Top tips for planning a family ski holiday

Arrow Discover more

My husband and I became keen snowboarders around 19 years ago. We preferred snow over sun and a good ski trip would consist of getting the first and last lift of the day. Now, with two daughters, Ella (9) and Lily (8) our ski holidays are a little different, but still highly enjoyable.

Watching your children enjoy the slopes is highly rewarding and the younger they can start the better. But we have had many friends who have worried about taking younger children skiing, and they have been unsure of what type of ski holiday they should book. There are a number of options, and it will be highly dependent on your budget and preferences for the holiday.

Tips for family skiing, family on the ski slope

Natasha and her family enjoy the slopes in La Plagne

Tips for family skiing, Girl snowploughes on slopes

Ella gains confidence on the slopes of Kaprun

Family ski specialists

Tour operators that specialise in family ski holidays will certainly give you peace of mind. Not only do they offer the most suitable accommodation and locations suited to those with children, but most will have a childcare operator on-site.

We would highly recommend Ski Famille, an award-winning operator with beautiful chalets and excellent childcare. When our children were very young, they made our ski holidays so much easier to manage. Their enthusiastic childcare team got to know our children well, helped us get them ready for ski school, and safely delivered them to and from ski school. We then had the option of extended childcare in the afternoon if we wanted to spend a full day on the slopes. The team would then provide high tea for children, give you time to safely tuck them into bed and then serve an adults-only sit down meal in the chalet. Perfect to share your day with your fellow skiing group.

These holidays can be costly, but if you have the budget, or can be flexible with when you travel and make the most of their late deals, they are well worth the money!

Package ski holidays

There are many tour operators that offer ski package deals and we would recommend picking one of their family friendly accommodation types. If you are travelling to Europe, these will mainly be chalet hotels. The beauty of chalet hotels is they are much larger than a normal chalet, with lots of facilities, room types and dining options. If the intimacy of socialising and dining with other guests is not for you, chalet hotels offer more choice.

With a package holiday you can still rest assured that all your transfers, lift passes, ski school and ski hire will all be organised for you, with the added benefit of childcare on site or at a nearby hotel.

Tips for family skiing, Girl learning to ski

Natasha and daughter Lily in Kaprun

Natasha’s daughters at ski school in Reberty

Booking independently

When we became more experienced with travelling with our children, we also became more confident. We have booked a few holidays independently now, especially when we have wanted to stick to a tight budget. We’ve made some mistakes and learnt from our errors, but if you are a bit of an adventurer, this can make your trip more exciting!

If you are considering booking this type of ski holiday, there are a few things to bear in mind:

  •  If you are flying, make sure you book a reputable company for your transfer to the resort. Read the reviews and make sure the company is happy to transport children, with the option to book car seats. Some transfers limit the amount of luggage you are taking, and we all know how much luggage comes with children! Also, if you are taking your own ski equipment, make sure they are able to transport this too.
  •  The cheaper flights tend to be later in the day, so not only can this be stressful with children, but you also need to consider the time it will take to transfer to your resort, as well as being able to collect your ski hire. Most people like to get out on the ski slopes the morning after they arrive and ski schools will normally be early in the morning, so you’d need to collect equipment from a ski hire shop the day you arrive. Basically, give yourself plenty of time!
  • You will need to book your own ski hire, ski school and lift passes. Some ski shops provide deals on all three of these, so do your research. There are also different types of lift passes, including half day, non-consecutive days and family passes. Think about how much skiing you will realistically be doing. Younger children may get tired being out on the slopes all day, so you may not actually need full day lift passes.
  • If your children are booked into ski school, consider the time it will take you to get them to their meeting point every morning. It’s not easy to walk in ski boots, and children struggle with it even more, so if it is a long walk, make sure you know what public transport is available. If you are travelling in a group, you may be able to share the responsibility of this, taking it in turns to go out on the slopes or look after the children.
  • One of our errors was booking a chalet that was very cheap, but ticked many of our boxes, one of which was ski to door. It was a lovely chalet, but the ski run to the chalet was too difficult for many in our group, including the children. It was also too far to walk to the nearest lift station and ski school meeting point. We spent a lot of money on taxis as there was no bus route near to our chalet. Remember…location, location, location!
  • For those that enjoy skiing, having children should not mean you have to give this up. Your holidays may change, but as your children gain more experience, it won’t be long before they are whizzing past you on the slopes and your holidays return to how they used to be (minus the crazy après ski!).

Natasha and Ella (then three) enjoy a bluebird day in Morillon

About the author

Natasha Jones lives in rural Worcestershire with her husband and their two daughters, aged eight and nine. Natasha and her husband have always been keen travellers and are eager for their kids to experience the enjoyment of travelling too. They have a special love of camping and enjoy many weekends away in their campervan, with the family’s two dogs.

Want to write for us? 

You too can share your reader reviews with us, and get paid for doing so!

Get travel news and competitions sent to your inbox