The best resorts for family skiing fun
Here are some of the spots where families can relax and are sure to enjoy themselves on and off piste.
Avoriaz, in Haute Savoie, France, was developed in the 60s and is not only compact but also car-free. The village sits in the centre of the slopes and the skiing area has 196 lifts, with lift passes free for children aged four and under. Drop the car on the outskirts and you will be taken with your luggage to your accommodation by a sleigh pulled by horses or by a snowcat. Other facilities include childcare in the Village des Enfants, slopes for children, and a chalet offering activities for youngsters. At an altitude of 1,800 metres, Avoriaz offers 650km of pistes and is the loftiest part of the large Portes du Soleil ski region spanning the border between France and Switzerland. Then there is Courchevel 1850, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took the royal offspring to learn some snow moves. This resort in Les Trois Vallees offers a rather glamorous atmosphere, with chic shopping and fine dining restaurants. Nestled in a large bowl, Courchevel is literally surrounded by ski runs - there are 318 of them - and there are 184 lifts in the Three Valleys area. The resort features snow ranger chaperones to accompany children to their ski school, with tuition covering a wide range of abilities. Courchevel also offers all-day childcare and a snow club.
Sun Peaks is a charming British Columbian village in a quiet ski area. At an altitude of 1,255 metres, the slopes range from 1,200 metres to 2,080 metres. There are free lift passes for children aged five and under. Developed in the 90s, Sun Peaks has nearly 4,300 acres of varied terrain to suit different ski abilities and is second to Whistler in size in British Columbia; however, Sun Peaks is relatively compact and has a friendly feel. It also features lots of facilities for children, with the Sundance Kids Centre providing childcare for little ones aged between 18 months and five years. Sun Kids and Sun Tots feature childcare and lessons for youngsters between the ages of three and 12. While there are nursery slopes for beginners, the resort also offers black runs; in addition, quad chairs ascend to the nearby mountains from the centre of town.
Obergurgl, in the Tirol, offers traditional buildings, a jolly atmosphere and almost guaranteed snow, being in the highest parish of the country. The village is located at 2,000 metres and slopes range up to 3,000 metres, with easy ones for children. The facilities for kids are impressive, with the Bobo Ski Club for children aged three and over and the Bobo Kindergarten for snow-free indoor playtime. Many hotels offer childcare, with the family ski chalet operator Esprit Ski also providing a wide range of childcare. As the village nestles in a quiet spot at the top of a valley, there is little through traffic. The lifts are modern, the slopes are well groomed, and visitors can also visit the nearby resort of Sölden with a further 150km of pistes and two glaciers for exploration. Many of the comfortable hotels also offer pools and spas. There is also the Nederhütte, a family friendly restaurant and bar with live music and dancing.