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Struggling to decide which resort...

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all,

I want to take the family skiing in the Feb half term next year and I'm really struggling to choose the correct resort. I've narrowed it down to the following.. But would welcome any help on advice as to where would be best.

This list is not exhaustive and would 100 percent be open to other countries. The main thing is the kids enjoy it and it has a nice ski village feel.


Avoriaz
La Plagne
Les Deux Alpes
Arinsal
Val Thorens


Wenare a family of 4, with my wife and kids complete beginners, we will get some indoor lessons before we travel but ultimately, they will be new to it. Kids aged 5 and 8.

Ideally we want ski to door and acommodation close to Ski School to make it easier in te mornings to get everyone there.

Not keen on taking busses to the slopes and nice food and atmosphere is ideally required.

Also other things to do with the kids would be good.

Thanks in advance.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Sat 20-02-21 10:04; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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Welcome to Snowheads. @Nunny22,

I'd scrub Avoriaz, Val T and La Plagne for two reasons. Heaving at UK half-term and you're stuck on a mountain with not a lot to do if the skiing falls through unless you go with one of the family ski companies like Esprit.

I'd go for a resort with short transfers, village based and lots of other stuff to do. Morzine/Les Gets will be busy but has what you're looking for. Loads of others will give you more than I can if you're set on France. If you want great food, go to Italy. Champoluc or Pila (Aosta) would be good. For atmosphere consider Austria (Filzmoos is great for beginner families). For all round value for money have a look at Oberstdorf in Germany. Good luck.
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@Nunny22, what were your plans in getting there, tour op, chalet, self cater, diy with flights or drive?

if for instance you were going to self cater and drive, I know you mention val thorens, but I would recommend les menuires, we are out at the same time again as well.
if you choose the croissette/preyrand area there are several ski in/out apartment blocks (not very pretty I admit!!) that are close to the ski school meeting areas, with ample free parking. whereas VT, unless you have parking under the apartment, it has remote parking areas that I believe you have to pay for, so can be a logistical faff.

there is a sports centre, and a good covered shopping mall with several restaurants/take away/ski hire/supermarkets/fromageries and boulangeries etc and the usual souvenir tat shops for the kids.

this will be our 3rd time there as a family, though I have skied through it loads of times before on different holidays, and I have been really impressed with it.

I cannot really comment on the other resorts for family holidays to be honest.

happy hunting.

terry
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I recommend Rauris, a small resort in Austria near Salzburg. The nursery slopes are in the village, and there is a smooth progression to easy runs on top of the mountain. My family and I learned to ski there.
There is a hotel right by the slopes, and other hotels in the village a short walk away.

Generally, at this stage in your family skiing steer clear of the mega French resorts, or any French resorts. You will have a much better experience in a small Austrian resort to start with. You can go on to big resorts with big mileage later. The most important thing now is that the children have a good time.
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RedandWhiteFlachau wrote:
Welcome to Snowheads. @Nunny22,

I'd scrub Avoriaz, Val T and La Plagne for two reasons. Heaving at UK half-term and you're stuck on a mountain with not a lot to do if the skiing falls through unless you go with one of the family ski companies like Esprit.

I'd go for a resort with short transfers, village based and lots of other stuff to do. Morzine/Les Gets will be busy but has what you're looking for. Loads of others will give you more than I can if you're set on France. If you want great food, go to Italy. Champoluc or Pila (Aosta) would be good. For atmosphere consider Austria (Filzmoos is great for beginner families). For all round value for money have a look at Oberstdorf in Germany. Good luck.


Thanks for this.

Im still undecided if we are going to do without a company and book all seperate. I don't want to scrimp but equally, don't want to spen unnecessary.

