has anyone used Family Ski Company?

(38 Posts)
mckenzie Sat 07-Jan-12 19:34:14

Are they any good? We took the peeps last year for the first time properly (DS was 9 and DD was just turned 6) and we are looking to go again this year with them.

TIA

JoanyY Fri 21-Mar-14 22:21:11

Just came back from an amazing week in Ardent with FSC. I know this thread is old, but just wanted to say that still, to date, they delivered an excellent service, perfect for us with DD of 4, starting ski school for the first time and DS of 18months using the creche. Stayed in L'eau vivre, all very easy and convenient from having boots/skis fitting on arrival downstairs in the chalet through to being taken up on the first morning to lessons with a FSC team member (allow for twice as much time as suggested on the first morning). Great food, great organisation and enthusiastic, caring, fun people. Not a a huge amount in Ardent but more than enough for us. Can appreciate earlier comments though about older children as not sure how well they would be accommodated. Would recommend FSC without hesitation on our experience.

Shoutymomma Tue 28-Feb-12 21:35:55

Amen sister. Chalets are the best.

BeachMum3 Tue 28-Feb-12 20:43:15

Just wanted to say that we have stayed in Ardent (and with FSC) a few times and the food has always been amazing - we had the same menu as mentioned above and our Thai curry was full of big juicy prawns (sorry), the chicken pie was lush, and all the cakes yummy.

Also, we usually stay in Grolets and the short walk to the lift has never been a problem, our littlest ones wear their snow boots and we carry their ski boots to make it easier, but the walk is really not far - surely other resorts in the Alps must be further?? you can ski right to the door in the afternoons which has got to be good!?

Although there isn't much going on in Ardent that is part of its charm. We have never missed the lack of night life enjoying the good company, great food and every flowing (free!) wine on offer in the chalet -we wouldn't go out in the evenings when on holiday with the kids anyway - who needs a club??? And no noisy bars kicking out in the middle of the night!

Shoutymomma Fri 10-Feb-12 18:47:23

Saas fee with Family Ski.

We arrived the day BeachMum left. Here are my thoughts as succinctly as I'm able (bearing in mind my curse of the runaway gob).

Agreed totally that it is a beautiful town, the scenery is more dramatic than any other resort I have been to.

Chalet La Collina is great; quirky, cosy, comfy beds, great pool/jacuzzi/spa facilities.

Food was good, ESP the Thai prawn curry and the chicken pie. I don't think it's quite on to call a yoghurt a pudding after kids meals, though. Very forward with the free wine and the lime beer was fab.

Staff were terrific, buoyant young people with proper people skills, very friendly and fun.

Childcare. It was unfortunate that our kids were the oldest (at 7 and 9) by quite a stretch but they were perfectly happy. They had 2 hours guided skiing twice during the week, which I were worth their weight in gold and really brought them on. Obviously I can't speak for creche facilities, but one thing I would say is the Esprit take care of children throughout their mealtimes. I am sure the other families in the chalet with us would have relished time to relax whilst their wee ones were being fed.

Skiing. We had beautiful powdery snow but boy it was cold. It was a strenuous week with only one chair lift, everything else being buttons,Ts, gondolas, cable car or funicular. You don't realise the respite a chair lift gives your legs til you don't have any. Also, there was quite a lot of walking between lifts/areas. Surely nobody likes walking in ski boots, carrying planks. Finally, there were parts of blue runs closed up on the hill, the remainder only accessible via reds. This made skiing with the kids tricky. The longest blue run was quite narrow, too. I'd say it's a great resort for a confident intermediate but you need to be in reasonable shape.

Sounds a bit negative now I look at it, but the joy of my week was seeing the kids come on. I had a shitty cold all week, too, which may have clouded my experience.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 07-Feb-12 22:01:37

Beachmum3 - could you take your children to ski school yourselves? If so how easy/difficult would that be (could you use the milk float?!)

In the chalet hotel, what was the layout like in terms of hearing kids messing around or having woken up and being upset?

HarrogateMum Mon 30-Jan-12 14:07:37

Thought I would add my thoughts now back from Ardent with FSC.

