What makes it so great for Families:St Martin is a small traditional village which links up to the huge 3 Valleys ski area. This quiet corner of the vast ski area is perfect for families who want to stay away from busy slopes and the louder busier villages. Lovely chalets, plenty of apartments and easy to use ski lifts in the centre of the village.
Why you need to visit:Pretty, old French farming village which offers dog sledge rides
Ski Schools:ESF, New Generation
Resort Name:Arc 1950
Location:In the French Alps, in the Tarentaise Valley, above Bourg St Maurice
Adult Lift Pass Costs (5 days):247 euros Les Arcs area
Child Lift Pass Costs (5 Days):198 euros
Nearest Airport:Geneva or Lyon
Transfer Times: Geneva 2hrs 40, Lyon 2 hrs 35
What makes it so great for Families:This cocoon of a village sits at 1950m as its name suggests and all the properties are ski in-ski out. The newest village in the French Alps, it makes for a wonderful family base. There is also a special programme of activities for children – a crèche for babies & the Cariboo Club for the slightly older kids. All the buildings have access to a pool and hot tub so it’s not just about the skiing and there is a great spa in the resort too.
Why you need to visit:Safe, pretty and a unique village atmosphere
Ski Schools:Spirit 1950
Ski Hire:Precision Ski
Resort Name:La Clusaz
Location:In the Aravis mountains, France, just 30 minutes from Lake Annecy so ideal for a lakes and mountains stay or a short break.
Adult Lift Pass Costs (5 days):175 euro
Child Lift Pass Costs (5 Days):123.50 euro
Transfer Times:1 hr Geneva, 1.30 Lyon
What makes it so great for Families:This resort has the French ‘Famille Plus’ label and is a great choice for families being just a short transfer from the airports. The village is authentic France with plenty to do off the slopes as well as on. Aquacentre, bowling alley, horse and cart rides, ice drive, ice rink and more. So pretty and unspoilt. Plenty of accommodation options from self-catering apartments to luxury catered chalets and new hotels, e.g the brand new 4* Le St Alban Hotel and Spa.
Why you need to visit:Home of Reblechon cheese, easy to access ski slopes for all abilities.
Resort Name:St Lary (short for Saint Lary Soulan)
Adult Lift Pass Costs (5 days):156 euro
Child Lift Pass Costs (5 Days 5-11 yrs):136 euro
Nearest Airport:Toulouse 1 hr 45 and Tarbes-Lourdes 1 hr 5 min
What makes it so great for Families:Off the beaten track this is a great destination for families in the French Pyrenees. One bubble lift takes you from the village in the valley to the beginner area at Pla d’Adet. Stay in the town for a great relaxed vibe with Spanish and French influences as so close to the Spanish border.
Why you need to visit:Get away from the crowds and try something different, as well as having Famille Plus status and a thermal spa Sensoria which children love with its jets and caves.
Arc 1950, village resort in the French Alps, launches its Summer Season with a series of Wednesday Activity Days running throughout the summer high season.
Arc 1950 The village opens on 7th July with the first ‘activity Wednesday’ taking place on 11th July.
Focusing on a different theme every week, visitors to the village of Arc 1950 can enjoy FREE entertainment not just on these special themed Wednesdays but also throughout the week. Families with children of all ages can enjoy games, workshops, shows, watersports and more.
Activity Wednesdays during July:
Ø 11.07 – Sports week
Ø 19.07 – Bike week
Ø 25.07 – Al Andalus with Armutan Theatre Company
Activity Wednesdays during August:
Ø 1.08 – Water day
Ø 8.08 – Mountain Festival
Ø 15.08 – Climbing week
Ø 22.08 – Arc 1950 fairground
Ø 29.08 – Space Odyssey
New for Summer 2018 the ‘Outdoor Card’ for stays of over five days includes three free activities – choose from a half day guided hike, an intro to mountain biking for 8-12 year olds, a fitness class, intro to golf or an archery session.
Arc 1950 also launches New ‘Arc en Scene’ Thursdays, with different bands and theatre groups performing in the village every Thursday over the summer holidays.
Arc 1950 Le Village is a car-free, family-friendly resort where everything is planned to ensure that guests of all ages can make the most of their summer holiday.
Pierre & Vacances Special Accommodation offer: Save 20% on summer stays in Arc 1950
The French Pyrenees have received regular fresh snow top-ups over the last two weeks building on an already excellent snow base setting them up for excellent conditions for their final few weeks of the season and spring events.
Below are a selection of ski holiday offers for March and April:
Zenith Holidays in St Lary – Departs 17 March
Zenith Holidays offer 7 nights in the Cami Real apartments from 17 March from £163pp, sleeps 4. Flights available from £50 from London Stanstead. www.zenithholidays.co.uk
These excellent spacious apartments are in the centre of the Pyrenean village of Saint Lary Soulan in the Hautes-Pyrenees. Sensoria, the resorts thermal baths are just a short walk away through the garden of the residence. The main gondola up to the skiing at Pla d’Adet and beyond is a 100m from the Residence. St Lary has a lovely collection of shops and restaurants with plenty of Spanish influence in the local tapas bars lining the streets.