I'm totally hearing the point of being stuck, I was under the impression there is a bit to do with kids in Avoriaz asides skiing.
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Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Sat 20-02-21 10:11; edited 1 time in total
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terrygasson wrote:
@Nunny22, what were your plans in getting there, tour op, chalet, self cater, diy with flights or drive?

if for instance you were going to self cater and drive, I know you mention val thorens, but I would recommend les menuires, we are out at the same time again as well.
if you choose the croissette/preyrand area there are several ski in/out apartment blocks (not very pretty I admit!!) that are close to the ski school meeting areas, with ample free parking. whereas VT, unless you have parking under the apartment, it has remote parking areas that I believe you have to pay for, so can be a logistical faff.

there is a sports centre, and a good covered shopping mall with several restaurants/take away/ski hire/supermarkets/fromageries and boulangeries etc and the usual souvenir tat shops for the kids.

this will be our 3rd time there as a family, though I have skied through it loads of times before on different holidays, and I have been really impressed with it.

I cannot really comment on the other resorts for family holidays to be honest.

happy hunting.

terry


Thanks Terry, in 2 minds still as to Fly or Drive. We're thinking the drive could be part of the adventure and it omits the possible dramas that may still be in UK airports with the pandemic.

Have you had a family ski experience in Menuiers?
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nigelg wrote:
I recommend Rauris, a small resort in Austria near Salzburg. The nursery slopes are in the village, and there is a smooth progression to easy runs on top of the mountain. My family and I learned to ski there.
There is a hotel right by the slopes, and other hotels in the village a short walk away.

Generally, at this stage in your family skiing steer clear of the mega French resorts, or any French resorts. You will have a much better experience in a small Austrian resort to start with. You can go on to big resorts with big mileage later. The most important thing now is that the children have a good time.


Thankyou for this.

In a smaller resort like Rauris, are they geared up for kids I.e is there other things for the kids to do when they come off the slopes?

I want them to enjoy the whole experience and have a great time.
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I'm going to give you two links that might open your eyes to non-french options, both run by friends who I cannot recommend highly enough. One in Germany and one in the Ski Amade area of Austria.

https://www.nbfalpineadventures.com/

https://www.austrian-adventures.com/
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Normally I would say France v Austria is a personal preference but for half term beginners France is too busy and too much of a lottery on lesson quality. Going elsewhere, you still need to choose your ski school well (limited class sizes, experienced instructors) but you stand a better chance of having a good experience in Austria during half term.
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andybomb1 wrote:
Normally I would say France v Austria is a personal preference but for half term beginners France is too busy and too much of a lottery on lesson quality. Going elsewhere, you still need to choose your ski school well (limited class sizes, experienced instructors) but you stand a better chance of having a good experience in Austria during half term.


Thanks for this.

Any recommendations on where abouts in Austria is good for kids?
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+1 for avoiding France. I love skiing in France but have only been twice in half term. The first time I noticed that my county was out of kilter with the rest of the UK and it didn’t clash with France so was fine. The second time was Les Gets and clashed with England as well as France B&C. Absolute nightmare. We spent the whole time trying not to crash into people and one spend an entire hour queueing to get back up the mountain after a lesson. Imagine the mountain was an ant hill, and imagine someone had kicked the anthill so all the ants came out. That’s what the slopes were like.

Things have conspired to mean we can only go in half term in 2022 and for the first time in 8 years we won’t be going to France.
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Timmycb5 wrote:
+1 for avoiding France. I love skiing in France but have only been twice in half term. The first time I noticed that my county was out of kilter with the rest of the UK and it didn’t clash with France so was fine. The second time was Les Gets and clashed with England as well as France B&C. Absolute nightmare. We spent the whole time trying not to crash into people and one spend an entire hour queueing to get back up the mountain after a lesson. Imagine the mountain was an ant hill, and imagine someone had kicked the anthill so all the ants came out. That’s what the slopes were like.

Things have conspired to mean we can only go in half term in 2022 and for the first time in 8 years we won’t be going to France.


Love the description...

Any suggestions on where else to look?

Many thanks
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Check holiday/Fasching dates - Austria can get very busy too. Personally, I'd tend to choose Italy if I could only ski at half term.
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@Nunny22, it’s a straight shoot out between Saalbach in Austria and Colfosco/Corvara in the Dolomites for me.

Just trying to work out what accommodation suits our situation best!
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@pam w, I think UK half terms in 2022 are 12-19th and 19th-26th. Fasching and the Italian equivalent (Carnivale??) is the w/c 26th in 2022
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Yep, Fasching is late in 2022. I agree with the dates above.

Saalbach - great reputation, ask for further details in the Saalbach thread. I’ve not taken lessons there but I loved it.

Soll / Skiwelt - I’ve been loads and would recommend for your particular trip. Beginner teaching is on a nice sunny bowl at middle station.

One thing to decide is if you’re going to rent a car or not. I would as them you can easily get to the swimming pool etc.

Also, Austrian accommodation is not usually ski in / out and some people prefer not to walk / catch a bus.

Also, do look into what red and white suggested.
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Ski in and out I feel is a must 1st time, I don't want the kids to have to worry about too much walking etc. Want to make it as easy as possible for them and I'm not a big fan of the bus to the slopes. I've done Chamonix with the lads, and it was not please t the race in the morning to get anywhere.
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@Nunny22, we normally drive, as I do think that it is part of the holiday, and potentially additional skiing days either end of the week (though I am sure others will disagree), and my two daughters are quite happy to sit in the back and watch DVD's. I do make them turn them off when we are nearing the mountains, so they can appreciate the scenery, I still remember their reactions the first time we went as the alps was getting closer and closer.

Driving isn't for everyone, it all depends on how good the kids are at travelling, how confident you feel, and your OH if they are going to take a turn, about driving on mountain roads in winter etc.
The upside for me is you can load up at one end with everything but the kitchen sink if you want, then unload the other end. I take our ski kit, and sledges for the kids to play about on, they have been know to spend hours on these after skiing!!

This time we are flying and hiring a car, but this is only because easyjet had a ridiculously cheap flight and baggage deal last march for this week, that have been able to carry over to next feb half term. we will revert back to driving after this, unless this deal is repeated but i doubt it ever will!!

with regards to a family experience in les menuires, the first time we went there I met up with a mate and his family who had been the season before, as they were there on their own they made use of a lot of the family activities, swimming, cinema and toboggan runs etc and have been hooked on the resort ever since. His wife is a committed non skier, so she uses the leisure centre or the walking routes a lot.

I would recommend it as a family resort, i know people say about avoiding the mega resorts at half term, but to be honest it would not make a great deal of difference to beginners with regards to potential lift queues. also, there are loads if lifts for skiers to avoid any pinch points if need be.
Also, my advice would be as long as you are prepared for the first couple of trips to see it as a family holiday and work to their rhythm, and not a 6day skiing trip for you hooning around the mountains, as they may want afternoons off etc.

am happy for you to PM me if you want any more info.

cheers
terry
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Choose your accommodation carefully and you’ll be fine. You will rule a lot more out than you would in France.
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Me and my 2 males cousins took our 7 boys (all under 11!) skiing for the 1st time to Niederau Austria.Ive been to most of the mega ski resorts in Europe over the past 30 years and knew they would be a waste of time and not meet our needs.Niederau was a winner for our kids,nice and small,good ski school and lower beginner slopes, easy walk from hotel and a bar at the bottom for apres beers before trying to feed them at the hotel.
We were planning on going again this half term but obviously hasn't happened.Wouldnt go back to Niedrau as the upper slopes are too steep for the kids.Not been to either but had my eye on Lofer and Kals in Austria.With your wife and kids being beginners there is no point going to a big busy resort with hundreds of kms of piste.Small and quiet is the key!
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@Nunny22

A point with mentioning is that ski in/ski out will be wasted on beginners - they need to be able to ski to make use of it. Something with a red run to the back door is ski in.

More important to pick somewhere with easy access to the lesson meeting point.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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Tom Doc wrote:
@Nunny22

A point with mentioning is that ski in/ski out will be wasted on beginners - they need to be able to ski to make use of it. Something with a red run to the back door is ski in.

More important to pick somewhere with easy access to the lesson meeting point.


Totally makes sense.

