotion centre below Moriond village has indoor and outdoor pools, a three-lane waterslide and climbing wall, while the higher village of Courchevel 1850 has an indoor skating rink.
From £3,356/£6,356 with Ski Total.
Best for luxurious, family-friendly accommodation
Val d’Isère, France
Located at the end of the Tarentaise valley and sharing a large ski area with Tignes, Val d’Isère has a loyal following of returning families prepared to fork out for the resort’s relatively high prices in return for snow-sure slopes, good restaurants and high standards of accommodation. New for 2019/20 are VIP Ski’s eight Aspen House suites sleeping from four to 10 people, close to the lifts and well-suited to families with children from babies to teens. Private nanny child-care available.
From: £5,206/£12,776 with VIP Ski. Nanny service from £475 per week.
Best for all-inclusive activity packages
Les Arcs, France
Arc 1600, in the sprawling, largely purpose-built resort of Les Arcs, was the first of its four mountain villages, and is one of the most compact and best-suited to families. It also has a good selection of bars and restaurants. Club Med’s 433-room Les Arcs Panorama resort here covers group ski and snowboarding lessons for children in its all-inclusive price. Family diversions include an ice grotto, fun ski slope for kids and floodlit toboggan run.
From £8,270/£13,443 full-board with Club Med, including lift pass, lesson, child-care, drinks and evening entertainment.
Best for family hotel with sports facilities
In the shadow of the iconic Matterhorn peak, Zermatt is car-free and has snow-sure slopes to boot, along with excellent nursery areas and a wide range of pistes to suit all abilities, linked to Cervinia in Italy. Upmarket family operator Powder Byrne offers spacious family suites at the four-star Hotel Alex, with indoor tennis and squash courts, plus spa. The company offers complimentary ski guiding, plus creches and kids clubs for children aged from four months to 17 years.
From £5,945/£13,075 with Powder Byrne. Child-care from £250 per week.