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Should I rebook holiday to avoid ESF?

(13 Posts)
FionaOD56 Tue 18-Nov-14 11:29:25

I booked our first family skiing holiday with mark warner in les deux alps, and they have just got in touch to say that they have switched ski school to the ESF, whom I have been keen to avoid - kids are 4 and 6 and complete novices, and I want them to have a really fun and positive first experience. MW can offer me an alternative holiday (cost tbc) in val d'isere, where the hotel is 15 mins further from the slopes and there's no swimming pool, but evolution 2 do the skiing lessons. I figure I have three choices:
1) switch to Val and live with the walking and the extra time required for nannies to pick them up if they have a meltdown
2) stay in les deux alps and book ski-school with another company (meaning we will need to come down at lunchtime to collect them)
3) do a few uk-based ski lessons and hope they will be ok with ESF....

Any advice/experience??


Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 18-Nov-14 11:31:04

ESF are fine, I wouldn't reorganise a holiday on that basis alone. If MW are using them then there will be other british kids in their class.

PuddleglumtheMarshWiggle Tue 18-Nov-14 17:27:50

We've used ESF several times and always had a good experience. They divide the classes so all English speakers are in one and French speakers are in another. The instructors are bilingual, so can teach in either language. I now have teenage, competent skiiers. Relax and enjoy your holiday

SanityClause Tue 18-Nov-14 17:30:33

We like ESF because there's a clear progression. If you are going in half term, there is likely to be an English speaking class - in quieter times, they might have to join in with a bilingual class, though.

LIZS Tue 18-Nov-14 17:37:34

Seems a rather drastic course of action.We're not big fans of ESF but wouldn't rearrange just to avoid if rest of the holiday was good. You get good and indifferent instructors all over. Are you skiers or novices yourselves ? With children so young you may well not want to ski all day anyway and prefer to see them at lunchtime, can the MW nannies really not collect from another one hmm.

Johnogroats Tue 18-Nov-14 21:38:50

I'd stick with Les 2 Alpes and ESF. Having said that I would definitely have some lessons in the UK.

I think one of the challenges about getting kids to like skiing is the fact you are leaving them for most of a day with strange teachers in a totally new environment, which may be cold and snowy or wet. Whether it works is more dependent on the kids temperament and the weather than the ski school.

Fwiw we have used ESF and another ski school. Both were fine. One son hated PiouPiou, the other was fine.

Good luck!

specialmagiclady Tue 18-Nov-14 22:04:14

Val is rubbish for beginner skiers, we found. One little nursery slope that turned to porridge by the afternoon and even that was quite steep. To get the kids onto anything longer (but less steep ironically) would have involved wildly expensive trip up to the very top plateau. Where it was very cold!

They had lessons with evolution 2 that mostly consisted of going to buy kinder eggs at the little cafe at the bottom (at least for Ds2). I was quite happy with that, really because ds2 didn't "get" skiing at all but ds1 (then 7) loved it and would have liked to have had a bit more challenge.

pinkhousesarebest Tue 18-Nov-14 22:10:29

Ours started with Evolution and learned nothing. I have never had a problem with ESF (though the dcs speak French).

FionaOD56 Thu 20-Nov-14 09:40:44

Thanks very much everyone. I will stop fretting.

ShakeYourTailFeathers Thu 20-Nov-14 19:24:22

DH and I stayed in the MW hotel in Les Deux Alpes a few years ago and it was fab, just sayin'...


Muchtoomuchtodo Mon 24-Nov-14 11:53:45

We have used ESF in Les Lindarets for the past 5 years.

In that time there has been one instructor whose approach with children was a bit hmm but the rest have been great and their English is of a good standard.

If all MW clients have lessons with that ski school then they will be used to British kids. I would not change the whole holiday, especially when the alternative lacks in so many areas.

rookiemater Mon 24-Nov-14 17:58:29

It depends on your DCs. DS is not much of a joiner and likes things to be fun - from what I saw of the ESF in our resort he would have hated their lessons. Huge class sizes to the point where I'd be seriously concerned about very young DCs being safe, little effort to make it enjoyable for the children as evidenced by lots crying as they fell on the nursery slopes.

We booked DS into an English run ski school and it seemed much better, tiny class sizes and lots of fun.

Oh and DH got private ESF lessons which DS and I used a couple of days when DH was off with his friend and I wasn't hugely impressed by the quality of the tuition.

I'd maybe speak a bit more to MW about it - do they know if there will be English speaking classes run, what are the maximum class sizes?

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Wed 26-Nov-14 17:10:02

I can't speak for Les Deux Alpes as a resort but I think at 4-6 yrs I would place a lot of emphasis on the facilities available to the children as much as the quality of the tuition. Tow ropes and treadmills and bouncy inflatable rabbits and so on.
What will they do on a snow day?

- it is important that the instructor has good English imo
- are the class sizes limited and to what. I have seen v large ESF classes

As an adult I've had lessons with both ESF and Evolution in Val. I don't think it's a great beginners/child friendly resort. I'd go to Les Arcs for great beginner skiing. Les Arcs1950 has a great small ski school and the village is ski in, ski out so it's a doddle

I'd book a private lesson locally if you feel they need a bit of extra support but otherwise unless you expect them to be zooming past you like a native alpine child, I'd chill a bit.

Last thing - the extra walking to a ski school carrying a child's kit and trying to get them there on time for lessons would put me right off.

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