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Where to ski for family of beginners?

(17 Posts)
schmooze Fri 06-Oct-06 10:33:35

Hello, we'd really like to go skiing with our ds (3). Neither dh nor I have ever been so would appreciate some advice on where would be a good venue for us all to learn together?

I'll admit to being ever so slightly concerned that we're going to go somewhere and end up being ridiculed by those who have skiied from birth-whilst I roll down a hill

tia

allhallows Fri 06-Oct-06 10:39:10

Never will you be ridiculed! Slopes are bursting with newbies of all ages. We live near Geneva, so near most of the best skiing areas in Europe. My favourites for learning are the littler ones, such as those in the Jura mountains or Villars. As a beginner in France (the French are notoriously pushy & impatient for lifts & things), I'd stick with Flaine, Avoriaz, Les Gets (where I learned), Morzine... Stay well away from Chamonix: Super-difficult.

allhallows Fri 06-Oct-06 10:41:17

Also, try a ski-school to begin with. They're quite cheap & there are classes for all ages & levels.

lapsedrunner Fri 06-Oct-06 11:01:49

With a three year old you need to go somewhere that has childcare facilities on site. Firstly she might hate skiing and secondly she won't be able to ski all day.

Likewise I would pick a resort that has other winter type activities, plus a hotel with an indoor pool is a great bonus. You too may not take to skiing and you need to be somewhwere with other things to do (she thinks nice relaxing Spa ).

My third bit of advice is to book accommodation that is ski in/ski out i.e right on the nursery slopes. It's strange enought putting on skis for the first time without having to lug them and a 3 year old around.

So where to go? I'm biaised as I currently live in Austria so I'm bound to say come here! I would say childcare is your most important factor so look at the UK operators that provide it. If you are happy to book independantly have a look at www.kinderhotels.com or www.tiscover.at (in english).

janinlondon Fri 06-Oct-06 11:03:21

Schmooze we went to the US to learn - they don't take it too seriously - lots of laughing an messing about, the kids understand what the instructors are saying, they teach on really short skis, and the cost was about the same as Europe. If you try for an East coast destimation (Killington or Stowe in Vermont, or Tremblant in Canada)the travel is not too bad either.

SNORcacKLE Fri 06-Oct-06 11:03:34

3 is quite young to start - many ski-schools don't start until 4 or 5, and you really need one that has a seperate class for the tinies as their needs are different. SOme take to it OK and others hate it.

A small French family resort that might suit is Puy St Vincent we went years ago and the setup seemed quite good. They have specialist ski classes in English for tots and adult classes (well everywhere does them) and doorstep skiing. They also have a creche if you need it (your 3 year old will not ski all day, and may need to be taken to/from ski class so you can be at your classes at the same time). Snowbizz is the UK ski company that goes there.

Howwwwwlidaymum Fri 06-Oct-06 11:04:14

Andorra's good, Panorama have some very child friendly properties with clubs and really good value learn to ski packs that include everything you need. Plus its all tax free there.

LIZS Fri 06-Oct-06 11:15:46

Don't go to Switzerland ! a) it can be pricey for what you need and b) they very rarely take under 4's or even under 5's in ski school and lcoal childcare can be variable. Austria has some good all round, picturesque resorts - so if you hate it you can find other things to do - within a short transfer of Salzburg or Innsbruck. Thomson etc are good at highlighting some of these less high profile resorts and do all-in packages (list here For example, we stayed at \link{http://www.thomsonski.com/accommodation.asp?sku=001551\this hotel about 15(!) years ago(before kids though) and it was very nice and the local area fine for beginners/2nd year skiers or there are some Kinderhotels in the Montafon valley which are supposed to be very family orientated and have nursery slopes on the doorstep.

LIZS Fri 06-Oct-06 11:16:30

sorry try again !

notsoladyjess Fri 06-Oct-06 11:21:00

try whistler in canada, it is huge and there are loads of nursery slopes. i have been to france loads and if you fall over there everyone laughs at you and skis past whereas in whistler loads of people will stop and make sure you are ok, offer to get you a hot chocolate, give you impromptu lessons! (well mayeb not everyone but they are much friendlier)
really lovely place. blackcomb is the neighbouring mountain which is also beautiful.

ggglimpopo Fri 06-Oct-06 11:25:04

Message withdrawn

kittyb Fri 06-Oct-06 12:20:19

Our first time was in Les Gets. Short transfer time was good. Stayed in a chalet but Hotel Christiana was right at the bottom of the slopes and we might try that next time.

Can I also ask what you think about safety of nursery slopes? People were skiing through the nursery slopes at the bottom (obviously) - bit worried about ds getting knocked over by someone out of control. Any resorts with totally separate nursery slopes or am I being over-protective? Sorry for hijack schmooze but also relevant to you?

schmooze Fri 06-Oct-06 13:33:12

Wow. Thanks alot everyone. There are some great recommendations (and warnings!) here and I'm going to look into all of them (right after this bar of chocolate).

Thanks again, really appreciated.

ZIHU Sat 07-Oct-06 13:14:13

We started our 3 year old in the States where the teaching is exc and the attitude is relaxed and fun. Vail is super because you can offer the skiers and the non skiers activity on and off the slope. Most importantly the nursery slopes are totally excluded to the mainstream traffic - very important. The 3yr old is now 5 and shames me on the slope - younger brother 3 will start this year and baby will sled. Keep them warm and incentivised - tubing with you in the afternoon, skiing in the morning... it works great for us BUT would love to find an equivalent Euro destination the US is a long way.

allhallows Sun 08-Oct-06 11:39:33

I agree that North America has some fantastic skiing & is super-friendly and Whistler, for example (my home!), is everything you could wish for but very expensive. You'd need to spend a good 10 days in the States or Canada to adjust properly to the time difference. For a beginning family, it would be best to keep it simple & short since a)some of you may not like it and b) skiing is quite tiring, especially when you're beginning. Almost every resort I know in CH & France have daycare facilities but remember to reserve or get there early in the a.m. Smaller & less well-known is much better, so suggest you concentrate on those. Also, stay clear over Christmas -- everyone goes but there's rarely any snow! Good luck.

mamhaf Tue 10-Oct-06 21:33:32

Andorra definitely - Soldeu has a very good kindergarten where your three-year-old can do a bit of ski-ing and lots of play while you learn. Stay in the hotel at the base of the gondola for maximum convenience - I think it's called the Sport. The Andorra ski school is superb with excellent English-language instruction.

binkacat Tue 17-Oct-06 14:23:15

My DD learnt to ski when she was 3 in Courcheval - great ESF ski school there. Avoid Chamonix. Selva in Italy is good, La Plagne is great for beginners. Try a family friendly ski company such as Ski Esprit or Mark Warner.

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