Snow brings out the child in everyone, doesn't it? I only have to see a flake fluttering from an icy sky and I'm fighting back the urge to grab my mum's best tea tray and slide down the nearest hill. And I know I'm not the only one, because there's now a multi-million-pound industry dedicated to people who suffer from inexplicable desires to hurl themselves into the white stuff astride anything that comes to hand.

Having children gives you an excuse to try one of these holidays. Take the Adventure Company's (0870-794 1009; adventurecompany.co.uk) Winter Wonderland trip. It will have your offspring ice fishing and building igloos in Finland before you can say cross-country toboganning safari.

But the key to a successful family holiday in sub-zero conditions is cosy accommodation. At the Hotel Rosa Alpina (00 39 0471 84 95 00; rosalpina.it), in the Italian Dolomites, you can curl up in front of the fire, spend a few hours in the sauna while the kids eat their home-made pasta, then retire to your interconnecting rooms for a good night's sleep.

If you don't fancy skiing, they've got mountaineering guides on hand to get you and your children trying ice climbing or even (gulp) paragliding- something I've promised my younger son I'd do with him next time, in a mad moment.

For those in search of kids' clubs and ski schools, new offerings this season include Crystal's extended childcare facilities in resorts including Karprun and Chamonix (0870-405 5043; crystalski.co.uk), while Headwater (08700 662650; www.headwater.com) is laying on special kids' programmes in Norway and Vermont at half-term.

One of the most striking things about the newest snow holidays is that they are about so much more than skiing, with everything from curling to snowshoeing to try. Husky dog sledding, too, seems to be on offer pretty much everywhere; according to Ride The Wilderness (ridethewilderness.com) it's now the fastest-growing winter holiday activity in much of Canada.

My kids are showing no signs of wanting to try it, though - they say they worry about the dogs getting cold feet. That's something I'm suffering from right now, when I think about that promise I made to go paragliding.

KATY'S TOP TIP

n Practise before you head for the snow at Snowdome in Staffordshire, home to a new snowmobile track and a children's snowplay area (08705-000011; www.snowdome.co.uk)

Katy Holland is deputy editor of 'Mother and Baby' and www.motherandbabymagazine.com. She has written several books on childcare

Comments