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Recommendations for family's first ski trip incl 6 and 3 year old

(28 Posts)
user1481837070 Tue 17-Apr-18 14:26:52

Please can anyone advise of where would be suitable for our first ever ski holiday next Easter (2019). Would prefer Europe to North America.

We have never been skiing before so are open to any suggestions!

Budget for a week would be around £5k but could stretch to more if somewhere was amazing. Ideally this figure would include ski hire, lift passes etc. - unless this is unrealistic?!

Would we also need childcare for the children? Or does everyone ski in the morning and have the afternoons to spend together? I don't have a clue and would appreciate any advice anyone could give me.

Many thanks smile

OP’s posts: |
crayoladreamz Wed 18-Apr-18 13:04:57

Hi @user1481837070 I just got back from a ski trip with my 6 and 4 year old. We went to Val Thorens which is probably the most recommended Easter destination due to how snow sure it is at that time of year.

Your budget isn't unrealistic at all.

I recommend:

Staying somewhere that is right on the nursery slope. You do NOT want to be hauling ski equipment around in the morning. We stayed here self catering but had a bakery next door and a spar supermarket about 10 buildings down the road.

We had a delivery from before we arrived of a few ready meals for the freezer and milk/eggs/bread to start us off.

We used ESF for ski school (9am-11:45am) but I actually wouldn't recommend as they groups were big and the instructors were a little... brusque with small children. Next year I'm going to use Prosneige as they had better ratios for the little ones. Both ESF and Prosneige are based on the doorstep of the accommodation I recommended.

We had the kids in ski school in the mornings and then back to the flat for lunch (baguette/cold meat/veg sticks etc) In the afternoon we all went sledging or skiied together or had hot chocolate and made a snowman. I wouldn't bother with childcare in the afternoons.

You DEFINITELY absolutely need lessons yourself if you've never skiied. If your budget can stretch to a few private ones (I think ESF is the cheapest for private so I'd try them) that your husband and you could share that is the best option otherwise go for group. Even one private lesson at the start would be hugely beneficial.

Johnnycomelately1 Wed 18-Apr-18 13:16:17

If none of you have ever skied before then it's (IMO) unrealistic to think that you can ski all together on the slopes in the afternoons until towards the end of the week. I'd therefore probably book the whole family into all day ski lessons. Ski school for a 3 year old is typically daycare with a bit of skiing and other snow activities in most resorts.

I know you've said no to N America but one thing I would say is that having done both, the ski instructors in N America are a lot more "fun" with the kids in general than the European ones. Part of that is language, part of it is I think cultural- i.e. European instructors are told to teach the kids to ski, N American ones are told to give a good guest experience.

trixymalixy Wed 18-Apr-18 13:40:34

If you've never been before then I'd recommend going with a company that will sort everything out for you, ski hire, lessons, lift passes, transfers and provide childcare. Have a look at Crystal, Esprit, Snowbizz etc.

MrsTylerJoseph Wed 18-Apr-18 13:47:46

I've been with esprit lots and would recommend them. Not a luxury option but kids are always happy. They won't want to ski all day and unless you're very fit I doubt you will.

Esprit take them to lessons, supervised lunch, snow club in the afternoon, supervised tea.

LadySerenaCarlow Wed 18-Apr-18 13:50:48

I've been with Esprit and Mark Warner and also on our own.

My tip is that I personally prefer Easter Hols to Feb Half term as it's not so bitter cold, the slopes are emptier and its cheaper.

I don't know if £5k is practical though (I have more children). And yes, people generally put their children into ski school or the creche in the morning. We always spend the afternoons with our children, but I'm less keen on skiing all day - those people that like to ski all day seem to put their children into ski school/clubs all day.

