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Best family ski resorts this winter

Late December is the beginning of the ‘early snow’ winter ski season in Europe. Because of the early season and the nature of unpredictable weather, resorts run the risk of having little snow in this period. It is impossible to predict how the weather will be any winter but most resorts in Europe have had great snow seasons in December in the last few years.

With the Christmas school holidays running from 19th of December to 5th of January it is a great time to book a family ski holiday with plenty of travel agents offering competitive deals for all kinds of families and budgets.

European resorts offer loads of choices for families with kids of all ages. They offer accommodation for every budget including hotels, half board and self catering. Resorts offer extras like kids clubs, kid’s ski-courses, free lifts passes for under sixes and play facilities. Remember, when choosing a resort make sure the transfer times to and from the airport, and the distances from resort to slopes, suit the needs of your family.

Here are our top favorites for Irish families this winter:

Andorra - Pyrenees

- 3 hours flight time from Dublin - 1/3 hour approx transfer time to resorts.

Families going to Andorra have the advantage of direct flights from Ireland to nearby airports like Toulouse and Barcelona, relatively short distances to travel to resorts and the added bonus of Duty Free!

Arinsal & Pall - Is a quieter resort in Andorra that has slopes for beginners and improvers and is loved by families; with plenty of bars, cafes and shops for apres ski. The resort has baby and kids clubs where kids from 0-6yrs can play in the snow and learn to ski by qualified instructors. Tip: Check local accommodation for extras like swimming pool, creches and playroom facilities.

Austrian Alps

- Flights from Dublin to Innsbruck/Salszburg around 2 hours flight time, plus 2 hours approx transfer to resorts.

Winter ski holidays in Austria are more affordable than some of the other areas like France, Switzerland or Italy which means traveling with a family won’t hurt the pocket. The weather is perfect with no harsh winds and loads of sunshine, and there is plenty for non-ski travellers to do like sleigh rides, outdoor cafes, architecture and great food.

Mayrhofen Valley - Mayrhofen Valley is an area of high altitude skiing in the Austrian alps and consists of a number of villages spread out over the Turxatal Valley. The area is well known as one of the liveliest après ski spots in the Alps. There are plenty of bars, cafes, shops and clubs but there is also plenty of things to do for families.

There are resorts with children’s care facilities like Wuppys Kinderland who have specially trained staff on hand to look after and supervise infants from the age of 3 months to 7 years. It is equipped with playpens, playrooms and nappy changing facilities. There are kinder ski schools for kids 3 to 14 years supervised by fully trained ski instructors. Check your local resort for kid’s clubs.

French Alps

- Direct flights from Dublin 2 hour flight times (Lyon, Turin, Geneva) 1-3 hour transfer times to resort.

France had become one of the world’s most popular skiing destinations in the world, dethroning the US as the top spot for skiers. It is argued of having one of the best ski and snowboarding terrain around with breathtaking scenery and catering for all types of groups including families. For a cheaper, quieter family holiday check out the smaller resorts.

Haute Savoie, France - is a traffic-free village in the middle of a vast area of slopes. The Avoriaz ski resort is family friendly and both safe and convenient. It has a lot to offer families with a chalets dedicated for children, including a huge water-park and children’s slopes. Plenty of cafe’s and shops for apres ski parents.

For practical tips and what to expect on family ski holidays read this article by