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Family ski options

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hello all,

We had our first ski trip as a family this year with our 3 year old and 6 year old girls. Overall it was pretty successful, our eldest went into ski school with new generation, originally was supposed to be 4 hours, but we scaled back to 2 because it was too much for her. We had a nanny looking after our little one and then picking our eldest up after school. We had three full days with the nanny and three half days where we spent the afternoon with the kids.

So the only thing that didn't really work was the intensive focus which comes with having a nanny full time, it was a little much, especially when we wer taking her older sister to ski school and she was left alone in the chalet with the nanny. She was fine once we had gone but before that it was hell. The nanny herself was fantastic.

So we had thought to try something next year more built around kids clubs. We had considered Esprit but the timing of their lessons won't work, our eldest will be in lessons in the morning and our youngest in the afternoon, so we would spend no time together as a family. We could try putting the youngest into morning ski lessons but she would be in a group with kids up to 10 and that just won't work for her.

So I am looking for suggestions really, something like Esprit but with more flexibility where the kids can play with other kids but be together when they are not in ski school.

We are looking at first week in April, so where is not so important as long as it is not too low.

Any thoughts?

Cheers

K
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I've looked for something similar in the past and thought about using Les Marmottons ski school in Tignes Le Lac which was highly recommended by a Snowhead at the bottom of this thread:

http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=1914725

Their website is here:

http://www.lesmarmottons.com/index.php?id_page=85&PHPSESSID=7f5006b72248231f168dc865a86e9661

You might need to have a word with them to see if your girls could have lessons at the same time. They seem to do lunch and afternoon add-on childcare which you can use on odd days. If you could find some suitable nearby accommodation maybe that would work for you?
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@kosciosco, different resorts have different timings for children's lessons. In Courchevel most of the kids are in mornings irrespective of age. Give them a call.
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Ski-2 in Champoluc have their own British ski school and they seem pretty flexible with their options for kids. Worth giving them a phone.
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Hello, just wanted to clarify what I am asking for, the issue is not the ski school timings, I know there are lots of ski schools that give different times, its suggestions for ski operators that have childcare facilities similar to Esprit, who would have been fine but for their inflexibility on ski school times. I could arrange lessons independently of Esprit but that would make drop offs and pick ups more difficult, so figure another operator would be better.

I have found a company called Chilly Powder who seem good. I also note Ski Beat have good options, anyone know if they have got their act together?
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We've used family friendly and ski magic both have nannies in La Tania, flexible with pick ups and will even drop off, several ski schools to pick from, we've used magic and momentum and esf, although the esf group was only for a few days, they do have magic carpets and learning area right in the middle of the village.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Apologies if I'm not reading correctly but I'm. It sure why you need child care - there are easier and cheaper options.

I mignt sound like a broken record but having skied various countries with all ages the easiest is Austria by a mile with children. We stay in Westendorf now but anywhere with ski school that runs 10-3 with kids from 3+ gives u best of both. Our youngest did this from 3 (actually 2 and 48 weeks) and they do a mix of ski, play and lunch in between so it isn't too long for them. The first day we met them for lunch trying to be good parents but the kids just wanted lunch with the other kids and quickly we were able to head off and ski hard from 10-3 with the kids in ski school. Then half an hour skiing with the kids so they could show us what they had learnt. By 3.30 we are all tired and happy with no need for child care or kids clubs.
Getting the kids to ski school for 10 is nice and relaxed and if you're out early you can ski a run with the kids first. If they tired and sleep in - you're not wakin them for early start.
Many including Westendorf have heated boot rooms at bottom of nursery slope so no carrying equipment anywhere or kids walking in ski boots etc.
There few English there as not many tour operators go, but plenty of Irish and Dutch - part of the ski welt so a huge area for you to explore whilst kids in ski school.
Kids now 4,6&8 and we are back for a week in new year and a week in March - making it easy with kids makes for a good holiday for you and them!
Enjoy whatever you decide.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@rfb111, I got the impression that the OP wanted to spend the afternoons with his girls, not have them in ski school all day. 4 and 7 will be ideal for starting on the huge fun of skiing together as a family and it's wonderful having some extended time together when they are discovering the joy of it all - not just half an hour when the kids are probably a bit tired. One afternoon last Easter (in rather slushy snow and dull weather) I had the privelege of skiing with 5 grandchildren, the youngest just 4, on her fifth day on the snow (two private lessons then some hours with a very skilled father) so proud to be with the big cousins. I wouldn't have missed that for anything.

Ski Famille is one TO which has been mentioned here, @kosciosco, and Snowbizz is another.
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@kosciosco, I will admit I am slightly confused.

