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easy beginners ski holiday help! self catering close to ski school?

(24 Posts)
laughorweep Wed 08-Nov-17 12:45:45

Tearing hair out to find easy ski holiday that suits, please help! Thanks in advance.
First family ski holiday with DH, kids age 7 and 5. Looking for everything v close - self catering (ski in ski out prefer) v close to ski school (English speaking). Need snow garden/kids area with magic carpet for youngest (never skied). Again all close to ski lift/gondola with easy wide runs (we're beginner/rusty novice). Our day will be: kids in morn lesson then childcare lunch (??) while we ski. Family time in afternoon, relax at self catering, kids early dinner/bed. No need for nightlife, staying in!

Food allergies so want self catering, plus we want early dinner all together - assume this rules out Esprit, Mark Warner type operators as they don't do self catering? (Childcare sounds good but the meals don't work for us). Been saving a long time and special treat so ok to look at pricier options. Thanks in advance. PS please include if resort has a gondola from near ski school with easy runs back to it, thanks!

cestlavielife Wed 08-Nov-17 14:50:55

Avoriaz self catering with Pierre et vacancies booked thru igluski. Choose the apartments closest to ski school
Easy to go back for lunch then out again

cestlavielife Wed 08-Nov-17 14:54:10

Inghams crystal etc do same places . Atria Crozats was fine ..others also close to slopes have pool.

trixymalixy Wed 08-Nov-17 14:56:33

Puy St Vincent through Snowbizz. You get the childcare of esprit while self catering.

PetiteMarseillaise Wed 08-Nov-17 15:09:35

Have the adults skied before, or is it just kids who are the beginners?

We love Courchevel even though it's pricey (but skiing generally is...) If the kids go with ESF they have a purpose-built ESF-only kiddie area with baby gondolas and ESF will do childcare lunch as well I believe.

Courchevel itself also has a magic carpet area accessed by gondola half way up the mountain, so you can take the kids out yourself to a beginners' area.

There's a big block of apartments right in the centre of Courchevel 1850 that overlooks the ESF kiddie school, spitting distance. And I think there's a supermarket at the bottom along with other shops, restaurants and bowling alley.

If you prefer English-only instruction, there's at least 1 English run ski school in Courchevel (New Generation, Supreme etc.) But I don't know how/where they cater for kids - I've had lessons with New Generation as an adult and I didn't think it was as good as ESF.

At least 2 (maybe 3, my memory fails me) gondolas run from 1850, lots of chair lifts. 2 main green runs back down to 1850, a couple of reds too for variety. It's where my kids learnt to ski smile

PetiteMarseillaise Wed 08-Nov-17 15:10:28

Age 5 and 7, I'd expect ski schools to take kids up the mountain - more fun!

laughorweep Wed 08-Nov-17 21:06:18

Thank you all for brilliant replies. I've been researching Avoriaz, Courcheval, Snowbizz and will look into Crystal too. DH is a beginner, I'm novice but haven't skied in years/lost confidence and prefer easy runs. Re: Avoriaz - sorry if daft question, Cestlavielife, but are the Pierre Vacances apartments ski in ski out - are they on a steep slope, tons of steps or anything like that? Am wondering, with all resorts, how to manage lugging 2 kids skis plus our own, bags, lunches (we'll provide re allergy), gloves etc and helping wee one walk in ski boots? Hence why asking about steps/slopes etc!
Re: PetitMarseillaise - Courcheval sounds good. Scott Dunn have new luxury apartments (pricey I imagine) but not sure how close they are in real terms... What is the name of apartments you mention please? Did you find ESF good for kids lessons? Heard some negatives about ESF but may be different resort... The gondola sounds good, with easy greens back to village I've read.
Re: trixymalixy. Have you been to Puy St Vincent... had something specific to ask but it's gone now! Will be back on when memory jogs...
Finally, has anyone been to two or more of the resorts mentioned as a comparison, and which is better in terms of easiness/closeness? Hoping this will be start of annual ski holidays and really want kids to enjoy it. Thanks again smile

cestlavielife Wed 08-Nov-17 22:15:18

At Easter it wasn't totally ski in out as snow had melted off the main slopes. But only a few minutes walk. It would be ski from the ski locker room in out in feb.

cestlavielife Wed 08-Nov-17 22:16:19

The club med people arrived in a mini bus right to slopes with all gear....

