Family ski holidays are fantastic, that’s why families go on them year after year after year. But even the ones who look as if they were born on Whistler Mountain now, had a first time. They fumbled the lift mechanisms, botched turns, looked like an idiot and still – obviously – came back for more. It’s an addictive sport is skiing and when it’s good there’s nothing in the world quite like it. So here are a few ways to fall in love rather than just fall about this winter.
The traditional Savoyard village of Sainte-Foy in the Tarentaise Valley is gorgeously pretty: wooden chalets, snow covered mountains and not a concrete hotel in sight. Several uncrowded blue and green runs and English speaking local ski schools like École du Ski Français and Snocool are ideal for beginners and kids from age three. Apart from being first time and family-friendly in skiing terms, the village’s children’s clubs and crèche are excellent too. And catered residences are a speciality - more expensive than apartments but perfect for a gentle, guiding hand when you’re new to skiing. Plus, Sainte-Foy lift passes are almost half the price of nearby Val d’Isêre, so costs balance out a bit.
All inclusive is another good option for first timers. Club Med, Cervinia is about as close to Switzerland as you get in Italy, holds the country’s snow record and is a classically pretty Alpine village into the bargain. It’s also home to Club-Med’s mountain retreat where everything from ski-instruction to kids’ adventure activities are part of the deal. Equipment hire, lift passes, transport, flights and transfers are handled for you too and families are the resort’s priority. So the only thing to worry you here is the high risk of falling in love with ski-holidays forever.
If you’re up for trying skiing but don’t want to spend a fortune on the test-run, Soldeu in Andorra is one of the best value resorts in Europe. It’s part of the Grand Valira area – largest in the Pyrenees – and famous for award winning schools El Tarter and Soldeu: both bi-lingual and with a fantastic record for teaching total beginners. The village is liked for a relaxed, family atmosphere and there’s a good choice of four star hotels and a five star spa.