Best ski resorts for families

Plenty of ski resorts claim to appeal to families, but it’s no mean feat finding the perfect balance of all-age activities coupled with varied terrain for all abilities. Do a little research and you’ll find there are places that fit the bill though.

Here’s our pick of the best resorts to keep everyone happy, from kids and teens to parents and grandparents.

The Independent’s ski holiday recommendations are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and book, but we never allow this to affect our coverage.

Download the new Indpendent Premium app

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

Obergurgl, Austria

Charming Obergurgl combines a pretty village centred around an 18th-century church with snow-sure slopes – even its lowest runs are above 2,000m. Terrain is best suited to beginners and improving intermediates, with plenty of long, winding blues and a smattering of exhilarating reds as part of the area’s 112km of pistes.

Tuesday evenings are great for families, with a fireworks extravaganza to accompany a weekly show with skiers on stilts and speed-riders from the (highly rated) ski school performing stunts.

Obergurgl has a new lift and motorbike museum (Alexander Lohmann)

Since last season Obergurgl lift passes are also valid in Sölden, 20 minutes away by bus. Not only does this offer access to a further 142km of slopes, but also to the fascinating 007 exhibition, a must for Bond fans (the skiing shots of Spectre were shot in Sölden).

Staying there

Esprit Ski offers seven nights’ half board at the Hotel Alpina Deluxe from £1,779pp (based on two adults and two children sharing a family room), including flights and transfers, departing 21 December.

Åre, Sweden

Åre has nearly 100km of slopes catering for different ability levels. A nice legacy of hosting the World Championships in 2007 is that a series of tunnels, built for spectators, have been turned into pistes under the former race courses. Beginners can pass under the fastest black runs to explore cosier, more romantic trails zig-zagging through the trees. The ski school, one of the world’s best for skiers with disabilities, has a great reputation.

Europe's best ski chalets

Show all 10

Chalet Le Coquelicot
Chalet Joux Plane
Chalet Mont Tremblant
Chalet Couttet

Europe's best ski chalets

Chalet Le Coquelicot

1/10 Chalet Le Coquelicot

The indoor swimming pool at Chalet Le Coquelicot

The Firefly Collection

Chalet Joux Plane

2/10 Chalet Joux Plane

The "adult swings" at Chalet Joux Plane

The Firefly Collection

Chalet Mont Tremblant

3/10 Chalet Mont Tremblant

The spacious master bedroom at Chalet Mont Tremblant

The Firefly Collection

Chalet Couttet

4/10 Chalet Couttet

The outdoor pool at Chalet Couttet

The Firefly Collection

Chalet Le Grenier

5/10 Chalet Le Grenier

Curl up and enjoy the view at Chalet Le Grenier

The Firefly Collection

Chalet Marco Polo

6/10 Chalet Marco Polo

The pool at Chalet Marco Polo

The Firefly Collection

Chalet Quezac

7/10 Chalet Quezac

One of the bedrooms at Chalet Quezac

The Firefly Collection

Chalet Zermatt

8/10 Chalet Zermatt

A dining area at Chalet Zermatt

The Firefly Collection

Chalet Le Grenier

9/10 Chalet Le Grenier

The view from the terrace at Chalet Le Grenier

The Firefly Collection

Petit Palais

10/10 Petit Palais

The Petit Palais party room

The Firefly Collection

Chalet Le Coquelicot

1/10 Chalet Le Coquelicot

The indoor swimming pool at Chalet Le Coquelicot

The Firefly Collection

Chalet Joux Plane

2/10 Chalet Joux Plane

The "adult swings" at Chalet Joux Plane

The Firefly Collection

Chalet Mont Tremblant

3/10 Chalet Mont Tremblant

The spacious master bedroom at Chalet Mont Tremblant

The Firefly Collection

Chalet Couttet

4/10 Chalet Couttet

The outdoor pool at Chalet Couttet

The Firefly Collection

Chalet Le Grenier

5/10 Chalet Le Grenier

Curl up and enjoy the view at Chalet Le Grenier

The Firefly Collection

Chalet Marco Polo

6/10 Chalet Marco Polo

The pool at Chalet Marco Polo

The Firefly Collection

Chalet Quezac

7/10 Chalet Quezac

One of the bedrooms at Chalet Quezac

The Firefly Collection

Chalet Zermatt

8/10 Chalet Zermatt

A dining area at Chalet Zermatt

The Firefly Collection

Chalet Le Grenier

9/10 Chalet Le Grenier

The view from the terrace at Chalet Le Grenier

The Firefly Collection

Petit Palais

10/10 Petit Palais

The Petit Palais party room

The Firefly Collection

The town itself has plenty of characterful half-timbered buildings, and there’s a quaint rack railway dating from a century ago to chug visitors to a popular après-ski spot on the slopes.

Staying there

Ski Sweden offers seven nights’ self-catering at the Grand Residence Apartments for £960pp (based on two adults and two children sharing a two-bedroom apartment) including flights and transfers, departing 5 April.

Courchevel, France

The Three Valleys remains the world’s biggest ski area, and many families prefer the Courchevel end to busy Méribel and treeless, blockish Val Thorens.

Courchevel 1650 (rebranded as Courchevel Moriond a few years ago) is a strong choice for families. One of the quietest parts of the Three Valleys, it offers gentle blue and red runs groomed to perfection. For ski lessons, the British-run New Generation is excellent. The new aquamotion centre near Courchevel 1650 is also popular with all ages, offering water slides plus spa facilities.

Staying there

Pierre et Vacances offers seven nights’ in a studio apartment, sleeping four, in the centre of Courchevel 1650 from €875 in total, departing 21 December.

Arabba, Italy

The Dolomiti Superski pass covers more than 1,000 kilometres of pistes offering spectacular views of the Dolomites’ beautiful rose-tinted rock formations. Not all are connected, admittedly, but one of the delights of the area is doing the Sella Ronda circuit, which makes for two fun day trips, as you can do it in the clockwise or anticlockwise directions.

Get a taste of the Dolomites in Arabba (Crystal)

History students can also learn a lot about the First World War here. The resort of Arabba is the closest to the mighty Marmolada glacier, where there’s a free museum displaying artefacts from the war, such as uniforms and weapons recovered from barracks dug out of the glacier.

Staying there

Crystal Ski Holidays offers a week’s half board at the Sporthotel Arraba from £1,681pp (based on two adults and two children sharing a family room), including flights and transfers, departing 15 February.

Andermatt, Switzerland​

Read more

This swish resort is looking better every season thanks to a £1.2bn cash injection. And with general improvement has come improvements for families: now linked to the neighbouring towns of Sedrun and Disentis, Andermatt offers a wide range of slopes for all ability levels. The local ski school’s MATTI KidsArena has gentle beginner slopes and a magic carpets, as well as a snow playground. Plus the slopeside MATTI family restaurant has a large play area and a ‘MATTI bear cave’ for kids to explore.

Away from the piste, there are three tobogganing slopes and an ice rink.

Staying there

Ski Solutions offers seven nights at the Radisson Blu from £1,245pp, B&B, including flights and transfers, departing 14 December.

Nendaz, Switzerland

Nendaz is a pleasant village in the huge 4 Vallées ski area, but you can stay there for a fraction of the price you would pay in better-known Verbier.

It’s a great base for families where the children are strong skiers, thanks to its off-piste itineraries – unpisted trails – for which the area is famous. These give a taste of powder and off-piste fun minus the danger.

Night-skiing in Nendaz (Nendaz)

Nendaz also holds a monthly moonlit skiing evening, where you get a lift pass for the evening, an aperitif, copious helpings of pasta and a glass of vin chaud, all while being serenaded by alpenhorn players.

Staying there

Skiworld offers seven nights’ chalet-board at the Chalet Altair for £1,658pp (based on two adults and two children sharing two rooms), including flights, transfers, lift passes and ski hire (or ski carriage), departing 4 April.

Saalbach-Fieberbrunn, Austria

Saalbach is a charming town, with fresco-adorned spa hotels and cobbled streets. But charm doesn’t equal small here: the resort gives access to the biggest linked network of pistes in Austria.

There’s plenty of fun to be had off the side of the piste too, in the form of slalom courses, allowing families to race one another, plus there are dedicated runs with speed cameras which tell you how fast you’re going.

The fascinating Alte Schmiede is a good lunch stop for families, with a working indoor water wheel and loo museum.

Staying there

Sunweb offers four nights’ half board at the Hotel Lindauhof in Fieberbrunn for £665pp (based on two adults and two children sharing a family room), including flights, transfers and ski passes, departing 22 December.

Cortina, Italy

Travelling with grandparents who don’t ski? Cortina lends itself to a gentle pace of life – 70 per cent of visitors never set foot on the slopes, instead spending time in the boutiques, cafés and restaurants that line its car-free cobbled streets. There’s also a lovely and extensive cross-country ski area at Fiames.

Cortina has plenty on and off the slopes (val-di-fassa)

For the rest of the family, there’s enough choice: the three main ski areas are superbly pisted, with plenty of beginner-friendly runs alongside pistes challenging enough to allow Cortina to stage the World Championships in 2021.

Staying there

Inghams offers seven nights’ half board at the Hotel Majoni from £1,199pp (based on two adults and two children sharing two rooms), including flights and transfers, departing 21 December.

Baqueira Beret, Spain

For those who like their skiing sunny, Baqueira Beret in the Spanish Pyrenees has an extensive network of linked pistes that stretch up to 2,610m.

There are plenty of other activities on offer too, such as dog sledding and cross-country skiing on the plateau at Beret.

For parents dropping off their children at ski school for a day, affordable heli-skiing is possible in nearby Vielha.

Staying there

Ski Miquel offers seven nights’ half board at the Chalet Hotel Salana for £652 (based on two adults and two children sharing two bedrooms, or £577 sharing a family room), including flights, transfers and afternoon tea, departing 4 January.

Le Massif, Canada

Le Massif is one of the world’s most intriguing ski resorts, with pistes that immerse you deep in the woods then appear to lead straight into the mighty Gulf of St Lawrence below. Its off-piste will challenge expert skiers, but beginners can have great fun too, with signs marking the easiest way down the mountain.

The resort also has the third longest sled run in the world at 7.5km, and recently introduced dog-sledding and helicopter rides. Alternatively, visitors can explore the cross-country and snowshoeing trails at the top of the mountain.

Swap skis for sledding in Le Massif (Le Massif)

Many visitors stay in historic Québec City, a 75-minute drive or bus trip from Le Massif.

Staying there

Frontier Ski offers seven nights’ room-only at the Chateau Le Frontenac in Quebec City for £1,450pp (based on two adults and two children sharing a family room), including flights and SUV hire to drive to Le Massif and two other ski resorts close to the city, departing 15 February.

Related news

Rodney Reed: Texas court and parole board urge delay in death row inmate's execution.

Texas was scheduled to execute a man for a 1996 murder despite evidence that could exonerate him

UK weather: More than 100 flood warnings in place with parts of country close to wettest autumn on record.

Nearly 100 people rescued in new 'hot spot' after river Avon bursts its banks

'I let the side down': Prince Andrew admits friendship with convicted paedophile Epstein inappropriate for Royal family member.

Prince Andrew has said he 'let the side down' by staying with paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein after he was convicted of his crime.

Labour set to ditch conference policy of extending free movement and giving foreign nationals right to vote.

Exclusive: Grassroots backlash expected as representatives of EU citizens in the UK warn that U-turn would be 'pandering to the negative portrayal of immigrants'

US-born woman who joined Isis not a citizen and cannot return to America with her son, judge rules.

Experts say US and Europe should let their citizens return and bear the cost of monitoring or charging and imprisoning them

Продовжуючи переглядати World News (UAZMI), ви підтверджуєте, що ознайомилися з Правилами користування сайтом, і погоджуєтеся на використання файлів cookie