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has anyone used Family Ski Company?

(50 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.


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

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

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 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.

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?

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

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

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!

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...

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!

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?

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.

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 Tue 28-Feb-12 21:35:55

Amen sister. Chalets are the best.

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.

Goatcoat Mon 29-Feb-16 19:30:50

Ooh another late arrival to the thread. Considering ardent next week as a late deal with DH, 4yo and 19mo. Had hoped for half day childcare but see it's really a full day with FSC. Bit worried about youngest DD being "with strangers" all day and in general having a holiday where we don't see much of the kids.... Do you all eat together with FSC?

Muchtoomuchtodo Sun 06-Mar-16 20:35:31

No, the kids eat at about 5.30 and the adults at 8.00 but it's all in your chalet under your supervision.

If you want to collect your dc from their childcare early then that's fine but it's worth mentioning it in the morning in case they're planning a trip out somewhere (even the younger ones go out and about!).

If the deal's still available I'd grab it! The snow looks amazing out there at the moment.

AmGeHa Fri 30-Dec-16 17:39:15

We just got back today and I need to vent!

They really should disclose that "prepared meals" (which sounds great, in theory) means there is someone (albeit a very nice teenage girl) in your small, claustrophobic chalet banging around with pots and pans and frying up smelly food at all (and unpredictable) hours of the day. They also let themselves in at their own convenience so there is no privacy what so ever. The real clincher was Christmas morning when we were woken up extra early, with them making us breakfast and they had brought treats for our kids - which overshadowed our own private family celebration. I was kind of heartbroken. The skiing it's self and everything surrounding it, like rentals etc - was good (but for my 4 year old, the days felt very long - getting up at 7am and later walking down a long road to the creche - which ends at 4;30 - in ski boots for the first time was not easy!)

We had to have a "special talk" with the manager about how we were private people, etc - but they weren't really willing to change their ways. They tried to reduce the hours our cook was in the house - but it still wasn't what we were hoping for. Believe me, at the end of a long day of skiing - you will kind of just want to take off your bra/ trousers or whatever and hang out - not to have a nanny under your feet! Also - they should tell you that there is neither a food store nor a pharmacy in the village (I had a painful sinus infection and wasn't able to get any Lemsip, let alone antiboitics/ we also needed to refill on night nappies) without getting on a bus for 15 minutes! Not the best set up. All in all, it was a hard work/ pressurized vacation. So glad to be home! Now to get some rest!

AmGeHa Fri 30-Dec-16 17:46:16

Oh yes, just reading earlier threads - I was reminded that you really won't see much of your kids at all if you go with their set up. You can pick them up from creche early (we did 2 pm), or directly after ski school at 11;15 - but we felt the day was almost designed to keep us separated as much as possible. We're not that kind of family. We love our kids and want to spend time with them! Isn't that the point of a family vacation?

AmGeHa Fri 30-Dec-16 17:59:50

Ok, this is the last thing I will say - The suppers took so long to cook (upwards of 4 hours each day) because there were separate ones for the kids and for the adults (not necessary!) and there was an appetizer, first course, main and pudding (which we were always too full to eat). So much food went to waste and so much time spent without need. Simple is good when it comes to families and kids! One night, there was a '6' course wine tasting menu - we were like, wtf?

CaurnieBred Fri 30-Dec-16 20:52:48

Have you been on a catered chalet holiday before? It doesn't sound like it as all the things you are complaining about are standard fare for a catered chalet!

Muchtoomuchtodo Mon 02-Jan-17 22:15:59

How do you expect food to be cooked if it's not in the chalet AmGeHa?

The meal time set up is great in chalets as it means the kids can eat before they're too tired. No adult wants to eat at 5.30pm either.

And as for bringing treats for your kids - what on earth were they thinking confused

DustingOffTheDynastySuit Wed 04-Jan-17 14:08:06

Another one reading the complaints on here like confused/

You paid a premium for a catered chalet with high end food and chalet staff and wraparound child care, and are disappointed that the chalet staff are in your chalet cooking you nice meals and your children are in childcare...

Is this some wierd subversive marketing tactic and you actually work for them?

Buttercupsandaisies Wed 04-Jan-17 19:25:28

I haven't been in a catered cabin but the set up as you described is exactly what puts me off - I want to eat with my kids at 8pm! It's easy enough to adjust meals times so all meals are pushed forward or snacks between. I don't want them in childcare all day - it's a family holiday - all these companies sound perfect if you want what's essentially an adult only holiday

DustingOffTheDynastySuit Thu 05-Jan-17 17:54:06

Well that makes sense Buttercup which is why you presumably don't book chalet holidays with wraparound childcare...

My kids are small and would be a sobbing mess by 8pm, and they need to go to ski school to learn to ski. When they're older we'll eat together and ski together, if they can bear it!

PatriciaHolm Thu 05-Jan-17 23:02:59

You appear to have on holiday by mistake, AnGeHa!

Surely you read all the detail about the catering, ski school, timings etc when you booked? Everything you have complained about is a key feature of catered chalets.

Londonmumlivinginessex Wed 16-Aug-17 13:28:49

Hello, hope you don't mind me submitting a late in the day question but just wanted to know if anyone is going over xmas to Ardent with FSC? We have booked a week with them and super excited - although my oldest will be 7 (nearly 8) so praying she wont be the oldest there!

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