Picking the right ski resort for a fun family ski holiday can be tricky. Ideally, it will be somewhere that caters to families, has a friendly atmosphere and plenty of facilities and activities so that you can all have a fun-filled trip and create many happy memories together. My recommendation? The Les Contamines ski area at the base of Mont Blanc.
Les Contamines is a family-friendly place where you will find a real sense of community in the charming village (which dates back to 1758!). This means that it is a great place for a leisurely stroll with kids – the picturesque main street and local markets are particularly pretty. Since it’s a quiet village, you’ll also find that there is a marked focus on eating rather than drinking once the sun goes down, making the resort very suitable for families.
The ski area boasts 120km of pristine slopes and stunning panoramic views of the Alps, yet you will find that it is remarkably peaceful and uncrowded. This makes it a well-kept secret (shh, let’s keep it that way!). Of course, you will want more than skiing to keep the little ones entertained on a family holiday, so be sure to check out the area’s wealth of other fun non-skiing activities!
Sledging is great fun for the whole family, and there are two runs at the resort – one is a gentle slope for beginners, whilst the other is better suited to little dare devils over the age of six.
I highly recommend that you try out the brilliant new sledging technique called snake gliss, which makes use of a train of sledges to create a “snow snake”. This exhilarating activity almost feels like riding a rollercoaster, as the sledges fly down the mountain, turning and taking off over small jumps. It is a cool family activity, as you’re in for endless laughs, plenty of thrills and a bit of teamwork, too!
Ice Climbing Up a Frozen Waterfall
Ice climbing up a frozen waterfall is a truly epic experience that you won’t forget any time soon. This adrenaline-fuelled activity takes place at the breathtaking and well-preserved Notre Dame de la Gorge in Les Contamines. This is a physically demanding activity, but also one that provides an immense sense of satisfaction. What’s more, you’ll be treated to amazing views when you conquer the frozen waterfall.
Whilst it is demanding on your body, ice climbing is suitable for adults and children alike. Kids especially enjoy the challenge and sense of pride at the end. It is understandable that you would have concerns over safety, but this is actually a very safe activity, as it requires harnesses and other safety equipment. In addition, you’re constantly being helped and supervised by encouraging and friendly guides.
Seeking a real adrenaline rush? Speed riding is a brilliant new extreme sport, which blends skiing and paragliding (yes, it’s as cool as it sounds!). It involves being strapped to an open wing-shaped canopy and carving down the mountain. You will become airborne anytime that the slope is too steep, so you can tackle any terrain and enjoy the thrill of great speeds, fresh powder, high altitude and breathtaking views. What could be better?
Les Contamines is a hotspot for this activity, as it has its own 800m FFVL speed riding area, which is situated east of the Veleray drag lift.
*Top Tip: Be aware that speed riding can be dangerous, and that it’s only recommended for advanced skiers.
Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides to La Colombaz
You will probably be looking for something slightly more relaxing after all of this excitement! Horse-drawn sleigh rides to the nearby La Colombaz are a magical experience that the whole family will love. Picture yourself being drawn through idyllic wintery landscapes by a majestic and beautiful horse. You’ll be treated to sublime, panoramic views as you are taken to a cosy alpine restaurant, where you can try a tantalising local speciality dish before returning home. I highly recommend this for families, as you can enjoy each other’s company in a relaxed environment. It’s sure to be a highlight of the holiday for everyone!
How to Get There
Another reason for why I always recommend this resort to families is because it is really easy to reach. You simply fly from London into Geneva Airport (GVA), which takes just over an hour and a half and is offered by airlines such as easyJet, British Airways and Lufthansa. If you book a Shuttle Direct transfer, one of our local drivers will pick you and all of your gear up and take you directly to Les Contamines Montjole, which is a further hour and a half by road.
Where to Stay
Chalet Caméline – This lovely chalet is in the heart of the village, and just 750 yards from the Loyers ski lift, so it is easy to get out and ski each day. The homey chalet is ideal for families, as it comes with a fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, lounge area with flat-screen TV and a wellness area. Previous guests have spoken highly of the convenient location and the accommodation’s fantastic facilities – you probably won’t want to go home again!
Le P’Tou – This cosy apartment is 450 yards from the Loyers ski lift and just a short walk from the ski school. Families enjoy this apartment because it provides terrific mountain views and it comes with its own garden and terrace. Additionally, you can enjoy family meals each day, thanks to the kitchen and dining area. There is also a lounge with a flat-screen TV.
Hôtel L’Heliopic Sweet and Spa – If you want to pamper yourself, you’ll want to check out this superb hotel, which features an incredible spa complete with an ice cave, tepidarium, sauna, Turkish steam bath and more. It is located in the nearby Chamonix, and ski lifts are only half a mile away. The rooms come with an en suite bathroom, mountain views, a balcony and a satellite TV. The hotel also has a pleasant restaurant and a cool bar and terrace.
About Shuttle Direct
Arranging travel can be incredibly stressful on a family ski trip, but at Shuttle Direct we pride ourselves on our reliable, affordable and friendly service. We provide safe passage between ski resorts, train stations and airports throughout the Alps, and we even take your sports equipment without charging an extra fee.