DM is organising a massive family holiday for us at Christmas. She is looking at Ski Espirit chalets in France. The party will be DM and DF in their 60s, me and DB x 2 plus respective DPs (30s) and mine and DB 1's children of 7, 6, 4 and 3. Ski-ing abilities from absolute beginner (both children and adult) to expert so we need a wide range of terrain, good childcare and a good English speaking ski school. Nothing's booked yet so please help with experiences of Ski Espirit or any other good companies. TIA.
Ive been with esprit 10 different times. So I guess I think they're ok!
I've been to most of their French resorts. I'd avoid val disere if you've got beginners though I do love it there, ditto chamonix.
Tignes has a reputation for been a bit tough but I learnt to ski there and it was fine. Some of their chalets in all resorts but particular tignes can be away from the main ski lifts, school meeting point. I remember at tignes having a ten minute walk every morning with heavy skis, not good.
Courchevel is my favourite resort in the world. I've not been to their new chalet hotel there but a friend has and said its great. It's a good location as well.
I've been to their chalet hotel at la plagne and I liked la plagne but didn't like the hotel. Very swish, pool, etc but too many guests for the dining room. So dinner was in two sittings and was rushed. Not a nice atmosphere.
La rosiere is very nice. Small resort and very good for beginners. Experts can ski over into Italy on the lift pass for more runs.
Plan peisey is amazing. Lovely chalets, good location. Nice resort.
I've never stayed in les arcs but have skied there and it's nice skiing.
I think they've got chalets in les gets now as well and again les gets a nice resort, no idea what the chalets are like.
They use evolution 2 or esf for their ski school and always get instructors with good English. Kids are in a class where it's just other esprit kids. They get taken to lessons by snow rangers and picked up. Child care has always been fine.
I suggest Meribel, its the most family friendly resort I know, with wonderful English tuition and a huge range of terrain, and everything links up really well . For chalets try Alpine Action or Meriski (or if you're minted, Purple Ski). For wonderful childcare get in touch with Shirley at Kids Etc, for ski school Magic in Motion are amazing.
viva have you stayed at Plan Peisey with Esprit? I'm considering them for New Year's 2014 so I'd love to hear why you liked it. How old are your kids and what do they need for a great holiday? Mine will be 2.8 and 6.2. Older one skis and youngest we might try and get shuffling round on some skis if he's interested. What are the rooms like? Are kids in with adults? Are they spacious?
Yes I've stayed at peisey. Rooms are massive. We had a triple room, dd was about 7 at the time. Amazing views across the valley. Lovely outdoor hot tubs to each chalet. I think there's only 4 or 5 rooms per chalet so the living room bit doesn't get too crowded. Though there was an empty room when we went which probably helped!
We stayed in the bottom chalet which has the best views but also the longest climb up the stairs every morning. You can leave your skis and ski boots in the locker room in the top chalet though which makes a massive difference.
You're only over the road from the main chair in peisey and also from the vanoise express going over to la plagne. So location is amazing.
My dd skied quite well already prior to the peisey holiday so was in one of the sprite classes and out and about skiing lots. The runs are lovely, nice and wide and good for giving confidence. I did my first ever black run in peisey.
We've done that this year because DS1 is only in reception and the cost difference between Feb half-term week and the one after is just . I feel bad about it though and disrespectful of this wonderful teachers. Next year we're hoping not to do that, but TBH the tour operators make it hard to justify going peak weeks. Who the hell wants to pay more to travel during the busiest weeks of the season?
juneau, all the Peisey chalets are marked on the Ski Espirit site as not suitable for under 5s owing to spiral staircase access to the kids' area but I guess your DS will be rising six when you go so not a problem for you. Totally agree with you about rip off holiday prices though, it's not like it costs the holiday companies any more to run those weeks, it's pure exploitation.
Esprit have far more chalets that DO have multiple 4+ bedded rooms than 3 bedded rooms, the Peisey chalets are some of the few 3 bedded rooms Esprit do. You would still be in Paradiski area at any of the Les Arc properties.
Viva, all the Espirit chalets in Peisey that sleep 12 had the same comment on the Espirit site about the spiral staircase; I've not been so can't speak from experience.
Paradiski is big, the skiing is better on the Les Arcs side IMO as the La Plagne side is very open and Les Arcs has more trees and more variety of terrain. But DH and I found plenty to ski for a week in good snow as intermediate to good skiers/boarders wanting a relatively leisurely trip. Not sure about beginners though.
That's interesting Bluey - thanks. You sound similar ability to us and we're not huge piste-bashers either. I've had a couple of friends recommend Les Arcs (and that was before the Paradiski area was created).
Word of warning - if you go s/c out of school holidays and need English speaking child group lessons then pick your resort carefully. ESF often don't do English kids group lessons out of school holidays apart from for big Tour Operator groups.
hvae a look at connick ski - family owned company - hire out the whole place and they provide inhouse ski instruction from purely guiding for v advanced skiiers through to absolute beginners all from the chalet. It is unbelievably amazing. All fully catered transportation etc..... they are at Chatel
We have always used Family Ski Company. They have excellent childcare including ski school helpers who go to ski school with the little ones a keep an eye on them and help pick them up and will help with any language problems - though I have always found the ski schools FSC use (ESF) to have good english speaking teachers. The kids clubs are also great, and the food and wine are high quality and free flowing... Ardent is probably best for non-skiiers to learn as lots of nice nursery slopes
Thank you, kingfisher and BeachMum. We're in need of more options - Ski Esprit won't guarantee childcare for the chalet we like because it doesn't belong to them but to Ski Total, so even though they sell us the holiday they won't sell us any childcare until they know the requirements of their own clients in the chalet-hotel. Ski Solutions are suggesting a nice alternative but the childcare company they suggest charges 910 Euros a week for a nanny, with ski school on top, and they insist you have two nannies for 3 children or more. I'm not sure we pay our nanny that, and she'd have no problem dealing with 4! Sadly our nanny won't come with us...
Have you looked at La Tania - Esprit, Le Ski, Ski Beat and Family Friendly Skiing all have chalets there with childcare. We stayed with Le Ski when DD was little and she loved it. Their chalets are lovely too.
I believe Esprit are the only ones to offer the evening Cocoa Club - I think all the other ones only provide a daytime service.
We use www.alpsinstyle.com in Morillon which is a private family run Chalet so they will tailor the holiday to suit you. Great family friendly resort, amazing luxary chalet and really great with the kids. Ticks all the boxes.
Thanks again for the suggestions and advice, everyone. We've actually booked Chalet Thovex in Val D'Isere through Ski Total. Ski Esprit, who we would have liked to use for the all in one service, don't actually have any chalets - they're Ski Total's so Esprit would sell us the chalet but not guarantee the childcare until Esprit's requirements were known. So we've cut out the middleman.
Now I just have to sort out the childcare, shouldn't be too hard <disappears off with two families' very different requirements in her hand, clutching the gin bottle>