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Best family ski resorts: child-friendly ski holidays in France, Italy, Austria and Canada
Beautiful scenery, cosy accommodation and easy access to pristine snow slopes are all essential parts of a wonderful family ski holiday in the mountains. From budget breaks to luxurious spa towns, we’ve evaluated the top ski resorts for your next family break.
By Gemma Lumley | Last updated Mar 20, 2023
The best family ski holidays should give you a chance to enjoy quality time with the children, hone your skills on the slopes and indulge in some much-needed adult time. Most children will benefit from time in a warm and welcoming ski school or kids' club, and teenagers will relish exploring trails safely but with increasing independence. Of course, refuelling with tasty food at the end of an active day is important too. As is access to fun après ski options.
We’ve done the hard work for you and spent hours researching top recommendations from the Mumsnet forums as well as trusted ski holiday experts. We've analysed every detail, from the reliability of snow and ski-in ski-out options to the cost of kit hire and ski lift network, to ensure that each resort will be loved by parents and children alike.
What are the best ski resorts for families?
- Best overall: Avoriaz, France
- Best for budget breaks: Samoens, France
- Best for beginners: Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
- Best high-altitude resort: Les Arcs
- Best ski resort in Canada: Whistler, British Columbia
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1. Best overall family ski resort: Avoriaz, Morzine, France
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"Avoriaz is great for families as it tends to be ski-in-ski out, it's quite high so snow-sure, set up for families and is linked to a huge ski area which is less busy than places like the Three Valleys. There is a really big water park/pool place there that the kids will like too, it’s called Aquariaz" - tried and tested by Mumsnet user, SkiYetiMagic
Avoriaz is a purpose-built ski town in the French/Swiss Portes du Soliel area. It has stunning views and lots of links to nearby ski resorts like Morzine. It’s high altitude too, so there's always plenty of snow during the season.
The resort is family-friendly, with lots of ski runs for beginners and plenty of amenities like great value restaurants and fun, off-piste activities for the little ones. It is also ski-in-ski-out, so the slopes are usually easy to access from your accommodation.
Avoriaz has a wide variety of ski runs, from nursery slopes and red routes to adventure parks and forest trails. As your family grows, there'll always be something to challenge their increasing confidence on skis.
Where to stay in Avoriaz: Douchka 121 Avoriaz is a cosy apartment close to a ski school, ideal for parents that want the ultimate fuss-free holiday.
- Fantastic Alpine views
- High altitude so lots of snow
- Large selection of ski runs - something for everyone
- ‘Love it or hate it’ urban resort design
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2. Best budget family ski resort: Samoens, South-East France
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"Not a particularly 'hidden' gem but the best value holiday we had was Samoens. Easy to drive to (only 800m up), lots of great value self-catering apartments, a quick gondola up to the ski area with a big free car park" - recommended by Mumsnet user, IsThisNameTaken
Samoens is a gorgeous medieval village that is the gateway to a vast, above-the-clouds ski area known as the Grand Massif. Seven mountains surround the resort, so the views are incredible. The village is family friendly and combines old-school charm with lots of fun amenities like a cinema, an ice rink and dog sledding.
The network of ski lifts is efficient and there are enough ski runs, terrain parks and snow sports to keep the whole family happy. Samoens is easy to get to - it's only an hour from Geneva airport, and many people drive there with no problems.
Samoens is excellent value, so it's ideal for families on a budget. The range of self-catering accommodation on offer is enormous and the restaurants, kit hire and ski passes are relatively inexpensive.
Where to stay in Samoens: From just £49 per night, Les Frahans is a basic, budget-friendly apartment with all the amenities needed for a fun family ski holiday.
- Welcoming atmosphere
- Spectacular views
- Excellent, inexpensive restaurants
- The ski resort is vast and so choose accommodation location carefully
3. Best family ski resort for beginners: Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
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"The first two years we brought our five kids, we went to Slovenia! Was really great for beginners. Amazing value too" - vetted by Mumsnet user FoodieToo
Kranjska Gora is a friendly ski resort in a lovely village location with beautiful views. It's situated in the Julian Alps near the Austrian and Italian borders. It's small and quiet, which means it’s a fabulous place for a first ski holiday with young children.
The ski schools are staffed by cheerful teachers who speak excellent English and know how to get the best out of even the youngest of skiers. Kit hire is inexpensive, and there are lots of great buy-one-get-one-free offers on equipment and lessons for kids when adults are paying full price.
