If you’re planning a family ski holiday with older kids, there’s a few things to keep in mind when picking a resort. Is the skiing suited to your ability levels? Does it have accommodation that fits your style and budget? And what about fun things to do off the slopes too? To find the right place for your family, take a look at these favourites.
Best for convenience & activities
Purpose-built Avoriaz has a car-free centre that’s easy and safe to get around, and the accommodation is mostly ski-in, ski-out apartments so mealtimes can be flexible too. It’s one of the top resorts in France for activities, with everything from snowmobiling to fatbiking on the must-do list for families with teens. And you’ve got to visit the Aquariaz water park, with its waterslides, lazy river, pools and climbing walls. During the Christmas holidays, shows and parades get everyone in a festive mood.
The 650km Portes du Soleil ski area is fantastic for beginners and intermediates. Teens who fancy a break from downhill can also try some jumps in one of the five snow parks.
Best for beginners
Beitostølen’s got just 21km of slopes, so it’s the perfect resort for families who’ve never skied before. You can all learn the basics under the guidance of the excellent local instructors, then spend some time practising on the gentle greens. All of the runs come back to the same place, so there’ll be no worries about finding your way around.
When you’re not skiing, you can get stuck into winter activities like airboarding, where you whizz down the slope head first on an inflatable mat. Evenings here are all about laid-back nights in – cosy up in your cabin or self-catering apartment and watch a film together or play board games.
Best for a lively atmosphere
If you’re after a more cosmopolitan feel, go for Kitzbühel. It’s got a buzzing atmosphere and a varied food scene that’ll appeal to teens who are up for trying something new – from hearty mountain dishes like schnitzel to gourmet seafood. And the hotels are high-quality too. You can also tick off winter experiences, from watching an ice hockey game to trying your hand at curling.
As for the skiing, this 230km area’s ideal for intermediates. The size isn’t overwhelming, but there are plenty of blue and red runs to keep energetic families going all week long.
Best for intermediates
Méribel’s a great base for intermediate-skier families coming to the Three Valleys. It’s right in the middle of the ski area, so you can start on the long, local blues and reds and then head out in any direction to explore the rest of the huge 600km area – from Courchevel at one end to Val Thorens at the other.
Off the slopes, teens will love the climbing wall and ice skating rink at the Parc Olympique sports centre. And in the afternoons, music lovers can all spend a couple of hours listening to live bands before dinner – Le Rond Point is a popular family-friendly spot.
Best for snowsure skiing
At 1,927m high, Obergurgl has great snow cover throughout the season – so it’s one of the best resorts in Austria for early and late-season family trips, when the snow isn’t as reliable in lower resorts. The 112km ski area is excellent for beginners and intermediates, and there are lifts at either end of the small village that make finding your way around pretty simple. At lunchtime, head to the Top Mountain Crosspoint to refuel. The futuristic design, jaw-dropping views and onsite motorbike museum are sure to impress.
If your teens still have energy to burn after skiing, you can head off on a winter hike or go for a spin around the ice rink. Or visit the Freizeit Arena in nearby Sölden, which has a huge indoor pool, tennis courts and a bowling alley.
Best for a bucket-list trip
Skiing in North America can be the ultimate winter experience – and the combo of Canadian friendliness and our shortest North American flight time make Tremblant a tempting choice for families. The purpose-built village is colourful and lively, and has a ton of restaurants serving everything from tapas to poutine (that’s chips, cheese curds and gravy) – enough to keep any teenage appetite satisfied. And you can have fun with loads of activities too, like snowmobiling, tubing and even a high ropes course.
The small ski area is easy to get around – all of the runs end up back in the same place – and the long greens and superb ski school make it a good choice for beginners.
Les Arcs, France
Best for variety
Les Arcs is made up of five villages, each with its own vibe, so you can choose the mood that suits your family – whether you want the lively atmosphere of Arc 1800, a more peaceful feel in Arc 1600, or ski-in, ski-out accommodation in Arc 2000.
The resort is part of the 425km Paradiski area, which is known for having a great variety of terrain – from open bowls to tree-lined runs – so there’s always something different to try. And you can catch the double-decker cable car over to La Plagne to explore that side of the area too. Most of the skiing is high-altitude, above 1,800m, so you should still have reliable snow cover if you’re going in the early or late-season school holidays.
Selva Val Gardena, Italy
Best for a big ski area
For families who want great snow on a much bigger scale, it doesn’t get better than Selva. It’s part of the biggest ski area in Europe – the 1,200km Dolomiti Superski – so mile-munching teens will never run out of piste. And wherever you are, the dramatic Dolomite peaks are a truly photo-worthy backdrop.
The resort’s location in South Tyrol means the atmosphere is a mix of friendly Austria and laid-back Italy that’ll make everyone feel right at home. Plus, authentic pizza and pasta are always a winner at mealtimes.
Best for winter wonderland vibes
The whole family can let their inner children reign in Ylläs. Its Arctic Circle location means there’s great snow right from the start of the season – ideal if you’re planning a magical Christmas ski holiday. And the gentle slopes give beginners a chance to get their bearings.
The real highlights though are the beautiful scenery and the winter activities – snowmobile safaris, reindeer sleigh rides and ice fishing will have both teens and adults grinning all week long. Older kids might also appreciate winding down with a taste of Finnish sauna culture. And of course you’re never too old for a snowball fight.
Bring your family together for a week in the mountains and even the most independent teenagers will soon be begging to go back. Take a look at our latest ski deals to start planning your adventure. And if this is your first trip, take a look at our ultimate ski holiday guide for beginners.