10. Alpe d’Huez, France
Why go? As famous for its sunshine as for its snow record Alpe d’Huez has the fifth largest ski area in France, and an alleged 360 days a year of sunshine – not bad for starters.
The resort: A big snow-bowl around the village offers some wonderfully gentle runs for beginners, whilst expert skiers can head up to the Sarenne Glacier and embark on the Sarenne descent: 16kms from top to bottom and the longest black run in the world. Other family activities in resort include ice-skating, swimming, and snowmobiling. You can browse dozens of catered chalets and ski all-in hotels (i.e. with lift pass included) among SNO’s family all-inclusive packages.
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9. Courchevel, France
Why go? If you have deep pockets, are after more than a little lux and looking for a resort which offers extensive skiing for all abilities, Courchevel has 157km of varied pistes and some deliciously long, wide, meandering runs.
It’s also part of Les Trois Vallees ski area which offers in excess of 600km of incredibly diverse skiing – there is certainly something for everyone at this premier ski resort. It’s also a member of Les Petits Montagnards Club set up by Ski France to recognise child-friendly resorts.
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8. Les Gets, France
Why go? A pretty and traditional French family-friendly resort which carries the coveted Famille Plus certification, a national tourism award issued to resorts demonstrating their commitment to providing family facilities and services.
The resort: Access to the Portes du Soleil ski area enables this little French gem to lay claim to 650km of piste and the resort itself is home to lots of beautiful long gentle runs. A great resort for families, and skiers of all abilities.
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7. Tignes, France
Why go? Tignes is not the prettiest of resorts but what it lacks in beauty it makes up for in the quality of its snow: at 2100m it has one of the highest snow-sure factors in France.
The resort: A great choice for mixed ability families: confidence boosting nursery slopes, gentle wide runs and some pretty feisty off-piste opportunities. Sharing the Espace Killy area with Val d’Isere provides access to 320km of piste: there’s something for even the most advanced skiers here. Family après ski wise, grab your swimmers and head to Le Lagon for some swimming and waterslide action.
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6. Ellmau, Austria
Why go? This picture postcard ski village forms part of the Skiwelt ski area and sits at the bottom of the Wilder Kaiser mountain range.
The resort: A great resort for families looking for gentle intermediate skiing in idyllic surrounding, with over 225km of gentle tree-lined runs. Older kids will find plenty of variety and challenges in the funparks and freeride areas. Very friendly locals and some excellent Wiener Schnitzel to be had in the mountains and village.
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5. Claviere, Itlay
Why go? The high altitude of this resort makes Claviere a snow-sure destination and a great ‘end of season’ choice when other resorts can be a little hit and miss.
The resort: A small, relaxed and family-friendly village on the Italian-French border and part of the impressive Milky Way, Claviere offers access to over 400km of piste. This vast area has a good selection of pistes of all grades making it a good choice for families or groups with varying levels of ability.
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4. San Cassiano, Italy
Why go? Family friendly, ridiculously good food and wonderfully wide meandering runs – San Cassiano is hard to top in many respects.
The resort Families with beginner or intermediate skiers will love the long empty pistes, not to mention the great pizza and hot chocolates available in the dozens of refuges dotted throughout the mountains. The region is a foodies heaven, with four Michelin star chefs in residence. For family après ski there is an ice rink, sports centre and swimming pool.
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3. Borovets, Bulgaria
Why go? Skiing is never a cheap family holiday but Borovets is about as good as it gets.
The resort: It may not offer the extensive ski terrain of other resorts, or be the haunt of the rich and famous, but its 58km of piste offer some wide and gentle runs – perfect for beginners. Reasonably priced cafés, shops and market stalls are dotted throughout the resort and horse and cart rides are available. The low altitude means its probably not the choice for early or late season, but if you’re looking for a great value family ski trip we challenge you to find cheaper.
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2. Lenzerheide, Switzerland
Why go? This gorgeously pretty and authentic Swiss village is surrounded by forest and frozen lakes and offers over 155km of (mainly) beginner and intermediate runs.
The resort: Lenzerheide has the added bonus of receiving double doses of sun, with both sides of the valley trapping the sun at different times of the day. This isn’t the resort for black run enthusiasts but is the perfect playground for beginners and children looking to find their snow legs in a stunning setting. The fondue is pretty darn good too.
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1. Levi, Lapland
Why go? If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas and fancy combining a ski holiday with a visit to Santa, Levi is a great choice: it’s also very easy on the wallet.
The resort: There are only 43 pistes, but they are well maintained, un-crowded and a third of them are floodlit (important when you consider that daylight hours are limited during the ski season). It’s not an extensive ski area, and good thermals are essential here, but combine it with a visit to Santa and a reindeer safari, and you might just have found your perfect family winter wonderland.