Organising family ski holidays can be more difficult than expected, but this simple guide should hopefully take away the pain — and if it doesn’t work just let the experts look after you instead.
Igluski specialise in offering the very best ski holidays, from the family friendly chalets of Europe to the tree-lined skiing of North America. Now what may be right for one family won’t work for another, so here are a few tips from them to help put together your perfect winter escape.
Where & When to Ski
But before you jump into the cheapest option or resort you can find, have a look at the full costs, from travel and accommodation, to lift passes and tuition. Skiing has many, not hidden but forgotten costs, and these can sometimes catch you out.
The best weeks for value are often Christmas and Easter, with New Year and February half term offering the most costly weeks of the season. Why not enjoy a ‘white Christmas’ in the snow and if Easter is end of March or early April you can usually enjoy great snow with some spring-time sunshine. Christmas and Easter are also good time for late deals, as people often wait to see what the conditions are like. Saying that if you want to head to Whistler, Val d’Isere or Verbier you need to book early.
Where to Stay
There are some great choices for family skiing now available. Chalets and chalet hotels offer a homely feel and are great when travelling with a large party, especially if you have sole occupancy. Club Med all-inclusive hotels offer a great value and roll all of your holiday needs into one place. And of course for the budget wary, self catered accommodation is rife through the Alps and North America.
If you are travelling with your friends or extended family chalets are fantastic, think sitting around the log fire before having Christmas dinner served and having all the space and privacy for your own family and friends. There are several options from great value, comfortable 3* chalets and tour operators, to super luxury 5*. There’s something for everyone.
If travelling with a smaller group, or just your immediate family, Club Med is one of my favourite options. The price includes all your food, your bar bill, lifts passes, group ski lessons and childcare. The hotels also have their own hire shops and offer very good pre-bookable rates. Lift passes, lessons and childcare can often add up to £500 per person on a holiday, so having this included is a winner. Through in some great food, often ski-in locations, top resorts and French entertainment, and you are looking at a great week on the slopes.
When to Book
This is more difficult and is definitely a balancing act, depending on the week. If you want a top resort, hotel or chalet, you have to book early, and if travelling over New Year or half term, I would advise booking during the summer. The early booking deals during these weeks often outweigh the last minute prices, and these are often the first weeks of the season to sell out.
As mentioned earlier for Christmas week and Easter you can leave it later. If you have a large party or have specific needs then take a good look at the summer deals first. If you are more flexible or a smaller group then booking a late deal can often help you find great value and great snow, though this is also a risky option as the best resorts, flights and properties will go earlier.
All-in-all, family skiing should be fun, consider your families needs before you decide where to go, there’s no point forking out for Val d’Isere or Verbier if you are new to skiing, and Les Gets or Valmorel may not offer enough variety for the hardcore among us. Take your time and weigh up all the costs, consider the in resort prices, the all-inclusive packages and the pre-bookable extras at the very beginning.
Then once you’ve booked, just go and have some fun in the snow.