I guess I was meaning somewhere that doesn't require a bus to get to the slopes. Just a small walk would be fine, even better if we can dump the skis at the bottom of the slopes and walk in snow boots.
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terrygasson wrote:
@Nunny22, we normally drive, as I do think that it is part of the holiday, and potentially additional skiing days either end of the week (though I am sure others will disagree), and my two daughters are quite happy to sit in the back and watch DVD's. I do make them turn them off when we are nearing the mountains, so they can appreciate the scenery, I still remember their reactions the first time we went as the alps was getting closer and closer.

Driving isn't for everyone, it all depends on how good the kids are at travelling, how confident you feel, and your OH if they are going to take a turn, about driving on mountain roads in winter etc.
The upside for me is you can load up at one end with everything but the kitchen sink if you want, then unload the other end. I take our ski kit, and sledges for the kids to play about on, they have been know to spend hours on these after skiing!!

This time we are flying and hiring a car, but this is only because easyjet had a ridiculously cheap flight and baggage deal last march for this week, that have been able to carry over to next feb half term. we will revert back to driving after this, unless this deal is repeated but i doubt it ever will!!

with regards to a family experience in les menuires, the first time we went there I met up with a mate and his family who had been the season before, as they were there on their own they made use of a lot of the family activities, swimming, cinema and toboggan runs etc and have been hooked on the resort ever since. His wife is a committed non skier, so she uses the leisure centre or the walking routes a lot.

I would recommend it as a family resort, i know people say about avoiding the mega resorts at half term, but to be honest it would not make a great deal of difference to beginners with regards to potential lift queues. also, there are loads if lifts for skiers to avoid any pinch points if need be.
Also, my advice would be as long as you are prepared for the first couple of trips to see it as a family holiday and work to their rhythm, and not a 6day skiing trip for you hooning around the mountains, as they may want afternoons off etc.

am happy for you to PM me if you want any more info.

cheers
terry


Very helpful indeed Terry thankyou.

I know people are advising to avoid the bigger resorts, but I still want a bit of the buzz associated with the bigger places.

I suspect the kids will be in ski school most of the week and then nice food and post ski activities would be good.

Where abouts do you guys stay in Menuiers?
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@Nunny22, will pm you.

Also, what I mean by ski in/out in Les menuires, is you have the option for that if you want. But a lot of accommodation is so close to meeting points is that you walk out the apartment block and out to the central meeting point.

No need for buses at all.

Obviously if you are happy commuting every morning/afternoon, there are lots of valid points above regarding smaller/cheaper resorts.
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terrygasson wrote:
@Nunny22, will pm you.

Also, what I mean by ski in/out in Les menuires, is you have the option for that if you want. But a lot of accommodation is so close to meeting points is that you walk out the apartment block and out to the central meeting point.

No need for buses at all.

Obviously if you are happy commuting every morning/afternoon, there are lots of valid points above regarding smaller/cheaper resorts.


Most certainly don't want to commute every morning..

It's hard enough to get the kids out the house into a car at home let alone in a resort, full of snow gear..

Eh oh!
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@Nunny22, PM sent

cheers
terry
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@Nunny22,
I'd recommend travelling with a child specialist tour operator for your first family ski trip - much less hassle & your kids will be with others. Choose an operator then start to choose between the resorts they are hoping to be going to in 21/22.
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@Nunny22, based on what you said in your original post, I personally think that Avoriaz fits the bill completely.

It's completely set up for the family - it's all ski in ski out, no cars at all, so most people are wandering around on foot, lots of horse and carriages trotting around, adding to the village feel.

There's great ski schools, great areas for the kids to go sledging, and Aquariaz which is an indoor tropical aqua park

We took the kids there for their first ever trip and that loved it - they've liked everywhere we've been since, but no where has quite loved up to Avoriaz.

Yes, it's busy at half term, but nothing that will spoil that first time family holiday.

Resort guide below, definitely worth a watch.


http://youtube.com/v/2UOAPnhbo9E
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Handy Turnip wrote:
@Nunny22, based on what you said in your original post, I personally think that Avoriaz fits the bill completely.

It's completely set up for the family - it's all ski in ski out, no cars at all, so most people are wandering around on foot, lots of horse and carriages trotting around, adding to the village feel.

There's great ski schools, great areas for the kids to go sledging, and Aquariaz which is an indoor tropical aqua park

We took the kids there for their first ever trip and that loved it - they've liked everywhere we've been since, but no where has quite loved up to Avoriaz.

Yes, it's busy at half term, but nothing that will spoil that first time family holiday.

Resort guide below, definitely worth a watch.


http://youtube.com/v/2UOAPnhbo9E


Hi,

Thanks for your response

May I ask where you stayed in Avoriaz?

Seems to be a minefield as to where is good to stay etc.

Also, did you have a god experience with the ski schools?

Mike.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@Nunny22, I've stayed in a few areas but with the family we stayed near the 'Runches' area which is close the Village des Enfants area.

For me, the key thing was to work out where the ski school meets and try to base yourself close by. We went with Evolution 2 and that area worked well for us.

If you aim to stay around or higher than the Village des Enfants entrance (draw a horizontal line from Runches, and look higher than that).

While it's easy to get around the village slopes dramatically after this point, and you won't want to be thinking about walking up a slope to your lessons first thing in the morning.

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Nunny22 wrote:
Hi all,

I want to take the family skiing in the Feb half term next year and I'm really struggling to choose the correct resort. I've narrowed it down to the following.. But would welcome any help on advice as to where would be best.

This list is not exhaustive and would 100 percent be open to other countries. The main thing is the kids enjoy it and it has a nice ski village feel.


Avoriaz
La Plagne
Les Deux Alpes
Arinsal
Val Thorens


Wenare a family of 4, with my wife and kids complete beginners, we will get some indoor lessons before we travel but ultimately, they will be new to it. Kids aged 5 and 8.

Ideally we want ski to door and acommodation close to Ski School to make it easier in te mornings to get everyone there.

Not keen on taking busses to the slopes and nice food and atmosphere is ideally required.

Also other things to do with the kids would be good.

Thanks in advance.




Ok. Without being too blunt, you've kinda picked from the top ten 'atmosphereless resorts in the world/ VT is the best of the bunch
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best high altitude ski in an out resort in France for beginners is Risoul. Has some atmosphere, at least and easy runs take you to the top of the mountain.

Bit of a bug to get to but hey - ho

La Rosiere is nice - links to Italy - better food and better value and more ambience

Arinsal has links to Pal - which is quite a sweet resort too
....
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there is post yesterday from a guy ,harvey, who has it exactly the same my thoughts ,forget france purpose built and any thoughts of self catering as would be too stressful, suggest a half board hotel in austria in the smaller proper village feel resorts.There is little point in paying for facilities and size that the family will not use to advantage. Your goodself will spend most of your time ensuring the others are in the right place at the right time and offering encouragement so you need to be able to quickly get back to either ski school or hotel which needs to be comfortable for you and particularly mum or it wont happen again
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ski for fun wrote:
forget france purpose built and any thoughts of self catering as would be too stressful, suggest a half board hotel in austria


Interesting that you'd recommend against a self catering apartment - obviously everyone is different, but having done a combination of hotels, chalets etc, the first time we went as a family we immediately went for a self catering apartment. Why?

Firstly, apartments tend to be much bigger with multiple bedrooms and lounge space, so you get room to breathe as a family - hotel rooms tend to be much smaller unless you go for some kind of suite, which really can bump up the costs.

Secondly, kids (especially at those ages) tend to graze a lot and have particular food likes and dislikes, so having a kitchen with fridge and cooking facilities is a god send in case the kids want drinks, snacks or are generally fussy eaters.

That said, with mum being a beginner, skiing all day and then coming home to cooking isn't fun either. I tend to do most of the cooking on holidays (and at home to be fair!), so mum gets a break plus we always eat out one night, and utilise the hot food counter at the supermarkets a couple of nights a week so it isn't really stressful at all.

