The Best Family Ski Resorts in the Alps

Are you ready for a family ski trip this winter but still unsure where to go? We know how important it is to carefully select the best resort to suit all the family.

You’ll have to consider which resorts have the best ski schools as well as activities to keep the children entertained. Other factors will be whether there is a great range of terrain, family-friendly accommodation and not forgetting what is on offer for the adults.

To help with your decision, check out some of our favourite family ski resorts…

Alpe d’Huez, France

Why?

There is something for all abilities of skiers and snowboarders here! Alpe d’Huez was awarded the “Famille Plus” label by the French Tourism Organisation, proving its suitability for a family holiday.

Alpe d’Huez is situated in the Arrondissement of Grenoble. The main town sits at 1869 metres above sea level. The ski resort has a reputation for having the most days of sunshine on the ski slopes in a year giving it its nickname “I’Isle du Soleil” (the Island of the Sun).

When?

Christmas in the snow can be enchanting, particularly for families however due to the popularity the resort and pistes will be busy and prices more expensive. The pistes are quiet in April, so it is worth looking out for some end of season deals.

For the Kids

The villages in Alpe d’Huez have their own ski schools. Vaujany and Auris are particularly recommended for families. With competent ski instructors and caregivers in the outskirts of the ski resort, there are plenty of childcare facilities and entertainment for the kids.

For Mum & Dad

Parents can enjoy a ski day in peace with the range of child care facilities on offer. If you fancy taking a breather then head to the sculptural ice caves at the top of the Grandes Rousses DMC lift, this might be a little scary for little ones but a fantastic stop off for adults and teens.  The Grotto des Glaces are stunning works of art which are lit up with amazing lighting displays. The sculptures change every year and are well worth looking at.

For the Family

There is a huge range of family activities suitable for all ages and abilities across Alpe d’Huez. A family favourite is husky sledding! Journey along watching the alpine landscape while being pulled by a team of husky dogs, this exciting adventure is perfect for the whole family.

Resort Facts

The ski resort is 1860m there is access to 389km downhill skiing, 304 individual pistes served by 150 ski lifts as high as 3330m. Skiing and snowboarding are assured throughout the season and it is possible to ski or board back to the resort.

How to Get There

Transfers from Grenoble Airport to Alpe d’Huez are just over 1.5 hours and transfers to Alpe d’Huez from Geneva take around 3 hours.

Skiing in Alpe d'Huez
© Photo by Peter C (https://www.flickr.com/photos/pmcowley/)

Avoriaz, France

Why?

The ski in/ ski out resort is part of the biggest ski areas in the world, Portes du Soleil. It offers a fantastic range of runs and has a fully pedestrianised town perfect for families.

When?

One of the best family resorts, Avoriaz, is a great choice during February half term. Full of entertainment there is something for even non-skiers. The children will appreciate the winter activities and specialised children’s areas. If you want something more magical then Christmas is a perfect time. If you are skiing with young children, then you’ll enjoy a fabulous white Christmas as the whole town is lit up like a fairy-tale. Enjoy the illuminations, fireworks and torch-lit descents.

For the Kids

There are several ski schools, such as Avoriaz Alpine Ski School and Le Village Des Enfants. If you want ways to entertain the kids off the slopes, then there is plenty on offer. Aquariaz is claimed to be Europe’s highest waterpark, there is a pool complex with a lazy river, half-pipe slide, climbing walls and even an open-air spa heated to 34 degrees.

For Mum & Dad

The après ski culture is vibrant in Avoriaz, on and off the piste there are plenty of bars and restaurants. Soak up the snow/sun in Portes du Soleil. You can also grab a drink while the children are in ski school or daycare.

For the Family

Pack your swimming costumes! If there’s a whiteout day the whole family can keep active and head to Aquariaz to the indoor swimming pool, water slides, saunas and whirlpools. The Studio 9 Bowling Alley has two bowling alleys, pool and video games. Also available are two modern cinemas and you can even go skating on the floodlit ice rink.

Resort Facts

The ski resort is 1800m there is access to 650km downhill skiing. Built on a sheer granite cliff Avoriaz is well-known for its wood-clad buildings. It is a car-free resort designed for a relaxed lifestyle. There is a renowned children’s village in the centre.

How to Get There

Transfers from Geneva Airport to Avoriaz usually take around 1 hour 30 minutes.

Avoriaz Skiers
© Photo by Taquiman (https://www.flickr.com/photos/10705232@N06/)

Cervinia, Italy

Why?

Cervinia is tucked in the heart of the rocky, North-West Alps. You’ll feel like you’ve reached another realm when you go through the snow-topped pines to arrive at the holiday village.

When?

