The French Alps – A Ski Spree for Families

A ski holiday in the French Alps may seem like a logistically-challenging holiday for families with small kids, but it doesn’t have to be! Ski resorts are acutely aware of parental pain points when it comes to snow holidays, and have upped their game to make sure you get a holiday too…

French Alps skiing family holidays

Maybe you first went on a ski holiday when you were younger, maybe it was for honeymoon, maybe even as a teenager, but the thought of travelling with your small tots seems like a crazy one just to enjoy some snowy fun, right?

There’s all the clothing, and the gear, and then making sure they can actually ski, and after all of this is done, you don’t get a chance to even enjoy the surrounds?

If this is exactly what you’re thinking, then it’s time to reframe your idea of an overseas holiday and relook at the French Alps and how it can actually be one of the best getaways you could ever plan for your family.

While a ski holiday may not be what first comes to mind, remember that there’s a plethora of other exciting things to do and see in the French Alps.

French Alps skiing family holidays

So, what is a ski holiday exactly?

While it may seem so obvious, ski holidays come in so many different forms that you want to be sure you’re booking what suits you best as a family. Of course, you need to at least enjoy the outdoors.

That doesn’t mean you have to be Bear Grylls ready to survive out in the wilderness, fending off bears, but it does mean you need to enjoy spending time with your family doing physical activity.

Family-friendly ski resorts in the French Alps are experts at making sure there are activities for all your family members, and even a place where parents can escape for a romantic night out. Of course, you also want to make sure there are indoor activities for when it gets a little too frosty.

French Alps skiing family holidays

Skiing may be strenuous, but it is not impossible, even for the more sedentary amongst us. You’ll want to make sure you’re booking a trip that suits all levels of age and fitness in your family. Find out if the resort you’re interested in offers lessons, and what age groups do they cater for.

At the newly-opened Club Med Les Arcs Panorama in France, children are divided into different age categories and coached from complete beginner to more advanced in ski lessons.

Kids from as young as four years old can participate, and the best part is that parents are encouraged to go enjoy their own lessons while this is going on!

With two lessons per day included as part of your stay, your little ones will be zipping about the slopes faster than you probably will be!

French Alps skiing family holidays

Planning a ski holiday for your family

As with most things in life, your stress will be minimised if you can plan your ski holiday way ahead of time. Most ski resorts are booked up a year in advance and its important to plan ahead to ensure your family will be properly kitted out, and everything will be sorted when you arrive.

Less time worrying about these things on holiday, means more time for enjoying the slopes in the French Alps.

One of the hardest parts of arranging a ski holiday from South Africa is making sure you all have warm winter clothing. While the key to keeping warm is certainly in layering up in vests and thermals, you’re going to need ski pants and a jacket for each member of the family, as well as gloves and thick socks.

If you start hunting these out in advance, you can often find items on secondhand social media groups, in thrift stores and there are even rental options available.

Bigger ski resorts like those from Club Med, include your skis, poles, helmets, and boots for use during your stay with their all-inclusive packages.

You’ll also want to make 100% sure that the resort you choose will suit your family’s needs. Find out what kids facilities there are, if there are childminders on duty, what activities are arranged for kids and what the dining options are.

As an example, Club Med Les Arcs Panorama caters for family-style dining in a special restaurant, but also has childminders for when you want to enjoy an adult dinner either in their fine dining restaurant, 1790 Gourmet Lounge, or at The White Stone, their main restaurant.

When you book your trip, it’s best to make sure that the family package includes ski passes for your whole family. By ensuring this, you’ll save on what could otherwise be an additional expense.

While ski passes for children under 12 are offered at a discounted rate, a full ski pass for the duration of your trip is ideal, and the kids can enjoy as much skiing as they wish while you sit back and enjoy a quiet coffee in the lounge!

French Alps skiing family holidays

Where should you go to ski?

Choosing a ski destination can be a tough choice. Beginning your hunt online will reveal ski resorts across France, Austria, Italy and even as far as Japan.

Because travelling long distances with kids can be a challenge, it’s best to see what your flight options are going to be and your ground arrangements when you arrive in your destination of choice.

Some ski resorts are quite remote, require specialist transfers and can involve a few hours by road before arriving at the front door.

Others though, and these are better for kids, are in closer proximity to large towns, have ski-in and ski-out facilities (you don’t need to transfer and carry gear to enjoy the slopes), plus are surrounded by other fun activities such as visiting a working dairy and cheese farm. You’ll need to evaluate your threshold for difficult logistics with children in this case!

If you’re a first-time ski family, it will be worth your while to look for fully-inclusive packages in Italy or France. This means you won’t incur any additional cost when you’re at a resort, and your meals, activities, ski passes and drinks will all be part of your stay.

Les Arcs Panorama French Alps skiing family holidays

Club Med opens Les Arcs Panorama

A brand new ski resort, Club Med Les Arcs Panorama is perched high above the Tarentaise Valley. Offering a variety of slopes ranging from green to black (beginner to advanced), guests are treated to some of the best views at any ski resort in the area.

The gourmet dining options, spacious accommodation, latest ski gear and exceptional childminding facilities are just some of the reasons why the resort was fully booked in its first season.

Facilities at this ski village include a world-class health spa, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and hot tubs, children’s clubs, evening entertainment, a high-end boutique and relaxing lounge areas.

Story by Kate Els

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