How to improve holidays with children
Hey Mum, let's go skiing italian style
Sunday 04 February 2007
This time last week, I was mid-air in a chair lift, clinging to my kids for dear life, in a very scary blizzard. Our cable had come to a grinding and prolonged halt, and as we were blown around in the gale-force gusts, all I could hear, apart from the raging tempest whistling in my ears, was the sound of our ski instructor laughing at my horrified expression. "No problem! This happens when it's windy," he guffawed in his Italian drawl.
Apparently, ski lifts stop automatically if it gets too breezy. Which is fine by me, as long as I'm not in one at the time. The kids, on the other hand, thought it was a great adventure; after all, it's not everyday you find yourself swinging above the Matterhorn in a swirling snowstorm.
To my amazement, we survived. It felt good to get back on to solid ground, although it was more slippery than I'd have liked: we had to do a rather icy run back down to the village of Cervinia, where I needed a large vin chaud to calm my nerves. My little daredevils, meanwhile, went back up with our instructor and did it all over again.
I love the friendly little bars in Cervinia. This village is fab, and, if you choose to stay in Club Med's newly refurbished hotel, families will be hard-pushed to find anything to complain about. In fact, Club Med made our skiing holiday run so smoothly that I quickly forgot what the real world was like. The staff helped us with everything: ferrying us to and from the lifts, helping us to carry our skis, booking us lessons and tehy even came to the rescue when we couldn't do up our ski boots.
But après-ski is where this company comes into its own. After a hard day on the slopes (perfect for beginners and intermediates), you and your brood can look forward to a relaxing swim in the huge heated pool, warm towels and hot tea. Then take time out from the kids for a massage in the spa and enjoy the vast spread of delicious food, including some ridiculously tempting desserts. There's entertainment on tap if you're in the mood, huge beds, warm robes, flat-screen TVs, chocolates on your pillow ... what more could you ask for?
Well, you could try kids' clubs, crèches and children's ski lessons - which, of course, are all provided, with knobs on. Specially trained teams will care for your little treasures from dawn till dusk if necessary: the Mini Club caters for the under-10s, teenagers have their own exclusive Junior Club.
Both of these offer great opportunities, both on and off the piste, for your kids to indulge in lots of fun, from snowboarding and snow scooter riding to quiz games and treasure hunts. You name it, they'll do it.
There's little doubt, then, that the staff at Club Med Cervinia are absolutely dedicated to making sure everyone in the family has a great time. So when I go back, I'm going to ask them to stop the wind from blowing too hard. I'm sure they'll do their best to oblige.
Katy's top tip
Seven nights' all-inclusive at Club Med Cervinia (08453 676767; clubmed .co.uk) costs from £891 per person for an adult; £761 per person for children aged four to 11 years; £385 per person for two and three-year-old children; and £149 for a child under one. The price includes return flights, transfers, accommodation, all meals, drinks and snacks, ski and snowboarding lessons, ski passes, insurance, Mini and Junior Club Med and other activities.
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