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First Time Family Ski Holiday (Pre-School Children) - Recommendations?

(25 Posts)
Theonlyoneiknow Thu 13-Feb-14 12:42:35


DP & I love our skiing (did ski seasons pre DC) and haven't been on a ski holiday since the arrival of our DS (aged 4). We now have another DC who is 18 months.

This is the last year we can go out of the school holidays so need to go as will never be able to afford it next year.

Any suggestions? I know the Alps quite well but was hoping for a shortish transfer and flights from Scotland. Am not sure if it is best to do a package with one of the family specialist operators, or do a DIY trip with flights, resort transfer, hotel, childcare etc separately. Definitely prefer catered to self catering.

Have priced up the specialist tour operators and am looking at �3k minimum which has come as a bit of a shock (although I guess, it is what it is!). We don't necessarily want FT childcare, would be happy with half days as I would like to also spend time with my DC on holiday (as we both work full time so they go to nursery FT). We would be happy with skiing together in the morning whilst one DC is at ski school and the other is in childcare, then in the afternoon one of us looking after both DC while the other skis.

All the specialist family places so far are FT with regards to childcare.

Have been to Les Gets a few times and its a lovely family friendly place with a short transfer. Wouldn't mind going again but would also like to try somewhere new! Chambery has quite a short transfer to a few different resorts.

So far have looked at Ski Espirit and Ski Famile.

Thanks in advance for any help!

skilovingmum Thu 13-Feb-14 13:45:11

Look at Family Ski Company they are fabulous and offer 6 days of childcare you can dip in and out of. They are all really helpful on the phone and all have children so know all the answers! Been with them 3 times now and cant wait to go back.....

Theonlyoneiknow Thu 13-Feb-14 13:46:02

Thank you! I have just co-incidentally emailed them!

Theonlyoneiknow Thu 13-Feb-14 18:41:42

Which chalet did you stay in?

trixymalixy Sun 16-Feb-14 20:54:39

Don't go DIY for your first time skiing with kids. It doesn't end up much cheaper and when you're skiing with kids there's enough hassle as it is so it's much easier having everything laid on for you.

We've skied with Crystal and you don't have to have full time childcare. We've just come back from a week with Esprit and it was fantastic.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 18-Feb-14 16:29:24

We've been 5 times with Family Ski - each time to Ardent. The short transfer time is great.
We've stayed in Chalets Rulens and Grolets and friends have stayed in Cosy. There's no cooked breakfast in Cosy, but otherwise the service is the same. Cosy is furthest away from Eau Vive which is where your oldest dc's kids club, but it's only 2-3 minutes walk.
We still take our ds's (8 and 5) in term time and will do so until oldest ds moves up to secondary school.

Theonlyoneiknow Tue 18-Feb-14 17:35:18

Am looking at family ski to Ardent but with everything will be £3300 is this what the prices are like? Eek

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 18-Feb-14 19:17:32

Yes, at least that shock

Is that everything?
Airport parking
Kids clubs (includes lessons)
Lift passes (needed for 5 Nd over so just you and DH)
Equipment hire

Then there'll be lunches for you and DH and a meal on the chalet staff's night off.

We pay early and get the 10% early bird discount on accomodation costs, book flights as soon as they're available (this year was £480 return for 4 of us), and then pay childcare 10 weeks before we go and lift passes about a fortnight before we go. It makes it more manageable to spread the cost and I try not to think too much about the overall total!

LJBanana Tue 18-Feb-14 19:28:48

We went last year with similar aged children to you. It was really hard work as we weren't organised before hand, eg-pre-booking ski school for older child-he ended up not going anyway as he was ill so got pushed around in younger ones pram for a week whilst we got stressed.
Plus the chalet was shared, so 12 peoples morning and eve routines clashing totally with your families.
All in all it was an exhausting and expensive week. BUT we did learn the hard way how not to do it!!!! I shall watch this thread for top tips on how to make it easier!

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 18-Feb-14 19:46:43

Organisation is key!

