Where to ski with kids in tow this winter? My good friend Christine has two girls, aged eight and eleven. Walter, my cousin wants to introduce his little ones to skiing – with a lot of ambition for what they want to accomplish…His three year old should learn to ski while the five year old aims at being a superstar ski racer all at once.
When you need a ski getaway that keeps the entire clan happy, here’s what to look. The ideal family ski resort should suit everyone’s fancy, with an entire section of the mountain reserved for kids and easy nursery slopes. There ought to be kids-only lifts in the form of beginner magic carpets, rope tows or easy-to-use surface lifts—all of which make queuing a rarity. There should be something for the teens in your family, such as challenging tree skiing, exhilarating trails, terrain parks or boardercross courses. A kids-only restaurant or an on-mountain eatery with chill-out area were great, too. And childcare for the tiny tots. Skiing can be intimidating to families – both skill-wise and money-wise – so it would be good if the resort offered promotional discounts for opportunities to save. “My little one won’t make it any longer than three runs”, expects Christine.
Kids Ski Free in Kitz – Seriously!
Maybe that’s the reason that this place has so many Olympic and World Championship medal winners? Kitzbühel’s Kids Ski Free program for kids AND parents gets families on the slopes of all practice lifts in the valley for free (Ganslern, Ministreif, Rasmusleiten, Mocking), all winter long. Those wanting to reach higher grounds are strongly recommended to head for the “Horn” with the kids in tow. Its small size makes it a prime place to take your newbie skiers. One of the perks: A gondola gets you out of the base area quickly, taking you half way up the mountain aboard Hornbahn I (mid terminal) and further up aboard Hornbahn II (Alpenhaus). Unlike some resorts where skiing into the wrong area can take you to a series of remote lifts far from other members of your party, Kitzbühel Horn has much more of an “all roads lead to the bottom” feel. The perks for families continue with a superb novice terrain at Trattalm-Mulde with kids-only lifts in the form of beginner magic carpets. Little ones will soon move on to an easy run served by slow Eggl surface lift. Plus: If you’re looking for major air time, big spins, or just want to watch some local pros boost out of the pipe, Horn Terrain Park has you covered. That’s why Kitzbühel gets our nod for one of the best family resorts in Tirol. Kitz for Kids! Horn Special for Families
Excellent Nursery Slopes and a Mountain-Top Building in the Shape of a Cross in Pillerseetal Valley
Wide-open meadows stretch out on foot of Buchensteinwand Mountain in St. Jakob in Pillerseetal Valley. That’s the place brimming with activity during the winter months: The Kids Ski Park is a terrain park perfect for learning how to ski in a playground-like setting, complete with flags, fun characters, a ski-through igloo and a kids’ train. The friendly and affordable ski environment is great for families looking for a spacious locale to hone their ski skills. There is an excellent nursery slope right next to the village, with swings, a pirate’s ship and moving carpet lifts that are free to use. Beginners can progress from here on to an easy run served by slow 70-meter long Hochleiten surface lift. The ski school is highly rated for children’s lessons and good childcare facilities are available. Six further successive lifts take you to the top of Buchensteinwand Mountain, at an elevation of 1,456 meters above sea level. On the summit, there is a multi-story building in the shape of a cross, which can be seen from afar. The non-skiers in your midst can appreciate the outdoor patio of Buach.blick Restaurant next to the base and watch the fun and frolics at the nursery slope from their sun loungers. Pillersee Ski Resort
For Snow-Happy Families: Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis
All three village resorts on the sunny upland plateau are a dream destination for skiing families – and with good reason. Many of the 68 ski lifts feature colourful VIK (Very Important Kids) arches for an elevated entrance to the chairs. Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis provides the perfect environment for kids and families learning how to ski with Murmli Trail, complete with a storytelling fountain and a talking hick. Kids will be able to ski through the mouth of a bear on the Bear’s Trail, and the Fiss Cave World has moss monsters and other fun characters along the way. With various sections of all mountains reserved for kids, the resort boasts outstanding on-snow play areas with fun terrain features designed for introducing even the youngest children to skiing—and to develop an appreciation for the mountains and a lifelong love for skiing at the “Children’s Snow Pasture” in Serfaus and at “Berta’s Kids Land” in Fiss. Their ski school is highly rated for children’s lessons. By the way: I enjoyed a huge hot and steamy pot of ginger carrot consommé at Serfaus’ on-mountain eatery called “Suppenkaspar” last winter. All the same I envied the ski school kids one floor down – for their McMenu and for the spage-age design of the Murmli Kids-Only Restaurant. Ski Holidays with kids in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis
Sunny Mountain – Ski the Sunny Side! Kappl in Paznaun Valley
You can reflect on Kappl’s unique benefits as you swoop up Diasalpe in a gondola and watch the storybook village fade beneath you. Towered by the jagged peaks of Silvretta Range, family adventure comes in all shapes and sizes on this mountain. The Kids Ski Zone has three friendly animal characters named Flaxi, Wusel and Pablo. Three Magic Carpet conveyor belts (one with windproof cover) whisk your little skier to the top. The high elevation of the ski resort, rising up to 2,690 meters, allows for plenty of snow and all day sunshine. Those with extra energy can battle it out against the kids on the eight-kilometer long Lattenabfahrt run. Without skis, you and your kids are getting a giggle-inducing thrill of a different sort — one experienced while zooming down the hill on a Zipfelbob sled at the speed of light. The exhilarating lanes of the permanent Zipfelbob course are located at the Kids Ski Zone. Sunny Mountain Adventure Park
Berwangertal – A Hidden Gem for Families
Berwang, at an elevation of 1,350 meters at the heart of Zugspitz Arena, is what you imagine a Tirolean mountain village to look like. This is a great place to get wee ones on skis, as Berwang offers many perks for a multigenerational ski vacation. For example, the resort has parking just steps from the nursery slope that is towered by the craggy rocks of Thaneller Peak. The sunny and snow sure 25,000 square meter kids zone is a beginner-friendly learning area. There’s space to have fun on the snow, speed down the hill on a sled or even enjoy a picnic. Little ones are greeted by a giant penguin and the snow play area and wave course are open to all. The policy for kids 5-and-under to ski free is just one of many great features of the resort. Berwang Ski Resort
Big Family Ski Camp at Stubai Glacier
Hey kids, welcome to heaven! Worth the journey to 3,120 meters just for the powdery panoramic views, Stubai Glacier is a place where the ice never melts. The gondola carries you and your family from the valley base to the top, soaring high above ice fields. It’s like a bird’s eye view—in flight.Once up there, the glacier gives families a mellow ski hill to learn on, with wide, groomed avenues. Stubai Zoo Snow Park provides some of the best park skiing and snowboarding in Tirol. Gamsgarten Terminal is home to the Big Family Ski Camp, with the Big Family Restaurant next door. Everything on the glacier is huge! Please remember: Dress your little ones in layers, bring something to drink, take a break every now and then and don’t forget to apply sunscreen and wear sunglasses as snow in the sunlight is intensely bright! By the way, up on the glacier there is reliable snow for a long season that lasts from September to early June. Children ages 10-and-under will receive free glacier lift tickets when accompanied by a skiing adult. Big Family Winter