Alas! While I have logged many, many North American ski days, my European skiing experience is limited to exactly ZERO days. Many thanks to Cherrie West, a sometime skier, and travel and marketing professional based in London for writing this post.
With winter approaching, it’s time to begin thinking about rounding up the clan for a ski vacation in Europe this year. Europe is the birthplace of skiing, and it will give you and your family an entirely new sense of adventure on the slopes. Add these family friendly ski resorts to your list this winter.
Val Gardena, Italy
In addition to being surrounded by some stunning snow-capped mountain backdrops in the Italian Dolomites, Val Gardena offers some incredible springtime packages for kids.
Starting on March 16, 2013, kids under the age of eight stay and ski free, while kids aged eight through twelve receive a 50% discount (look for the Val Gardena Superkids program). The resort’s atmosphere is laidback and friendly, offering a ski school as well as opportunities to take the family on a daytime sleigh ride or tobogganing at night.
If you’re looking to treat the kids to a true winter wonderland, take them to the Ylläs fell in Finland.
There, you’ll not only have the opportunity to test your skills against the longest slope in Finland—Jättipitkä—but you and the kids can also take advantage of the resort’s extensive family friendly programming, which includes ice-floating, husky and reindeer rides, and nighttime snowshoe treks in search of the Northern Lights.
Bansko’s ski resorts are a great option for families looking for a cheaper European ski holiday, or those with beginner skiers in tow. Early booking deals allow you to take advantage of free meals, services, and bonus days for your upcoming trip. The resorts are scenically surrounded by three sets of mountains—Pirin, Rila and Rhodopi—and the quaint town center is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you’re looking to take a break from the skiing to do something a little different, take the kids to see the remains of ancient fortresses in the nearby Staroto Gradishte site.
It’s no secret that France is home to some of Europe’s best skiing, especially in the Haute-Savoie and Haute-Alps departments. But Le Grand Massif ski resort in Morillon deserves some special recognition, as it’s been given the distinction of a “Famille Plus” resort by the French government.
If you’re looking to plan a Christmas ski trip, Le Grand Massif is a steal: it’s offering kids prices for the entire family the week of December 22 to 28, 2012.
For the rest of the season, the resort offers a “Grand Massif Families” discount, and family friendly activities beyond the norm like torch-lit skiing, dog-sledding, and ice skating.
You could also plan to split your vacation between skiing and a city break to nearby Geneva, Switzerland or head up north on a trip to Amsterdam, Brussels, or Paris.
From the UK, choose one of these cities as your gateway to the Alps via Eurostar.
This post was written by Cherrie West.
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