CheshireSplat Wed 08-Nov-17 22:20:37

Courceval is very expensive and I'm not sure it's worth paying that for beginners. One of the reasons for the price is the access to the 3 Valleys which you wouldn't be using.

Saying that we went in 2016 and my daughter (then 4) went to Magic ski school. Absolutely fab, I'd recommend wholeheartedly if you do choose 1850.

CheshireSplat Wed 08-Nov-17 22:24:49

I really want to try this resort. It's low, bit I'm assuming there will be snow cannons as there are nursery slopes. And Samoëns is a lovely town. Would you go and report back? grin

Morgan Wed 08-Nov-17 22:40:59

Try La Rosiere - Les Eucherts - family friendly reasonably priced and has nursery slopes and ski school etc
Cheshire splat - Samoens is nice ( the village is v pretty ) but I found it v busy in Feb half term .

trixymalixy Wed 08-Nov-17 23:09:08

Yes I have been to puy st Vincent with snowbizz. It's a great resort for beginners, but has enough to keep more experienced skiers happy too. There are easy runs back to the accommodation which is ski in ski out.

The ski school is fantastic, much smaller groups than with esf.

trixymalixy Wed 08-Nov-17 23:12:09

Cheshire we've been in morillon the last two years in a row. We loved it, but in the French school holidays it was mobbed and one day DH and I queue for so long that as soon as we got to the top of the mountain it was time to come back down to get the kids from ski school.

The link chairlift over to the next valley is in desperate need of upgrading as it is a real bottleneck.

Last year we took the kids out of school and went in March and it was so much better.

PetiteMarseillaise Wed 08-Nov-17 23:17:15

@laughorweep I've googled the Scott Dunn apartments and according to google, it's a 10 min walk to the main meeting area in front of the main gondolas where ESF meet for lessons. Probably less if you take the short cut and walk through the main tourist info building (above which are the main gondolas).

I think the kiddie area may be for kids younger than yours - and that part of ESF ski school used to be next door / behind the block of Pierre et Vacances apartments. Those are the apartments that I was thinking of previously.

We went many times with Esprit and had ESF lessons - the instruction was great, but because it was an Esprit group, the classes were small and taught only in English. I've heard that in normal ESF classes, some times the instructors will teach in French a lot, which may or may not be an issue for your kids - but that's just hearsay, not my personal experience.

Skiing is expensive no matter how you cut it, and Courchevel has a reputation for being super pricey. But we haven't found that it's any more expensive than other resorts. And IMHO it's a fantastic resort for beginners, so well worth our money.

Friends have been self-catering to Les Arcs 1800, lots of apartments and it's easy to ski into. But IIRC you have to ski down a little in order to take a chair up to the main Les Arcs 2000 resort. Does anyone else know? I can't remember exactly... (have only stayed at LA 2000.)

In terms of how you carry stuff and lead kiddies around, we've done that too. It's not easy, but not impossible - shouldering two pairs of skis and leaving a hand free to hold onto a child... Backpack for lunch and spare items.

PetiteMarseillaise Wed 08-Nov-17 23:20:37

And @CheshireSplat is correct, one of the reasons Courchevel is expensive is because you can ski from it to the other valleys, great links.

But you can buy the Courchevel-only ski pass rather than the 3 Valleys pass, which is cheaper.

