End-Of-Season Family Ski Breaks To Book Now

With the lack of snow across European being big news at the start of the year, it would be understandable if you’ve put off booking a family break on the slopes until now. The good news is, there’s plenty of availability left. From the Three Valleys to Austria and Norway, here are seven family-friendly destinations worth booking before the end of the season.
Images: SKISCHULE ANDERMATT; CHALET ETOILE; LE COU COU HOTEL; SEVERINS; STEVEN ROUSSEL/UNSPLASH
Severin’s, Lech

Hafjell

Norway

Norway might not be an obvious choice for a skiing holiday, but it has world-class slopes and excellent conditions during the colder months. The resorts are smaller than those in the Alps, but the terrain is ideal for beginners, including those at the family friendly resort, Hafjell. Just two hours from Oslo, it has 50km of varied terrain connected by 18 lifts. There are three nursery slopes and a ski school at the top so beginners can get the full experience, as well as more challenging areas for experienced skiers. The resort is perfect if you want to snowboard, with a terrain park for all abilities, as well as 600km of cross-country trails. Families can make the most of the on-mountain experience with Hafjell’s newly developed visitors area comprised of new cafés, restaurants, bars and accommodation.

On the slopes, Woody's is one of the resort’s most popular restaurants thanks to its crowd-pleasing dishes and children’s lunch menu, while Olympiatunet is open for lunch and hot chocolate stop-offs. For a fun atmosphere without the kids, Lodgen is one of the best restaurants and bars on the mountain, while Ilsetra at the top of Hafjell served hearty Norwegian dishes like stews and meatballs. Keep little ones entertained at Hunderfossen Winter Park which has a magical snow show in the evening.

Located on the upper side of Hafjell, Hafjelltunet has modern apartments close to the family slopes. Each apartment has an open-plan kitchen/diner, a spacious and cosy living area with an indoor wood burner, and rooms with four to eight beds. Guests can use the ski-in/ski-out facilities that lead straight to the main lifts and ski school. For something more high-end, Novasol has a range of luxury holiday homes in and around Hafjell, including this design-led chalet with beautiful mountain views. With space for up to nine guests, the property has four bedrooms varying in size, all of which are light and bright with plush interiors, and wooden furnishings. Families or groups can sit beside the fire in the living area, cook meals in the modern kitchen and explore the local area on foot or snowshoe.

Lech

Austria

Located in the Austrian Arlberg region, Lech is one of the most extensive ski resorts in the world, with first-class tree-lined slopes for all abilities and an extensive selection of winter activities, from winter hiking and heliskiing to tobogganing and snowshoeing. Austria’s biggest ski resort is connected to surrounding areas like St. Anton, Zürs and Warth – ideal if you want to extend your trip. With 305km of runs to explore, the terrain is suited to experienced skiers, however, beginners will find several learner slopes and a handful of decent ski schools. The village itself is quintessentially Austrian with designer boutiques, cosy cafés and restaurants, and independent shops selling everything from hot chocolate to eggnog.

You could easily spend a week exploring Lech’s fantastic culinary scene, comprised of award-winning fine dining restaurants and stylish alpine huts. For a special evening without the children, book a table at Rote Wand’s restaurant, famous for its chef’s table where diners can watch traditional alpine dishes being cooked over fire or Hotel Almhof Schneider, an unpretentious and cosy spot that highlights the best seasonal produce from the region. We also recommend an afternoon at Hotel Aurelio Spa for a post-ski treatment and an hour in the thermal suite.

Accommodation in Lech can be expensive, so you have to spend if you want to stay in the resort. Severin’s is one of the smartest hotels on this list. Just outside of the main resort area, the boutique hotel has nine elegant suites, all with open fires and balconies, plus a four-bedroom private residence for extra special family getaways. Just a short walk from two newly opened ski lifts, there’s a destination restaurant, an impressive spa and a state-of-the-art cinema. The concierge service can help organise heliskiing trips, guided hikes and children’s activities. On the more affordable side, this chalet sleeps up to 10 guests across five double rooms, making it ideal for a couple of families to share. Just a short walk from the village, guests can walk to the Schlosskopf ski lift to access Oberlech. The chalet has chic interiors with natural Alpine furnishing that make it feel extra cosy. Guests can relax in the open-plan kitchen and cosy up next to the fire in the living area.