Big Break St Lary – 11-30 March
Book direct with St Lary between 11th and 30th March for any 3 days and get the 4th night for free. Just 175€ for four nights including a lift pass. www.saintlary.com/hiver/big-break
Ax les Thermes in the Ariege region of the French Pyrenees, just 1.5 hrs from Toulouse is an historic village based around its thermal waters. Guests can visit the Bains du Couloubret spa or soak their feet in the thermal open air foot spa at the base of the gondola. Ski Ax 3 Domaines with its three sectors, Bonascre, Saquet and Campels and skiing from 1400m up to 2400m. Over the closing Easter weekend March 31 and April 1st, a Snow Bike festival closes the season with MTB/Dirt bikes, enduro and races for all ages.
Erna Low in Cauterets Save 15% and 20% Departs 31 March
The Residence Baleno Aladin has a great location in the centre of Cauterets, 100m from the gondola taking skiers straight up to the ski area and 150m from the resort spa centre. Guests have free access to the Espace Balnéo Aladin spa centre which covers 800m² and includes 5 pools heated to 32° with water jets and hot tubs, steam room and sauna. Children from 3 to 13 years have a 3-storey play structure, games consoles, a mini cinema and a relaxation area for parents.
Pierre et Vacances in Grand Tourmalet Save 30% Departs 7 April
Grand Tourmalet is made up of the two villages Bareges and La Mongie with the largest ski area in the French Pyrenees. La Mongie is ski in-out with the cable car access to Pic du Midi and Bareges and old French town with tree lined skiing from the Tournaboup area. Both areas have spas using the local thermal waters.
Ski France in Peyragudes – Save 10% 17-24 March and Free Children
Ski France offer an apartment sleeping up to 4 people from 31 March from £319 in the Residence Les Adrets de Peyragudes plus children ski for free with every adult ski pass purchased. www.skifrance.co.uk
Peyragudes is a modern ski resort with ski in ski out accommodation perched on the side of the mountain in the Hautes-Pyrenees region of the French Pyrenees. Guests can enjoy an indoor pool at the Les Adrets de Peyragudes residence or take a short drive/transfer down to the village of Loudenvielle where they can enjoy the Balnea spa. The French Snowboard Championships weekend takes place over the closing Easter weekend.
Les Angles 30% off Lift passes and reduced Packages
Les Angles is offering 30% off lift passes booked from 17 March to the end of the season.
So a six day adult lift pass 165€ instead of 195€ [child 12 yrs & under 148€ instead of 175€) www.lesangles.com
Les Angles old village Is at the foot of the slopes, and it has managed to retain its authentic character whilst at the same time providing facilities of a modern ski resort. It is the only resort in the Pyrenees where the ski slopes end in the old village itself. The ski area has 55km with an altitude drop of 800m. With skiing up to 2,400m it is one of the largest ski areas in the Pyrenees-Orientales.
“Le Rendez Vous” EVENT 20& 21 April Cauterets
300 amateur and professional freestyle riders descend on Cauterets for the closing weekend. The Oakley snowpark at the foot of the ski area will be open for photos and video shoots to get the best of the action from the event. DJs are on site and the “Winter Closing” party is held in Cauterets village at the Royalty Café.
A resort that works for Kids, Tweens and Teens plus a skiing Grandad at Half Term: Wengen in Switzerland.NEW
My visit was a family visit.
A return to a resort I have been to many times but not with my family for a couple of years – like many Wengen regulars we were lured back by its enduring appeal for families.
My dad, now 72, wanted another ski with his grandchildren before his various ailments curtail his skiing.
To cut a long story short I ended up taking half of his eight grandchildren to Wengen;
One young one, a couple of ‘tweens’ and one teen, along with my father “grandad”, whose own health has been a bit suspect of late.
Wengen worked for everyone.
Tired legs – young and old – can come down from the mountains by train or cable car.
Teens can hoon around the circuit from the Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg and speed down the Lauberhorn back to the village.
The teen found some fellow skiing teens who he has met before in Wengen = happy teen!
Grandad liked to have a regular break at lunchtime in the sunshine when it appeared or was happy to latch on to a random group over a bowl of soup at ‘the station restaurant’ at Kleine Schiedegg.
Mobile phones make it even easier these days to connect with everyone but the joy of Wengen is the accessibility of its slopes using the excellent trains.
Plus the stand out wigwam – an easy meeting point come rain or shine (and we had both!).
If you want to ski back to the village base, there are options to suit all abilities and on our final full day in the sunshine all the grandchildren made it down the famous 4.5km Lauberhorn Downhill run, a proud moment!
Despite it being half term, we avoided the cable car queues in the morning with early starts.
Not once did we queue at Grindelwald for a bubble or return train up the mountain.
The blue run through the trees to ‘Brandegg’ and all the way down became a favourite for all ages, younger legs darting in and out of the bumps and paths in amongst the woods and snow banks and the older less flexible legs finding the smooth path between the woods easy to turn on.
There are a few ski resorts which work well for mixed ability and mixed age groups but none that I have been to, make it as easy as Wengen.