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Family ski help les menuires

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
We have lots of questions (sorry!). First ski holiday - two families with 6 kids - 4 who will be learning to ski (plus two babies). So we have booked our accommodation in Les Menuires.

Now.....lift passes. Due to us both having babies, we won’t all be going out at one time. It will be tag team couples/men/women etc so we were planning on buying one family pass or a couple of adult/kid passes and alternating when we go out. I’ve heard that they have photos on them, is this correct? Any advice?

Secondly. Ski schools - all four kids are complete beginners and would want them to all be together age range 6-9. We were thinking a couple of morning lessons. Any advice or suggestions? Prices seem quite costly. Would we be better doing private lessons for the 4 of them together? Do skis and passes come as part of the lessons?

Any advice at all would be amazing as this is our first family ski break.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
There’s no photos on the Les Menuires or 3 valleys lift passes (at least up to 7 days which is the most I’ve bought). You may get a range of responses on here from “sharing passes is fine and everybody does it in your situation” to “you’re a fraudster akin to Bernie madoff and should be locked up in jail”.

A few families in our group used ESF Les Menuires and were pleased, albeit private lessons. The instructors were happy to take a certain range of abilities, but generally suggested to the families that the lessons were split, rather than taking mixed ability/mixed rate of progression groups (i.e. a 3 hr lesson for 4people was split into 2x1.5hr lessons). In my experience, unless you go private, it’s very hard to mandate how the ski school allocates your kids between groups. 6yr olds and 9 yr olds can have very different behaviour, emotional maturity, physical strength and rates of progression.

There may be a bundle deal of passes, lessons and equipment, the ESF website (or tour operator if you’re going with one) should say. However, I’d be surprised if that could be combined with private lessons.

Enjoy! We found it a great resort for a big group of families and kids. Make sure you go to Val thorens and do the long toboggan run, that was the highlight of the trip for our kids!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Jodiegrist89, lift passes valid for a day or longer are normally non-transferable, i.e. can't be shared between two people. The usual system is that the gates take a photo the first time the pass is used, and then the photo flashes up on a screen in the lifties' hut each time you go through. You might get away with it, but if you are caught, the penalty will be your pass confiscated (at least). Some ski areas do parent passes that can be shared between two adults, for less than the cost of two adult passes. Check the 3 Valleys website for this.

Ski school - if your kids are complete beginners, then unless you (or the other parents) are very competent skiers, your kids will be better off in ski school. A couple of lessons is unlikely to be enough for them to get beyond the nursery slopes. Personally I'd be looking at lessons all week; the afternoon lessons tend to be cheaper than the morning ones, and often less busy. Which ski school is a fairly contentious topic on Snowheads. ESF will likely be cheapest, but also have larger group sizes (especially in school holidays) and many families find the style of teaching less than ideal - don't expect the instructors to be continually picking the kids up when they fall over, or being hugely sympathetic to a crying child. There are many other ski schools, some of them focus more on British clientele, often the group sizes are smaller and always the prices higher. To some extent it depends on your kids, and how confident they are in a group with strangers. I'll leave others to comment on schools in Les Menuires as we've only used ESF there (and been very happy - but our daughter is fairly no nonsense and used to being in multinational groups). Some ski schools may offer equipment as part of the price, or an extra. If you contact the ski school in advance they will also be able to advise on what lift pass is needed (and they'll all have staff who speak good English, if you aren't comfortable in French).

When are you going? The time of year will have quite an impact on things like ski school (quieter outside school holidays, and different mixes of nationalities in different weeks).
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@Jodiegrist89, if you live anywhere near a snow dome, have as many lessons and spend us much time in there as possible before you go abroad.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Certainly in Sierra Nevada there must be some sort of checking system as step daughter got pulled over for having my seniors pass - luckily I was behind so we could swap to correct passes. Well, they all came out of the machine together and I did not think when doling them out! Embarassed
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You'll need to Register first of course.
@Jodiegrist89, welcome to Snowheads.

Here is one of the long threads on sharing lift passes, pour yourself a drink, sit back and enjoy (other threads are available):

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=141657
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Jodiegrist89, regarding ski lessons.... tricky one. Doing some privates with the 4 of them could work out, both in terms of cost, progress and enjoyment. It's probably what I would do. But it's not without it's potential pitfalls.

Hopefully someone can give some recommendations for Les Menuires for ski schools - maybe worth changing the title to reflect that request.

Lift passes are not included in the cost of lessons.

Out of interest what dates have you booked for?

Les Menuires is a great place to stay, we stayed there in April.

However, if cost is an issue there are better resorts to go for beginners...
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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!
@Jodiegrist89, You will have a fabulous time in Les Menuires. Great value, family friendly, and very snow-sure as it's quite high.

You can get a family ski pass for Le Menuires and St. Martin de Belleville. And everybody pays the children's rate — including adults — if you get a "family" pass:

www.skipass-lesmenuires.com/en/

No point in paying more and getting a pass for the whole of the 3 Valleys, as it doesn't sound you will be venturing far. But you can always get a day-pass if you want to explore.

Sorry, can't help you with the kids stuff — not my department Laughing Laughing Laughing

I guess there is an argument to be made that "sharing" a 6 day lift pass is not really theft, as you are not using anymore days then you would if one person was using it fully. Cool If that moral gymnastics works for you then...

TIP: If you are going to try and "share" an adult pass, then as others have mentioned here, they take a photo of you the first time you use it. But of course you will have your helmet on and ensure you put your goggles on as well. So if you are female, and swap your pass with another female, and she has the same helmet and goggles, and even the same or similar ski jacket, then if they check, you should be fine, as the photo does not have your face on it.

Sometimes you will see an official standing with an iPad or similar behind the gate, watching folks as they enter with their pass. Their photo then pops-up automatically on the iPad for the official to check.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Jodiegrist89, we and our friends have used prosneige for the kids, when we go to les menuires, slightly more expensive than ESF but a lot less kids in their groups, especially during school holidays.

I am going back in feb with my kids and another family, though none of the kids will be having lessons this time.

would echo what a few others have said about getting some lessons beforehand if you are close to a "fridge", my girls progressed really quickly first time in the mountains after going to Hemel Hempstead a few times previously

I can give you a few tips regarding la croisette area, not stayed in any of the other parts of the resort

as others have said, les menuires is a great resort for families, most accommodation is ski in/out, so not a lot of traipsing around having to carry the kids skis about. good choice of ski rental shops, no doubt, discount codes will be appearing soon on here.

if you are self catering, plenty of small supermarkets to get your supplies from. there is a large covered shopping arcade with easy access, and an assortment of restaurants/pizzeria's, gift shops etc

there is a leisure centre with swimming pool, which would probably be of use to take the babies occasionally.

with regards to lift passes, unfortunately there is no easy answer to this. this is probably an area where ski resorts could make more of an effort, whereas they could offer more flexibility in their pricing, especially for young families to be able to take days off where needed.

I find it annoying that as I am taking my girls on my own without my wife this season, you only seem to get a family discount if it is 2 adults and kids, not 1 adult (effectively a single parent this year) and kids Puzzled Puzzled

anyway, am sure you will have a great time!!!
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Definitely put the kids in ski school every day for a half day. A couple of lessons won't be enough for them in a week, and you need to let them get on with it without a parent in tow as it will build a little more confidence and resilience (in my experience parents -who may also be inexperienced skiers- who then try and teach their kids for some of the time are probably going to end up dealing with more than the odd tantrum!). If you are heading there in school holidays, be it NY, half term or Easter, I'd advise book now (less of an issue for easter) but half term and NY ski school will be booked stupidly early. If you are staying up in Reberty-take a look at ski school - https://www.skischool-lesmenuires.com for private lessons. I see Oxygene are also operating ski school. The fewer in the group the better, and ESF are frequently seen with uptown 12-15 kids in a group in peak weeks. I really you want no more than 8.
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