It has never been easier to find the perfect family ski resort: whether you use a specialist agent, go on a package trip or make your own arrangements. There is a wealth of resorts offering a range of accommodation and activities, from self catering for those on a budget to luxury hotels and chalets.
For those who don’t fancy travelling abroad, Scotland has five ski resorts. The Lecht, situated in the eastern Cairngorms, is best for families and beginners. It has a reputation for being very friendly, helpful and unpretentious, and the “Magic Carpet” tow is very popular with youngsters. The vagaries of British weather, however, can result in travel restrictions so it is not a good choice for booking too far ahead. If you are travelling on short notice, online booking of hire equipment and passes is advisable.
Continental resorts have more reliable weather, and are easily accessible by air, car or coach, and the new Euro Star Swiss Alps Ski Train service. Poland, Slovakia, Croatia and Slovenia offer inexpensive skiing holidays, many with budget flights from regional airports. Accommodation tends to be basic but comfortable and clean.
Many French resorts boast Eastern European prices and have the French government’s “Famille Plus” award. Several have a “village des enfants” for children aged six months to 10 years, with varied activities and entertainments. They are used by locals so can get busy at week-ends, but are fairly quiet during the week.
Similarly, Austria has Kinderhotels, a chain of family hotels for kids up to 18. Many have winter playgrounds, swimming pools, cinemas and discos. Inclusive packages mean no worries about baby equipment or child care. Parents can enjoy quality time and relaxation; there are spas, wellness centres, great cuisine and bars.
Resorts in sunny Spain and Andorra are also worth considering; both have wonderful, reasonably priced resorts with good accommodation and food. Andorra has award-winning ski schools and duty-free shopping.
Scandinavian ski resorts, which have the longest season and plenty of snow beyond Easter, are especially welcoming to British families. Youngsters will love the Santa packages in Finland but there are log cabins, reindeer, huskies and saunas aplenty in Sweden and Norway too, as well as a chance to see the magical Northern Lights.
For those wanting ultimate luxury there are ski resorts in Italy, France and Switzerland ranging from boutique hotels to private chalets with pools. All offer superb child care, a full range of outdoor activities, indoor facilities and entertainments suitable for the very young and older teenagers.