Do you want

childrens lessons in the morning and childcare in the afternoon

Childrens lessons in the afternoon and childcare in the morning

Childrens lessons in the morning and ski with children in the afternoon

Childrens lessons in the afternoon and ski with the children in the morning

Or a combination of the above?
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I wouldn't have missed a moment skiing with my kids at any age.
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@Strax, I do think it's good for kids to have lessons separately from parents but yes, those times of happy skiing together as a family are very precious. Even when they are much older it can work well as long as they have some time to go off and have a blast too. One of my sons is an exceptionally good skier, always was talented and has done several seasons, but he still enjoys a day with the family and a nice lunch. And his son, now 4, will be starting to ski next season, so the cycle begins again. He will spend his time skiing backwards in front of his little boy, making sure he doesn't run out of control down the hill and encouraging him to start doing the little jumps which kids enjoy so much. Just as he spent their last snowy holiday doing lots of toboganning and building snowmen, not hooning around at mega speed.

There are few holidays which can work as well as skiing for a family group of different ages and abilities. Even the silly games in the evenings (no electronics available) can be part of the bonding process. wink
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Snowbizz at Puy St Vincent. Cannot speak highly enough of them. Took our little boy when he'd just turned 3 and have been 4 times now. Accommodation is self catering with a full board option and the Pink Ladies look after your little ones as much or as little as you need. For example, aged 3 he did 9-1pm including 1hr of skiing. Then aged 5 he did 9am til 1pm with 2 hours of skiing. Afternoons were reserved for us as a family. Plus the skiing is such that everything is ski in ski out so no faffing with gear, the ski school is under the apartments across from the lift!
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I second @Little Martin and his recommendation for Family Friendly in La Tania - they will take the children to/from whichever ski school / times you need and their childcare is really flexible. We've used both them and Esprit several times with our children over 6 seasons aged 6 mths - 6 years. The only snag being is the week you want to go, La Tania is quite low but having said that we've been there w/c Saturday's 27th / 28th March the last 2 years and we've been able to just about ski down to resort right til the end of the week. The only downside to FFS is arranging your own travel but as we're easily able to get to Ashford we used the ski train to Moutiers for both trips which is just a 20 minute minibus ride to resort which worked very, very well.
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You know it makes sense.
I think my post has caused some confusion, so let me clarify. The issue we found with Esprit is that they were saying that they organised the ski lessons as part of the overall package, so a drop off and pick up was as part of their overall package including skiing lessons for the kids.

We would like the opportunity to spend some time with the kids 3 afternoons in the week, don't want them to be spending the entire time in ski school / childcare, we would actually like to spend a bit of time having fun with them. Thats probably not going to be skiing since the little one will only just be starting, but other things such as swimming, sledging, hot chocolate and cake trips, etc are all good fun.

So the ideal for us, which is what we did this year, is 6 mornings in ski school, 3 afternoons in childcare, 3 afternoons with us. We achieved this with a nanny in Val D'Isere this year, albeit the littlest wasn't in ski school but with the nanny in the morning, and it worked fine but because it was a nanny and not a kids club our youngest felt a little isolated in the morning. We'd like to give the kids the opportunity to meet and hang out with kids of their own age in a club kind of set up, we think they would enjoy this more.

Hope that explains what we are looking for, apologies if I didn't make that clear before.

Just as a follow up, I have now looked at a few following recommendations here, some are over budget, some full booked - Chilly Powder looks great but is all booked up, obviously popular. We like the operators who don't include flights and transfers but have childcare sorted as part of what they do, i.e. obviously trying to attract families. Ski Beat looks to have its childcare fully booked as well, so they are out.

Thanks for all the advice so far, and any other pieces is gratefully received

K
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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+3 for Family Friendly, very flexible, even meet us at the top of the gondola post lunch with our kids so they could have a slide around. I wouldn't worry about it being low, the blue down to La Tania stays open until April every time I've skied there at Easter and the quick gondola has you up high and with one more chair you are at 2300m to ski over into Courchevel.

http://familyfriendlyskiing.com/
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@kosciosco, okay understand now. So is the main issue that you would have to pay for a whole weeks childcare but only use half of it?

When our two where in lessons with esprit staying at the crystal2000 in Courchevel they both had lessons in the morning and we met them at lunchtime at the hotel and then spent the afternoon skiing with them. We had the option to book them into childcare for the afternoon(but didn't).

Things may have changed I guess. Also the crystal is ski in/out and there is a great nursery slope right outside the hotel.
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But from the opening post I gathered the main problem with Esprit was that one child would be in morning lessons, the other in afternoon lessons?
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pam w wrote:
But from the opening post I gathered the main problem with Esprit was that one child would be in morning lessons, the other in afternoon lessons?


I know that in some resorts they split them depending on age/ability but on my couple of trips with Esprit to Courchevel both girls had morning lessons and spent the afternoon with us and the age difference between them was 5 years.
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However just checked and 3-4 years says afternoons. With all other age groups are mornings. I am sure there is flexibility in terms of age groupings
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Hi @pam w, you are correct, the little ones they put in the afternoon because it is slightly warmer and less busy, so that would blow our ability to have any time together as a family.

I have to admit Family Friendly is looking very good, seems very reasonable and the chalets look good. We tried the self catering thing last year and it was fine but Catered is so much more appealing!
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@kosciosco, FWIW some pics of the snow quality from our family holidays to La Tania at Easter in 2005 and 2007 with Family Friendly here, you can see pics of the depth of snow on the blue down at resort on the 23rd April in this first link

http://greghilton.co.uk/oldsite/albums/latania2005/index.html

http://greghilton.co.uk/oldsite/albums/latania07/
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I would highly recomend going to Avoriaz and using the Village Enfants.