Le Coucou Hotel, Méribel

Méribel

France

One of France’s top ski resorts, Méribel is a family favourite for good reason. In the beautiful Alpine valley of Les Allues, guests can stay in traditional wooden chalets, hotels and private apartments. Ultra-modern ski lifts will transport you right to the slopes, which cover 150km of pistes ranging in height all the way up to 1700m. If you’re travelling with children, be sure to book one of Méribel’s ski schools – Supreme Ski is a top choice. Children will also love the resort’s fun parks, especially the Piste des Inuits and the Yeti Park at Mottaret.

For a five-star experience, stay at the luxury Le Coucou Hotel which has ski-in ski-out facilities and excellent views of the surrounding mountains. A colourful take on a classic alpine chalet, rooms are spacious and modern, and can be adapted for children – the hotel has babysitting services and an excellent kids club too. Plus, there’s a lovely French restaurant on site, as well as an impressive spa with a heated indoor pool that looks out over the landscape. For something more traditional, L'Ours Rouge is a great option for groups of up to 10. Located in Méribel Village, you’ll have access to all the perks of a catered chalet, without the actual catering – think champagne on arrival and a chauffeur service provided by host company Fish & Pips, which looks after lots of lovely chalets in Méribel. Chairlifts are within a few minutes of all the chalets – there’s never a queue and you can bypass the traffic at the main ski area in the Chaudanne and be up at the summits in no time. 

Created in 1982, and fully renovated in 2019, Refuge de la Traye is the superlative Savoyard alpine retreat. In a secluded setting just outside Méribel, this eco-luxury alpine home is designed in the style of a miniature hamlet with characteristic wooden and stone buildings. With six bedrooms and suites, it operates as both a hotel and an exclusive-use property for up to 15 people. Once the kids are in bed, adults enjoy spa treatments and use of the sauna, hammam, jacuzzi and traditional milk bath and hay bed.  

Andermatt

Switzerland

If you’re travelling with children who don’t yet ski or older family members, Andermatt offers the best of both worlds. Those who want to hit the slopes can enjoy world-class runs, while non-skiers can take advantage of several winter activities in the valley. The area benefits from good snowfall, so conditions are reliable for skiing later into the spring, and the resort also has links to Sedrun ski resort, so there’s a further 181km to explore. Andermatt is surrounded by two main mountains: Nätschen to the north and Gemsstock on the southern side of the Swiss Alps. First-timers should book lessons at Schweizer Schneesportschule Andermatt, the area’s most prestigious ski school suitable for both adults and children.

Families will appreciate resort’s drinking and dining options – whether you want to hunker down at a mountainside restaurant or work your way around the hotel bars in town once the children are in bed. The luxury family friendly Chedi Hotel Andermatt has a range of bars with live music and outdoor fireplaces which you can relax at straight from the slopes, as well as a Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant, while Snowboat and Harry’s Ski Bar are fun, relaxed spots that are popular with resort regulars.

The aforementioned Chedi Andermatt brought a new level of luxury to Andermatt when it opened nearly a decade ago. Guests can stay in spacious rooms and suites which have everything you need for a special stay, and dine at the many restaurants, including winter pop-ups with fondue and raclette. There’s also an impressive spa and a winter village with outdoor hot tubs, saunas and market stalls filled with fun treats for little ones.

Andermatt
FELIX ZUBER/UNSPLASH

Morzine

France

As the capital of the sprawling 650km Portes du Soleil ski area, Morzine is a popular destination for families. There are plenty of winter-themed activities, including ice diving, tobogganing, ice skating and snow shoeing to keep everyone entertained. Its varied terrain, and proximity to Geneva airport, makes it a great location for skiers and boarders of all abilities, while the large town centre teems with alpine charm, as well as a great selection of bars and restaurants.
 
