French Alps Ski Resorts – Family-Friendly or Otherwise?

While there will always be those who view flying down the slopes as something of an adults-only affair, others refuse to deny their children the delights of the French Alps on their annual ski trips. Personally I have to say that I side very much with the latter as within sensible reason I do not think it is ever too early to get the kids involved and build a new passion for life.

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That being said, I will admit that I’ve run into a thousand and one minor hiccups and outright disasters over the years, but taking the kids to Les Arcs on a regular basis has taught me quite a few valuable lessons – most of which being that “family-friendly” has a very different definition in the Alps, depending on where you go.

There is a ton of advice on the web as to whether or not you should take your kids, how to handle them on the slopes and so on and so forth, but more often than not it comes down to little more than the resort and accommodation you choose as to how successful or otherwise the jaunt is. Simply take the family-friendly moniker at face-value and chances are you’ll be lucky to find anything more than an already completed colouring book in the reception area, but demand a little more and the trip is pretty much guaranteed to be a delight.

So, what makes for a truly family-friendly resort in the French Alps?

Ease of Access

All too often overlooked, but never forget that kids in general cannot stand being on a coach for too long. So, always do your level best to find a good resort as close to Geneva Airport or any point of arrival as possible, choosing a comfortable, reliable and fast resort transfer options from a reputable provider. Less time travelling equals more time enjoying the place and a hugely reduced chance of tantrums.

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Ski School

Take it from me when I say it is largely useless to try to teach young kids to ski by yourself unless you’re a pro. However, it is also just as fruitless to entrust the job to a ski school that has something of a “suitable for all ages” policy as when it comes to the real youngsters, you need a kids’ ski school or ski kindergarten. Give them a bad or scary first impression of the slopes and chances are you’ll be fighting a losing battle for the whole trip.

Facilities

Your kids will NOT be able to keep going for as long as you and may need significant time off to wind down – period. As such, you need to be looking at a place that has enough off-piste fun and entertainment for the kids as necessary, which should ideally include child-sitting services and kids’ clubs when and where possible.

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Congestion

Last but not least, you might want to head with the masses to the most popular resorts and slopes in the French Alps, but believe me when I say that the less congestion there is, the better. Give real thought to somewhere you might not have heard of before, because chances are most others won’t have either and you’ll have a nice quiet place (almost) to yourself.

Photo sources: flickr.com/photos/81325557@N00 – flickr.com/photos/daea – flickr.com/photos/special_one