Good points

- booking - ladies in office were very helpful in finding me something that would suit everyone and answered all my questions quickly.
- great transfers, had a minibus all to ourselves so straight out of Geneva and onto the transfer.
- chalets really lovely, we were split between two in our party as there was not one big enough for all of us. Much more spacious and modern and generally upmarket than last years with Ski FAmille.
- ski school and helpers - really good idea to have the helpers picking up the kids at the back who fall over! All three of mine enjoyed ski school even though my littlest was sick for two days and missed some!
- childcare - again really great. Kids really enjoyed it.
- staff - all very friendly and helpful.
- babysitting service - fabulous, no extra cost babysitters for us every night as we were eating with our friends in the other chalet.
- location - very close to lift. ONly downside was that our chalet was next to the bar and in the afternoon the one next to the ski shop played thudding bass music which was not my cup of tea!
- hot tub - very nice on the one occasion I used it, but again it was in the other chalet so did not really get chance
- kids food - really good, big portions, infact bigger than adults (see below!)

Bad points

Food - not great. Cakes had not risen and biscuits had burnt. Kids food was fine and they had enormous portions, one day the kids had a chicken pie of which we had a variation for adults dinner. Kids portion was twice the size of mine!
We had a Thai prawn curry one night that had a lovely sauce but only about 3 miniscule shrimps in it per person one night. I spoke to the resort manager who said it should have had big fat prawns in it and much more than 3 each so not sure what went wrong with the recipe! In addition, one of our party did not eat fish or seafood and was presented with this, despite them knowing about it. One of the chalet helpers had to knock up a quick carbonara for her, but it meant she was eating after we had all finished. I think this was very much the luck of the draw in terms of whether you have someone who is passionate about cooking, or is just following a recipe or potentially cutting corners to save time.

Only other downside was probably my own fault - I researched and booked the whole thing for a party of 14 but my own family of 5 was in a chalet on our own, the other chalet got a catered breakfast and we didn't which was disappointing as I had not realised (obviously I must have missed it on the small print as don't remember it being pointed out at booking). This meant we had cereal and bread whilst the other chalet had bacon and eggs, or pancakes etc which was a shame.

All in all a good experience with just a few hiccups!

BeachMum3 Sun 29-Jan-12 22:15:00

Mckenzie sorry just saw your question re rooms - I think they are on the top floor and have fantastic views over the mountains - my brother got a beautiful picture of the sun rise fromthe balcony of Rm15.
The rooms are a great size - a double and then a few steps up to a twin (triple in our case) both with balconys and ensuite. They are on your own little landing so nice and private if you need to leave the doors open at night - no one walking past...

BeachMum3 Sun 29-Jan-12 22:10:07

back from an amazing week in Saas Fee.

FSC was again up to it's very high standard. The Chalet Hotel La Collina has a great layout which the kids loved exploring and a fab atmosphere - all very relaxed. We were with a mixture of friends and people we hadn't met before, and as before we all had a great time and got on really well... we have gone a few times without knowing anyone else but have never found it to be a problem as we all have skiing and kids in common so that's a good starting point!

Saas Fee is beautiful - we had fantastic weather! The town has lots of shops, coffee shops and restaurants and so has plenty to do for any non skiers. I would recommend the toboganning (we did the night run with the kids - probably better not seeing how far the drop off the edge was!?). You can also get the train right to the top wihout having to ski, where there is a revolving restaurant (featured in a Bond movie??) and an Ice Cave carved into the Glacier - well worth a visit.

The Chalet Hotel is about a 10 minute walk from the ski runs, but this is not a problem as the kids get taken across by the ski school helpers in the electro (bit like a milk cart!) in the morning (which means we could see them off in our PJ's and go back for another cuppa before heading for the slopes - real bonus); and then brought back again in the afternoon. FSC has arranged for all Skis and Boots to be left in a depot (with heated boot warmers) right at the bottom of the nursery slopes so there is no need to carry skis back and forth. There are buses (which we caught a couple of times), but the walk is nice, and helped ease out the legs at the end of a hard days skiing.

The skiing was also brilliant - a good mix of blue, red and black runs, and all soooo quiet. There were very few other people on the slopes which meant that I was brave enough to go faster down the reds and even had a go at some blacks for the first time!

The kids had a fab time. Again the ski school helpers and childcare staff were all really enthusiastic and great fun - the hosts were also great with the kids which made tea time fun too.

