If you spent your pre-child life enjoying ski trips, then the one question you'll ask yourself more than once as your little ones start to grow up is: 'Are they old enough for a ski holiday yet?' But we've got great news for you! The truth is, if you pick the right ski company, there's no such thing as being too little for a ski holiday.
There's also nothing better than watching your kids - even tiny toddlers - learn to find their ski legs. And make no mistake about it - it won't be long until they're racing you down a mountain, and winning! The other great thing about skiing is that it's the one family holiday that no teenager will roll their eyes at. So if you've spent time instilling a love of fresh powder into your kids, you'll reep the benefits as they grow older and family holidays remain something they treasure, not dread.
These days, finding a family-friendly ski operator or resort isn't nearly as hard as it used to be. Here's our round up of the top 5 resorts guaranteed to leave you and your kids desperate for more.
1. Snowbizz in Puy St Vincent
For parents: This is the ski provider for savvy mums and dads, who want a perfect holiday designed for parents, by parents, without breaking the bank. As the reviews on Mumsnet will attest, Snowbizz's self-catering apartments are fantastic value for money, and even if you sign up to their chalet plan, meaning three course meals and wine are provided at the local restaurant every night, it's still a great deal. Set in the tiny resort of Puy St Vincent, you won't hear another English voice (apart from those of your fellow Snowbizzers) - and there's none of the snootiness of some of France's better known resorts to make you feel uncomfortable as you try your hand at skiing en famille for the first time. 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 their kids have learned. There's a creche for pre-skiers or those exhausted in the afternoon. And a fun evening kids' club is so popular that even usually resistant children are eager to disco the night away (and persuade mum and dad to have a couple of hours off). Even transfers come complete with Disney movies.
For more information visit snowbizz.co.uk
2. 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
3. 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 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
4. Le Ski - Val D'Isere and La Tania
For parents: The joy of a fully catered chalet is especially strong in Le Ski properties, where you can select somewhere small enough for just you and your kids or big enough to allow mingling or holidays with friends. Everything is simple - whether it’s door-to-door transfers for ski hire, pre-purchased lift passes or just the knowledge and experience of the hosts, making sure you don’t miss carnival night or fireworks shows during half term week.
For kids: Le Ski’s most child-friendly resort is La Tania - it’s perfect for kids as it’s car-free and small, so very easy for little legs to get around. They provide a fully qualified team of nannies to take care of little children while you ski in the comfort of your own chalet. There are also lunch time options for those big enough for ski school, allowing kids to be collected, fed a yummy lunch and then returned for an afternoon session. Assistance can be given for selecting ski lessons and sessions with local providers
5. 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 they can be tucked up in bed before you sit down to your adult evening meal. Located right next to the ski lifts, these chalets have prime location in a busy and bustling resort.
For kids: There are experienced English 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. Those too young to ski can be entertained all day long. Those skiing in the morning but fancying some down time in the afternoon are welcome to join in activities then. Older kids will love the pool tables and computer games, and younger kids get a chance to play in the snow whenever weather permits. Want to get your kids learning to ski? Lessons can be arranged through the chalet – using friendly, English speaking teachers and in groups of max. 6. Drop off and pick up is available from ski school, as is lunch in the chalet so you don't need to race back for lunch time collection.
For more information visit chillypowder.com