Kranjska Gora is Slovenia’s oldest ski resort, and the nearby mountains and glacial lakes are stunning. Days off the slopes are worth it as there is so much to explore. Après-ski is relaxed and family-friendly too.
Where to stay in Kranjska Gora: Take the hassle out of getting to the slopes at Apartmaji Telemark Kranjska Gora. It’s situated right on the slopes, just two minutes away from a ski lift, so travel to the slopes is one less thing you’ll have to worry about.
- Great value in comparison to the Alps
- Offers available on children’s kit hire
- Beautiful scenery
- Advanced skiers might need more advanced slopes
4. Best family ski resort in Austria: Rauris Valley
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"We went to Rauris in Austria (just outside Salzburg) and found prices in the resort to be reasonable. Even up on the mountain, when you're a captive audience for food and drink, it was still reasonable" - recommended by by Mumsnet user, RhubarbFairy
Austria has a reputation for being expensive. However, skiing in the Rauris Valley is more affordable than you'd imagine. It’s an excellent location, the slopes are pristine, and you’ll be having fun in one of the most beautiful parts of the Alps.
The Rauris Valley is a fantastic place for families as there's so much more to do besides skiing. There are snowshoe hikes led by park rangers, toboggan rides and sleigh rides.
The ski schools are brilliant, especially with little ones. While the kids are occupied, advanced skiers can enjoy the 30 miles of cross country trails and exciting black runs. The food is great and, unlike in some places, the restaurants on the mountain aren’t expensive, so you can all have lunch together mid-ski.
Where to stay in Rauris: The highly-rated Appartement Kumming is an ideal choice for families, offering all the self-catering features you need. It even has a playground to keep children entertained too.
- Great value for Austria
- Varied ski runs - something for all abilities
- Lots of non-ski activities
- Not easy to drive to
5. Best family ski resort for Christmas breaks: Les Arcs, French Alps
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"For Christmas, definitely pick a high-altitude resort. Les Arcs and La Rosiere are good high-altitude family options. Arc 2000/1950 would be a good base as the Christmas celebrations in Arc 1950 are good (you can easily pop down there by gondola from Arc 2000)" - recommended by Mumsnet user, myrtilles
Les Arcs is a high-altitude ski resort, so there's always plenty of powder during the season, and the views are spectacular. So if you’re looking for a family break over the Christmas holidays, this family-friendly location is perfect.
There are several immaculate ski villages to choose from, but we suggest Arc 1950 as it's the most festive and there are lots of seasonal activities aimed at children. It's also fully pedestrianised, and there are plenty of ski-in-ski-out hotels and chalets. Childcare is available at some hotels too.
Les Arcs is ideal for families who have different levels of ski expertise. The schools are excellent, and there are some exciting black runs to tackle for the more experienced members of your group.
Where to stay in Les Arcs: Offering both city and mountain views, Le Cyprès en centre ville Bourg-Saint-Maurice is a clean, spacious apartment suited to families. You can also request a cot too.
- High altitude so guaranteed snow
- Lots of nearby villages to explore
- Excellent gondola transport system
- Can be busy in high season
6. Best family ski resort in Switzerland: Flims-Laax-Falera
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"I would highly recommend Flims-Laax-Falera in Switzerland. Great for beginners but plenty for the more advanced skier and it's generally snow-sure due to the altitude" - suggested by Mumsnet user, MobLife
Laax is a luxurious ski resort that's big and bold in style but welcoming to families and anyone new to skiing. The weather is often sunny, but the micro-climate of the mountains means the snowfall is still reliable.
Kids will adore the enormous snow parks; they're the biggest and best in Europe. Off-piste skiing in Laax is challenging enough for advanced skiers but there are plenty of routes and slopes suitable for beginners and intermediates.
The kit hire shops, lifts and on-mountain restaurants are modern, efficient and easy to access, which is great when you’re trying to organise small children. We were especially impressed with how uncrowded and relaxed Laax is for a large resort.
Where to stay in Flims-Laax-Falera: Less than 600 metres from a ski lift, Laax Rancho Family Apartment can sleep five people and the complex even has a pool to enjoy (if you’re brave enough to face the water in cold weather!)