Cervinia is a snow-sure winter ski break throughout the season which is usually from late December to early April. There is a great top altitude of 3883m and North/North-West facing slopes which guarantee the weather. The snow is so good in Cervinia that you can even enjoy summer morning skiing here as well.

For the Kids

Take your little ones to the mini inflatables snow-park, even if they’re too small to ski this is a play area which will not disappoint. There are day crèches available if the weather isn’t ideal for playing outside. Parents can be reassured that their kids are in a safe place.

For Mum & Dad

The resort comes to life on Friday and Saturday so if you have booked your trip over a weekend then you are in for a fantastic après ski experience.

For the Family

Cervinia is a brilliant resort for the whole family including young children and teens. Try the exciting sport of Snowscooting and Airboarding (the faster and easier alternative to the classic sledge, which is great fun!).

Alternatively, you can head over to the Christmas Markets and festivals. Ski Schools ensure there is something for the whole family during the school holidays. There are plenty of places to accommodate your stay. You can rent a family apartment, so mealtimes are just like home or if this doesn’t appeal then we recommend you stay at a hotel or catered chalet.

Resort Facts

The ski resort is 2050m with the highest point being 3480m, 107km pistes served by 15 ski lifts. There is a good mix of pistes for beginners, intermediates and advanced skiers and snowboarders, parks, night skiing and some testing off-piste terrain.

How to Get There

Transfers from Turin Airport to Cervinia usually take around 1 hour 30 minutes.

Skiing in Cervinia
© Photo by Nick Webb (https://www.flickr.com/photos/nickwebb/)

Flaine

Why?

Grand Massif is an amazing ski area, the largely pedestrianised resort of Flaine is ideal for families and very popular with many skiers and boarders. There are several side slope accommodations for the perfect stay. the resort is largely pedestrianised.

When?

The resort is highly popular, peak dates, such as Christmas, New Year and Half Term are particularly busy. Skiing in Flaine is great throughout the season due to the high altitudes of the resorts and the best snow record in the Alps. Ski conditions are fantastic here, so it doesn’t matter whether you decide to go for an early Christmas break or later in the season.  Early season you can head to the south-facing slopes or later head to the north for the best-preserved snow. If the snow is a bit sparse then it will be topped up by the 218 snow cannons.

For the Kids

The indoor swimming pool and cinema is in the Le Centaure residence. The ski area is varied enough to keep beginners happy which is perfect for children. There are great ski schools and accessible nursery slopes. The beginner’s lift system offers four free lifts (Pre-chair lift, Bissac carpet and forum bucket lift). For the time the kids want to spend away from the slopes, there’s an ice rink which they can enjoy.

For Mum & Dad

Flaine is well known for being a convenient resort. The Grand Massif is a brilliant and broad skiing area, with plenty on offer for everyone. You won’t be disappointed with the mid-range restaurants on offer.

For the Family

Flaine prides itself as being perfect for the whole family, whether it’s your first time or you’re an expert skier there is something for everyone. A fully pedestrianised resort with lots of amenities and accommodation close to the slopes. Accessibility is a huge advantage here, so you won’t have to walk far to the ski school meeting point or lift. For a non-ski activity, you can go bowling, ice skating, swimming, sleigh rides and husky rides for some quality time off the slopes.

Resort Facts

Flaine is only an hour from Geneva airport, making for an easy airport transfer.

How to Get There

Transfers from Geneva Airport to Flaine usually take around 1 hour 30 minutes.

Skiing in Flaine
© Photo by Kai Hendry (https://www.flickr.com/photos/hendry/)

La Plagne, France

Why?

Situated in the alpine valley of the Tarentaise (Savoie) La Plagne is a French ski area. The popular ski resort is visited on average by more than 2.5 million people.

When?

With some of the best snow conditions in the Alps, La Plagne. The state-of-the-art artificial snowmaking and maintenance machines ensure the slopes are maintained to high standard. There is reliable snow from December to April and if you are lucky you can even ski the glaciers in summer.

For the Kids

La Plagne has lots of childcare facilities so while the adults are having fun tearing up the mountain the kids will be fully entertained at a kid’s club. There is a range of off-slope activities such as swimming, cinema and events during peak season such as Christmas and Easter e.g. Easter egg hunt and a theatrical visit from Père Noël at Christmas.

If your children are over 14, there is the Olympic Bobsleigh run which lets you become an Olympic Bobsleigh champion for a few moments. Opening every day to the public except Mondays, you can have a go on the run yourself, but be warned it’s not for the faint-hearted!

For Mum & Dad

Drop the kids off at childcare and enjoy some time away from the children with a full range of activities including bobsledding, swimming and shopping.

For the Family

If you’ve got a bigger gang to entertain in the evenings once the lifts have stopped and the sun has set, then perhaps you’d be interested in heading to the bowling alley at Belle Plagne. The alley comes with a bar too, if you fancy a pint of beer or a glass of wine.

Resort Facts

La Plagne is a real family friendly resort; there are a total of 17 free lifts for beginners and lots of different ski schools to choose from, making it a great place for little ones on the slopes.

How to Get There

Transfers from Geneva Airport to La Plagne usually take around 2 hours 30 minutes.

Skiing in La Plagne
© Photo by Matt Squirrell (https://www.flickr.com/photos/msquirrell/)

Les Arcs, France

Why?

The opening of the Mille 8 development last season ensured this already hugely popular resort became a firm family favourite. The development, located in Arc 1800, contains a swimming pool, a toboggan run and a dedicated beginners’ area. Being part of the Paradiski area, the resort also offers varied terrain to suit all abilities.

When?

Ski season is December – April with some of the best snow. The slopes are north facing meaning they escape the heat of the springtime sunshine. We recommend this area for families heading out at the beginning or end of the ski season. January and February are usually the best time to visit for amazing snow coverage. Event-wise, early December sees the Les Arcs European Film Festival and Christmas/New Year’s Eve always fantastic with plenty of activities. There are also several events occurring March and April before the season ends.

For the Kids

There is a great range of accommodation to choose from, but Le Village Arc 1950 is highly popular with families – the ski-in/ski-out village has indoor and outdoor pools, its own kids’ club and its own ski school.

For Mum & Dad

The amazing Paradiski mountain serves all abilities amazingly and includes terrain from open groomed pistes to sheltered, tree-lined runs. There are plenty of things to entertain you including snowshoeing, swimming and shopping.

For the Family

Les Arcs has lots to keep the whole family entertained. The beginner area is perfect for children to learn at Arc 1800. If you want a day away from skiing, then you can enjoy a husky ride which the whole clan will love. Look out for the spectacular torch-lit descents and other festive activities.

Resort Facts

Part of the huge Paradiski ski area, Les Arcs is made up of several areas, namely  Bourg-Saint-Maurice. Resort altitude is 1600m with the highest point being 3226m.

How to Get There

Transfers from Geneva Airport to Les Arcs usually take around 3 hours.

Skiing in Les Arcs
© Photo by Matt Squirrell (https://www.flickr.com/photos/msquirrell/)

Obergurgl, Austria

Why?

Known as the ‘Diamond in the Alps’ Obergurgl has some of Austria’s most snow-sure conditions, with a laid-back atmosphere and tons of character. A fantastic destination for families it is a place to be enjoyed with quality skiing accompanied by amazing vistas and Austrian traditions.

When?

The season here is November to May, which gives travellers plenty of time to take advantage of the amazing snow-sure conditions. Take advantage of the late ski season offers and head to the slopes in May. It is quite often busier in school holidays, but the lift system is very well organised which means queues are at a minimum.  There is also plenty going on at the resort with ‘Skivolution’ (fireworks, ski show and music) event taking place weekly as well as toboggan night in Hochgurgl.

For the Kids

If you are travelling with young children who are learning to ski, then Obergurgl ski school has a mini ‘bobo’ club offering a safe and fun introduction to the slopes. There are also childcare facilities for children as young as 2 who can’t ski but you wish to leave them in safe and capable hands while you discover the mountain.

For Mum & Dad

There are some wonderful gift shops in and around the village of Obergurgl that include sportswear, fashion, souvenirs and gifts. Great opportunity to find a unique gift for any upcoming birthdays and festive seasons.

For the Family

Put on your ice skates and take the children out for some fun on the ice! There is a floodlit ice rink which is situated opposite the old St. Bernhard’s mountaineers chapel in Obergurgl. Once the lifts have closed enjoy ice skating as a family.

Resort Facts

It’s easy to see why Obergurgl attracts many visitors with the lively après ski scene and easy-going atmosphere. With plenty of runs at high altitude (1,800m – 3,080m).

How to Get There

Transfers from Innsbruck Airport to Obergurgl usually take around 1 hour 30 minutes.

Skiing in Obergurgl
© Photo by Luca Sbardella (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sbardella/)

Snowmass, USA

Why?

Snowmass is one of the most popular resorts in the world. It is a place attracted to by the rich and famous with the likes of Mariah Carey and Lance Armstrong regularly hitting the slopes. The upmarket resort has become more accessible for everyone with reasonable accommodation and cheaper dining options.

When?

Snowmass is not the best resort for early season skiing as the snow depth is best between January and March. In the season the height can be intensely cold. For great piste skiing then head out to the slopes in March, make spring skiing more enjoyable, if you want great piste skiing and less queuing, just before Christmas is the best time. The sun stays off the slopes for longer due to them being north facing, there are great ski conditions in the spring.

For the Kids

Another perfect ski resort for all the family, check out Very Important Kid, they can enjoy a sing-along, crafts, magic shows as well as many other events and activities. There are also ski schools which cater for tots (pre-potty training) called Cubs on skis program and children (Bears course).

For Mum & Dad

Most lodgings have doorstep skiing and you will find a range of terrain for all abilities. In the evening there are over 20 restaurants with fantastic menus. If you are here for Mardi Gras there is usually uphill, fancy dress race to Gwyn’s restaurant. There is also a party with stilt walkers, performers, fireworks and a parade at the Snowmass Mall.

For the Family

Eat together as a family and look out for the VIK stickers in the restaurant’s windows to see where has special menus for children. If you’re not too tired after a meal then you can always go to the Aspen Recreation Centre for swimming, water slides and a lazy river.

Resort Facts

Snowmass was built in the sixties as an extension of Aspen. Snowmass has heights of 3813m with an annual snowfall over 7.5m. If a top-up is required, then the ski area has snowmaking on 256 acres of terrain. Snowmass is the biggest of four ski areas all covered by one ski pass, in the group is Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk being the others. Snowmass has 3332 acres/ 243km of terrain.

How to Get There

Transportation from Denver Airport to Snowmass usually take around 4 hours.

Skiing in Snowmass
© Photo by Jonathan Fox (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jfdervin/)

Villars, Switzerland

Why?

Villars is west of Lake Geneva and is part of the French-speaking region. The resort is mainly south facing and sits at 1300m.

When?

The resort is suitable for mid-season skiing. The slopes face all directions which is perfect for a variety of temperatures and conditions. The warmer months will not see much snow but there are shady tree runs which have the best chances of snow.

For the Kids

There are many exciting day trips and excursions when staying in Villars. Visit the Servion Zoo which is open all year round or spend a day ice skating.

For Mum & Dad

There are several bars which are popular with tourists. The Moon Boot Lounge is an attractive modern building in the town which serves amazing cocktails, or you can visit Le Sporting which has its own jazz bar. Enjoy some incredible meals from a variety of restaurants on offer including Asian cuisine, Italian and traditional Swiss mountain food.

For the Family

Spend a day as a family and enjoy sledging in nearby Alpe des Chaux, the ‘telebob’ at the ‘Refuge de Frience’. Kids can hook their sledges to a pulley system, and parents can enjoy a drink in the ‘Refuge’ itself.

Resort Facts

The Swiss ski resort is associated with the Alpes Vaudoises ski area. There is 220km accessible downhill skiing. The resort of Villars-Gryon itself has 125km of runs, which with the appropriate ski pass, can be extended by jumping onto other areas in the Alpes Vaudoises (Les Diablerets and Leysin).

How to Get There

Transfers from Geneva Airport to Villars usually take around 1 hour 30 minutes.

Skiing in Villars
© Photo by edskoch (https://www.flickr.com/photos/33989980@N00/)

Wengen, Switzerland

Why?

Wengen is the most recognisable mountains in the Alps the north face of the Eiger, the Jungfrau and the Schilthorn. The scenic ski resort has amazing skiing which has seen visitors return year after year (including James Bond). There are plenty of restaurants, excursions as well as many activities you can participate in. It also has a fascinating history.

When?

Wengen has a great south-west facing aspect, which catches the sun throughout the season. You can take the train to Kleine Scheidegg and higher climes. The snow coverage is good until April and lots appreciate the weather later in the season. Lots of snow cannons supplement snow coverage, the addition of Mannlichenbahn gondola helps reduce the queues for the train. It’s rare you have to wait a long time for a lift, even in peak season.

For the Kids

The attractive town is car-free, help to preserve its old-world mountain feel and make it a safe location for children. The resort is popular due to its stunning scenery which also attracts non-skiers. It is a popular resort for non-skiers thanks to the gorgeous scenery. Children can enjoy toboggan runs.

For Mum & Dad

If you wish to have an afternoon away from skiing and snowboarding, then hotels in Wengen are open for spas and wellness at a local price.

For the Family

Take a train to Jungfraujoch viewing station the highest point in Europe. Look out on the amazing views by jumping on the funicular railway head to the top station which leads to the Eiger and Mönch mountains.

Resort Facts

The pedestrianised village is accessible via train with Europe’s highest train station. There is plenty of long, gentle runs ideal for intermediates. There is a beginners’ area in the centre and another further up the mountain which can be accessed via a cable car.

How to Get There

Transfers from Zurich Airport to Wengen usually take around 2 hours.

Skiing in Wengen
© Photo by Vasile Cotovanu (https://www.flickr.com/photos/vasile23/)