Looking to get the whole family on the slopes? From Austria to Andorra, here are some of the best family-friendly ski resorts that we could find.
1. Elevated peace: Obergurgl, Austria
Nestled high up in the Ötztal Alps of Tyrol, Austria, Obergurgl offers some of the finest conditions for beginner skiers in all of Europe. With slopes lying between 1,795m and 3,080m in elevation, this is one of the highest resorts in Europe and boasts the longest ski season of any non-glacier resort on the continent, with the height affording it an exceptionally snow-sure status. For parents, the good news is there isn’t just one, but two children’s areas and each one has an outdoor zone (for good weather) and an indoor ski kindergarten (for bad weather) respectively.
The nearest airport is Innsbruck (97km) and the nearest train station is Ötztal Bahnhof (52km).
Click here for info on hotels, après-ski and eating out in Obergurgl, Austria.
2. A learning experience: Arinsal, Andorra
The secret is now out – Andorra boasts some of the best Pyrenean ski slopes around, as well as some very competitively priced skiing holiday resorts. Arinsal is part of the Vallnord ski resort and has a strong reputation for offering family-friendly skiing on wide, sunny slopes. The ski school in particular has a reputation as one of the best around, and whether you’re familiar with skiing or have never put a set of skis on before, you’ll be zipping down the gently curving slopes in no time. There is also a baby club (for 1-4 years old), a snow garden (for 4-8 years old), as well as ski school (for 4-15 years old) and snowboard school (for 10-15 years old) with children under six getting a free lift pass.
The nearest airport is Perpignan (115km) but most visitors use the better-serviced Barcelona airport (150km). There are no direct trains to Arinsal (with the nearest station over 100km away), so you’ll need to get a direct shuttle into the mountains.
Click here for info on hotels, après-ski and eating out in Arinsal, Andorra.
3. Crazy about kids: Morzine-Avoriaz, France
Morzine and Avoriaz are two neighbouring resorts in the Portes du Soleil area in France. The two resorts are linked by lifts and an ultra-modern giant gondola, giving visitors a vast choice of terrain suiting beginners, intermediates and experts. Morzine sits at a lower altitude than Avoris (only 1000m), meaning that it offers plenty of off-slope activities for when you’re worn out for the day. Avoriaz on the other hand sits at 1800m and offers slopes of various difficulties with a complete ski area dedicated to children. There are more than 100 instructors and supervisors available there to teach young skiers, and the team has developed an original teaching method based on the use of games and cartoon characters.
For Avoriaz, the nearest airport is Geneva (102km) and the nearest train station is Cluses (42km).
Click here for info on hotels, après-ski and eating out in Morzine-Avoriaz, France.
4. Laid-back charm: Wengen, Switzerland
Not too fussed about the slopes? If you’re looking for a more tranquil and traditional Swiss setting, Wengen delivers. This stunning resort can be reached by train from Lauterbrunnen and the journey time is only 15 minutes. These aren’t your average metro tubes either, but wonderfully old-fashioned carriages that allow for some truly breathtaking views as they wind around the mountains. Once there, the children can literally play in the streets (there are no cars up here), and there is also a snowgarden with magic carpet lifts in the village. For other winter sport enthusiasts, there are some pretty snowshoe trails, as well as an ice rink and curling facilities.
The nearest airport is Bern (102km), and the nearest train station is Lauterbrunnen.
Click here for info on hotels, après-ski and eating out in Wengen, Switzerland.
5. Uniquely icy: Flaine, France
Affordable self-catering accommodation in France, Flaine is a modern village with variable ski terrain catering to all skiing abilities. Children under five ski for free throughout the ski area and it boasts excellent childcare facilities to boot, with a driving simulator and indoor climbing for those who don’t agree with the cold. As a town it’s bursting with art and culture: listed historical monuments share spaces with works of art by Picasso and Dubuffet amongst others. Flaine was also one of the first resorts in Europe to have a snow cannon, and you can tell by the quality of the creatively named ski runs. The names are based on the difficulty colour – ranging from a smooth ride down the blue run Tourmaline to a twisting trip through the devilishly named red run Mephisto.
The nearest airport is Geneva (70km) and the nearest train station is Cluses (30km).
Click here for info on hotels, après-ski and eating out in Flaine, France.
Before you go, you might want to read: