Norway’s ski resorts are widely considered great for family skiing with exceptional childcare facilities and ski schools. In many destinations children get free lift passes, and often free helmets too. Children have their own skiing areas on slopes where you’ll find easy descents, children’s-only pistes and activities as diverse as ski orienteering to learning to ski slalom.
Most ski resorts have crèches, with some taking children as young as six months old. And off piste there’s loads to keep the children entertained too, from tobogganing to sleigh rides, treasure hunts in the snow to baking bread.
Where to Ski
Most resorts are family-friendly in Norway but Hemsedal, Beitostolen, Geilo, Trysil and Hovden stand out as the best resorts to visit if you’re skiing as a family.
Hemsedal has is the largest children’s ski area in Norway and the resort also boasts an activity park, Gaupeland, where kids can play freely in the powder, toboggan and generally muck about in safety.
A top resort for families is Geilo, where children are kept well entertained at outdoor playgrounds, hunting for trolls on the forest trails, hunting for treasure and in the five children’s ski areas. Younger children can hang out at Trollklubben Barnehage (kindergarten), a cosy log cabin overlooking the children's ski- and play area. There’s even a LEGO Play Cabin – filled with LEGO toy bricks, LEGO bed linen and LEGO adventures that can be booked by the night.
Ski School Scandinavian Style
Ski schools in Norway take children from around three years old, and will combine skiing lessons with day care. Lessons for young children tend to be organised by age as well as experience (three years, 4-6, 7-9, 10-15 years). In some resorts children wearing helmets get a free ski pass.
For teenagers keen to hone their freestyle skills Norway’s terrain parks are well regarded worldwide. Geilo has five terrain parks, including Geilolia Snowpark, a black snowpark for experts (a great place for youngsters to watch the professionals at work)
Many of the ski schools offer freestyle courses and lessons and what’s more class sizes are usually smaller than in The Alps.
Where to Stay
Accommodation ranges from resort-style hotels to catered chalets and self-catering apartments. Most hotels continue the family-friendly theme by organising evening entertainment, and many of the larger ones may have swimming pools, cinemas and sports facilities. Apartments are generally modern and well equipped, closer to what you might find in North America than in some parts of The Alps.
Layer up - temperatures in Norway’s resorts can be considerably lower than in The Alps.
Book childcare before you get to the resort – most resorts have online booking facilities.
The days are short in Norway during winter (it’s often dark by 2pm), so bring plenty of things to entertain the kids in the down time.