For something truly luxurious, book a stay at Chalet M. Offering unparalleled views of the resort, this three-floor property sleeps up to 12 guests and is just a stone's throw from the main lifts. Guests can opt for a staffed and catered stay, where a full team including a chalet manager, host and private chef will look after you. Many chalets are privately owned, so your best bet to secure accommodation this season is to book an Airbnb – with space for up to 10, Le Malamute is only a short walk from the centre of Morzine and the ski lifts. In the middle of Morzine, Hox Chalet is a new three-level, six-bedroom luxury mountain lodge complete with barrel sauna, wine cave, hot tub and private plunge pool – plus a Grey Goose vodka bar to keep the adults happy. From the team behind The Hoxton hotel group, the lodge accommodates up to 12 adults, with six en-suite bedrooms kitted out with ‘Hox-from-home’ touches including bespoke bedding, Roberts radios and Blank toiletries

Restaurants can get booked up weeks in advance, so make your reservations with plenty of time – dinner at L'Étale is a must. After working up an appetite on the slopes, tuck into dinner at La Rotonde. This trendy restaurant can be found in the centre of the resort and offers a menu brimming with traditional Alpine dishes such as raclette and tartiflette, as well as a large selection of steaks and Asian-infused plates.

Soldeu

Andorra

Prices may have risen in Andorra in recent years, but this duty-free enclave still tops several lists when it comes to cheaper European ski destinations. Criss-crossed with local blue and green slopes and home to some good ski schools, Soldeu is a great option for beginners, as well as families – there are even free lift passes for children under 11 years old. Away from the local slopes, there’s still plenty to entertain more advanced skiers. Set at the foot of the vast Grandvalira area, Soldeu has access to over 200km of varied pistes – meaning parents can get some serious mileage under their belts while the kids are busy at ski school. 

Andorra is a great spot to enjoy winter sports with children: skiing, snowshoeing, mushing, or fun activities such as Snake Gliss and igloo building can all be arranged. There’s also Caldea’s thermal waters or to enjoy the Park Spa Mountain Wellness Club, which has a specific timetable for families (babies are allowed too). Teenagers will love trying the MTB circuits or discovering adventure routes by climbing and jumping from the trees in the forests.

Hotel Park Piolets is a great place to stay. With an altitude of 1,850m, each room offers incredible views of the Grandvalira ski slopes. A bonus: the hotel can arrange for children aged six and over to have fun on snowmobile excursions, as long as they are accompanied by an adult.

Le Coucou Hotel, Méribel

Cervinia

Italy

Cervinia lies at the foot of Monte Cervino, aka the Matterhorn. Well located, it offers up fantastic skiing and dining at reasonable prices. It is also known as Italy’s most snow-sure resort, with a long season that runs from November to the beginning of May – making it one of the best options for latecomers or those booking last minute. 

If you’re looking for a fuss-free stay, look at Valtur Cervinia Cristallo. Run by Fish & Pips, the team will make sure you get the most out of your ski holiday, organising all the finer details, helping with ski hire, advising on lessons and even booking lunches in your chosen restaurants. Set in the cobbled, car-free village, the hotel is just a short distance from the lifts. Best of all, it’s well set up for families, with clubs for children and a relaxing spa and chilled après ski terrace for parents. With a Mini Club for three-to-six-year-olds; a Kids Club for seven-to-ten-year-olds; a Teens Club for 11-13-year-olds and a Tribe Club for 14-17-year-olds, Valtur has it covered. The younger guests are accompanied to the slopes for their lessons, and those too small to ski can have fun in the snow through the team’s full programme of organised activities.

Describing its design as ‘Italian modern, and contemporary mountain chic design, with a classic twist’, co-owners James McNeill and Kristin Gynnild recently unveiled an entirely new wing to Principe Delle Nevi, a ski-in/ski-out hotel, offering a complete suite of spa facilities, as well as five master suites which have been converted into slick, modern lofts and chalets which work well for families. The suites are equipped with state-of-the-art in-room entertainment, steam showers, saunas and jacuzzies – wonderful after a workout on the slopes.

Chalet Etoile, Cervinia

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