If you get a good apartment it really does feel like a home from home in a way that a hotel doesn't. Just a personal view obvs.
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Alpe de huez. I had a nice week here with my kids when they were small. Its high so an easy walk to the skiing and beginners area. I would avoid the mega resorts.
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in response to handy turnip and all , fully understand your viewpoint and its really that if mum is a beginner and you would like her to get the bug so to speak to go along with spending a fair proportion of the yearly holiday budget she has to enjoy the trip and as importantly so do the kids.!! 45 years ago i took my then girlfriend to selva having been the year before on a lads/ ex students trip, that year i spent most of the week during daylight hours helping her hone her snowplough which resulted in the next 44 years going through the whole gamut of marriage family arriving and lifes up and downs which in skiing terms am now reaping the rewards of the same wife our own children and now grandchildren looking forward to going on a ski holiday. With us having never missed a year sometimes twice in between and the only trips we count as the not so good ones are the self catering efforts in france one of the more memorable was a £70 flight and bed only trip accommodation only to sauze staying in a grotty apartment over the then scotch bar on our honeymoon year but did we have a laugh but then as kids came along having had a couple of less enjoyable years in pierre vacance and the chalet holiday ( never to be repeated)found it a much better experience for all to half board in whatever grade of hotel the budget would allow in various places both big and small ,but then im not trying to say what to do just giving my opinion as a gesture as I agree we are all different but right now wish i was in a 4 star in saalbach ,how things change ?!!
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Handy Turnip wrote:
ski for fun wrote:
forget france purpose built and any thoughts of self catering as would be too stressful, suggest a half board hotel in austria


Interesting that you'd recommend against a self catering apartment - obviously everyone is different, but having done a combination of hotels, chalets etc, the first time we went as a family we immediately went for a self catering apartment. Why?

Firstly, apartments tend to be much bigger with multiple bedrooms and lounge space, so you get room to breathe as a family - hotel rooms tend to be much smaller unless you go for some kind of suite, which really can bump up the costs.

Secondly, kids (especially at those ages) tend to graze a lot and have particular food likes and dislikes, so having a kitchen with fridge and cooking facilities is a god send in case the kids want drinks, snacks or are generally fussy eaters.

That said, with mum being a beginner, skiing all day and then coming home to cooking isn't fun either. I tend to do most of the cooking on holidays (and at home to be fair!), so mum gets a break plus we always eat out one night, and utilise the hot food counter at the supermarkets a couple of nights a week so it isn't really stressful at all.

If you get a good apartment it really does feel like a home from home in a way that a hotel doesn't. Just a personal view obvs.


I agree with pretty much all of the above. I think everyone's needs / preferences are different. We self cater for a few reasons - not least due to dietary requirements. But the best part is having the space to properly relax in the evening. Add to that, the ability to shop for groceries to allow us to eat our own food and to let the kids snack, it just makes for a much better week. For us - everyone's different.

Proximity to the lifts is also a big thing for us. Even before the kids arrived, we always looked to minimise the distance from accommodation to lifts. It's even more important now with kids. Also, the closer to the kids lesson meeting point you can stay, the easier it is to maximise your time on the slopes when they are in lessons.
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Quote:

everyone's different

But there are some common themes here, including proximity to ski school meeting place (far more important than ski in/out, and be aware that not all ski schools will meet at the same place in the resort). I would personally always opt for an apartment rather than a hotel, whatever my budget - but with a big budget I'd probably not do much self-catering beyond breakfast. Would buy in some good food and try all the best restaurants. But have plenty of drinks and nibbles in stock. But that's because I dislike hotels, even smart ones (or especially smart ones, where I always feel like a poor relation) whereas for some people the "hotel experience" is part of the holiday.

Be aware that if your kids have lessons morning and afternoon, which is sometimes the case in Austria, they might be too tired for much in the way of "apres ski activities" - it soon gets dark and cold once the lifts are closed.
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@Nunny22, obligatory question and sorry if already asked/answered - are you able to go at Christmas or Easter?

Also agree with pam, beyond sledging and digging kids didn't want to do much after skiing.
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