TroubledLichen Wed 18-Apr-18 14:01:45

Consider a company that will do PM childcare for the 3 year old, and possibly the 6 year old too and don’t expect too much in terms of family skiing. We’ve got 6 kids in the extend family group we ski with and none have been happy to get on skis until 4 and none made it off the nursery slopes until 5. Avoid ESF like the plague if you actually want the kids to enjoy themselves. Pick somewhere to stay that is either on or very close to the ski school meeting point to avoid a long walk with all the equipment. I like chalets with young kids as you can put them to bed and stay up yourselves in the living room plus you get food/drink provided (cooking after a long day on the slopes is my idea of hell). Oh and if you have a snow dome somewhere near you and you’re total novices then definitely get some lessons before you go.

user1481837070 Wed 18-Apr-18 14:15:41

Thank you all so much for your replies. Lots of info for me to look at smile

OP’s posts: |
MrsTylerJoseph Wed 18-Apr-18 15:33:09

I think saying avoid ESF is a bit unfair. It’s a massive outfit, there will be some not so good instructors and some great ones.

I’ve had a terrible ESF instructor and some really good ones, best instructor dd ever had was ESF. I admit I would try and use Evolution 2 or Oxygene if available in that resort but I wouldn’t base my resort choice on whether it’s evolution 2 are there or not.

TroubledLichen Wed 18-Apr-18 15:40:42

Actually I was told by Scott Dunn no less that they will no longer book ESF lessons (and bare in mind they will helicopter you in truffles if you so desire) because of all the complaints and upset kids. Plus DNephew aged 8 was lost on the side of the mountain and brought back to the meeting point by a random American couple. DNeice aged 7 moaned every single day of the holiday that she didn’t want to go to ski school as the instructor shouted. DNeice aged 3 was in tears at the thought of returning to Club Piou Piou and refused to go near skis for 2 years after that experience. Not to mention I’ve had ESF lessons myself and found them terrible. So absolutely I’d say to avoid them. But I wouldn’t go as far as to plan my trip around a specific ski school, there are plenty of non ESF schools in all the big resorts.

MrsTylerJoseph Wed 18-Apr-18 15:54:49

You’ve had some bad luck then. I’ve skied for the last 17 years and have used ESF for myself probably 8-9 times and for dd about 12 times. Never had anything like that. I had one slightly snotty snowboard ESF instructor and the rest have been fine.

MrsTylerJoseph Wed 18-Apr-18 15:55:22

But totally understand why you’d say avoid after all that.

allthekingsshoes Wed 18-Apr-18 16:31:26

Snowfocus are excellent. They aren’t cheap but compare well to other providers such as Esprit. Not so much skiing next Easter as it falls late. I’d take kids out of school and do first week of March!

TheWayOfTheWorld Wed 18-Apr-18 17:56:30

Look up Ski2 in Champoluc - brilliant for the kids and a lovely resort.

LIZS Wed 18-Apr-18 18:03:34

Try the Alphuebel in Saas Fee. Main Swiss Skischool group lessons in the mornings are from aged 5 but they do 1 1/2 hours for preschoolers in the afternoons. The hotel offers wrap around child care and will pick up/drop off at the sister hotel Waldesruh next to the snow garden where you can store ski equipment. The resort is picturesque and snowsure, traffic free aside from electro vehicles, has lots of non ski activities and a large public pool. If you can fly to Sion you will cut the transfer time down. The hotel itself is a bit kitsch but has a fun family friendly atmosphere and evening activities.

altiara Thu 19-Apr-18 07:36:02

Had our first family ski holiday last year in La Plagne, France. Stayed in belle-Plagne and could ski straight out from our apartment block on an easy slope. Lessons started right outside for several companies too. We went back this year too so I can definitely recommend it!
I’d also recommend lessons before you go, last year we had 3 lessons on the dry slope and got to the standard where we could go to the snowdome for a practice on snow (but not needing a lesson). Made such a difference when we got there as we had lessons in the morning (we could already do snowplough turns and started being taught parallel turns when we were there) and so could ski as a family in the afternoon. But my DCs were 7 and 10 and very sporty so took to it like ducks to water.
My friend went skiing with 4 yr olds and took them a week to learn to snowplough so you’d have to think about what to do with your 3 yo.

LadySerenaCarlow Thu 19-Apr-18 13:11:15

I've also been to the Alphuebel in Sass Fee. Really like it (although food a bit odd?) and had a lovely time there too. It's on a glacier so you can ski at Easter easily.

Growingboys Thu 19-Apr-18 13:22:39

Go to Italy - the Italians are LOVELY with children and it all generally feels cosier.

Crystal is great - they do something for every budget.

But def go to Italy. I've skied all over the place and Italy wins hands down because of how lovely the Italians are with your children.

SummerSeason Thu 19-Apr-18 13:25:53

None of you ski? I'd honestly hold off until your kids are slightly older, or go to North America for a fortnight.

theredjellybean Fri 27-Apr-18 18:06:13

can i revive this ? and ask for help finding perfect ski holiday for very diverse group

in total 4 adults, 3 competant but rusty and one beginner all in our 50's
3 x18 yr olds, two advanced skiers and one beginner
1x 2 yr and 11 months....obs never skied

we want ski in ski out or thereabouts, prefer self cater but not absolute deal breaker
not sure we need childcare as we all adore the baby and will share her out but would love to get her doing a preschool lesson..i know some places like oberguhurgal (sp)do a one hour lesson for 2 yr olds

fly from any london airport
going sat 6 the april ...

any suggestions welcome, very open to ideas...some drive some fly ? esprit with childcare ?
catered chalet? self cater ?

only thing we must have is ski in ski out or step out onto slopes type thing

TroubledLichen Fri 27-Apr-18 18:52:42


If it were me I’d be looking at a catered chalet- enough room for everyone to stay under one roof and it means the adults can sit in the living room together with a glass of wine in the evenings whilst the little ones are asleep upstairs. As most of your food and booze is included (typical offering is breakfast and afternoon tea every day and dinner with wine every night except one) they usually work out to be good value.

I would 110% arrange childcare, either nanny or kids club, if you only get a couple of beautiful weather days you’ll want to make the most of it, plus if the adults do lessons they’ll likely be at the same time.

As for lessons for the 2 year old, most places won’t take them under 3 due to insurance. To be honest all they will do at that age anyway is scoot along the flat and taking them out on skis to a flat section at the bottom of the nursery slopes is more than possible to do yourselves.

Ski-In/Ski-Out is easy enough to find but I’d consider whether this is wise with small kids and novices. As in you’d all need to be able to ski whatever piste you were on, and if some of the group weren’t capable for whatever reason then they’d likely face a long walk. I’d look for proximity to the ski school meeting point/main lift area instead. We stayed in a place once where we had a ski down an Olympic black piste or a 5 minute car journey- was a nightmare with the children!

TheWayOfTheWorld Thu 03-May-18 17:17:59

I would second the recommendation for Ski 2 in Champoluc. We had our first family ski holiday there this year and it was awesome - DC were both in ski school 10-3 every day and were both on red runs by the end of the week. They take care of everything for you, including having people on hand to help children out on their ski boots in the morning and help you to carry lots of skis etc.

bathildab Fri 04-May-18 00:08:58

New Generation is another excellent instructor outfit.

If you are beginners I would take lessons at Hemel or similar before you go. I've been skiing many times now and am a confident red run skier on a good day but I absolutely would not look after young beginner kids on the slopes. I leave that to people who know what they are doing (instructors or my DH).

Hmmisthatit Thu 31-May-18 15:55:16

You definitely need to watch the 'ski in ski out' option. Unless EVERYONE can ski, this can be very restrictive. Distance to the lifts and ski school is what counts ski in on a black run in Tignes anyone

Hmmisthatit Thu 31-May-18 15:57:44

OP you need to check what age the resort will take kids from, not all places will take kids under 4. ESF is very mixed IME. Crying lines of 12 kids is not what I call a great holiday. Look for providers such as Oxygen, Evo2, New Generation.

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