Family & kids, Ski, Snowboard | Mar 9, 2022

Ski holidays with kids

Tips for families
Marietta Hoffmann
More about the author

Most parents know that a ski holiday with kids is anything but child’s play and that there are plenty of challenges to be mastered. The good news: With a bit of preparation and a few tips and tricks, your family ski holiday is bound to become an unforgettable highlight!

What should you keep in mind when planning a ski holiday with kids? We have all the facts for you …

Make family skiing a success

First of all, a ski holiday with children takes careful planning. Ideally, you should plan your winter getaway several months in advance and start with the following steps:

  1. Get an overview: Which family ski resort is best for you? Do some online research and ask your friends and family for recommendations!
  2. Make a booking: Once you have chosen your holiday destination, it’s time to book a child-friendly accommodation.
  3. Start to prepare: Do you have all the equipment you need? Do your ski clothes still fit? Have your skis been serviced? Be sure to address these questions well ahead of your trip.
© McKINLEY

Family ski resorts

Many family-friendly ski resorts, villages and regions are awarded a special quality seal. For instance, in France, there’s the “Famille Plus” label and in Switzerland the “Family Destination” label. However, not every great family ski resort carries an official quality seal. It’s also a good idea to check the ratings on online ski platforms, for instance, the categories “Best ski resorts for families and children” on skiresort.info or “Bestes Skigebiet für Familien” on snowplaza.de.

You already have a few resorts in mind? Then you should check their websites to see what exactly they offer. It’s also a nice idea to include your kids in the research phase, for instance by showing them pictures of the ski resort’s mascot. This makes them feel like they are having a say in things and gets them excited for the upcoming holiday.

© McKINLEY
© McKINLEY

Other criteria of family-friendly ski resorts

  • affordable prices for families
  • free ski passes for kids
  • children’s and beginners’ areas near the valley station
  • plenty of easy (green or blue) runs and family slopes
  • special children’s lifts and child-safe chairlifts
  • ski schools that are open during the off season
  • childcare services
  • information about children’s areas, magic carpets, funslopes, adventure slopes, playgrounds, mascots and more

Big or small – what size ski resort is best?

Big ski resorts:

  • boast lots of offers for families 
  • have many attractions specifically for kids

Small ski resorts:

  • make it easier for parents to keep track of things
  • have an inviting, laid-back atmosphere
  • usually offer cheaper ski passes

Using ski lifts with children

© McKINLEY

Using a ski lift can sometimes be quite daunting for adults – and even more so for kids! That’s why it’s important to allay your child’s fears when it comes to using different lifts and cable cars.

Here are some tips to get your little ones ready for using a ski lift:

  1. Practice walking with skis on flat terrain to prepare for getting on and off the lift.
  2. Tip No. 1 for riding the lift: Always look ahead!
  3. Tip No. 2: Strictly no fooling around or rocking the lift!
  4. For drag lifts, choose lifts that run along flat sections right by the slope instead of steep forest sections.
  5. If possible, don’t use the lifts during peak times, or choose lifts that are generally less frequented.
  6. If necessary, let the lift attendants at the valley station know that kids are about to use the lift.

In addition, keep in mind the following when using certain types of ski lifts

Drag lift (T-bar lift)

  • Don’t try to sit on the bar!
  • Take smaller children between your legs!
  • Older kids should board the lift on the exit side.
  • Initially, children should use the ski lift without poles (if possible, hold them for your kids).
  • Don’t drag your poles along!
  • Always let the child get off first!
  • Swiftly leave the exit area!

Chairlift

  • Make sure that the weight is evenly distributed!
  • Swiftly close the safety bar (always respecting other skiers riding with you)!
  • Make sure that your child is sitting all the way back in their seat and doesn’t lean forward!
  • Be careful with scarves or straps from your backpack or clothing – you could easily get trapped!
  • At the exit area, only lift the safety bar once you have passed the respective sign!
  • Let your child get off first and, if necessary, give them a gentle push!

Other types of lifts

  • Gondola: Put your child’s skis in the ski rack or help them do it themselves, then make them sit down!
  • Button lift: Don’t exit before you have reached the flat section!

Using ski lifts with children is one thing – getting them down the mountain safely is quite another! Check out our tips and rules for responsible skiing!

© McKINKLEY

Ski day & breaks

What’s better: a whole day of skiing or just a half-day? Realistically, the time you spend on the slopes will be determined by your kids’ stamina and motivation. For smaller kids and beginners, half a day of skiing is usually enough. Older, more motivated kids are often fit and eager enough for all-day skiing. In both cases, it’s important to take breaks.

Lunch break at a mountain hut gives you the chance to warm up and recharge your batteries for the rest of your ski day. Our tip: Don’t eat too much heavy food, as it can make you tired!

Child-friendly mountain restaurants usually offer the following amenities:

  • kids’ menus
  • highchairs
  • changing facilities
  • children’s toilets
  • play corners

Time for a break! For longer family ski holidays, it’s a good idea to have a few days away from the slopes. This helps your family’s muscles to recover and gives you the chance to try some fun activities away from the slopes.

Villages & resorts

Many winter sports resorts offer great amenities for families. At the more family-friendly places, you will also find plenty of options for activities away from the slopes – for instance, sledging runs, ice rinks, snowshoe trails, horse-drawn sleigh and carriage rides and more. A perfect family resort should also offer a choice of bad weather activities, including family spas, children’s museums, indoor playgrounds or other attractions for guests of all ages.

What’s more, great destinations for family ski holidays usually offer free ski busses that regularly run from your hotel to the valley station and back.

Top-class equipment for the whole family: Last but not least, a great family ski holiday destination also needs ski rental options at great prices. That’s why you can find INTERSPORT Rent at the world’s best family ski resorts. Find a shop now!

© McKINLEY
© McKINLEY

Accommodation

What boxes should a good children’s hotel for your ski holiday tick?

What boxes should a good children’s hotel for your ski holiday tick?

  • It should be right by the slope or
  • close to the lifts, or
  • there should be a shuttle bus running from your hotel to the slopes.

In addition, there should be:

  • childcare services
  • kids’ menus or a children’s buffet
  • playground and playrooms
  • baby-care accessories in your room or for rent
  • special family rooms
  • affordable prices for families

Your next family winter holiday is just around the corner, and you‘re looking for the perfect destination? Discover the best family ski resorts in Austria, France, Switzerland and Europe!

INTERSPORT Rent tip

Buying equipment, first having to pack it, then unpack it, storing it at the ski resort, lugging it to the slopes and back – you could do without all of this during your family ski holiday? Then why don’t you make use of the INTERSPORT Rent ski rental service? Great family offers, free ski helmets, expert advice on site, an online reservation tool and valuable information on the RENTertainer blog: We have everything you need for amazing family ski holidays!

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