French Alps Family Ski Holidays
Where is best for French Alps family ski holidays?
Choosing a resort
When choosing a resort for your French Alps family ski holidays, gentle runs and nursery slopes are a must for children learning how to ski (and adults too!). Ski-in/ski-out accommodation is the most convenient. This means skiing from the door and back to the apartment. The benefit of this feature is much less walking with equipment (a child carrying a set of skis is near on impossible – you will need to carry theirs for them!). As an alternative, accommodation with a ski shuttle bus just outside is a good idea to minimise the walking distance. Choosing a resort that is quite compact as well will minimise walking distances. Furthermore, a resort with lots of extra activities besides skiing is a good idea in case any children in your party aren’t so keen.
Recommended resorts for French Alps family ski holidays
Morillon 1100 has its own nursery slopes. Lifts from Morillon 1100 link Flaine, Samoens and Les Carroz making the Grand massif ski area and its massive 265km of slopes. Village des Enfants cares for children from 6 months to 10 years. Ski kindergarten starts from 3 years with ESF. Pedestrian resort. Morillon Tourist Office website.
La Norma has its own nursery slopes next to the centre and the north facing slopes allow for lasting snow. Ski kindergarten starts from 3 years with ESF. Pedestrian resort. La Norma Tourist Office website.
Oz-en-Oisans is traffic free and safe for children. Being a compact resort, there is a mere walking distance between amenities. Take the gondola to Alpette in Vaujany to find the beginners slopes; there are also nursery slopes in Oz. Snow kindergarten starts from 4 years with ESF. Oz-en-Oisans Tourist Office website.
Les Saisies has gentle nursery slopes for beginners and has good snow cover throughout the winter season. Ski kindergarten from 3 years with ESF, ESF nursery from 2 years (no ski). Les Saisies Tourist Office website.
Samoens has an excellent nursery slope area at Samoens 1600 (reached by high speed gondola from village), one of the biggest in the Haute-Savoie. From Samoens 1600 you can ski to Morillon, Les Carroz and Flaine via the Grand Massif lift system. Ski kindergarten from 3 years with ESF. Samoens Tourist Office website.
Vaujany is a popular family skiing resort with a beginner’s area at the top of the lift from the village. The top and the bottom of the village are linked by a covered escalator system. Ski kindergarten from 4 years with ESF, an excellent ski school. Vaujany Tourist Office website.
La Rosière is a good choice for beginners and families with children. La Rosiere offers well suited terrain and a well designed village base which means that your equipment, ski school and the nursery slopes are a few steps from your accommodation. La Rosiere has acquired the Famille Plus label for its childcare facilities and offers a crèche, kids club and child ski lessons from ESF. La Rosiere Tourist Office website.
Child ski lessons
Skiing all day is normally too much for most children. It does, however, depend on their fitness level and stamina. As a guide, 8-12 year olds can normally stay out for about 3 hours, so 6 half-days worth of lessons should be just right. Most ski schools offer full days for children with a break for lunch. Some will offer skiing in the morning and activities during the afternoon, others offer skiing both morning and afternoon and usually this depends on age. A 3 year old would more than definitely not be able to cope with 6 hours of skiing a day.
French Alps Family Ski Holidays Tip: There is no right age to teach your child to ski – just whenever they feel ready. Some children take to it as early as 2 or 3 years, but most would start trying between 4 and 6. Do remember though there is no rush; if they don’t like it try again next year. Spending a day at a dry ski slope give a good indication as to whether your child is ready or not. It also gives them a head start in resort. It’s important to understand that where as one child may take to skiing, another may not as well – concentration is a big factor for children so the ESF (Ecole du Ski Francais – French Ski School) varies the activities in the lessons so that the children find it exciting rather than a bit of a chore. Skiing ‘en famille’ (as a family) can also be an enjoyable experience.