There's no shortage of ski operators who take families, but that's not quite the same as specialising in family ski holidays where the needs of children of all ages, and adults, are taken care of with creches, nannies, ski schools & nurseries, kids instructors, caterers and carers. In this list I'm trying to pick out the family ski holiday operators that have something special to offer families.
|Canterbury Travel||01923 822388||Not really a specialist ski operator. Canterbury offer family & activity holidays in Finnish Lapland (including trips to see Santa!), but they have also introduced a one week 'Easy to Learn' ski course in the ski resort of Luosto, just above the Arctic Circle, for those keen to try out downhill, cross-country or snowboard.|
|Club Med||08453 67 67 67||All-Inclusive ski holidays at 22 ski villages in the Alps, a number of which are designated 'family friendly' - notably La Plagne, Tignes, Val d'Isere and Les Arcs - where the Baby Club Med, Petit Club Med, Mini Club Med and Juniors Club Med children's clubs operate.|
|Crystal Families||0870 402 0293||Crystal is the largest UK ski operator and they have a dedicated Crystal Families brochure featuring family accommodation (chalets/chalet-hotels) and facilities (creches, nappy supply, ski school, nannies, etc) at resorts in Europe and North America.|
|Esprit Ski||01252 618300||Well-known family ski specialist (27 years old in 09/10) with a portfolio of 17 resorts in France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland includes 67 chalets and six chalet hotels. This season sees the introduction of the Hotel Dues Domaines in Belle Plagne, purpose built for Esprit Holidays. They have exclusive ski schools with English-speaking instructors and small class sizes, in-chalet nurseries, activity clubs and qualified nannies childcare staff.|
|Family Ski Company||01684 540333||Small company offering ski holidays in chalets & apartments for families in and around Porte du Soleil, Les Trois Vallees and La Plagne.|
|First Choice Ski||0870 850 3999||One of the largest ski tour operators in the UK, featuring around 70 ski resorts in Europe (particularly France & Andorra) and North America. A number of hotels, chalets and apartments are ear-marked for families with creche, childcare, kids club and ski school facilities, with two dedicated Kids' Club in Alpe d'Huez and Kranjska Gora where they operate an assortment of childcare programmes, with qualified and experienced nannies, that are available to any guests staying in First Choice chalets or chalethotels. Catering for children aged from 6 months to 12 years, these programmes include an evening crèche, half or full day childcare sessions and a special package including tuition and a daily escort to the slopes.|
|Inghams||020 8780 4433||One of the best-known ski operators in the business. Some 42 hotels and chalets in the Inghams programme have all-day or part-day, ski and non-ski kindergarten provision. Some resorts also have crèches for children under 2. They also have an exclusive nanny service in Borovets (Bulgaria).|
|Le Ski||0870 754 4444||Le Ski have their own creche in La Tania where they operate three family-friendly catered chalets.|
|Made to Measure||01243 533 333||Tailor-made ski specialists MTM have (Oct 06) created a mini brochure of family ski options in a range of Swiss and Austrian resorts. Saas Fee, in particular, is their highlighted resort with the most child facilities and options.|
|Mark Warner||0870 770 4226||Family orientated ski and snowboard programme based on chalethotels in resorts in Italy (Courmayeur), France (Alpe d'Huez, Les Deux Alpes, Val d'Isère, La Plagne, Courchevel, Méribel, Tignes) and Austria (St Anton).|
|Meriski||01451 843100||Highly respected company operating chalet ski holidays in the French resort of Méribel. They are well known for the high standard of their childcare programme, whose qualified nannies take care of children from 0 years up.|
|Neilson||0870 333 3356||One of the big names in ski and snowboarding holidays. Their family ski holidays 2005 season sees the introduction of crèches for families with pre-ski children (between 2 –5 years) in 4 resorts – Les Deux Alpes (France), Kitzbuhel (Austria), Geilo (Norway) and Vemdalen (Sweden).|
|Powder Byrne||020 8246 5300||Upmarket ski company operating luxury ski holidays in France and Switzerland with a sophisticated childcare programme that looks after children in different age bands from 6 months to teenager. They have recently upgraded their programme of ski and snowboard courses for teenagers, teaching freestyle, off-piste and mountain rescue techniques to skiers, and park 'n' pipe tricks and jumps for boarders.|
