Whether you are keen skiers who want to introduce your children to the joys of life on the piste, or are beginners who want to take up a family hobby, it is essential that you find a resort that caters for all ages and abilities. When it comes to a thrill-seeking activity like skiing, it can be difficult finding that balance between the slopes that pack an adrenalin punch for the experienced and the child-friendly runs for the little ones. Too much of one may leave you worrying about your children’s safety and too much of the other leaves you bored. However, some resorts do manage to keep both camps happy. Here is the pick of the best:
Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont
When you find a resort with the tagline, “America’s Family Resort” things have to be promising, and, luckily, this resort really does deliver. Making the most of three large hills, the resort has slopes to keep everyone happy. There are gentle slopes and tree runs for the beginners and as well as slopes for the more advanced, including the ominously named “Black Hole.” There are excellent facilities for children of all ages. A crèche, situated in the lavish child-care centre, is available for the very young. The ski school aims to get all children up and away on their skis from as young as two and a half. Family time can be spent indulging in some snowmobiling or air boarding. However, if your children do not want to hang out with their parents, there are always the “adult-free” zones of the teen hangouts. This truly is a resort that caters for everyone!
Selva, Dolomites, Italy
If you feel that your children are not quite up to days out on the slopes yet, but you are desperate to hit the snow, Selva could be the answer. Obviously, as a parent, you want to be able to enjoy yourselves without worrying about your children, so knowing that you can leave your children in the hands of the professionals at the Casa Bambino should allow you to relax and enjoy the piste. The childcare experts take children as young as four months. The resort also boasts several ski schools for both young and old and has plenty of non-skiing activities to keep the children busy, such as ice skating, an indoor climbing centre, a selection of playgrounds and snowshoeing. Selva is quite unique amongst its Italian counterparts, as they often lack good childcare facilities. However, Selva more than makes up for the others as it is a very family orientated destination.
With credentials like being one of America’s top family ski resorts, as voted by America’s Family Circle, Vail has high expectations to live up to. With a world class childcare facility called “Small World,” which looks after children from a tiny two months old to six years, even the newest of parents can relax and enjoy some quality skiing. Vail is a single mountain resort, but that certainly does not mean that it is small. In fact Vail is the US’s largest single mountain ski complex. It spans over seven miles and has slopes for all different levels of competency. In addition to the great slopes, Vail also has surprisingly clement weather, averaging around 300 days of sunshine per year. This makes it a great location to introduce children to skiing as they will not have to contend with the harsh elements that some resorts are prone to. Vail is also renowned for its nightlife and restaurants – perfect for those parents wanting to make the most of the babysitting services and enjoy some quality adult time.
Vemdalen is the perfect family ski resort if you are looking for something a little smaller and a bit quieter than some of the larger and more well-known ski centres. What it lacks in size, Vemdalen makes up for in character and fantastic facilities. Like most other family resorts, it has a crèche for children starting at three years up to eight years old. If you would like to introduce your children to skiing, then there is a ski school for all abilities with English-speaking staff. If you would like to enjoy a meal by yourselves, then there are children’s discos and movie nights that can keep your little ones busy while you dine. There are slopes to challenge all levels of skiers, plus the opportunity to indulge in some off-piste skiing and floodlit night time skiing.
It is so often the case that as long as the children are happy, the parents are happy. When it comes to these ski resorts, there should be enough on offer to not only keep the children fully entertained, but to allow the parents some uncompromising thrills too. When planned carefully, it is more than possible to keep everyone smiling. It is always wise to look at what facilities are available for the children so that you choose a resort that caters well for your children’s ages, whilst also providing enough adventure, or relaxation time for the grown-ups.