7 Family-friendly ski destinations

7 Family-friendly ski destinations

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

As the middle of winter descends upon us, the fluffy white snow coating the mountain ranges in Europe mean one thing – winter sports season! From the Pyrenees to the Alps, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which resort to choose, especially when it comes to traveling with the family. Here are seven family-friendly ski destinations worth checking out.

Arinsal, Andorra

Andorra is often overlooked when it comes to traveling, but it shouldn’t be. Situated between France and Spain in the Pyrenees, this mountainous region is home to fantastic skiing. Just a short hop (10 kilometers) from the capital city of Andorra la Vella, Arinsal offers a variety of terrain, and is a great place for beginners and little ones. This resort is quieter and less expensive than its French counterparts. Ski and snowboard lessons are available in English. If skiing isn’t quite your thing, Arinsal also offers snowshoeing trails, sledding hills and snowmobiling. www.andorraresorts.com

Champoluc, Italy

Located in the picture-perfect Aosta Valley near the Swiss border, Champoluc is slightly smaller and quieter than nearby Les Trois Vallées. Stretching more than 16 kilometers, this Italian resort boasts more than 80 kilometers of pistes. As part of the Monterosa ski area, there are plenty of English ski lessons available. Cross-country ski trails, ice skating and other fun winter sport options are perfect for a break from the slopes. Or take a break and enjoy the delicious local delicacies at one of the cozy cafes in the nearby village. www.aosta-valley.co.uk

A nice view from a platform in Hochgurgl-Obergurgl.

Obergurgl, Austria

Nestled in the Ötztal Alps near the Italian border, Obergurgl has some of the highest terrain in Austria. With 25 lifts and 112 kilometers of runs, this beautiful resort has a great variety of beginner and intermediate pistes. With free transportation, as well as ski-in/ski-out options from the village, traveling to the slopes is a breeze. Other sports offered include ice skating, tobogganing and snowshoeing. www.obergurgl.com



La Plagne, France

Comprised of 11 villages facing the impressive Mont Blanc in the Tarentaise Valley, La Plagne is renowned for its family-friendly accommodations and services. Complimentary shuttle buses and a vast network of lifts make it relatively easy to get where you want to go. There are plenty of beginner runs, as well as a wide variety of lessons for those of all ages. Enjoy après-ski, social activities after skiing, among the charming chalets and igloos. www.la-plagne.com

Vallon de la Thuile without snow. | Photo by Louis Bertrand. 

La Thuile, Italy/La Roisiere, France

The unique resort of Espace San Bernardo located between La Thuile, Italy and La Roisiere, France offers visitors the chance to ski or snowboard between the two countries. Equidistant from each picturesque village, accommodations and ski school options are plentiful. More than 90% of the runs are beginner and intermediate, with 34 lifts making it easy to traverse the powdery snow.  www.espacesanbernardo.com

Saas Fee, Switzerland

Surrounded by 18 jagged peaks and glaciers, Saas Fee is a winter wonderland nearly all year. One of the few places in Europe to offer summer snow skiing, it’s no wonder it becomes a haven for world-class athletes and families. The quaint village is car-free, which makes it the perfect place to ski-in/ski-out. Little ones can take a break and try sledding down one of the many hills. Or take the family on a scenic gondola ride while enjoying cheesy fondue goodness. www.saas-fee.ch

Serre-Chevalier-Briançon, France

Just on the edge of the Parc National des Écrins near the Italian border is the behemoth resort of Serre-Chevalier-Briançon. Boasting 55 lifts and 250 kilometers of pristine runs, there is a huge swath of family-friendly activities to choose from. This breathtaking resort offers kids clubs and playgrounds, as well as a plethora of ski schools and lessons. A variety of accommodations are available, including campsites, youth hostels, bed and breakfasts and luxury hotels. www.serre-chevalier.com

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