- Excellent variety of ski runs - something for everyone
- The après-ski is vibrant which can be unusual for Switzerland
- World-class terrain parks
- The lift pass is expensive
7. Best family ski resort in France: Les Gets, South-East France
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"My family started skiing in Les Gets in France and continued to do so for about 10 years. It's 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" - tried and tested by Mumsnet user, Collins99
Between Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc, Les Gets is a small resort in the vast but friendly Portes du Soleil ski area and is perfect for families. You'll be able to try all kinds of skiing, from gentle beginner slopes to long trails through pine forests and Alpine meadows.
You have easy access to 370 miles of mountain runs that twist and turn around the nearby French and Swiss resorts. Both younger children and teenagers will find something fun to do here; the snow parks are exceptional.
Après-ski in Les Gets is bar-focused, so it can be loud. However, the restaurants are family-friendly, and the high-quality self-catering accommodation means you can have more relaxed evenings on your own terms.
Where to stay in Les Gets: If you’re planning a big blow-out family holiday, Chalet Amitie is an entire chalet that sleeps eight to 10 people, and it’s situated less than 300 metres from the nearest ski lift.
- There's a huge area to explore
- Close to the airport
- Good value
- The nightlife can be lively
8. Best ski resort for nursery slopes: Arinsal, Andorra
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"Andorra is amazing. Great instruction and English speaking. There's lots of packages that include all lunches up on the mountains so taking the stress out of what to do for lunch" - vetted by Mumsner user, NCTDN
Andorra is a fantastic budget option for a ski holiday, and Arinsal is particularly popular with British skiers. There are many great amenities for families, including a creche, free helmet hire, and pre-bookable free ski passes for under 15s.
The mountain terrain of the Pyrenees is perfect for beginners and intermediates, and the ski schools are excellent. The pretty slopes of Pal are easy to access from the centre of the town, and nearby Arcalis is ideal for those wanting to ski on quiet slopes.
Après-ski in Andorra is relaxed and relatively inexpensive. There are lots of bars, delicious food and a family-friendly thermal spa in the capital city, just 15 minutes from Arinsal.
Where to stay in Arinsal: Located next to Arinsal's main cable car, Hotel Montane features rooms with balconies overlooking the mountains and guests have access to a gourmet restaurant as well as coffee and pastries throughout the day. Family rooms are available and the breakfast comes highly rated.
- Lots of non-ski snow activities available
- Great value
- Close to the airport
- Not very exciting for advanced skiers
9. Best family ski resort in Italy: Cervinia
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"My top tip resort-wise would be Cervinia in Italy - nowhere is far from the slopes so no more than a five-min walk even if you're not ski-in/ski-out. Lots of cruisey blue runs, a range of accommodation from AirBnBs and apartments to more luxury hotels. It's also high so pretty much snow-sure. The little town has lots of good bars and restaurants - including on the slopes - pizza and gelato which teenagers will enjoy no doubt!" - tried and tested by Mumsnet user, Africa2go
Cervina is an extraordinary Italian ski resort with easy access links to the stunning Swiss village of Zermatt and the iconic Matterhorn. It’s high in the mountains, so there's usually guaranteed snow and a glacial lake to discover.
With an international ski pass, visitors to Cervinia can enjoy skiing in Switzerland without paying higher prices. The ski lift system and network of runs for all abilities means the vast area is easy to travel around, even with kids in tow.
The village of Cervinia itself is friendly and bustling, and there are lots of cute bars for parents to spend an afternoon in while the little ones are at one of the ski schools. And of course, it's Italy, so the food is exceptional, and the traffic-free cobbled streets feel safe for all.
Where to stay in Cervinia: For a touch of luxury, Marcolski Home 2 is a cosy apartment that sleeps up to six, and has stunning mountain views right out of the window.
- Accommodation is close to the slopes
- Perfect for teenagers as well as little ones
- Close to Zermatt in Switzerland
- Can be pricey
10. Best family ski resort in Canada: Whistler, British Columbia
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"Whistler is fantastic. Can't wait to go back" - recommended by Mumsnet user Weirdlynormal
The mountains around Whistler offer some of the best ski terrain in the world. Of course, it’s a long way to go, but if you’re planning a longer holiday, it’s totally doable for snow-loving families.
In Whistler, there are miles of beginner slopes to tackle and excellent ski schools available, but there are also many more challenging routes for competent teenagers and adults. The off-piste trails with plentiful wildlife are wonderful too.
