Elope to the Slopes

With a certain flutter of love in the cooling air add some magic this winter by feeding your inner adrenaline junkie and giving in to a bit of epic winter wonder on the ever-sensational, seductive slopes.

any of us Brits flock to the slopes for a bit of winter fun and this can still be achieved with baby in tow.

You can exhaust yourself before you’ve even started plummeting down a black slope, traipsing through brochures, perusing page after page for just the right package that will accommodate the whole family. 

A first point, which may seem obvious but can be underestimated, is flight time. Bearing in mind the time it’s going to take  to get there is quite a big factor. If you know your child is likely to be irritable on a long flight or journey I would rule out further afield trips. You want to arrive at your destination feeling as rested as possible without needing a holiday to relax from the flight from hell. However, if your children are slightly older, or have been skiing before (so are far too excited to whinge the whole way!) it’s a great opportunity to discover new territories. If you can, avoid peak, try to go in January or March where resorts will be much quieter. 

When reminiscing back on ski trips, I remember the herd of little red coats where nippers were overtaking me. Although, now, I have overcome the embarrassment of my poor skiing ability, a key point to remember is the younger your little ones take this up the better, with many children taking to skiing like a duck to water.

Many ski resorts have dedicated lessons for young ones – the general consensus being around 3 years plus. With sessions designed to maintain the attention of youthful skiers. Trained instructors encourage children to have fun and play in the snow rather than teaching in long, structured lessons. They can expect to learn to independently turn on mild terrain, and use a magic carpet or chair lift.

It’s crucial to base a ski class on your child, how do they cope without mum or dad by their side? It’s very much down to the child’s independence and their tolerance to separation. If your child isn’t quite old enough to enrol into a ski school, a child as young as 18 months can bumble around on flat terrain in ski boots to familiarise themselves with this new experience. As long as your child is stable enough on their legs, they can handle playing in the snow, which is the approach most ski schools employ.

Ski holidays continue to be a popular getaway for a breadth of ages, with skiing resorts offering some great crèche and babysitting services. Meaning you can embrace the slopes for a few hours whilst your bambino can be entertained! Whatever you choose to do this winter, ponder the thought of escaping to the big white hills for a week of family-fun with guaranteed giggles.

Our favourite Skiing Destinations

Ski Famille
Hotel Tirolerhof – Austria, Ehrwald
The 4* hotel is definitely the most exciting of all Ski Famille developments for 2012/13. It’s a superb location for a relaxing and a fun family winter holiday. Family suites are wonderfully spacious, the pool and spa are stunning and the ski area is pretty and packed with character. Hotel Tirolerhof  is in a peaceful spot close to the slopes and ski school meeting point with facilities close-by.  All packages are all-inclusive (excluding alcohol) and the standard of catering is excellent. Professional and caring childcare is available for up to 69 hours a week and the ski school (a short walk from the hotel) is highly child orientated. All-inclusive prices for a family of four starts from £2,800 for a Family Suite.

Chalet des Neiges – France, Méribel
This is the perfect retreat for families looking for their first skiing getaway. Méribel is a popular location with British skiers, predominantly down to the vast skiing area to enjoy. You’ll fall in love with the charm of Chalet des Neiges, combining a traditional alpine look with a contemporary feel. A great place to stay if you’re joining with another family as there’s an abundance of space and facilities – there’s even a hot tub to relax those muscles after a great day on the slopes!
Meriski’s attitude to caring for children is faultless; their team of qualified and experienced nannies are on hand to care for babies and children aged five years and under, either at their fully equipped crèche or in your chalet – so there’s plenty of flexibility. Prices start from £6,950 for a week in January.

Kaluma Ski
Chalet Montfort – Austria, St Anton
Chalet Montfort is the perfect setting for families. With ten ensuite bedrooms, this spacious chalet can comfortably sleep up to 20 people. Located in the heart of St Anton at the quiet end of the main street, the slopes, lifts and ski schools are just a 5 minute walk away and your skis and boots will be stored at the foot of the slopes. They offer private language tuition combined with a handpicked ski instructor. Children will enjoy ski races and tobogganing while learning new techniques. Smaller children can be cared for courtesy of qualified nannies or enrol in private and group lessons at specialist ski schools (aged 3). 7 nights in January is £1,195 per person.

Baby Friendly Boltholes
Chalet Chambertin – Geneva, Morzine
Baby Friendly Boltholes only offer the very best selection in baby friendly accommodation. Chalet Chambertin is a great choice for a first family ski getaway. Run by ex-pat couple Emma and Olly they’ll be there at your beck and call – if needed. The chalet sleeps 4 in 1 large double room with space for 2 extra beds. There’s a balcony hot tub – which will relax those muscles. Kids will love the interaction with the chalet staff, particularly the company of the chef who gets them involved in making their own pizzas. During the winter months, you can expect a flutter of snow covering 650km of pistes. Prices from £495-£850pp per week on full-board basis.

Powder Byrne
Belvedere Hotel – Grindelwald, Switzerland
Escape to the idyllic alpine village of Grindelwald, a favourite resort for young children, with their heavenly Bodmi ski area for toddlers and fantastic pb crèche (4 months to 3 year olds). An ideal choice for your children’s first ski experience with the Yeti Primer programme (3 year olds), with gentle slopes, a magic carpet lift and lots of fun to be had in the igloos! With skiing areas for all levels, 100km of toboggan runs, horse drawn carriage rides and train trips up to mountain restaurants – there’s plenty to do! Prices from £1,670 per adult for 7 nights from 19 January 2013 on half board basis (Crèche complimentary outside of school holidays).