You might also like:
Jane Jurgens finds the world’s best ski resorts for snow-bunny families.
Mt Hutt, Canterbury
Well known as a family-friendly ski field, Mt Hutt is an easy 90-minute drive from Christchurch and offers a range of childcare options, great kids’ ski and snowboard lesson packages and free lift passes for children aged 10 and under. For added value, the Methven Kids 4 Free Deal also gives under-10s free accommodation and meals in Methven, when accompanied by a paying adult. A special covered lift service takes children to the gentle and wide beginners area at , where they will have plenty of space to hone their skills. The lift also features digital screens showing time-delayed footage of skiers and snowboarders on the beginners’ slope — so you may see yourself on TV on the way back up.
Mont Tremblant, Canada
Kids will feel as if they’ve stepped into the world of Dr Seuss at this French-Canadian resort, with its colourful and quirky village in the style of old Quebec. In the Laurentian Mountains northwest of Montreal, Tremblant offers nearly 100 ski trails and plenty of family-friendly activities — including ice skating and dog sledding or beach volleyball and tennis in the summer months. Tremblant’s Kidz Club offers childcare for ages 1 to 6 and 3 to 17-year-olds can enroll in the resort’s ski school. Kids will also find their happy place on the TAM-TAM trail — a special snow zone just for the younger members of the family, with wide pistes and forest runs decorated with animal sculptures and games. The ski school also provides GPS armbands, so you’ll always know what the kids are up to.
Obergurgl, Tirol, Austria
With a charming car-free village high in the Austrian Alps, Obergurgl has plenty of child-friendly hotels and chalets — as well as the gorgeously scenic slopes for which the resort is renown. Kids aged 3 and up can join Obergurgl’s Bobo ski club, where qualified instructors will help them make their first attempts on skis. They’ll also be encouraged by Bobo the penguin, the ski school’s mascot. For indoor fun, the Bobo kindergarten is great for playing, painting, jigsaw puzzles and more. The slopes here are mostly gentle and well-suited for beginners and intermediate skiers, with a long season that lasts from mid-November to early May. With two children’s areas — Wiesental and Pirchhutt, there’s plenty of space for kids to practise and have fun.
For some Christmas magic, look no further than Yllas — it’s said to be Santa’s original hometown. Understandably, you can’t come here without paying St Nick a visit. With snowmobile transport to his remote log cabin, the whole family is sure to believe when the Big Guy and his elves greet you with presents and hot chocolate. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to marvel at the Northern Lights — from October to February, street lights are turned off at 10pm every evening to observe the phenomena more clearly. But if you’re here to ski, you won’t be disappointed — the slopes are well-groomed, gentle and known for their lack of queues. There are ski schools on both sides of the mountain and the small class sizes will give the kids more one-on-one time. For snowboarders, Yllas is home to four snow parks, two for beginners and kids, and two for more advanced riders.
Set in the heart of the vast Portes du Soleil alpine area, this French resort is loved by families for its safety — its snowy streets are completely car-free and the taxis are horse-drawn sleighs.
In the Village des Enfants — or Children’s Village — kids are king of the mountain. The village welcomes children from the age of 3 from 9am to 5.30pm, with more than 100 instructors and supervisors available to show them the ropes. When lessons finish in the late afternoon, the resort offers snacks and activities, including music, films and snow-skating. During the summer, Avoriaz boasts an impressive waterpark, and the Children’s Village switches to courses in riding, fencing and mountain biking.