Independent Families: 'We're looking for a resort where a nanny will look after our little ones while we ski'

Q. My husband and I are keen skiers and are thinking of taking a two-week skiing holiday in Europe this winter. The only drawback is that we have two young children (one and three years) who will obviously need to be kept busy while we are on-piste. We are a bit wary of the kids' clubs that are often offered by tour operators, which can be rather too regimented for such young children. Ideally, we would like someone to look after our children on their own and in the familiar surroundings of our chalet. Is this possible and would it limit the resorts we can choose?

D Cater, Rochester

A. Children's clubs have sometimes been described, perhaps unfairly, as loosely disguised boot camps. This can be unnerving for parents unused to leaving their children in such an environment. When it comes to providing childcare options, the norm is for tour operators to stick to clubs and schools. A handful of companies, however, do recognise that some parents want a service closer to a private nanny than a nursery. Scott Dunn Ski (020-8682 5050; runs a well-respected nanny service in the Alps. Nannies are British-trained and are flown out to the resorts (Courchevel, Val d'Isère, Meribel and Zermatt) to look after children in your chalet. The price is £335 a week for the first child and £135 a week for each additional child. The service is available from 9am-5pm Monday to Saturday, but is fully flexible within those hours. Children can expect to build giant snowcastles, take part in a puppet show or even enjoy a horse-and-cart ride through the snow, depending on their age and inclination. Lunch can also be provided. The number of children a nanny can look after is entirely dependent on their ages, and the service must be booked through the London office prior to departure.

Crystal Ski (0870 405 5047; offers a similar service in a number of its resorts throughout France, Switzerland, Austria and Norway. It includes childcare for youngsters of six months-plus from qualified, experienced English-speaking nannies. The service is available up to eight hours a day, except Sundays, and can be tailored to meet individual requirements. There is a ratio of one nanny for every three youngsters, and the price includes indoor and outdoor activities, as well as drinks and snacks (lunch is an optional extra). Six full days, without lunch, costs from £100 per child (£180 during half-term holidays).

Crystal Ski also runs a private nanny service at its Courchevel, La Plagne and Meribel resorts, priced at £450 per week (selected chalets only). Crystal Finest (020-8939 0842; offers the same service in France (Meribel, Courchevel), Switzerland (Zermatt, Verbier) and Austria (St Anton) to residents from 8.30am-5pm Monday to Saturday. There is also a babysitting service one night a week to allow parents a night to themselves. The cost for one week is £550 for up to three children.

The benefit of booking with Ski Famille (0845 644 3764; is that childcare is included in the cost of the holiday and you can decide how long you want your children to be looked after for each day. It offers childcare within its Les Gets and Morzine chalets, almost all of which have playrooms filled with toys and games as well as more practical equipment (high chairs and cots). Childminders will take children as young as two months and typically look after no more than three children.

Collineige (01276 24262; runs tailor-made ski holidays in the French resort of Chamonix. It offers private childcare for children up to the age of 11 years, costing between £7 and £10 per hour. Parents are given the opportunity to get in touch with their nanny prior to leaving the UK, which allows them to get to know their childminder and discuss any special requirements for their stay. For infants (up to two years) the company also recommends using its local network of nourrices. These are nannies, often bilingual, who are registered and vetted by the French authorities and who look after groups of up to five children at their homes. This works out slightly cheaper, costing around €9 (£6.40) an hour per child, but is recommended for babies and young toddlers.

Alternatively, Purple Ski (01494 488 633; does not offer a dedicated nanny service at its resort in Meribel, but will give a 50 per cent discount on your nanny's flights and accommodation if he or she comes with you.

Send your family travel queries to The Independent Parent, Travel Desk, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS or e-mail

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Ashdown Group: Print Designer - High Wycombe - Permanent £28K

    £25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager

    £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager required for ...

    Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator

    £25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator A...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent