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Please help with family ski holidays

(32 Posts)
Siennasun Tue 14-Jul-15 23:08:23

Since DS was born we've been skiing in Morzine. We've self catered and DS has gone to the lovely local nursery while we skied. We go with a small group of adults and DS is the only child.
I don't think this'll work next year as DS will be three, therefore old enough to ski and it'd be better for him to have other children to ski/play with in the evening.
But all the different family ski holiday options are overwhelming, I don't know where to start. Is Austria a better option than France or Switzerland for very young children to learn to ski? I was thinking maybe Esprit in Obergurgl. Anyone been there? Any other suggestions?
Any suggestions on how to tactfully ditch our childless ski friends are also very welcome! smile

VivaLeBeaver Tue 14-Jul-15 23:10:24

Ive been with Esprit loads of times, only ever to France though. Would really recommend them.

We never ditched our childless friends, we dragged them to Esprit chalets with us!

Siennasun Tue 14-Jul-15 23:16:06

Can you do that? I thought you had to have children to book with esprit? That may be the answer!

VivaLeBeaver Wed 15-Jul-15 06:45:39

As long as there is one couple with an Id in the group then that's fine. We went five couples and only one kid once.

Plus they might be relaxing the kids rule in their bigger chalet hotels anyway. Last time we went to val disere with them there were couples with no kids who weren't with other couples. Whether that was a last minute thing to fill empty spaces I dontknow.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 15-Jul-15 06:46:00

Kid, not Id

Siennasun Wed 15-Jul-15 21:13:45

Thanks Viva. Are there any hotels/chalets in particular that you'd recommend?

Artandco Wed 15-Jul-15 21:20:33

We just hire a private ski instructor. Usually always some in most big areas. We just stay at any hotel/ chalet then, and instructor collects them from there or wherever you like.

Have done this since they were 2 years. They go every morning 9.30a - 12.30pm. Ski instructors ski and teach them, but also stop and play, take them for hot chocolate etc as required. So some days they do 90mins ski, 30 mins warm up indoors with drink and snack, 60 mins back out. The next day maybe after 45mins they aren't feeling it so they spend hr sledging and eat cake.

Either way it works for us as means they are happy and looked after 3hrs. In the afternoon we take them skiing with us, or we don't ski and do something else ( or granny looks after them!!). Different each day

VivaLeBeaver Wed 15-Jul-15 23:01:50

Depends what you like really. Big hotel or smaller chalet.

Courchevel is meant to be really good and fab location. I haven't been to their new hotel their but s friend has and said it was great. We went to the hotel at LA Plagne and I didn't like it. Posh rooms, swimming pool, good location but hotel too big, small communal area. Dining had to be done in two shifts as dining room not big enough.

My favourite ever is Plan Peisey. Great location, nice chalets, good skiing and great hot tubs. Also liked Val disere for the skiing. I was happy with the chalet hotel, some reviews say it's a bit shabby and compared to LA Plagne it is. But I prefered it!

I think the chalet we stayed in at Tignes has shut down, one problem we had there though was the walk to the lifts. And that's one thing Id say be careful with Esprit, some of their more established chalets can be a walk....but their brochures are good at specifying how many hundreds of meters away they are.

LA Rosiere chalets were nice and ski in, ski out. Dh found the skiing a bit limited though.

trixymalixy Wed 15-Jul-15 23:06:16

Snowbizz are fab. Puy st Vincent is a lovely family friendly resort.

Siennasun Thu 16-Jul-15 00:16:02

I was just looking at Plan Peisey. Are the chalets close to the lifts and village centre? It looks from The photo that they are down a steep hill. Also are there restaurants, etc nearby?

Thanks Trixy. I looked up Snowbizz. The childcare and combined ski school is exactly what I want, but the skiing looks a bit limited for the adults. The town sounds great though.

What I want is to be able to fly from Manchester, relatively short transfer, childcare combined with some ski/snow play (ideally in the morning), nice town with some shops, restaurants, etc, large ski area, chalet or hotel either ski in/out or short walk to lifts and other children for DS to play with.

I can't seem to find that all in one place, so may have to do as artandco suggested and maybe book ski instruction and childcare seperate to accommodation.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 16-Jul-15 06:49:37

The chalets are really close to the main lifts, it's a very short but steep hill (metal staircase) to get to the road. We were in the bottom chalet but some are nearer the road. Also the boot room/ski lockers are all at the top chalet for everyone so you don't have to carry your skis. There's a couple of restaurants there but it's not a big place.

If you want somewhere with shops you really need Val disere, morzine, Chamonix or Courchevel.

Hottypotty Thu 16-Jul-15 06:57:13

Nothing to add to the thread except to say-Artandco envy I wish I had your life!