The après-ski scene in Whistler is fantastic. The whole family will love the delicious food in the restaurants and cosy cafes. Accommodation can be as decadent or basic as you wish; there are luxury hotels, traditional chalets and basic self-catering cottages in the village and on the mountain.
Where to stay in Whistler: Summit Lodge is a gorgeous boutique hotel with rooms that can easily fit a family of four. It also has three restaurants and a swimming pool so you can make the most of your downtime.
- Olympic-standard facilities
- Great for snowboarding
- Amazing peak-to-peak gondola
11. Best luxury family ski resort: Lech, Austria
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"Lech is our all time favourite and has a lovely crèche too. Pricey but worth it and a good choice of self-catering apartments. The tobogganing is fantastic too (for the older ones" - reviewed by Mumsnet user, Schulte
Lech is a luxury ski resort that offers sumptuous spa experiences and gorgeous, gourmet food in elegant restaurants. This picturesque village also has lots on offer for families, and there are plenty of inexpensive restaurants and accommodation options.
There's small group ski tuition available for kids at the legendary Arlberg Ski School. For adults, who have more experience in the snow, it’s a good idea to hire a ski guide to find the most exciting parts of the mountain.
The snow is plentiful in Lech, and the skiing is varied - from pristine blue runs to exhilarating off-piste trails. If your family prefers to immerse themselves in the mountain environment, there are ski-out places to stay just off the slopes. Alternatively, if a lively après-ski scene is important to you, choose a traditional ski chalet in the village.
Where to stay in Lech: Opt for ultimate luxury at the Hotel Garni Lavendel. This family-friendly hotel is less than 150 metres from a ski lift and has a spa; ideal for relaxing post-ski.
- Maximum groups of five during lessons at Arlberg Ski School
- Lots of accommodation choices from posh hotels to self-catering chalets
- Excellent non-skiing snow activities like tobogganing
What childcare is available on a ski holiday?
Holidays are about spending time together as a family; they're where lifelong memories are made. However, ski trips are unique in that childcare is needed so that everyone can have a great time.
Ski schools and 1:1 lessons are an essential part of ski holidays. From a very young age, they will teach children how to have fun and be safe on the slopes and allow the more advanced members of the family time to challenge themselves on more demanding ski runs.
Family-oriented resorts often have creches, nannies and kids' clubs on-site so that parents can indulge in a bit of après-ski and their children can make friends.
What should I pack for a family ski trip?
Packing for your first ski holiday with the children can be daunting. Lots of warm layers are essential for a cold day on the mountain, so take thermals, fleeces, thick socks, gloves and waterproof jackets.
After a day on the slopes or ice skating, everyone is likely to be tired in the evening. We recommend taking card games, books and tablets to relax with after dinner.
How much does an average family ski holiday cost?
The cost of your ski holiday can vary from £2,000 to £15,000+ depending on the size of your family and budget. However, we think it is possible to enjoy a week in the snow for as little as £700 per person.
Flights with budget airlines such as easyJet will get you close to the mountains, and good quality self-catering accommodation is surprisingly affordable.
Where is the best place for a first family ski holiday?
The French resort of Samoens is an ideal location for families who are skiing together for the first time. It’s easy to access from the UK, the slopes are suitable for all, and the choice of budget accommodation is vast.
What is the best ski resort for families?
Our choice of the best overall family ski holiday is Avoriaz near Morzine in France. A trip there with your loved ones will be fun - both on and off the slopes, and won’t cost the earth. It’s suitable for young children and teenagers alike as there are world-class ski schools plus more challenging trails.
How we chose our recommendations
Many hours have been spent researching expert skiing websites and specialist travel agents such as Inghams and Crystal to find the destinations snow-lovers rate. We also took into account suitability for beginners, and facilities like ski schools to make sure our list of locations reflected what the whole family needs from a ski holiday.
In addition, we spent an extensive amount of time thoroughly analysing the resort suggestions made by our trusted, well-travelled Mumsnetters. Each suggestion was carefully analysed, and we noted the pros and cons of each destination to ensure we were bringing you an honest and useful summary of the top ski holidays for families.
Why you should trust us
Mumsnet has been helping parents make their lives easier since 2000 and, in that time, we've seen, tried and reviewed thousands of products.
As a lifelong lover of mountains and outdoor adventure, our writer Gemma was determined to provide honest and independent advice on the ski holidays that you and your family will adore.
Transparency is vital to us, and that's why we're always honest about where we find our recommendations. We write about the buys that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their friends and family.