Half-term holidays are an essential facet to the United Kingdom’s education system, as it allows for pupils and teachers to take a much-needed break. What will your family do for the coming half-term? Maybe you are looking for a relaxing getaway, or maybe, this year, you want to plan an a totally awesome, hugely epic, full adventure family skiing holiday!
But wait, that sounds like a lot, right? Plan a ski holiday for the whole family? Where would you even begin? How can you successfully travel with children and still have fun? Well, you’re in luck. This article will lay out the steps required to plan a fun, adventurous skiing holiday that everyone in the family will love.
What is the best ski resort for my family?
You don’t want to have a tired and cranky family before you even arrive to your resort, so make sure you choose a resort that is relatively easy to get to. This probably means sticking within Europe — you can save the transatlantic ski trips for when your kids turn 18. There are plenty of wonderful ski resorts in Europe to choose from. Just some of them include:
- Les Bruyeres, France: Les Bruyeres is the perfect, hassle-free resort for families. It offers high altitude skiing and easy access to the pistes of the 3 Valleys. A range of slopes have something for everyone in the family. You can stay in one of the Les Bruyeres chalets for convenient location and breath-taking views. You will also find plenty of après ski activities as well including a wellness gym and a restaurant and bar.
- Avoriaz, France: Avoriaz has long been a family favourite. It was awarded with the World Snow Awards for the best ski resort for families. In 1975 it founded ‘The Children’s Village’, a ski school to teach your kids all they need to know to excel on the slopes.
- Aletsch Arena, Switzerland: Aletsch boasts 100 kilometres of slopes and is completely free of cars. This helps create a tranquil and relaxing environment for the whole family. When you need a break from skiing, you can hit the shopping area and exercise that wallet instead of those legs.
- Lech am Arlberg, Austria: Lech am Arlberg is a favourite spot for both the rich and famous and families alike. The resort is located in a lively town with hip bars and restaurants for when you want a night out. There are also plenty of shopping opportunities if you are looking to class up your winter wardrobe. This resort features gentle slopes and plenty of snow making it great for the whole family.
- Pila, Italy: If you are looking for a low-key place to bring the kids, then Pila is the ski resort for you. It is one of the most family friendly ski resorts in Italy, and has 50 kilometres of slopes for skiing and snowboarding.
- Alpbach, Germany: You will feel like you’ve entered a fairy-tale when you go to Alpbach ski resort. This traditional resort is in a village high up in the mountains, complete with charming German houses and breath-taking landscapes.
- Saas Fee, Switzerland: Saas-Fee has something for the whole family. Younger children will enjoy indoor and outdoor activities, and older children and adults will delight in the hundreds of kilometres of slopes.
- Arinsal, Andorra: Arinsal Is the ideal place for beginner families. It has plenty of gentle slopes, and children under 15 get free lift passes, while children under 12 get free helmets.
- Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, Austria: This traditional ski resort is located in a traffic-free village with slopes for everyone and a charming ambiance.
- Morzine, France: Morzine is just over an hour’s drive from the Geneva Airport, making it one of the easiest ski resorts to get to. It features ski and play areas just for children, and offers independently run chalets for a traditional family holiday.
How to book a family ski holiday
There are many factors to keep in mind when booking your family ski holiday. Let’s have a look at some of the most important:
- What is your budget?
- Do you want an all-inclusive or more personal experience?
- Do you mind accommodations outside of the main resort, or do you want to be in the middle of the action?
- Do you want slopes for every skill level, or is it mainly important to have beginner slopes?
Once you’ve answered some of these basic questions, you should choose your booking option. Here are the most common:
- Book flights, lodging and passes separately: If you delight in the hunt for a good deal and pride yourself in your internet shopping skills, then you may want to do it on your own.
- Book with a chalet: This is a good way to get everything you need in a bundle, while still being able to add a personal touch to your half-term family ski holidays.
- Book with a tour operator: If you are feeling overwhelmed by this whole process, then the best route for you is to book with a tour operator. They will book your flights, accommodation and ski passes and will look for the best package deal for you while doing so.
Bring the right equipment
If this is your first time skiing with the whole family, or you don’t plan on going every year, then borrowing equipment from friends and family is probably the best route to go. You also will have the option to rent all of the skiing gear you need directly from the resort. Of course, if you and your family are skiing superstars then you probably all have your own professional ski equipment. But in case you aren’t, here’s a list of what you’ll need to borrow or rent:
It’s also extremely important to pack the right winter gear to bring along with you, otherwise you’ll end up spending all of your holiday money at the resort shops. Have a look at this list of what to bring on your full adventure family skiing holiday for the half-term:
- Base layers (ideally made from Merino wool)
- Socks: Pack many pairs of socks, there’s nothing worse than cold and wet feet!
- Boots: You will need some comfortable snow boots to wear while you’re not skiing. Choose a pair that you don’t mind wearing outside and inside.
- Fleece inner jacket
- Ski suit or a ski jacket and trousers
- Waterproof gloves with fleece lining
- Balaclava or snood
- Fleece hat
You may be looking forward to teaching your kids how to ski down their first slope, but if you really want them to learn to their full potential, book a lesson with the ski experts at the resort. This goes for adults too! It might be tempting to have your partner show you the ropes, but this can lead to tension and even squabbling. It’s much better to leave the teaching to a professional, allowing you to fully enjoy skiing with your partner later on.
So, there you have it. Planning your family ski holiday can be divided into choosing a resort, choosing your booking method and gathering the right equipment. And remember, if planning it by yourself seems too overwhelming, don’t feel bad about booking with a tour company, their job is to take the stress out of the process so you can enjoy your time with your family. Oh, and there’s one last step you can’t forget — make sure to have fun!