Twick13 Fri 10-Nov-17 08:35:56

Ski2 in Champoluc and les gets have some self catered accommodation and own ski school for kids

Twick13 Fri 10-Nov-17 08:39:56

Apologise ski2 only have their own ski school in Champoluc they use esf in les gets. Still worth a look

Skilover Fri 10-Nov-17 14:58:51

Have a look at Arc 1950 too. It’s a great resort for families and all self catering. Try as they seem to have kept beneficial exchange rate.

Skilover Fri 10-Nov-17 14:59:34

Forgot to mention you can ski with Evo 2/Spirit 1950 from right by door step.

SkiYesPlease Fri 10-Nov-17 21:52:49

I was going to suggest Arc 1950 too but it looks like Skilover got there first.

We went with Esprit so stayed in Arc 2000 but 1950 was full of self catering, is a lot prettier than 2000, ski in/out, most of accommodation have pools/spa facilities. The beginner ski school area is nice and the instruction is good. I'm not sure what the local supermarket is like so suggest you take all your free-from/allergy safe food with you. My son also has multiple allergies so I know the stress of getting this right.

The supermarket in Les Gets had a pretty good 'Bio' section with soya, almond milk, gluten free products but it all depends on what allergies you have to cater for.

We've taken our allergy child on 3 ski holidays (all with Esprit, it's one of the reasons we keep going with them) and they have been great. We've never had a slip up (that also includes the holiday when i was still breastfeeding so also had to have a specialist diet). I inform the staff at booking &/or a couple of weeks before departure of the allergies, pay extra and put in requests e.g. almond milk or oat milk, sunflower margarine, gluten free cereals and on arrival they've always had the correct items. I have a meeting with the chalet staff, childcare manager etc to make sure everyone is aware of the allergies and they put the relevant procedures in place. Sorry for rant, hope this helps.

SeaToSki Fri 10-Nov-17 22:14:37

I dont know anything about skiing in Europe (we are in the US) but I am expert at marshalling kids with ski gear! Firstly have them wear all their gear as you leave the appartment, gloves on helmet on etc. They take your ski poles and you carry their skis as well as yours (just keep an eye on the poles and have a no jousting rule). One of you wear a rucksack which is made with sturdy material as skis catch and rip stuff easily. Put all the lunch and any extra stuff in the back pack. If your little one really cant walk well in ski boots, have him wear snow boots and bungee his ski boots onto the backpack, or jam them inside wrapped in bin bags (they will be wet coming home) then leave the rucksack at the childcare place until pickup. If you can get hold of them, buy the little velcro straps that wrap around a pair of skis and hold them together. Get one each and then it will be much easier to carry the skis without them sliding off each other and being a PITA. Dont hold the kids hands, if they slip you dont want them to drag you down too. As soon as you can, get them to carry their own skis. Start with them holding their arms out horizontally with elbows tucked in by their sides. Put their skis across their arms sideways.

Hope you have a great time, dont forget the hand warmers!

tailsandscales Mon 13-Nov-17 14:59:42

Last year we went to PSV and Avoriaz with our 4 year old. We used Snowbizz in PSV and Village des Enfants in Avoriaz for morning childcare and ski school. VdE was fine but DS loved Snowbizz and still talks about it now. PSV/Snowbizz are also very convenient. It's a tiny resort centre so all connected and everywhere ski in/out and virtually no need to walk to anywhere but the skiing for adults was very limited. Avoriaz is a big resort with better facilities and skiing (DS loved the tropical waterpark) and it was ski in and out but journey to/from ski school would be very difficult for total beginners and would be a long walk.
PSV is a beginners resort and perfect for kids so for OP would probably be better than Avoriaz.

polyjuice Fri 17-Nov-17 21:07:17

Have you tried Powder Byrne? Have a look at Priva Lodge Lenzerheide for self catering apartments but all on site including kids’ lessons and adult groups if you want that. They have other options including in Flims, Laax - I highly recommend if you don’t mind a bit of a splurge.

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