Independently researched and written by the Snow Magazine team, sponsored by the experts at Crystal Ski Holidays.
Planning a family holiday? Finding the best ski resorts to cater to multiple generations isn't exactly child's play - you'll inevitably want a resort with great ski schools, a range of ski in, ski out accommodation for easy access to the slopes, and plenty of non skiing activities, whether you're keen on scenic dog sledding sessions or afternoons at water slide-filled indoor pool complexes.
Luckily, we've scoured the world's best family ski resorts to find the ones which tick all the boxes, whether you're considering heading across the pond to one of America's best family ski resorts or dreaming of a holiday closer to home.
One of the most family-friendly ski resorts in the Three Valleys, Saint Martin de Belleville feels more like a traditional alpine village than a ski resort, and reminders of its origins as a farming community are everywhere, whether it’s the restaurants tucked into refurbished barns, or the ancient wooden bachals (troughs) in the village’s centre. An eight-seater gondola and six-seater chairlift provide easy access to the Three Valleys’ best slopes, and there’s a beginners’ area (with both a drag lift and a magic carpet) in the centre of the village.
When it comes to accommodation, you’ll find plenty of family friendly chalets and self catering apartments, although we’d also recommend the four-star Hotel Lodji, which opened in 2021. Perched at the bottom of the village’s nursery slopes, the hotel has a combination of family rooms and self catering apartments, and its facilities include a swimming pool, steam room and fitness room.
Read out full Saint-Martin-de-Belleville ski resort guide for more info.
Courmayeur, in the shadow of Mont Blanc, is a stunning ski resort known for its snow sure pistes and family friendly vibe. Its regarded as one of the best resorts in Italy for families, who come here for the easy access to the ski area, 80 per cent of which is covered by ski cannons (hence its snow sure reputation) and the pretty, traffic free village centre, filled with cafés and boutiques. The majority of the resort's 41 kilometres of slopes – known collectively as the Plan Chécrouit ski area - are best suited to beginners and intermediates.
Although there’s no ski in ski out access, a slick, fast gondola whisks skiers from the village directly to the slopes, which start at 1,205m and top out at 2,755m. There are plenty of fun activities to try away from the slopes too, including guided snowshoeing walks and ice climbing on the frozen waterfalls near the resort. Kids will also love the fantastic Comic Museum in Morgex, just a 15-minute drive from Courmayeur.
Take a look at our full Courmayeur ski resort guide for more info.
This beautiful ski resort has always been popular with British families heading to Switzerland’s slopes. Its brilliant kids clubs, childcare facilities and great range of sunny, south-facing slopes are the reason it’s been awarded the Swiss Tourism Federation’s Family Destination award, and there’s a packed calendar of family-friendly events too, our favourite of which is the annual fairy-themed Bella Lui winter festival.
Highlights of its 140-kilometre network of slopes include the enormous fun park, several FIS-certified pistes, the family-friendly Igloo Village at the top of the Plaine Morte glacier, and the eight-kilometre slope which streaks from the top of the glacier down to the resort. 20 slope-side restaurants ensure there are plenty of opportunities to rest weary legs.
Another reason to choose Crans Montana for your family ski holiday? The surprisingly short lift queues – barring the queues for the Plaine Morte Funitel, which leads to the glacier - and the great value lift pass (buy it online to make further savings).
Take a look at our full Crans Montana ski resort guide for more details.
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Keeping the kids entertained is a breeze in Cortina (also known as Cortina d'Ampezzo), where family-friendly attractions include an indoor climbing centre and ice rink. Considering booking some ski lessons? You’re in luck, because Cortina’s ski schools are some of the best in Italy.
There are ski schools specialising in everything from cross country skiing to freeriding, and beginners are especially well-catered for. Happy Ski Cortina ski school is our recommendation for newbies – the instructors are known for their ability to help kids and teens develop their skiing and snowboarding skills. Cortina’s 86 pistes are served by 34 lifts, and it’s easy to move between the resort's three ski areas, our favourite of which is the Tofana-Socrepes area.
We suggest basing yourself close to the cobbled Corsa Italia or Piazza Venezia areas in the resort’s centre. You’ll find everything from five-star boutique hotels to fantastic family friendly accommodation in Cortina. If you’re travelling with kids, consider the Parc Hotel Victoria, where parents are given cots, mats and games, and where there’s a babysitting service for parents keen to sample the resort’s après ski.
It’s also worth noting that there will be various upgrades prior to the 2026 winter Olympics, which Cortina will host. The transformation kicked off with the 2020 opening of the Freccia nel Cielo gondola, which replaced the resort’s first cable car (fun fact: for the ultimate souvenir from your family ski holiday, you can buy parts of the old ski lift, including sections of old rope – check out freccianelcielo.com to find out more).
Read our full Cortina ski resort guide for more details.
British skiers – especially those with kids in tow - have been flocking to Davos for their ski holidays for decades. It’s a wonderful family resort with a fantastic range of activities for non-skiers, whether it’s horse drawn sleigh rides through the Sertig and Dischma valleys, sessions at the resort’s bowling alley, visits to one of the resort’s five museums, ringside thrills at an ice hockey game (the Hockey Club Davos celebrated its sixtieth anniversary in 2021) or ice skating sessions at the Eisstadion Davos ice rink.
There are two brilliant children’s ski areas, although our favourite is the Madrisa Land area, where parents can watch their little darlings ride the four magic carpets from the comfort of slope-side sun loungers. More experienced skiers will love the easy access to the wider Davos Klosters area, which covers six resorts and 300 kilometres of slopes, 80 per cent of which are over 2,000 metres above sea level – hence its snow sure reputation.
Davos has a large number of ski schools, although our favourite is the Davos Ski School, which offers courses aimed at everyone from beginners to experts, alongside masterclasses in more specialist disciplines, such as freestyle snowboarding.
The fun doesn’t stop once the sun goes down, either – in Davos, it’s not just a handful of slopes which are floodlit, but ice rinks, toboggan runs and cross-country skiing courses, too. For the ultimate after-dark adrenaline fix, head to the Davos-Schatzalp toboggan run – during the winter season, it’s illuminated every night until 11pm.
Read our full Davos ski resort guide for more info.
Mammoth Mountain, USA
For some super-sized fun and some of the best opportunities for some family skiing in the US, head to Mammoth, where 3,500 acres of skiable terrain are blanketed with 400 inches of snow every winter. Winters are sunny and long at this California resort, where slopes often stay open into early July.
There are exciting things in store, too, namely the unveiling of a new Main Lodge in 2023 (expect luxury lodging, fantastic restaurants and more clothing boutiques than you can shake a ski stick at) and the new Mammoth Lakes Community Recreation Center. Due to open in early 2022, this enormous leisure complex will have plenty of amenities to keep the kids entertained, including an Olympic-sized ice skating rink, tennis courts and children’s play areas.
Mammoth is also known for its great value – children under four can ski for free (they’ll just need to pay a $25 processing lift pass processing fee at the start of their ski holiday) and the sheer size of the area covered by standard lift passes means you’re unlikely to run out of fresh terrain. Adrenaline junkies will be in heaven here- the resort has 11 parks, three half pipes and an Olympic-sized super pipe.
Take a look at our full Mammoth Mountain ski resort guide for more info.
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Steamboat Colorado is a beautiful family ski resort which offers the best of both worlds: it’s got a family-friendly vibe but still packs a punch when it comes to the terrain, with 169 slopes offering a vertical drop of 3,668 feet, which perhaps explains why Steamboat has produced more winter Olympians (98) than any other ski town in North America.
It’s another resort on the verge of a major transformation, thanks to a $135m overhaul of the town centre (the first phase is due to be completed by 2023) and a new 650-acre ski area over at Pioneer Ridge, which will have a new teaching area and a new gondola by the end of 2022.
Steamboat offers great value too, thanks to free lift passes for kids aged 12 and under, and free use of the resort’s famous Little Red Wagons (picture sledges for your ski gear), which can be picked up from either One Steamboat Place or the resort’s Kid's Vacation Centre.
There’s also a packed calendar of family-friendly events, including regular torchlight parades, firework displays and an annual Winter Carnival.
Read our full Steamboat ski resort guide for more info.
It’s a well known fact that kids hate long drives and complicated transfers, which is why we love Kitzbühel’s easy accessibility from Innsbruck or Salzburg in Austria and Munich in Germany, with direct flights available from London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Manchester airports. With a ski area which starts at 800 metres above sea level and extends to 2,000 metres, Kitzbühel is a resort which squeezes in an abundance of terrain for all skill levels, and where the fun starts early – the ski season typically lasts between October and late April here.
It's considered one of the best ski resorts for families - and with good reason. The 185 kilometres of pistes covers three mountains, including the Jochberg beginners’ area with its obstacle courses and miniature slalom. More advanced skiers can take on the Strief, the fearsome competition slope which streaks down the side of the Hahnenkamm.
The resort's close proximity to Mayrhofen - it takes just an hour to drive from one resort to the other - makes it a great option for those keen to squeeze multiple resorts into one trip. If you squeeze in a visit, make sure you check out the White Lounge Igloo Village, where you can sleep in an ice igloo on the side of Mount Ahorn.
Read our full Kitzbühel ski resort guide for more details.
One of Switzerland's most family friendly ski resorts, Andermatt has had £1.4 billion spent on improvements in recent years. It’s not just the lifts which have been upgraded either – recent additions include new hotels, restaurants, improved nursery slopes and a hi-tech concert hall.
Andermatt has a brilliant selection of slopes, ranging from the Matti KidsArenas, a dedicated children’s area, to the beginner-friendly ski runs on the Nätschen and the more challenging runs above Sedrun, a small village famous for its 14 chapels, and where the ancient Rumantsch dialect is still spoken. Both Sedrun and nearby Disentis are both incredibly easy to get to, thanks to new ski lifts built as part of the £1.4 billion redevelopment.
Skiers who love a spot of high altitude skiing will be pleased to know that the 180 kilometres of pistes reach a staggering 3,000 metres above sea level, and typically open from November until May. Families with cash to splash should consider staying at the Chedi Andermatt, where ski butlers will take the strain out of family ski holidays by whisking guests to and from the slopes, and which has fantastic childcare facilities, including the brilliant Chedi Bear Club for younger visitors.
Read our full Andermatt ski resort guide for more info.
If you’re after a family ski holiday with plenty of opportunities for family fun once the ski boots have been pulled off, consider the Scandinavia’s largest ski resort. In Åre, off slope activities include everything from opportunities to admire the northern lights to reindeer safaris and husky sledding sessions.
Although advanced skiers will quickly cover the majority of the terrain in Åre, there is a huge network of beginner and intermediate-friendly slopes young children on their first or second ski holiday, and the entire area is easy to explore. Lift queues are few and far between here - even during the school holidays. The fantastic range of restaurants and bars will satisfy the fussiest of eaters (we recommend Åre Crêperie & Logi for the famous pancakes).
The resort covers three areas: Åre Björnen, Duved and Tegefjäll. Åre Björnen is the best option for families and beginners – most of the hotels and self-catering cabins are metres from the ski school meeting point (look out for Valle, the resort’s lovable snowman mascot) and kid-friendly areas include Björnlandet, a bear-themed beginners’ area next to the Järvenliften lift, and Valles Torg, where there are several magic carpets and (gentle) drag lifts to provide easy, direct access to short, gentle slopes perfect for beginners on their first family ski holidays.
Take a look at our full Åre ski resort guide for more info.
Snow Magazine's guide to family ski holidays
Planning a family ski holiday? Top of your to-do list should be a look at our comprehensive guide designed for those considering a spot of family skiing.
We've covered all bases - whether it's how to work out if a self catering apartment or a chalet is the best option for your clan, the lowdown on the destinations we rate as our favourite family ski resorts, or advice about how to reduce the inevitable stresses which are part and parcel of planning this kind of holiday: snowmagazine.com
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