Pre booking everything, ski and boot fitting the afternoon that you arrive (definitely not the first morning). Getting out everything the night before, snacks in pockets, kids club bags packed (deliver snow boots to correct chalet if with Family Ski) and allowing far more time than you think you'll need to get togged up and up the mountain.

If you go with a family ski type company, every family will be on the same timetable so things can get busy in the boot room. We go with a group of friends and we all help each other out, one snow boot delivery, one family taking others out of the way once they're ready to make more space etc.

trixymalixy Tue 18-Feb-14 19:57:08

That's around what we have paid the past 3 years for a family of 4 flying from Scotland with childcare, lift passes, lessons etc.

Theonlyoneiknow Tue 18-Feb-14 20:05:06

I am an ex chalet girl so loved my chalet holidays pre DC. Not sure how it will be with other people and their young Dc in the same accommodation! I love the social aspect though!

Also flying from scotland which makes things more expensive. Hadnt factored in 250 mile round trip to airport, parking, our lunches, snacks, drinks or insurance upgrade!

trixymalixy Tue 18-Feb-14 21:30:21

Theonlyone, my kids absolutely love the social aspect. DD still talks about her "club" from 2 years ago and Becky from the childcare last year and she's only 4.

ladydepp Wed 19-Feb-14 20:13:54

How about Snowbizz? Very family friendly, great for small and big children, ski in and out etc...and not too dear esp. during term time. Great customer service too.

Theonlyoneiknow Wed 19-Feb-14 22:18:57

I checked them out this afternoon but the nearest airport is a 7hr drive not including stops. Could arrange our own flights but then it doesn't really work out much cheaper, sigh.....

Theonlyoneiknow Wed 19-Feb-14 22:19:32

I meant, the nearest airport they fly from is a 7hrs drive from where I live

IwishIwasmoreorganised Wed 19-Feb-14 22:33:07

The flights out me off Snowbizz too. They look great otherwise. Wish they would just price the holidays excluding travel and make it more cost effective to book flights ourselves.

Theonlyoneiknow Wed 19-Feb-14 22:44:09

Plus the Manchester flight leaves at 7 am so we would need to drive the day before and get an airport hotel. If you arrange your own flights they add £75 per person transfer on top. Plus Turin isn't really a budget airline destination ( from Scotland anyway).

I found skiandsun360 in Les carroz to look reasonably priced though

Theonlyoneiknow Wed 19-Feb-14 22:44:42

But the downside there is that the chalet isn't slope side but they take you in their mini bus

IwishIwasmoreorganised Wed 19-Feb-14 22:55:12

We've looked at so many different operators, but only Family Ski met our criteria.

This may change as our ds's are getting older now but with really young ones they've no been great.

Theonlyoneiknow Wed 19-Feb-14 23:05:21

Family Ski look good in that they oversee the young ones in ski school. I'm not too keen on leaving 4 yrs old DS in ski school on his own, so the fact their nanny supervises is great.

Got a price for Ski Famille today, puts me off that they charge extra for the kids lunches. Last time we can go before DS starts school in August though!

I have to stop comparing the fact that DP and I went to Whistler for a fortnight in a lovely catered chalet, total cost with everything was £2 k!

SoldeInvierno Thu 20-Feb-14 06:40:37

Have you thought of Katschberg? We are here with Neilson this week. There are many families with babies and todlers and the childcare seems excellent. We have been coming since DS was 6 so we have always used the ski school instead which is brilliant. I highly recommend it

Theonlyoneiknow Thu 20-Feb-14 09:44:38

Thanks, but another operator whose furthest north airport is Manchester :-(

SoldeInvierno Fri 21-Feb-14 08:18:32

Many families fly to Lubjana or Vienna and just drive here. They then book the room directly with the hotel. Bit more effort but it saves a lot of money

trixymalixy Fri 21-Feb-14 08:22:40

Esprit fly from Edinburgh and they have an esprit snow ranger supervising each class.

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