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Resort recommendation(18 Posts)
Can anyone recommend a child-friendly + beginner-friendly skiing spot within Europe please?
We're thinking of making our first ever ski trip with our 6-year old and 4-year old daughter next February.
Any suggestions will be deeply appreciated.
Obergurgl in Austria was recommended to us when the kids were little - all the hotels are really close or on the slopes, lovely ski school, very good (but not big if you're an expert) skiing and always loads of snow. Although that's less an issue at half term. The other big pluses are that the hotels are a great standard and there's little queuing. (For instance now the kids are older they're ok with lift queues and buses etc, those things can make a holiday with small kids really miserable. On the negative side there's not a lot else (cafes shops etc). The mountain restaurants are good though.
Montchavin, France is a nice small resort
Bourg St Maurice is a large resort
Depends on budget I would say! Will you go with a family operator or prefer to go it alone?
Piessey Vallandry, France is great for beginners, links up to Les Arcs if you need more ski area too
What's your budget like?
Will you do a package or sort yourself?
Les Deux Alps
Consider America (pre covid), expensive to get there but on mountain significantly cheaper for everyhing so works out even. Brek, Vail, Winter Park. No idea what the flight situation will be in Feb.
I've heard great tings about Norway for beginners, but really only absolute beginners, not enough for someone who has skied before.
Don't touch Bulgaria, there's a reason why it's cheap.
Although I wouldn't book anything at the moment, I doubt it will be restriction free.
I would recommend La Rosiere with children that age. Very family friendly and an excellent ski school. Valmorel would also be good.
@RunningFromInsanity I don't think Bourg St Maurice would be suitable as it is a valley town. You can get the funicular from there to Les Arcs but it would be a trek with young kids and there are far better family options.
We went for the first time ever this February, so were complete beginners. Children were 8 and 6.
We went to Rauris in Austria on a recommendation from DHs colleague. It was perfect for us.
It's a fairly small resort, so it's easy to find your way back to familiar ground. I was content with doing the same couple of runs over the course of the week as it gave me the chance to improve my technique as the run became familiar. There were more runs available to me, but I was happy sticking to the same three on rotation.
We put our children into the Adventure Rauris ski school for full day lessons. We'd drop them at 0930 for a 10am start (though they generally started by 0940 because everyone was there). Then we'd meet them at 12 wherever the instructor told us to be, have lunch with them, and then hand turn back from 1-3. The ski school was excellent. Children pick it up really swiftly, and ours started as beginners on the Sunday morning, and both skiied a couple of reds on the Friday.
Rauris is a small village that looks like it came out of an Alpine story book. We stayed at the Schonblick Mountain Resort & Spa in a privately owned apartment that we found on HomeAway (now Vrbo, same premise as Airbnb). It was a five minute walk from the apartment to the ski school and main gondola lift. There are lockers near the lift if you don't want to carry your skis each day. We generally did that and just walked over in our ski boots. My children adapted very quickly to walking in ski boots for 7 to 8 hours a day. But your DC could always walk over in normal boots, you carry the ski boots, and just chuck the normal boots in the locker when you get the skis out (we did that once or twice).
We found the whole resort to be friendly, reasonably priced (even up on the mountain where you're a captive audience), well mainted and well organised.
And that wasn't a bad view over lunch either. Best family holiday ever.
Wow, many thanks for these recommendations ladies! These are so helpful! I do have a few options to begin my research with now and I'll be back with any further questions. XX
How much do you want to spend? We've been to Morzine and Meribel with the children and had a wonderful time. Meribel is expensive though.
We're quite open with regards to expenses since 2020 hasn't been much of a travelling year anyway. Our priority is that it's one that will be enjoyable for our kids and for adults who are total beginners.
I would highly recommend Flims-Laax-Falera in Switzerland
Great for beginners but plenty for the more advanced skiier and it's generally snow sure due to the altitude
Worth taking a look a Powder Byrne as they tend to focus on very child friendly ski resorts even if you don't end up booking directly with them
I was just writing the same... Powder Byrne do an adult “learn in style” programme if budget allows. They are amazing with the children and it’s good fun for the adults too.
A few thoughts on your quest for a resort. You don’t say too much about your family likes etc. Also whether you are planning on a package or self-organizing. I have skied in a fair number of resorts in Europe and in North America. So this is my two pence worth. If you are going in February you have a better chance of good ski conditions so a very high resort is less of an issue early or late season also you don’t need a huge ski area which normally come with an expensive liftpass. I will also say I’m an Italophile so have been to Italy more than any other country. As has been said up thread Italian instructors are generally good with Children and pizza / pasta options especially on the mountain are child friendly.
In general, for early skiing trips especially with youngish children these come to mind as important factors to consider:
Short transfer, most ski resorts being in the mountains are a fair journey from the airport but I wouldn’t want a 5-6 hour trip with children.
Convenience in the resort. Dragging skis and kit up hill especially for little ones or carrying it for them is hard work. Look for accommodation close to lifts or a convenient skibus.
Instruction – good English language instruction is very helpful in the early stages.
Option B if one or more of you don’t take to skiing. Another activities, places to visit etc.
Of the resorts mentioned above I have worked a season in Livigno and spent a holiday in Obergurgal, actually Hochgurgl, but it shares the same ski area and is similar in style. I don’t see either as being ideal for your circumstances.
Livigno is a long way from anywhere meaning a very long transfer, attracts or did, a party crowd of Btits / Scandis and sits in a high windswept plateau with limited non-skiing opportunities.
Obergurgal has nice hotels and isn’t cheap. It’s a relatively short transfer from Innsbruck but a long trip from Munich. If you don’t wasn’t to ski there isn’t much to do outside of your hotel and it’s a fair trek to anywhere else other than the more party orientated Solden down the valley.
In your circumstances I would look for an established town with life outside the ski industry, according your likes a swimming pool, ice rink, spa facilities plus maybe other places to visit.
In Austria there are lots of small pretty villages that meat this. Zel Am Zee is a proper town with a ski area and you can take the train to Salzburg for a change. In Italy Bormio would be similar.
This year I went with my daughter to Andorra and was very pleasantly surprised and hope to return next year. We stayed in the Pal / Arinsal area which is quieter than the larger resort area. A really nice hotel with good food. Instruction in Andorra is good for English speakers and the ski area while not huge had a good range of green / blue runs with reasonable variety. It’s also fairly close 10km to Andorra le Ville with more facilities.
In Austria there are lots of small pretty villages that meat this. Zel Am Zee is a proper town with a ski area and you can take the train to Salzburg for a change.
Agree wholeheartedly about the transfer time. Rauris is the next resort along from Zell Am See and it took us about 2 hours going by bus, train and taxi. We're going back for Christmas next year and whilst the public transport was easy enough, have decided to book a private transfer which will take about 90 minutes door to door.
Hey, me and my family started skiing in Les Gets in France and continued to do so for about ten years, it is a perfect family ski resort, so much to do at night with ice rinks and family friendly restaurants and bars. The slopes are perfect and there are numerous ski schools for kids and adults. Hope this helps x
@Arabellasmum sorry to say it, but my tip would be to not make any bookings for ski hols for Feb 2021. It's always a really expensive time to go anyway, due to French school holidays. And with so many holidays cancelled, I think that if it's possible to ski in Feb, the slopes will be absolutely mobbed and chaotic
I'd wait & research high / North facing resorts, with a view to perhaps going at Easter
Many thanks everyone! Good point @notanothertakeaway
I'll target another holiday when it's less likely to be as manic. After all, we only get one chance to have a first impression of the sport.
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