Any advice for first ski holiday with 4yo and 6yo?(22 Posts)
Looking to book our first family ski holiday -none of us have been skiing before. I think we'd prefer a chalet hotel for our first time, and some sort of ski school would be essential. I've been looking at esprit, but they would have dc's in different classes- one am and one pm, which would be rather inconvenient, unless we pay extra for snow club. We'd also actually like some time together to explore as a family and learn together (or is that too idealistic?!) Looking for early December (off peak weeks...perhaps 15th dec). Tightish budget up to 3k....any suggestions?
Zell am see in austria. Been going since youngest was 18months. The ski school goes from 3years. However we waited till youngest was 10 before we felt confident to go out togther all as a family. We booked via crystal/thompson firstly but after that booked direct with hotel/flights/ski school/hire and saved loads!
Prefer the idea of doing a package as its our first ever time doing this! Will have a look at sell am see....any favourite chalets/hotels to try?
We have stayed in the grand, which is a nice plush hotel. Its pricey but you might be ok with the first week. Its got a nice swimming pool/sauna/hot tub/lake views. Its about a 5-10 walk to the bus stop to ski school. We have also stayed at hotel st georg which is much more rustic family run hotel. I really like this too. It also has a little pool but not the views! Its main benefit is that its about 1min from the bus stop/main lift.
I forgot to say that the ski school would put the kids together but i dont know about you guys. I know they will do family groups with older kids. The ski school runs 10-3pm and they take the kids for lunch in one of the restaurants. The really big bonus about going early is that there are loads and loads of instructors so the ratio is high.
It all adds up mind! When you factor in ski hire, ski school, lunches up the mountain, lift passes etc. If you do decide to go with a package dont book your equipment with them as it will cost you more. You can pre book with intersport at the city express over the internet and you can get a large discount. Also the earlier the better! I think you can prebook the skischool too so its worth looking at that before you pay the tour operator extra. Pre booking also means you avoid long queues although they shouldnt be too bad when you are thinking of going.
The other bonus about going early is that all the hire equipment s brand new!
If you decide to go there i'll find you the links for ski school/hire so you can check out the price differences.
We have a 6, 4 and 2 year old and went to La Plagne 1800 with Crystal in April as our first family ski holiday. Couldn't fault it, to be honest. It was not as expensive as some of the more dedicated family-orientated providers so we were prepared for the worst but they consistently exceeded expectations.
We stayed in self catering, but they have plenty of chalets. The ESF there takes them from three years old for lessons either morning or evening. The Crystal childcare was good as well - our 6 year old came skiing with us in the afternoons and soon left us for dirt, but the 4 year old stayed with our 2 year old in the childcare.
We took the 4 year old out on one afternoon but by nature of her personality it was probably one of the most stressful afternoons of our lives "Watch out for that ledge, arghh!" as she turned yet another blind ear to us and did her own thing. Of course she was fine with her teacher (we stalked at a distance a few times!) and did what she was told then! Having said that, our much more sensible 6 year old would have been fine at 4 years old and I think our 2 year old would be fine too - DD2 is just somewhat "chaotic" You know your children best!
La Plagne is also a fabulous resort for beginners - it's known for its miles and miles of "motorway" cruisey blues - suited us perfectly.
I'm just also looking to book a ski holiday for my two DC aged 4 and 12 and me and DP.
I have found some cheap flights to Geneva... really cheap (£205 for all of us return)
So now I'm looking at accom and ski packages... Me and DD have skiid before but DS 4, and DP are absolute begginers.
I was thinking in terms of sharing the skiing and childcare with DP...
And maybe having a bit of ski school for our little DS, he's not great with people he doesn't know so going off with a lot of strangers might not work for him.
Don't know how this could be realistically achieved?
Possibly not strictly relevant but we went to Les Gets a couple of years ago (as a couple, no kids) and I remember thinking what a great family resort it would be. Quite small so easily navigable, good range of restaurants, ESF teachers and loads of families with kids, who all seemed to be having a lovely time. There's a good range of runs and a dedicated kids ski area. It didn't seem expensive to us - we stayed in a little studio apartment and self-catered, but ate out quite a bit.
That sounds ideal, what is ESF?
ESF is the French Ski school (Ecole Ski Francaise) , tbh we've had mixed experiences with them. Check the ages they will accept in each group as some only do limited skiing if any for under 5's.
Last year we went to Flaine with DCs age 3, 5 and 7. We stayed in a self catering apartment as cheaper and more flexible than catered. We dropped the DC off at ESF at 9am, DH and I skied on our own for the morning and picked them up at noon. We all had lunch together at a restaurant on the slopes and did a couple of runs in the afternoon with me and DH taking in turns to take DC3 between our legs. Simple food in the evening (baguette with cheese and pate, pasta etc), which was fine as we'd eaten out for lunch.
It was brilliant - we all loved it. Tiring though!
If you're all beginners, then I'm not sure how realistic it is to think about "exploring" yourselves.
Why not check out to see if you could maybe get a private instructor to teach the four of you? SIL did that one year and it worked out pretty much the same as ski school. Better value, actually, as the lesson was tailor-made for their ability. Although the kids were older and were reasonably experienced. But check it out anyway...
I don't want to pour cold water on it but skiing with children is hard work until they are about 8yrs and can carry their own skis, get them on etc. if you are beginners then exploring as a family isn't easy if you are having to get used to lifts and your own skis.
I would check that there are instructors who speak good English and try and go to a resort with children they can befriend. I would go for one with a lot of childcare- that takes them to the lesson. It is hard work getting them to a lesson and ready to go which makes it difficult to get to your lesson. When I took my two for the first time it took me so long to sort them on the first morning that my class had already gone up the mountain! I was able to go and find them but I wasn't a beginner.
I would try some lessons at a ski slope over here before you go to get the feel of it.
Having said all that it is the best fun! Just try and go for plenty of English speaking child care.
A private instructor might be the best idea if you want to explore together.
I agree with exotic - it is quite hard work when they are little, I would definitely recommend waiting until they are a bit older, or be prepared to sacrifice your won skiing so that if they get tired, want just play in the snow etc they are not bundled off to class.
We held off till DC were 6 & 8 and they were fine on a Crystal holiday - in Austria with English speaking instructors. Since then we have had various type of hol, including Esprit, Mark Warner (don't recommend MW) etc. When we have gone independently, they have not been keen on the ESF.
We've always been independently and, in the early days, put them in ski-school with ESF. It was OK. Then we progressed to a private instructor for all the kids in our party (half a dozen or so). That was great.
Now, thankfully, we're past all that and we just all ski together en masse. I, however, have developed "fear" and had to rely on dd to help me down a particularly nasty black last year. "Don't worry, Mum," she told me
patronisingly, "just follow my tracks and you'll be fine."
Interesting advice. i have changed my mind about it, me and DD are going to go for a short break (4 nights) in Les Gets and leave the boys at home... cheaper and easier
I think it is the best way because you can then have some experience before you take the DCs. If you want to ski with them you need to have mastered things like the lifts yourselves.
I think that's very sensible!
In Les Gets I'd recommend a brilliant little restaurant called La Cave K2, which does the most amazing burgers (and I'm not normally a burger fan). To be honest everything we ate there was delicious. You can get take-away cold tartiflette from the deli and take it home to heat up mmmmmm yummy. I seem to remember buying approx 1 kilo for two of us...
Second Zell am See. We all learnt to ski there - it was brilliant for little ones.
Also Morzine/Les Gets (NOT Avoriaz though- I always find skiing in Avoriaz really knocks my confidence)
We just booked for a catered chalet in la rosiere with esprit. Both children in snow club and lessons all day, dh&i have lessons every morning mon- wed. They (esprit) seem to have it all sorted...although I'm quite sure we've paid a price for being so naive!
The thing is that you are naive-everyone is as a beginner! It is much more sensible to do what you have done, be able to get your own skiing in and have the DCs catered for.
Next year you will know how the DCs have reacted to it, how difficult it is to get someone else into boots and skis, help someone else on and off lifts etc and you can book accordingly.
The way that you have done it is more likely to be relaxed enough to make it a success. I expect you will all have a great time!
We have a 5yr old and a 4yr old and have booked La Rosiere through Esprit too. They told us the same thing about the kids having to be in different classes (one morning the other afternoon) but when we said that would be a deal breaker for us they changed track and have agreed they can both go in the 5+ class provided we take the littlest to the snow dome first.
So if you are keen to have them learn together it might be worth asking them again.
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