The village enfants is an excellent ski school in the village, not run by ESF but by Annie Famose (?spelling)

Anyway they do morning or afternoon lessons (and all day if you want), the lessons are split by ability and what is so great is that they have an massive indoor area as well as as skiing. This means that for the younger (and older if they want it) children they do not have to be outside all the time. If they get bored or cold they go inside to the play area where there is always 1 or 2 childcare assistants to look after them.

We put our daughter in there for the first time aged 3 (the minimum age they will take) and she would do an hour of pratting about skiing, then go and have a warm up and play for a bit then go back out etc, most importantly because she was never forced to do anything she now loves skiing, she will be 6 this year and is on to her 5th badge started skiing tame reds last season and is doing very well.

I recommend putting them in in the afternoon, it free's you of stressful morning trying to get kids out the door and you can ski together as a family in the morning. Also in the afternoon there is the option (at no extra cost!!) to leave the kids in the school for another hour of 'entertainment' this is strictly not skiing, but usually face painting or a film or art and crafts etc. It gives you another important hour on the snow from 4-5pm, at first we were hisitant as we felt guilty leaving her there for this, but as it was free signed up thinking if she hates it we will just stop doing it. She loved it and in fact I think its her favorite part of the day and one of the things that has incentivized her on an off day, if you go to ski school you will get to play at the end Smile

Oh and avoriaz has Aquariaz which is a great swimming pool if you want alternative family activity as opposed to skiing at some point in holiday. Its also ski in ski out which with kids and ski equipment is a godsend.

G
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
We used family friendly skiing in la tania when the kids were younger and worked well. We now self cater in la tania each year. The resort works well for us and even if the snow is poor lower down thereare quick ways of getting height.
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no substitute

https://www.kinderhotels.com/en/family-holidays-tyrol.html
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We run a catered chalet company and the 3-afternoons-on 3-afternoons-off approach works really well I think in terms of childcare. You can do this with any child-friendly company and actually you will probably get more flexibility if you book the lessons and childcare seperate from the accommodation.

My suggestion, given that you sound like you're fairly flexible, is to look at ski schools and then choose accommodation near them. Most ski schools offer an after-ski-school care option where the kids all go for lunch and snow-play together before being picked up (usually around 3pm).

I only know about specific options near us but think it's pretty much all over:https://oxygene-ski.com/en/ run this as does http://evolution2.com/

I would also think again about booking a nanny in the afternoons. It sounds like the problem last time was that your youngest was on their own a lot, whereas this time they will both be together and you'll only be looking for 3 afternoons. You can book a nanny independantly for 3 afternoons, picking up from ski school and then heading back to the chalet for lunch before playing. Most nannies will do requested activities so the kids could plan what they want to do before they come out which might make them keener.

Take a look at snow little (http://www.snowlittle.co.uk/nannies/) and http://www.alpine-child-care.co.uk/ to give you an idea of how this could work.

Any help?
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If you're looking for an all-in option have a look at Family Friendly Skiing. They operate out of the 3 valleys so you've got the height there for April skiing, their kids lessons run in the morning plus there are other kids there for yours to play with. They operate pretty much like Espirit on a smaller scale. We've used them twice now and they've been good. Ours are a similar age to your too.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Just wanted to provide and update on this.

So we picked family friendly in La Tania and it worked brilliantly. Few issues with drop offs and pick ups from ski school but that was more as a result of the warm weather causing limited snow issues! However, they both progressed well in ski school and the chalet worked out well.

So can highly recommend Family Friendly. Now if we can just get Easter a little colder next year.....
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Ive been following this with interest as we are looking for a family option next Easter. My understanding is that it was a exceptionallly warm Easter this year. Which dates did you go, was there any snow left in La Tania? Did you stay in the chalet or the hotel?

Thanks
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@kosciosco, glad to hear FFS are still doing great service Smile
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kosciosco wrote:
Now if we can just get Easter a little colder next year.....


It should be, it's two weeks earlier Smile
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
School holidays are the same dates sadly. what week did you go this year?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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@Bunches, the blue back down to La Tania only shut on Good Friday IIRC, it also opened mid Dec on La Tania opening day. It's north facing so keeps snow well.
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interesting thread, thanks. has anybody experience of using club med for a family ski holiday?
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@Kj82,

Think Dobby (sp?) used ClubMed with a Family.

I can probably answer any questions on CM as I regularly go with them BUT I don't actually have kids.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@kosciosco, pleased Family Friendly worked well for you & you all had a good time Smile
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@kosciosco, Maybe not what you had in mind but Whistler Ski school is brilliant and will take them all day from 3. Will always have snow in April too.
Obviously they do not ski all day with a 3yr old they have on mountain play facilities to let them chill out - but boy do they have fun. Don't think you can book part days but you can book whatever days you want to mix it up and ski together.
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