Family Ski Holidays
What to think about when taking the children skiing
- Flight times out of UK – are they a civilised hour for children?
- Check distance/time from arrival airport resort.
- Choose an operator with plenty of experience and that offers a choice, not just limiting families to a particular resort where they “do” child care.
Esprit Ski is a family specialist of 30 years and knows what makes children happy! Their extensive child care programme is run in 14 top alpine resorts. They make taking children a pleasure not a stressful experience!
Child care questions to ask
- Is it the resort’s or the Tour Operator’s?
- Are the child carers qualified?
- Is the nursery in the chalet or do you have to traipse your child round the resort?
- Activity clubs – what do they do, are they just video clubs or do the children get out and about?
- Any evening activities for children?
- Any babysitting provided?
- What are the age ranges for nursery or child care?
- What are the catering arrangements?
Not many Tour Operators offer their very own Nursery care and attention needs to be paid to what exactly you are booking for your infant. If it is a local resort nursery, do the carers speak English? Will they follow your child’s routine? What will they do? And will it be for 5 or 6 days?
Esprit Ski offers a dedicated and exclusive Esprit Nursery in each resort, staffed by British qualified Nursery Nurses and managed by experienced Child Care Managers.
Lunch and all refreshments are included and a daily diary is kept to ensure you can keep up to speed with your child’s day. Children are taken outside when weather is suitable and given every opportunity to experience the mountains, subject to their age and parental consent. For ages from 4-40 months at £189 for 6 full days.
Ski School for children
Many holiday packages offer children’s ski classes but it is important to know whether or not the classes are just the local ski school’s or if the operator has any special arrangements.
Some operators just book children into the local classes, which may then have anything up to 16 children in them and be taught in the local language! Also worth checking is whether the parents have to take to and collect their children from ski school. It can severely restrict a parent’s time on the slope.
Another factor is whether to have all day skiing for your child or just the morning. Younger children or beginners benefit from half a day skiing and half a day having fun bum-boarding/snowman building/snowball fighting etc. Older and more experienced children want to be out most of the day. Does the operator offer such combinations?
Esprit Ski has exclusive ski classes – Sprites – for children aged from 3-12. They contract instructors from the local ski schools to teach Esprit Ski children in English and with only a maximum of 6-8 in a class. They also operate a take to and collect for the lunch and afternoon activity service. Price £199.
Esprit Ski runs afternoon activity clubs – Snow Clubs – which include pick up from ski school, lunch and fun-filled afternoons of outdoor and indoor activities. Price £199.
Esprit Ski also organises slopeside fun in the afternoons for older experienced children during which the children enjoy a less formal ski session and spend time having fun out on the slopes with a qualified guide. Price £199.
Some operators charge extra for babysitting, others don’t do it at all. If night life is important, try and check beforehand how much extra you may have to pay out in resort to avoid hefty bills not budgeted for.
Esprit Ski provide a FREE Baby Listening/Child Patrol service one night a week in all their properties sand every night in their Chalet Hotels and larger chalets.
Check the eating arrangements. Children tend to be happier eating all together and can’t last all evening waiting for an adult dinner at 8pm.
Esprit Ski has children’s high tea at 5.30 for children under 13 which consists of meals designed for children balancing the need for wholesome food with the knowledge of what children really like to eat. The adults then have a child-free four/five-course dinner at 8pm with complimentary wine, during which older children not yet asleep join the supervised Cocoa Club.
Location of properties
Where the chalet or hotel is situated will have a big impact on the enjoyment of the children. Ski in/out is ideal for parents but for children who will be in ski lessons it may be advisable to look for properties where the ski school meeting point is close by.
Esprit Ski has chalets and Chalet Hotels in superb locations for children and they will collect your children from your chalet every morning to take them to the meeting point and make it full of fun and games so that any physical activity is minimised. Any resort where walking is involved they offer a minibus service.
You don’t want your children being put off the sport by having to struggle to walk in big clumpy ski boots!
Skiing with children can be expensive. Some child friendly operators do not have child friendly prices! Check the discounts according to children’s ages and up to what age they are applicable and also the number of children allowed.
Many operators only allow 2 children at a child’s price and thereafter charge adult prices. Always work out the whole package price before deciding which is better value – an operator with the most expensive adult price may turn out to offer the best whole family cost.
Often sharing the parent’s room gives the greatest discount for children but if you want separate rooms for the children you will not get much of a discount from some operators. Brochures/websites that do not give any child prices are questionable!
Booking certain dates with some companies may give good offers – free children’s places etc but again I suggest you work out the whole package before getting excited about a great deal!
Esprit Ski offers discounts for all children aged 2-17 years. Discounts vary by resort and departures date but thousands of free places are available on 10 weeks of the season. 50% for children aged 2-4, 40% for 5-10, 30% for 11-13 and 25% for 14-17 year olds. They also don’t mind how many children you have!
To book call 01483 791 900