Winter fun for all the family

A skiing holiday with children in tow doesn't have to mean financial ruin or parental stress

What's the attraction?

"The family that skis together, stays together," is a saying that helps those who financially ruin themselves each year to justify that annual S.K.I* holiday (*Spending the Kids' Inheritance). It's easy to spend a lot if you don't plan it all meticulously: the cost of a half-term family ski holiday can easily reach £5,000. Get advice from specialist operators such as Ski Famille (0845 6443764;, Esprit Ski (01483 791900; and the Family Ski Company (01684 540333;


Mountain-top pleasure dome

Avoriaz ( in France has taken family ski holidays to a new level with the opening of the 2,400 sq m indoor water park Aquariaz, part of a €200m investment, the biggest in the ski world this winter. Think of it as a Center Parcs tropical swimming dome at the top of a mountain. Ski Collection (0844 576 0175; offers a week's self-catering, self-drive holiday at the ski-in/ski-out Atria Crozats apartments in Avoriaz over Easter (arrival 30 March 2013) from £282pp.

Snow limits

A family ski holiday doesn't have to be just about skiing. You can make it an adventure by basing yourselves in a Lapland resort in or near the Arctic circle and mixing ski lessons with dog sledding and reindeer safari sessions. Santa's waiting there too, of course, and fans of Philip Pullman's Northern Lights can indulge themselves, too. Crystal Ski's (0871 231 2256; week-long Lapland Winter Wonderland trip to Ruka in Finland costs from £335 per person.

The price is right

Club Med (08453 67 67 67; pioneered the all-inclusive ski holiday, now an increasingly popular fixed-price option for families. Club Med Cervinia in Italy is especially family friendly, with an indoor pool and a teenage ski programme. The resort's slopes are already open and are home to Europe's highest glacier skiing. A four-night package departing 25 November costs £645 for adults and £585 for children, including flights from Gatwick. The group is also opening a new resort in Italy's Aosta Valley on 16 December.

Who said that?

"I grew up thinking of snow as a luxury you visit" – film director John Landis

"I started skiing around the same time as I began playing the piano, at around four, before moving to the violin at five" – Vanessa Mae

"The family that skis together bitches at each other" – filmmaker Warren Miller

Give us a lift

At expensive resorts, a family of four can pay close to £1,000 on lift passes for the week. Child ticket prices vary tremendously. In Switzerland they're half price for under-16s, with more than 50 resorts including Zermatt offering free skiing to age nine. (020 8133 8899; is offering a week in a chalet there for £415pp.

The season's ski deals

La Plagne (00 33 479 09 79 79; offers a free Paradiski child ski pass over Christmas when you book direct and arrive on 22 December. A week's self-catering starts at €908 with lift passes for a family of four. The same week, Iglu (020 8542 6658; offers seven nights at Chalet Chamois d'Or in Val d'Isere with flights and free child lift passes and rentals from £789pp. "Superkids" from 16 March in the Italian Dolomiti Superski region ( ensures under-eights don't pay for accommodation or lift passes.

Pastures new

If you've already skied as a family in the Alps and want to try a different destination, Inghams (01483 791111; offers Mont Tremblant in the Canadian province of Quebec. Travel in early December and a week costs less than £800 per person including flights from Heathrow and accommodation with breakfast. Neilson (0844 879 8155; serves Baqueira Beret in the Spanish Pyrenees; a week for four from Gatwick or Manchester on 24 March costs £1,439 per person, half-board.

Insider Information

Anyone planning a family skiing holiday should prioritise their needs as a family over their desires as a skier. With children in tow, a short airport transfer, proximity to ski school or childcare and child-friendly room layouts will bring far more joy than superb off-piste opportunities or après-ski venues. If you get the balance right in the early years, the children will fall in love with the mountains; before you know it you'll be struggling to keep up with them." Chris Thompson, managing director of Ski Famille

Safety first

The most important issue for children on skiing holidays is keeping warm and safe. Wearing a helmet is a must (a legal requirement in France and Italy and some insurance companies are making it a requirement, too) but the little things matter as well. "There is nothing worse than sending your child off to ski school in the morning with wet gloves," says Lisa Dance, a director of the Family Ski Company. "Always take at least three pairs per child."

A poster by Durham Constabulary
Arts and Entertainment
books New York Times slammed over summer reading list
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
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

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine