There's nothing like a winter getaway where you can hit the slopes and take in the fresh, mountain air before heading home to cosy up by the fireplace and enjoy luxurious après-ski. However, spending a day out skiing can be tricky if you have babies and young children, especially when it comes to finding someone to look after them while you explore the mountains.
Luckily, family-friendly ski resorts have become increasingly popular, whether you want to have a private catered chalet or want to stay in a hotel with live entertainment each night. We take a look at some of the must-visit ski destinations you and your little ones are sure to enjoy…
Snowbizz in Puy St Vincent
For parents: Snowbizz's self-catering apartments are amazing value for money and if the sound of 'self-catering' puts you off, think again! The apartments are located right on the slopes and half a minute's walk from the centre of the small, very French, resort of Puy. Breakfast is a mere snowball fight away - just follow the smell of fresh croissants to the local boulangerie. And the flexibility of being able to pop home for a sandwich at lunch time and recharge the little ones' batteries is perfect. Evening kids' club (pizza party/disco/sledging) means mum and dad can enjoy leisurely dinners out - in fact the kids will insist upon it.
For kids: Snowbizz kids are split into groups based on ability on the first morning and the small, personal lessons ensure firm friends are instantly made. All teachers speak English and are universally adored by their students. Pre-ski-school play sessions mean mum and dad can ski from 9am - 1pm then enjoy the afternoon seeing what your kids have learned. Creche for pre-skiers or those exhausted in the afternoon. Evening kids clubs each night, followed by family entertainment twice a week means literally everything has been thought of. Even transfers come complete with Disney movies. A mum and dad have designed these holidays and you can tell.
For more information visit snowbizz.co.uk
Club Med Valmorel
For parents: This four-trident resort boasts luxury accommodation and spa rooms so you can truly relax after a day hitting the slopes, or trying one of the many activities available including snowboarding and Nordic walking. With various family-friendly restaurants and bars, and a lounge that has breathtaking views of Mont Blanc, you can spend some quality time with the kids as well as making the most of the brilliant après-ski on offer.
For kids: Boasting children's clubs which are open all week (except for Sundays), this family resort caters to children of all ages from babies up to teens so you can go and enjoy the mountains knowing your little ones are in good hands! Kids from age 4 and up can have special ski lessons, while 2 years and up can try their hand at sledging. There are also dedicated skiing areas specifically designed for children and teens, as well as a host of activities including sports, creative arts and games.
For more information visit clubmed.co.uk
Mark Warner in Tignes
For parents: A stunning setting and a perfect spot at the town's Aiguille Percee hotel leaves pretty much nothing for the parents to stress about: a plentiful buffet breakfast, amazing afternoon tea (with anything from cakes to vegetable soup and high tea for kids) followed by a delicious three-course meal. The amazing kids' club (parents can't say enough about the staff members) which runs evening movie sessions leaves mum and dad with some free time to enjoy their evening meal a deux, or to make new friends, totally up to you.
For kids: Fun ski lessons, amazing kids' club staff, and an array of child-friendly meals (with enough veg to make mum happy too!) makes for happy kids from morning till night. Children have free reign in their chalet hotel - with older ones loving their time spent playing pool or playing games in the bar, and little ones curling up for pre-bed movies in PJs with all their new friends. A pool in the spa for an afternoon's splash makes apres-ski (or too tired for ski) a breeze. Proximity to the slopes and the clever weather-proof conveyor belt to whisk you back up the learner slopes makes lessons stress-free.
For more information visit markwarner.co.uk/ski-holidays
Hotel Cristallo in Katschberg
For parents: This hotel boasts sleek rooms overlooking the striking landscape, as well as family suites that sleep up to five. We're particularly loving the hotel's open plan lounge and fireplace, as well as the outdoor après-ski bar so you can make the most of the panoramic views. Want a cosy night in? Check out their stunning library that boasts seriously comfy armchairs. For skiers, there's in-house ski hire and even storage areas with heated boot warmers!
For kids: There's the free 'Falkylands' Kids' club which tailors to children from three to twelve-year-olds, while lunch at the restaurant is included during childcare hours too so if you head out for the day you can be safe in the knowledge your little ones will be well-fed and looked after. Across the resort, there are plenty of activities for quality family time, from toboganning to horse-drawn sleigh rides. For kids wanting to stay indoors, there's also an eye-catching 'Jungle World' themed indoor pool complete with slide, baby pool and showers.
For more information visit neilson.co.uk/ski
Chilly Powder in Morzine
For parents: Nestled in the French Alps, this resort comprises of cosy chalets, filled with typical mountain décor as well as evening games and entertainment including pool tables. Some are self-catered but if you want to give yourself a true break you can opt in for catering – and they will even cook your children's meals for 5.30pm so you can make the most of après-ski!
For kids: There are nannies available to care for children as young as three months old, while the crèche is packed with toys and equipment for toddlers and babies, including bottle warming and sterilising facilities. Want to get your kids learning to ski? Lessons can be arranged through the chalet – and some even include lunches so parents who want a full day of skiing don't have to head back before they're done on the runs.
For more information visit chillypowder.com
Belambra in Plagne Centre
For parents: Standing at an altitude of 1,970m this resort has everything from cosy bedrooms to restaurants with striking views of the scenery, as well as a bar lounge with a huge fireplace ideal for warming by after a day in the snow. There's entertainment on every night for both parents and children, from karaoke, cinema screenings as well as parties and a poker tournament, so you'll be spoilt for choice in the evenings.
For kids: The resort hosts ski clubs for children as young as three years old, as well as lessons tailored for more seasoned skiers and teenagers. La Plagne has a host of quirky activities if you want to take the kids for a day out without skiing – we recommend dog-sledding or the thrilling 1.5km toboggan run! For the more daring or older teens, there's also a bobsleigh track which was initially built for the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics, which you can reach speeds of 80km/hr…
For more information visit winter.la-plagne.com
Ski Basics in Meribel
For parents: Ski Basics is made up of beautifully designed ski chalets, all of which are catered. There's everything from unlimited complementary house wine to free Wi-Fi, and even afternoon teas if you're having a day off and want to make the most of the beautiful surroundings. For the adventurers, the chalets are nestled in the heart of Meribel, where the valley is perfect whether you're an absolute beginner or a snowboarding expert.
For kids: Not only do the chalets have access to ski schools which suit a wide range of ages, but they also have children's books, games and colouring activities to keep your little ones entertained. The staff appreciate that children have different needs and sleep requirements - they will happily prepare children's meals earlier and you can request special meals for your kids too. For a particularly enchanting stay, make sure to check out the igloos in the snow– they provide hours of fun!
For more information visit skibasics.com
Neilson Hotel Del Clos in Andorra
For parents: All the rooms in Hotel Del Clos are spacious and boast views of the mountains, while the beds are incredibly comfortable – perfect if you want to truly rest and relax from the craziness of everyday life. The hotel is also a foodie haven, with a four-course buffet full of regional dishes – and there's afternoon tea available with warming soup and delicious baked cakes to refuel after a day of exercise. For skiing, there's free guiding and coaching throughout the week, designed for confident blue and red-run skiers or snowboarders.
For kids: There's a club for children up to the age of 11, which includes a games room, complete with a pool table and games console for teenagers. On the mountain, families can take a break from skiing and have a go at real-life husky sledging, or have a meal at one of the many family-friendly restaurants to unwind together in the evening.
For more information visit neilson.co.uk/ski