The hot tub & sauna were a real luxury, and the kids loved having a pool.

Sorry this is a long post, but we had such a great time - the most relaxing ski holiday yet; I just wanted to share it with you all - if you are thinking of holidaying with FSC in Saas Fee (or anywhere!) do it!

IwishIwasmoreorganised Wed 11-Jan-12 21:56:03

We're packed to the rafters this year MollieO - next year maybe!

mckenzie Wed 11-Jan-12 18:35:23

beachmum3 - if you are around, please could you tell me about the rooms in the chalet La Collina in Saas-Fee. We are being offered 14 and 15. I can't find a floor plan on line anywhere?

mckenzie Wed 11-Jan-12 11:11:39

thanks MollieO. She does sound like a rather strange lady huh? I'm glad it didn't spoil your holiday though.

MollieO Tue 10-Jan-12 22:25:52

Les Granges is the one I'm thinking of.

Most of the families we shared with were lovely. There was only one that was odd. Husband and children were lovely but the wife was very focused on money and made lots of comments at dinner about what her dh did for a living (an accountant), where they lived (Orpington), the size of their house (detached), the fact that they had flown business class to Geneva (why on earth?!) and so on. All targetted at me. She never asked me what I did for a living (professional career, good job).

Found out on the last day that she didn't think I should be having what was a relatively expensive holiday because she couldn't work out how a single parent like me could afford it. I was rather confused and hmm but it explained her attitude towards me.

Have had good experiences in other chalet holidays although it took a bit of courage to book again as that experience was our first of mixed chalets.

mckenzie Tue 10-Jan-12 22:20:10

oh let us come with you Iwish.. i promise we'll all behave ourselves smile

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 10-Jan-12 22:16:34

That's why we fill a chalet with friends that we know - to avoid ending up sharing with the McKenzies! wink

mckenzie Tue 10-Jan-12 22:10:04

let's be honest, those other guests are probably equally as worried about ending up with Mr and Mrs Mckenzie and their two little mckenzies!

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 10-Jan-12 22:08:32

You could ask about the other guests - they'll probably tell you the ages of their dc so that you can "match" your families.

mckenzie Tue 10-Jan-12 22:06:53

thanks Guys, only three are available for the dates we want and they are all the larger ones.
DH is getting worried that we'll end up sharing with Mr and Mrs Knob and their 3 young Knobetts. I told him that only nice people go skiing smile

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 10-Jan-12 21:58:22

We go with a group of friends and Grolets suits us perfectly in terms of room sizes and layout so that's where we're staying again.

Cosy is the closest to the gondola but only sleeps 1 family, Les Granges is the closest bigger chalet.

It really depends on who you're going with.

There is a village plan on FSC website I think - the furthest chalet is only about 400m from the gondola. You (as parents) only need to get your dc up the mountain in the morning - the FSC staff bring them down at lunchtime grin.

MollieO Tue 10-Jan-12 21:51:04

The one nearly directly opposite the gondola. Can't remember its name. We stayed in Grolets and ds moaned a lot about walking to and from the gondola. There is a path you can ski but not with a beginner out of control small person smile

mckenzie Tue 10-Jan-12 21:22:53

those that have been to Ardent with FSC, which chalet would you recommend please?

MollieO Tue 10-Jan-12 20:43:08

I thought what FSC did very well indeed were the afternoon activities. Ds absolutely loved it and they did something different everyday. Including jousting on sledges and lots of outdoors stuff, as well as more crafty things too. He was 4.5 when we went with them.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 10-Jan-12 19:46:54

Ooohh BeachMum3 Please report back on Saas Fee - especially the getting across town on the train to get to the slopes.

We like the look of it, but that part has put us off so far!

Hope you have a great trip.

mckenzie Tue 10-Jan-12 17:23:54

please don't apologise WM. More than happy to share the thread smile.

WelshMoth Tue 10-Jan-12 14:48:50

mckenzie sorry - I feel I've hijacked your thread somewhat. blush

Am just so excited (although since it's not until 2013, I'm going to be a gibbering wreck unless I cool down!).

Good luck with booking something.

mckenzie Tue 10-Jan-12 14:39:55

ditto guys, thank you. I'm just contact FSC now to see what they have left available.

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