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The Best Family-Friendly Ski Resorts In Europe

beena nadeem

Contributor

When it comes to family ski holidays in Europe, there comes a time when the slopes, especially in France, can be crammed with kids on half-term holidays. The lift queues are long, patience is frayed and pistes can soon become like motorways. And with kids in tow, there’s little chance you’ll get up there early enough to lay some fresh early-morning tracks when the slopes are quieter. It’s little surprise that so many parents pack up their skis when they have children. But before you do, there’s a handful of resorts worth considering: they all have short or reasonable transfer times from main airports, are beginner-friendly and offer a welcome break for those who thought skiing in half-term was madness. And for those moments when you’ve all had enough: most offer plenty to do off-slope too.

Villars, Switzerland

Villars is a two-hour transfer from Geneva airport and has a good mix of below and above treeline skiing gives this place a homely character. A traditional and tranquil resort means it’s quiet but relatively low altitude which can lead to unreliable snowfall. It does have a glacier though, which often means some guaranteed skiing. Villars also offers Swiss authenticity with a cog railway into the mountains. The skiing is fairly extensive, and it caters for beginners to intermediates well, but there’s little here for the advanced skier. Off-slope there’s tobogganing, a bowling alley, indoor climbing, and a skating rink.
Villars - Switzerland

Arosa, Switzerland

You may need to pre-load a few movies on the kids’ tables for this one with a longer transfer of two and a quarter-hour from Zurich airport. Arosa offers tree-lined skiing and is now linked to Lanzwerhide to offer 225km more skiing: most of which are cruising blues. There’s also a fun area.
Arosa - Switzerland

Montgenevre, France

Right on the Italian border, Montgenevre gets better snow than Italian resorts because of its location on a minor pass. This small and charming village is traffic-free and overlooks a vast nursery area, meanwhile, there’s the woods and sheltered blues and reds of Prarial if you fancy, or you can ski over the border into Clavière, Italy, but you’ll need some skiing experience for this. With huge investment into its skiing infrastructure and luxury accommodation, the resort is beginning to get into more up-market appeal too. There’s also an ice rink here and a new leisure centre. Turin airport is an ideal place to land with just a 90-minute transfer.
Montgenevre - France

Flaine, France

Flaine has just a one-hour transfer from Geneva. Often referred to as the 'fly-in, ski-in/ski-out’ resort and the ease of skiing that families and keen skiers rave about is because it’s been specifically designed by architect Marcel Lajos Breuer to be as ski-friendly to families as possible. Lifts and pistes are nearby, the town blissfully traffic-free.
Flaine - France

Les Sybelles, France

Les Sybelles has a longer transfer time of around two and a half hours from Chambery, but this is made up for by great food, easy for kids and it being slightly cheaper than other certain French resorts. It's comprised of six unusual ski resorts once untouched by tourism, but have now united to form one of the biggest ski areas in France. It has a network of quick new lifts and plenty of alternative activities such as huskie sledding or fat biking (riding down the piste on a mountain bike with huge tires).
Les Sybelles - France

La Thuile, Italy

This is a top choice for uncrowded pistes, an efficient lift system and for navigation around what is a quiet village resort matched by quiet slopes that offer varied skiing. With that in mind, it appeals to those who not only wobble but also glide majestically down the slopes. It’s based at the site of an old mining village and has an attractive centre. Its more modern side, Planibel, is slightly less attractive. Lift passes include two days to another resort in the Val d’Aosta, and buses run to nearby Courmayeur, meaning if the kids are in ski school, there’s exploring to be done. It’s also linked with La Rosière in France. Don’t come here if you expect any sort of nightlife.
La Thuile - Italy

Obergurgl, Austria

Obergurgl is fantastically snow-sure thanks to being one of the highest ski villages in Europe at 1930m. That’s important when you may only have one week out of 52 to get it right. Traffic is light and it’s generally pretty quiet here: perfect for beginners, improvers, and those who just want to avoid speed demons. There are plenty of beginner slopes at Mahdsthul, plus lots of longer blues and reds to explore as the week goes on. A super ski pass gives you access to three other areas, allowing you to explore nearby Vent and the larger resort of Sölden. There’s a family park here too for those younger members who want to try bridges, banked turns and tunnels, next to the Bruggenboden. There’s also a fun 3km-long toboggan run and ice skating.
Obergurgl - Austria

Ski Amadé, Austria

This large area has quick transfers to the resort from Salzburg airport, lots of runs and is ultimately a cheaper holiday overall. Its lift network is modern (heated seats and covers) and skiing from one resort to another is easy, even with kids.
Ski Amadé - Austria

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