Artandco Thu 16-Jul-15 07:31:03

The main reason we do private instructor also is the cost. We also travel as a group usually and majority have no small children with them. The problem with places like esprit is you pay the premium for the childcare. So in a group of 8, all 8 pay the premium for the childcare aspect even if 6 don't need it. With individual instructor the cost stays the same as before roughly for everyone else, as you just add childcare as needed.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 16-Jul-15 07:43:44

With Esprit you only pay for childcare if you need it. Morning child care is extra, lunch is extra, snow club is extra, cocoa club is extra.

When dd was 12yo, 13yo we still went with Esprit a coup,e of times even though we didn't use any childcare as she skiied with us simply because I couldn't find a catered chalet with flights and cheaper with anyone else.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 16-Jul-15 07:45:00

Unless it's changed, it's been a while since we've been with them.

trixymalixy Thu 16-Jul-15 08:57:24

We usually ski in the big resorts like val disere and Tignes. One of our concerns about puy st Vincent was that there wouldn't be varied enough skiing for the adults, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that not to be the case.

Artandco Thu 16-Jul-15 09:07:47

For variety of abilities and ages I would look at either-

The Alberg / Voralberg region, in Austria. Range of large area, mixture of busier St Anton, and lots of smaller village areas. Lots of lovely spa hotels

The Paradiski area. Includes les arc, vallandry, and over to la plagne. Again huge area to ski, range of beginners up to experienced. Personally we like Vallandry as quieter, and in the middle to get across to la plagne or straight up to les arc. Better area than Alberg for chalets.

Superking Thu 16-Jul-15 09:09:22

Have a look at snowfocus (chalet la Sonnaille) in Chatel. We have been for the last two years and I would really recommend it. Childcare is really flexible - your 3 year old could ski in the morning and play with other children in the chalet/ in the snow in the afternoon and all of the transport to and from the slopes would be taken care of. It's in the Portes du Soleil just like Morzine and is about 30m from the lifts.

toocheekyforwords Thu 16-Jul-15 12:35:40

We've been 2 times with (I hope I've added the link there fine!), can't recommend enough, my two love the childcare clubs and the staff in the chalets have always been amazing. Personally I love the bubbles, wine and food which is fab. In all seriousness though, we've been to two of their resorts, Reberty and Les Coches and they go to Ardent in Portes du Soleil which someone mentioned above, that too is a big ski area so you would all be fine there I'm sure. I haven't skiied there but friends of mine have and they go every year. One thing I would say is that just check that the company you book with has a bond, you don't want to loose your money, especially with whats going on in Europe at the mo!!!!!

willconcern Thu 16-Jul-15 12:42:00

I have been to Obergurgl with Esprit. Very good. I like Austria for kids ski school - the instructors seem more sympathetic than ESF ones, and you can book classes that give 2 hours in am plus lunch plus 2 hours "fun" lesson after lunch - for similar price to a 3 hour morning lesson in France.

Obergurgl is fairly small but v pretty. I found enough there for a week (had skiied every run - I am advanced skiing level). But brilliant for beginner kids.

Have also been to St Anton with Esprit sister company. Skiing there much more advanced. Crazy apres ski for your child free mates!

Reallyfeelingmyage Thu 16-Jul-15 12:49:31

You could have a look at Le Ski too, they have some good childcare options. And Ski famille.

herethereandeverywhere Thu 16-Jul-15 13:22:42

How would people rate hotel vs catered chalet? We've always done the latter so unsure how hotel works - do you just end up stuck in your room sixth sleeping kids after dinner? And do young kids have to eat at adult time (mine would not last until 8pm!)

Is self-catering a lot of extra work?

And finally... we can't go at half term this year. What is Easter skiing like? I've never been that late and I'm worried I'll spend £££ only to have to do grass-hiking instead!

VivaLeBeaver Thu 16-Jul-15 13:25:24

Ime a hotel works like a large catered chalet, so you still sit around the table eating and drinking till late. There's also communal areas such as a guest lounge or bar.

Self catering is not worth the hassle Imho. Did it once, never again.

Siennasun Fri 17-Jul-15 19:39:43

I've been away for a couple of days and come back to loads of recommendations! Thanks everyone! I'll have a good look at these this evening. Love a bit of holiday planning grin

Am really liking the sound of snowbizz - which hotel did you stay in trixy? Is there much difference between the 2?

From looking at the Esprit website it looks like young kids have a seperate dinner and aren't allowed at adult dinners. Is that right? We would want DS to eat with us. Is that true of other family chalets, e.g. family ski, etc?

Personally, I really like Easter skiing because it's so warm. But you need to choose your resort carefully. Espace Killy (Tignes/Val d'Isere) is good as its high and there's a glacier.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 17-Jul-15 19:43:07

Ive never known kids be allowed at an adult meal with esprit. I seem to remember hearing something about if your party book an entire chalet out you may be able to negotiate kids eating with adults if there's physically enough seating.

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