|Premier Niege||0709 2000 300||Holidays in a selection of traditional chalets in the resort of Sainte Foy in the French Alps near the Italian border, with a creche for children from 7 months upwards.|
|Scott Dunn||020 8767 0202||Luxury ski holidays in catered chalets and up-market hotels in Courchevel, Méribel, Val d'Isère and Zermatt. Children looked after by trained nannies.|
|Simply Ski||020 8939 0843||Upmarket catered chalets in France, Austria, & Switzerland. Simply have their own crèche and ski club facilities in Courchevel 1300, and a private nanny service in Méribel, Courchevel 1850, Verbier, Zermatt and St Anton. Simply Ski is a brand of the Simply Travel group which is now part of Thomsons' parent company, TUI.|
|Ski Beat||01243 780 405||Ski chalet holidays in La Plagne, Val d'Isère, Les Arcs, Meribel & La Tania. Creche and childcare service available in La Plagne, Les Arcs and La Tania as well as a private nanny service.|
|Ski Famille||0845 64 437 64||Family ski specialist started in 1990 by two families who had failed to find a chalet company providing the dedicated service they were looking for. They operate catered chalets in Les Gets (part of the Portes du Soleil ski area in France) and Reberty Village (Trois Vallees) with a dedicated childcare programme. Here's just one of the reasons boss, Chris Thompson, used to describe why he loves what he does: "We sell people something they find it very easy to enthuse about. We’re not taking money off them for servicing a car, laying a carpet or dealing with baffling paperwork (apologies to the lawyers and accountants out there…), we’re selling them a week of unadulterated fun and relaxation with their children up a mountain. Fantastic!" Says it all.|
|Ski Hillwood||01923 290 700||Family ski specialists, with the emphasis on childrens clubs and creches, to Austria (Soll & Zauchensee), France (Argentiere & Les Gets), and Canada (Whistler).|
|Ski Peak||01428 608070||Sking holidays, especially 'family', based in a village hotel or apartments in Vaujany, Alpe d'Huez, France.|
|Skivolution||01241 874248||Courchevel specialist offering upmarket catered chalet holidays since 1987. There's an after-ski-school club for 5-8 yr olds attending the Courchevel ski school, and a non-skiing creche for younger children. But Skivolution also runs race clubs for older children giving them the chance to improve their skills and win badges & certficates under the British Alpine Snowsports Awards system.|
|Snowbizz||01778 341455||Family ski specialist offering apartments and chalets, plus a sophistcated range of skiing and non-skiing childcare facilities in the French ski resort of Puy St. Vincent.|
|Snowcoach||01727 866177||Ski & snowboarding holidays in France, Austria and Andorra. Ski school and nusery services in Valmeinier, Val Cenis and Kirchdorf.|
|Snowlife||01245 221266||Chalet operator in Verbier, ten years old this season (03/04). Experienced British nannies available.|
|Thomson Ski||0870 606 1470||Skiing & snowboarding in 86 resorts in 12 countries across Europe, the USA and Canada. They have always been strong on families with lots of free child places, offers and family-friendly facilities like Slumber Clubs for older kids and free kids ski helmets. This season (04/05) they have creches in 13 resorts and have extended childcare to six days, kidzones in 9 resorts and they've designated 7 resorts as 'Fab 4 Families' where they give full support to families.|
- Snowcarbon.co.uk is an independent website dedicated to helping skiers and snowboarders reach ski resorts by train from the UK. It has detailed information compiled by specialist ski writers and booking form links which are completed on the train company sites - IE Eurostar, Rail Europe and Deutche Bahn.
- TakeTheFamily.com (launched July 04) is a sort of parents portal on travel with affiliation deals to agencies like Lastminute.com & Real Travel, so you can click through and buy stuff they are writing about at special offer rates.
- Snowkidz is a private nanny service run by Brits. They have a creches in les Gets and Les Arcs, and can provide nannies in Courchevel, Meribel, Val d'Isere, Morzine and la Plagne.
- KinderHotels (0845 0822 422) is a hotel chain in Austria & Germany specialising in families with babies, toddlers and younger children. Many of their hotels are in ski locations, and offer babysitting, ski creches and ski classes. They are sold in the UK through Dertours.